THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Monday, 11 June 2007

Shopping with the children

I don’t like shopping. Call me weird if you want but I just don’t like shopping, especially on weekends when there are so many people at the mall. If I need to shop, I’d usually go on weekdays during office hours. With my flexi working hours, that’s possible.

But at the end of last year, when people were busy buying schooling needs for their school-going children, I had to go shopping for schooling needs too… not once… not twice… but 3 times within 3 days and one more time 2 weeks later! Buying the same things… only different sizes. And I don’t even have any children of my own!!

You see, out of the many volunteers in my NGO, I’m the one who has the most children from the families under my care. Not only are these families with the most children, they are also the poor ones. (Yeah, the poor families do seem to have more children, don’t they? The rich ones usually don't have that many.) When we approved the Children Education Fund for 17 children, 11 of them were children of my clients.

Of course I didn’t bring them all together – they wouldn’t fit in my car! It had to be one family at a time, and I had 4 families to handle. Thank goodness my other clients either don’t have school-going children yet, or the few others who have, can afford to buy the schooling needs although they may not be rich.

So first up was Mrs.K’s family. Since I needed to bring Mrs.K to open up a bank account to apply for MAC’s Pediatric Aids Funds, we went on a Friday, after Friday prayers. Mrs. K only had 2 school-going children, but her 5 year old girl tagged along. She was happy enough she could follow, she wasn’t bothered she didn’t get anything. We had to spend quite some time at the bank, after which we immediately went shopping and after that I had to rush back to Ipoh as it was getting late. So, I didn’t have time to bring them for makan-makan

Next day it was Fuzi’s family. We went on a Saturday morning. Fuzi’s children were very excited, not just because they were going shopping in Ipoh, but also because they got to ride in a car. By the time I reached their home to fetch them, they were already waiting outside their house, doors all locked, all set to go. And mind you, I was not late (in fact I am very particular about punctuality). Fuzi had 3 school-going children but the other 2 children also followed as there was nobody home to take care of them.

Since it was a Saturday, and it was during the year-end sale, imagine the crowd...

While Fuzi and her other children were choosing the uniforms, shoes, etc, I took care of Iwan, her then 6 month old baby boy. Good thing I didn’t meet any kepochis who knew me… they’d be wondering whose baby I was carrying… and I wonder what kind of stories they may come up with…

Anyway, since only 3 of the children were at school-going age, the 4th child put on a sour face when he didn’t get anything. And it was tough walking past the toys department. He kept pulling his mom’s baju kurung. I didn’t want to start buying toys for him, he may think I’d buy one for him every time I bring them out. Besides, this is not the only family under my care. But I had other plans they didn’t know about.

After taking them for lunch, I brought them to my NGO center. There were a few boxes of used items in good condition donated to us to be handed over to the needy. There was a box of toys and a box of story books. I told them to choose whatever they wanted from the boxes. They got excited and kept asking me again and again if they could take more than one, no matter how many times I told them to take all they wanted! By the time we headed back to their home, the 4th child was already smiling from ear to ear… this time he got some toys with him… it didn’t matter that they were used toys.

Came Sunday, it was the turn of Lily’s family to go shopping. Since I had other things to do in the morning, we went in the afternoon. Again, the place was packed… even worse than Saturday. Lily’s youngest child didn’t get to choose anything because he was only 4+, but he was happy enough when I brought them out for some ais kacang (actually it was ME who got tempted with the ais kacang… the weather was hot!).

The next family was Yah’s but at that time Yah’s husband, Azman, was warded at the Ipoh GH while the kids were with Yah’s parents. So, it was only 2 weeks later after Azman was discharged, Yah came to Ipoh with her 3 school-going children and I brought them to the same shopping mall where I took Fuzi and Lily. The only problem was that Yah’s son was a bit small for his age and we couldn’t find a uniform for his size. I had to seek the help of a salesgirl who finally found 2 pairs of uniforms for him. His was of better quality so they were more expensive than the rest…

Lunchtime came and I purposely asked the children if they wanted to eat rice or fried chicken. I knew the answer would be fried chicken but I just loved to see their excitement when answering…

So there you go. Now, for someone who doesn’t like shopping, I’d call that an award-winning achievement!

And I haven’t even told you about my monthly shopping for diapers and milk powders! I do get cash contributions from my friends asking me to buy all the necessities for these poor families. So imagine the amused looks I get when my trolley is full of diapers of various sizes and milk powder for various ages.

Hmmm… they may think I’m a mean baby-producing machine!!!

32 comments:

Hazia said...

Pi,
Before reading this, I had no idea what a volunteer's job involved. Wow! You're talking about everything from A to Z. It does take a highly committed person to pull this off:)

Anonymous said...

Wah K.Pi....if I were you, I would welcome online shopping that can deliver the goodies straight to the NGO centre!! :D
-Nik, Shah Alam-

Apandi said...

Kelakarlah pulak imagining you as a mean baby producing machine...

It is true isn't it, the poor have more children than the rich. Well come night time the rich have all those events to attend, concerts and shows to go to, movies and astro...while the poor turn off the lights....he he he

Pi Bani said...

Hazia,
I didn't scare you off from doing voluntary work, did I?

Nik,
Well yeah, online shopping would be good, but when size matters, susahlah sikit.

Pi Bani said...

Apandi,
Somehow I knew you'd respond to this posting... and which topic you'd touch on... :)

nyonyapenang said...

that's alot of work and alot of shopping!
and to go to a mall on a weekend, i pun surrender.

Pi Bani said...

Nyonyapenang,
You pun give up shopping on weekends, huh? Next time if I have to do this again, no matter what my clients say, I'd better arrange for the shopping to be done on a weekday!

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Pi,

I can only take my hat off to you for doing what you do. Your chargees are sure lucky to have you to watch over them because I know you are committed and ada lah hati baik shikit2..ha ha!

Geli hati I, at your prediction of Apandi's response..ha ha. I shall not add apa2 lagi on that matter. Keep up with your good work, dear.

Pi Bani said...

K.Ruby,
My prediction of Apandi's response? Aiya, by now can tell already laa... ;)

Bernard said...

That's a great work you're doing there in Ipoh. I pray for continued strength for volunteers and staff running the society.

*hats off to you*

Pi Bani said...

Thank you Bernard...

J.T. said...

I like that part where you surprised the children with toys. I bet you are their favourite person. For the fact that they got ready long before the appointed time, goes to show they were all excited going out shopping, in a car, with you. :)

So comical how you predicted Apandi's response to this posting. hahaha

I was going to address the same issue but since Apandi so valiantly explained the possible reasons why the poor have more children, I will let it go. He expressed it better. :D

Mat Salo said...

Eh Pi... didn't know you didn't have your own. And you hate shopping. Mmmm, first time I heard someone of the opposite sex (Eh Pandi please don't jump on this 3 letter word!) tak suka shopping. But as I read it, it dawned on me. These YOUR children Pi, and you DO enjoy the shopping... But you're only human, so I can understand the ais kacang bit.. he.. Tabik spring to you - lean, mean, baby producing machine (it does rhyme nicely doesn't it?)

Pi Bani said...

JT,
Oh the children are always excited when they get to go anywhere other than school. They seldom go jalan-jalan anywhere. So when they are going even just to shop for their schooling needs, it's just like our excitement when we're going for a holiday somewhere. I can't wait to tell them about our planned Family Day outing in August.

Pi Bani said...

Mat Salo,
I sound a bit weird don't I when I say I don't like shopping? Well, even when I have to go shopping, usually I'd just go to the necessary departments to get whatever I need to buy, pay and then terus balik. So I usually don't take that long. Tapi bila bawa budak-budak yang jarang-jarang dapat keluar ni, tak bolehlah buat macam tu, kesian pulak.

Lean, mean, baby-producing machine? Yeah it rhymes. Sejak balik dari Penang ni jadi poet pulak ke? :)

Apandi said...

kah kah kah, errrrk so transparent am I ?

So, when and where is the family outing in August, maybe we can contribute to make it more meaningful to the kids.

Pi Bani said...

Apandi,
It doesn't take an expert to figure out that side of you... :)

As for the family day, it will be on the first Sunday of August. Initially I was planning for something just for the children, but since most of the kids are from out of Ipoh, and they are mainly primary school kids, I may need to their mothers to accompany them. So, we figured might as well have it a family day thing but with something special planned for the kids. Venue not confirmed yet, but right now we're trying to negotiate for a best possible deal with Lost World of Tambun. They do have family day packages inclusive of telematch and all; and they also have school packages which provides educational workbooks and some educational demo. I'm hoping we can negotiate for a combination of both package. And I pun boleh tumpang sekaki because I haven't been there either despite staying in Ipoh. :)

Contribution for prizes would be great.

Monster Mom said...

shopping with other people's money...
that shud be fun... but in a way.. good to know that u r doin it for charity!!!

Pi Bani said...

Monster Mom,
If it was MY money, with 11 children... ADOOIII...

But then again, I had to use my money first and claim laterlah with the receipts all attached.

Apandi said...

So this what it feels like being analysed heh heh

About the contribution for the prizes, I don't mind putting some cash via maybank2u and you selecting the most appropriate for the kids. Unless if you are coming to KL prior to the event. Otherwise, email me and we'll go from there and am certain some of the others would like to participate too.

BTW, a dear friend from London asked about you today as she thought that we know each other well through reading these comments (you proved that bit...). She admired your work...

Pi Bani said...

Apandi,
I may be going to KL early July but have yet to be confirmed. Will get back to you later on this.

You nak contribute apa? Savvy? Myvi? Or combine them both and get SamyV? hahaha...

Don't worry Apandi, any amount will do. Saje je nak bagi you tercekik...

J.T. said...

Pi, you are so comical!
"You nak contribute apa? Savvy? Myvi? Or combine them both and get SamyV? hahaha..."
Imagine Mr SamyV tied up in ribbon and given away at the prize-giving ceremony. :D

I am so far away to contribute something. I will figure it out... even if it is not for this family day outing, it will be something for the future. :)

Pi Bani said...

JT,
You may be far but you can always contribute ideas... like what colour ribbon should I use to tie up SamyV? :D

loveujordan said...

salam,

Memanglah seronok anak-anak tu you bawak diaorang shopping and makan-makan .... tapi memang weekend sesaklah sikit...

Syukur ada insan berhati mulia macam you, Alhamdulillah.

ruby ahmad said...

Dear Pi,

So JT suggests yellow ribbon! Then you wanna wrap it around SamyV? Are you ok? You're overworked! He he. Come over...take a break this Sat. *wink*

Daphne Ling said...

You don't like shopping?!?!?!?

In that case, thank you for doing it for the kids...You are truly amazing Kak Pi, for doing something you don't like just to see the smiles on the faces of these precious little children,,,

Pi Bani said...

LUJ,
There were reasons I had to bring the kids out on a weekend. Otherwise memang I would have brought them on a weekday. But letih-letih pun seronok bila tengok budak-budak tu happy.

Pi Bani said...

K.Ruby,
Don't worry sis, just having some fun. :)

This sat? See lah...

Pi Bani said...

Daphne,
You exclaimed: You don't like shopping?!?!?!?

Wah, did your eyes just pop out? :)

I also don't like accounting, but I still do accounting work what...

kina said...

Kak Pi,

I have lots and lots of toys, sumer boys stuff la. mmg i mean to give them away.

Should I send those to you. I will choose yang good ones only la.

Tell me if I can send them thru Pos Malaysia to your address ye...

Pi Bani said...

Kina,
Please email me personally at pibani@yahoo.com

Apandi said...

SammyV, get away from the hair, get away from the hair he he he...

Early July ? Great, will look out for your correspondence. BTW, tricolour yellow, red and green ribbon for the SammyV, JT ?