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)

Thursday, 29 January 2009

When I start leter-ing

I am thankful for the chance given to me to get myself involved with my present voluntary work. The exposure had certainly opened up my eyes to a lot of things I never thought of before.

I am more thankful for all the things I have and all the things I don’t have.

I am thankful to be born into a loving and caring family.

I now appreciate all the setbacks in my life - for without these setbacks, I may not appreciate all the good things that came my way. These setbacks had made me a stronger person.

If I had things any easier than I did (compared to many others out there, I consider mine a rather easy life), I may end up as a spoilt brat for all I know.

Witnessing the miseries some others have to go through in life has taught me to be more thankful.

Witnessing the resilience of some people going against all odds for the betterment of their lives has taught me to be more patient (oh well, maybe the patience came in a package when we get older…it’s not so much patience, but more of “no longer bothered”)

So, when I offer to help the PLHIVs, my main intention is to help them become independent. I want to help them to be able to stand on their own, without relying too much on other people’s help. I don’t offer to do things for them; instead I offer to assist them. I don’t tell them, “Give me the documents, and let me do it for you.” Instead I’d offer to go with them and show them how to get things done.

No doubt for some of these poor and uneducated families, they may need extra help initially, but still, they must learn to do things themselves. I won’t be helping them all their lives. They need to know that to get something, they need to work for it. To change their lives, they need to do something about it, and not just wait for help to come their way.

“Verily never will God change the condition of people until they change it themselves.” ~ Ar-Ra’d (13:11)

That’s why I don’t like it when any of my PLHIV clients start to keep seeking my help for every single thing. And I don’t like it too when any of them starts complaining about getting this and that late, when previously they were actually in worse conditions. I don’t like it when they forget to be thankful for all the help they’ve been getting.

You know why? Because when they do that, that’s when I start lecturing (read: leter-ing) them, and when I start doing that, chances are I will also apply my “leter-writing” skills in this blog. Aduuuh…

Oh don’t get me wrong. Most of my PLHIV clients are doing okay. Nuri is doing well with her food stall after our initial help. Now she doesn’t even apply for our Children Education Fund. Ani too is coping well after we helped her out with her EPF withdrawal – she's putting the money to good use. Asiah is almost independent now. Lin, although had sought our help for her children’s education, is not just staying home doing nothing. She’s now looking around for a job and while waiting for one, she’s helping out at her brother’s food stall and gets paid a minimal amount. People like Zainab, Shila and Maria would call me to get advice on how to go about doing certain things, but they would do whatever themselves. They don’t expect me to do things for them.

It’s people like Mrs K, Yah and Fuzi who can drive me mad at times.

Mrs K? I have already mentioned that she doesn’t seem to learn from her past mistakes when it came to money. And after the last SMS I sent her, oh wait, not SMS… it was more of SLS (Short Leter Service), she doesn’t dare call me.

Yah? Ah, wild wild Yah! I had mentioned earlier that she seemed to be taking revenge on all the wrong people. Well, today my suspicion was confirmed. She told a colleague of mine that she wanted to take revenge on MEN – so that’s why she’s sleeping around with men, so she can pass the virus to them. I feel like strangling her… but I don’t want to end up in jail.

Fuzi? She’s the latest to get my SLS recently. She had actually been pestering me for some help (like call me every 2 or 3 days to ask if I had done anything) but I told her I’m pretty busy this month and so I gave her a number instead for her to call and seek help from. During the CNY break I sent her a text message asking if she had called the number. She didn’t answer.

But yesterday she called up my colleague to complain that she hasn’t been getting any of the monthly financial aid she’s supposed to get. So when my colleague told me today, I was like… “Eh? January’s sponsorship for her children already in whaaat?” Despite my busy schedule, I always make sure I disburse the sponsorship money to the recipients on time. The money is held in our trust and I take that responsibility seriously.

So my colleague called her back today to find out and Fuzi admitted she did get that money. The “not getting ANY of the financial aid” she meant was the monthly help from the Welfare Department and the Pediatric Aids Funds (PAF). We had already warned her that the aid from Welfare Department would usually be late at the beginning of the year. It’s like that every year, and while I don’t see why the department can’t make the payment on time, Fuzi should be used to it by now. She’s complaining because her budget is a bit tight this month. Any average parent with school going children would also have a tight budget this month! Looks like Fuzi has forgotten that once upon a time she had no source of income at all. And when we Buddies first came into her life, all she was getting then was a measly monthly aid of RM115 per month from the Welfare Department. Now with all the help that’s coming in, she’s complaining about late payments? Isn’t she thankful at all? Some people have to work hard day and night to get half of what she’s getting now and she’s not even working!!

Then my colleague passed the phone to me without Fuzi realizing it. And the first thing I heard was, “Saya dah tak tau kat siapa saya nak minta tolong dah.” I bet she was shocked when she heard my voice instead asking, “Nombor yang saya bagi hari tu dah talipon belum?”

No, she has yet to call that number despite her pestering me earlier. When asked why, she said because if she makes the calls herself people will not layan her. All the while despite my advice against it, she has been paying unreliable people money for jobs that finally never got done. Now I gave her the number of a reliable party which she doesn't even have to pay for and she didn’t even ATTEMPT to call?

So yep, she got that long leter from me today. I told her it’s not that I don’t want to help her, but she’s got to help herself first. She can’t depend on people her whole life. At least take the initiative to make that call, and after that if she still needs help, then she can call me for advice.

If my PLHIV clients want to hate me because of my leter, well, they can hate me all they want, I don’t care. All I want is for them to empower themselves with knowledge, skills and confidence.

As per the verse in Surah Ar-Ra’d I mentioned above, God will not change her situation if she doesn’t attempt to make any changes herself.

Besides, if I had any magic wand so I can simply go “WHOOOSH!!” to get things done, I’d already be using it for myself first…

Fuzi, Fuzi... kan dah kena leter...


ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

It can be very exhausting when people expect U to do everything without even attempting to solve some of the problems themselves, says the cat while sitting on the shelve. But what U R doing is right, that is to empower them, as U said, with knowledge, skills and confidence, says the cat with such prudence. Fulamak! Pak Malim sejak ada girlfren Minah Terpa ni, bukan main lagi speaking England dia, trying to impress. (Kelihatan Pak Malim dan Minah Terpa sedang naik bas express).

Pi Bani said...

Pak Malim,
Itu lah dia, kita nak ajar depa berdikari, tapi depa pulak dok memanjakan diri, kata Pi Bani sambil petik daun kari.

Btw, tumpang tanya, kata Pi Bani sambil naik kapalterbang ke Kenya. Girlfriend Pak Malim yang bernama glamour Minah Terpa tu, nama betul dia Milah ya? tanya Pi Bani sambil posing dengan buaya...

Raden Galoh said...

Salam darling akak...
Lama tak kacau you... actually, i do feel your letering is needed...they need frequent reminders... I guess they aren't the type yg sekali cakap terus embedded dalam kepala.

Tapi mmg letih kan akak, especially when expectation kita ni tinggi, penat gak tu asyik cakap benda yang sama berulang kali...

Ayat tu mmg peringatan utk kita sume...


Pi Bani said...

I sebenarnya tak gemar leter-leter ni... letih kepala otak dibuatnya.

Anyway, glad to note you're doing well. Take care and have a good weekend!

mamasita said...

Oooh Pi, I takut nak leave a comment kalau you tengah in your 'letering mood'!
Garangnya..hooo..stand back! Pi tengah melenting ni!hahaha

Pi Bani said...

Menopausal syndrome kot? hehehe...

ray said...

Lagi Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Ya, betul, kata Pak Malim sambil meminum susu botol. Nama Minah Terpa dalam I.C, ialah Milah, kata Pak Malim sambil duduk berkelah. Ala2 perempuan Melayu Terakhir gitu, kata Pak Malim sambil menggaru kutu. Tapi sebab tuan saya percaya, setiap perkataan yg dikeluarkan ialah satu doa, maka dia tak panggil direct Minah Terpa, cukup panggil MT aje, kata Pak Malim sambil duduk atas meja. Macam saya jugak, nama sebenar, Maling, tapi sebab tuan saya nak saya berhenti mencuri, ray panggil saya Malim, kucing yg alim. Memang mustajab, saya memang tak curi lagi.Jiran2 tuan saya yg ayam mereka pernah saya curi, kata mereka dah lama tak nampak saya di dapur mereka. Mereka rasa lega tuan saya ambil dan bela saya. Dulu saya tidur dalam longkang dan tong sampah, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai terompah.

p.s Kalau nak datang lawat kami, jangan lupa bawa sardin ya, kata Pak Malim sambil menyapu kaya.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pi - mak aiiihh! panjangnya luahan hati kali ni..LOL.. kesian adik aku..takpa, Pi buat amal..

btw, plse do't send me any of yr SLS naaa.. SMS diterima, SLS reject outright! heheheh

Pi Bani said...

Pak Malim,
Laaa... tak habis-habis lagi mintak sardin; kata Pi Bani sambil buat muka sadin.

Kak Puteri,
My clients yang terima SLS tu pun just a few aje. Most of the time my SMS is always shorter than theirs. Mana yang corner kick tak jalan... indirect free kick tak jalan... mau tak mau penalty kick lah I bagi.