I want to talk about a significant event which leave an impression on me.
It happened on the first day I arrived at KL. I am not a frequent traveller and it was my first time at the vibrant metropolitan city. We went to a famous street called Jalan Alor where it was filled with food stalls left and right.
Truly an amazing experience, with enthusiastic sellers (sometimes a bit too much) on sides showing you their menu, the aroma of a variety of food and drinks, people of all walks of life checking out the food. It was an endlessly long stretch of road that doesn’t seem to have a finish point. It’s always full of people cause Jalan Alor is a tourist hotspot (regret that I didn’t take any pics).
As my friends and I had decided on a place to eat, we sat down, ordered our food and waited patiently for it.
Then, you can hear music playing. A disabled man who seem to have lost his ability to walk were singing while rolling on a board with wheels.
I had read about poverty in third-world countries. I knew that poverty exist everywhere. This kind of things, you read it, you knew about it, but you don’t know the severity of it until you seen it in real life. It’s like that piece of advice which people told you to not donate when in poor areas because people will be swarming to you once you do. I don’t think I will be able to do that.
Seeing that sight made a huge impact on me. I lived in a country where good welfare are provided to its citizens, and even if non-citizens are excluded from the welfare, there will always be someone reaching hands and helping them. If that man was here at Brunei, he will definitely gain some kind of attention from the government.
My bubble of naivety kinda burst right there. Because I know, even if I donate RM100 today to the man, it won’t change his situation. He will always be singing along the Jalan Alor and people will throw money into his basket. Some gangster might even ‘owned’ him and take his earnings at the end of day.
What’s even more uncomfortable is he wasn’t the only one, there are two to three people doing similar things.
Do you know how heartbreaking it is?
It was too much for me to handle. Jalan Alor was filled with the stench of desperation at that moment.
It make me reflect on my own situation. My mama was right, even though we might be in a tight spot, we have a roof over our head, we are healthy. We are not that worst off. It made me realize that I am lucky. I am grateful that I can attend school safely whereas in other parts of the world, girls are threatened and forbidden to have an education. I am grateful that I have food to eat and clean water to drink everyday whereas there are others who do not have access to these. I am grateful to grew up in a society where ‘honour killings’ and ‘child marriages’ are non-existent.
My personal problems are insignificant and hold no relevance to the problems in real world.
I realize that the point of having education is to help change the lives of those who can’t afford it.
KL trip experience will definitely stay with me. We are a privileged generation and that its not always about me or you in this world.