To inspire and be inspired


Last Saturday dengan secara tak sengaja volunteer diri jadi fasilitator untuk program Selangkah ke Universiti. A program from BAKTI (Badan Amal Tenaga Kerja Isteri-isteri) for local public unis.

We were to help out as well as motivate 16 and 17 years old high school kids who came from rural areas. Those who came were from families with no family members who have gone to study at university level.

They said we might get some hooligans among them, but everyone was very well mannered and obedient. I was the faci for Bus 5, along with 4 others including the assistant director of the program. Tapi bila dah naik bas, of course I gila kuasa jadi team leader cum tour guide. Hebat tak, baru sebulan kat USM dah jadi tour guide bagitahu Pusat Pengajian apa berada di mana. Padahal tu first time I pusing satu USM on a bas. No. First time pusing the whole of USM,

These girls are from SMK Baling. The first time I smiled at them and said hello, I know they're easy to talk to. And they can't stop guessing my ethnicity. I love the fact that here, we have diverse ethnic of students. I can say I'm Chinese/Iban/Melanau/Kadazan/Kelabit/Bidayuh/part Siamese/part Korean and they will just accept it. Some of the girls in the picture above is actually part Siamese because the district of Baling is near to the Thai border. Sangat 1Malaysia kan?

This was before we all change into the shirts we were given for free! Duduk USM ni kerjanya collect t-shirt free, beg free, notepad free, pen free. Bagilah kereta free pulak. Paling kurang pun basikal ke kan? The 2 guys on my right was the reason I got this opportunity. Thanks Abel and Sham!

All the facilitators striking a pose in our free BERSIH yellow shirt from BAKTI. I had fun meeting and working you guys! Hope to see you guys again in another program. Oh, almost all of us were first years and this was our first experience.

And this, is Yama a/l Awang Kechik. Prefers to be called Yamacho. He was my Penghulu during orientation week. We all know him as friendly, happy-go-lucky guy. A little something else that I know about him is that he's an Orang Asli from suku kaum Jakun. His hometown is in Tanah Abang, Johor. He is the first son and second of 9 siblings. Yama is here under financial aid from Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli and FELCRA. He told us once that being here means so much than just an opportunity. It is also a stepping stone for him to help his community. To him its a very big responsibility.

I see Yama as an honest and grateful person. He knows the purpose of him being here, his responsibilities, and his determination to give back to his community. I love the fact that he's sincere. I like being friends with him.

On the day of the programme, they invited him to give a motivational talk. In that short speech, I learned more about him. And I respect him more. I thought I was there to inspire the kids, but Yama inspired me. He was honest and not ashamed to talk about his father who is a rubber tapper with monthly salary of RM400. Imagine, that amount to feed 11mouths.

He showed us pictures of his village 5 years past and presently. He shared with us that they all drank, washed, bathe, cooked, and pooped from the same water source until recently they were given clean water supply. He showed us his school which can easily be destroyed by one blow of the wind. And he shared stories of his families' sacrifices. At that moment, I cried.

Yama's older sister who has better SPM results than him decided to work and give way for him to study. She is currently working, to help their family. Yama told us her sister vowed not to get married until he finished studying.

To be able to study requires a lot of money, which the family do not own. Therefore they seek aid from JHEOA. Yama and his father will go out early in the morning on his father's motorcycle and come home only at night. I bet the distance is far, and they must have done that more than once.

I never knew that side of him. And I wasn't ashamed to admit that I cried listening to his stories. It moved me. And it made me reflect myself, and made me feel grateful that my life is easy compared to others.

I hope in future I will remain friends with Yama, because he inspires me. I know he can inspire more, therefore I pray that one day Yama will be a lecturer. Just as he dreamed it.

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