Emerging NGI’s in Malaysia

There is no right & wrong way to be kind to another human being. As long as it brings a difference towards the better to the person at the other end, that is a big alhamdulilah. In the spirit of Ramadhan and restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians have witnessed the rise of a few samaritans and philantropists.

NGI – Non Governmental Individuals

Some argue that you should not show the deed. Personally to me, if you have the star power and ability to influence a huge group of people, why not. Netizens favourites nowadays is Ebit Lew, Uncle Kwan & Syed Azmi. Of course, there are others behind the limelight doing their bits to serve humanity such as KakRed, Noorinora and but let’s focus on these 3 NGI’s for the sake of this blog entry.

FOCUSED, MEANINGFUL & BENEFICIAL

SYED AZMI

Rina benarkan Syed Azmi sumbang tenaga sepanjang krisis Covid-19
photo credit: malaysiagazette.com

I had the opportunity to listen to him speak about his work during IMAM’s conference about 2 years ago. He laid down a very important framework on how anybody can become an NGI. Everyone can donate something. Everyone can menderma. His BIG FIVE ways of contributing include Duit, Tenaga, Masa, Ilmu and Doa.

MONEY, MANPOWER, TIME, KNOWLEDGE & PRAYERS

Mr Syed Azmi deals with heavy issues as opposed to just giving a family a grocery basket or financial assistance like rape victims, domestic abuse, children issues. His work involves saving those in distress and placing them in a safe community so they could overcome the trauma, sustain their lives and improve their standards of living. Hence, at times we can see him breaking down, frustrated, merajuk and a roller coaster of emotions because these problems are real plus nerve-wrecking and that is how any normal human being would respond to it. Sometimes the law works in favor of him and at other times, against him and his efforts. Despite the hiccoughs, he always managed to pick himself up, recharge and continue what he has started.

UNCLE KENTANG

Kuan Chee Heng : Bukti Sifat Kemanusiaan Masih Wujud | Iluminasi
Photo credit : iluminasi.com

A former policeman, Mr Kwan Chee Heng is a Chinese samaritan famously known as Uncle Kentang. He defies dirty politics and bureaucracy. He was one of the NGI’s who helped me realize the importance of giving focused help and connecting with the community.

He operated the Van Jenazah with 24hours access by getting keys from the selected mamak eatery. His groceries package are personalized meaning an Indian family may need different items compared to a Malay family etc. That was eye-opening for me. Not everyone wants noodles and the same type of flour.

EBIT LEW

Mula Masuk Islam Sejak Umur 12 Tahun, Ini Biodata Lengkap ...
Photo credit : says.com

An islamic motivator, an apprentice of Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamsah so much so that people associate him as an ustaz. Some consider him as part of tabligh, the good ones. Indeed, despite being a revert, he has the knowledge and his message is simple,

ALLAH SAYANG KITA

Whatever that we go through, it is because ALLAH SAYANG KITA. To me, he is a philantropist. When you do not have strings that tie you down and have the financial freedom to take care of the welfare of other human beings – this is what one should aspire to become. He has the money, time, knowledge, manpower and makes doa as well for every family he assists. Whilst other aspiring NGIs like myself , may be limited by funds, time and manpower – he was able to champion it all. How nice it would be to serve humanity without having to think about the law, money etc. How wonderful it is to just give, give and give.

I learnt a lot about charity work from these individuals and these are the BIG FIVE lessons I have gathered so far.

  1. It gets easier doing it with a team on the condition that you know how to pool and coordinate your resources.
  2. To have money is a huge strength to drive a cause. Without it, it is quite a challenge to get things where they have to be. I am not talking about bribes or anything. It’s just that while in some charitable acts, you may only need manpower – most of those in need requires financial assistance to move forward.
  3. Communication is important. We do not want to upset local authorities that may hinder future efforts. At the same time, we do not want the charitable gestures to be misconstrued. Yes, it can be a form of CSR to companies but lets try not to make it look like a gimmick.
  4. Apart from just offering help, they also actively look and search into the communities for those who are in need. This I feel is important because sometimes the marginalized members of the community may not know how to seek for help in the first place. Even so, some may not have the basic means to do so. They may not have phones, transport or even illiterate. Sedih, kan?
  5. Charity is continuous. Giving is not something they do in Ramadhan or near festive seasons. Their assistance spans throughout the whole year! This requires mental health stamina, support of loved ones, reliable contacts and networking. Not many people could do that but we hear of these 3 NGI’s activities all year round.

I have yet to see a government based NGI doing these on a large scale. Perhaps they are like me – worried of consequences that may tarnish the image of the government. We might step on toes of people who has certain interest in mine. Plus, when you are in a gov sector – everything is tertakluk to arahan and anything you plan to do, you need to have kertas kerja, surat and kelulusan. Even in your private time, you want to go for a holiday overseas, you still need to inform the kementerian. It’s part and parcel of being a civil servant. We respect that requirement.

Hence, if I intend to become an NGI, I must learn to navigate around my responsibilities, red tapes and what not. Jangan dipakaikan baju pada yang miskin, hingga diri sendiri terpaksa berte-lanjang. Know your limitations, educate yourself and learn from those around you. InsyaAllah for every good deed, Allah will bestow His rewards accordingly.

I gave away books for free the other day and boy, it was a lesson learnt

Whenever I get disheartened of a humane act or good deed I do as part of Tabung Minci or for just being an NGI, I’d scroll through my previous blog posts to gather insight on why I do this in the first place.

Like this post.

I am still learning how to ‘Give Properly’. To give in abundance, in ikhlas, precious and hopefully of need and meaningful to the recipient.

Recently, I decided to do book gifting to my colleagues. It was Xmas season. I mean, who wouldn’t like a book to read right?Surely professionals would love a book. And is willing to try and take on a new genre. Right? Apparently not. I got them wrong. haih.. paiseh.

The books are handpicked from my own shelf. These are books that I love to read, only knowing myself – I wouldn’t read them the second time because of time constraint. I still have a lot on my TBR (to be read) list.

Anyway, all of these books are too shiny, glossy and pricey to be rounded up in a recycling bin. And to do a jumble sale is taking too long to organize. I could actually donate them to a public library but the titles felt so personal ( I honestly don’t know how to explain) that I thought why not share the joy of reading them with my friends.

For each person, I chose a book that I feel would suit their personality and once I gave it to them personally- that was when things got interesting and awkward to a certain extent.

Common questions I got was

  • Why are you giving this?
  • Is this a gift or are you lending it?

Heartwarming response

  • reading the synopsis and willing to try a new genre
  • saying a simple thank you and keeping the book in their personal bag
  • caught already reading the book and loving it so far
  • talking about the book and recommending titles that I may like (bonus)

Heartbreaking response (trying to be chill about it though)

  • without a single flip through the book asking is he/she could sell the book on shopee (I said the book was a gift – it is up to you to do as you please. There was a small thug in my heart as the book was a really good one. If I had known, I would have given it to someone else)
  • without reading the synopsis , kept it in the office drawer. We all know whatever goes inside the drawer, never makes its way out unless it is time for spring cleaning
  • an immediate skeptic response to an unknown form of literature. I have taken into good faith that a thriller could be enjoyed in any language you understand. I failed to understand then, that a non-English thriller may not emit the same excitement of an English thriller

Despite the shortcomings, I felt it was still fulfilling all the same. I am not looking for a book in exchange, or a thanks on Watsapp group (oh god.. please no). It was a small act of sharing joy and giving that’s all. I kept reminding myself that I should give unconditionally. Yes, hiccoughs happen but they are there for a reason. Keep giving. Never stop.

Only in the future, make it Focused, Meaningful & Beneficial.

Ponderings on becoming an NGI

I scrolled my FB feed today and digested the usual ‘news’. Of syok sendiri viral issues, local crimes, nonsense politics, recipes that I can’t seem to find time to make and sales post and recruitment which is supposed to get you out of poverty or debt.

Then there was this little post by one of my favourite NGI’s; Syed Azmi. He was kind of ‘coaching’ a young NGI (Non Governmental Individual) wannabe, Imran, by asking a few basic questions that, in my opinion could help guide someone to the desired charitable purpose.

Some of the questions were;

  1. What is your skill?

  2. What is your passion?

  3. When is your free time you can volunteer?

  4. Do you drive?

  5. What is your strength/weakness? Your limitation?

I was stuck at No 3. I couldn’t really use my profession as my excuse because personally I do not think that it’s a formidable excuse. Like come on lah Minci… if you really want to do something – you would make time for it. Sampai bila nak harap pada pahala pasif kan? Which sadly seems to be the most popular thing nowadays. For instance, if someone wants to sell their product, it almost often ends with ‘share this post, you could get pahala for simply sharing” just how we love passive income? errr.. guilty as charged here. 

Hence I learnt something about this process. That we should give what we can with the capacity that we have. I may not have time (yet) to devote for my cause. But InsyaAllah, that intense push will come. yelah.. can you just imagine my husbands reaction? Dahlah already busy with oncall and on your free weekend you want to run for Africa? Not to mention those occasional but important days where you had to stay back at work because you had to?  Contoh je.. I just don’t want the topic of ‘anak kera di hutan disusukan‘ to rise in our daily couple conversation. Kah kah kah.  Until then, just do what you can. 

A kind word. A motivating speech/blog post/watsapp message.

A  mini donation/contribution here and there.

The ultimate act of charity is still about Time. I will get there.