Overnight stay at Swiss Inn, Johor Bahru

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I captured my recent trip to JB in the vlog above. Check out my other videos on Youtube.

I was in JB a few weekends back to visit my alma mater with the Back To School (BTS) committee. I was just recently absorbed into the team to lead mini projects as they run out of hands to help out. InsyaAllah I will be handling the batch Tshirt and the ‘launch ceremony’. I am happy with my current role. Honestly, I did not expect to contribute this far. I will let you know later.

I travelled to JB alone by bus. I downloaded an app called Redbus and booked my tickets there. Nowadays, bus services are like airlines. You get a boarding pass at the station and everything is so organized now. My journey was a 3 hour ride and I arrived at JB just before 8pm. I was contemplating to have dinner first before I go to the hotel but it’s a bit dark to wander alone in a foreign state.

my Redbus code : rednyyu9

So I hailed a taxi and charged without meter, a whooping RM15. Plus an additional RM2 for parking ticket fee since the cab was parked in the stations parking place. I felt so ripped off.

Thankfully, the reception at Swiss Inn JB was so warm and friendly that I soon forget about being tired and hungry. Check in was quick. They did not require any deposit.

I booked a Cozy Single Room which has Free Wifi and breakfast for two. Other commendable facilities include Free Shuttle Service, a parking space and yezza affordable room service. It was RM140.34 including tax and service fee. As usual, I booked my room through Agoda.com. There are other room options for family and individual travelers alike. One being a Tatami room where 6 people could stay together in a room with matresses laid on the floor – very Japanese like and cosy too.

My room has the basic complimentary beverages set and towels. Separate toilet and hot shower. A bath gel and shampoo with a small bar of soap. A mini hairdryer too. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste though.

I ordered room service and started unpacking my backpack. For dinner, I had a Deluxe burger. It came in an economic plastic packaging instead of a plate. Lol. That was new. I remembered ordering room service in Kuching’s Telang Usan, they still serve meals in proper plates. Ha ha. But it’s ok. Maybe it was easier to clean up and more hygienic? *thumbs up* After my meal, I freshened up and tucked myself in early.

I was already up at 530am the next day. Sunday is a working day in JB. I went down to the 1st floor for breakfast at the restaurant. The atmosphere was cute but I did not manage to snap a lot of pictures. The options were adequate and fulfilling for a 3 star hotel. It’s not a wonder that this hotel is the accommodation of choice for small group travellers. That morning we had guests from Indonesia staying there which was refreshing. Previously I’ve only managed to see groups from China during breakfast. The ibu-ibu looks so cute and fashionable with their colourful tudung.

After a brief visit to the loo, I checked out of Swiss Inn. I wished I could stay longer. The hotel is so pretty. I could have at least explored the gym.

This time I took a Grab Car to my alma mater situated near to the bus station the night before. The fare was only RM10.

My alma mater, Sekolah Tun Fatimah is an all girls boarding school. As someone who came from a non-priviledged background, it was a life changing moment for me. It was a great opportunity for me to receive structured education in a school said to be for the creme of the creme. On top of formal learning, I also had a taste of interacting with fellow students of different social hierarchy. I was middle class. So I get to mingle or observe those girls who were from upper and of lower class than mine. It was a mind opening and humbling experience.

Despite depending fully on meals at the dining hall, my parents still give me a bit of pocket money – enough to call home on the weekend with a phone card and the occasional splurge of air kotak rumah at the co-op. There were times of course I did not have enough money to buy an RM50 jersey shirt ( I was a player in the softball team) so I quit the team quoting ridiculous reasons like ‘mak suruh belajar’ . The seniors were a disappointed but they accepted my reasons. Since then, I didn’t take up sport because to me sports required money we did not have. So I just laid low and studied. I made a few friends. I don’t recall having any personal enemies. I think. ha ha. Even the teachers have a tough time trying to remember who is this Minci. HA ha ha ha.

Which is why when last year they announced to do this BTS programme, a collaboration activity with the school counsellors – I wasn’t exceptionally thrilled. I had no one in particular that I was excited to see because the ones I love, I am already seeing them or sending parcel kasih sayang from time to time. Notably, Kakjet and my Mimie. I appreciate my teachers and is forever grateful for their kind words and teaching but there is no outstanding personal moments to reminisce on, unlike my super achieving friends or the rebellious ones. I was one of those people who was not interested to join. At all.

until one day

I just felt like contributing. Part of it was driven by my personal agenda to meet Birsilah Bakar and force her to scribble an autograph in my copies of her book. hihi. And part of it is just wanting to exist as a Srikandi without feeling inferior by it. Often I had to conceal the fact that I’m a Srikandi because people expect big things from you – I’m just not keen to be likewise. It’s a personality thing. I am an introvert. Socializing or shining drains too much of my energy. lOl.

Anyway, what started as a volunteer in a mini group to sweat the little stuff led to me being upgraded as a team leader. It’s huge and gonna be one of the big things I’m organizing. So, BTS 2020 – here we go.

A Srikandi (STF) Batch 2000 CSR project Pertubuhan Kebajikan Pusat Sri Mesra Ampang

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This old folks home was established first in 2013 at Taman Seri Gombak and later on moved to Ampang in 2015. There are 15 ladies here – all of them have never been married and have no close relatives to bring them home and take care of them. Most have no serious chronic illness. The centre focuses on being as independent as they can and providing public education towards caring for the elderly. The home also takes in 5 Warga Perlindungan (asnaf, single parents) who they train to care for the residents in the house. In return, they have a roof on their head and means to continue their daily lives especially if they have dependents under them.

The owner, Puan Faezah was previously a Palliative Care nurse who once worked with Hospice Malaysia. Armed with her experience, she not only wants to care for the elderly but also wishes to impart her knowledge to the public regarding the geriatric population. She looks forward to visits from individuals and groups to come see her home. She conducts talks on Communication Skills with The Elderly, End of life care, conducts family conference and many more. She herself, is hungry, to learn more, not only to update her already vast skills but also things like social media so she could get the word out more for her organization.

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For this short programme, we invited 3 masseuse to come by and give the residents a shoulder & foot rub, we had a short session to just get to know more about the home, and later a mini lunch to end our day. It was a short 3 hour affair.

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Take away points;

  1. With age, our 5 senses that we usually take for granted will slowly decline in function. Our eyes, ears, our speech , our cognitive function.. and this will certainly affect how we live and interact in our daily lives. So we try to be prepared for old age. 20190629_113216-014612573928237638829.jpeg
  2. We are all agents of change. Being an SK (Srikandi), the label should be a catalyst for us to not only make our lives and our families at their best but also serve the community in whatever capacity that you can.
  3. LOVE can be the magic potion in rehabilitation. Just like Wan. She came to the old folks home bed bound requiring a feeding tube. With time, she gained energy and Will, so much so that her Ryles tube managed to be removed and now she can sit up  and ambulate with her Zimmer frame independently.
  4. To care for someone, we need to get to know that person well for the most optimum care. Everyone has different needs. And we need to match these requirements with the correct knowledge and skills in handling them.
  5. Getting into a fight (even among the elderly) is inevitable. This friction can cause conflict in the home thus has to be addressed accordingly. Puan Faezah interestingly mentioned that these elderly ladies needs to be reminded from time to time, just like a kid, to be on their best behaviour when visitors come. Quarrels also occur simply because they have lost their hearing hence a communication breakdown.
  6. CHARITY – To help those in need, we need to start with ourselves. It is best to make sure that we are first ‘full’, happy and enough. And then, our close family is too enough. Meaning they have our attention, our love.. in other words, their basic needs to function as a family member is met. Only then, we are in a way Ready and Equipped to help those who are less fortunate.
  7. CHARITY work is evolving. It’s not just about receiving funds and giving basic care. Now, we are heading towards educating the public, empowering the less fortunate to be confident in themselves so they could communicate with everybody else.
  8. Not all elderly folks are SENILE. Some, has mental faculties which are still sharp. However, once their cognitive function deteriorates, they behave just like a baby.
  9. It’s not cheap to care for an elderly person. 
  10. Social Media is vital nowadays to spread the news. So more people could help them. The home wants us to share the message that [1] if your niyat is right, it doesn’t matter if the home has only 1 resident – you would still want to help. [2] Not all Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) approved homes are financially stable, they still need a lot of support, especially funding when operating the place.

 

For this programme, I was in charge of the goodie bags. I have to admit, there were certain things in the bag which were inappropriate. At such an age, in Malaysia, it is less of wanting to sit down and read a book or magazine. For to them, in this home, it is more to fulfill the basic needs in life. Being able to just stay awake for a few hours before sleeping almost all the time. They just want to hold someones hand, or being cuddled, talk to someone, sing, bath independently, put on their clothes on their own, eat and rest comfortably.

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In the bag there is a pair of kaftan for sleeping, foot patch, hand cream, a roll-on perfume, a digital tasbih, some reading materials and a carton of drink. In retrospective, perhaps the ones that they could benefit most were the kaftan, foot patch and hand cream. The drinks, Puan Faezah said they will collect and share them during mealtimes as poor coordination could result in spills in the room which later attracts ants.

Now I know better.

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Over the years, ever since the home was established, 15 elderly ladies has passed away due to old age. Each death leaves a void in their heart. InsyaAllah, for all of them, a good ending and will earn a place in Jannah.

So, if you are in Ampang and you want to extend help, Pusat Jagaan Sri Mesra is there to welcome you with open arms.

Masterchef Malaysia Milik Srikandi Ezani

      “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
– Larry Bird-

 

Congratulations Ezani!

School anthem! 3..2..1..

Melayu
Maju maju maju segera maju
Berbaris menempuh rintangan
Tun Fatimah maju bersama maju
Mencapai cita-cita dan harapan ibu pertiwi
Kamilah penuntut Tun Fatimah
Mendukung cita-cita yang suci
Bergerak maju cita dituju
Di bawah semangat dan urat nadi
Serikandi Tun Fatimah

Inggeris
Together we join hands to reach our goals
With spirit and dignity we stand
Tun Fatimah  will always be the leader
Our quest in fulfilling the hopes of our nation
We’re the generation for tomorrow
To be a guide, to show what we can be
Tun Fatimah, you have our promise
We’ll be the guide, we’ll be the light And be your pride

United we stand, Tun Fatimah