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.

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.

 

Of giving.More.

A friend once told me,

“Minci, You are going to die one day because of the Idealist Syndrome”

I asked her what she meant. She said,

“you’re asking for a perfect world in an imperfect world. Nobody is perfect. You want to save everybody. You want to be nice to everybody. You aspire to be a combination of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa – but you forget, you’re not anybody. We are just normal people. We are not ministers. We’re not even close to being in the Student Committee to make a change. Because of that, you will be sad.. your heart will break and your soul will literally die”

I don’t really remember what happened afterwards although I’m pretty sure I would just remain quiet – not because I agree with her but more of because she doesn’t understand my reasons for thinking and doing the things I do. And so you know, the above sentiment did not come out as eloquent as how it is written, in fact it was quite harsh.

If you believe the world is small, you can make a difference

If I think of Syria as a distant problem, which is only accessible to people working in the UN or celebrities like Angelina Jolie, then I will forever think that Syria is a predicament I read in papers. Not real and could only be solved and saved by people called ministers who attends international meetings and such.

So how can I find Syria? How do I put Syria as the tip of my finger. This is where organizations like Islamic Relief comes in. We should applaud the effort made by these volunteers to bridge the gap, to strengthen ties and to champion human compassion across Malaysia. Just by clicking on the donation button, already.. ANYBODY is making a difference, is initiating a change.

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You cannot help everybody, but you can always help somebody

We can’t eradicate world hunger and famine. We can’t stop human trafficking or prostitution on a global scale. We can’t save every drug addict. We can’t cheer-lead on every girl who thinks she’s not worthy of anything. Sadly, we are just not capable of doing it in one donation no matter how big, one petition no matter how long or one demonstration no matter how vocal.

My line of work involves humans. I like to believe that even though I could not fix the poverty line for instance, I can make a difference to that one life I come across that comes to see me for a medical opinion/treatment. It can be in a form of plain human touch/hug or salam, a short motivational speech to my young ladies, a word of encouragement to the single mothers, a way of redemption to my mat rempits or chronic smokers, a slice of roti to my hungry elderly who fell from her bed last night only to be found by her neighbour the coming morning. I may not be able to change the world, but I can make a difference to her life.

Charity begins at home

Everyday when I look at Hazeeq, I wish upon him that if he can’t do good, at least I  don’t accidentally raise him to become evil. Evil which manifests in so many ways lately. Disrespectful keyboard warriors, opportunistic sleazy men etc. It’s like if he is not Gandhi, let him not be Botak Chin or something.

Teaching him by good example. Introduce him to Rasulullah. Expose him to acts of being happy and charitable. Show him that every small acts of kindness means something to someone.

Syed Azmi is a good example -as he illustrates to us followers on his FB page regarding the struggles in everyday life – and trust me, he himself is also struggling in his own way but he makes ‘helping other people’ so easy and feel so good. He started off small – helping customers who goes to his small pharmacy daily to the strangers he bumped into. Later, when he had the capacity – the network – he launches bigger acts of good deeds. Some of the wonderful programmes we know off are #tamakpahala and #freemarket.

#sahamakhirat

Finally, everything starts with a niyat. It should not be for show or riya’. I only pray that the good I do will be rewarded with pahala. And that these pahala will go to Mr Husband as he leads us all into Jannah. I may not be an awesome cook but I do hope that this will be my way in contributing to the serenity of this marriage.