I discovered the Tesco Order and Collect Programme while doing the Tabung Minci Covid-19 initiative

Throughout MCO, Tesco Malaysia introduced this programme. The ORDER AND COLLECT PROGRAMME. I would send a watsapp message to the Personal Shopper in charge at local participating stores. So do check first, if your store is involved. Once the PS have confirmed your slot is available, you send them your shopping list.

Each customer is limited to only 25 items per slot and these items need to be picked up on the same day. Since I am a TESCO fan, I can kind of remember where the things are in their respective aisles. So I would group my items accordingly so that it will be easy for the PS to find. On top of that with specific grams and such. We want to make their lives easy. If items on your list are not available, they will let you know and change as per request. Once the order is finalized, they will calculate the total, send it to you with the respective bar code.

All you have to do now is to walk over to TESCO, get in touch with their customer service personnel and your trolley is there for pickup. Wheel your trolley to the cahsier, pay for your groceries and voila.. settled.

I wish I used it earlier.

For the past 2 weeks, as part of the Tabung Minci Covid-19 initiative.. I offered help to get groceries or baby items for families in need. They contacted me via a Facebook Post stating what they needed. Alhamdulilah, I managed to help 3 families. This is a different experience altogether because instead of just donating money, this time I am buying things and getting them to where they need to be. I meet them in person and hand it to them. It puts into perspective the time required for a volunteer to make things happen.

In the beginning, I was shopping in a rush in between Speedmart and local kedai runcit because sometimes things run out of stock at one of these presmises. I did not go to any hypermarket because of the long long queue especially when I had to squeeze these errands during lunchtime because now is Ramadhan AND MCO. Hypermarkets close early too. Often, a single groceries list may take up 2 or 3 lunch hour sessions because I don’t finish my work on the dot at 1300H. A clinical case may require my attention exceeding 1300H. Plus, I need to be back at clinic by at least 1345H to pray and get ready to see patients by 1400H. So,minus driving time and all.. there is not much time to complete this in less than an hour. Weekends are confined to my husbands working time. If he is at work, I cannot bring the kids with me to shop. And no, I will not leave them in the car. So, my limitations are there.

So having this service really helped.

I was thinking that maybe in the future I could collaborate with a local kedai runcit or maybe smaller market like Ikhwan and KGrocers (I don’t mind if they charge me a small fee) with the intention of helping their business and these families at the same time. I will plan better for my next initiative.

I have compiled other Tabung Minci efforts in various post (still in draft mode) which I will share by the end of 2020. InsyaAllah. Please pray that my efforts are blessed my Allah and that the pahala can be given to my parents and husband and that my kids will have someone to look out for them too should I be gone someday.

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.

Al-Yateem Islamic Relief update

Al Yateem Islamic Relief is a programme where one can choose to sponsor an orphan to get a bright future. Monthly cost vary by country and pledgers need to be willing to commit for at least 2 years.

I signed up as a sponsor in 2014 and was assigned a beautiful young girl as my benefactor. Her father had died leaving only the mum to raise her and other siblings.

It is now 2019 and I realized that I have been her sponsor for already 5 years! I am happy to learn from her annual progress report – that now she is old enough to go to school and most importantly has an ambition! She wants to become a doctor.

Her house now has gas and electric supply on top of having access to safe use of water. It wasn’t like that when I first received her biodata. I hope she would continue to do well in school and I look forward to see what she will become in many years to become. InsyaAllah.

Islamic Relief is one of the few charities I try to help in terms of funding depending on my budget. One other I contribute monthly is Mercy Malaysia. My budget for this comes from my elaun keraian of which its use is spread across other charitable purposes such as for tabung kematian, jamuan at work, presents for staff, sponsoring items, a learning course or providing money for activities or events. It can be anything as long as I deem it as a form of sedekah. I aspire to be like Uthman bin Affan even though I am not earning millions. Amin.

You don’t have to be too rich to give. Just practice giving with what you have.

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.

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.