Recently, sometime around mid December Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines.
In Malaysia, right about the same time, we were experiencing the monsoon season. We had continuous rain fall for a couple of days which resulted in floods occurring in many parts of the country, hence many communities were impacted.
Many people came together, to extend their assistance in any which way they can, including NGOs, places of worship, and others. They acted quickly to help the people who were impacted, as many homes were damaged, personal belongings lost in the floods, vehicles damaged and so on.
My friend Mel asked if I would be available to help i.e. at the Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ) located in the State of Selangor. GSPJ via their Facebook (FB) Page had posted a message requesting for help from the people. The response received from the people were tremendous. This is what they had posted on their FB Page.
When we got to the entrance of the Gurdwara at 8.00am whilst complying to the SOPs and entering into the premises, we were told that we could help out in any section we wish to. We were told that breakfast was being served for volunteers, and that we could start work after our breakfast. So after a quick breakfast of paronthe served with dhall, sambal and pickle; and a cup of tea, we headed to the work stations of our choice to help.
The work stations in the hall were filling up fast. It was getting packed with people of all ages who had come forward to help. (This was a perfect example of OneMalaysia coming together) It involved cutting of various types of vegetables, peeling onions, potatoes etc. The Gurdwara was cooking food to be delivered and distributed by volunteers, to the communities and families impacted by the floods.
While we were at our stations, volunteers kept coming in requesting if there were extra cutting boards and knives, so that they could help too. We directed them to the person in charge. Then when more volunteers kept approaching us, both of us decided to give up our station to these volunteers, and we proceeded to help elsewhere in the premises.
After coming out of the hall, we moved out to the dry items stations outside. We approached the ones in this photo below, but was informed that they had enough volunteers at that moment.
At the end of that row, we found a station that required our assistance, i.e. to separate the dry items and pack them into bags. So, we were back on duty. After sometime, when a truck arrived to have items to be loaded into it, we were politely asked to step aside, so that some of the other volunteers could form a human chain, to assist in loading the truck (photo below).
After we were done, we walked by the hall and noticed that the Gurdwara was serving lunch to the volunteers. We both felt that the breakfast we had that morning was filling, and we were not ready for lunch. We then walked out for a break to meet a friend who was returning to the Gurdwara, after completing a round of food distribution.
Two days later Mel returned with ET to the Gurdwara to help out. Was told that volunteers were in full force on this day as well. Photos below are courtesy of ET.
A few days later I returned to the Gurdwara with Kavitha, who wanted to help out. We started with vegetable duty.
After the veg duty, we walked around, to check which other stations we could help out at, and found ourselves heading to the dry items station. We found out that, that station needed help and decided to join the rest of ‘Santa’s helpers’ who were already there. We were each stationed in front of a box, full of items, and when the bag came around to our station, we dropped the item/s into the bag, and we passed the bag on to the next person in line to do the same thing. Here, I met volunteers who had come as families, from as far as Ipoh, which is in the State of Perak, situated North of Selangor. It’s amazing to see people travel far and wide to extend their help.
Photos below were taken before the start of our job and during breaks, when boxes needed refilling.
Another truck arrived (photo below) and volunteers were at hand to load the truck that will deliver the items to the impacted families.
The Gurdwara also served lunch for its volunteers.
It’s truly amazing to see people travel far and wide to help. Some who came were students who were on a break, others were people who had taken off from work, whilst some were between jobs; ALL coming out to lend a hand.
My intention of writing this piece, is just to share with you how people from all walks of life come together in times of need. I’m sure this is a common practice.
Thank you for your time.
Wish you a Happy 2022!