Khamis, 22 September 2011

Jalan Jalan Satu Dunia: Homelessness

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

It’s a bit ironic when we used to help the homeless, we ourselves are having the risk of being a homeless. 

When I was doing my thesis on Illegal Architecture in Malaysia, the subject of homelessness always buzzing in my head. I was wondering why are the homeless ~ HOMELESS? What really happened to them? Are they really mentally ill or there are some other problems that lead to homelessness? In Malaysia, these homeless are being labelled under The Destitute Act 1977 which entitled them to be sent to Kem Bina Diri in Mersing or Jerantut. Am not quite agree with this decree, came up with my own solution as conclusion of my thesis. Khuba Ki- Basti is one of the best models to recover homelessness. 

Most Malaysians are a bit sceptical in the subject of homelessness. Whenever I brought up the subject, Malaysians usually disagree and stating that there are no homeless in Malaysia, we lived in peace and harmony, there are absolutely no poverty or underprivileged people sleeping around at the corner of buildings in Kuala Lumpur. Have you seen anyone lying around on the hard concrete floor in the middle of KL? Malaysians usually say no. But me, Oh yeah, I did. I’ve even been warned by one of Malaysian Official during my data collection, as not to show bad impression on Malaysia to the outside world. Yeah right, just have a night stroll in the city; they are all sleeping around on cardboards or just on the plain tarmac. Until, by the year of 2010, the topic of homelessness in Kuala Lumpur was a big issue after being highlighted in a TV programme. Starting from there, the homeless have finally been included in the latest census of Malaysia. 

I found this guy sleeping at the entrance way of Star LRT station

Some of the homeless have their own precious stuffs. They will sometimes carry around a trolley or a box like the above.

Luckily, there are office chairs to sleep on.

Pillow, blanket and tikar.

That looks comfortable.

This guy has nothing to sleep on.

At the staircase of Maybank building entrance.

Sleeping on cardboards.

....and newspaper.

Near Puduraya.

Near Puduraya.

What have I done to help them? I wish I have some friends with the same view for Homelessness. Maybe we can gang up and come up with the idea like what Madhousers do. Cute little houses. I do have some ideas in my cap ayam head. But, so far what I did was, to join NGOs giving out food to the homeless. This got me excited as this coming Saturday I’ll be joining The Soup Kitchen in Adelaide. The Soup Kitchen is held at St Mary Magdalene's Centre located in 36 Moore St, Adelaide City. 

A friend of mine asked me, why is it that I have sensitive spot for the homeless? Why not the orphans? Well, I wonder why myself. It’s not that I’m not helping the orphans or other needy societies at all, but I’m more interested in the subject of homelessness. My answer was: Maybe because I’m an architect? A mere question to myself. Thinking ahead, maybe the homeless and myself, we have similarities. Realising it, I had the risk of being a homeless few times in my life. And the worst so far is at this very moment. I’ve failed my Final Project in my final semester due to disagreement of my Studio Master with my design project. Which was, surprisingly enough, a homeless shelter in central of Adelaide City. The reason he gave was, the building is too expensive for the homeless. The reaction I gave him was: PREJUDICE.

So, here I am, back to Adelaide with no money at all. My parents declined on supporting my living cost in Adelaide as failing the subject is my own fault. As if, I’m so happy to come back. I’m doing some casual job which is obviously not enough to support all, not to mention the tuition fee. And, yes, I’m in the state of having the risk to homelessness. I believed that Allah is testing me, and He will not test me more than what I can bear. Let’s see in a few months whether I will still be smiling or you’ll find me on the street. A bit ironic isn’t it? When we used to help the homeless, we ourselves are having the risk of being a homeless.

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