Retirement. Not Just Yet

Urbanization and migration have changed the patterns of living. For the past few years, locals and migrant workers have not seen any marked improvements. To them, like others in the informal work sector, the declining economy leaves a negative impact on their lives and dependents.

Migrant workers and refugees often work long hours. Many send money to their families in Myanmar. Often its just not enough.

Temporary Employment, Uncertain Future

For the low-paid worker, long hours and grueling tasks are expected of them.

Its getting harder and harder everyday

Impact of a declining economy has left street fruit vendors in Loei struggling to make ends meet.

Loei, Part 2

Mountains, hills, farmlands, rivers and rural folks. I felt a sense of satisfaction, of being in the north. I love Loei's winter, with the cold nights and sunny days. The people are friendly and accommodating, while the towns and simple villages are not congested. I briefly entertained thoughts of settling down in such places.

While most communities depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood, there are no evidences of development to improve their quality of life. Tourism seems only popular during 'winter' as many Thais from the south would rush to Loei to enjoy the cold weather. I wonder, what happened to the junta's road-map to develop this province. And maybe the local population are numb to empty promises of the Bangkok-based political elites.

I must return to Leoi. There's so much to do here, to explore.

Part 1: The land of seas of mountains

By the obscurest route he knew

We've heard, often, how governments, municipal councils, NGOs and individuals demand for a safer city, and frequently some would advocate for the development of a city that's disabled-friendly.

As for Kuala Lumpur, communities living with disabilities face a multidimensional horror from an uncaring society, not to mention the lackadaisical attempt by authorities to solve the concerns of disabled people. 
In many parts of Malaysia's capital, the tactile paving offers no real assistance to the blind and visually impaired. Perhaps we're expected to continue believing that Kuala Lumpur is a developed, rich, safe city for all.

The approaching extinction of empathy

Another outreach in Brickfields done. Once in the morning, and the other at night -- everyday. As a social worker, I've conducted many outreach services in this place, since 1996. Many things have changed around here, though you'll still be able to spot some old structures, from apartments, shop lots and temples.

Lack of affordable housing has been a problem for quite some time. The UMNO-led government and municipal authorities seem oblivious and careless when it comes to meeting basic rights of the urban poor. Local NGOs have also reduced outreach services to the urban poor - some say the funding pie is limited to cronies, or whoever has connection to this official or that elite.

Mental health concerns fall on deaf ears, especially for rural Malaysians who struggle to find a sustainable livelihood in the city. What about street-based counselling services? Many homeless folks say no one wants to listen to them.

I've also met and spoke to a growing number of homeless refuge…