Showing posts from July, 2014

Homelessness: Foundering of Senses

Even when civilization has acquired knowledge, the wisdom of religious institutions, the lessons of past follies and the wits of modernization, such require no reward nor acknowledgement from me, the wandering individual, or the poor, and the masses. We live in a state of beggarism, within the constraints of puritanism and development, within reach of the uproar of sensibility and elitism; and yet we have failed to learn anything that would benefit our lives. Or have we simply forgotten, about the poor, with the ghastly sight of wretchness, as they walk the roads, in the back lanes, thousands of them in the slums; in a westernised city, be it in Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Phnom Penh or Kuala Lumpur.

Cities, with their bloated bureaucracy, are in constant drills, with repeated attempts at modernity for a vast network of skyscrapers and monstrous structures of fancy. We allow the building of such monuments, tributes to ageing tycoons, venerated leaders, patriotic visions, religious fervo…

Stern enforcement against beggars, homeless and vagrants

Two homeless people were injured by fire, when a group of young thugs assaulted them. An organization, working towards helping homeless, marginalized population in Bangkok, had asked them whether they wanted to lodge a police report. The answer was simple, No they didn't want because the police would not listen.

Then followed by an act of forceful regulation by both the army and the police force against the beggars and homeless people sleeping in the old parts of the city.

Thai army & policemen looking for suspects. Homeless in Bangkok. Timeline in Thai:
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) July 12, 2014
Thai soldiers and cop checking identity of a homeless man in Bangkok
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) July 12, 2014
Homeless detained by Thai police & soldiers for interviews, then released back on streets
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfu…

Destitution in the realm of smiles

Bangkok built on the poor, their broken backs, scorched by the sun, cracked lips and sad eyes that no longer offer tears.

The homeless man in this video was beaten when he was asleep at the roadside. He was met with verbal abuse, before being forced to leave. As he walks away, the man (in blue) hits him with a parting gift. So much for the land of smiles and the Thai reputation of being kind.

For the homeless, everyday is a struggle. (by Bangkok)
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) July 13, 2014

The Unseen Racial Intolerance in Malaysia


For some
Change is what they have left
In their pockets at the end of the day
When they take what is given
And resent in the silence of their apathy
But not for me
Oh no
I breathe it
I live it
I consume it
I tame it
I mould it
I manipulate it
It is the greatest fear and yet it is the greatest strength
I own no pockets
I collect no change
I am it
It is my beginning.

(8 July 2014)

Failing to Listen leads to the Wrong Decisions

The state of beggarism is prevalent in Kuala Lumpur; and to top it off, one can easily find it on the bustling streets of Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Phnom Penh. Cities carry the pride and joy of development. These places that I've frequented, reaching out to marginalized communities with counselling, harm reduction exercises and equipping them with life skills. Yet cities also carry the price of urbanization, influenced by society, corporate rat race, struggling community-based organizations and the authorities. The improvement of such development carries with it the value of wealth and the worse of a dysfunctional society: poverty.
Broadening authoritative approaches, or often called intervention, lead to a misinterpretation of social services, where "human rights" are ignored or diluted to satisfy the needs of the government, pressure groups and unearthly desires of religion and nationalism. Even civil society monstrously grow and evolve around personalities, elitist…

Kuala Lumpur criminalising the marginalized

Working on a borrowed laptop, mine is somewhere in storage. Back in Kangar, with this annoying afternoon humidity. Anyway it's never a good idea to be carrying old laptops during rural outreach, but heck was feeling adventurous. Now, furiously distracted and not even glancing at my notes with the broken pen somewhere lodged in between the crumpled A4-sized papers.

The outreach to meet farmers and impoverished, out-of-school young people proved to be challenging in some aspects of coordination, particularly the focus group discussions. 17 people altogether, with 7 representing their peers, within the age of 16-22, of school drop-outs. Not an easy feat to mobilize indigenous Orang Asli young people, with the location, the isolation and the distrust of anyone not from their age-group.

There's a knock on the door. "Masuk la, tak payah ketuk." (Come in, there's no need to knock). Edgy, the laptop is not working properly, something about the need to defragment the hard…

To wander in search of solace

A period of downpour, when strong winds from the sea descend upon the land and the hammering rain on to the monuments of urban architectural might and engineering feat. A few nights, precious time for a wandering soul, amidst the hidden poverty and obvious struggles of the working class.

The city was less hectic, hopeful of the fleeting moments, and filled with anticipation; then wrecked with the usual anxiety of the what is to be expected of days ahead. Of all the states in Malaysia, the heart is quite fond of Penang, an island away from the rigid mainland; where life is not completely blissful but the peace of mind it brings. Eagerness, in strenuous search for an understanding to those who are placed in the redundancy of cycles, and offer a weary hand to calm the nerves, to perhaps pull the lone individual from the despair caused by human existence.