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.

Brickfields Kuala Lumpur
The possession of a homeless Malaysian. [Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur / Dec 2016]

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 refugees. There are some odd jobs available, but that's not enough to pay the rent nor feed their family. Formal employment requires an address and an identity, and their applications are rejected the moment they are discovered.

Kuala Lumpur generates an illusion of development and harmony. Reality is abandoned in the streets and back lanes. Society and authorities are aware of the problem, yet prefer to pretend that everything is alright.

Popular posts from this blog

An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists