This one for the Hommies #TheDermaProject

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Bag lady, you gonna hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you

 

One day all them bags gonna get in your way
One day all them bags gonna get in your way
I said one day all them bags gonna get in your way
One Day all them bags gonna get in your way

 

So pack light

 

Life is tough for most of us. Sometimes it is a test, and sometimes it is our own doing. Because we chose not to make things easy by not doing the right things.

Last night, a group of friends gathered a bunch of kind souls to execute #TheDermaProject . This all happened when some fashionista, stylist and photographer friends of mine recce-ed places to shoot and they came across homeless people who lives under the bridge by the sewer. They decided to do something. To help, at least. So some random mass whatsapp messages were circulated and voila, we all gathered at Old Klang bus station to walk down the bridge and give some stuff to the hommies.

I figured, things given must be practical things. What would a homeless person need? I’d be shivering to death if I were to sleep on cold concrete with only my clothes to keep me warm. So I bought some blankets. Fleece blankets are nice although they’re easily wet. But it keeps people warm. 

I shouted out to my colleagues a week before if they have anything to contribute. Someone gave towels, and another gave some hangers and even a first aid kit. Bless them. A call out for donations a week before paycheque comes in, is not easy. Some of us lives by the paycheque. But for me, nothing beats the power of giving. Even 10 cents. Even your time and effort. When you give, everything counts.

Since my fellow colleagues couldn’t go for the donation drive, I took their stuff with me and went ahead. 

At the bus station, my friend Idan, who organised #TheDermaProject (bless his heart and soul) were already waiting with some friends. It’s nicer and easier to make friends with good souls, so we all kind of kick it off nicely. Already where we were sitting, a homeless uncle already settled down for his spot for the night. We gave him a plastic bag of necessities. Some of the other things brought were toothbrushes and toothpastes (Shahir did a great job packaging them nicely), biscuits, cans of sardines, tuna and mackerels, clothes, soaps and shampoos, and even kuih raya!

After the next group confirmed that they’ll be coming much later, the first group head down towards the bridge. Once we got there, we parked ourselves nicely by the middle pillar. A few ‘tenants’ who were walking ‘home’ stopped by and we asked if they could call their friends to come get stuff from us. 

It was dark, down the bridges. We didn’t see anyone with any lights. But slowly, from afar we see figures walking towards us. 

We managed to chat with a few.

“Jadi korang mandi macam mana?”

(So how do you guys shower?)

“Dari paip air yang simbah keluar tu.”

(From the sewage pipe coming from the road drainage)

“Berak macam mana pula?”

(So how do you poop?)

“Duduk dekat bucu longkang tu, pegang la tiang mana-mana. Berak masuk dalam sungai tu la.”

(We sit by the edge of the river, hold on to any pillars close by. And the poop will go into the river)

These living conditions are really devastating. Our hearts were breaking when we heard all these. Although we can argue that these are the circumstances that they choose to live in, we cannot discriminate them by not helping.

When they were asking for more and more stuff, on our walk back a friend explained, “They were not greedy, they were desperate. They need to survive.”

Survival skills, I bet, are these people’s forte. We can’t say although they are homeless, they are hopeless. They actually look pretty decent, and have day jobs. Some even are good looking.

Whatever it is, despite the help we contributed, I came home feeling helpless. I wish I could do more. And there’s more to be done.

We would blame the government, why aren’t these people taken care of, or what are the government’s plans to eradicate poverty or tend to the homelessness issue.

But the point is, stop asking what the government can do because the government is a system administered by politicians who serves their own interest.

And just, DO.

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