Sunday, July 25, 2010

Remnants of the Wandering Tribe.

The wandering tribe that exists in Malaysia today is not found in the jungle. Its members are found on the streets of KL and other urban centers. They consist of the unemployed, the old and abandoned, teenagers rejected by their families or running away from their homes for various reasons. drug addicts, the mentally unstable, the terminally ill, the alcoholics and other social rejects. A study made by the Welfare Department identified close to 1,200 of them in KL city classified under soem broad categories as follows:

Unemployed 646 46.6%
Poor 246 17.7%
Poor, old and abandoned 145 10.5%
Poor and old 50 3.6%
Drug addicts 66 4.8%
Abandoned 61 4.4%
Mentally unstable 29 2.1%
Terminally ill 29 2.1%
Homeless 22 1.6%
Runaways 22 1.6%
Disabled, depression, alcoholics
refugees, unwanted by family, others 54 4.0%

The categories shown are broad and overlapping but the study does give us some ideas on the population of the tribe, some living in abandoned buildings, under the bridges and other secluded places as uncovered elsewhere. Some reasons for being 'down and out' have also been given though not categorized for useful analysis,

But overall, we can see or deduced three important causes of being down and out: (1) unemployed and out of a job (2) no basic skill or training for any job and (3) no proper place to stay. The Welfare Department wants to establish one-stop centers to help these unfortunates people, the CM of Malacca wants to take care of pregnant teens, and the Minister of Women' Affairs wants to provide hatchers for the unwanted babies. The Religious Department and Anti-Vice authority would of course want to book all the illicit lovers and put them under detention.

Are we all trying to cure the symptoms of these social ills or the actual disease? Have we been brave enough to ackowledge the cause of the disease and deal with it on a national scale. As regards the wandering tribe whose population had been identified, clearly the cause is no training and no job. Give a man or a teenager some training and a job with regular pay, and he will certainly change. As for the unmarried mothers who dumped their babies, the CM of Malacca seems to have the answer. Tightening up the laws to bring them to book will only make them run away. They have to be helped with compassion with a promise of anonymity.

The government has to study the matter in more depth than what the Welfare Department seemed to be able to do in cooperation with many non-governmental bodies. When government can spend billions of ringgit on physical development and hundreds of millions on more minor projects, it's most embarrassing that the problems of the most unfortunate members of society are left to the streets to solve.


abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
Another expose of the casualties of the rat race in the Federal Capital which covers a wide expanse of our populace. Obviously this is not a new phenomenon and the Welfare Department is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. This is another factor which reflects the inability of the State to deal with the marginal groups who equal that which I came across in Jakarta more than three decades ago. I could not imagined that one day we would find these marginal people making their homes under viaducts, bridges and the streets.
If this is a neglected aspect of our urban living, then we lose that humane feeling of not letting the underprivileged suffer throughout their lives. The Govt must not only tackle this problem as a matter of urgency, but must be seen to do it quickly and without hesitation before we are known as the faceless society sans humanitarian feeling and indifferent to the suffering of the underprivileged and the deviants.

norzah said...

Very well said, Akhi Halim. With all the talks, meetings and conferences on the NKRA, on i Malaysia, NEM, National Transformation, restructuring UMNO etc, etc, the emphasis given to the homeless and downtrodden in the country - the les meserables of Malaysia - is either negligible or non significant. The government has to do something about this quickly before GE!3 or face the embarrassment of the people. I was surprised to note that even the study by the Welfare Departments supported by the non-government organizations. The result is certainly sketchy and may not stand a rigorous statistical analysis. The University should have been involved with a respectable budget allocation from the government
since this is a very significant research.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
There's another category,not the abandoned,deprived,sick or old but of a higher kind. They have a job,young and healthy but chose to be homeless because: 1)wages they have but insufficient 2)do not want to bother friends/relatives 3)
treasure their freedom.
They make up the educated homeless and the growing at a faster rate.

Their nuisance value is lethal as they're smart but bored, a dangerous combination.

This was one of the shocking revelations discovered during the ongoing population census.

Theirs should be tackled differently from the rest as they chose to be homeless.

norzah said...

You're right Akhi Kaykuala, They're the rebels, revelers and the rowdies or the 3Rs, pften the sons and daughters of well to do and well-placed people. They represent a group unto themselves which even the police could not handle because they have well-placed people to protect them. They can indeed become the scourge of society although they don't need material help.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Norzah

When I read about the remants of a wnderin people and where they are, I find that we are not very from that ourselves - the drug addicts the unemployed , the unmarried mothers etc etc. This is an eye revealing posting. It is about us.

norzah said...

It is about us, Pakcik, we the fortunate ones throw the unfortunate in sharp contrasts. If Allah had not blessed us with a home and a family we could very well be like them. Let's pray that Allah will give them a reprieve on earth and a more comfortable home in the afterlife.

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