Email to Kang Chai Kee: From the Digital World to the Ghetto
Posted on April 18, 2007
Before I left Kuala Lumpur, I was so lucky to have the chance to spend some quality time with Brother Wee Choong Keong, former MP of Bukit Bintang. We Dikir Barat together and sharing a lot of jokes too. Wajib Kapir Tobat I am not lying!
Just like you, he spent his growing years in Kampong Cina. Today, I managed to pay a visit there. Kampong Cina is under the Kijang Constituent and it is the poorest area under the assemblyman Dato’ Husam Musa.
After office, Husam took a detour that leads us to Pasar Kampong Cina. Knowing that I am a good chef, he knows that I would not want to miss watching all the fresh seafood on sale.
Ironically in the afternoon Husam launched the E Payment and E Complain for the state government. In his speech, He announced that Kelantan is heading towards becoming a fully digital state. According to Husam, Kelantan is the first state to have its own Animation School which was launched in December last year. As for today, a state agency named Darul Digital is overseeing the development of wireless internet access through out Kelantan.
In his speech, Husam also took a swiped at the federal government for trying to impose restriction on bloggers as he said, “Dunia teknologi tanpa batasan tidak harus menimbulkan prasangka kepada kerajaan terhadap saluran internet. Penulisan di internet tidak perlu di bendung”.
Nevertheless, Husam said writers (including bloggers), “Perlu ada integriti dan berpegang kepada prinsip itu”.
We arrived at Pasar Kampong Cina at about five thirty. I used to remember the market was by the roadside and it was very dirty and smelly. The state government has developed the market and built basic infrastructures for the traders.
After doing his groceries, his Mercedes stopped by the roadside upon seeing three young boys walking with some tools towards an abandon house. The boys told Husam that they were planning to rebuild a house for an old lady there. Husam followed them into the village. It is similar to the squatters area in KL. This is about five kilometer from the town centre.
Upon watching the sad condition of the house, Husam went to meet the old lady. He requested one of the boys to take a form from the Mercedes and fill it for the old lady. Immediately Husam gave the lady RM1, 500.00 cash. Husam later told me that every assemblyman was given RM18, 000 per year to help the old and needy people in their constituents. Each assemblyman was also given RM56, 000 for them to help build shelters for the needy. This money is part of the state efforts to provide fast and temporary solution to the people while they waited for the fund from the Welfare department.
I was so touched to see the old lady was smiling and thanking Husam over and over again. The last time I remember watching the similar incident was when I was working with Datin Tiara Jacquelina and followed Dato’ Effendi Norwawi who was the Agriculture Minister in 2001. The different is that, Dato’ Effendi was on official visit to Kedah and our entourage includes all the television newsman and reporters from the mainstream media.
While I was busy snapping photos of the area, I saw Husam when inside one of the old house and suddenly Kabbboooom! My immediate thought was the wood flooring had collapse upon talking the weight of the six footer and 85 plus kilos assemblyman. I ran towards the house and take a peep below, in case Husam already landed on the ground. However Husam wasn’t there.
I ran to the door and saw Husam was laughing. The chair that his sat on has collapsed into pieces. Husam has damaged the chair. Perhaps it’s time for him to go on crash diet!
Dearest Chai Kee,
Poverty is an universal problem. Should we forget about spending millions making the state wireless and concentrate on eradicating poverty? Should we create more jobs opportunity and cancelled all the e payment and e complaint projects which means using less personnel? Should we do this and should we do that?
Or perhaps, we should allow for more land clearing and give this poor people land to grow vegetables?
Well, as for me, while we are trying to eradicate poverty, there’s some type of poverty that we have to live with. There is no way we can force poverty out of seventy years old lady except by continuing to support her.
This got nothing to do with being a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu or being PAS, UMNO or DAP. This is about being human and behaving like one.
I would rather sacrifice few thousand acres of land in Lojing and grow vegetables there if that can at least ease some of the poverty problem we are facing. How many millions of acres have we sacrificed to create Feldas etc, for the same purpose? Let’s put politic aside and let’s stop behaving like environmentalist for a moment. Let us be human.
As for now, we rely on giving basic education for the young one so they will have a better chance in the future. Will the practice works for the future when everyone, almost everyone have at least a first degree? It didn’t worked for Bangladesh and Indonesia, right?
As for now, I would rather stare at the river while waiting for my bro Sallahudin to return to Kubang Kerian and take me for another tour with the YB.