My mom was waiting for me with that cheeky smile of her, signalling that i have a task waiting for me somewhere in the school. She brought me to a room where piles and piles of yellow and brown folder lie stacked on the floor. I know that what i was about ot do will involve me mendling with all those folders. They were folders of student's information, going back all the way to 2005. My mother's friend briefed me on the task in hand; i was to key in certain information of students into spreadsheets to be sent to MARA HQ. Being raised by MARA all my life, a little typing and keying in is the list i can do. Sounds easy, but the folders do not just contain names and personal details about them, but they hid a sorrow chorus of grimness which the families of these students had to endure in the secluded areas around Malaysia they call home.
One of the folder tells about a student who came from a family of 15 siblings. What shattered me was the fact that the only breadwinner in the family was a just a single mother, who worked as a Felda settler with a monthly income of just RM600. I just could not comprehend the idea of a single mother could feed such a huge family. My family spend at least RM 250 for groceries every fortnight, and my family is only 6 people big. Instead this is a woman who brought up 15 children with an RM 600 paycheck. My attempt to imagined the situation and the standard of living that they had to go through was beyond comprehend, emotionally and logically.
Another was about a student whose father was a pensioner who relies on RM 400 a month to raise a family of 7. One could not help to ponder what kind of life do they lead, what kind of shelter do they live in, what kind of food do they consume... questions that stabed and ached my heart.
These are a few of the many stories of families who had to endure such tribulations and hardships. After all this while, i though stories like theirs are only plots in soap dramas on the television. But these are true life accounts, real-life conditions which these families had to endure, but sadly go unnotice. I was fortunate enough to be born in a family which is able to provide more than my essentials. How would they have survived with that small amount of money in this very hard times.
How can i eat with ease when they are people out there who can't afford a decent meal and their staple food are just tubers and rice donated to them?
How can i wear the many clothes i have when there are people out there whose clothes are all torn and worn out by time and dirt?
How can i enjoy the comfort of my home when there are families who had to call a crammed one-room hut as their home?
It just kills me.......