I spent a bit of time volunteering last week. First at KL Tower when Aleps handed over used wheelchairs from a Japanese NPO to local kids. Second was at Ambang Asuhan Jepun, the Japanese uni preparatory course centre in UM. I joined a small group of former Japanese university grads, talking to the current batch of AAJ students about studying in Japan.
The former prime minister, who is Aleps patron, had officiated the ceremony at KL Tower, which was also attended by the Japanese ambassador to Malaysia HE Tadashi Imai.
I thought it would be good to help out, knowing how the alumni is sometimes kelam-kabut when it comes to little stuff like reserving seats for media people and deciding which VIP sits where.
It felt good to see the faces of the children who received their no-so-new-but-still-in-good-condition wheelchairs. A bit of mobility can do wonders to their confidence, and relieved parents can focus a bit more on other pressing things. Like trying to make a living for the family.
Still, what with the current political climate, a total shutout of the event just pissed me off. There were at least three camera crew and three newspaper journalists present that day. But I know at least one reporter were sent “just in case” the Tun’s speech contained something ‘interesting’ that could be added to spice up the ongoing drama. At least a small mention about the generous Japanese NPO, who could have opted to send those valuable wheelchairs to less affluent countries like Cambodia.
I guess when you hold control over what people could read or watch on tv, it’s not a good thing to print news about your rival or critic doing something good.