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First SBJK School For Stateless Children In Sabah And 8 More Good News Stories 

The end of 2023 is in sight, so let’s recount some good news stories that happened in November and the previous two months. These 9 stories will help uplift your spirits and make us hopeful for the new year.

#1: Roadside Heroes: Group of Friends Helps Injured Elderly Motorcyclist

What would you do when you see an injured person by the side of the road?

If you were Syakir Belon, you would help that poor soul get to safety. In a video he posted on TikTok, Syakir mentioned he and friends found the man (who’d been in a motorcycle accident) by the roadside near Istana Negara, sitting on the ground in distress around 5 am. The group felt compelled to approach and assist the man, who was shivering, likely due to the rain and had sustained injuries from the mishap.

Worse, Syakir alleged that the man was suffering from dementia. “He believed that it was five in the evening when it was five in the morning with a still-dark sky,” he said[1].

When Syakir and his friends offered to accompany the man to a police station, who claimed he was en route to visit his child, he declined, expressing concern about burdening them. Upon further inquiry, they found that the man’s phone had run out of battery, and upon inspecting his motorcycle, they also identified a malfunction in the brakes.

In the video, Syakir also offered his sweater to the man to stop him from shivering. 

In the end, we managed to bring this uncle to the police station in our car while one of us rode his motorcycle, recognising the potential danger if the uncle were to ride the bike himself. – Syakir.

The video concluded with a caption that stated, “Alhamdulillah, we managed to send him to the police station for further assistance. We pray for ease in all his affairs.”[1]

#2: Aid for Palestine: Malaysian Puts Limited Edition Nissan Laurel C35 on Sale

Source: Harian Metro

A fellow Malaysian, Abdul Halim demonstrated his solidarity with the Palestinian people by selling his limited-edition Nissan Laurel C35 for RM 65,000, contributing to the relief efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering of Palestinian victims enduring the ongoing Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

For a month now, the Gaza Strip has been under attack. Apart from offering prayers, we can also extend our support through charitable contributions to Palestine. Given that everyone is praying, I felt that the most meaningful way I could contribute is by selling my possessions. – Abdul Halim[2]

There are only 4 Nissan Laurel C35s in the world, and Abdul was the owner of one of them. As such, he attracted much attention when he decided to sell off this limited edition vehicle for charity. He emphasised that all the proceeds from the sale would be channelled to the Palestinian Humanitarian Fund.

I just posted on Facebook yesterday (8 November), and three individuals have already reached out to me. I have listed it for RM65,000, but I’m open to negotiation. I’ve also recently made some improvements to the car, it’s in perfect condition. – Abdul Halim[2]

#3:  Malaysian Man Goes Bald in Solidarity with Wife’s Cancer Journey

When his wife was battling ovarian cancer, Erol Azis demonstrated his love and solidarity by shaving his head together with her.

In the heartwarming TikTok video shared by Erol, he gently shaved off his wife’s hair in a barbershop. While performing this tender act, Erol comforts his tearful wife, Liza, with a gentle kiss on her head. After completing his wife’s shave, Erol surprised everyone, including his wife, by reaching up to begin shaving his head—a touching gesture that shocked her. 

Despite Liza’s attempt to intervene, Erol reassured her and continued shaving off his hair. Throughout the process, he intermittently paused to embrace his wife, planting tender kisses on her head. The couple eventually broke down in tears together.

The video has garnered over 2.1 million views on TikTok, with netizens expressing admiration for Erol’s compassionate act and extending words of support to the couple.

“I cannot watch this video, it immediately makes me cry to watch the sacrifice of a husband towards his wife. I hope Liza gets well soon,” expressed one user.

Another user mentioned, “You are very lucky to get such a nice husband.”

“I hope that you remain strong. You have my support as I am also going through the cancer battle. It’s sad to watch this but I hope you persevere,” wrote a fellow cancer fighter.

“May she be granted with a miracle,” commented another[3].

#4: Police Release Woman Following Touching Message from Her 3-Year-Old

Bahrom and his colleague helping the single mother of six. Source: Says

Bahrom Sahin, a 32-year-old officer in the Narcotics Section of the Jitra district police headquarters, was on patrol in a local village when he noticed a woman exhibiting suspicious behaviour in front of her house. It later came to light that the woman had turned to narcotics-related activities to support her six children as a single mother.

Because of this, Sahin and his colleague detained the woman for these crimes. Before leaving, the police officers permitted the woman to have a conversation with her three-year-old daughter. However, that interaction left them speechless.

What touched my colleague and I was what her three-year-old girl said to her… Be careful going to work and don’t forget to buy balloons when you come home’. – Bahrom Sahin, police officer[4]

The child’s innocent message resonated deeply with the police officer, reminding him of his child at home.

I was taken aback and was barely able to hold back my tears upon hearing the child’s words because those are the words that my own child tells me when I leave the house to go to work. – Bahrom Sahin, police officer[4]

Bahrom mentioned that he and his colleague acknowledged the difficulties faced by the mother and her children, leading them to respond with compassion. They discussed and opted to release the woman with certain conditions.

We let her go on condition that she be put under observation so that she does not repeat her mistake because we understand that her children will be waiting for her to return if we detain her.

The woman cried and thanked us repeatedly before we gave her some money and some ‘cekodok pisang’ because she told us that she only makes instant noodles with soy sauce for her children to eat. – Bahrom Sahin, police officer[4]

You’d be happy to know that the woman is now making an honest living in drying fish.

Bahrom, who frequently shares such stories using his TikTok account, seeks to raise awareness about others’ challenges. He emphasises not judging people solely on mistakes, highlighting situations where individuals have limited choices and endure hardships.

I also want to change people’s perceptions — many like to label the police with all sorts of things, but in reality, we are also human beings with hearts and feelings.

I am sure that many other police officers and personnel experience and face all sorts of different issues when dealing with the different layers of society. It’s just that they do not reveal or share about it.

What I am trying to convey is that there are situations where we must be firm, and there are also times when we have to be compassionate and considerate for the greater good. – Bahrom Sahin, police officer[4]

#5: Disabled Girl Defies Odds for Success

Jaheerah Nadzri, 29, who is also known as Eerah, proves that one’s disability is no obstacle to life so long as you have the determination to succeed.

Eerah, who has a learning disability, runs her burger stall known as Eerah Burger in Kota Warisan, Sepang. She became a social media sensation when a video of her flipping burgers garnered a whopping 13.9 million views on TikTok and earned her a following of 546,500[5].

Before running her burger stall, Eerah gained recognition last year for her Raya cookies business, producing and selling 300 jars of her mother’s Honey Cornflakes recipe. 

Despite her difficulties, Eerah’s success serves as an inspiration to everyone, regardless if they are disabled or not. 

Much like many other parents of children with disabilities, her father conveys his heartfelt hope for her to be able to live independently. 

If I am no longer here, I hope she will find a husband who can take care of her. If she can earn an income, own a house, I’ll be relieved.  – Nadzri Abd Majid, Jaheerah’s father[5]

#6: Glittering Gold At The Asian Para Games

National swimmer Nur Syaiful Zulkafli won the men’s 100m breaststroke gold medal in 1:46.78s at the Aquatic Sports Arena. Source: FMT

In a spectacular showcase of resilience and triumph, Malaysia’s para-athletes brought pride to the nation at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Para Games.

Swimmer Nur Syaiful Zulkafli clinched the nation’s inaugural gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Para Games, emerging victorious in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB4 (physical impairment) event.

Nur Syaiful secured the gold medal in the final at the Aquatic Sports Arena with a record-breaking time of 1:46.78s, outpacing China’s Yin Wenhong, who claimed second place in 1:53.29s, and fellow Malaysian Zy Lee Kher earning the bronze with a time of 2:11.80s.

Syaiful’s victory this year more than made up for his disappointment in the 2018 Jakarta games.

I did not expect to win gold on the first day because this is a tough event. The new record is a surprise too.

There is still room for improvement but I’m very happy to make amends for my disappointment at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games. – Nur Syaiful Zulkafli, professional sports swimmer[6]

The streak is continued by Paralympic and world champion para powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin. The Sarawak-born athlete broke the Games record after lifting 230kg to win the men’s below 72kg event. He currently holds the world record of 231kg in the event after achieving it at the world meet in Dubai in August of this year[7].

#7: Sabah’s Historic School for Stateless Children Opens Its Doors

For many stateless children, a good education seems to be a distant dream. But this dream will become a reality for those children living in Sabah following the opening of Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK).

The new school represents the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) latest efforts to provide access to equal education for all young people in the country, including dropouts, street kids and undocumented children in the state.

The Director-General of Education at the Ministry of Education, Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali, stated that the program implemented at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sembulan near Kota Kinabalu, is the first to be expanded in Sabah, with eight students currently registered. He emphasised that the program will contribute to ensuring quality and equitable inclusive education, promoting lifelong learning opportunities, and striving to ensure that every child completes primary and secondary schooling by 2030, leaving no one behind.

SBJK students are children of Malaysian citizens or children of single parents who are Malaysian citizens from groups like hardcore poor families who have dropped out of school for a long time or children without identity documents.

This is in addition to street and marginalised children and orphans who live in welfare centres registered with the Department of Social Welfare (JKM). – Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali, Director-General of Education, Ministry of Education[8]

The SBJK SK Sembulan program incorporates teaching and learning (PdP) along with co-curricular activities aligned with SBJK modules, customised to address students’ unique needs. 

This is the second SBJK to open in the country, following the first one in Chow Kit, which began operations in 2013. The program caters to students from preschool to secondary level, specifically targeting children facing social problems, those without documents, dropouts, and orphans.

#8: A Johor Teacher Earns Praise For ‘Open Air’ Boys’ Restroom Design

Besides educating our youth, teachers are also responsible for ensuring the well-being of their students, covering aspects like cafeteria pricing, equipment quality, and facilities like chairs, desks, fans and in this case, restrooms. Many people, not just students, feel more at ease in a clean public restroom.

Cikgu Shahrizal Sha’ari, a secondary school teacher, showcased an innovative boys’ restroom project on Facebook at Kulai Besar Secondary School in Johor. The distinctive ‘open air’ design omits entrance doors, ensuring privacy with individual doors for each cubicle.

This effort, previously gloomy and cramped, proves highly valuable. Male students no longer feel hesitant about using the restroom, and there are no prolonged gatherings due to the open-air design. – Cikgu Shahrizal Sha’ari[9]

The teacher noted that the use of blue, white, and brown creates a spacious feel without the need for excessive decoration. He stated that the key was to provide a clean and comfortable environment for students’ restroom needs.

No need for excessive decor, as long as it serves its purpose. A cleaner and more confident atmosphere for restroom use. No need for wise words, no need for rules because the kids won’t read them anyway. – Cikgu Shahrizal Sha’ari[9]

Shahrizal’s creative idea earned praise and positive feedback from netizens on social media, with many agreeing that the open restroom concept discourages large student gatherings, prevents vandalism and removes unpleasant odours[9].

#9: Sabah School Principal’s Unique Living Situation Wins Hearts Online

Source: George Tiktok

60-year-old George Odol has been serving as the principal for SK Ulu Ansuan in Sabah’s Telupid district for over 3 years now. The job isn’t easy, especially since he had to live in an old storage room at the school that he converted into a living space.

In a video he shared on social media, George retired on 25th November and showed the 3m by 5m storeroom he had been living in since June 2020. 

This room was used to store old, unused school equipment and supplies but it was turned into a room for me when I arrived. It is quite sad but what else could I do. – George Odol, SK Ulu Ansuan principal[10]

George had to utilise the school kitchen and toilet facilities. He mentioned having two village dogs he fed daily, providing companionship during the night when everyone else had departed. Although he received a monthly allowance of RM500, which was meagre considering the sacrifice of his comfort, it was still preferable to receiving nothing at all.

Despite his hardships, George was still glad to serve his students. And his sacrifice did not go unnoticed, as netizens took to social media to praise him for his dedication and sacrifice. Many also shared their sympathy for Odol and other teachers who sacrifice comfort when serving in interior areas with poor basic facilities.

Acknowledging Odol’s commitment, Sabah Education Department director Datuk Raisin Saidin stated that such situations should not be prevalent in today’s era. He stressed the significance of teachers in Sabah demonstrating adaptability and problem-solving skills. Datuk Raisin further affirmed the Education Department’s dedication to aiding teachers facing comparable challenges, ensuring they can work and reside in suitable environments.

As another silver lining to all of this, George said that seven-door teachers’ “longhouse” quarters had been built on the school grounds and were ready to be occupied[10].

Explore our sources:

  1. M. Alvina. (2023). Group Of Friends Come To Aid Of Injured Elderly Motorcyclist By The Roadside. Says. Link.
  2. M. Alvina. (2023). M’sian Puts Up His Limited Edition Nissan Laurel C35 For Sale To Aid Palestinians. Says. Link.
  3. M. Alvina. (2023). M’sian Shaves His Head In Support Of Wife Battling Cancer. Says. Link.
  4. S. Ram. (2023). Cops Let Woman Go Free After Her 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Message Touches Their Heart. Says. Link.
  5. K. Raj. (2023). Disabled Girl Eerah Proves Determination Is Key. The Rakyat Post. Link.
  6. Bernama. (2023). Nur Syaiful wins Malaysia’s first Asian Para Games gold medal. FMT. Link.
  7. A. Leong. (2023). Malaysian Powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Wins Gold At Asian Para Games. The Rakyat Post. Link.
  8. Bernama. (2023). First SBJK in Sabah to start at SK Sembulan tomorrow. Daily Express. Link.
  9. M. Koh. (2023). Innovative ‘Open Air’ Boys’ Restroom Design Wins Kudos for Johor Teacher. The Rakyat Post. Link.
  10. S. Lee. (2023). Sabah school principal living in storeroom earns Internet praise. The Star. Link.

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