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Good News: Sabahan Helps Provide Education To Stateless Children And 8 More Feel Good Stories

In the midst of recent events that have left many feeling disheartened, it’s important to remember that there’s also good news to uplift our spirits. Amidst these challenging times, we’ve curated a collection of 9 stories that serve as rays of positivity.

These stories are a beacon of hope, showcasing how individuals and communities overcome challenges and pursue their dreams against all odds.

#1: Sabahan Helps Provide Education To Stateless Children

For many stateless children, education is but a pipe dream. Marilou Chin aims to change that situation for stateless Filipino children in Sabah.

They could not enrol in a normal school as they are not citizens and do not possess any documentation because both parents were not citizens of Sabah although some were born in Sabah. – Marilou Chin, founder of Stairway to Hope (STH)[1]

Seeing how many stateless children in Sabah were denied access to basic education, Marilou felt compelled to do something about this problem.

These children regardless of their status should not be denied their right to an education. That’s when I decided to set up Stairway To Hope (STH), an alternative learning centre in 2012 so that they will at least have some basic education. – Marilou Chin, founder of Stairway to Hope (STH)[1]

Throughout her career as a teacher, Marilou had witnessed children as small as one year begging for money or food in the streets without adults accompanying them and teenagers getting jailed for social wrongdoings. These sights greatly disturbed her.

This makes a centre like ours more relevant so they can receive basic education especially those in the school-going age. They could at least learn a certain degree of information and awareness and not become a nuisance to society as how the public perceived them. – Marilou Chin, founder of Stairway to Hope (STH)[1]

At Stairway to Hope (STH), students are taught Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics, and Science. Additionally, they learn valuable soft skills such as basket weaving, cooking, baking, and more. Computer lessons are also included in the curriculum, equipping them with additional skills beneficial for their future employment opportunities.

Marilou said of the first batch that graduated, a few returned to the Philippines to further their studies. 

One of them Normawati Kasim (24) is into her 3rd year in Nursing at the University De Zamboanga.

This is what we want to achieve by giving them basic education. They would then move forward to either continue studies in their home country or start working and so on. – Marilou Chin, founder of Stairway to Hope (STH)[1]

STH former students continue to express their gratitude for the foundation they received at the centre. 

After I completed my elementary and secondary level at STH, I never expected to further my studies and choose the path in nursing.

It was the encouragement and the school’s confidence in me. – Normawati Kasim, nursing student, University De Zamboanga[1]

#2: Wan Othman, A Garbage Collector To Strangers But A Hero To His Family

Wan Othman Wan Mohd Nor Hassyim, a 20-year-old, gained widespread attention on TikTok when he shared a video showcasing his dedicated efforts to support his family. The 34-second clip showed Wan Othman collecting waste from a trash can and transferring it to a garbage truck, all while enduring the heat of the sun. 

He shared that his commitment to his job is driven by his sense of responsibility. Wan Othman, the only son in his family, currently takes care of his mother and siblings. 

Behind the hard work is a son who is strong enough to take on his father’s responsibility to shower his siblings with love as they grow. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be this strong,” he wrote in the TikTok video[2].

The video has since garnered over 1.1 million views and 187,000 likes on TikTok.

Wan Othman has been working with Alam Flora Sdn Bhd as a garbage collector for nearly two years. 

Netizens were deeply touched by Wan Othman’s unwavering dedication and strength as a son, leaving behind a trail of encouraging comments that acknowledged his tireless efforts[2].

#3: Sarawak Teacher Goes The Extra Mile To Provide Internet Access For His Students

Source: NST

There is no denying that teachers will go to great lengths to provide the best education for their students. One teacher in Sarawak’s remote interior went far and beyond, using his own savings to purchase a Starlink device to provide his students with internet access.

The heartwarming incident was captured and subsequently shared on TikTok by user @amoimorni. The video showcased Cikgu Izzat, the teacher in question, brimming with joy as he received his starter kit for the innovative internet solution.

Reportedly, Cikgu Izzat acquired the Starlink internet device to further the learning experience of his students who live in remote and underserved regions. In these areas, reliable internet access often poses a significant challenge.

We took the initiative to procure it ourselves. Yet, credit must be attributed to the officials that brought Starlink to Malaysia. This move is poised to greatly enhance our access to quality internet. – Cikgu Izzat[3]

#4: Heartwarming Reunion: Malaysian Lawyer Who Helped A Woman 25 Years Ago Gets A Surprise From Her Son

Lawyer Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar helped a poor woman who was charged with shoplifting in 1998. Source: AHMAD ZAHARIL MUHAIYAR/FACEBOOK (Straits Times)

At times, the positive actions we’ve undertaken in the past come full circle with good karma in the future. That is what lawyer Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, 57, learnt when he met the son of a woman he had helped 25 years ago.

In 1998, Mr. Ahmad Zaharil offered his assistance to the woman, who was waorking as a cleaner at the time, after she was arrested on charges of stealing a pencil box.

Seeing her in distress, I felt compelled to approach her to ask how she ended up in court.

She explained that she had stolen a pencil box from a supermarket.

The pencil box was meant as a gift for her 10-year-old son, her only child. She said that she had promised to get her son a pencil box if he became the top student in class. – Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, Lawyer[4]

The young boy, who was in Year Four at the time, excelled in his exams and came out first of his class. Unfortunately, his mother was facing financial difficulties and didn’t have the means to purchase a RM18 pencil box. She resorted to stealing one from a supermarket, leading to her arrest. 

I thought to myself then that if she was jailed for the offence, who would take care of her son? So, I had to intervene.

After speaking to the magistrate to postpone the case to a later time that day, I went to the boy’s school in Sentul to verify the mother’s claim.

After speaking to the headmaster, it turned out to be true that the boy was indeed the top student in his class. – Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, Lawyer[4]

Ahmad, together with the boy’s teacher, met with the supermarket’s owner in the courtroom.

I offered the supermarket proprietor double the price of the pencil box and pleaded with him to have mercy on the woman. However, he refused and wanted to proceed with the case. – Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, Lawyer[4]

Ahmad played a pivotal role in mitigating the woman’s case on her behalf. Through investigation and a teacher’s testimony, the magistrate discharged the mother, releasing her under good behaviour bond for a year. 

Before she left, we passed the hat around and collected a couple of hundred ringgit contributed by court staff, policemen and me. We handed over the money to the woman. She left after expressing her gratitude and I never saw her again. – Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, Lawyer[4]

In 2018, while going about his routine in court, he was approached by a man in his early 30s.

The man told Mr Ahmad Zaharil: “Hello, Sir. You may not know me, but I am the son of the cleaner you helped 20 years ago. Remember the pencil box case?

My mother saw you in the news on TV over a case you had handled and told me who you are.

I searched for you and am so glad to meet you. I am a practising lawyer now, Sir.

Mr Ahmad Zaharil said his eyes welled up at once and that he was overcome with joy.

Both he and the young lawyer hugged.

I almost fainted when he told me who he was. It was heartwarming and one of the happiest moments in my life. We proceeded to visit his mother, who is now 76 years old.

Since then, we have become close. He is like a son to me. We would visit each other during Deepavali and Hari Raya. – Ahmad Zaharil Muhaiyar, Lawyer[4]

#5: Proudly Aflutter: Thousands of Jalur Gemilang Grace Penang’s Kg Melayu

Residents of the Kampung Melayu flats waving the Jalur Gemilang. (Source: The Star)

In preparation for National Day, businessman Datuk Seri Salim Abdul Rahman, 54, decorated his home village of Kampung Melayu in Air Itam with more than 3,000 Jalur Gemilang and giant National Day posters to rekindle the spirit of patriotism among the local populace.

According to Salim, this simple gesture was done to help raise awareness among the younger generation to understand the importance of patriotic spirit and love for the country.

This is the spirit of the older generation, decorating their homes and hometowns during the 1980s and 1990s every year during National Month. All houses were decorated with Jalur Gemilang then and now I want to bring back that excitement. – Datuk Seri Salim Abdul Rahman[5]

Salim views the Jalur Gemilang as a representation of Malaysia’s pride. He firmly believes that people from all walks of life should wave the Malaysian flag with pride on National Day.

Apart from giant posters, we, together with the youths here, have hoisted more than 3,000 flags along the roads leading to Kampung Melayu to further enliven the National Month celebration. – Datuk Seri Salim Abdul Rahman[5]

His actions brought much positive attention to the village. Lim Siew Eng, 55, who came to Kampung Melayu, conveyed excitement witnessing the atmosphere and the brilliant decorations in anticipation of the National Day celebration in this village.

I only came to eat with my friends at Astaka Makanan here, but I feel proud to see Jalur Gemilang along the street and also the National Day posters hung in the low-cost flat here indicate the patriotic spirit among the residents here is very good. – Lim Siew Eng[5]

Abraham Mammen, aged 63, another visitor to Kampung Melayu, shared his initial surprise upon seeing the abundance of flags adorning the streets. However, he also expressed a sense of pride in seeing the villagers’ enthusiasm as they prepared to celebrate National Day.

This village is the only village in Penang, and perhaps, in the whole of Malaysia, which has so many Jalur Gemilang decorating the streets in conjunction with National Day. This village can be a model village to raise public awareness about the celebration of National Month and fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign. – Abraham Mammen[5]

#6: Enhancing Accessibility: More New Ramps Planned For Old Town PJ

Rajiv (background) says ramps will also be built in commercial areas of sections 8, 14 and 17. (Source: The Star)

Lack of accessibility for Persons With Disabilities (PwD) has always been a problem in our country. Fortunately, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is making plans to improve accessibility in the Old Town area, building 69 ramps in its commercial space.

Rajiv Rishyakaran, Bukit Gasing assemblyman, shared that the project aimed to establish Petaling Jaya as a barrier-free location. 

This caters not only to people with disabilities but mothers with prams, shopping trolley users and the elderly. – Rajiv Rishyakaran, Bukit Gasing assemblyman[6]

Rajiv said that ramps will be incorporated into new developments in Petaling Jaya, including hotels and malls.  

The older shoplots will have to be retrofitted. – Rajiv Rishyakaran, Bukit Gasing assemblyman[6]

For now, ramps have already been constructed in the commercial areas of Section 52 and Section 11, making PJ Old Town the third area to receive such accessibility enhancements.

The ramps are being built according to specific gradients. It cannot be too steep. I feel strongly about making things more accessible for all members of society. – Rajiv Rishyakaran, Bukit Gasing assemblyman[6]

#7: Oyen, Zoo Negara’s Most Beloved Feline Honoured With An Official Signage

Source: FMT

It started in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. House cats were being abandoned by their owners who found themselves unable to tend to their pets or strays during the lockdowns. Many such cats ended up in Zoo Negara. One cat, a ginger-coloured feline nicknamed “Oyen” (after the Malaysian term for orange-coloured cats), started hanging out with the zoo’s capybaras.

In no time, Oyen became a sensation locally and internationally when video footage of Oyen cuddling or napping with the capybaras went viral. The bright spotlight on Zoo Negara has been timely, given that its income had been impacted during the pandemic. Zoo Negara deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana even described Oyen as a “star of Zoo Negara” and shared that “90% of visitors came to see Oyen”.

In fact, in June, the zoo even placed signage with the word “Oyen” at the capybara enclosure, further cementing his status as a resident of the national zoo!

For International Cat Day on August 8th, Zoo Negara officially launched Oyen’s signage at the enclosure, replacing the previous sign with a new one. It’s certainly a befitting honour for a feline who has helped his new home in its time of need[7].

#8: PPRs May Have Easy Access To Medicines Thanks To Vending Machines

Accessing essential medications can be challenging for residents of People’s Housing Programme (PPR). But hope may come in an unlikely form, as the Local Government Development and Health Ministries is considering the installation of vending machines for medicines in PPRs.

Ng Kor Ming, the Local Government Development Minister, has stated that this prospect is being studied in greater detail following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministries, which took place at the Health Ministry on 22nd August. 

We are studying the possibility of cooperating on this.

These 24-hour kiosks or vending machines can be placed in PPRs so those who are sick in the middle of the night don’t have to go to the pharmacy for medicine.

It will be just like how people buy soft drinks. The vending machine can sell medication or vitamin. – Ng Kor Ming, Local Government Development Minister[8]

Dr. Zaliha Mustafa, Health Minister, also emphasised that this initiative would lead to enhanced strategic collaboration across multiple domains, encompassing areas such as disaster management, optimal resource utilisation, and the exchange of knowledge.

This cooperation will be very effective, even for finance management in relation to Budget allocations for both ministries.

This way, we can maximise and optimise our resources for the benefit of the people. – Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa[8]

#9: Deputy Prime Minister To The Rescue

It’s not an everyday occurrence for a political figure to pause and come to the aid of someone in need. However, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi defied this norm when he witnessed a motorcyclist involved in an accident.

Ahmad Zahid reported that the accident, involving a motorcycle and a car, occurred on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim. Witnessing the incident, the Deputy Prime Minister promptly halted his entire entourage to assist the individuals involved in the accident.

We rushed to help Satnam and I made sure that his treatment and medical affairs could be expedited. I pray for Satnam’s fast recovery,” said Ahmad Zahid in a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 21)[9].

Explore our sources:

  1. L. Binsol. (2023). Education hope for stateless children. Daily Express. Link.
  2. A. Nur’aiman. (2023). Netizens Are Moved By 20-Year-Old Garbage Collector Who Works Hard To Provide For Family. Says. Link.
  3. #NSTviral: S’wak teacher dips into savings to secure Starlink for students. (2023). New Straits Times. Link.
  4. Malaysian lawyer who helped woman who stole a pencil box 25 years ago gets surprise from her son. (2023). The Straits Times. Link.
  5. Bernama. (2023). Sight to behold: Thousands of Jalur Gemilang fly proudly in Penang’s Kg Melayu. The Star. Link.
  6. A. Ahmad. (2023). 69 ramps planned for PJ Old Town to improve access. The Star. Link.
  7. S. Vijayan. (2023). Meet Oyen, Zoo Negara’s famed capybara cat. FMT. Link.
  8. G. Gimino. (2023). Medicine vending machines being considered for PPRs, says Nga. The Star. Link.
  9. Ahmad Zahid stops to help accident victim in KL. (2023). The Star. Link.

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