Fire, Again!

When I got back from my church zone’s BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) Reflection just now, my neighbour informed me that a fire broke out at 31C-2-6. It was some time around 8.30pm. Two fire engines came but they could not enter the premises because of all the obstructions at the entrance and along the driveway. Block C is farthest away from the entrance. The firemen had to walk all the way in, approximately a distance of 100m. Fortunately, it was only a minor fire. Had it been a major one, many precious minutes would have been lost moving personnel and equipment to the scene by foot.

The developer of the apartments here is Nai Seng Sdn. Bhd. It is a company managed by Lip Sin Sdn. Bhd. I have written three letters to them asking for an evacuation plan to be drawn up and complaining about the obstruction along the driveway that impedes the free access of emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances. They have not responded to any of them. Now this has happened again. I am so angry and at the same time extremely disappointed at their inaction. This lack of concern for safety will surely cause lives to be lost sooner or later if nothing is done to rectify the situation soon. I shudder to think of the consequences should a disaster occur here. Truthfully, I do not feel safe living here but what can I do? I have no where else to go.

The letters to Nai Seng Sdn. Bhd. (pdf format):
Dated 10th August 2004
Dated 9th December 2004
Dated 30th March 2005

Related category:
Building Manager from Hell

Mack Zulkifli’s latest entry regarding this matter:
Tragedy … act one, scene one

Proud to be a Malaysian

Photo by Wuan.

While we were chatting in ICQ last night, Mack remarked, “Imagine that a PFS boy and a SXI boy working together.”

Mack is an old boy of the Penang Free School. I am a La Sallian, studied nine years at the now defunct Penang La Salle School and two more years at the St. Xavier’s Institution, another Christian Brothers School. The rivalry of our alma maters go back a long way. I have participated in several such “skirmishes” during Scouts’ campfires and gatherings where we try to out-drown the singing of the Frees. It is all friendly and in good fun though. These encounters are what made the events more exciting. I do have many good friends who have studied at the PFS. Mack has just become another.

What Mack and I are doing is not about old boys of rival schools coming together and cooperating on a common issue. It is more than that. It is about a Malay and a Chinese working together. It is about a Muslim and a Christian working together. It is about the abled looking after the welfare of the disabled. But that is where our differences end. We are similar in many more ways than we ever realised.

This truly is a story about one human who saw the need of another human and decided something must be done before it is too late. It is all about one Malaysian coming to the aid of another Malaysian. This is what Malaysia is all about. This is what Malaysians should be doing, disregarding colour and creed and coming together to lend a helping hand in the spirit of muhibbah. This is what makes me proud to be a Malaysian.

Related category:
Building Manager from Hell

Related entry:
Life, or something like that ~ Brand New Malaysian

Speaking Up for the Silent Voices

Some have the misconception that Mack Zulkifli’s banner campaign urging the building manager of the apartment where I am staying and the relevant authorities to draw up an evacuation plan is for me. No, it is not. This issue is not about Peter Tan solely. Take me out of the equation and there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of mobility-challenged people who are staying in high-rise dwellings in Penang and all over Malaysia.

My predicament is known because I have a blog. Think about those silent voices that need assisted-evacuation too. Their voices are not heard because they have no avenue to express their fears. Their lives are equally at risk as mine. They need a systematic evacuation plan as much as I do. Their lives are just as valuable as anybody else’s who is able and healthy. What if these are people you love and care about?

People who require assisted-evacuation are not only the physically disabled like me. The elderly and those whose pregnancy are in the advanced stages will need some form of assistance as well. Their predicament must not be overlooked. As I have mentioned in The Fiefdom of Taman Pekaka, people who live in high-rise dwellings will grow old. People who live in high-rise dwellings do become disabled. We continue staying here despite the circumstances simply because that is the only abode we can afford.

In our quest to become a developed nation by 2020, let us not forget to develop our compassion as well. It is people that make a nation. To be a nation that can truly stand proud and tall, we must be a nation that looks after the needs of our citizens, whether less privileged or not, without prejudice.

A nation that marches relentlessly on in the pursuit of development but ignore the intrinsic value of her most valuable asset, her citizens, is a nation that is devoid of a soul. Do we want to be that? No? We certainly are marching in that direction when the cries of the under-privileged are largely ignored.

Speak up for the silent voices. Make their plight heard through your blogs. They deserve as much help as the heartwarming concern some of you bloggers have showered me with. Every life is worth saving. I humbly ask you to help me here, not for me exclusively but for all those who need assisted-evacuation during disasters. Write about this. Add the banner to your blog. Every voice counts. Giving the less privileged hope and a chance to live is one of the noblest things you can do. Thank you.

Related category:
Building Manager from Hell

Related entries from Brand New Malaysian:
Too late is not early enough
Proposed Act for the enhancement of facilities to the disabled
Taking small steps forward