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Referring to the news in Sin Chew Daily today 青體部:不倉促將青年限定年齡降至25歲 (http://www.sinchew-i.com/node/283513?tid=1) (Youth Ministry: No need for rush to youth age of 25 years old), the discussion regarding the age of youths in Malaysia has been a prolonged issue.
United Nations specify youths as below 25 years of age. The National Youth Development Policy of Malaysia defines youth as people aged between 15 and 40 years but it also further states that the focus of youth development programmes will be catered for those in the age range of 18 to 25 years old. However, contrary to the policy, many beneficiaries of youth development programmes are focused on youths over the age of 25.
The proposal to lower the age limit in the definition of youths, mooted many years ago, was however, rejected by many leaders in the youth organisations. (Evident in one news article from The Star http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/11/19/nation/9935816&sec=nation) Current leadership thinks that the young these days cannot lead and far lesser, hold positions in youth organisations. Some also say that the younger youths are not interested in national issues.
Such thoughts forced the young people to use alternative media like Facebook to gather strength to organise events. Then, the recent survey for Youth Parliament involving 5,500 youths nationwide, showed that 93% youths agreed to the setting up of Youth Parliament while 74% are interested to become a youth parliamentarian. (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/11/nation/10897742&sec=nation) These numbers implicate that youths have not been given enough space to voice out and that they too, are very interested in national issues.
There are many successful youths who have shown ability to lead and achieve success. Young Nabil Jefri and Jacqueline Sijore has shown tremendous success in the motorsports and bowling arena respectively. Both are barely 20. Joel Neoh made it as a millionaire at the age of 20 while still in university.
When the Ministry of Youth and Sports under the leadership of Minister YB Dato’ Sri Shabery Cheek went on to announce a unpopular step to reduce the age of youth to 25, youth organisations were startled by the announcement. Yet, known for his transformation in the ministry, the Minister has to do what’s seem unpopular. When the Deputy Minister YB Gan Ping Sieu remarked that the age limit will be lower gradually, I hope that more youth organisations will look at the move as a positive move to transform youth organisations and allow the young to lead.
CHEW HOONG LING
Member, National Youth Consultative Council
Dear Editor,
The recent news in The Star 12th March, 2012 “Ministry: Laws on organ transplant need to be drafted”, I am very concern with the development of organ donation and organ transplantation in Malaysia.
As a living liver donor myself, I have understood and privileged to experience the complications and after-effects of giving part of my liver to someone. The country has over 20,000 people waiting for organs with kidney patients top the list. Yet many die while waiting for organs due to insufficient organs from cadaveric donors.
The potential of cadaveric donors is very high, looking at the number of accidents reported daily. However, the plight of these patients often goes unheard due to our selfishness. When there is a lack of organs from cadaveric donors, living donors are sought for organs to be transplanted.
Therefore, the rise of organ trading, black market and human trafficking related to organs sale. This must put to a complete stop.
Malaysians, let us ACT! Let us put the plight of thousands of people in the waiting list be heard! Pledge to donate your organs after death at http://agiftoflife.gov.my and talk to your family members about your decision. 
More to be done if all of us could just chip in every little effort. Bring the topic of organ pledge to “teh tarik” session, be an advocate, understand the cause through Internet and educate yourself, help at any organ pledge campaign and even better, organise one. Get someone to give a talk in your organisation, places of worship, office and even at home! I’d be glad to contribute in sharing my experience as part of my effort to promote organ donation.
For every organ recipient you save, do remember you are saving another life who could have been killed for their organs to be sold. Let us do it today. Pledge your organs at http://agiftoflife.gov.my
CHEW HOONG LING
Saudara Pengarang,
Merujuk berita terkini dalam akhbar tempatan The Star 12 Mac 2012 “Kementerian: Undang-undang pemindahan organ perlu digubal,” saya amat prihatin dengan perkembangan pendermaan organ dan pemindahan organ di Malaysia.
Sebagai seorang yang telah mendermakan sebahagian hati, saya telah memahami dan berpeluang merasai perasaan, komplikasi dan kesan pendermaan sebahagian hati itu kepada seseorang. Malaysia mendaftarkan lebih daripada 20,000 pesakit yang menunggu organ terutamanya pesakit buah pinggang. Namun, ramai menemui ajal dek menanti organ yang sesuai kerana kekurangan penderma organ.
Memandang bilangan kemalangan yang dilaporkan setiap hari amatlah tinggi, maka Malaysia mempunyai potensi yang amat besar untuk pendermaan organ. Walau bagaimanapun, seruan pesakit-pesakit ini sering tidak didengar kerana kita mementingkan diri kita. Apabila terdapat kekurangan organ daripada penderma orang yang sudah meninggal dunia, penderma hidup dicari sebagai ganti terbaik untuk pendermaan organ.
Oleh itu, perdagangan organ, pasaran gelap dan penyeludupan manusia yang berkaitan dengan penjualan organ meningkat. Perkara ini harus dihentikan!
Rakyat Malaysia, marilah kita BERTINDAK! Marilah kita memberi harapan kepada beribu-ribu orang dalam senarai menunggu organ! Berikrarlah untuk mendermakan organ selepas kematian di laman http://agiftoflife.gov.my dan bincang dengan ahli keluarga anda mengenai keputusan anda.
Setiap individu mampu membawa perubahan kepada kehidupan manusia. Bincangkan topik pendermaan organ semasa sesi teh tarik, fahamilah pendermaan organ melalui internet, berikanlah bantuan di mana-mana kempen pendermaan organ dan lebih baik lagi jika anda dapat menganjurkan kempen kesedaran derma organ di kawasan anda. Dapatkan penceramah untuk memberi ceramah di organisasi anda, tempat beribadat, ataupun di rumah! Saya turut berasa amat gembira jika dapat menyumbang tenaga dengan berkongsi pengalaman saya sebagai seorang penderma hati.
Untuk setiap penerima organ yang anda selamatkan, ingatlah bahawa anda juga menyelamatkan satu lagi nyawa yang mungkin diambil supaya organ-organ mereka dijual. Marilah kita berikrar untuk menjadi penderma organ hari ini melalui laman web http://agiftoflife.gov.my
CHEW HOONG LING
Presiden, Persatuan Suara Wanita Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor

尊敬的编辑,

读过2012年3月1号NST报纸上刊登的名为“LRT,Monorail完全整合”的文章,我为有关当局为改善公共交通所做出的革新表示由衷地祝贺。

如今,消费者不用再携带过多的卡,也不用再为没有零钱而烦恼了。此次一卡通的革新计划与政府为带给消费者更好的公共交通系统所做的努力完全一致。

我希望政府能够进一步地改善马来西亚的公共交通系统包括放宽条款让出租车司机能拥有自己的出租车许可证, 在高峰期增加更多的列车,为方便乘客扩展LRT系统,同时尽可能地让所有车站为残障人士提供方便。

Chew Hoong Ling (周虹伶)
雪隆女聲主席 (President, Voice of Women KL and Selangor)

Dear Editor,

Referring to the article “LRT, monorail fully integrated” in NST 1st March 2012, I’d like to congratulate the relevant authorities for innovative ways to improve public transportation.

Now consumers do not need to carry multiple cards or having go through hassle of changing at stations. The innovative way of having one card is really in line with the government’s effort to bring better public transportation system for consumers.

I hope the government could improve further the public transportation systems in Malaysia including relaxing terms for taxi drivers to own their own permits, adding more cars for LRTs during peak hours, expanding the LRT system for users’ convenience and making all train stations as disabled-friendly as possible.

Thank you.

In memory of An Qi (the recipient of my liver)

This year Hari Raya Aidilfitri was meaningful although it was welcomed with sorrow.

Memories I had during childhood was really fun during Hari Raya. I will go to many Malay houses to visit them during Hari Raya. My immediate neighbours are Malays so I grew up with Malay children because they are the ones around my age. Suhaiza was a year younger than me – she was the eldest in the Zamri family. Suhaiza has a sister, Nurul and two brothers, Azhar and Arif.

I learnt from them how they recite the al-Quran when I see Encik Zamri sitting beside Arif with a short stick pointing to the holy Quran while Arif will recite them as instructed. It was from there that I wanted to understand my fellow neighbours and to be exact, best friends, better.

I had Malay classmates who stayed within the housing area where I stay in Taman Cicely, Teluk Intan, too. They were Hanim from the Ghazalli family and errm… well I forgot their names (it proves that I am old!). I still keep in touch with Hanim. Her house number was 403 – big numbering at the front wall of her house. Hanim’s father was a teacher and we were really close together at childhood. We were separated when she was off to the Religious School during Form 4 (4th year of high school) or Form 5.

One day, I went back to Teluk Intan, my aunt, Lena, related that a girl came looking for me. She was looking for me, hoping that Auntie Lena could at least provide my handphone number. Auntie Lena couldn’t search in time so she left a note. I read the note “Hanim” and her phone number written on the note, I almost felt like jumping with joy. I just had a thought about her a week ago!

During Hari Raya, my friends and I will gather together in a spot. I will first visit Hanim and children got together. We visited almost every house in the area with an open gate. I was told that if the gate is opened, guests are welcomed to enter. At that time, I was the only Chinese lady in the crowd. All other children wore baju kurung and beautiful clothes while I clad in my T-shirt and a pair of shorts. I am really used to being the only Chinese girl in many occasions by now so much so that I gave in to admit I am bangsa Malaysia more than a Chinese. I was the only Chinese lady in Persatuan Pemuda Negara, the only Chinese lady in occasions where we did street demonstrations during 911, the only Chinese lady in Biro Tatanegara camps and in many occasion, the only Chinese lady in meetings and conferences.

Being children and following the crowd, I came to understand the reason for the house-to-house visit – for duit raya (small packets with money)! We will walk in a house with open gate, shout a loud “Selamat Hari Raya” and “Assamualaikum” to the reply of “Mualaikumsalam..” Then we dashed in the house, sat down and greeted the host by shaking hands (with both palms) and kissing their hands and then placed it to our foreheads lightly.

As I followed the crowd, I also sat with them, eating the available biscuits and we always have cold drinks – orange juice and syrup will be the main drinks in most houses. The feel of refresh orange and ice cooling down the throat was great since we had to walk far and long to scout for houses with open gates! The group of children will leave only after receiving their duit raya.

By the time we reach almost the third house, I start feeling bloated with biscuits and drinks, especially after sumptuous meal at the first house – Hanim’s house – with ketupat, lemang, rendang and curry. So, subsequent houses that we visit were only to sit, sip a drink and collect duit raya!

After a long day, visited almost more than 10 houses, we got back home in the evening. I still remember the joy and happiness of opening each packet. Pops drop a 20sen as I turned the packet around. Sometimes the packets will drop put 50sen or even RM1. I will count the shillings – at times about RM2 and some years I could collect about RM5, depending on how many houses we visited.

The days were fun. It was only until when I was in Form 1 that I came to realize that the meaning of house visits during Hari Raya was not for duit raya after all. Hari Raya is the day where the Muslims celebrate the “victory” of having fast a whole month. In fact, fasting for about 10 years ago made Hari Raya more meaningful to me, too, although I’m not a Muslim. Muslims will also ask forgiveness from their parents and among siblings for whatever wrongdoings that they have done.

Likewise, visiting each other during Hari Raya was also meant to seek forgiveness from the hosts, further fostering better relationships and to catch up on each others’ well-being. I forgot which year I stopped following my friends to collect duit raya during Hari Raya.

As soon as I left home and could cook myself, I started fasting during Ramadhan. At home, when I wanted to fast, no one would cook so early and no food was available at dawn. Yet, I still wanted to have trial period on fasting so I would take breakfast just like I did before going to school and then fast in school till Maghrib. I find Hari Raya becomes meaningful for me this way. This year, after 6 years couldn’t fast due to stomach ulcer, I successfully fast during Ramadhan for about 20 days. I was all ready to celebrate and even arranged an excursion to visit all Malay colleagues – Negeri Sembilan, Muar, Teluk Intan and Kuala Lumpur. I also wanted to pay a visit to my new friends – Anas and Mahani in Penang.

The first day of Syawal – the first day of Hari Raya, I sent my Vietnamese friends to airport. Nine friends came for a short visit and I took them to Melaka the day before. The night before was really disturbing. I got a call from Alicia – An Qi (the recipient of my liver)’s aunt. She was crying and saying that she called just to inform me An Qi was in the ICU. The whole night, I could sensed that An Qi may not make it. I sms-ed many friends to pray for her and even placed a facebook status so those who read could pray for her. I had strong feelings that she could not make it. The voice over the other end of the phone does not sound “just informing” me. It sounds like “come see her for the last time”.

Remembering my duit raya during Hari Raya when I was a child, I even posted “My best Aidilfitri angpau this year will be to see An Qi, recipient of my liver, be healthy, happy and blessed with long life. She’s in ICU due to infection now, please pray for her.”

I was driving to airport. It was 11.56am on first day of Hari Raya. I thought to visit An Qi after the airport trip so I called her aunt again. I asked how was An Qi and the reply, “An Qi passed away at midnight.”

I was almost speechless. Apparently, she had cancer in the bone, diagnosed somewhere in June (only 5 months after receiving my liver). Subsequent chemotherapy has added toll to her immune system. Everything went on really fine and the chemo was successful. She had lungs infection and in only less than 48 hours, she passed away. When Alicia called the night before, An Qi has already stopped breathing and was put on a respirator.

The day was supposed to be spent with visits to Negeri Sembilan and Muar, cancelled but not too much because of the news but it was because the traffic jam was massive as I drove back from airport. As I saw the car from opposite direction building up to almost a stretch of 3km, my mind thought of An Qi and tears just rolled freely. I can feel my face became wet and I really wanted someone to comfort.

Today, my colleague, Allen and I went to Anas’ house in Penang – continuing the tradition of house visits. Kak Mahani was there and she gave comforting hugs and kisses that I felt so warm. We then went to Teluk Intan to visit another colleague, Hamizan and then back to Kuala Lumpur.

Tomorrow will be An Qi’s funeral and I will attend. Although I did not receive my “duit raya” or the Aidilfitri angpau I wanted this year, Hari Raya was not meant for duit raya anyway. Like Anas said, “You have given her 8 months of life, and a lifetime of hope.”

Although I welcomed this year’s Hari Raya with sorrow, I really appreciate all the comments on facebook, prayers for An Qi, all the comforting sms-es and the fact of knowing I really gave An Qi 8 months of life but not only a lifetime of hope for her. As Allen puts it, I have given hope to almost everyone around me – all of whom know about my liver donation!

I will welcome the next Hari Rayas with joy and meaningful days – not duit raya anymore.