I used to have a sticker on my car that says ” Giving More Than Taking”. It was a volunteerism campaign organised by Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) back in the 2003. The sticker is now gone and replaced by another one that says “Allah Save Palestine”.
Where I was brought up, the boys looked forward to help in the padi field. It didn’t matter who the owner was, we worked with the same enthusiasms. We sincerely helped anybody during the padi planting season. On that couple of weeks, it was our daily activity. We went to work without being asked to do so even under the hot, scorching sun.
That was just one of the example of the good value that we used to have – volunteerism and helping people. Somehow, today the mood in the society is a bit different. I’m not saying that there are no volunteers or NGO’s involved, because there are many. What is lacking is the spontaneity in responding to situations that deserve considerations.
What would you do when you see a person having flat tire? How about house on fire? How about flood victims? How about earthquake victim? How about a blind man struggling to cross a road? If you are a highly spirited volunteers and keen in helping people, you would know what to do… If you are just an individual in your own world, you also know what to do – nothing.
Last august, I came across with an interesting volunteerism activity – The Sabah Ventures. They were a group of people from various places, signed up as volunteers to fix and construct tracks along the Mount Kinabalu Summit trail. The scheme works this way:
Each volunteer was to register and pay an initial fee (something like RM250) that covers climbing permit, insurance, accommodation etc. Upon arrival in the morning, they registered in the main office and started climbing from the Timpohon gate.
At some designated locations they were required to carry out some task such as carrying construction materials and others. They were required to work for 2-3 hours before retiring at one of the hut. For the group that I met, everybody must reach Layang-layang hut by 5 pm. Around midnight, they continued the journey to the summit.
Once you are registered as a volunteer, you can climb the summit again and again at very low cost – just the climbing permit. Of course you are required to do some works, and have to communicate with Sabah Park management. A good bargain, isn’t it. That was why some of these students from University Malaysia Sabah (pictures) became the Sabah Ventures Volunteers. Some had climbed 4 times, some even more… So, if you are interested in helping the Kinabalu trail accessible to many, join this unique volunteerism activities. Contact the Sabah Park Management, as I’ve forgotten to ask them the url of their websites.