Friday, January 06, 2006


I was really sad (and shocked as well..) when I read this news from the local newspapers ~ New Straits Times and Berita Harian last Wednesday (dated 3rd January 2006). I thought this sort of things don't occur nowadays in Malaysia since we are now living in the 21st century. I don't know what is your reaction when u read this :( What are the possiblities that come to your mind when u see this picture?

Two primary school girls in school uniforms holding bamboo lighted with fire as "torch light" walking in the dark, climbing up slopes/hills and walking through rocky surfaces with bare feet.. What could be the possibilities? The answer is something that will never come to my mind till I read this :(

These two school girls are Jalisa Jium, 7 years old, and her elder sister Wendy, 12 years old from Kampung Lutung, Sabah. These two poor school girls have to wake up very early in the morning and starts their journey before dawn as they have to walk 3 km, crossing the steep jungle hills and river.. They walk barefoot and wear no shoes to keep their school shoes clean. Only when they reach the other side of the jungle, they clean their feet (by washing their feet in the river as shown in the picture below) and put on their white socks and shoes. It takes them one hour to walk from their house (which is located in the deep jungle) to reach their school, SK Putaton which is 3 km away from their house. Imagine the long, dark and dangerous route the small school kids have to take everyday to go to school :( I guess most of us are still sleeping soundly on our bed when these school kids start their long journey to school.

There are so many poor people in our country which has to endure and go through so much hardship. This is indeed a sad reality. We really have to appreciate what we have and don't ever take things for granted or spend money unnecessarily or excessively. We are fortunate cos we don't have to endure such hardship to gain knowledge. We have to be grateful for the comforts we have, and things that our parents provide us when we were small. There are lots of people out there who like to complain and grumble over small things and complaining that life is unfair and unjust. They never realised they are lucky and blessed with bundle of blessing. There are so many people out there who are suffering on a daily basis. I guess this will stir up our thoughts and most of us will look at life differently after we read this. And I do really hope the government will do something for the welfare of the poor citizens in the rural area.


carcar said...

ya, this remind me of a quote i heard before..if you complain you do not have nice shoe, think about those who has no leg...
learn to be contented to what we have, and not focus on what we do not have...
thanks for the news, indeed it is a life application story to all of us.

chiehchee said...

Ya, sad to heard how dangerously they have to come across for school, this remmind me of the same thing I experience years ago, when I need to walk 3-4km to reached school, but tell you I always enjoy the walk, across the village, river, rubber tree forest, fruit farm...this is what I done everyday, and those places have gone due to rapid development of our country....maybe for people who saw me everyday will think that it's a bit sad to look at what happen, but for me, I feel nothing, so this might happen to them too. I think what need to be done is people realize that the danger and time consuming it's to be needing to do so.

Robin said...

Yes, indeed surprising for such things to happen in Malaysia.

But then again have you been to East Malaysia.. I have, it is a Santa Forsaken, God Forgotten place.

Sad but true... Malaysian Boleh?

Winn said...

ouch it's so sad to read abt that 2 gals. We are so fortune to never have to go thru such predicament last time. All we worried abt were exams & play time.

i admire they courages anyway. young and strong-will

day-dreamer said...

How saddening. Sometimes I use these stories to remind myself of how lucky I am now.

May God bless the two poor little girls!

Happysurfer said...

I dislike reading about such things. They get me emotional but the truth hurts. I can only empathise with them and hope things get better for them. Chen, thanks for sharing this.

Alicia said...

wow.. ~.~ i admire their courage and effort to go to school ...

Chen said...

what u mention is very true.
This is something that I should always remind myself..

Woh.. u need to go through so much hardship to go to school in the past as well?
I don't know whether I have the determination to continue on schooling if previously I'm in your position.
I walk to school as well during my primary and secondary school time, but my school is quite near by, less than 1 km.

robin, robin, my dear robin..
how can I haven't been to east malaysia?
I'm a East Malaysian or Sarawakian ~ born, grow up, had my primary and secondary education in Sarawak..
More than 2 decades of my life is spend in Sarawak...
It's not to the extend of Santa Forsaken, God Forgotten place lah..
This might only applicable to the rural area deep inside the jungle...

Winn, Alicia and day dreamer
Yeah, I do admire their courage ,strong will and strong determination..
I don't know whether I will continue to go to school if this is what I need to endure previously..

Hope their strong will and determination will change their future and the coming generation will enjoy better life.

Godknows said...

Thanks for dropping by my web, The reality is always bring both happiness and sadness but I think we all have acept it

izchan said...

my comment is going to sound harsh.
but you guys think that Malaysia is what? We have so many of these people right here everyday.

I come from a small town. Not that small but small enough. And there are plenty more people who live poorly. Maybe not hiking to school poor but still poor. Roof leaks when it rains. Food is not as abundant as our own. They all live in hardship.

Sometimes, we become so metropolitonize that we assume that Malaysia is inside KL City. Not everything is brightlight and tube tops.

Ok ... sorry if I sound like an ass, but its something that I take to heart quite seriously. Why else would I pray through every meal thanking for the food in front of me? I am lucky to be eating at all.

FH2O said...

whenever i read things like this; i count my blessings.

Chen said...

Sad truth..

Cool down, dude :)
I came from a small town as well, a small town in Sarawak.
I know what u mean...
I do believe most of us do realise there are plenty of poor people around and I have seen with my own eyes (but not to the extreme like the two girls in this case)..
I have friend from poor family (in my hometown) whereby the parents can only afford to rent a small room for the whole family to stay in.. (a family of five to six people). This condition continues for several years till the kids enter secondary school;

And during my undergraduate time, we have pay visits to plenty village houses and poor families who live in poverty, but at least those villages still have primary school inside the village. So at least those school children have the priviledge to attend school and receive proper education without much obstacles.

Those who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth will never realise how lucky they are.

Yeah, that's true.

Cynthia said...

Im sooo sorry for those kids. Honestly, Msian G-man gotta work hard alot for everyone.

Blackwidow said...

These two girls' route to education is tough, but they are the richest from this experience.

yvy said...

i was VERY worried for them when i saw this in the papers. with the number of rapes going up, these girls are in danger too. :(

Sam I Am said...

admire their courage .so very sad,

Chen said...

Cynthia,Blackwidow and Sam I Am,
Their courage ,strong will and strong determination..
Hope they will succeed in lives.

What u say is true. Their health (walking bare foot for such a long distance on rocks and muddy areas etc) and safety is another issue.. Keep fingers crossed.

Furkids In Hong Kong said...

Sad indeed. I too worry for their safety especially now that they're 'in the limelight'.

Part of my childhood was spent in poverty, and because of that I've learnt to never take things for granted and to love whatever I have - as I'm sure these two brave children will do too in their future.

Wishing them the best. And if you should ever find out more about them in the future - keep us updated!


Chen said...

furkids in HK,
I will keep u all updated if I have latest news about them.

Shackks said...

these is one of the instant of the world ironies which we come across everyday.

Those who are rich are never contented and forever complaining for not having enuff $$ yet the poor are contented with wat they had.

Hopefully, something can be done to these populations so that they too have a chance to live in a better condition.

fred said...

seem that some people might think that shocking. to me it is nothing to be shocked... here In Sarawak or my hometown Sarikei. that seem to be a routine for some of the students.not me though... I only walk for like 1 km...

Even my mum share the same experience when she was a kid. walking early in the morning, oh... even my dad a share of experience walking early in the morning going up the hills bare footed and using torchlight and not forgetting the grave yard they need to pass on the way to school... not to forget the day when communism is still around... scary huh?

from the look of it this children is enjoying life more... with the great river flowing and the un spoiled enviroment..

so for those in the city who use BAS SEKOLAH to school stop complaining and appriciate what you have. ;)

ok ok just my 2 cents

Chen said...

That's true.

yeah, u mention the situations during the early days ~ your mum and your dad's days..
I walked to school previously as well, during my primary and secondary school days in Sarikei.
But situations has changed over the last few years or at least in the last few decades...
It's good that the living standard has improved in Sarikei.
More people can afford cars and motorbikes or if not, at least bicycles :)
And u have your motorbike/car as well :D
Hope the situation will improve for those unfortunate ones in the rural area.
It's important for them to get proper education, and to upgrade the living standard for their future generations.

Pandabonium said...

Regardless of comparisons, this post makes us think of others. The fact that we each read this blog indicates a lot about our condition.

Thank you Chen, for getting us all to reflect on things in our lives we should be grateful for, and encourage us to do something for others less fortunate.

We like to think we are the masters of our own fate, but what if I had been born in, oh, say, Somalia, instead of the United States? We need to let go of ego and live life with gratitude. (in my humble opinion).