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‘Don’t scold me, Chinese New Year comes by once a year, don’t scold me’

 | January 28, 2017

For 200 homeless or poor, a safe place, a warm meal at a halfway house this morning away from those who judge them.


KUALA LUMPUR: The 45-year-old flashed an impish grin the moment the lion dance burst into loud action. It was something Yong Yen Hoi had been looking forward to since this morning.

And you could see that for that brief moment, his troubles seemed behind him.

Jobless and homeless, it was also the first time Yong was celebrating Chinese New Year without his family.

“I’m not ready to see my family just yet. They will ask too many questions and I don’t want to be scolded. Chinese New Year comes once a year and I don’t want to be scolded.

“Maybe I’ll visit them next year,” the former cook told FMT.

But Yong, who is one of four children, wasn’t alone today.

He was among the 200 that showed up at a Chinese New Year open house organised by Institut Onn Ja’afar, an NGO, at a half-way house in the heart of the city called, Pusat Transit Gelandangan.

Apart from the Lion Dance, which proved to be an instant hit with the children, those who turned up were also treated to a buffet provided by Parkroyal KL.

The hotel and institute also handed out Ang Pows, a traditional red packet with cash, to the guests.

The three-year-old Institut Onn Ja’afar helps the poor and underprivileged by mobilising university students as volunteers.

Today’s event saw about 15 volunteers from several universities turn up to spend time with the homeless and less fortunate.

One such volunteer was Dina Hasbullah, an international business student from UniKL who loves to spend her free time helping the needy.

Having taken part in several initiatives, including with the institute, she is a familiar face among the many here and that for Dina, is the best reward.

“When you see them happy or they recognise you, especially if it is a kid, that is where the satisfaction is at.”


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