February 5, 2013

Being Angelina Jolie

Kalau bukan tentang bibir dia, mesti tentang kerja amal.
If not because of her lips, it must be because of the many charity works that she has done. 

I feel like Angelina Jolie. 
For the second reason, though. I don't have lips like those...

Well recently, I volunteered for WWF Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature). They were having an outreach for Orang Asli @ indigenous people in Malaysia and needed volunteers to assist them. I must say I'm not a newbie in volunteering but it was my first time volunteering for WWF. I've volunteered twice for MYCAT (Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers) before. So basically, I've volunteered only 3 times. Not Angelina Jolie enough, huh? Hahah...

Unlike the outreaches conducted by MYCAT, this one by WWF was a tad different. Instead of approaching locals to give awareness on the wildlife, WWF organized an event for them while at the same time give awareness to them on the wildlife. A bigger challenge, I must say.

Instill awareness + organize event

So, as a volunteer, I assisted in organizing games like soccer (it's their favourite!), cooking (cook rice in a bamboo shoot), menyumpit (bamboo shooting), menganyam (weaving), tarik tali (tug of war), and musical chair. 

The soccer match was held in a league format. The final was held on the day in which all the games took place. The event was held on Thursday, but we visited the settlement on Tuesday and Wednesday too, to set up the place.

Well basically I was the VERY first volunteer to arrive. I came with the WWF staffs on Monday and hence I got a hotel room to myself, on my own. The other volunteers only arrived the next day, on Tuesday evening. I didn't enjoy the Monday night, but the next morning I was reaaaally lucky to get to see a herd of ELEPHANTS! Look out for the elephants! (And thus, I'm asked to write for the WWF bulletin, Green Heart, on my experience)

During my internship at the zoo, I did get to see elephants but it was my first time seeing them in the wild. And really, they do look better in the wild. A more proper habitat, like they should be :)

Cut things short, it was indeed a life changing experience. Mingling around with the Orang Asli, I believe I've underestimated them. A LOT. I actually imagined them still in improper clothes. I know I'm such a bad, typical, city girl to think like that.

What surprised me the most was their spirit in soccer. We organized a soccer game for them, and really, I didn't expect them to have proper attire. I was wrong. WRONG. They have their own team jerseys, with their names written at the back. And... They even warm-up before playing! I'm a sports science student and thus seeing these indigenous people warming up leaves me in awe. Come on, they live in the forest and yet they know the importance of warming up.

They played 7-side. 7 sebelah.

I was in charge of the registration and I believe I couldn't have asked for a better task. That was when I found out more about the indigenous people. Their names, their villages, their attitudes... Kampung Raba, Kampung Banun, Desaria, Kampung Damai... The elder generations still had names like Angeni, Peah, Itam, but the younger generations had modern names like Tasha, Nurain... 

Concluding it all, it was really an eye-opener. I went back home with a new perspective in life. Modernization. Education. But other than that I came back with a new question. Modernization or tradition? Most of them didn't know how to cook rice in a bamboo shoot already ever since they had electricity. So which one? To preserve tradition or just move on with modernization?

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