Friday, January 05, 2007

A Sad Reminder of Poverty in Malaysia for Lulu

My father was a government servant until he was 40, then he left for the private sector. With a stay at home wife and 5 daughters, the family was never rich. But we were never poor either. I have always taken going to school as part and parcel of my life. Without having to worry about anything, come the first week of Jan would be the start of a new year in school. Schooling and getting an education was not just taken for granted, but also expected for these five girls.
WHen I read this from Malaysiakini, it made me feel real sad. A 12 year old boy hanged himself when he could not raise the money to pay his school fees.

Boy hangs himself over school fees
Jan
5, 07 1:10pm
Twelve-year-old Daniel Boniface ended his life yesterday when he could not raise the money to pay his school fees.
His sister found the standard six pupil hanging in their house in Miri, Sarawak, at about 5.30pm.
He was then rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead.
The boy’s uncle, who declined to be identified, told Bernama that he saw Daniel last at about 3.45pm.
Prior to this, he said the boy, who is the youngest among five siblings, had asked his mother for money to pay his school fees.
His mother, who is separated from her husband and works as an office cleaner, told Daniel that she could not afford it.
According to the uncle, the boy then contacted his father who lives in Mukah. However, Daniel was scolded when he asked for the money.
The boy then turned to his grandmother for help. She too scolded him and told Daniel to quit school and look for a job since he could not afford to study.
A Miri police spokesperson confirmed receiving a report on the incident last night.
It's not just the school fees. Its the sad tale of real life poverty in Malaysia, where children are expected to go out to work not just because the family cannot afford to send them to school but also because they need the money to get past the day.

The NST features the La Salle brothers who provide hope for children like these.
Hostel a shining star for rural kids
05 Jan 2007
NABAWAN: Brother Peter Phelan was spot on when he chose the name Butitin Hostel for the children’s home that he began here 15 years ago. The hostel has lived up to its name, which means "star" in Murut, by shining its light on scores of children in this interior district since 1991.
Thanks to the De La Salle brother, many have gone on to become teachers, soldiers, policemen and nurses to improve the socio-economic standard of the rural families in the area.
He said parents of boarders at the hostel are charged RM10 a month "but some cannot afford even this amount".
The hostel operates on donations besides using vegetables and fish from its property.

if you want to make a contribution, their contact is
Brother Peter Richard Phelan
Brother Jaikul Egbertus Severinus (HP: 013-8664027)
ASRAMA BUTITIN, NABAWAN
P.O.Box 4389957 Nabawan
Sabah Malaysia
Tel: +6087 366 369
E-Mail: egbjs147@tm.net.my
http://www.lasallesacredheart.org/delasalle/Butitin/index.htm

4 comments:

yenchiew said...

that news broke my heart too..
especially such a young fella..

Anonymous said...

Question in STPM 2007 Pengajian Am Paper (translated)

Who the hell would pay RM15 million for a company worth only RM700,000?

A.Abdul Razak Baginda
B.Daniel Boniface before he hanged himself
C.BolehLand's EPF
D.Saddam Hussein before he was hanged

Anonymous said...

There's a gigantic Cyclop eye in KL to watch out for the tourist $$$$ but not one to notice a nobody Boniface.

~wits0~

desiderata said...

lulu:

thank Q for being a source of ERRATA at Desi's Place -- I'd send over a golden
-- Salute, bow head, from "humbled" Mousey poor writHer awe the way from Furong boondocks, where never is heard a MISS-couraging word...