EDITORIAL: Be More Inclusive in Organising Community Events

2023 is HERE! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to have a change of mindsets. It gives us the motivation to relook at what inadequacies we encountered in the year that was; and rethink what else we may have missed out.

Subang Jaya in 2022 has been promoting inclusiveness in its agenda. Over the last year, we have had more recreation areas made available for the use of people with special needs. More infrastructure to include those with special needs have been introduced by the Subang Jaya City Council under the stewardship of its mayor Datuk Johary Anuar. This is good.

What Can We Do Better this Year?

Subang Jaya is a township which is multi-racial and as such, facilities and even activities should be planned to be inclusive of this fact. Initiatives and activities organised by MBSJ or even communities should reflect this.

Food trucks and Food & Beverage booths at events for example should offer a multi-racial mix to attract the different groups of people from Subang Jaya. Inclusiveness means making an effort to include the different flavours of the community. If by some oversight we forget this, we will land up with a white elephant sooner or later.

Over 2022, I have mentioned indirectly and even directly to event organisers or business owners that they need to include a multi-racial mix of attractions to be able to draw the multi-racial Subang Jaya crowd. Most of the time, these event organisers will nod their head in agreement but nothing else comes out of it eventually.

I personally head over to an open air dining area to lepak with friends because I have something that attracts me there. I get to order my Nescafe Ais and my platter of authentic Penang Rojak Buah. Perhaps if I am feeling hungry I might order something from the Malay stalls that offer burgers, keropok lekor, satay etc.Β  If the place was without the rojak booth, I probably won’t be heading over that often.

Inclusiveness on this, needs major attention. Learn from our fellow Sabahans and Sarawakians. Their food courts offer so many varieties of Halal and Non-Halal food all under the same roof.

Introduce Pet Friendly Events and Facilities for Subang Jaya

I mentioned this once as an idea for the monthly MBSJ Car Free Day several months ago but until now, no one has actually approached me for ideas on how to get this off the ground.

I had suggested that we include a pet-friendly walk for owners to bring their pets out as an activity. Many pet owners would love to bring their pets out on a Sunday morning. Imagine pet owners bringing their dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters or even a goldfish (in a bowl) out for the activity. Wouldn’t that be nice?

As event organisers, we should not stick our heads in the goldfish bowl and be happy with the tunnel vision. Be visionary; be daring and most of all, listen to the needs on the ground.

It is time for pet owners to be included in the inclusiveness vision we have for Subang Jaya. They should not be shunned or left out. There are already many successful initiatives within the Klang Valley which are pet friendly and Subang Jaya should follow suit and make it even more encouraging.

Public parks should be made more accessible to pet owners. Set the rules and regulations but do not bar them from using these facilities. This inclusiveness will eventually create more awareness on responsible pet ownership and care; and help tackle the problems of pet abandonment.

The New Year provides us an opportunity to turn around and learn from our shortcomings in the year before. It should provide us the opportunity to listen more to the needs on the ground and not just what you think is the safest option to your convenience.

Let’s have a Good Inclusive Year ahead.

Last but not least, GONG XI FA CAI to everyone as we celebrate Chinese New Year together as Malaysians on January 22.