COMMUNITY service has been running through my veins and this has culminated in decades of work to help the less fortunate and those who had been sidelined. Recipients are not necessarily “inferior to us and begging for assistance” but they may just need a helping hand to get on the right path.

Community work is humbling to say the least. The desire to help comes from deep within our soul – to give, to assist and to extend a helping hand without expecting anything in return. I feel rewarded when I receive a smile or just a simple “Terima Kasih”.

I have had the privilege to work shoulder-to-shoulder with and continue to work with many likeminded individuals who share the same principles of community service. The principle of “I ask to help others and not myself” is one of my guiding lights in community service. I ask without feeling shy if it’s to help others who are in need; but fumble when it is I who needs help sometimes.

Being a community leader comes with a heavy responsibility of representing the people who put you there in the first place. You are accountable to the people. You do not have the free reins to do as you wish and abandon the whole idea of why you are there in the first place – to serve the community.

No amount of selfies to show you at events will justify the things you do wrongly when you have strayed from the path of community service. No man is an island; and in community service, unity is strength. No one has succeeded in community service by the principles of “divide and rule”.

Pride and prejudice have to be discarded if you want to do community service. You think of the people you serve; you think of the people who work with you and the last thing you think about is you. Pride comes before a fall; and prejudice makes you more enemies than friends.

As the black strands of hair become less in a greying crown, I spend a bit of time observing people around me. I begin to hone my skills to tell a genuine Rolex from the fake ones sold at pasar malams. What I see and feel sometimes sends shudders down my spine. But I remain silent because I believe that if I can see it, others will too.

As community leaders we are expected to be more forgiving and selfless. How else can we be, faced with the torrent of expectations (sometimes ridiculous ones) from the community? We have to learn to say “Sorry. My Bad” and move on. We are supposed to treat the “wounds” not aggravate it. A good leader leads by example without pride and prejudice or malice. He mends bridges not tear them down.

Perhaps some may feel offended or rocked by what I have jotted down above. I am sorry. But if you think you feel me, it’s time to change your ways and prove to yourself that you can be better at serving the community.

Half a year has passed in 2022. We are already now in June; after having spent May celebrating Hari Raya with friends all over Subang Jaya. It was good to meet up with friends we have not had the chance to meet over the last two years because of the pandemic and the numerous movement control orders. It felt good to be able to share a meal with friends around Subang Jaya at the various Hari Raya gatherings.

There’s a lot that needs to be done this year. If Subang Jaya is Truly Kita Punya, we need all hands on board steering the ship in the same direction. Together We Stand; Divided We Fall (and Fail).

Join me to build bridges…