PEOPLE often say that those involved in community work and non-profit organisations are senior citizens and mostly retirees. It is often believed that these are the group of people who have more time in their hands to give back to society in their twilight years. Meet Muhammad Fiaznan bin Mahyiddin @Yap Beng Hoo our local community leader from USJ11 who has dived into community service at an early age of 24. His involvement like many others his age has thrown the myth out the window. SJECHO caught up with him recently to find out why he has started his journey in community service at a “tender age”.

Being single and earning his keep in the private sector, Fiaz as we fondly call him is a man who is building his career in finance.

  1. What motivated you to get involved in community work which many in your age group avoid because of work commitments and other pursuits?

I’m naturally outgoing. Back in my university days, I was actively involved in the student council. But when it comes to my involvement in community work, this largely comes from my parents’ encouragement. They’ve seen how active I’ve been back then, and they saw the potential of me bringing the neighbours together to unite and get to know each other more. But most importantly, it is for us to be able to convey any vital information in the community immediately.

  1. What is your best takeaway experience in community work? Give us one unforgettable experience.

Finally after so long, the neighbours are getting to know one another more instead of just exchanging the normal greetings with each other.

  1. During the recent floods, you were actively involved in distributing aid to victims around Subang Jaya. Tell us what you saw and felt.

The recent flood unites all people together regardless of religion and race. We become one and everyone is willing to render assistance through any means possible to the flood victims to overcome this challenging period together.

  1. Are there more young working adults like you in your circle of friends who are involved in community work? What would you do to encourage them to get their hands dirty in their own neighbourhoods?

Yes there are. However their involvements are more towards NGOs.

  1. You are probably the youngest member in MPP Zone 3. How does it feel like working with so many other community leaders who are much older than you?

It’s a new experience as I get to know the leaders from other residential areas and it feels like family. Although we might have different opinions and thoughts on certain issues but our goal remains the same that is to resolve the issues that our communities are facing.  Also, I’m able to see life in a different perspective as I work with them.

  1. Is handling community issues your cup of tea? Have you had any unforgettable bad experiences handling the community and their issues which seem to be never ending?

It is a continuous learning process for me and at the end of the day we just want to find the best solution for everyone. The unforgettable one wasn’t bad but funny I must say. When I first wanted to bring all the residents together in my neighborhood, I started off with visiting their houses one by one; knocking on doors one after another. But more often than not, its either they slammed the door thinking that I’m a salesman and maybe some sort of foreigner asking for donation or they would just refuse to communicate. This however is understandable as nowadays, people are becoming more cautious of strangers to avoid any possible danger towards them. Without proper identification as officials from the residents association, it is challenging to obtain their phone number and all I had to rely on was my soft skills to convince them that I am their legit fellow neighbour living in the same area as them.

  1. What’s your advise to young working adults like you who are contemplating getting involved in community work but are hesitant?

Break the barriers among us as life is not just 9-5. Though we all struggle with limitations it is never too late to start getting involved in our own community.