Commander Thaya ended his three part INTERVIEW with Hindraf’s Uthayakumar thus:
“In the end if we (and by we, I mean Pakatan) win this election and the marginalised Indian poor are overlooked for a variety of reasons, those poor unfortunate souls can rest assured, that Uthayakumar, will never forget them, and will never stop fighting for them, no matter who the opponent is.”
My personal pledge: Include me in this fight no matter who the opponent is. I lived in Sentul and taught there for 10years 8 months. I knew how my Indian students lived. I was dissuaded by a former student from taking part in the HIndraf Rally because it was led by Uthyakumar. I retorted that I was not joining Uthyakumar but the marginalized abject poor that I remember in Sentul…..so poor that RM2 for school fees was too demanding. I joined the Rally to salute the parents of my students who strived through adversities all those years.
They were poor but their Sentul parents (laborers, mandores, clerks, mechanics, at Jalan Strachan railway yard) made sure that the kids never got tagged with the “you pitiful poor sod” tag. They were poor BUT they did not know that they were POOR. The Sentul Indian parents held sacred their self-respect….give the child his right to education even if two brothers had to share school shoes….the afternoon session brother coming in early in flops, and exchange shoes when the bell rang for dismissal.
At reunion gatherings I beam with pride when I hear about them owning their own houses and taking their aged parents out of Sentul. I reminded them of the abidingness, bravery, endurance, indefatigability, indomitability, patience, perseverance, persistence, staying power and stamina, their parents’ survivability and tenacity that saw them through grips of hopelessness. I am often asked at such gatherings how come I have not received any recognition or awards. “You all are living testimonies of the awards. I need no less.”
My Pa was an ordinary CEB (later LNN and now Tenaga) meter reader. My Mum sold cinema tickets at Carlton Cinema before she joined the British Army as clerk-typist. My Pa held three jobs, the last saw him closing the accounts at Coronation Park at midnight before cycling home to 729 Jalan Pauh, Assam Kumbang. He too did not want my brother and I then to believe that we were poor. He bought us Beano, Dandy, Captain Marvel and Superman comics and Enib Blyton. He bought us Monopoly and Meccano sets. Being deprived of the necessities, he believed would be detrimental to our development. He gave us the best he could afford. That money could not buy – self-respect. I MISS YOU, PA. That is why I can empathise with the LESS FORTUNATE and Pakatan bloody well do the same if they know what is good for them!