Thursday, January 11, 2007

Water Goddess

Being a victim of Highland Towers over 13 years ago, I know what it's like to lose EVERYTHING!

On that fateful day, December 11th 1993, my brother, father and I were out of the apartment but my mother and sister were at home. The story as they have told me is that my mother heard a massive thunder like sound and she still doesn't know why, but she grabbed my sister and ran out of our 3rd floor apartment to the ground level. The ground in the carpark had buckled and my mother knew that something was VERY WRONG.... Her instincts drove her to grab my sister again and run out of the building. A few seconds later.... they turned around to see the building falling....

my mother and sister survived the collapse by a matter of seconds....

yes, we lived in Block 1, the building that fell...

My family were homeless, without any of our legal documents (birth certificate etc...) and I cannot even begin to describe the helplessness one feels when you are in that situation....

Imagine having no spare clothes. all you've got is what you're wearing. You may have money in a bank account, but no way of proving that it's yours cause you have no legal documents.

I don't have to imagine.... My family and I were in that situation...

But it is in your darkest hour of need that you see the angels in people. SO MANY people came forward to help my family and other Highland Towers victims.

I went to school after the tragedy in a t-shirt and pants borrowed from a relative. Immediately my school friends and teachers came together to help. I was given some new school clothes, shoes, socks, bag and pencil case by a classmate. Money was also raised and donated to my family to help us get us back on our feet again.

It's a very humbling experience to be on the receiving end of charity.

The Pan Pacific Hotel provided us free hotel accommodation for a month. In that time after the tragedy, of course as most Malaysians remember it was all over the newspapers and all anybody could talk about. I remember these two women who were travelling around Malaysia and staying at the Pan Pacific who came to see my family before they left with a bag full of basic amenities.. eg shampoo, conditioner, soap.... I tell you, you don't realise how much you take these basic items for granted when you don't have them!!!!

I remember my mother asking these two women, "Thank you so much... you don't have to do this. Why are you doing this for us?"

The reply I will never forget..." Because we don't know when it's our turn to lose everything. Nothing in life is guaranteed..."..... as I write this I can still remember her face...

And she is so right. NOTHING in life is guaranteed.... I can tell you from real experience, what you have right now, you may not have in a few hours....

Come Christmas Day, a nameless human angel donated barbie dolls for all the girls and toy cars for the boys who were victims of Highland Towers as Christmas presents.... and I still have that barbie doll 13 years later.... I keep it to remind me that all it took was someone's generosity and most of all, thoughfullness to put a smile on so many childrens faces....

Whenever tragedies like the recents floods happens, I am very quickly reminded yet again of that helpless feeling and relying on the good will and generosity of others to help you.

So when Sabera Shaik of Masakini Theatre contacted me to be involved in a charity bazaar at Bangsar Village on the 3rd and 4th of February called 'Bangsar in The Village" I jumped at the opportunity to contribute.

You loyal readers of my blog know that I enjoy painting and that Mr Manager (www.mrmanager.blogspot.com) has two of my paintings which I gave to him. Towards the end of least year, I remember telling him that I would like to donate paintings for charity. It's one of my new year resolutions for 2007. I'm very happy that I've managed to fulfil this resolution so early on in the year!

I painted my 'Water Goddess' painting especially for this charity and it is being sold via silent auction. The organisers have decided on a starting bid of RM 1000.

If you would like to bid on the painting, please feel free to email Sabera Shaik at masakini.theatre@gmail.com

Spread the word about this bazaar where you can find all kinds of things!

I will be there at some point. I will inform you which day and time.... do come and don't be shy or afraid to come up and say hi to me and introduce yourselves.... I don't eat humans!

In the meantime, I thank God everyday for what I have...

12 comments:

mimi said...

water godness was soo inspiring!!!! cant believe its paint by u..

really looking forward to see ur other paintings

Anonymous said...

I notice all your paintings look alike. Why is that? Afraid to venture out perhaps?

Kash E.D. said...

sha,

i cuma mampu baca sekerat je part of ur story then i turn to cry. mmg tak sanggup nak bayangkan how susah masa that kejadian tu kan.

sorry frm me kay...

all the best to yu sweety!

regards,
kash

Red Mummy said...

hey! as usual yr silent reader terpaksa speak out coz of the story of Nothing in life is guaranteed!


very meaningful, indeed.

Kak Red here.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea how many sites i'd find on this subject. Seems a little odd but i'm glad. here's mine -> fireplace glass

Mark said...

Hi! Sasha,
It is very touching and my tears roll down when i read about ur experience in highland tower.In life there is no guaranteed but in GOD there is guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

hey i m a victim of highland tower 2.it so meaning full after reading ur blog.

Kehuna said...

Like your painting -- it is beautiful

Steve Chua said...

Hey, sasha.I saw an article about you in The Star paper today and I decided to visit your blog. It is indeed very interesting to read about u and how much you had accomplished despite your simple personality. Take care, Steve.

Azzir RizzaL said...

i was moved by your reminiscence of the highland tower incident.quite often when i looked into your eyes,i guess it tells u have been thru hardship with courage but most of all,your beauty lies in your eyes.

zamil said...

Life is like a ferris wheel. One time you can be at the top with everything you need and the next you could be at the bottom with nothing left. Life is soo uncertain. You'll never know what happens next.

Faiz Naquiddin Abd Lataf said...

Greetings Sasha.. I just got to watch the documentary of the tragedy on History Channel yesterday. Google some info on it and tumbled upon your blog.. though I was not there when it happened, your story moved me.. you were right, all the little things we took for granted in life without realising it is so much precious for us.. Syukur Alhamdulillah.