THE PEACE AND
A decisive phase in the battle against various insurgencies may have finally arrived
IATTENDED a talk mid-week in Kuching by Sarawak-born economist, Wee Ai Chin, who spent most of her career with the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and the Manilabased Asian Development Bank, and who is now passionate about her association with the Magsaysay-awarded outfit, Gawad Kalinga and its projects, turning destitute Filipino families into social entrepreneurs.
A lifetime spent mostly abroad has obviously imbued in Wee, lately, an understandable yearning to put her invaluable work experiences to some use, giving back to her home state. But what and how, exactly, to contribute may be the pertinent question for her, back home.
It is, of course, not as if we face no poverty in Sarawak or in Malaysia. Pockets of poverty exist in even the most economically advanced countries.
But the follow-up discussions after the talk revealed, perhaps, an altogether different set of challenges that exist here than in, say, the Philippines, for those who may consider it their lifework or a worthwhile and serious voluntary past-time to work on behalf of the poor.
There is said to be general apathy coming from some targeted groups.
Others felt it is best to leave it all to government. My general sense is that even among our poor, there are a rather spoilt and picky bunch — with a certain luxury of choice, even of who they prefer to help them!
No such luck apparently for the poor in the Philippines. Wee spoke of how Gawad Kalinga does not exactly pick who it works with and for.
Those poor it helps are “selfpicked”, meaning they must show an initial aptitude to want to be helped.
There appears plenty who want to be helped. Those without such aptitude are left to their own devices, and misery.
Which probably begs the question: why are there so many — of the poor, that is in the Philippines?
The country has rich volcanic soils, the pick of minerals beneath them and equally rich fisheries in the seas covering the archipelago of over 7,000 islands. And Filipino workers are prized for their diligence and talents all across the globe.
An answer may have arrived
Filipino soldiers taking their position following reports of alleged fresh clashes between government troops and rebels in Marawi City, Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, yesterday.