The cho­sen ones

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

SE­LECT­ING vol­un­teers for KL 2017 wasn’t a prob­lem as the sec­re­tariat re­ceived an over­whelm­ing num­ber of ap­pli­cants.

“Peo­ple vol­un­teer be­cause they want to help. We have vol­un­teers from all ages and all back­grounds.

“Many of our older vol­un­teers have had ex­pe­ri­ence vol­un­teer­ing at such events be­fore and keep do­ing it be­cause they want to serve the coun­try again and again.

“The younger ones want the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They want to be part of a large, in­ter­na­tional event. They are ex­cited to be able to see the Games, to be in­volved in its op­er­a­tions and meet the ath­letes. But at the end of it all, ev­ery­one en­joys them­selves.

“Af­ter all, this isn’t a chance you can get all the time. The next time Malaysia will host the SEA Games is in 22 years. They may not be able to vol­un­teer again ... this is the chance of a life­time. Well, for Jaswant, it’s the sec­ond chance of a life­time,” says Mohd Sai­ful Nizam Mohd Anuar.

Any­one over 16 can be a vol­un­teer as long as they are healthy and will­ing to work.

“There is a min­i­mum age to vol­un­teer but there is no max­i­mum. Our old­est vol­un­teer is 82 years old and he is fit and just as able as the younger ones,” says Mohd Sai­ful.

All vol­un­teers, how­ever, had to go through a back­ground check by the Royal Malaysian Po­lice (PDRM) to make sure that they do not have a crim­i­nal record.

“We had to sub­mit the names of all 13,000 vol­un­teers to PDRM for se­cu­rity clear­ance. Se­cu­rity is the big­gest pri­or­ity for Kuala Lumpur 2017. Ev­ery­one passed, thank­fully, and so far, the group of vol­un­teers is all very en­thu­si­as­tic and they seem very ded­i­cated.

“I am par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by our se­nior ci­ti­zen vol­un­teers who are re­ally an in­spi­ra­tion to all of us. Many peo­ple think that this job is for young­sters but th­ese se­niors are prov­ing that it’s never too late to serve the coun­try and be a part of an event like this. They are the most en­thu­si­as­tic of the lot,” he says.

Apart from screen­ing by the po­lice, the sec­re­tariat also goes through the ap­pli­ca­tions of the vol­un­teers to as­sign them jobs which are most suit­able for them.

“Those with med­i­cal back­ground will be as­signed to the med­i­cal com­mit­tee. Oth­ers may have ex­pe­ri­ence in a par­tic­u­lar sport and so they may be as­signed to those sports. It’s im­por­tant be­cause they will be able to guide the other vol­un­teers in the team should they need any as­sis­tance,” ex­plains Sai­ful.

Vol­un­teers are given a daily food allowance of RM50. They also get an of­fi­cial vol­un­teer T-shirt, pants and cap and a cer­tifi­cate of par­tic­i­pa­tion as well as in­sur­ance cov­er­age. Vol­un­teers are gen­er­ally ex­pected to work for eight hours a day, although their sched­ules de­pend on the na­ture of their as­signed jobs.

“Those who are in the li­ai­son com­mit­tee and have to wel­come the del­e­ga­tions may have to work very early or late, de­pend­ing on the flight ar­rivals. Some games take place in the after­noon and fin­ish late in the evening. So it re­ally de­pends. But each group has a des­ig­nated leader and if they are un­well or need some help, they can ap­proach their leader who will help them out,” says Mohd Sai­ful.

“We must not ask what our coun­try can do for us. It’s what we can do for our coun­try. Like­wise, we should not go in ex­pect­ing to get any­thing in re­turn. We should vol­un­teer, want­ing to do our best. If you’re tired, oth­ers will be there to help you but when you are able, you have to give it your best. Make the 29th SEA Games a suc­cess. That is our role,” says veteran vol­un­teer Jaswant Singh In­der Singh.

‘Peo­ple vol­un­teer be­cause they want to help,’ says Mohd Sai­ful.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.