“When I was a little girl, me and my siblings would stage a little theater at home during school holidays and charge our parents for it…”

“We would play the piano, do a dance routine, perform a comedy act and even culminate a stage play. I would then gather all the money in an envelope, give it to my father and said ‘Can you please give this to charity?’

My father was a socialist, so he always wanted to help the underprivileged. We were brought up thinking about other people. My grandfather came to Malaysia from Kerala, India, which was the first communist state in the world. In Kerala, there is a 100{eb97150a49149dc6c9e8165e90f1c9129bb6172e02a598b4264a1fc329d7d5bc} literacy rate and 0{eb97150a49149dc6c9e8165e90f1c9129bb6172e02a598b4264a1fc329d7d5bc} child mortality rate.

My father used to run a clinic on the ground floor of low cost flats (PPR – Program Perumahan Rakyat), so I spent quite a bit of time there growing up. In a way, I understand what life must be like for them. 

Low cost flats was a very dangerous place. There were a lot of gangsters and drug dealers, but somehow I felt safe there. The clinic was never raided, damaged or destroyed. I think its because they have a code – to look after their own. Since my father looked after them, they would look after him in return too.

I remember, one day, a girl frantically came running down and said, ‘My friend is delivering a baby upstairs now, can someone please help her? I don’t know who to tell or what to do.’ 

So my dad and the nurse ran upstairs. This pregnant teenage girl had locked herself in her home, so my dad couldn’t get in. Virtually, the whole neighbourhood tried to break into her house to help her. Eventually, they called the locksmith and managed to get in and help her deliver in time.

Unwanted pregnancies, especially amongst Muslim teenage girls is a very stressful experience for them, so they tried their best to hide it. That’s just one of the stories in these low cost flats. Everyday, there’s a new story. That’s just how life is there.

Aside from my corporate job, I run the DiverseCity Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival (KLIAF) on a voluntary basis. As part of our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), we conducted art and culture programmes with kids from the Flat Seri Tioman, also a PPR (Projek Perumahan Rakyat/low cost flats like the one I grew up in. 

It was held during the whole month of September, where we had photography workshops, public speaking classes, film screenings, community theatres,and dance shows. 

The kids have taught us so much, and one of the things I’ve learnt from them, is dignity. In a survey we did, we asked how many of them have received BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia – government financial assistance). Most of them answered no, which was a surprise to us. When we asked them why, they said its because they don’t want to be a burden to the government. 

Can you believe that? Even if its RM500 a year, they’d rather be financially independent. They don’t want handouts. Maybe they are blessed just to be so grateful, and that’s something we can all learn from.”

– Humans of Kuala Lumpur

Photostory by Amalina Davis and Mushamir Mustafa— at Carcosa Seri Negara.

Do you have a story? Let us know here: https://forms.gle/ht4HsvbxgSgcKS5h8

(This post was first published on November 11th 2018)

Hey all! This is Mushamir speaking. This is it, my team and I have put our best efforts in getting all these amazing speakers on board

This is our last weekend and I want to end it with a bang! It’s been a long, 1 month unique Photostory exhibition at Carcosa Seri Negara where Crazy Rich Asians the movie was shot) and it would mean a lot if you guys can make it and share this post on your profiles. I’m proud to see my baby Humans of Kuala Lumpur grow big and huge, since its first days when I was doing this solo when I was in university – just a lonely boy who wanted to meet new people and capture their interesting stories.

Come meet and greet these fellow speakers (and cats) whom Humans of Kuala Lumpur has featured before! Listen to their amazing, inspiring stories, get to know them and ask them your questions! This is our last weekend at Carcosa Seri Negara at theHumans of KL ‘Stories from Malaysia’ Photostory Exhibition with DiverseCity‘s International Arts Festival! 

List of speakers: 

Fahmi Fadzil – Engineer-performer-activist turned politician (MP for Lembah Pantai)

Fluffy Empire The Cat – Rides Motorcycles, Watches Movies, And Goes Wherever Afiq Shawan Goes

Roshan Thiran – Founder & CEO of Leaderonomics, Leadership Expert

Hannah Lo – Woman’s Wellness Advocate

Mushamir Mustafa – Founder and Storyteller at Humans of KL – Storytelling Workshop

Staci KY Tan – Young Cancer Survivor

Low Ngai Yuen – President of Kakiseni, Tech & Arts Advocate and Women’s Rights Activist

Jon Tham Nam San – Freelance caricature artist

See you all there!

 

Do you have a story? Let us know here: https://forms.gle/ht4HsvbxgSgcKS5h8

Humans of Kuala Lumpur is proud to announce that we are officially a part of the DiverseCity KL International Arts Festival!

We will be featuring the first ever Humans of Kuala Lumpur (HOKL) PhotoStory exhibition titled ‘Stories from Malaysia’, showcasing portraits of people in Malaysia, alongside their real, personal and intimate stories.

“Stories of Malaysia” features never before exhibited 35 photostories, showing unique, diverse Malaysians of various backgrounds and themes such as Malaysian unity, stories of the past, young cancer survivors, inspiring entrepreneurship and corporate stories, stories of survival, bullying, triumph, success, secrets, hurts and families. 

Every weekend, a Meet & Greet session will be held to feature the people who we have interviewed surrounding a specific theme, as well as those from our most viral photostories. This is your chance to meet the people behind your favourite stories, hear their stories live and learn from them!

 

Do you have a story? Let us know here: https://forms.gle/ht4HsvbxgSgcKS5h8

(This post was first published on August 21st 2018)