I was part of the Compassion Walk team who ‘walked’ in downtown KL, on the 12th of March 2011 (3.30pm to 4.30pm), to spread awareness that there were still people in need of love and compassion. And these people are the addicts, the alcoholics, the HIV positives, and those with AIDS.Page 2

~Roughly 350 youths walking to downtown KL.~

Some people today seemed to be unable to accept and to love these people who are living amidst them. They have prejudice towards these people just because they are ‘problematic’ and different. And they’ll have nothing to do with these people.

And I would say part of our objective is to make them aware that these people are still human, not much different from who we are. They are capable of feeling hurt, unwanted, lonely, and depressed. DSC_0175-horz

The mission was simple, to put on the shirt, and ask people to HUG us. But the message to me, to the youth who followed the walk… was a powerful one. For to put on the shirt was to admit that, I am an addict, I am HIV-positive, I have AIDS, or I am an alcoholic. We, who donned the shirt, was to be in the position of these people. I’d approached total strangers, said this to them: ‘I am an addict, can you give me a hug?’’ and wait for them to give me that hug.

And for much of the time, they just walked away. And it struck me. The people we are portraying were experiencing the same thing. People shunned them off/despise them/avoid them because they are different. How would you feel if no one were to love you, to care for you, to show compassion to you? How would you feel if you approached someone for help and that person just walked away, much like how many of those whom we approached that afternoon did?

I’ve learnt (first-hand) that afternoon that the world could really use more love and compassion. I’ve learnt that I can no longer feel indifferent towards the sufferings of other people. There are tonnes of other people in need of help out there, the people we have portrayed, the homeless, the orphans but what have we done to help them.

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~Preparing food and drinks, feeding the poor and homeless~

I gave food to the homeless earlier that day, watch them eat and listened to their stories of how they lived each day taking one step at a time. And their day can be a blessing or a curse for them, depending on how that day turned out. They might be having a warm night sleep by the roadside or they could be soaking wet when it rains. Yet, I realized they are as human as the rest of us. They have parents, siblings and friends. They still have hope and dreams for a better life. Some managed to maintain their dignity by which they really didn’t like to be termed ‘homeless’ or to be found scraping food and materials out of trash. They didn’t like to feel ‘sympathy’ from others because of their dignity and yet they don’t have a choice most of the time. Sometimes they were even taken advantage of, when their employers refused to pay them for the work they’ve done. The world that they lived in was a world that I could have never imagine being in. And yet they are still optimistic about their life. The homeless guy my group talked with was cheerful and even sang bits of songs for us.

Some of the participants from my group did a short sharing session a week after the ‘Walk’ and the facilitator mentioned that they had visited these the HIV-positive/AIDS patients in the hospitals and some of these patients were actually reluctant to talk with them. It was as if they had accepted the reality that they will be shunned by society and that to me is just a sad case.

I think its really about time we start to accept these people for who they are and to welcome them into society with open arms. To show them the love and compassion they seek. Because the world could use more of it.

Will you be making a difference this lent?

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