Tuesday, March 6, 2018

‘Why Ipoh, Malaysia, Should Be on Your Travel Radar’. - The New York Times

Monday, January 15, 2018

Community library opens in Kampar - The Star Metro Perak

13 Jan 2018 By Ivan loh

Nolee Ashilin (right) presenting a certificate of appreciation to Normah during the launch of the Kampar Community Library. With them is Kohijau-iCycle chairman Dr Richard Ng.

THE first-ever community library in Kampar has been set up to encourage the habit of reading among the people there.
Launched by State Executive Councillor Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi last Sunday, the Kampar Community Library was set up by a coalition of 25 non-governmental organisations from Perak and Yayasan Pendidikan Perak.
The library, which is managed by Yayasan Pendidikan Kampar, has over 1,000 books contributed by various NGOs and the public.
The facility has a reading room, which can accommodate up to 30 people at any one time, and a hall that can be used to conduct seminars, talks and other educational activities.
“A building was available so we decided to moved in to expand our activities there.
“I hope more volunteers can come and conduct lectures and talks to help cultivate the habit of reading among the local community,” she said.
“According to research, Malaysian in general read only two books a year compared to Europeans who read 30 books a year.
“Reading helps people to improve their knowledge and critical thinking and analytical skills,” she added.

Nolee Ashilin took the opportunity to read a book to some children at the Kampar Community Library during its launch

Normah said the library will be managed under a social-business concept.
“The membership for the library is free, but a nominal fee will be charged for those who use the services there.
“A café will also be set up later and the money generated will be used to pay wages and utilities,” he said.
Chairman of the NGO coalition Dr Richard Ng said library users will also be registered for the Kohijau-iCycle recycling programme.
“Each user will be given an e-card which will also allow them to participate in the recycling reward-point system to accumulate points by bringing their recyclables and dropping them into the recycling bin at the centre.
“They can then redeem their accumulated points for cash, coupons to purchase goods from Tesco or AEON, or to donate to charity,” he said.
“Yayasan Pendidikan Kampar will receive 30% of the total collection to be used to fund their projects,” he added.
During the launch, Nolee Ashilin pledged to help provide a total of 29 Kohijau-iCycle bins to be installed in Kampar to help residents to embrace recycling and help reduce rubbish from going to the landfills.
It is also to provide a sense of responsibility to the people to be responsible to the environment and help reduce global warming.
Those who wish to contribute used books to the library can do so by packing the books and dropping them into any of the 60 Kohijau-iCycyle bins located throughout Perak.
For more information, visit www.icycle-global.com.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Volunteers help clear hoarder’s cluttered house - The Star Metro Perak

2 Jan 2018 by Manjit Kaur

Low (right) along with some volunteers helping Lee (standing left), clean up recyclable items inside her house.

SIXTY-EIGHT-year-old Lee Chin Lan was all smiles when a group of volunteers cleaned her house, which had been overflowing with with recyclable items.
It was be a fresh start for the year for Lee because not only was part of her house cleaned, Lee, fondly known as “Ah Mooi”, also received RM152 for a total of 266kg of recyclables bought by recycling organisation Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau).
Lee said she was very happy that her house was cleaned, and she promised not to collect anymore recyclable items to store in her house.
“I am hoping that once my house is fully cleaned, I will be able to bring my 43-year-old daughter who has been in the Ulu Kinta Hospital Bahagia since 2001.
Ipoh Barat MCA Youth chief Aldrich Low Guo Nan had previously brought the public’s attention to Lee’s plight, and on Dec 10 The Star reported that the senior citizen had been collecting and selling recyclables to make ends meet for the past 10 years.
According to Lee, her two daily meals consist of potato soup because that is all that she can afford. Her husband left her 40 years ago, and she has been staying alone, with no support.

Enough recyclable items to fill a small lorry were cleared from Lee’s home in Bercham.

Lee used to work as a cleaner, while her daughter used to study and work part-time when she was mentally fit.
After her plight was highlighted in the media, several non-governmental organisations such as Kohijau, Ipoh City Watch, Lions Club of Silver State, Rukun Tetangga Bercham and Bercham Residents Representative Committee volunteered to clean up her house on New Year’s Eve.
Plastic bottles, cardboard, and metal items were among the things collected from Lee’s house.
Kohijau chairman Associate Prof Dr Richard Ng said a full lorry load of recyclable items was collected from Lee’s living room.
“We need to come back and collect more items, as the bedrooms, I was told have more items ‘stocked’ up. There are many people like Lee, who has appears to have a habit of hoarding and refusing to let go of things even though it is necessary to get rid of items no longed needed,” he said, adding that he gave another RM100 to the woman as a personal donation.
Low, who is also a city councillor said after Lee’s plight was highlighted many people contacted him to offer help.
“A furniture company from Kuala Lumpur is willing to furnish her home with proper furniture, and individuals from as far as Penang came to visit her to provide cash and food items.
“However we need to make sure her house is properly cleaned first, before we can accept any furniture and so forth,” he added.


One in every 50 people could be hoarders - The Star Metro Perak

METRO NEWS Tuesday, 9 Jan 2018  by Manjit Kaur

Ng (second from right) during a door-to-door campaign on dengue prevention, urging people not to keep unwanted items in their house

ONE in every 50 people are likely to be hoarders, a recycling organisation expert said.
Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau) chairman Associate Prof Dr Richard Ng said during their door-to-door dengue campaign, the Kohijau members have seen many cases of hoarders.
Ng, who is also the Ipoh City Watch president said, according to statistics, almost one in every 50 people is a hoarder, or display tendencies to be a compulsive hoarder.
“Local authorities need to step-in after identifying a person who is a suspected hoarder because of the danger they pose to themselves and others,” he said.
He said a supportive environment is required to encourage family members who are hoarders to seek help and treat them.
“Hoarders do not like people to take their possessions or clean up their environment unless they see a benefit from doing it.

“Therefore the Kohijau-iCycle recycling reward point system is a method that can help the society embrace the 3R (reduce, reuse,recycle) culture, and prevent them from hoarding as the system encourages people from discarding their unwanted items and be rewarded for it,” he added.
Ng added that the hoarding usually runs in a family largely because of psychological problems.
He said many hoarders are perfectionists and have fear of making the wrong decisions about what to keep and what to discard, thus they keep everything.
He added that compulsive hoarding in its worst forms could cause fires, unsanitary conditions (infestations of rats and cockroaches), and other health and safety hazards.
“If we observe people who hoards, they tend to hold onto a large number of items that most people consider useless or worthless.
“Some examples will be old catalogues, magazines, newspapers, worn out cooking utensils, clothes, items which are broken and trash.
“However their homes are cluttered to the point where it might even be inaccessible,” he said, adding that the mess is at a point where it causes illness, distress and impairment.
Ng said hoarders would not allow visitors, such as family and friends into their house, and sometimes repairs works are not done as they might feel embarrassed by their clutter.
He said arguments are common with hoarders and their family members regarding the clutter.
“Such hoarders can be treated through cognitive behaviour therapy which may help them change their behaviour,” he added.
Dr Ng said hoarding is an act of compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching and saving items that have little or no value.
He said the behaviour usually has harmful effects – emotional, physical, social, financial and ever legal - for a hoarder and family members.
It is found that many people with hoarding disorder also experience other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hyperactivity, which may develop along with other mental illnesses such as dementia and schizophrenia.
“The compulsion to hoard often starts during childhood or their teenage years, but it usually becomes more severe in their adulthood” he added.


First Garden Flats get a major clean-up - The Star Metro Perak

10 Jan 2018 by Amanda Yeap

THE utterly filthy and deplorable conditions of the privately-owned First Garden Flats prompted both the state government and Ipoh City Council to hold a massive integrated intervention last Saturday morning.
The city council, National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), non-governmental organisations and state officials, including the mentri besar himself, visited the 30-year-old property to clean it up.
Determined to improve the cleanliness of the housing project, state authorities also took the time to conduct a thorough study and interview residents to get down to the root cause of the abysmal living conditions in the area.
Of the 280 units, only 127 are occupied. According to State Women’s Development, Family, Community Welfare, Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Rusnah Kassim, most of the occupants of the housing project are tenants and not the real owners of the units.
Zambry (right, wearing cap) helped to clear the rubbish during the gotong-royong in First Garden Flats. —Photos: RONNIE CHIN/The Star

Rusnah said one of the proposals is to form a Kawasan Rukun Tetangga (KRT) here.
“After interviewing several residents about cleanliness problems, we have also received reports about several damaged parts of the building that makes the place uninhabitable for them.
“The AADK is also here with us today to monitor the place based on reports mentioning the presence of drug addicts.
“With a KRT established, not only will we have an effective committee to resolve cleanliness issues, but also to ensure the safety of residents here as the Rukun Tetangga can conduct patrols,” she said during the gotong-royong session.

Rusnah also said she will be meeting with all the residents here soon to offer some insight and advice for them on keeping their surroundings clean.
“This will come after I raise the proposal to establish the KRT in the State Executive Council meeting this week.
“Once approval is obtained, we will look into electing the right person to lead the committee because strong leadership is important.
“The appointed chairman must be strict and be able to command the respect of the residents here, otherwise it wodn’t be effective,” she said.
Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said, aside from setting up a KRT, the city council will ensure that a joint management body (JMB) is established to contribute to the building’s maintenance.

Zambry (wearing cap) with Rusnah (in tudung) visited the flats with government agencies and NGOs to clean up the area and learn first-hand about issues affecting residents.

“It is compulsory for every flat building like this to form a JMB so that issues to do with the amenities like the cleanliness of common areas, lighting, safety and comfort can be swiftly dealt with.
“We will also delegate several elected representatives from the city council to be part of the JMB in the hopes that after this, the building will be better maintained,” he said.
Asked if the flat currently has a JMB, Zamri said, based on current records, the housing project does not have one.
“This could be due to several factors, such as unwillingnessto cooperate.
“We need to implement this as quickly as possible to help inculcate a sense of responsibility among the residents here,” he said.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said it was appalling to see so many piles of rubbish had accumulated in and around the flats.

Ipoh City Watch and other NGOs took part in the clean-up works 

“It is saddening to see. We cannot simply point our fingers at one party and pin the blame on them, as I believe there are a multitude of causes for this problem, such as social conditions, neighbourhood conditions, and the lack of responsibility shown by those who live here,” he said.
Zambry stressed that his visit to First Garden Flats was to lead various state authorities to conduct an overall analysis to identify the causes of and ways to resolve longstanding problems in the flats.
“This won’t be solved in a day. We have to look at all aspects because it’s not only due to poverty.
“There are certain poor areas in the state that are well-maintained and kept clean by residents. Looking at the area and nature of the problem, I’m sure many deep-seated issues can be addressed,” he said.

Cleaners had a busy day clearing rubbish which included furniture and appliances.

The First Garden Flats was in a deplorable condition for years until the major clean up last Saturday

However, Zambry said, at the end of the day, it is still up to the residents to take responsibility and continue to maintain the building.
“The government can impose various rules and regulations, but the residents also have to show initiative as they are the ones living here.
“They must be responsible about looking after their neighbourhood. They cannot simply expect the city council or state government to always come in and clean up for them,” he said.


Residents fed up of various problems in neighbourhood - The Star Metro Perak

11 Jan 2018 by Ivan Loh

Ipoh City Council workers cleaning up the earthern trench that serves as a drain in Kampung Tersusun Bercham

THE people of Kampung Tersusun Bercham, which borders Bercham and Ipoh Garden East, in Ipoh, are tired of the problems in the area.
Faced with potholes, clogged drains, illegal dumpsites and uncontrolled undergrowth, residents voiced their grouses to Ipoh City Councillor Low Guo Nan during his visit there last Sunday.
Housewife Juander Kaur, 49, said the bushes near her home are a habitat for snakes.
“Snakes have entered my house about five to six times. A cobra bit my dog two years ago.
Juander said she hopes the city council will clear away all the bushes in the area, to prevent animals like snakes and other pests, from breeding.
“I hope the city council can also resurface the road here, not just patch holes here and there.
“The road is very uneven and is dangerous especially when it rains,” she said.

Low (left) checking an illegal dumpsite in Kampung Tersusun Bercham, Ipoh.

Another resident Vincent Lee, 56, said his immediate concern is the lack of proper drainage in the area.
“What we have here are just earthen trenches, which are now clogged with vegetation and could potentially be a mosquito breeding ground.
“Flash floods do occur here whenever it rains heavily,” he said.
“I hope the city council can put a proper drainage system in place,” he added.
The former satellite engineer also said the city council should also look into the issues of abandoned houses in the area.
“Some have become dens for drug users. We hope the authorities will look into this issue,” he said.
“We, the residents, really want all these basic issues addressed,” he added.

Ipoh City Council collected five truckloads of garbage during the clean up at the area on Sunday.

Former contractor Lee Ghiam Seng, 81, said he hopes the city council can build speedbreakers or bumps along Lebuh Bercham Selatan.
“Cars always speed along the road. It is dangerous for the residents here, especially those who ride motorcycles,” he said.
Lee also called for some trees in the area to be felled.
“The branches keeps falling from one rose apple tree here.
“It is a hazard to people and vehicles passing through the area,” he said.
Ipoh City Councillor Low Guo Nan said he has received some 40 complaints from the residents during his visit to Kampung Tersusun Bercham.

Ipoh City Council workers cleaning vegetation in the neighbourhood.

“Aside from the concerns mentioned by the residents, other issues include abandoned cars and undergrowth on private land,” he said.
“I’ll bring up the issues from the residents to the city council for further deliberation,” he said.
“On the request to build a proper drainage system, the city council has already included this in its plan as one of the many projects to be conducted this year,” he added.
Also present during Low’s visit to the area were city council workers, to clean up the area.
Some five truckloads of garbage were collected in the area.