One month on, Petaling Jaya gurdwara still a bundle of energy. Volunteer Gabriella shares her experience

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Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya relief aid team at Rompin – Photo: Supplied

By Asia Samachar Team | Malaysia |

One month on, the grounds at Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ) is still a bundle of energy as volunteers huddle together to send out much needed essential items to flood victims in Klang Valley and beyond.

The gurdwara stepped forward to provide emergency relief and assistance to flash flood victims in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam.

It all began with GSPJ preparing thousands of packets of hot vegetarian meals on 19 Dec 2021, just a day after a massive flash flood had hit Klang Valley and a number of other spots in Malaysia.

The effort snowballed into a full scale relief aid operation when they began collecting desperately needed items like food and clothes, and activated a control room to distribute them directly to the affected areas. And then came the legion of volunteers – people of all faiths and races, from all walks of life. Hundreds of them, stepping forward out of the blue, all wanting to do their bit.

Today, the massive flood relief aid operation at the Petaling Jaya gurdwara is still going strong, though they have moved away from providing hot meals. They now concentrate on delivering badly needed essential items – mattresses, cloths, cooking utensils, baby diapers, electrical items and whatever else the folks on the ground would need.

GSPJ has been running a command centre that takes calls from both potential volunteers and flood victims. The well-managed centre makes a huge difference.

Quality analyst Gabriella Sitha Krishnan was one of the volunteers who have been frequenting the GSPJ. On Sunday (16 Jan 2022), she joined some 20 other volunteers to send essential items to flood victims in Rompin, Pahang.

“It was really heart-breaking to see the aftermath of the flood situation. The villagers were so happy to see us and many expressed how touched they are about us coming to their aid,” she said in an article prepared for Asia Samachar. See below.

“I will always be grateful to Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya for this amazing experience,” she added. “I have made so many friends and met many people from different walks of life who share the same interest in helping others. I will return again whenever possible.”

The volunteer work at GSPJ has attracted all sorts of groups. On Jan 5, for example, a group of European Union (EU) ambassadors and staff brought some relief items and joined the volunteers. Politicians also turned up, including federal opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and health minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

A number of other Sikh orgnaisations and gurdwaras have also been at the forefront of providing assistance and relief for flood victims.

The Shah Alam gurdwara mobilised its resources to cook hot vegetarian meals for those holed up in temporary flood relief centres on Dec 20, a day after the flood receded from its own compound. The gurdwara was hit by floods on 18 Dec. Gurdwara Sahib Subang Jaya had also mobilised its volunteers to assist flood victims.

Towards the closing week of last year, Gurdwara Sahib Seremban opened up its kitchen to prepare hot vegetarian meals for the flood victims in Jelebu and other affected areas in Negeri Sembilan.

On its part, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), an umbrella body for gurdwaras nationwide, has given cash handouts to Sikh families affected by the floods. Todate, 110 families from Sri Muda, Shah Alam, Petaling Tin, Dengkil, Hulu Langat, Klang, Kampung Kasipillay, Seremban and Pahang have received a total of RM207,000.

Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya relief aid reaches Rompin – Photo: Supplied

VOLUNTEER GABRIELLA SITHA SHARES HER EXPERIENCE

Sat sri akaal! I am Gabriella Sitha and I have dropped by Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya on my work off days a few times before in order to assist the Gurdwara in any way I can. The tasks can range from cutting of the vegetables to the loading of the lorries and 4WDs with items required by the flood-affected victims. On the night before the trip to Pahang, I contacted GSPJ via their Instagram page to see if they require any help at the Gurdwara on Sunday, 16th of January 2022 but was then told that there wasn’t much to do there at the Gurdwara because all the loading of items has been done on Saturday. However, the admin asked if I would like to join the convoy to Pahang. He gave me a heads up that the trip would take the whole day. I immediately said yes and prepared myself for the next day.

On the morning of 16th of January 2022, I drove to Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya to gather some forms required for the Flood Relief registration at Kampung Bukit Serok, Rompin, Pahang. After the collection of the forms, a fellow volunteer and I left to Shell at the Sungai Besi Toll to meet the rest of the volunteers. There were around 20 volunteers which consisted of people from various races and religions. 2 lorries and 5 4WDs were already loaded with mattresses, stoves, standing fans, blenders, dry rations, and family packs the day before. We left the petrol station around 10am to drop by at our next destination, Gurdwara Sahib Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. We reached there around 12pm and were warmly welcomed by the president of Gurdwara Sahib Kuala Pilah, Sardar Surjit Singh. He has made the necessary arrangements to prepare lunch and dinner for us. The vegetarian meals prepared were absolutely delicious and definitely pack a punch. We left the Gurdwara around an hour later to continue our mission to distribute the items to the Orang Asli community at Kampung Bukit Serok.

After a long and enjoyable drive, we finally reached Kampung Bukit Serok at around 2pm. We met a few representatives from the Orang Asli community to guide us around. They helped collect the Identity Cards of the heads of the families for each house. The volunteers then spent a couple of minutes getting briefed on the tasks allocated. My main task is to assist in the registration and to ensure that the information provided tallies with the name list provided to me by the Gurdwara. In between, I managed to walk into a few of the flood-affected houses to assess the condition, hence being able to determine and provide them with the aid they require. Most of the houses we went to were badly affected. Some parts of the houses were completely destroyed. The flood water softened the wood flooring and staircases. It was really heart-breaking to see the aftermath of the flood situation. The villagers were so happy to see us and many expressed how touched they are about us coming to their aid.

We spent around nine hours in the village. We reached Kuala Pilah Gurdwara for dinner at around 12am. We were late, yet they still made sure we were served fresh and hot food. I am totally touched by the amazing hospitality given. The volunteers were exhausted but nobody complained at all. All I could see were happy and contented faces. After all each one of us joined hands on this mission to reach one common goal, which is to serve the people in need.

I will always be grateful to Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya for this amazing experience. I have made so many friends and met many people from different walks of life who share the same interest in helping others. I will return again whenever possible. Dhanvaad! – Gabriella Sitha Krishnan, 31, Quality Analyst

One for camera: Narinder Singh takes a group photo with fellow volunteers who are definitely in a cheerful mood as they prepare to leave Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya to deliver necessary items to flood victims in Rompin ​- Photo: Supplied

RELATED STORY:

EU ambassadors join Petaling Jaya gurdwara flood relief ops (Asia Samachar, 7 Jan 2022)

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