MALAYSIA - 4 JANUARY 2022 - Heavy rainfalls have been causing extensive floods across north and central Peninsular Malaysia since 17 December 2021. Days of torrential rain caused rivers to overflow, swamping cities and driving more than 68,000 people from their homes. As of 26 December, the death toll from the floods has risen to 46. Malaysians from various backgrounds and states united as one to lend a helping hand with the flood relief efforts.
Responding to the Tzu Chi Association’s call for volunteers to clean up flood areas, twenty ViTroxians joined the initiative after receiving the company-wide invitation. The big group of more than 3000 volunteers comprise Tzu Chi volunteers and public members, including ViTroxians. To prepare for the volunteer activity in Selangor, ViTrox’s People Culture department provided each volunteer with personal protective equipment such as rain boots, gloves and raincoats. The volunteers worked tirelessly for sixteen hours over two days to clean muddy streets and messy homes affected within the flood areas.
A person can be a force for good when they act with a sincere concern for others. ViTrox’s President and CEO Chu Jenn Weng, who was also part of the volunteer group this time, strongly believes in Master’s Cheng Yen’s quote: “When the unfortunate cannot find help, those who are blessed must go to them.”
Our fellow ViTroxians shared their experience and reflections on helping the flood victims at one of the hardest-hit areas, Sri Muda, Selangor.
Engineer learnt life lessons in flood relief
When he first received the company-wide invitation to recruit flood relief volunteers, ViTrox’s Research & Development Senior Engineer Nima Shokouhfar was on his 11-day long vacation. “I won’t say that I am a perfect guy [to commit] and say let’s go!” He added, “I was even struggling whether I should go or not.” Eventually, he decided to join the volunteer group that departed for Shah Alam, Selangor on 24 December 2021. “I definitely made the right choice,” said Shokouhfar.
From the 16-hour volunteer experience, Shokouhfar learnt many valuable lessons – to “let it go” and accept that the only constant thing in life is change. “We were taught to earn more and gain more power,” he said regarding thoughts about life, “but within a day people had to throw their broken belongings into the rubbish dump.”
Shokouhfar shared that meeting with flood survivors and seeing them lose everything reminded him to never forget that one day he could be like them. “Let’s enjoy and appreciate the moment. Live life to the fullest!”
First-time volunteer heartened by the strength of survivors
“Saya nak bagi semangat kepada mereka (I want to give them strength). It turns out that they are the strongest people I've ever met,” said Noor Azmi Bin Che Muhammad, ViTrox’s Store Assistant Executive, regarding the flood survivors. “Despite the tremendous disaster swamping their houses and cars, they never gave up hope and viewed life from a different perspective,” Che Muhammad shared his thoughts and admiration about the flood survivors.
It’s his sixth year in ViTrox, and he decided to give back to society. “I can’t afford to help in terms of providing financial support but I can contribute as much as I can to put a smile on their faces,” said Che Muhammad.
“The environment smells like something old and rotten. The areas are dark, damp and warm as well. There are many people suffering from nausea. Yet, many elderly volunteers are willing to help unconditionally. I genuinely look up to them,” Che Muhammad expressed his admiration towards the elderly volunteers.
He revealed that he has learnt a lot throughout his first journey of volunteering, and he is looking forward to offering a helping hand to those who are in need in the future. “I hope to continue my volunteering journey to help more people in the future,” said Che Muhammad upon his interest in volunteerism.
A Vintern’s Christmas gift
During Christmas, many people spent the long-weekend holiday with family and friends after months of lockdown. Yet, it was an extraordinary Christmas holiday experience for ViTrox’s Research & Development Industrial Trainee Ngai Tze Xing who has only been with ViTrox for four months. “As a Christmas gift to myself, I decided to volunteer for the flood relief programme,” she happily shared.
Ngai had been reading a lot of news about the flood situation in Malaysia and was aware of the misfortune of residents in Sri Muda whose houses were fully affected by the flood. “They need to clean their house. Think of the money used for purchasing new furniture. I am very lucky as I didn't experience any flood in Kedah,” Ngai said.
When she received the company’s invitation to be a flood relief volunteer, she bravely grabbed the opportunity despite her family being worried about her health and safety. She said, “I promised them that I will prioritise my safety first before helping flood survivors.”
Joining the ViTroxian volunteer group, she went to Sri Muda for her first volunteer experience in flood relief. She was shocked by the scene that came into sight. “Rubbish was everywhere! The house is full of mud and the car inside is wet and muddy.” Ngai felt sad at the scene before her, “I saw a dead dog on the roadside.”
Ngai was grateful for the volunteer invitation from the company as it provided a platform for her to become a volunteer and help others. “I learnt that we need to be grateful as we didn't need to face this kind of situation.”