S'poreans motor in for M'sian flood relief
SITUATION IN TEMERLOH WORSE THAN EXPECTED
He was so affected by pictures of the devastation caused by floods in Malaysia that he decided that he wanted to help.
Singaporean Alvin Tan, 35, checked with his Malaysian friends and found out last Tuesday that the Johor Off Road Team was organising a trip to Temerloh, the second largest town in Pahang, the next day.
The property agent said: "My car is fitted to travel on rough terrain, so I'm in a position to help."
He raised $850 from friends for the flood victims and donated five cartons of mineral water.
He also sent a message to a WhatsApp group of four-wheel drivers in Singapore to ask if anyone was interested in joining the trip.
Despite the short notice, Mr Ranjit Panu, another Singaporean, decided to join in.
The 43-year-old senior trainer in the oil and gas industry is a member of the Warpigs Motorcycle Club.
The club decided to contribute to the flood relief efforts and used club funds to buy about $1,700 worth of food supplies, including rice, instant noodles and milk powder.
Mr Ranjit said: "Malaysia is our neighbour. It's only natural to help when they are in need."
Mr Tan contacted his friend Anne Tng, 31, a manager at a business firm. Ms Tng cancelled her New Year's Eve plans to join the trip.
"I read about the flood in the papers and I was curious to see it myself," she said.
"It's more meaningful to spend New Year's Eve helping others who need it."
The three Singaporeans joined a convoy of 60 cars and travelled to Temerloh on New Year's Eve.
When they arrived, the situation was worse than they expected.
Said Mr Tan: "It was a very gloomy sight. The flood waters were smelly and dirty and debris was floating around."
The convoy had intended to stay in Temerloh till last Friday to hand out supplies to the villagers, but roads linking the town to the villages were water-logged.
Mr Ranjit said: "One car of about 1.6m high tried to enter, but it was too deep to drive through."
The convoy went to the town and unloaded its supplies at two food collection points.
The three Singaporeans went home the next day.
Mr Tan said one villager told him that water levels that used to be up to neck level are now knee-deep.
He said: "It's good to hear that the situation is getting better. I saw residents picking up debris and cleaning up their houses, trying to move on with their lives."
He added that he is prepared to travel to Malaysia again if the flood conditions worsen.
"We try to help to the best of our abilities. Hopefully, more Singaporeans will be aware of the conditions and step forward to help as well," he said.
I read about the flood in the papers and I was curious to see it myself. It's more meaningful to spend New Year's Eve helping others who need it.
- Ms Anne Tng, who cancelled her New Year's Eve plans to join a convoy to Pahang.
DONORS UNAWARE OF DRIVE GO SHOPPING FOR SUPPLIES
FAST: Mr Ramesh Panicker (second from left) and his friends held their donation drive yesterday. PHOTO COURTESY OF RAMESH PANICKER
GENEROUS: The Lions XII fan group, ExcluSinga, collected more than 10 tonnes of rice. BH PHOTO
Moved by the plight of the flood victims in Malaysia, a Singaporean man gathered his friends and organised a donation drive - in just three days.
Yesterday, Mr Ramesh Panicker and 10 of his friends collected close to 600kg of rice, 55 litres of oil and more than 100 boxes of clothes at their collection point on a walkway outside Vista Point at Woodlands Avenue 4.
"I got some friends together and they spread the word about our donation drive via their own group of friends and social media last Friday," said the 46-year-old operations manager at an oil and gas company.
"I was heartened by the turnout. Some of those who contributed weren't even aware of our donation drive when they passed by our makeshift collection point. But after they learnt of our drive, they went to a supermarket and bought some items to donate."
Mr Ramesh and his friends hired a lorry which will transport the goods to a Malaysian army camp in Tebrau, Johor, today.
The donation will then be sent to those affected by the floods.
"When he (Mr Ramesh) brought up the idea of the donation drive last Friday, I thought it was a good idea," said childhood friend Reguram Balachandran, 39.
"After seeing the devastating images of the floods on the news, we just wanted to help them," he added.
The flooding wreaked havoc in peninsular Malaysia and is considered the worst to have hit Malaysia in a decade.
It has killed at least 21 people and driven tens of thousands from their homes.
While the situation has improved, thousands still remain affected.
As of Saturday night, 61,000 people were still at relief centres in Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor.
This is down from 78,000 people on Friday.
Mr Ramesh and his friends aren't the only Singaporeans who have rushed to help.
The Lions XII fan group, ExcluSinga, also organised a donation drive on Friday for the flood victims. They collected more than 10 tonnes of rice.
- AZIM AZMAN