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A Different Kind of Sacrifice – Majlis Korban at Prai Power

21 December 2008

I went to Prai Power Plant for the Korban event to fulfill an invitation from Ismail. Little did I know that the visit would leave with more than a bag of daging korban to bring back home.

Ismail and I arrived early at the slaughter site. Not long after that, a small lorry carrying 4 cows arrived and a group of men who were from Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) Seberang Jaya and the nearby residential area already gathered at the site with ropes and knives, looking like pro. The execution was also fast, by 8.30am, 3 cows were slaughtered and the lorry carried away the 4th cow, which was meant for the local police station.

Being my first time ever witnessing such ceremony, I hesitated at first and only watched from afar, scared that the cow would break loose and give us a chase. But after looking at the first slaughter without any nauseating feeling when the blood from the jugular gushed out like water from a broken pipe, I moved closer for the second and third slaughters.

The locals worked like a team and each of them took to their tasks like duck to water. Some chopped the ribs, some cut the meat into small pieces to be distributed in plastic bags, some cleaned the colon in the nearby river.. everything was done skillfully and swiftly that I almost thought that all of them have worked in abattoir before!

The loud chatters of the locals drew me to an interesting conversation. Pak Latif, one of PDK Seberang Jaya’s committee members had only praises for Prai Power plant. Unashamed of deliberately eavesdropping on their chats, Pak Latif was heard as saying that Prai Power had made an enormous contribution for the PDK in Seberang Jaya, Perai and Juru.

“Prai Power has done a lot for the local community. They supported us by donating us money for PDK Seberang Jaya’s building which is still under construction. Already in there is RM40,000 from Prai Power alone. There were pledges made from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat but until now we haven’t seen the money yet.”

I later asked him, what made him and the others eager to help Prai Power with their activities, such as executing this korban. And I almost scolded myself for asking such question to this humble man when his mouth quivered as he tried his best to stifle his tears, which forced me to look away, as if giving him a moment alone to calm himself and gather his thoughts to answer my question.

“Prai Power has done a lot for us, a lot. And we are ever grateful for their help. With the money they donated, we are able to provide a better and bigger place for the kids to learn.”

“We will be able to house more children and teachers as the building will have 6 rooms for them to learn and play. Right now, we are operating from a temporary building owned by the Rukun Tetangga. The center has around 30 underprivileged children and it’s over-crowded as it is.”

“By helping Prai Power in any way that we can is a way for us to say thank you to them for all that they have given us over the years since they operated in Penang.”

We went to the building to see its progress. Pak Latif patted on a pillar and said, “This is standing with the money from Prai Power. Prai Power made this happen.”

Just outside the makeshift PDK center not too far away, the local ‘chefs’ were busy preparing lunch. On the menu was nasi daging, accompanied by daging bakar with air asam, sup tulang and kari daging.

Stepping into the PDK center, the walls were filled with teaching materials and drawings made by the kids. Cikgu Hani, one of the 3 teachers at the center welcomed me and made me feel at home. Looking at the 7×10 meter square room that they called their center, I asked her how they coped with the children all cramped in the small space. She admitted that it was difficult as the center has 30 kids and the kids with special needs were doubly difficult to handle as they demanded extra attention.

During the day, she said, the parents will send their ‘special’ children to the center where they will be taught the basic living skills such as eating and talking, in addition to reading and writing. Teaching special children required a lot of patience and dedication from the teachers and parents also must be willing to continue with the teaching when they are with the children at home.

Cikgu Hani (in yellow) with one of the parents at the PDK center

Hence once the PDK building is completed, it will provide a more spacious and comfortable place for the kids to play and learn and a better environment for them to grow.

The children did not ask to be born in that condition. Every parent obviously wants the best for their children, regardless of their capability or incapability. And every child is a gift from God and it’s the parents’ responsibility to care for them and love them for as long as they lived. The least that we can do to help ease their burden and help them move along in life is through the donations made through Prai Power for the construction of the building and other day-to-day necessities.

I would like to thank En Shokri Daud, Haji Anuar Lazim, Ismail and the staff of Prai Power for this eye-opening trip that brought new meaning to the word ‘korban’ or ‘sacrifice’ and here’s hoping that we would continue this culture of giving as we undertake our corporate social responsibility to the stakeholders of Malakoff.

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