ACEH MISSION ROLLS OUT
-- Back at HQ, former ASEAN Sec-Gen pays a visit
(Jan 12 - Report 3)
By Karamjit Singh
THE HQ of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Malaysian Sikh Youth) in Kuala
Lumpur remains a hive of activity with volunteers sorting food and marking
boxes, manning the impressive Mission Aceh Command Centre and engaged in
various meetings to check on progress and map out action plans.
A visitor will come away impressed with the energy levels and sense of
purpose that is almost palpable. Everyone knows this is a long term
operation and not just 'a strike while it’s hot' mission.
Indeed while you read this, the third ship sent to Aceh with supplies is on
its way back to Langkawi, an Island located on the north western shores of
Malaysia. This ship will be quickly filled up with supplies already waiting
for it (the Aceh team asked specifically for baby food, diapers and dry
This will be sent off again to Aceh where the other two ships have now set
up temporary camp at a city called Sabang on Weh Island situated one hours
sailing from Banda Aceh.
The relief team has distributed food and medicine to the needy on Sabang
where some 5,000 refugees have gone to in search of assistance.
The GLOBAL SIKHS team in Aceh is now in discussion over the next course of
action. The situation on the ground is extremely fluid and the relief
mission is working hard to identify which is the area they are most needed.
Former Asean Sec-Gen
Back at mission control in Sabha House, Tan Sri Ajit Singh, former secretary
general of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) paid a visit last
'I did not expect to see such a hive of activity. Truly, you see the spirit
of selfless seva (service) here,' he observed adding that the community was
doing more than its share.
He also pointed out that to sustain such an effort, funding was key and
advised the volunteers to bring people from the United Nations Development
Fund (UNDP) and diplomats from the various embassies in Kuala Lumpur to the
GLOBAL SIKHS operations centre so they could see for themselves the work
going on. "You will be able to get financial support from them once they see
what is going on," he said.
He also suggested for a project paper to be drawn up listing the specific
requirements needed over a 6-month period. This will give a clearer picture
of the commitment from Global Sikhs and the financial assistance they need
to carry out their service.
Tan Sri Ajit, now chairman of a local public listed corporation, earlier
attended the GLOBALS SIKHS’ 8.30pm daily briefing held at the Sabha House in
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Speaking of commitment, already 30 over people have volunteered to go on the
next mission. To ensure those who can contribute to the present needs in
Aceh are sent, a two-day training will be conducted to pick the most
About the only grouse coming from the volunteers at Command Centre was the
lack of hot 'chaa' in the late evenings for that quick 'lift-me-up' effect,
only pai-ya di cha can give!