Sufi master and poet Jalaludin Rumihave these words as his epitaph: "When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men."
Perhaps, this should also be the epitaph for other good men. One of them could be Thomas, a friend and former collague, who came down from his high office in the vicinity of the Twin Towers to Brickfields for a bit of excitement and to help promote a worthy cause.
Thomas, assisted by members of his volunteer brigade and colleagues, were active supporters of a singing competition among visually-impaired participants. Titled juara Lagu 2006, a total of 12 singers representing seven states last Sunday belted songs made famous by local singers as far back as the '60s.
It doesn't take much to keep our fellow citizens happy. If there are more individuals like Thomas, the world will indeed be a happier place. The competition was held at the hall of the building where the Malaysian Association of the Blind have its headquarters. The hall was packed with spectators, some of whom had come to cheer and support their friends.
The singers were accompanied by a live band, also made up of visually-impaired musicians. I sneaked in, enticed by the sound of the lively beat from the group. The enthusiasm shown by the musicians and the singers was enough to keep everyone rocking.
DJ Dave and Freddie Fernandez, two well-known performers in their own right, were the senior judges in the competition. It is a credit to their good name for taking time off from their Sunday afternoon to join the small group of talented performers. Dave and Freddie proved that they were equally at home in a small hall as in a big studio full of flashing lights and television cameras.
The important thing to note is that one doesn't need big bucks to make people happy and feel wanted. What Thomas and his team did was to support the MAB in their ongoing effort to help the blind lead a meaningful life.
Let us not be oblivious to the sufferings of our fellow Man. Corporates have a role to play. With healthy bottom lines and rich bonuses for themselves, Chief Executive Officers, Chairman of the Board and senior members of the management team should take a leaf from Thomas, DJ Dave and Freddie by sacrificing a little of their precious time to be with the under-privileged.
It's not just enough to allocate budgets for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Many companies, to their credit, are doing that now. Besides spending the money, corporates must be seen to be delighted in spending these funds. When corporates are judged on their CSR, they better have programmes which are of real value to the target groups.
The success of such programmes also depend on who's running them. If the implementors
are slow, have small minds, lazy, not sincere, and do not have the passion, the CSR will be doomed. Only genuine people can run a CSR programme properly, and Thomas certainly gave me the impression that he really cares.
Let's give thomas, Dave and Freddie a big round of applause. Welldone lads!! I hope this Juara Lagu will be sustained for many more years to come.
PS Footnote: Anuar Ngatnan from KL won the first prize and walked away with a trophy, certificate and RM500 cash followed by Rosmaria Ahmad (trophy, cert and RM300) and
Ahmad bin Awang (tropjhy, cert and RM200).