Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Slums of India – a young man’s first experience

My son who is studying Medicine in Manipal,India sent me some photos of his visit to the slum  areas in the vicinity of Manipal.The visit to the slums was part of his training to expose the medical students to diseases in poverty-stricken areas.

It was a humbling and touching experience for him being brought up in comfort back home in Malaysia. Although I had taken pains to expose him to poverty around us but they were nowhere near to what he saw in the slums of India. If the condition in Manipal which is located in the relatively rich Indian state of Karnataka is so pathetic, how terrible it would be in the poorer states?

The following is what my son wrote back to me, “Here are some pictures of the slum which I visited today. Many of them had houses which are only the size of my hostel room but with more than 5 people staying. If I raise my hand I can touch the roof. Their income would barely reach 5000 Rupees (less than RM250) for the whole family”


His experience at the slums made him comment, “I just spent Rp.1,000 for a lunch on my recent birthday but these poor people hardly have Rp.5,000 for a family of 5 or 6 for one full month, to cater for all their basic needs”.

I felt proud that my young son has began to feel for the people who are less fortunate. I felt happy that what my wife and I had taught him has finally begun to produce results.

This further strengthens our belief that the children cannot be forced to do what you want but they can only be taught by our examples which will subtly seep into their lives. It reinforces my fervent belief that we must do what we preach in order for others under our care to respect and follow.

Youngsters today are not going to listen to what we preach. They may appear not to be paying much attention to what we do but if we keep repeatedly doing the right thing all the time, they will without knowing  adopt our examples when confronted similar situations later when they are on  their own.

                                                  A tent is the home for a family of five

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