Malaysiakini Malaysians Kini

Leaving office comforts to fill hungry stomachs

Vinodh Pillai  |  Published:  |  Modified:

MALAYSIANS KINI | With great care, Justin Cheah assembles each nasi lemak packet, putting an extra fried egg in one, adding more rice in another, while bustling in and out of the kitchen.

"Some of our volunteers are not coming today, so I'm helping the team out," explains Cheah, before excusing himself to meet with one of his clients, an aged woman looking for a job.

Cheah works with Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK), a non-religious community action group that distributes food and provides basic necessities for the homeless and the urban poor.

The 41-year-old KSK project director left his banking job of 11 years to fully commit to the cause after joining one KSK initiative in 2006.

Based in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, the group distributes some 250 packets of vegetarian food daily, save for Sundays, throughout the Klang Valley.

“You’ve caught me at the right time. We’re just about to serve lunch, and later we’re going out to distribute the rest of our food,” he remarked, pointing to a line of about 20 men and women eagerly waiting for their hot meal.

After making sure that everyone has received their lunch, Cheah tells Malaysiakini how he got involved with KSK, and why he has not looked back since:

I GOT INVOLVED IN 2006 AFTER BEING INSPIRED by the story of Kechara’s founder, Tsem Rinpoche. His story of being homeless for two weeks in America and having no food made me start to think about the homeless, something I had not bothered to do for the previous 30 years of my life....

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