Housing right is a basic right – no one should be left homeless

UndiMsia! volunteer, Rebecca Choong, spent one Sunday morning helping the villagers in Hulu Langat cleaned up their devastated properties. During this time, she learns how to appreciate her home and the value of living in a safe location.


UndiMsia! volunteers drying school books in a village in Hulu Langat

An average urbanite’s dream home is a luxurious building framed with expensive glass, glazed wooden floors or sleek marble flooring, depending on personal aesthetic, and lots and lots of air-conditioning.

Not in our wildest imagination would we equate floods and mud into our rumah idaman. In fact, the closest we would get to copious amount of water would be the swimming pools just outside our polished homes.

The houses in Hulu Langat were not as fortunate. When the floodwaters receded, villagers saw their electronics beyond-repair, furniture damaged and stinking of mud, daintily painted ceramic dishes cracked and chipped. In spite of their distress at the state of their homes, they had no choice but to move on, forcing themselves to work hours and hours salvaging what they can and cleaning whatever appears reusable.

As an admittedly ignorant, self-absorbed student; product of a strongly materialistic culture ingrained into the fabric of our society; I have yet to see destruction wrecked by floods. My only experience with floods lies behind the safety of a plastic screen, or the distant, dull-coloured pictures printed alongside streams of cold, typed, words. It was therefore a veritable culture shock to see watermarks on the wall around five feet high, as if marking the devastation that had occurred.

Our middle-class homes may not be equipped with lifts, Olympic-sized swimming pools or well-manicured Japanese gardens, but it is equipped with the security that river waters will not creep unnoticeably through our doors and windows and submerge everything we own into the murky deep.


Rebecca (second from right) sharing a light moment with other volunteers at a village "gotong-royong" in Hulu Langat

Housing is a basic human right. No human being should live in fear that their homes will be taken away from them and their belongings completely wrecked.

We don’t have the power to magically transform all the houses into luxury homes. Neither do we have the power to instantly improve all irrigation systems. But what we do have is the ability to move our fellow human beings, create awareness and consequently social pressure advocating for change.

Chaos theory – a flutter of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas. Think of just what groups of people, of all ages; activated towards the promotion of safe and sustainable housing could do. Not just clicktivism, but activism.


Rebecca showing the Hangatkan Langat! photo competition and exhibition poster with a local resident

“Kediaman Idaman Saya”,  our photo exhibition and competition in Hulu Langat is designed to promote awareness on housing issues, along with giving the local youth opportunity to display their photography skills. Visitors will then vote to determine the winners of digital cameras set as prizes.

All is welcome.

We move on 31 March. I know I’ll be there. Will you? :)

UndiMsia! is having a photo competition and exhibition in Hulu Langat on 31 March 2012. Come to vote for your favourite teams and learn about the housing issues there.

For more information about the event, please click on the articles below:

A different kind of exposure

The faces of Hulu Langat

Rising cost of properties in Hulu Langat

Answering the calls of Hulu Langat

For more information on housing issues, please click here for UndiMsia!’s Infografik 3.






Tags: , , ,

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) is a non-profit based in Kuala Lumpur with the mission of promoting active democratic participation and human rights awareness.

Posted on 28 March 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

Read more articles posted by .

Read this first: LB Terms of Use

3 Responses to Housing right is a basic right – no one should be left homeless