Arni (right) and Minah with the bags of rice they received. Photo: MOHD ALIF NONI

KUCHING: Although they are the only Hindu family living in Kpg Matang Batu 10, an Indian couple, who only want to be known only as Ali and Jaya, are grateful to be a part of the village.

Ali and Jaya were among the 50 recipients at the “Sekampit Beras Sekilo Gula” (a bag of rice and 1kg of sugar) event held in the village yesterday.

“It is great we can be a part of this event. They did not choose the asnaf (poor) recipients based on race or religion.

“We are very grateful that they actually consider us which shows that our neighbourhood values unity,” Ali told New Sarawak Tribune.

“I have lived here since I was in primary school. I married Jaya 23 years ago and we have been living here ever since.”

When asked how they were able to participate in the event, Ali revealed that the village chief had approached them personally.

“The village chief himself came to our house, bringing the good news. He told us we were eligible to be the recipients and he came to get our names,” he said.

To Ali, the village has always been harmonious. Although most of the villagers are Malays, the Hindu couple stressed that the “1Malaysia” concept had long been embodied in the neighbourhood.

Ali, the breadwinner of his family, said, “This is the first time we are receiving the contribution.”

Touching on the coming festive celebrations, Jaya revealed, “For the coming Raya, we are going to make ‘cucur rodey’ (Indian snack also called Masala Vada) for sadaqah (charity). We do this every year”.

“We are also making curry puffs as well as chicken or fish curry to be given to our less fortunate neighbours. We don’t do this only during the festive celebrations but also on normal days.”

According to Ali, the other villagers have always been very kind to his family and often invite them to their weddings and parties.

“This explains why I have a very good command of local Sarawak Malay.

“For example, during Azan (Islamic call to prayer), we teach our children not to make any noise. We also look forward to Raya because it feels like it is also one of our celebrations. We cannot wait to go Raya visiting,” he added.

Arni (right) and Minah with the bags of rice they received. Photo: MOHD ALIF NONI

Other recipients at the event, Minah Jol and Amik Bandar were also very thankful for the contribution.

“This is the second time I have received such a contribution.  Earlier this month, I received two bags of rice,” confessed Minah.

“Syukur alhamdulillah… there are kind people who lend us a helping hand. These necessities I received will definitely ease the burden of my household,” she pointed out, adding that she still cooked at home despite her old age.

Anik also added that she seldom went out.

“The fact that the village chief has included my name among the recipients shows that people still remember and care about me.

“Although I may have children and grandchildren who are working, I thank the organiser and the villagers for this contribution,” she added.