(The familiar facade of almost every Persatuan Penduduk or in English, Residential Association in residential areas in this country. But setting this up and running a Persatuan Penduduk on a regular basis is not easy. Image source: TheStar)
I guess it is high time I stop apologizing for not doing up my blog post and I did consider ending the good old days of blogging for once and for all. But then again, I might come in here occasionally to pen down my thoughts and the latest happenings.
Seriously I have been busy spending more time for myself – playing games on my smartphone (what else?), spending more precious time with my kids (I love it when my kid sits on me and ask me to read her a story) and whenever possible for that extra hour of sleep and exercise.
There has been another development this year and that is quickly turning into my pet project as well – my involvement with the Resident’s Association (RA) or in Bahasa Malaysia, known as “Persatuan Penduduk“.
Do you still remember back in 2009 when I first talked about the Persatuan?
Things had dragged on for couple more years until one day in 2014, I received a notice in my post box that another group of residents from the same residential area had decided to form a Persatuan Penduduk. I wondered what happened to the old Persatuan Penduduk as this will be another competing Persatuan Penduduk for the same group of residents.
A meeting was held one fine Sunday morning to explain to the residents and formalise the Persatuan Penduduk. Having nothing to lose (I was watching a dumb show on TV anyway), I went for the meeting and here was explained what is the difference between old and new RA.
Apparently, the old RA was not a registered organisation and this new group of residents decided to set up a proper RA which is registered with the ROS, has a proper constitution, registration of members and has a proper committee member to manage the RA.
And guess what, I was one of the committee members that got elected on that day – not that I had some special skills that can assist the RA but rather I was the only Indian chap who braved enough to show up at the meeting. So when it was time to pick multi-race committee members, the slot for an Indian was obvious – all eyes were on me.
For the period of 2014-2016, I was not that active in the RA namely because I was stationed overseas during these times but when I was back home, I tried to help out whenever possible. We did probably the best Raya celebration (with superb food that the ladies managed to cook up) that the residents had in recent years.
Moving forward to the beginning of 2016, the Persatuan had their final AGM to pick new committee members for the period of 2016-2018 and this time, there were a couple more Indian chaps in the group, so I did not end up as the obvious choice. But seeing how residents wanted to help the RA but don’t want to be committee members themselves, I decided to volunteer this time around.
Everyone was pointing at others instead of volunteering and seeing the mayhem for a moment, I opened my mouth and I ended up on the committee again. Of course, the new committee members will take up a more prominent role and I had decided on a more supporting role considering how I am tied up with work these days (it was the same with the previous committee).
I did mention previously in this blog that the topic of leadership has always fascinated me. And in every work or venture that I had signed up for, I always look for opportunities (even the smallish) to learn. Same thing with Persatuan this time around – more interaction with other residents on common issues has improved my command of the language, I am less shy now to meet up with other people and share my leadership skills with some of the new committee members.
And I am learning a lot more from other committee members who are more experienced in their line of work (we have 2 engineers as well in the group), the way they analyze the issues and the way they deal with people. One guy impressed me more than others on the subject of communication & persuasion seeing how he managed to drive up the RA membership to almost 90% now. And people in the neighbourhood getting to know me (and me to them) as well – which is a good thing assuming I need their help one fine day.
Things have been interesting though – to see things from a non-commercial and educational point of view.
But then again, running an association that involves residents from multi-racial, multi-religion backgrounds has not been smooth sailing as well. Payment for security guards had been a pain in the neck for a long – from a few who are deeply concerned with the security of their families and homes to the dumb idiots who enjoy the security at the expense of others.
In the last 2 years, the payment trend has been a roller coaster ride – from a good payment to hire 5 guards to almost none by end of last year. In the end, when it was not enough to hire the guards, the previous RA committee decided to stop the security services and told the residents to watch their back on their own. A couple of months later early this year and after 6 break-ins happened (2 when the residents were still in the house), the residents kind of woke up and got busy pushing the RA for security guards again.
The new Persatuan committee in 2016 decided to go one step ahead with road closures, boom gates and fencing and this time (maybe due to the break-ins) and a better quality of security service, there is much more support from the residents this time around – almost 80% payment for the first month alone and drive for new membership skyrocketed too with almost 88% of the residents joined in as the Persatuan members. The trick is to keep up the momentum for the next 2 years or so.
And to ensure residents are well informed of the Persatuan plans (and also to pressure those who have been running behind on security payments), all of the members are added into a resident’s chat group. Peer pressure do work wonders sometime. And of course, there will be that small selfish group of morons who will always work against the wishes of the majority and they will often end up being the trouble makers. It takes time, some sense of arm twisting and anger of other residents to keep these trouble makers at bay.
This should keep me pretty much occupied for next 2 years until of course, I am away on overseas assignments.