Are You Hungry, Mahasiswa?

Mahasiswa Lapar, Mahasiswa Usus Terkoyak, Mahasiswa tiada duit, part-time, survival, kerja lebih, byrawlins, ARTISUKMA
Take care of your health
Recently, a news about a uni student that suffered punctured intestines due to starvation became viral. 
And the student is from my alma mater.
That saddens me.

But somehow it rings some truth.
I was in the uni way back in 1997, when the global was facing the Asian Financial Crisis and raising fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.

Being coming a middle-class income family and me being the eldest in the family, my father could not provide much to me financially. My mother was a housewife as my siblings were still schooling. Among my friends that received financial aids, I received the least amount of financial aid. I  received a scholarship from a Malaysian government agency and PTPTN was yet to be around during those years. After the deduction for my tuition fees and housing fee, I have only RM500++ for the whole semester. 

As it was my first time away from my family and to go out of Sibu, Sarawak, it almost seemed normal for me to be wanting to do everything - going to KL, lepaking with friends in the Starbucks (it was a really major deal back then) and also staying out late with friends. 

I also wanted to look like the other kids - with hand phone (it was a very big deal back then and certainly lift you up in the social hierarchy),  cool outfit and study accessories (bag, pencil case etc) so I almost ran out of my scholarship money when I reached the mid-semester in my first semester. The food was not an issue to me as I ate very little back then and the 'Semenanjung" food certainly does not sit well with me. So I opted for bread and sardine  for my daily meals until the end of the semester.
Mahasiswa Lapar, Mahasiswa Usus Terkoyak, Mahasiswa tiada duit, part-time, survival, kerja lebih, byrawlins, ARTISUKMA
Source: Manjia
Due to malnutrition, I fainted after sitting for my very last paper of the first semester. 
Syukur for great friends that helped me with my condition and gave me some cash to get complete meals. The memories of us taking turns in buying and sharing meals with others are still fresh in my mind. 

Why do we take turns? Because we will receive the scholarship money on different months so we share until the other get theirs. Then it is their turn to share.

I did not go back to Sibu throughout my three years of study because the lack of cash. Instead, I stayed in my Uni and did my short semester in my first year, did my industrial training in my second year and took up a part-time waiter job in Shakey's Kajang after I concluded my final year while waiting for my convocation.

After the faint scene, I made up my mind not to spend my cash as I wish. Instead, I joined a uni Malay Dance Club (ARTISUKMA) and performed traditional Malay dance in the malls, wedding etc every other weekend. The pay that I get from the show helped me to get by monthly. 
Mahasiswa Lapar, Mahasiswa Usus Terkoyak, Mahasiswa tiada duit, part-time, survival, kerja lebih, byrawlins, ARTISUKMA
Jobs are everywhere
I also took up jobs translating and typing out paperwork, thesis, and assignments to get by. Just to let you know, I did all the typing in cyber cafes well after 11 pm daily as owning a laptop was a luxury then.

I also learned that being involved in the college and university's events does have it perks. You get the experience, you get to know people and you get FREE MEALS too.

Recently, when I took the tour around the campus, I realized that there is lots more aid for the needy in the campus. The mosque has put up a fridge where people could leave food for the needySeveral faculties have also set up the similar act. A few canteens have also introduced a minimally priced meal for the needy and it is a complete healthy meal - not luxurious.

And students, do not be afraid to look for assistance from your counselors.
The counselors are there to assist everyone in any situation and not for the mentally disturbed students only.
Mahasiswa Lapar, Mahasiswa Usus Terkoyak, Mahasiswa tiada duit, part-time, survival, kerja lebih, byrawlins, ARTISUKMA
Sumber: Sinar Harian
So, why do the sudden outbreak of #MahasiswaLapar?

I would say spending beyond their means and lack of initiatives to look for aid.

If the students blame their current situation on the current economic situation, I would say 'You are correct. The whole world is experiencing it. Deal with it and look for the way out."

If you want to learn the tips to survive in the varsity world, read here Survival Tips
And kindly vote here about the current situation whether we should blame the surrounding or the students for their lack of surviving skills Should the students be blamed for #MahasiswaLapar
Haiqal Rawlins
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  1. this is the key--> do not be afraid to look for assistance from your counselors..

    as fellow of mahallah (college), students will see their respective fellow especially when they have no money to buy food..


  2. hungry for food! good to hear that there are kind people out there to help out

  3. Experience always made us a matured person. You had gone through the downwards but luckily you still able to stand up. A good lesson to all the young peoples out there.

  4. thanks for sharing the experience and story to us. we have to assist to the counselor when we have a problem.

  5. This is so sad.... and yes, I think sharing is caring, it is good to have friends that share and care together when we are in trouble...

  6. Hope that the mahasiswa will get more aids and also manage their finance better.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Rawlins. I really hope mahasiswa will get aids on this issue too.

    1. Do we want to give them fish or teach them how to fish?

  8. So sorry to know this. Hope Mahasiswa managed to get this through.

  9. I agree with this line of yours : "I would say spending beyond their means and lack of initiatives to look for aid."

    I see many local Uni students overdo this. For themselves or for their partner (boyfriend/girlfriend). Students in Uni are adults and should have the initiative to find some part time jobs that does not interfere with their studies if it gets too tough (financial aid takes time/ come from a poor background/ want extra for own self). When I was in Uni, I have friends who work part time to make some extra money because of the extra things that we want for ourselves, including myself (and we're from the BioMedic line, with so much schoolwork to do every day).

    Apa yang penting, nak atau tak. Nak seribu daya, tak nak seribu dalih.

  10. kesian diorg, but they need to find alternative of making money. I also working part time in my degree. mcm kata bella, Nak seribu daya, tak nak seribu dalih.

  11. forever hungry.. i was lucky my uni time was more than a decade ago, still manageable financially. nowadays everything too expensive to even survive.

  12. Haha~ Hungry-nya.... Thinking back at my uni days!


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