Pusaka launches aid appeal to assist East Coast traditional performing arts communities

Kumpulan Mak Yong Cahaya Matahari, seen here with its principal custodian Mek Ti (centre, black top), is one of the affected communities that Pusaka is trying to help. Photo: Pusaka

Traditional culture organisation Pusaka has launched a donation drive to provide food aid to traditional arts communities in Kelantan and Terengganu.

This donation drive comes at a time when only essential services are allowed to operate under the nationwide full lockdown, which began today and is scheduled to end on June 14.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected these communities in several ways. Their livelihoods have been threatened. They have not been able to perform for more than a year. In addition, the MCO has prevented many of them from earning a daily wage.

“What these communities need at this moment is basic food items such as rice and cooking oil to help them subsist during this total lockdown. This is why we decided to launch this call for donations, ” says Pauline Fan, Pusaka's creative director.

Pusaka aims to raise RM20,000 for 200 households and will coordinate the food aid delivery in collaboration with humanitarian organisations Geutanyoe Foundation and Majlis Perunding Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia Kelantan.

So far, RM10,000 has been collected, which will benefit 100 households.

In a Facebook page posting, Pusaka stated that every RM100 will provide a food package for one household, which will help them subsist for two to three weeks. The food package will include items like rice, eggs, sardines and cooking oil.

One community that’s severely affected is Kumpulan Mak Yong Cahaya Matahari (10 households) in Kuala Besut, Terengganu which is currently under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO).

“For the past two weeks, they have been unable to work at the keropok factory where they earn their daily wage. No food aid has been provided for these communities, and they are in need of basic food supplies, ” reads a statement on Pusaka’s Facebook page.

Another group that’s affected is the Rebana Ubi Sri Amok Perdana community in Kg. Banggol Perdana, Kg. Banggol Petaling and surrounding kampungs in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. Its leader, Cikgu Nor Alam Majid reached out to Pusaka for assistance in food aid for up to 90 households.

Pusaka initially targeted to raise RM5,000 to assist 50 households. Fan says that since the response from the public has been “extremely encouraging”, Pusaka will be expanding its targeted communities in Kelantan to include traditional artists from the wayang kulit, dikir barat and silat communities.

“We know that many Malaysians love the traditional arts of Kelantan. We hope that Malaysians will come together and help to meaningfully support the people who keep these traditions alive at the community level.

“If we don’t look after our own traditional artists, who else will? These communities give us so much through their cultural traditions, this is one of the ways Malaysians can give back and let them know we truly care for them, ” concludes Fan.

Those who wish to contribute can reach Pusaka via its Facebook and Instagram pages, email (info@pusaka.org) and WhatsApp (012-9917460).

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