Chinese villagers downplay help for Malay travellers in Perak


It takes a village: The group of villagers from Kampung Baru Pelawan near Langkap who helped repair a dirt road in Ladang Bikam. — Photo courtesy of Sinar Harian

PETALING JAYA: To the Malay travellers who got a smoother ride home to Kuala Lumpur after their recent Hari Raya celebrations, the group of Chinese villagers who helped enable that were giants.

But to those residents of Kampung Baru Pelawan near Langkap, Perak, the assistance they rendered last Saturday night was but a small humanitarian gesture.

ALSO READ: Turn ‘rat trails’ into alternative route, suggest villagers

Nobody was more surprised than Lee Weng Foong, who helped repair a dirt road with other villagers to make it passable for cars returning to the city that night, when the episode went viral on social media.

“We were very happy to be able to help everyone. I was surprised when our video went viral and moved when I read positive comments from netizens.

“Thank you for the appreciation, we only helped as much as we could. We just wanted all of them to return home safely. That was most important,” he told Sinar Harian on Tuesday.

Lee, 52, said he did not expect the small gesture of his village to get attention on social media.

Fellow resident Chung Kok Keong, 53, said the oil palm plantation road has offered a detour to avoid congestion for the past few years. He added that his village is located between the main road that connects Chui Chak to Bidor and Kuala Bikam.

“So this 3km farm road has become a shortcut for road users who want to avoid traffic jams every festive season.

“It was strange that night when many vehicles turned back. We stopped a car and then found out that the road was damaged and could not be used,” he said.

Chung said he, along with several other residents, agreed to help level the road to make it easier for users to continue their journey to Kuala Lumpur.

ALSO READ: Glad to help, we just wanted them to return home safely', say Ladang Bikam villagers

“We contacted a friend who has an excavator and was willing to help level the road so that the cars could pass through the road.

“We only thought of helping them because we knew that the road levelling would only take a short while. It took us less than 10 minutes and that night, dozens of cars were able to pass through the route,” he added.

The incident trended on social media after one of the road users, Zairul Annuar Mohd Zin, shared the touching encounter as he and his wife made their congested journey back to the city in a Facebook video post.

Zairul, 46, expressed his admiration for the concern shown by the residents in the area when passing through an unpaved road through the oil palm plantation in Ladang Bikam.

Contacted by The Star days later, the business consultant based in Indonesia called the good Samaritans the “real heroes” of Malaysia.

He was returning to Kuala Lumpur with his wife and their 17-year-old son after spending two days at the Lost World theme park in Tambun near Ipoh for the Raya holidays.

“Most of us who were lost in the plantation that night were Malays and those that came to help were a group of Chinese villagers.

“It is not something that happens every day. I wanted to show Malaysians that we can come together to help one another irrespective of race, religion or background.

“These are the real heroes,” he said.

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