Jeyathesan Kulasingam was recently honoured with The Outstanding Young Malaysian Award for humanitarian activities. But he is not resting on his laurels and intends to serve the community further by becoming a doctor, writes K.S. USHA DEVI
When Jeyathesan Kulasingam ventured into social service during his schooldays, it was purely to have fun with his friends
“Since I was not among those who pursued literary activities or joined the choir, I thought serving people would be a positive way of keeping myself occupied,’’ says Jeyathesan who is better known as Jeya.
“Besides it was always fun to hang out with the boys while doing gotong-royong activities at school, doing odd jobs for a home and digging drains in the kampongs during the anti-dengue campaign,’’ recalls Jeya, 33, of his schooldays.
“One of the earliest places that I helped out in was Shelter when they needed to shift from their premises in Petaling Jaya,’’ says Jeya.
A well-known figure in the MRSM and the media for his humanitarian and voluntary causes, Jeya’s lists of activities are many.
Among them is being part of the medical service teams for the public which are on standby at royal functions, concerts and sporting events such as the Paralympics and SEA Games.
He also served as team leader for disaster relief services in Dato Keramat, the explosion at Bright Sparkle factory, Sungai Buloh and the landslide at the Highland Towers in the Klang Valley.
“I enjoy doing voluntary service because it is a tool to help mould the character of youngsters,’’ says Jeya.
“Besides, I enjoy working with young people because of their enthusiasm and commitment for a cause,’’ he adds.
His first venture into volunteer service started in 1976 when he became a member of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRSM) at his primary school in La Salle, Petaling Jaya.
“In school, I was also involved in sports like basketball but most of my time was spent in the MRSM learning first-aid and other skills,’’ says Jeya.
However, his family was not too keen on his involvement in all these activities because they felt he was consumed by it.
“Initially, everyone except my mother was not too happy about my interest in charity work, then they got fed up with me and kept quiet,’’ he says.
“Ironically, now they too have become involved in charity work,’’ Jeya adds with a chuckle.
During the Deepavali festive season, his mother K. Sathiyapama, in her 60s, would bake cookies to be distributed to children’s homes while his elder brother Kulasekar, 38, visits nursing homes regularly to spend time with the old people.
According to Jeya, his biggest supporter throughout the 25 years of charity and social service to the community is Sathiyapama.
“She is my pillar of strength and is always there to guide and protect me when the need arises,’’ he acknowledges.
“My mother would actually shield me from the other family members, so that I could continue with my activities without worry,’’ says Jeya, the youngest of seven siblings.
To acknowledge her faith in him, Jeya dedicated The Outstanding Young Malaysian Award (TOYM) he received recently to Sathiyapama and also Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamed.
“The dedication to the Prime Minister is because he mooted the idea of a caring society within all of us,’’ says Jeya.
His other MRSM-related activities include participating as a member of the blood donor awareness and blood donation campaign that was responsible for increasing the awareness of public in the Klang Valley for more than a decade from 1985.
A blood donor himself, he has travelled voluntarily to Singapore, India, Taiwan, Russia and Australia to learn and exchange ideas on blood donation programmes.
He was also involved in a peer programme for HIV/AIDS Dissemination that involved training, organising and disseminating HIV/AIDS awareness for young people.
Jeya was also part of the team that introduced the juvenile centre concept in an effort to rehabilitate young offenders.
Always looking forward to new challenges, the active Jeya plunged wholeheartedly into humanitarian and voluntary causes since his youth because he believes in the idea of a caring society.
“Caring isn’t just about lending a helping hand. It is about sharing fun and laughter together while developing long-term relationships. The community service project Carerity provides this need,’’ says Jeya who initiated the project.
Carerity was founded in 1997 under the MRSM Petaling Chapter to motivate and initiate youths into the idea of volunteerism. It also aims to develop long-term relationships with the less fortunate by creating a family atmosphere for them.
“I consider the project to be an interactive programme that benefits both volunteers and recipients,’’ says Jeya.
“Of course it is nice to get the recognition and acknowledgement (for the award) but it is a joint effort by all volunteers of Carerity. I was merely the spokesperson,’’ he stresses.
Currently a student at Cremer State University in Ukraine, Jeya is pursuing a career in medicine, an ambition that he wanted to achieve since his younger days.
“Although I was 28 years old at the time of enrolment, medicine was a dream I had wanted to pursue. I had to put it off earlier because of financial constraints,’’ he says, adding that he has no regrets going back to school at such a late age.
“Probably this career choice was influenced by being a Red Crescent member as well,’’ chuckles Jeya who will graduate in 2004.
However, this career move seems inevitable, as this conscientious and dedicated MRSM member has the makings of a doctor in him. During his tenure of service, he has resuscitated victims of heart attacks from road accidents and drowning incidents. He has also helped to deliver babies in taxis and vans at the side of the highway!
Never one to rest on his laurels, Jeya intends to continue with his humanitarian and charity causes once he graduates as a doctor.