A FEW days ago, the prime minister’s beloved wife Rosmah Mansor requested for more public money from her dearest hubby for her Permata foundation.
She claimed, “You cannot make cookies without forking out for flour”.
While I doubt Rosmah even knows how to bake cookies…err I meant, I doubt she even has the time to bake them (you know how busy our First Lady is), I believe there is more to cookie-baking than the financial capacity to purchase the ingredients.
You see, to bake good cookies, you not only need ingredients of good quality, but most importantly, you also need a good baker. Without one, no matter how good your ingredients are, the cookies could still be a disaster.
“I want you all to know what we are doing is for the best for our children,” said Rosmah, wanting everyone to know that Permata had been doing a fantastic job with the ‘cookie baking’.
As much as I hate to be the party pooper here, I doubt Permata is doing such a great job, thanks to its half-baked chef.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to work on a documentary about autistic children. Searching for a main character, my crew and I were brought to a Permata centre for autistic children located in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi.
We spent three days at the Permata Kurnia, and throughout our shooting schedule, I saw many things which concerned me greatly.
While observing the classes, I realised the teachers had very low English proficiency despite being entrusted to conduct English lessons. One time, a teacher even taught her class to pronounce ‘an-cho-vies’ as ‘an-co-vies’!
During a scene at the bathroom, I asked the teacher why one of our characters was not brushing his own teeth, but instead, had the teacher do it for him. Her response that the boy was too short to use the sink, blew me away.
“It’s easier for us to brush his teeth for him. He may take forever,” she claimed.
My producer then suggested we get the boy a small stool – and the 7-year-old boy who had to depend on teachers to brush his teeth all these while, miraculously brushed his own teeth with no fuss what-so-ever!
It was astounding for us to realise that the teachers did not take any proactive measures to train the boy to handle his basic routine such as brushing teeth, taking a shower and wearing clothes, but instead gave us many excuses of his inability to do so. Oddly, in the three days of shooting, we managed to witness him do all of them!
And that’s not all, the facilities were in sad condition too. The toilet was dirty and made me gag, despite us arriving first thing in the morning for the shoot. Black stains around the tiles and sink worsened the appearance. And to top it all, the swimming pool meant for the autistic children was beyond operational for quite some time (at the point of the shoot).
The thing is, if Permata foundation has been awarded with lucrative budget of hundreds of millions since its establishment in 2007, I cannot fathom why the Permata Kurnia centre is so deprived of care.
Having seen what I have seen, I now wonder about other centres under the Permata foundation – are they well managed, or are they too suffering from lack of proper attention?
I don’t know. Who am I anyway to question our beloved first lady’s brainchild based on one encounter, right?
But then again, if “every child is precious” as per Permata’s tagline, perhaps Rosmah owes it to the public to conduct a proper investigation before requesting the government to fork out more financial aid to get more ‘flour’ for her cookie baking.
Anyway, all this talk about cookies is making me hungry. I think I’ll just go bake myself some – but unlike Rosmah, I shall purchase my ingredients with my own money.