KUALA LUMPUR: Jom CNY’s lion dance performances, bountiful breakfast and ang pao packets brought joy to residents of the Kuala Lumpur Homeless Transit Centre on the first day of Chinese New Year today.
For resident Charlie Chua, 58, from Muar, Johor, Chinese New Year has been a lonely occasion for the last 15 years.
"Since both my parents passed away 15 years ago, I hardly celebrate Chinese New Year anymore," he said.
Chua said he came to KL to seek a temporary job after his previous place of work closed down.
"I decided to come to KL and seek shelter at the transit centre here until I manage to secure a job to rent a room," he said, adding that he was happy to be treated to special CNY food and lion dance performances at the centre.
Another resident, Goh Kai Soon, 52, said he recently got fired from his job at a Chinese restaurant in KL.
"I am so glad that there are people who still care for disadvantaged people like me, and help bring joy to us," he said, adding that he has some problems with his family members and decided not to celebrate CNY with them.
He said the joy of celebrating New Year at the Transit Centre is different.
"Although I hardly know (my fellow residents), it feels like they are my family," he said.
Meanwhile, Jom CNY programme organiser Institut Onn Ja'afar (IoJ) chief executive officer Charles Mohan said the programme is a collaboration between Pelaburan Mara Berhad and Gombak Food Delivery Prihatin.
"Jom CNY is being held at one of the city's halfway houses, which was set up by the Federal Territories Ministry as a one-stop centre for members of the public, government and non-governmental organisations and companies to provide aid to the homeless," he said.
Charles added that IoJ will organise a similar programme for every festive celebration.
Pelaburan Mara chief executive Datuk Nazim Rahman said his organisation has been collaborating with IoJ since early this year.
"Chinese New Year is all about the celebration of home, family and friends, and we at Pelaburan Mara are honoured to be collaborating for this kind of event,” he said.