Project 60.1: Raising awareness and remembering loved ones by going bald

As promised, I have gone bald as part of Twentytwo13’s Project 60.1 to raise funds for Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

I will also be walking 25km on Nov 28 to signify and appreciate WAO’s efforts in helping women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.

The going bald part is a “sideshow” but still of much significance. It comes back to what Twentytwo has been emphasising in Project 60.1 – we can make a big difference by just making a small effort.

A bald pate may not help anyone in a direct way but I’ll be pleased enough if it raises some awareness on the plight of cancer patients.

My going bald is also to show moral support for a couple of brave friends who are determined to win the fight. I wish you all the best.

Alam admiring his hair at the barber’s shop this morning. Images: Amar Qastellani

It is also to remember three people who were a big influence in my life. All three had cancer.

First is my father who passed away in May 1998. The most valuable asset he left me with is discipline.

Yes, he was tough. His stare was enough to make me s**t bricks. I disliked it then (the stare, not the bricks part which is just an expression) in my teen years.

When I started working in 1979 and until today, I realised the importance of what he was trying to instill. That discipline has held me in good stead for over 40 years.

Also, thank you dad for advising ordering us siblings to converse in English. It made all of us trilingual. We continued to speak in Hindi with our parents while we made sure we did well in Bahasa Malaysia in school because it was compulsory to pass in various exams.

The barber shaves Alam’s head.

Second is my close friend, colleague, makan ‘kaki’, holiday companion, union comrade and a lot more. We even went on joint dates with our then girlfriends. He passed on in August 1994. I still miss you, buddy.

Third is another friend who lost the cancer battle on Nov 17, 2016 after nearly 20 years. Yes, that’s exactly four years ago. I knew him from work but we never talked much until one day when he had a relapse.

I visited him and we became good friends as we had a lot of things in common about what this world should be like. I learnt patience and forgiveness from him.

I am still hot-headed today but this guy was such an influence that I learnt to forgive and forget although it’s still not easy sometimes. Thus, I’m proud to do this small gesture on the fourth anniversary of your passing, sir. You are well-remembered.

Alam’s new look.

On to the highlight of Project 60.1, Twentytwo13 is pleasantly overwhelmed with the response of friends and family.

We had targeted to collect RM5,000 when the project was launched on Nov 1, but we already have RM9,256.

Twentytwo13 readers and other fellow Malaysians can donate directly to Women’s Aid Organisation at CIMB Bank Berhad 80-0238299-7 (Reference: Children’s Programme).

For more information, contact amnani@wao.org.my or visit www.wao.org.my.