10 August 2008 - 2 years have passed since Erica Hubbert (aged 9+) left us. Today more than 1000 Subang Jaya residents celebrated her life and death by eating durian for RM10 only and it goes straight to the Children's Wish Society of Malaysia ("CWS") (a national movement initiated after Erica's death to fulfill the wishes of terminally ill children).
The crowd waiting for the event to start
When I was first approached by Allan Hubbert (Erica's dad) and SJ Echo for support towards this project, I decided to offer a challenge. For every RM1 raised, I would pledge RM1 in return (to a maximum of RM10,000). This is taken from the yearly state allocation for my constituency. Let me explain to you why I decided to do so. Annually, I was told that 10,000 children are diagnosed with terminal diseases nationwide. According to one psychologist, losing a child to an illness is among the worst and most feared experiences of one's life. Every young child can sense fear and anxiety in their family members when he/she is terminally ill. CWS wants to step in during this time to bring a smile back to our little ones. It is easier to make a child cry than to make him/her smile.
I too experienced the loss of my little nephew in 2006. My grandparents also lost their child (my favourite uncle) some 18 years ago. They never recovered from that tragic loss. It is not an easy thing to do witnessing the burial of a child.
As the state assemblyman, I do not want to only improve the infrastructure and delivery system of the local government but I also want to improve the lifestyle and welfare of the residents in Subang Jaya. Here, I want to commend Allan and Teoh from SJ Echo for stepping forward in leading this effort to raise funds for CWS. Life or death lies in the Almighty's hands. The beginning and end of one's life is determined by God alone but we, fellow neighbours can add colours to the stories and characters in between. Allan and Teoh have done just that! They coloured the lives of these little ones who have left us too soon. I am glad that today, Subang Jaya residents are also playing their part in doing the same.
I reminded the crowd, "Let us not forget that today is not about durian. I repeat - today is not about durian. Today is about Subang Jaya residents stepping forward to enrich a child's life before they end the brief chapter of his/her life story".
I encouraged the crowd to give out of their riches, to give over and above RM10 if they could afford it. CWS raised more than RM30,000 today! For those who would like to assist CWS - you can email them at email@example.com or call 019 2103623 or 012 3288557. A big thank you to all corporate sponsors, volunteers and residents who made this a success. I want to see Subang Jaya residents lead the nation forward in making Malaysia a better place. We can do it if we put our differences aside and work for a common good.
Erica Hubbert was a little girl in our neighbourhood. Today, 2 years later, she has left behind a legacy and inspired a national movement to ensure other children who will be walking down the same path, walk on it SMILING. I never got a chance to meet Erica but I have been touched and inspired by her life.
You must view the video below.
(Photos and video courtesy of CWS)