No Water & No Electricity At A Remote School

Imagine this is your life.
Imagine spending so many years getting a degree, only to leave your home, take flights & ride boats to go to a remote school in the middle of nowhere to accept the challenge of educating rural children without knowing when you'll get to return. All because you want to materialise a dream of making a difference & changing lives.

Imagine going to school knowing that you'll have no electricity. No electricity = the pump will not function = no water. Imagine carrying your clothes, toiletries & dirty dishes in pails & walking 10 minutes through rough terrain to the nearby river to wash up. Furthermore, you'll have to carry one or two pails of water back to your living quarters for toilet use & general cleaning.

Imagine having to clear all the food in your fridge lest it rots. Imagine having to cook your meals with murky river water. Imagine the hot afternoons without even a fan. Imagine teaching in classrooms with full formal attire without a fan. Imagine nights of complete darkness. Living by star, moon & candle light. No TV. No laptop. No Internet.

This is the life that we live every day as teachers of a rural school when the generator breaks down. We do what we can to survive & thrive. Modelling the grit that we desire in our students. Do read on, because we need your help.

The last functioning generator broke down last Friday plunging the entire school into darkness.
Many years ago, we had an effective administrator. He made sure that all the generators had preventive maintenance. He was also at the necks of the contractors any time they were down. He understood that electricity was the most basic need & his ageing generators were cranky & needed constant attention. The generators were installed almost a decade ago during the tenure of Pak Lah.

Then, he was called to another school & another person replaced him. This person inherited 4 functioning generators. However, every year he was in-charge, a generator would break down & be used as spare parts. In his fourth & final year, there was only 1 generator left & it was constantly breaking down. We had a cumulative 2 weeks of complete darkness during that horrible year.

This year, there was yet another person at the helm. Sadly, this man had the misfortune of inheriting a barely functioning generator. Within just a few months of his incumbency, the generator broke down beyond any hope of an on-site repair. It had to be lifted onto a boat, shipped to Sibu, overhaulled, & shipped back to school.

They lifted the generator onto a boat last Wednesday. This means that it'll take at least a few weeks before a generator would be running at school again. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to spending those few weeks at school but I will still return. Not because it's my duty. Nope. I'm not as noble & selfless as you think. I'm returning because of my Malay, Iban, & Chinese brothers. They are suffering & I'm going back to endure with them through this tough time just like we've always done the years before.

We stick together & adapt.
I really admire the teachers of SMK Katibas. Despite their dire situation, they still showed up for school without fail. They also banded together & did what they could to make the situation more comfortable.

Students were not as diligent; only 50 or so turned up last Monday. Their numbers dwindled as the days went by. Can't blame them. They stay at the hostels &, without electricity or water, the hostels can be a hazardous place to stay in.

View the pictures of our experience here, here, & here.

We're not going to ask for your money... Just some simple things...
#1 PRAY FOR KATIBAS
We need lots of prayer. Pray that everyone will be protected. Pray that we will have electricity soon.

#2 SPREAD THE WORD
You may not be able to do anything to help the school but perhaps someone who knows someone who knows someone you know can. All you have to do is share this blog post or this photo album on social media & encourage your followers to do the same.

#3 REACH OUT TO US
Please share an encouraging message here on this blog, in the photo albums shared previously, or on our school's Facebook page for the leaders, teachers, & students at my school. Even though they may not be able to read your message at school, they'll be re-energised & blessed when they have their weekend respites.

#4 BUG SOMEONE BIG
Do you know somebody influential? Talk to him/her/them about this.
I have no place to turn to so in hopes of support from our elected government, I've shared the situation on the Facebook pages of our PM, DPMDeputy Education Minister 1Deputy Education Minister 2, CEO of PEMANDUCM of Sarawak, Sarawak Education EXCO Representative, & MP of Kapit.
I accept responsibility for writing this blog post, initiating a share campaign & posting messages on the Facebook pages of politicians. I have done this according to my freewill without the knowledge of my colleagues or my administrators. I'm not one to sit helplessly & watch as my colleagues & students suffer.

We've been having generator problems for more than 3 years already. Despite our dire circumstances, we are still able to out-perform many town schools in Sarawak both academically & in athletics. We have even got state athletes. Imagine what we can do when we have a steady source of electricity. We need a more long-term solution than just the current fix-when-broken method. The relevant departments already know of our situation.

The time for talk is over. We need action & we need it now!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE: 10 May 2015
Thanks to you, this blog post went viral! Influential people are aware of our situation now. I hope that swift action is taken to restore electricity & water. I wrote an update on the situation here. Our share campaign ends for now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Comments

  1. Anonymous1/5/15 18:25

    i feel so sorry about it, the only thing i can do is to publish it out hopefully somebody can assist on way or another

    ReplyDelete
  2. JPN Sarawak have to take immidiate action regarding this sitiation. KPM also should have a plan to overcome problems to this kind of schools. 21 st century education not just for the urban students. Btw don't say that 21 century education don't need electricity as you all said that this kind of education is not meant students have to use ict.

    ReplyDelete
  3. salam SMK Katibas,
    Saya Steefanus Nujan (Penyelia UPB PPD Song) mohon sekolah ckgu buat report yang penuh dan ajukan kepada pihak PPD Song untuk kami bantu ckgu menyokong report tersebut dan dihantar kpd pihak JPN berkenaan dengan kadar yg segera bagi menyelesaikan masalah ini.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2/5/15 15:44

      Mohon pihak ppd turun sendri...lihat keadaan sbenar...alami sendiri...rasai sendiri....ini lepas publish isu ini,panggil admin..tnya kenapa publish...kamon la ppd..,jgn anaktirikan sekolah seliaan anda

      Delete
    2. Steefanus Nujan, cut all the red tape. This is consider an emergency and you're still awaiting for your report??

      When YB want to visit the school then you all "terhegeh-hegeh" to make it nice and beautiful. Stop your double standard and work on it.

      - peace -

      Delete
    3. I find that there are tons of bureaucracy in Sarawak. I remember the time I transferred my son from a rural school to Kuching (I got a job in Kuching and then later on in Malaya). Punyalah banyak orang yang nak kena sain! Tapi saya transfer anak saya dari Penang ke KL, saya isi borang di sekolah saja. Have you civil servant in Sarawak not capable of adjusting your work culture to a more efficient one? Please lah.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous3/5/15 22:55

      Agak kesal kerana masih nak duduk di zon selesa dan minta laporan... begini ini gaya seorang guru? Patutlah saya dengar kawan saya kata... guru yang baik semuanya berada di sekolah... dan yang sebaliknya berada di pejabat...

      Delete
    5. Anonymous7/5/15 22:23

      Tuan Stefanus, bagaimana guru SMK Katibas nak taip laporan tersebut dan cetak tanpa elektrik, ya tuan? Tidak lupa juga tiada elektrik = tiada air sebab pam tak berfungsi tanpa elektrik. Guru-guru tersebut rasanya nak makan dan minum air pun fikir dua kali, sebab nanti bila nak buang air besar, tak ada air pula nak flush. Baju kotor bagaimana? Terpaksalah sibuk mencari punca air semata-mata untuk cuci baju. Dalam keadaan hidup begini, pihak ppd masih minta 'report' rasmi? Tolonglah, ini dah kira kes 'emergency'. Please cut out the bureaucracy. Turun padang terus - lihatlah dan alamilah sendiri keadaan tersebut.
      - Rakan guru yang juga pernah mengajar di sekolah luar bandar tanpa kemudahan asas yang lengkap

      Delete
    6. Apa sahaja fakta atau fitnah yang pihak berkenaan suarakan, terpulang pada hak dan suara peribadi saudara dan saudari sendiri.
      Pihak pengetua sekolah sebelum ini dan yang sekarang,pihak PPD dan pihak JPN tidak pernah ada sikap dan pemikiran seperti yang digambarkan saudara dan saudari sekalian. Yang penting SOP dan prosedur kerja memang telah banyak dilakukan sehingga kini dalam membantu sekolah ini dari tahun2 sebelum ini sehingga sekarang.
      Apapun, terima kasih atas komen2 negatif saudara dan saudari sekalian.
      Kami rekod dan siasat perkara dan komen2 ini.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous2/5/15 16:13

    Betul tu... bukan jauh pon sekolah tersebut dengan PPD.... xde mslh pon kalo pihak PPD sendiri bantu buatkan laporan dan ambil tindakan... baru boleh jadi contoh....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cikgu, why not propose solar system at ur school.it less maintenance and even cheaper than genrator.lot of our rural resident hv used th system.at least as th back up while genrator breakdown..try to proposed out with more cost effective solution to ur JPN,ppd or whatsoeve mybe its help u.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My school is a big school with a lot of buildings. We need at least 150kV of electricity. I'm not sure if solar panels are feasible considering the cost & space required to generate that amount of electricity.
      But, if anyone is interested, I'm sure they'll be lobbying Putrajaya by now.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous3/5/15 15:14

    Hi, cikgu! I'm not a teacher bt i am a pt3 student at a rural school (belaga, do u know belaga?). The schools here are really fortunate bcoz the electricity are supplied by the huge generator thing at the pekan.
    I have to say i am very sad for the state your school right now. In order to get the words out i will share this on fb. I hope it will help but i am student so i dont think i will be very much of a help. All in all, i hope you will get the peruntukan to fix the problems you are facing. (Sorry for my english!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Your English is perfectly fine & I'm really happy that you mustered the courage to write this comment. I hope that you will read & write more in English.

      Yes, I know Belaga! I have always wanted to visit! I hope that you will study hard & be successful in both PT3 & in life. Take care!

      Delete
  7. Anonymous3/5/15 15:18

    Those who design those school never consider the condition of the school site and just simply call tender and build it.Of course te electricity and water are very hard to penetrate to rural location ..but who else can make a move to realise the basic infrastructure if not the gov (electricity and water ) . But still why built it alang2.. built school without water and electricity ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to clarify because there might be a misunderstanding here.
      In remote schools like mine, water & electric supply have been planned for. We are equipped with diesel generators for electricity & electric pumps for water.
      At my school, the generators are old & have completely broken down plunging the school into darkness & disabling the pumps which require electricity to function.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous3/5/15 22:36

    The genset maintenance was supposed to be under contract and handled by pejabat pelajaran.

    The truth is, the school rejected the road project when the road-building works of Takan-Banjor road was in progress. Don't know the real reason why. And now they want the road again and it supposed to be has been approved. If the road was build in the first place, non of the no water no electricity case will occur maybe.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Saya doakan cikgu terus diberi kekuatan dalam mendidik anak bangsa. Semoga masalah yg dialami diselesaikan segera. Saya berbangga dengan usaha Cikgu. Salam hormat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Semoga guru0guru SMK Katibas tabah hadapi dugaan!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Has action been taken? What is the status now? Please update

    ReplyDelete
  12. semua pandangan idea dan tindakan yang betul pernah dijalankan. Pihak terlibat dengan komen2 yg kurang bernas dan berpandangan negatif adalah sangat tidak sesuai dalam prosedur dan SOP yang betul dalam tindakan dan tatatertib kerja pihak KPM, JPN termasuk PPD sendiri. Pihak yg bercakap ikut sedap mulut tanpa memikirkan akibat dan asal usul cerita sebenar sila hentikan sekarang sebelum ia menimpa kepala sendiri.
    Diingatkan di sini, prosedur kerja dan peraturan kerja mengikut undang-undang adalah paling sesuai daripada pihak berkenaan protes sendiri tanpa tahu titik pangkal masalah sebenar. Tindakan terus menuding jari kepada orang lain bukan sesuatu yg Profesional dan boleh disabitkan kesalahan fitnah mengikut undang-undang.
    Jangan berkata atau melakukan sesuatu yang boleh menimpa nasib diri sendiri.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DearGod Zytos,
      prosedur dan peraturan kerja diwujudkan untuk memudahkan urusan manusia bukan sebaliknya,
      Daripada nak melepas geram, harus difikirkan bagaimana perkara ini boleh ditangani dan dielakkan pada kadar jangkapanjang. Berpusatlah kepada keadaan sekarang dan bukan apa yang pernah atau tak pernah berlaku

      Delete
    2. Memang pihak kita memikirkan banyak perkara yang boleh membantu semua pihak. Kerosakan Genset teruk genset sekolah itu yang berlaku baru2 ini ada "PUNCA" nya di sekolah berkenaan. Namun pihak kita BACK UP sekolah berkenaan untuk boleh mencari tindakan yang lebih teratur dan mengikut prosedur yang baik, sesuai dengan semua pihak.

      Delete
  13. Elok lah kakau begitu God Zytos. Yang penting ada usaha tapi yang lebih penting adalah penyelesaian yang berkekalan. Kalau dah jumpa PUNCA itu mohon ditangani secara berhemah dan secara profesionalisme.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PUNCA memang sudah dikenalpasti SEBELUM hari kejadian, namun ada pihak yang tidak berhemah mengatasi sempadan peraturan dan tatatertib kerja yang telah ditetapkan. Maka ini lah jadinya sekarang, NO WATER, NO ELECTRICITY seperti kata penulis blog. Kemudian,mula lah ada pihak lain yang mengeruhkan lagi keadaan tuding jari ke sana sini tanpa ada batas dan usul periksa yang sepatutnya ke atas pihak2 pentadbir. Sebaiknya, biarlah perkara ini diselesaikan dengan kaedah betul dan baik antara sekolah, PPD, JPN dan KPM termasuk kontraktor tanpa ada spekulasi yang mencemarkan mana2 imej pihak.Itu lah maksudnya PROFESIONAL.

      Delete
    2. Menunding jari sudah menjadi lumrah di kalangan mereka yang bergelar manusia dan tidak boleh dielakkan. Yang penting masalah ditangani untuk membei pencerahan sebenarnya. Soalnya bila PUNCA sudah dikenalpasti sebelum ini, kenapa tiada tindakan pantas? Adakah perlu menunggu sehingga masalah diutarakan melalui media sosial? Yang mendapat nama buruk bukankah pihak berwajib itu sendiri?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous9/5/15 14:28

      Nampaknya Joseph Ramanair tidak faham penjelasan God Zytos, pihak berwajib di sini bukan pihak beliau, pihak mereka jadi orang tengah yang menjalankan arahan bidang tugas masing-masing. Kuasa sepenuhnya adalah di luar bidang mereka.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10/5/15 21:42

      klau dah tahu punca, dr segi profesionalisme kerja bak kata stefanus, ppd la yg harus bertindak cepat menangani mslh ini..klu tuan kata dah tahu PUNCA mengapa tidak ditangani secara akar umbi..sy lihat sekolah menengah di bawah kendalian ppd kwsn ini hanya dua sahaja...sepatutnya lebih cepat..klu pihak tuan bertindak tidak akn jadi msalah ini..sy di fahamkan isu ini bukan baru,..bukan nak menyalahkan sesiapa tetapi pihak mana yg perlu bertanggungjawab menjaga mereka dari akar umbi...suara en Jarod ini mungkin untuk membangunkan semua pihak dari tidur yang lena.. seharusnya tuan menghargai usaha beliau, suatu hari nanti bila produk sekolah ini terbaik encik tidak akan berterima kasih pun kepada beliau.. bila dia isukan masalah ini, encik ingin mengambil tindakan. sy pasti beliau menyuarakan isu kerana hal ini sudah sangat kerap berlaku...sekian

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11/5/15 00:32

      hai, sy Sham,kalau boleh sy mahu mencelah di sini, setahu sy berdasarkn maksud stefanus tu, tidak pernah pula beliau menyalahkan en. Jarod di sini. beliau hanya minta laporan untuk memudahkan sokongan beliau ke pihak atsan,itu saja. Terpulanglah bagaimana mereka berdua nak berhubung, kita mana tau? TAPI kenapa pihak kita yang lain ni terus mencemuh pihak ppd mereka? Apa mungkin kita ni tahu atau tidak situasi sebenar? Adakah betul atau salah tindakan kita? Memang tak patut kita terus mencemuh antara stefanus mahupun en Jarod. Mereka dalam institusi yg sama, biarlah mereka selesaikan dengan cara mereka. Berdasarkan semua keterangan di atas, stefanus di situ menjawab semua persoalan yang pihak lain ke utarakan, bukan kpd en. Jarod. Sila baca betul2.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous9/5/15 01:57

    we understand now wat really happend to all speculation been made by those people on this post. Sorry 4 misunderstanding statements been made..especialy to PPD and KPM, cause now i heard the case been settled by KPM and i hope next week SMK Katibas has no more issue of elctricity & water.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous9/5/15 02:18

    saya guru hulu sg.katibas song, nampak cerita ni hangat sekarang kat sini..hehehe.. tapi kawan saya di smk katibas kata memang susah takda elektrik, tapi nasib lah atas kerjasama pihak pentadbir sekolah, beli enjin pam air sementara..tak lah seteruk mana kata kawan saya, ok la susah begitu sekali sekala..pengalaman...bukan lama mana pun masalah ini berlanjutan nanti, siap generator tu nanti dibaiki, settlelah masalah diorang katanya.
    dalam kes ni tak payah la nak heboh dan kecoh..tak boleh nak salahkan sesiapa pun, kerjasama semua pihak menyelesaikan masalah yang penting.

    --guru berpengalaman--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10/5/15 21:49

      sy ada saudara bekerja di sini cikgu...seharusnya cikgu pun faham kalau tinggal di hulu katibas.. dia kata memang tidak teruk bila sudah ada semua itu..tapi cikgu kena fikir, mereka angkut air, naik flat, jarak ke flat lebih 300 meter...yg mereka mahu KESELESAAN...generator pula sudah di mamah usia...dari tahun lepas saudara sy memberitahu sudah lebih 5 kali dibaiki...tetapi masalah sama...

      Bukan nak kecoh katanya, tetapi sudah sampai masanya disuarakan sekolah memerlukan generator baru.

      Guru berpengalaman belum tentu dapat menyelami hati guru disini.mengapa mereka bertindak sebegini...harus selami semua itu guru berpengalaman..

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11/5/15 01:08

      sy pun ada saudara bekerja di smk katibas, memang payah dan susah tidak ada elektrik....kena angkut air, jarak jauh...penat kata dia, terpaksa berjimat guna air sejak genset rosak.
      tapi mengikut sumber mereka di pejabat, mereka sendiri pun lama dh tahu punca tersebut. mereka sebenarnya sudah bertahun2 mengharapkan genset baru sejak untuk semua sekolah rendah terlibat, bukan smk katibas sahaja.

      tapi apakan daya, kalau kuasa sepenuhnya bukan dari mereka. mereka hanya mampu menyelia sahaja mengikut bidang tugas mereka. sy rasa mereka di ppd lagi ada bukti yang kukuh.

      kita kadang2 lebih terpengaruh dengan hasutan dan cerita luar yang mengundang kita cepat mengatakan sesuatu atau menimbang berat semua kesalahan ke atas pihak tertentu. kita perlu fikir betul2 sebelum mudah menyakitkan hati mana2 pihak, sebab setahu sy pegawai di ppd tu(en.stefanus) seorg sahaja menguruskan semua hal pembangunan utk semua sekolah seliaan ppd song. mungkin ada beberapa perkara yg mungkin beliau tidak mampu lakukan secara terus/segera seperti mana dikehendaki.

      sy tidak menyokong sekiranya kita org awam ni terus menyalahkan pihak pentadbir seperti di ppd song. kita sepatutnya menyokong usaha kedua2 pihak berdua.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous9/5/15 07:35

    KEEP CALM AND RESPECT OTHERS. GAIN RESPECT BY GIVING IT. PEACE HERE.

    ReplyDelete
  17. There has been no response from the owner of this blog thus far? I am wondering if electricity has been restored? It's been a week!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This issue is out in the newspapers now!
    Home - News - Sarawak
    Power-less to keep its students Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/05/09/power-less-to-keep-its-students/#ixzz3ZbAIWFQm

    ReplyDelete
  19. You have done such a great job sir. By teaching and helping this childrens..feed them with knowledge, only God can repay your kindness. TERBAIK!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear Cikgu Jarod Yong,
    I am amazed at your willingness to shoulder this responsibility of freely sharing this problem via thr social media, knowing by now you must have been "nudged" by certain powerful administrator up there. Being teacher who had a brief stint serving in small town Bintangor which is much better equipped compared to your place now, I pray that more hardened hearts are softened and convicted by your writing & photos. More needy souls thirsting for knowledge to be helped. God bless you, your collegues, school and your beloved students!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11/5/15 02:08

      hi, saya guru hulu sg.katibas song lagi, susah dapat line..tak kuat. nampaknya..masih ada lagi orang nak komen di sini. Cukup2 lah tu..kesian orang punya blog ni, jadi tempat pihak ketiga macam kita ni bertelagah. kan dia dah tulis lambaran baru..ckgu Jarod dah pun jelaskan......saya pun nampak tadi kat fb en. Jarod. tak payah lah nak keruhkan lagi keadaan...berdosa kita nanti melebih-lebih cakap hal org..hehehe. Tadi rakan saya pun ada cakap dah, semua hal ni dah settle dah..nanti tak pasal2 ckgu Jarod yg dikenakan tindakan gara2 org mcm kita ni.

      --guru berpengalaman--

      Delete
  21. Anonymous12/5/15 15:02

    Hi Cikgu Jarod, boleh maklumkan kepada semua siapa yang memasang pam air tanpa tauliah? dimaklumkan punca kerosakan genset bermula daripada litar pintas akibat pemasangan pam air yang tidak mengikut spesifikasi dan amalan kejuruteraan yang baik. adakah cikgu mahu bertanggungjawab di atas dakwaan ini? Mohon namakan individu yang terlibat supaya tindakan seterusnya dapat diambil tindakan.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous15/5/15 14:17

    Hanya satu yang diperlukan,,,kemudahan asas(AIR DAN ELEKTRIK) untuk SEMUA PELAJAR,GURU DAN STAF di SMK Katibas. Besar sangatkah masalah ini sehingga isu lain timbul?Kenapa perlu banding-membanding sedangkan kita semua dalam satu bidang Pendidikan? Hampir 3 minggu tanpa air dan perlu ulang-alik turun dari flat untuk angkut air. Masak makanan dalam tin.
    -rakan guru

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous15/5/15 14:20

    HOPE EVERYONE CAN WORK TOGETHER ESPECIALLY KPM TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. PEACE AND HAVE A NICE DAY!!

    ReplyDelete

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