Sunday, May 24, 2009

The International AIDS Memorial Day 2009

What? International AIDS Memorial Day 2009

Where? Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta

When? 17 May 2009 (5:00pm onwards)

Who? Organised by Malaysian AIDS Council, JAKIM & Ministry Of Health Malaysia

I went off from Klang parade before the announcement of the winners from the Open Category. Rushed back to KL Sentral to catch the FREE bus to Masjid Wilayah for The International AIDS Memorial Day activities.

According to the announcement in Facebook event, free shuttle bus was provided at KL Sentral to the mosque and back. I went around searching for the said shuttle bus. Went to the Rapid Bus stop - nothing. Went to the Info counter - Zero info. No flyer. No signages.

Frustrated, I had no choice but to take a cab and it was not cheap! I could have turned back but I do not want to miss this opportunity to visit this mosque and witness for the FIRST time ever an AIDS memorial event like this being held in a mosque and non-muslims were invited for the event. Yes...the first!

The taxi driver was puzzled why me a non-Muslim doing at a mosque. I told him I was going there to take pictures. :)

This is my second time stepping my foot INTO a mosque actually. I think the first time was when I playing tourist guide to an American friend to National Mosque. Some mosques, like Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johot Bahru does not allow non-Muslim to enter the mosque. Yes, they put big signboards to keep us out. :)

I arrived slightly lost! The place was huge and I did not have a clue where the event was held. The guards at the mosque were very helpful and pointed me to to the Dewan (Hall).

Masjid Wilayah is located on a 13.4 hectare piece of land near the government office complex of Jalan Duta, and was built by the Public Works Department, JKR at a cost of whopping RM255 million. Construction began on 15 March 1996, and was opened on 30 August 2000.

The mosque has a floor area of 47,000 square meters and the architecture is inspired by the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, Turkey. Check out those high ceilings of the prayer hall!

There were booths by several NGOs with information about HIV as well as several ongoing prevention programmes including the Needle and Syringe Exchange harm reduction programmes (NSEP).

Some of the exhibits by Drug Intervention Community (DiC) of Kuantan, Pahang. I met two volunteers from India, Andrew and Joshua at the forum later. Played the translator for them because the forum was held in Malay. I don't know how to explain the title of the forum - Bukan Salah Ibu Mengandung...:(

Vice-President of Malaysia AIDS Council (MAC) - Datuk Mohd Zaman Khan being interviewed. :)

A TV Forum was recorded in front of a live studio audience (me included) - Forum Perdana Ehwal Islam. Moderated by Ridhuan Lee Abdullah with panel members - Datuk Noh Gadut, MCA Executive Director - Bakhtiah Talhah and one "fierce" Ustazah...can't recall her name though. :)

Dayang Nurfaizah, our local popular singer who is a Red Ribbon Support Celebrity by the Malaysian Aids Council to spread the awareness of HIV and to help stop the stigma and discrimination.

This is Fahrin Ahmad, popular TV actor, also a Red Ribbon Celebrity. I saw Owen Yap (8TV) too at the forum but I couldn't locate him for a picture after the forum had dissipated. :(

I left after the forum. There were more events lined up - yassin reading and tahlil (prayer for the dead) with the Minister in PM's Department in attendance. I worried about getting transport hom from there. Had to walk to the main road to hail a cab to take me to Sentul Train Station....Sigh! No sight of the free bus service which was promised to be there.

I took some snippets of the forum. Check it out!


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