Nelia Caralipio Wai is a 34 years old Filipino married to a 52 years old Malaysian man. She came to Malaysia from Batangas, Philippines, in 1991 as a domestic worker to a Malaysian couple. She has 2 children. She came to Malaysia with dreams of earning money and having a better life.“…there was never enough food for me and I slept only 5 hours a day. My employers beat me when they’re not happy about something.”
She met her husband in 1996 and moved to Petaling Jaya. Her husband quit his job as a cook in a canteen and refused to look for a job. Her husband always went to Genting Highland’s casino for gambling. At times, he wouldn’t come back home for a few days and even asking money from Nell.
Many challenges ahead of her - abuse by her own husband, ‘He started to hit me and punch me everywhere until I can’t take it anymore. ‘And was arrested in the Semenyih Detention Camp for 1 week because her husband took her passport and he also took her kids and hid them from her. She shared in a book called Silenced Voices by Tenaganita Sdn. Bhd.,
“He can take my car; he can take everything, but not my children… I was the one who brought them up alone. Now I cannot sleep at night – I keep thinking about my kids every moment of the day. I cry every time… but I rather die here than to leave without my kids.”
I was talking to an old lady, a cleaner by profession at KLCC about why she need to work at Malaysia and what motivated her to stay. I just asked one single question but she talked to me like I’m not a stranger. Just like Nelia, she wants to provide for her family, to make sure that her children have something to eat, and want them to be successful in their life or at least better than hers’ and her husband couldn’t support her to raise her family because he died during the Tsunami in Aceh.
People are still people. We are human being created in the Image of God. As long as we remember this, we will have compassion toward one another. Nelia and this old lady are able to put a ‘smile’ besides all their troubles because they focus on their children welfare more than anything else in the world. Not all parents are kind to their children, but in their right mind – there’s nothing that can separate them from their love ones: children. This is just a glimpse of how God sees his children with a Father’s heart.
Have compassion toward others. Don’t look down on them just because they live and work the lowest job in the human society. They have their own stories and so do us. ‘Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him.’ (Mark 1:41) To be Christlike is to share in his compassionate feeling toward the needy, particularly those who cannot help themselves. Show your compassion for others as Christ had shown to us on the Cross.
‘Break my heart from what breaks Yours’ (Hossanna by Hillsong United) is a costly song to sing. When you sing it with all your heart, there’s a transformation happen within you. When your heart truly aches for another, you get an idea of how the needs of all humanity moved Jesus to die on the cross. What break his heart will break yours.
Do the stories of Nelia and the old lady move your heart in compassion toward others? ‘If you’re not moved by the incredible needs and hurts around you, you are either too self-focused or are in danger of developing a heart of stone, which will soon became unresponsive to God or others.’
“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36)