Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Back To School Program Volunteer's Briefing

Words by Supreet Kaur Maniktala
Photographs by Sheril A. Bustaman

Yesterday evening, we had an orientation for the Back to School program. Although we expected about 8 volunteers, we were delightfully surprised to see 14 volunteers attend our session! In combination with our previous orientations, we now have nearly 30 volunteers who serve as tutors and role models for our children and caregivers. We would like to thank “Do Something Good” and SOLS 24/7 for helping to bring these tutors. 

Volunteers introducing themselves

Just to provide some background information, the Back to School Program supports children and their caregivers who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Most children have lost a parent to AIDs or come from broken families. With caregivers dealing with poverty (especially single mothers), HIV stigma, loneliness, shame, and anger, children live in stressful environments which hinders their emotional and psychological development. Simply put, they are neglected even by well-intentioned parents and other loved ones.  Our Back to School Program applies a multidimensional approach, aiming to addressing all these issues. The educational component is extremely important since children affected or infected by HIV on average have poorer academic performance in comparison to their peers. 

This is where the need for tutors come in. We provide tutoring almost every Sunday and educational activities during our monthly Saturday events.  Since the introduction of the tuition program, we have grown to about 30 students at the weekly Sunday tuitions, with 10 tutors, which is fantastic! However, our goal is to get 1 tutor for each child so that these children can receive the individualized attention that is desperately needed. For this reason, we had another orientation yesterday for new batch of volunteers. It covered the following topics:

PT Foundation and Its History
HIV 101 and Myths
Clients of Back to School Program and Difficulties they face
Volunteer Expectations
Educational materials that may help volunteers during their tutoring sessions

Explaining what we aim to achieve

Even though all of these topics were important, my favorite part of the orientation was getting to know the clients during the introduction and energizer. Each individual in the group had unique experiences to offer and differing backgrounds, including journalists, lawyers, branch managers, students, etc. For the energizer, we created a circle with one person standing in the middle. He or she would have to make a statement about themselves, and if the statement was true for others, they would also have to move into a different spot of the circle. The person in the middle would also attempt to find a spot in the circle. The last person without a spot had to stand in the center. Similar to the previous round, he/she would be required to make a statement about themselves and everyone would move. As a result of this fun energizer, we bonded and discovered interesting facts about each other. For example, some of our volunteers have done bungy-jumping, and only one person in our group has a cat. 

The icebreaker!

Despite the differences in age, professions, interests, and ethnicities, we all had one thing in common: we valued taking time from our busy lives to give back to community. We also discussed expectations of volunteers and of PT Foundation to ensure that we all worked cohesively as a team. Being in the presence of these passionate people was extremely inspiring. I am excited to see how their loving spirits will influence the lives of our caregivers and children! 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Introducing Dee!

Words by Dee
Pictures by Dee & Sheril A. Bustaman

Last week I had the pleasure of starting at PT Foundation as their new COO. I am delighted and excited to be here and support the work this amazing organisation has achieved over the last 20 years and more.

They organised an afternoon tea  for me to meet the staff so we could share our stories and get to know each other.  How lucky we are to have such great, well informed, empathetic and articulate staff.

Getting to Know The Staff

I am married to a Malaysian  and we have 2 daughters.  Malaysia has been my home  for many years and I have worked in the UK, Australia and Malaysia both as a dietitian and in the NGO sector. My recent position was in Australia as CEO of Huntington's WA, an organisation for those with the rare disorder known as Huntington's Disease. I am also just completing my Masters in Human Rights.

Dee, PT Foundation's new COO. 

I look forward to getting to know the community and enhancing the work of PT Foundation. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

PT Foundation Wants To #LetMarkKnow

In collaboration with Youths Today, PT Foundation would like to invite Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to Malaysia to meet 10,000 Asian Leaders and also to promote HIV/AIDS awareness. In order to do this, the team at PT Foundation need your help.

Bring Mark to Malaysia! (picture from Google)

Follow the steps below to help spread the awareness of HIV/AIDS and also help invite Mark to Malaysia!

Step 1:
Select a HIV/AIDs fact from the list available here.

Step 2: 
Ask your boyfriend/girlfriend/neighbour/uncle selling pisang goreng in front of your house to help you take a video. It can be with your phone, or if you’re even more canggih, a digital camera.

Step 3:
In said video, say the following: 

“Hi, I’m (insert name here) and I would like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to know that (insert fact here. Ex: HIV/AIDS cannot be passed on through sweat.) I nominate (insert three names here) on behalf of PT Foundation to help me invite Mark to Malaysia to meet 10,000 Asian Leaders and also to Let Mark Know.”

(Here's a sample to inspire you!) 

Step 4:
Upload the video on Facebook (be sure to make it Public!), inviting Mark Zuckerberg to go to this link:

Don’t forget to tag your 3 people, and also include the hashtags #markzuckerberg, #youthjammarkz #LetMarkKnow.

At the end of this step, it should look something like this: 

Step 5:
Go here

Scroll to the bottom where you will see something like this:

Select the option that says “Yes, I am an individual” and fill out the particulars underneath.


At the column that says Referral: make SURE you select PT Foundation.

Step 7:
Copy paste your Facebook video link into the column given and submit!

Step 8: 
Call/text/whatsapp/Viber/WeChat/SnapChat the 3 people you tagged to make their videos, because you know they won't get started without a little encouragement from you. :)

50 Facts About HIV/AIDS

1. HIV & AIDS are not the same thing. HIV, which stands for “human immunodefiency virus”, is the virus that breaks down the immune system. AIDS, which stands for “acquired immune deficiency system” is the most advanced stage of HIV whereby the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.

2. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through infected bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, blood, breast milk and rectal secretions. 

3. HIV/AIDS can be spread through having sex without a condom.

4. HIV /AIDS can be spread through sharing infected needles.

5. HIV/AIDS is not spread through skin contact such as hugging.

6. HIV/AIDS cannot be spread through kissing.

7. HIV/AIDS cannot be passed on through sharing utensils such as forks, spoons or plates.

8. HIV/AIDS is not an airborne disease.

9. Mosquitoes do not spread HIV/AIDS.

10. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate sexuality. 

11. A person with HIV may not show symptoms for up to 10 years or more, and still can infect others.

12. With treatment, People living with HIV/AIDS are capable of living long and productive lives.

13. HIV/AIDS can be tested at most government and private clinics using a rapid test kit.

14. A HIV/AIDS test result can be revealed within 15-20 minutes.

15. PT Foundation’s Community Healthcare Center (CHCC) provides anonymous screening for HIV/AIDS as well as syphilis. 

16. Younger people are more at risk of getting HIV. In Malaysia, 7 out of 10 persons diagnosed with HIV in 2013 are below 40 years of age. 

17. Sex is the main cause of HIV. In Malaysia, 7 out of 10 new HIV infections are contracted through sex.

18. HIV among women is increasing. In Malaysia, in 2013, only 1 in 10 HIV cases were women; in 2013, 1 in 5 cases are women.

19. HIV is not a death sentence; with treatment, people living with HIV can live normal, healthy lives.

20. There is no cure for HIV but there is treatment, provided it is diagnosed early.

21. You cannot tell if you have HIV; only by taking the HIV Test will you know your status. 

22. 10,000 women were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS as of December 2013 in Malaysia. 

23. Every sexually active Malaysian should take a HIV Test once a year.

24. A person can be infected with HIV/AIDS if a condom is not used, even though birth control methods such as pills or the diaphragm, are used. 

25. You can get HIV/AIDS by having oral sex, but the risk is a lot lower than vaginal or anal sex.

26. A person can have more than one STD at a time. 

27. It is possible to get HIV from tattoo or body piercing tools that are not properly sterilized. 

28. Infected mothers can sharply lower the risk of passing HIV to their children if they are treated in the early stages of pregnancy. 

29. It is possible for women to transmit HIV to men; it is not about who you are, but what you do! 

30. Every day almost 10 Malaysians are infected with HIV.

31. 7 out of 10 Malaysians who were infected with HIV in 2013, contracted it through sex. 

32. A person does not necessarily need to have multiple sexual partners in order to contract a STI or HIV.

33. HIV is treatable - there are over 20 anti-HIV drugs available worldwide.

34. A person who has been on treatment for HIV/AIDS for a year, is less likely to infect another person, than a person whose HIV status is not known.

35. A HIV positive person in a relationship, can still have sex with the partner, so long as a condom is used every time.

36. You cannot get HIV from a fish pedicure, but you can get other skin infections!

37. HIV cannot be passed on through fingering or hand jobs.

38. There is no HIV risk through spitting.

39. Male circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV transmission to the circumcised male during heterosexual sex.

40. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through both anal and vaginal sex.

41. Injected drug users (IDUs) who share needles face a very high risk of contracting HIV.

42. You can get a HIV Test without revealing your name and IC number. Contact PT Foundation!

43. If you have any questions about sex, gender and sexuality, you can call PT Foundation!

44. If you are concerned about getting HIV, get the facts from PT Foundation!

45. If you would like to know about how to protect yourself from HIV, call PT Foundation!

46. People living with HIV need your support, stop judging them!

47. People living with HIV can contact PT Foundation for support and care.

48. It doesn’t matter if you are straight or gay; if you must have sex, always use a condom for protection.

49. If you drink, don’t have sex. If you are high on drugs, don’t have sex.

50. The “withdrawal” method does not work – use the condom from start to finish.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Pengalaman Pertama: A Perspective Piece by Manis Chen

Words & Photograph by Manis Chen

In November 2014, Manis was referred to a government clinic to receive treatment for some health problems she was facing. Apprehensive of the treatment she would be receiving due to her status as a mak nyah (transgender person), she was pleasantly surprised. The following article is a first-hand account of her experience. 

Manis Chen

Pagi tadi aku ke klinik swasta yang selalu kupergi. Aku menceritakan kepada doktor tentang masalah kesihatanku. Dr Othman merupakan seorang lelaki melayu yang berumur lewat 40an, pada anggaranku. Dia seorang yang peramah, boleh dibawa berbincang dan tidak menunjukkan sebarang rasa kurang senang atau tidak selesa apabila berbual denganku. Ini menyebabkan aku juga menjadi senang untuk terus datang mendapatkan rawatan terhadap apa-apa masalah kesihatan yang aku alami. Dia meminta kebenaran untuk memeriksa kandungan gula dalam darahku kerana aku sememangnya tidak pernah menjalani pemeriksaan kesihatan secara serius.

Setelah jari telunjukku ditembak oleh jarum kecil, doktor memicit kawasan yang ditembak untuk membolehkan darah keluar dari hujung jari yang telah ditembak. Setitik darah itu kemudiannya dicalitkan pada alat bacaan darah yang telah tersedia di atas mejanya.

Dia memberitahuku bacaannya agak tinggi. Dia bertanya dimana aku ingin mendapatkan rawatan selanjutnya. Dia menerangkan komplikasi yang mungkin akan aku alami jika tidak membuat rawatan. Aku memilih untuk meneruskan rawatan di kliniknya. Dia menerangkan yang kosnya mungkin tinggi dan dia tidak mempunyai kelengkapan yang lengkap. Aku agak terkejut dengan kejujuran doktor ini. Rasa hormatnya meningkat terhadapnya. Akhirnya aku mengalah dan meminta dia menyediakan surat rujukan untuk membolehkan aku ke klinik kerajaan seperti yang dicadangkannya.

Aku tiba di klinik kerajaan itu kira-kira setengah jam kemudian. Aku terkejut melihat betapa ramainya orang di dalam klinik berkenaan. Aku tercari-cari kaunter pendaftaran memandangkan itulah kali pertama aku ke situ. Selesai urusan pendaftaran, aku menunggu sebentar untuk diperiksa doktor. Petugas di kaunter pendaftaran memberikan aku nombor giliran bagi rawatan di bilik nombor 3. Sekitar sepuluh minit kemudian aku berjumpa doktor.

Seorang doktor wanita melayu berusia lewat 20an memanggil namaku dan menyuruh aku duduk. Dia bertanyakan apa masalahku. Aku menghulurkan surat rujukan yang kubawa. Dia membaca seketika surat rujukan berkenaan, doktor wanita ini kemudian menyambung dengan beberapa soalan untuk mengetahui tentang masalah kesihatan yang kuhadapi. Kemudian, ketika ingin memeriksa degup nafasku dari arah belakang badan pula, doktor itu dengan sopan menyuruh aku menyelakkan kesemua rambutku ke depan. Selesai pemeriksaan doktor dia menyuruh aku ke kaunter saringan untuk menimbang berat badan dan untuk mendapatkan kiraan BP serta BMI. Doktor juga menyuruh aku ke bilik nombor 5 untuk membuat ECG.

Di kaunter saringan, aku juga mendapat layanan yang mesra sehinggakan petugas wanita yang berjawatan pembantu jururawat itu membahasakan diriku sebagai "kak". Aku tidak menghiraukan panggilannya kerana aku merasakan selayaknyalah aku dipanggil sebegitu memandangkan usia aku jauh lebih tua darinya.

Ketika aku dipanggil masuk ke bilik nombor 5, petugas lelaki itu bertanyakan aku samada aku mahukan staf wanita melakukan proses ECG. Aku terkejut. Tanpa berfikir panjang aku mengatakan aku tidak ada masalah untuk mendapatkan ECG darinya. Dia menyuruh aku membuka rantai leher, gelang tangan dan mengeluarkan duit siling dari poket seluar palazo polka dot purple yang kupakai. Dia memberikan aku satu bakul comel untuk aku menyimpan barangan peribadiku. Dengan nada yang mesra dia menyuruhku untuk memaklumkan kepadanya setelah aku bersedia.

Beberapa minit kemudian seorang staf lelaki lain masuk. Dia menyuruh aku membuka baju. Aku menuruti arahannya. Dia mula mengenakan penyepit di kedua pergelangan tangan dan kakiku. Kemudian dia ingin menyepit di kawasan kiri dada. Dia memohon maaf kepadaku kerana terpaksa menyelak sedikit sport bra yang kupakai. Sekali lagi aku terkejut kerana staf lelaki itu dengan sopan memohon maaf.

Secara jujur, aku sendiri tidak memikirkan aku seorang mak nyah. Aku akan berhadapan dengan situasi bakal diperiksa petugas lelaki. Apa yang bermain difikiranku ketika mengeluarkan kad pengenalan semasa sesi pendaftaran tadi hanyalah aku tidak akan selesa apabila nama betul seperti yang tercatit di kad pengenalanku akan digunakan sepanjang berurusan di klinik ini.

Setelah semuanya selesai, aku mengucapkan terima kasih kepada petugas berkenaan. Aku kembali ke bilik rawatan nombor 3. Doktor memaklumkan aku perlu memulakan rawatan. Dia mengesahkan aku mempunyai kencing manis dan juga darah tinggi. Dia membelek cetakan ECGku dan memaklumkan aku tidak mempunyai masalah jantung kerana bacaannya normal. Tanpa diduga, ketika bertanyakan tentang latar belakang keluargaku seperti ada atau tidak ahli keluarga mengidap penyakit-penyakit kronik, dia juga bertanyakan samada aku selalu memakai kasut bertumit tinggi. Aku secara spontan menyatakan tidak kerana aku tidak akan bertahan memakainya untuk jangkamasa yang lama. Ini membuktikan bahawa doktor wanita itu beranggapan seorang wanita pastinya akan memakai kasut bertumit tinggi.

Kaunter yang terakhir perlu aku tempuhi sebelum boleh balik ialah kaunter farmasi. Aku menekan mesin nombor giliran, mengepil nombor yang keluar pada slip ubat dan menyimpan satu lagi nombor yang sama di tanganku. Aku duduk di salah satu kerusi plastik berwarna biru yang terdapat di depan kaunter berkenaan. 5 minit kemudian nomborku naik di ruang nombor giliran. Aku bangun dan berjalan menuju ke kaunter farmasi. Seorang staf wanita berbangsa cina membaca sekali lagi namaku. Aku merasakan dia terkejut kerana nama yang dibacakannya adalah nama lelaki tetapi yang berdiri didepannya adalah seorang wanita. Beberapa saat berlalu dan dia mungkin telah dapat menerima kenyataan bahawa pesakit yang ingin mendapatkan ubat itu sebenarnya adalah orang yang betul. Dia menerangkan tentang fungsi ubat dan aturan makannya dengan bersahaja selepas itu.

Apa yang dapat aku katakan, pengalaman mendapatkan rawatan di Klinik Kesihatan Gombak Setia itu sungguh menyenangkan walaupun aku adalah seorang mak nyah kerana layanannya tetap sama dengan pesakit lain. Tiada sebarang ungkapan negatif dilemparkan oleh kakitangan kesihatan di situ walaupun ada reaksi tidak percaya dari raut muka petugas bahawa yang berada di depan mereka adalah seorang yang berjantina lelaki. Aku membuat kesimpulan ini kerana mereka memanggil nama seorang lelaki tetapi yang datang/menyahut adalah seorang perempuan. Kepada Dr Intan Shafinaz Ja'apar dan team di KK Gombak Setia, sekalung tahniah dari saya

Monday, 19 January 2015

UNITEN Study & Volunteer Visit: A Short Insight By Raymond Tai

Words by Raymond Tai
Photograph provided by students of UNITEN

It is encouraging to see the increase of study visits from Malaysia's universities especially to learn about how community based organisations play a role in supporting marginalised populations in Malaysia.

On the 16th of January 2015, PT Foundation hosted students from Universiti Tenaga National (UNITEN), Kampus Putrajaya. Not only were they here to learn about our activities but they spent a day volunteering at our drop in center. It was an eye opener for many of the students, and we hope that future Malaysian graduates be more open minded and progressive leaders of tomorrow.

UNITEN students with the PT Foundation staff

Thursday, 15 January 2015

PT Events: Volunteer's Orientation 2015

Words & Photographs by Sheril A. Bustaman

On Tuesday (13th of January 2015) at 7pm, volunteers gathered at the PT Foundation Headquarters in Jalan Ipoh Kecil for the very first volunteers’ orientation of the year. The aim of the briefing was to introduce volunteers to the many sectors of work that PT Foundation does, and to inspire them with ideas of ways to contribute to the organization. 

  The orientation kicked off with a brief introduction by the volunteers, and continued with Marketing & Communications Director Raymond Tai walking the volunteers through the history of PT Foundation. Raymond described the milestones that PT Foundation has had, the different programs under PT Foundation (MSM Outreach, Community Healthcare Center, MSM Poz, ISEAN-HIVOS) and then went through the different components of the programmes. 

Raymond explaining the different components of the programmes
After the extensive dissemination of information, the volunteers were then given the opportunity to express which areas they would like to contribute in and ask questions during the Q&A session. Many expressed interest in the field of research and also face to face counselling. Manis, one of PT Foundation’s HR executives also contributed to the discussion, suggesting sharing sessions to create awareness and acceptance towards marginalized communities. 

Manis explaining the importance of creating awareness for marginalized communities.

  The session continued with Zaini’s presentation on the Berjaya “Back to School” program that takes place every Sunday and provides tutoring for children who are living with HIV/AIDs. Zaini explained the aims of the program and the many ways volunteers can contribute to it. He also explained the expected outcomes of the program, amongst them being that 80% of the children would pass the English subject in schools with a minimum C grade. 

Zaini presenting on the Berjaya “Back to School” program

  The orientation then concluded after several other enquiries from the volunteers. The volunteers’ enthusiasm, fuelled by inspiration from the orientation gives great hope that many contributions will be made through different channels to PT Foundation this year. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Call for Entries! (Panggilan Untuk Penyertaan!)

Different Shades of Pink is having its very first Call for Entries and your article could be published here! All you would have to do is submit it!

  In conjunction with Valentine’s Day in February, the very first theme for Different Shades of Pink will be “Love in the Time of HIV/AIDs”. Ever been in a relationship with a person living with HIV/AIDs? Or are you a person living with HIV/AIDS in a relationship? Or do you know couples who are living with HIV/AIDS? Tell us about it. Let us know how you cope with the challenges. Has it made your relationship stronger? How have you dealt with it? 

Here are the requirements for your article:

1) Articles can be written in English, Malay or Chinese.
2) Articles should be approximately 1,000 words long.
3) Articles should adhere to the theme of “Love in the Time of HIV/AIDs”
4) Writers have the option to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym. 
5) Writers may include pictures, so long as they credit the source. 
6) Articles should not contain offensive elements such as racism, sexism or pornography. 
7) Please email your submission to by the 30th of January 2015.

If you have any enquiries, please feel free to email your questions to as well. 
Looking forward to your submissions! 


Inilah panggilan untuk Penyertaan "Different Shades of Pink" yang pertama dan rencana anda mungkin akan diterbitkan di sini! Anda hanya perlu menulis dan menyerahkan penyertaan anda kepada kami!

  Dengan semangat Hari Valentine di bulan Februari, tema pertama untuk "Different Shades of Pink" adalah "Cinta di dalam Waktu HIV/AIDS". Pernah bercinta dengan orang yang menghadapi HIV/AIDS? Ataupun anda seorang yang menghadapi HIV/AIDs dan tengah dilamun cinta? Kenalkah anda dengan pasangan yang menghadapi HIV/AIDs? Ceritakan kepada kami. Ceritakan tentang halangan yang anda hadapi. Adakah halangan-halangan ini telah membuat hubungan anda dengan pasangan anda lebih teguh? Bagaimana anda menghadapi halangan-halangan tersebut?

Ini adalah syarat-syarat penyertaan:

1) Rencana anda perlu ditulis di dalam Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Inggeris ataupun Bahasa Cina.
2) Rencana anda perlu ditulis dalam jangka 1,000 perkataan.
3) Rencana anda perlu selari dengan tema "Cinta di dalam Waktu HIV/AIDs".
4) Anda mempunyai pilihan untuk tidak menggunakan nama sebenar ataupun tidak meletakkan nama kepada karya anda.  
5) Anda boleh mengunakan gambar, tapi anda perlu memberi kepujian kepada jurugambar ataupun sumbernya.
6) Rencana anda tidak boleh mempunyai unsur-unsur penghinaan seperti racism, sexism atau unsur pornografi. 
7) Sila menghantar penyertaan anda melalui emel kepada sebelum 30th Januari 2015. 

Sebarang pertanyaan boleh dihantar kepada juga. 

Kami sedia menanti penyertaan-penyertaan anda! 

Introducing Different Shades of Pink (Memperkenalkan, "Different Shades of Pink")

Greetings from PT Foundation & the team behind Different Shades of Pink!

  Different Shades of Pink is a new initiative started by PT Foundation, to encourage people to come forth and share their stories and opinion on various issues related to HIV/AIDs. We will be accepting submissions for stories based on a theme that we will upload on a monthly basis along with a call for entries. Apart from the submissions, we will also consistently feature several in-house contributors that will be writing pieces on various topics every month. Different Shades of Pink writers will also be peeking into the activities of PT Foundation and publishing articles about them here. 

  So if you’re reading this right now, be sure to bookmark our blog (or even better, subscribe to it!) because a lot of exciting content is coming up! Watch this space! 


Salam dari PT Foundation dan kumpulan di belakang projek "Different Shades of Pink"!

  "Different Shades of Pink" adalah satu inisiatif yang dimulakan oleh PT Foundation untuk menggalakkan orang ramai untuk saling berkongsi cerita dan pendapat tentang isu-isu berkaitan HIV/AIDs. Kami akan menerima penyertaan rencana berdasarkan tema yang kami akan mengumumkan tiap-tiap bulan dengan pengumuman penyertaan kami. Selain daripada penyertaan rencana, kami juga ada beberapa penulis dalaman yang akan menulis rencana tentang pelbagai topik tiap-tiap bulan. Penulis "Different Shades of Pink" juga akan menulis rencana pasal aktiviti-aktiviti yang dianjurkan oleh PT Foundation. 

  Jikalau anda membaca ini sekarang, jangan lupa kerap melayari laman blog kami ini kerana akan terdapat banyak isi menarik di masa depan!