Recruiting teens from Tiong Nam

For Phase 2, we stepped up our efforts in recruiting teens from different ethnicity. So what was the plan?

We would cover Tiong Nam, an area predominantly Chinese. We painstakingly made 200 ‘kits’ containing an invitation brochure, newspaper clippings and the brochure produced by teens from Phase 1… in Chinese! (Thank you Taysy for translating!). We covered Tiong Nam in the span of 3 days.

Day 1: 9 Feb, we decided to do some observational research by having our lunch in Tiong Nam. We chit-chatted with our fish ball noodle seller and this is his reaction when we asked him about kids living there: “Kids?! Where got lah! Do you see any kids?”. Fahmi and I looked at each other and had a sudden realization. It’s true – in our almost 1 year working in Chow Kit, we’ve hardly seen any Chinese kids. This got us a little worried.

Day 2: 10 Feb, thank goodness for Thye. Thye is from the LLG Cultural Centre, a centre commemorating Lim Lian Geok, located right here in Chow Kit! Thye speaks fluent Mandarin and… Hokkien! A lifesaver! (Majority of Chinese living in Tiong Nam are Hokkien, and we can hardly speak any Chinese). Thye approached local sundry shops, spoke to the shop owners who then agreed to help distribute our ‘kits’ to their customers. Some shop owners gave us the cold shoulder while some were extremely friendly and helpful. The scorching hot 2pm sun didn’t make it easy either.

Here’s Fahmi & Thye, the hero of the day:

Day 3: 11 Feb, we distributed our kits door-to-door on a motorbike, postman style! A Tiong Nam resident responded hours later by joining our Facebook group… way to go! We’re done — 150 kits to a 150 houses. The fish ball seller was quite right — there are not many teenagers living in Tiong Nam. Residents tell us most kids have moved away. The current residents have been there for over 30 years. However, we did manage to talk to a few teenagers living in Tiong Nam during our rounds :)

Here’s me doing my rounds. We still haven’t figured out how postmen deliver mails without getting off their bikes!

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