During his school Sports Day, 6-year-old Rosley fainted. When he was 11, he used nosebleeds as a reason to get out of participating in sports. Instead of attending sports lessons, he joined his school’s Red Crescent Society. Little did he know then that his attempts at avoiding sports became the start of a life dedicated to helping others. Now in his forties, he is still a part of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.
When disaster strikes, Rosley is one the first to go on-site recce, answering calls even at the wee hours of the night. He assesses the situation and takes note of what the victims need. Previously a house contractor, he has the reputation of being the “Toilet Man” – he builds latrines for evacuation sites and he is proud of his skill and title. Lavatories are important!
Rosley now runs a kitchen that caters food to a homeless shelter, although he still utilises his contractor knowledge in his volunteering work. His main role in disaster relief is to oversee the mobile kitchen. He gets to work setting up the kitchen as soon as he arrives at the disaster location. Food served is usually one serving of vegetables, meat, and a serving of fruit. Standard Operating Procedures is adhered to keep the food safe and healthy for consumption.
Rosley and his team sleep where victims sleep, even if its in tents, demonstrating a true volunteering spirit indeed. Sometimes his voluntary service is taken for granted when some victims demand his assistance instead of appreciating it. Still, that doesn’t stop Rosley from doing what he does.
The Red Crescent pride runs in Rosley’s family as well. His oldest child followed him on an expedition to Indonesia. The rest of his children are members of the Red Crescent Society in their schools. Rosley said his mother was his inspiration to help others as her ‘kampung spirit’ was strong.
When he accepted his Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards in 2018, he gave his thank-you speech all choked-up and teary-eyed. He did not expect to win and that was the first time being recognised for the voluntary work he has been doing since he was 11.
No retirement plans are in order – Rosley plans to continue his service work for as long as he lives.