KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – His face has been featured in newspapers and social media as a boy standing between DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and Hannah Yeoh who donated eight months of savings to Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM) last Wednesday.
Since then, bespectacled Ervin Devadason, who was saving for a battery, has found himself in the center of media attention.
Overall, Malaysians praised him for his generous spirit, although some critics have called his donation, and those who received it, just a publicity stunt.
With his parents’ permission, Shah Alam’s primary schoolboy, Selangor, came to set the record straight.
“My parents and uncle (father’s brother) always say that giving is a blessing [more] than to receive.
“This birthday, my father asked me, ‘What do you want to give to others?’ So while watching TV at night, I saw a lot of people giving towards Tabung Harapan. So I asked my dad if I could give Tabung Harapan, ”said Ervin, who turned 12 on June 14, in a statement emailed to Malaysian courier.
Initially, Ervin hoped to hand over his savings he kept in a Menara Maybank piggy bank to his deputy Mohamad Sabu, but the latter, who is also defense minister, was not available.
So Ervin’s father Edward Devadason emailed Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh who agreed to receive the boy’s donation for THM. On June 20, armed with his Menara Maybank “piggy bank” and accompanied by his father, Ervin went to meet Yeoh and was surprised to see Lim Kit Siang disembark with a group of journalists.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see YB Lim Kit Siang and the media group there. Truly a day to remember, ”said the boy who stands as tall as the DAP counselor.
After opening the piggy bank and counting the savings inside, he found that it amounted to 214.60 RM, which he then deposited into the THM Maybank account.
“What people give and what little I give will certainly not be enough for the country. However, I want to be part of Malaysia, ”he added.
Ervin said he started following Malaysian politics by watching the news on Astro Awani and reading the Bernama National News Service because his family was discussing the 14th general election.
“I love listening to speeches from Tun Mahathir and other political leaders. They don’t talk to children, so sometimes it’s hard to understand, ”he said, referring to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who became Prime Minister for the second time after winning the election.
Ahead of the May 9 election, Ervin timidly said that although he was Malaysian, he never felt he was part of the country or that he might have a role in its future.
“With us, we always talk about migrating to another country. But now nothing. I feel like I want to be in Malaysia. I love New Malaysia. Malaysia ‘negaraku’.
Since then, Ervin has continued to educate himself on politics and tried to familiarize himself with the many acronyms, government positions and words used in news articles.
“A lot of words are still new to me. I am learning. For example, MACC, Avocat
General, coalition of parties, IGP, the process of choosing leaders and ‘sompah d’angkat‘, Member of Parliament, Adun, role of Agong, role of Prime Minister, ”he said.
Although he feels too young to be actively involved in politics now, he seems to be developing an appetite for it.
“I want to serve the country when I grow up. For now, I might like to learn more about politics and help the nation in any way I can.
Ervin said he aspires to study at the Royal Military College and become a pilot in the Air Force.
“I want to serve Malaysia. I am proud to be Malaysian, ”he said.
Ervin’s father and mother Thayanee Rajamanoharan said they were extremely proud of their son and expressed their gratitude to DAP lawmakers, especially Yeoh, for accepting his donation and giving him respect even s ‘he is still a child.
“She made the world realize that children are also part of a nation,” said Edward.
In their joint statement, Ervin’s parents said they learned to pay attention to the way they brought up children who were “silent listeners and watchful observers” and encouraged learning beyond intelligence of books.
“Good values must be instilled from young people. As much as it’s a joy to see what’s happening now, it also gives us more pressure to be better, careful parents, ”they said.
They also said they were asked if they thought it was “right” to expose and involve children in politics.
“If smartphones can be given to them and they are free to venture out into the world, why not find out what is happening in their country and be a part of it? They said in the statement.
For Ervin’s parents, it is better to expose and introduce children to the “real heroes and legends” who fight to protect the rights of the people, peace and repair damage to the reputation of the country.
“If we want our children to grow up holistically and be a good human being with values, I believe we parents are the tool for improvement and change for the next generation in our country.”
Ervin’s parents also thanked the audience for giving their son a drum kit, but declined the gift.
“Ervin sincerely donated his savings for a good cause as a Malaysian and for his future. As parents, we are proud of his benevolent action at this young age. We will buy the battery from him in due course. We are financially capable of doing it, ”they said.