This is My Last Life

Set in the rural town of Batu Arang, Malaysia, Positive Living Community (PLC) offers a place of refuge for those shunned and rejected by society.

The majority of residents are HIV patients, and people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.

For many, it is a place away from stigma and discrimination, and where residents find shelter, treatment, and social support. It is also where they hope for a new life.

Many have tried restarting their lives several times over. In the words of 28 year-old Rakesh, a former alcohol addict, “This is my last life.” And he’s trying to live it for the best.

The journey towards recovery has its ups and downs for sure, as people battle with past addictions, regrets, and hurts, whilst trying to live life anew.

It is where they take stock of life’s journey to rebuild relationships, and find a way forward.

Commissioned by Our Better World

The Positive Living Community (PLC) rehabilitation home, located at Batu Arang, Malaysia, provides tranquil surroundings for residents to focus on their recovery journey and retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city info
For those physically able, a work therapy programme is available for residents to rear animals such as ducks and goats, or help out at the center’s organic vegetable farm. info
After his stint at Positive Living, Selva hopes to set up his own farm in the long run. He developed a keen passion for rearing goats after caring for the ones at PLC.        info
Ram teaches Selva how to bottle feed a sick lamb. info
The center also offers temporary shelter for Rohingya asylum seekers in Malaysia as their claims for resettlement are being processed under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). info
New friendships are forged at PLC. Having worked together at the farm, Chang Ming developed a close bond with Chandan. The duo are often seen horsing around and sharing light-hearted moments with each other. info
Ken shares a space with his roommate Mr Zheng. He was estranged from his wife and two sons after being addicted to alcohol. Having stayed dry for over a year, he plans to move back to his hometown to help with his father’s bu info
Occasionally, volunteer groups visit PLC to engage residents in an evening of singing. info
The men occupy and keep themselves updated with daily news from the television. They don’t bring much with them to PLC, often just everyday essentials and personal items. info
Alex Arokiam, founder and head of PLC, sits with his assistant, Jon, in the office to discuss details of a resident’s case at the sick bay. info
PLC is constantly understaffed, and Alex often steps in to cook the daily meals for residents at the sick bay, in addition to running three other homes. He ensures that everyone is well-nourished, and only fresh ingredients a info
The sick bay offers in-house nursing care for HIV patients in need of more constant medical attention. There are approximately 22 bed spaces available. info
Residents are chauffeured to the nearby Sungei Buloh hospital in Kuala Lumpur, which specialises in treating patients with HIV. First line treatment with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is fully subsidised by the info
Alex and the Rohingya boys watching over Rashedul as his blood pressure drops dangerously low. Rashedul was terminally ill with liver cancer, and needed palliative care.    info
A typical scene in the evening at the sick bay. Kumaran used to work in a law firm before being diagnosed with HIV. He moved to PLC’s sick bay where he receives nursing care after developing a stroke. info
Everyone chips in with what they can at the PLC home. The Rohingya boys often help with serving meals and feeding those who can’t manage on their own. info
Ram has been a resident at PLC for 8 years now. When first diagnosed with HIV from infected needles, he felt that he was the equivalent of “a dead man”. He has since found a renewed sense of purpose, and plans to use his expe info
63 year-old Joseph is PLC’s longest staying resident, and everyone looks up to him. He shared a Chinese proverb saying, “No flower can stay in bloom for one hundred days,” signifying how nothing lasts in the drug world, and t info
PLC houses older residents at a smaller bungalow, where they enjoy the comforts of sharing meals together at the communal dining table. They divide responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning the house amongst one another. info
52 year-old Mr Guo has spent 5 years living at PLC. When he first learned that he contracted HIV, he left his wife and 7 year-old son to move elsewhere, fearing rejection from his family. It has been 12 years since he first l info
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