The very real house…

If only we could place cameras inside households in selected districts within Sabah and share the hardship they are going through now

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NOW, here’s an idea of a good reality show. The execution is very simple and the budget need not be too high.

Just get, say, five people from different backgrounds who need some exposure to the real world and place them in a remote area that offers a contrasting lifestyle, like perhaps Kampung Halo, a floating village in Semporna, Sabah.

Let them live with the folks there for a while and record their every movement. No script is needed. Just assign each character to one household. Cramped spaces shared by bigger families would be preferable.

Each character would be followed by a cameraman 24/7 to record their day-to-day activities, as well as their observations of their new surroundings.

In short, let them live like the locals. Eat what the locals eat and sleep as how the locals would.

Communication problems? Well, rest assured that the show would be even more interesting if it includes dramas that stem from the language barriers among the characters and the villagers.

Give the characters a minimum of one week to immerse themselves with the new surroundings and lifestyles.

If the experience can transform them spiritually and make them better people, well and good.

If they don’t, it would still make a good post-story. Chances are, the one with the most empathy will be the real winner, while those who could not adapt to the environment could easily be the “villains” everyone would love to hate.

Throughout their stay, there’d also surely be conflicts, dramas and tears, as well as comedic moments that no script writer could create.

All the elements of surprise that would become part of the entire story arc would in turn keep viewers interested. Yes, getting the ratings might not be much of a challenge.

If you need any guide from among the locals of Kampung Halo (the name of the village itself is as glamorous as Beyonce’s hit), you might want to find Pak Ladja (picture), a name that is currently trending after a video that was posted on YouTube over the weekend went viral.

If you have not seen it, go to YouTube and type “Polis dan Masyarakat Berpisah Tiada — RMPTV 25 Oktober 2020”.

The video, which runs slightly over seven minutes, shows Pak Ladja, a middle-aged Bajau Laut man, rowing his sampan to ask for help from a passing marine police boat that was patrolling the area, now placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

Apparently, due to the EMCO, Pak Ladja and his law-abiding neighbours — who are mainly fishermen — could not go out to sea, and they are out of food and sustenance.

Even if you could not comprehend a word that Pak Jadja says, the pleading look on his face is enough to induce you to tears.

According to Pak Ladja, 27 families in Kampung Halo have not much to live by and he hopes that the police could help them out.

Pak Ladja’s plea is greeted by a very kind authoritative voice who assures him help would be on the way.

The following scene is just as moving. A marine police boat arrives at Kampung Halo with packed rations that are to be distributed to the 27 families. The looks on their faces? Precious.

Towards the end of the video, Pak Ladja raises his hands and recites a prayer. More tears.

Kampung Halo, which is currently within the Bangau Bangau Covid-19 cluster, is but one of the many casualties of the pandemic.

In fact, various areas in the state have been placed under EMCO, Targeted EMCO (TEMCO) and Conditional MCO (CMCO), according to the severity of the Covid-19 cases.

Since no one could get in or out of the state at the moment, one can only imagine the kind of stories that are unfolding behind the doors.

If only we could place cameras inside some of the households in selected districts within Sabah and share the hardship the people are going through now, we can call the show “The House”.

What? There’s already a show with the same title that features T20 (top 20% income group) people reacting to a B40 (bottom 40%) surrounding?

Well, maybe we can name it “The Real House” then. Just saying…

Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor at The Malaysian Reserve.