WHEN Taiwanese-born writer Yulduz Emiloglu was a child, her father Abdullah Emiloglu instilled in her the need to help others.
Abdullah, a former Taiwan legislator and professor in Central Asian history, told Yulduz, the eldest, and his other three daughters, to become medical doctors specialising in different areas so that they could collectively open a medical centre to provide treatment to the poor and needy.
As it turned out, none of them became doctors, but Yulduz has held dear to her father's dream and she now helps people in different ways – through seminars and her everyday life.
Yulduz, who is married to Malaysian businessman Javet Tay Yee Wet, moved to a small village in Semerah, Batu Pahat, about 30 years ago.
Due to her status, she could not work then so she contributed articles to Chinese newspapers and read to the blind.
Her articles were well received and soon she was writing on social and family issues in major Chinese newspapers.
Today, she is acknowledged as a prominent writer, columnist and speaker in Malaysia.
“In the early years, I gave seminars on the relationship between father and daughter as many Chinese fathers still prefer sons to daughters. I hoped to change their mindset and improve their relationships,” she said.
Yulduz said she was able to use her father’s experience of raising an all-girl family.
“My father once told me that in the eyes of Allah, the world only has good or bad people so we should be good to others. This is the most important thing,” said Yulduz.
Later on, Yulduz, who has written several Chinese school textbooks, also conducted seminars on social, youth and family issues based on her 10 years’ experience running her five Yulduz Educational Care Centres in the Klang Valley. She set up the centres to help look after children whose mothers have to work during the day
“I like children and I like to spend time and read stories to them. I have looked after thousands of children during the past 10 years, so usually the seminars will be based on my experiences with the children.”
When youths go astray, she said, it is not solely because of the individual, but often because of family reasons and the environment.
As Yulduz is well recognised and highly respected in the Chinese community, she often gets calls from depressed people, who seek her help.
“Once there was a woman who called me up at home while I was preparing my dinner. I felt bad cutting her off as she was crying so I continued to cook while talking to her,” she said.
She was still talking to the woman when members of her family started to eat, she said.
“For me, the most important thing is to be able to help the people. Most of the time, they just need someone to listen,” she said, adding that she would then refer the cases to her friends, who are trained counsellors.
Her appointment to the Wanita MCA central committee came with the responsibility of helping single mothers and promoting family values.
“My 87-year-old father has a big influence in my life. My father told me that the happiest thing in the world is to be able to help the needy. So by joining the party, I believe that I am able to help more people.
“My father always told me that Allah has given everyone a mission. So after we take care of ourselves as well as our families, we should serve our community,” said Yulduz, who is currently teaching Malaysia Chinese Literature at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Yulduz, who has a doctorate in Malay literature from Universiti Malaya, was approached by several political parties before she decided to join MCA last August.
“At that time, I still did not know what I could do for the party and the people, and I was not ready to bear the responsibility due to my family commitments.
“But now my children have grown up so I can devote my time to society. Besides that Datuk Dr Ng (Yen Yen) is very sincere and she has a heart to help the people. I hope that within these three years, I can contribute in educating the women, youth and children,” she said.
However, her decision to join the MCA drew two extreme responses from her friends.
“Some friends said I should not join any political party. They think a scholar should not get involved in politics, as they will not be objective on certain issues.
“But another group of friends was very happy that I joined a political party. They think I am able to help more people through the network of the party,” she said.
“Politics is everybody’s business. We are involved in politics every day but the difference is whether you are a member of a political party or not.”
Yulduz has travelled extensively throughout the country in the past 30 years to conduct her seminars, including to many villages most Malaysians have never heard of.
“I found a lot of interesting people and places. At the beginning, some Taiwanese friends wondered how someone who comes from a rich family in Taipeh could stay in this country for over three years. Now I have been here for over 30 years and I still enjoy discovering every little thing in this beautiful country,” she said.
Yulduz has published a book titled The Beauty of Malaysia, which is a compilation of her articles in China Press. The book will be in major bookstores soon.
“I chose the picture of Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar for the cover of my book as I fell in love with the design of the mosque and its surroundings when I visited the town with my family 20 years ago,” she said.
Has the 55-year-old scholar ever decided to retire from writing as well as her social work?
“It has never crossed my mind. I will continue to do my work and serve the community if I still have the ability.
“Like what my father says, to be able to help others is the happiest thing in the world. Why should I give it up?” she said.