PENANG: Divorces have become an increasingly common phenomenon in Malaysia nowadays.
In view of the increasing divorce rate, which may have a negative bearing on the family values and social harmony in the country leading to potentially lower marriage rate, a group of divorced men and women have decided to set up a Divorce Club aimed at providing counselling services and assistance to divorced people, while through their own experiences offering advice to couples encountering marital problems with the hope they do not relinquish their marriages easily.
According to statistics, Taiwan has the highest divorce rate in Asia, while the low marriage rate and high divorce rate in Malaysia have aroused concerns from the society.
Co-founder of the Divorce Club, Yang Fu Long, 47, told Guang Ming Daily that during a gathering with friends that included men and women, they found that more and more people were having marital problems while some of the people were suffering from depression because they were unable to take the consequences of divorces.
Someone to talk to
As a result, they proposed to set up the Divorce Club, with the hope they could provide a channel for people to talk and support those who might encounter marital problems or frustrations in their marital relationships by sharing their own experience divorce experiences.
After the idea was mooted, Yang said more than twenty people had responded positively .The founders hope with their own experiences in divorces, they could offer some useful counselling services to people having problems with their marriages.
"All of us have experienced this kind of thing; we understand that when people are facing potential divorces, they need someone to listen to them and that is where the Divorce Club will come in."
Yang said currently the club had more than twenty male and female members, aged between 30 and 50, some having been divorced for more than 20 years while some have just been divorced for merely a year.
He said, the Divorce Club plans to set up hotline services as well in order to advise people facing divorce and provide legal consultation services.
The establishment of the club is not meant to encourage people to divorce or advocate the divorce culture in the society. On the contrary, it voices concerns over the increasingly serious phenomena of late marriages and high divorce rates in the country.
A place to share
With regard to the establishment of the Divorce Club, Wang Yu Xian, a counsellor at the Women’s Aid Organisation, feels that if the purpose of establishing the club is to provide a space for mutual encouragement for divorced people, then the country will have one more aid group with a supportive nature, and this will have a positive influence on our society especially at a time when people’s hearts are getting more and more fragile.
She said the sharing space indeed plays a crucial role when people are encountering setbacks due to marital failures, as they need someone to talk to. This could help them overcome the frustration.
"In many cases, due to lack of this kind of outlet in our community or lack of care from the family, the divorced people’s may often be forced into a dead end. As a matter of fact, so long as there is a proper channel for them to vent their depressed emotions they would soon be back to their normal lives."
However, Wang reminds the Divorce Club that if they want to provide hotline services to the public, the counsellors must be professionally trained, for if an organisation lacks this kind of professionalism, the counsellors may themselves be dragged into the quagmire of their own emotions while listening to the grievances of the complainants.
According to her, although all the club's members have personally experienced similar destinies themselves, as professional counsellors, they should have already got over their own traumatic experiences and be self reminded to handle their emotions in a professional manner, otherwise they might influence the people who are supposed to share their sorrows with them.
Source: Sin Chew
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