Crime fighter shares urban survival tips

Last month, K. Balasupramaniam, better known as Capt Bala, led a team of volunteers in a search and rescue mission to the epicenter of the Nepal earthquake and a few weeks later, he was in Johor Baru again at the invitation of Johor Women’s League or Jewel.

A poster of the training programme and
the trainer, Capt Bala's illustrious credentials
Over the years, Capt Bala, MD of Code Red Survival Academy and founder of Malaysian Volunteer Fire Rescue Association, has been working with Jewel in training JB girls and women in safety programmes like Road Survival Skills and Urban Safety.

Jewel felt that it was apt for this award-winning safety activist to conduct a safety workshop in the community engagement part of the recent Medini Live! arts festival (June 6 & 7).  While crime survival appears to be a heavy topic for such a festival, Jewel recognised that safety is crucial in a developing community like Nusajaya.

A section of the audience at the REACT training event
Jewel is a non-profit society of women volunteers established in October 2008 that aims to advance the status of women and children, strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children, and encourage the empowerment of women and children by means of education, advocacy and other forms of assistance.

Headed by president, Thanam Visvanathan-Suresh, Jewel has actively engaged with youths to educate them on their rights as they are growing up in a world where violence against women is seen to be acceptable and female subjugation is the norm.  One of the important on-going services Jewel offers to women is to help them with late birth registrations.

Capt Bala held the participants' rapt attention
throughout the training programme
The turnout of some 160 participants for REACT, a Crime Survival Programme at Medini Live! that morning proved that the community was keen to equip themselves with survival skills and avoid becoming victims of crime.  

Capt Bala covered a wide range of scenarios at home, at work, in the city and on the road, where safety may be threatened and provided useful tips to stay ahead of criminals.  His passion for saving lives shone through as he spent four hours in educating and equipping participants with simple and practical but effective survival skills.

“Crime is my business and search and rescue is my passion,” said the affable Capt Bala who candidly shared his own story of survival from an attempt on his life. His experience spurred him on to help others think on their feet and have a chance of survival in emergencies.

Capt Bala, crime fighter and safety activist
At the end of the workshop, many participants lingered to ask Capt Bala questions and first-time participants, in particular, marveled at the eye-openers that he shared to illustrate the common scenarios where people are often careless and may fall victim to crime.

“I should be more aware of my surroundings,” said Amirah Sarah Zulkifli who was provoked to consider taking up an art of self-defense like Tae Kwon-do.  Another participant, Nirmala Appukutty echoed the same sentiment on being aware of our surroundings and added that she must exercise empathy and stop to help in emergencies instead of being indifferent when lives are at stake.

“I will apply the simple techniques that Capt Bala highlighted to deter crimes,” said Linda Clark a participant who was once almost a snatch thief victim.  Angel Low Jia Chi said she was now aware of the ideal place to put her handbag while driving her car and her friend, Lim Yi Shan said that Capt Bala’s tips reminded her to stay alert and avoid being in the Red Zone.

For more info about Jewel, visit website:

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 12 June 2015 

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