A fainting spell at work two weeks ago, and suspicions about Covid-19, cost K Selvarani, 57, her job as a daily-paid dishwasher at a popular food court in Sungai Pinang. Now she and her invalid son survive on plain tea and bread.
Her son, Emmanuel Joseph John, 28, became partially blind and has suffered fits after a road accident eight years ago. He had been working as a security guard at a block of flats but left last month, complaining of late payment of his RM1,000 monthly salary.
Mother, son, and their eight-year-old dog Robbie live in a tiny partitioned room at the rear of a barber shop in Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, Jelutong. The room, rented at RM250 a month, reeks of cockroaches and rats.
They had been sleeping on the floor for the past month after their mattress was soaked by rain. Recently, a tuition teacher who heard about their predicament, Vimalan Chandrasegaran, donated a mattress and comforter and a week’s worth of food.
Selvarani and Emmanuel have been surviving on a diet of only teh-o and bread. Luxury comes in the form of roti tawar with black coffee once in a while, whenever Selvarani’s friend or a passerby decides to donate RM10.
“About once, every two weeks, we will have enough (money) to have nasi kandar with fried fish. When we have money, of course,” Emmanuel said, saying they were too shy to ask for help, until word of mouth spread about their hardship.
Emmanuel said he was willing to take up any electronics classes or mobile phone repair jobs to earn a decent living. “Or else I am okay being a guard or doing anything, but nobody is hiring now. And with my eye problem, where am I going to work?” He also has a weak left arm, as a result of the old accident.
Selvarani had been earning RM25 a day, working the 7pm to 1am shift, at the food court for two months until she fainted at work two weeks ago. Doctors said it was probably vertigo, but her bosses told her not to return to work on suspicion she had contracted Covid-19.
Selvarani has since been on the lookout for odd jobs since, but says it is difficult for her, with a speech impediment and being hard of hearing. She has gone to seek work at the nearby wet market but no one wants to hire her, even for low wages, claiming bad times because of the pandemic.
Source : FMT