Everyone knows my Canto is really dodgy so I wonder whether I am right if I use the term ‘hoe ch’arm’ to mean ‘it’s pitiful’. In Penang Hokkien I would have said ‘cheen chnea ch’arm’ or even more Penang-ish 'cheen chnea kisian'*
* (I'm sure most of you would recognise the word 'kisian' even though it has been spelt to reflect Penang Hokkien pronunciation).
These words spring to mind when I read in the Star Online of the way two brothers, 72-year old Foong Ah See and 63-year old Ah Man, struggle to live from day to day.
The two poor Ah Peh’s have been living in a dilapidated zinc shack for more than 20 years.
The Star reported: With each passing storm, their dwelling becomes more rundown. To top it off, Ah See and Ah Man, no longer have any surviving relatives to care for them and are both mentally handicapped. Ah See works in a factory making joss sticks while Ah Man is unemployed.
According to DAP ADUN Sum Cheok Leng, those brothers have been there for the last 50 years.
…. Since Merdeka?
Looks like the Indian Malaysians aren’t the only group left by the wayside as the nation progresses by leaps and bounds.
Sum revealed to us the hoe ch’arm status of the Foong brothers: “They do not earn much and usually just pack some economy rice from nearby shops.”
Sum said the years and weather have taken the toll on their zinc shack, but the two brothers valiantly persevere and make do with what little they could muster.
But alas, there is a limit to improvisation as finally the zinc roof has given way, with only a pitiful remnant of it left to shelter just two standing persons.
Sum added that the brothers sleep together on a tiny bed meant for one person. He wants to raise RM10,000 to rebuild their house. Hey, I wonder whether there may be some building material left over from that late railway gatekeeper who built and lived in a palace in Klang?
Anyway, Sum plans a small simple shelter for them, with two rooms, so each may have a bed for his own, and most important of all, a proper roof over their heads.
NOTE: Those willing to donate can write their cheques out to DAP Perak with Ah See’s full name written at the back and send it to Sum’s service centre at 3, Hala Bercham Timur 11, Taman Pakatan , 31400 Ipoh.
For details, call Sum at 017-578 2367 or local councillor Cheah Pou Hian at 016-555 8766.
Please help! They only have a few more years to go ... before they leave us, hopefully for a better kinder fairer world.