LAM Siew Leng’s 50th birthday was just a few days ago, but for the past few years, it is like any other day for the unemployed woman.
A birthday celebration is considered a luxury when she is struggling to feed two children – a 15-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son – while dealing with health problems.
“I was diagnosed with osteoporosis seven years ago and three years ago, it became unbearable,” she said at her house in Taman Pengkalan Barat, Ipoh on May 30.
“I had to quit my job at a coffeeshop because I couldn’t stand and walk for long even though I needed the RM30 a day, which was my only source of income,” she added.
Lam lost her husband 13 years ago in a road accident.
Her husband’s insurance and Employee Provident Fund money have all been used for her medical bills.
“The doctor told me that surgery cannot fix my condition, as it is extremely risky.
“I may end up being paralysed, so I can only resort to using painkillers for now,” she said.
Lam, who is the third youngest of 13 children, lives with her children and six of her unmarried siblings.
Only two elder brothers, aged 67 and 59, work to put food on the table for the family of nine in a small terrace house.
She said one is a foreman who earns around RM2,000 a month while the other does odd jobs, earning only about RM600 a month.
“Our utility bills already takes away a quarter of their total pay.
“So we only have two meals a day, which is breakfast and dinner,” she said, adding that they will only have lunch on days they can afford it.
Lam’s children helps with the daily household chores as most of the adults were old and sickly.
Ipoh Barat MCA service team captain Lee Swee Liong said it was sad that the family had to live in such poor conditions.
“We need to help them, so that Lam’s children can continue going to school and study without having to worry about their hardships.
“Once they graduate, hopefully, they will be able to work hard and lead better lives with Lam,” he said.
Lee said those who wish to donate to Lam’s family can contact him at 016-598 3111 for details.