There’s no place like home


(From third left) Heng talking to Chong while Ooi, Soo Wah and members of Persatuan Kebajikan Amal Qi Li Xiang join them outside Chong’s house in the remote area of Berapit near Bukit Mertajam.

HER house has neither water nor electricity, and the trail leading to her home is full of snakes.

But having lived there for over 30 years, the elderly woman refuses to move.

Chong Yew Hin, 84, has gotten the attention of Good Samaritans when her way of life was highlighted by Berapit assemblyman Heng Lee Lee.

Despite the best efforts to persuade her, she would not move into a welfare home nor even consent to having a new home with proper amenities built for her elsewhere.

Chong lives in a remote corner of Berapit village near Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

She leaves her house daily around 7am and walks 5km to get food at a hawkers’ centre.

Heng (centre) assuring Chong that she would help send plumbers to deepen the bored well outside her house. With them is Ooi (left).Heng (centre) assuring Chong that she would help send plumbers to deepen the bored well outside her house. With them is Ooi (left).

The trail to her home is overgrown with grass and she admits to having seen various types of snakes along the way several times.

She said her daughter Ooi Lee Lee, 44, living elsewhere would cook her dinner and her son-in-law Lim Soo Wah, 54, would send it to her every evening.

Chong, who has 10 children, said she gave five up for adoption due to financial constraints, and her husband passed away 30 years ago.

Now, she only has one daughter while the other four she raised had passed away.

She does not have water supply and depends on collected rain- water to bathe and wash clothes.

“Five years ago, the bored well at her house dried up and with the dry weather now, she has a serious water shortage.

“We are doing our best to help her, ” said Heng when she recently visited Chong at her home.

Heng said she empathised with Chong’s refusal to leave her home of 30 years, “since elderly people prefer to live where they are comfortable with despite hardships.”

She roped in the Kuok Foundation, Persatuan Kebajikan Amal Qi Li Xiang, Social Welfare Department, the local Village Community Management Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) to help Chong.

“Chong claimed that her house was given to her by her cousin.

“We are in the process of contacting its owner through the Land Office so that the legal owner can give authorisation for the house to be repaired, ” Heng said, adding that Kuok Foundation and Persatuan Kebajikan Amal Qi Li Xiang agreed to fund the repairs.

As for the water supply, Heng said plumbers would be called in to deepen the bored well and see if the water table could be reached.

“We will organise a gotong- royong session with MPSP soon to clear the undergrowth around her home and discourage the snakes from coming near.

She said the Welfare Department gave Chong RM200 to buy food and supplies and Chong’s application for monthly senior citizen’s aid is being processed.

Those who wish to lend a hand can contact Persatuan Kebajikan Amal Qi Li Xiang chairman Lim Sing Ching (012-431 1789) or secretary Khor Kok Chuan (012- 478 8331).


   

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