They continue working to make ends meet


Still able: (Clockwise from left) Security guard Mohd Ghani Awang Seman, 64; flea market traders T.S. Muniandy, 70, and his wife S. Nagamah, 66; apam balik vendor Omar Lembang, 64; clothes seller Yeap Poh Lee, 77; and traditional joss stick maker Lee Beng Chuan, 91.

GEORGE TOWN: T.S. Muniandy isn’t entirely enjoying his sunset years.

He has to sell second-hand items at a flea market near Padang Brown in Jalan Datuk Keramat here in order to make ends meet.

Muniandy, 70, and his wife S. Nagamah, 66, are seen trading at least four days a week to ensure enough profit to meet their needs.

“We earn about RM800 a month, which is hardly enough for us to survive.

“We have only about RM350 left each month after paying for our flat rental.

“Most of the time, we would buy cheaper food for lunch and dinner, such as roti canai or small packets of nasi lemak to share,” he said.

Muniandy, who lives in a flat in Jalan Utama with Nagamah, said one of their sons would visit them occasionally.

“I had my own savings after working for over 20 years in Klang but the money had since been spent on my sons’ education and business ventures,” he said.

They have four sons, one of whom died while another son lost both his legs in an accident.

“Another son was declared a bankrupt,” he said.

Nagamah has high blood pressure and heart problems.

Muniandy’s health has also deteriorated after suffering a minor stroke two months ago.

“Our business has been affected by this.

“We were already making very little previously. Now, we are making even less,” said Muniandy, who also has to go for check-ups for colon cancer.

Another senior citizen, 77-year-old Yeap Poh Lee, sees life as a one-man journey especially since he has lived alone for more than 40 years.

“My parents passed away when I was a teenager. Two of my brothers moved away to look for jobs.

“I started working as a store assistant at bookstores and stationery stores,” Yeap said, adding that he was only 15 when he found his first job.

Since then, he has been living alone in a flat in Perlis Road.

Yeap admitted that he had no close buddies, save for a few friends in his neighbourhood.

“I am used to being alone,” he said.

Yeap earns a living by selling clothes at a stall in Cecil Street market.

“I can make about RM600 to RM800 a month. It is enough for me to support myself,” he said.

He said he was lucky to be able to continue his business and that some customers were supportive of him.

“Many people prefer to shop at retail stores and malls but I want to keep doing this until I cannot continue anymore,” he said.

In Rawang, Selangor, Mohd Ghani Awang Seman, 64, cannot enjoy his golden years and is forced to work as security guard.

Originally from Kelantan, he used to be a lorry driver for 20 years, earning a monthly wage of RM1,800 before he had to stop due to old age.

However, as he has no pension, he has to continue working as a security guard in a college.

“I have to stand and work for 12 hours a day at the age of 64 as a security guard, because if I do not, there will be no food on the table for me and my wife.

“I get paid daily. If I am sick and do not go to work, I do not get paid. I make about RM1,500 now,” he said.

Mohd Ghani said he was also suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure and what he earned was barely enough to make ends meet.

“It is still not enough, despite getting the one-off cost of living aid (Bantuan Sara Hidup). My three children help out but they too have their own expenses to take care of,” he said.

Related stories:

No smooth ride into the sunset

No thoughts of retiring


   

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