SEREMBAN: The movement control order imposed to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is not going to ruin centenarian Chong Keow’s Chinese New Year celebration.
The 105-year-old widow is looking forward to welcoming the Year of the Ox with her new family made up of 39 senior citizens at a home here where she has been living for over a year.
Chong, who has three children, now considers her housemates at the Weng Da Old Folks Home as her own siblings, with whom she has developed a strong bond.
“I have three children but they will not be able to visit me this year due to the MCO and travel restriction.
“But I am happy to be here as the other residents are now like my family, ” she said during a visit by members of the Rasah MCA Crisis Relief Squad.
Chong, who was born nearby in Sg Gadut, may not be as agile as she once was, but she still has good memory and vision.
Able to converse in Cantonese and Hakka, she enjoys meals of porridge and soup and is not on any medication.
Home manager Liew Hong Chan said this year’s Chinese New Year celebration is set to be a low-key affair as many donors were unable to visit the old folks.
“Previously, we used to get many societies, organisations, businesses as well as individuals dropping by to give the residents ang pow and oranges.
“But due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, there are hardly any this time around, ” he said, adding that donations to the home have also dried up.
He said about half the number of residents living there had no families.
Liew said the cost to run the home a month is about RM10,000 and this includes the salaries of its three employees.
Rasah MCA CRSM head Dafney Ho said members decided to treat the residents to “pun choy” or the “big bowl feast” to welcome the Year of the Ox.
“We have been doing this for the past 16 years to homes or orphanages we visited to spread the festive spirit.
“This time around, we decided to treat the residents to pun choy, which is a traditional one-pot dish symbolising good fortune and prosperity, ” she said, adding that the CRSM had collaborated with the Negri Sembilan Ai Xin Association and Hai Nan Guan Yin Temple in Taman Marida to organise the programme.