Think about family who care and provide for you, and you will be thankful for the sacrifices they made to help you succeed. How true this was for 61-year-old grandmother S. Murugamah, a trader, who not only took leaps and bounds to make ends meet for herself but to save for her grandson’s college fees!
According to NST and Oriental Daily News, Murugamah would usually travel from Nibong Tebal all the way to Air Itam and Jelutong markets using public transport to sell dried food items such as salted fish, anchovies, and prawns. Previously, she had attempted to sell salted fish around her neighbourhood, but she could not earn as much. Hence, her decision to set up a stall at Air Itam.
She would cycle twice a week from her rented home to a bus stop in Nibong Tebal at 5am and make her way by bus to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal, boarding a ferry to Swettenham Pier in Georgetown on the island. She would then take another bus to the Air Itam and Jelutong markets, arriving at 8.30 am. All in, she travels 6 hours, back and forth.
Although the journey and efforts are tiresome, she had never once thought of asking for help, not wanting to trouble others. She had made it a point to work with her own two hands, with the hope that the fruit of her efforts will benefit her grandson’s future.
Fortunately for her, she did receive some help. A photographer named Keow Wee Loong, 32, picked up on her story from a friend. “A friend asked me whether I could help aunty (Murugamah), and after I listened to her plight, I decided to help because no one at her age deserves to travel such a distance to make a decent living,” he remarked in an interview with NST.
Keow then attempted to contact Nibong Tebal Member of Parliament but to no avail. After that, he talked to Machang Bubuk assemblyman Lee Khai Loon, who then agreed to help her. After a visit and hearing from Murugamah last Friday (9 April 2021), they found out that she needed a new refrigerator so that she does not have to travel that far to obtain fresh supplies for her business. YB Lee proceeded to procure the new refrigerator for her. “I am so grateful to him… he is not even the assemblyman for my area, but he was kind enough to assist me,” she said. Now with the new fridge, she can store more supplies and reduce her trips to the island.
Keow hoped that the new equipment will help increase Murugamah’s income. According to Keow, she had been earning RM30 to RM40 daily prior to the new fridge. Hopefully with the new storage she will be able to earn between RM100 to RM150 daily.
Kudos to S.Murugamah! With her strong will, independent character, and loving heart, she was willing to make the sacrifice to provide for her grandson. Now that she has the upgrade she needs, she can better achieve that goal to help her grandson attain the education needed for a brighter future.
One thing we can learn from this is to use our strengths to uplift and help one another to be better than before.