Old, abandoned - and they only have each other

Old, abandoned - and they only have each other

KUALA LUMPUR - Many of the abandoned senior citizens have lost hope of ever seeing their families again, but some have not lost faith in each other.

After arriving at the Tong Sim old folks home from various hospitals, they have put their skills to good use to help one another.

Owner Cheong Loy said most of the 52 inmates were sent to the centre located above a casket shop in Sungei Besi when the hospitals could not trace their family members.

"In most cases, family members gave false addresses and contact numbers. The hospitals asked us to take them in," he said at the home.

However, instead of depending on outsiders to care for them, they now work together to keep the home running.

Although volunteers regularly donate food and help clean up the place, the residents themselves do most of the household chores.

"Those who are fit help to feed and clean the others who are bedridden," said Cheong.

"Others wash clothes, clean the compound and cook."

Inmate Mun Ah Pun, 70, handles most of the cooking at the 12-year-old home.

"When I was travelling and doing construction work, I used to cook for my friends," he said. "I am doing the same thing today."

Mun, who lost contact with his family years ago, said he came to the home after a friend urged him to stay there.

Liew Moi, 74, who helps to do the laundry, said she was happy even though there were times when she missed her family.

"But it is only normal to feel lonely at my age," said the childless widow. "But I get very excited when volunteers take us on trips," she said.

Liew, who used to wash dishes for a living, said she had been moving from one charity home to another before coming to the centre.

"I moved so often that I did not bother to tell family members where I was. I don't want to disturb them as they are all busy with their careers," she said.

Another resident in his 70s, who only wanted to be known as "Uncle Lim", said he helped to sweep the floor whenever he could.

Asked where his family members were, he said cynically: "They are all rich and highly educated."

Asked what was his dearest wish was, he said: "I just want to take life one day at a time."

It was the general sentiment of all at the home.

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