Homeless man with cancer soldiers on
Pang Kam Chun, a homeless lymphoma patient who has been living in his car after being rendered jobless, finds his daily struggles further compounded after the car broke down three weeks ago.
Photographs by Djohan Shahrin
Pang Kam Chun hails from Serendah, Rawang. Fondly known as Ah Kok, the 48-year-old has been grappling with a blood-related ailment, known as lymphoma cancer, since 2021.
Ah Kok was left homeless due to unemployment. The economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order left him unable to pay his rent after losing his source of income.
Since then, he has been living in his car, calling the rest area along a highway his home. However, his car broke down three weeks ago, leaving him unable to move around.
Despite being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in March 2023, Ah Kok has been persevering through the crippling effects of his illness, hindered only by transportation issues. He needs money to repair his car and cover his medical expenses.
Ah Kok's friend, Azhar, has been visiting him lately after learning about his illness and subsequent unemployment.
Azhar provides Ah Kok with food supplies, including instant noodles, bottled water, and, occasionally, packed chicken rice.
Regardless of the aid he receives, Ah Kok remains grateful to the individuals who have supported and helped him in difficult times.
Ah Kok is accompanied by a stray cat as he enjoys the chicken rice Azhar bought him. He now seeks shelter behind the restroom of a highway rest area.
After finishing his meal, Ah Kok shares the leftover chicken with stray cats.
Ah Kok requests Azhar's help to assess his car's condition at a workshop. The used car he bought with his EPF i-Sinar withdrawal has been a great help throughout his life.
At the workshop, Ah Kok and Azhar speak with a mechanic, Arun, who informs them that the car has to be taken away as it has been left there for far too long and there are other cars that need to be repaired.
Ah Kok asks Arun for some time to secure funds for the repairs. He is concerned that the car would be stolen if left unattended, further exacerbating his situation.
Arun explains the space constraints at the workshop and urges prompt repair funding. They try to reach an agreement to accommodate both parties.
Upon returning to the rest area, Ah Kok looks for the stray cat that has kept him company for the past two years.
This stray cat serves as Ah Kok's therapy animal, offering him a reprieve from his troubles as he contemplates ways to cover his car's repair costs.
Ah Kok retrieves a box and mat from behind the public restroom. His illness makes him feel weak and tired all the time, so he needs any rest he can get.
Ah Kok places the box on the floor and spreads open the mat, setting up a makeshift bed.
In this space behind the restroom, Ah Kok finds temporary rest, uncertain of how long he could stay here. The highway management has advised him not to sleep in the area, but he can only appeal for their mercy, hoping to be given time until he manages to repair his car.
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