Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Old and alone, with only monkeys and wild boars for company

All that Sepinah Wahab wants this Hari Raya is to see her grandchildren together once more.

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Sepinah Wahab has lived in a small house in the seaside village of Kampung Pasir Pandak in Sitiawan, Perak for close to 20 years.

There isn’t a lot of space inside but at 73 years old, Sepinah finds it easier to navigate this way.

Each morning, she does what she can to tidy her little house. The furniture is simple: a table in the kitchen where she eats her meals, and a bed on the other side of the divider.

If she has time, she watches a bit of TV in the living room.

Years ago, Sepinah lived in the house with her husband and their only child. Now, though, both are dead and she lives alone.

From the window, she can see the grave where her child is buried just across the road.

At 73, Sepinah Wahab has lived alone for close to 20 years now.

But while she hopes to live out the rest of her life in peace, Sepinah has several immediate problems at hand.

For one thing, her house is frequented by monkeys which live in the scrub behind.

“They enter through the roof and rifle through my belongings,” she said.

“Sometimes, they take my food as well.”

Wild boars

Outside the house, empty food containers lie scattered about – evidence of the monkeys’ latest escapades.

From morning to night, they give Sepinah no peace of mind.

“If possible, I would like to instal a ceiling so that even if they enter through the roof, they cannot go down to the house below,” she said.

At night, the monkeys are joined by wild boars which come nosing around her small compound.

Old and alone, Sepinah often fears for her safety.

She is also worried about her roof, which was repaired several months ago but still leaks whenever it rains.

Outside her house, Sepinah Wahab talks to a neighbour who has come to see how she is doing.

She depends on her grandchildren and nearby relatives for the food she eats each day.

“Sometimes they buy me enough food for a few days,” she said. “I eat a little and save the rest.”

While she used to cook her own meals, she slipped and fell in the kitchen about three years ago. Since then, she hasn’t dared to prepare her own food.

“I don’t have the strength to cook these days,” she said.

Everyone together

Sepinah doesn’t mind living in a small house but she often finds herself lonely and wishing for the company of others.

Her four grandchildren sometimes take turns to visit, breaking the silence that otherwise lies over the house.

Sepinah Wahab performs her ablutions in the small bathroom of her house in Kampung Pasir Pandak in Sitiawan, Perak.

“They have asked me to come and live with them, but I don’t want to,” Sepinah said.

“They are all married and they have their own families.”

In the meantime, she does what she can to look after herself, carefully taking the medication prescribed for her high blood pressure. She is also mindful of the series of strokes she had over the recent years.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, she is also steadfast in maintaining her fast. In the evening, she breaks her fast with the food that her relatives send over.

Aside from that, she receives RM500 each month from the welfare department which she uses to take care of herself and the house.

This Hari Raya, she hopes to see all of her grandchildren together once more.

“They haven’t come for the past two years because of Covid-19,” she said. “If they do visit, they come one by one.”

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