Have you ever feel poor?

I don’t think I can claim to know what being poor is. I thought I know but I do not. On Monday, I went to visit someone in a poorer area, where the earliest flats in Penang are built.

(Before I proceed further, don’t anyone dare to think that I am gloating about my own blessings and using other people as a topic to blog.)

The person I visited seems ok with living there because he is alone and therefore, a single room flat is just nice for him. But when I walked into the area, there are many families with several children and extended families, like aged parents and etc. I cannot imagine how the whole family live in a small space like that. The walls, corridors and public area are so badly vandalised.

For a person like me who has fear (not sure it is considered phobia) of small spaces, going through their corridors is suffocating. Thank goodness the person I visited lives on the ground floor and hence, I do not have to use the lift. This reminds me of the time when I went to a Malay colleague wedding in another area nearby. I almost fainted because the corridor and lift were narrow and not lighted during the day.

Rats are everywhere and passing by their main rubbish area is pukey. The rats running around amused my 8 yrs old who tagged along. He is also amused that the lifts do not stop at every floor but only about every 3-4 floors. But my two older kids? No, way, they will not follow me down and instead chose to stay in the cool comfort of the car. I wish they would so that they could see for themselves that people come from different backgrounds.

When I was young, my mom used to take me to her sister’s one room flat in Caunter Hall. My aunt has several children and top it off with my mom and I, everyone practically slept in the living room and kitchen. I remember I had a swell time there with my male cousin. It was so fun and thrilling for a kampung girl (with big, big wooden house) to stay in a pigeon hole flat.

The visit on Monday got my brain working overtime. I wonder if our politicians and the power up there are doing anything to improve the lives of these residents? Living in such small space is sure to bring out the worst in every person. Can we then blame these people for committing crimes, doing badly in their studies, mistreat their loved ones as in child/spouse abuse, alcoholism and etc? Have anyone of us walk a mile in their shoes? Wait…I am not saying that these people who lived in densely populated areas are criminals nor neither am I implying that it is not wrong to commit crime. But I suppose it is not their own choice that they have to live life like that.

If you think you are poor, think again. There are many people out there who are really, really poor.

24 Replies to “Have you ever feel poor?”

  1. we’re a third world nation.. hardcore poor still makes up of about 1% of the population.. and the friend you visited did not even fall into that category..

    our economic gap is still very wide.

  2. Poverty is relative. For some, just because they life in a flat with two rooms, they feel richer compared to squatters. As for politicians, they are busy taxing the poor.

  3. I feel poor most of the time. In fact, I limited myself to RM3 perday on all expenses.

    That means if I wanna buy the newspaper, I have to forget about lunch. 🙁

  4. Well, sometimes the big people and the power up there don’t really pay much attention to the poorer groups of ppl until :

    – Somebody puts it up on Malay Mail
    – They need the land for some ‘menguntungkan’ project hence the need to build a new home for these poor people

  5. Occasionally, families should take their kids for a walk around such areas where people live below the established poverty line. Good education for the kids that can’t be taught from classrooms.

  6. When we were younger, we stayed in the police barracks and we didn’t have much then. I remember my sister had a big wooden brown storage box for a bed.

  7. my parents were quite poor last time.. esp my mom coz grandpa passed away early due to cancer and grandmom had to take care of her 7 children.. almost like the malay proverb “kais pagi makan pagi”

  8. You went visit John?
    Rifle Range flat is really a very run down place, I think my kao-fu still staying there, next to cementery 2nd floor from the top.
    upper floor cleaner but if the lift rosak then “cham” lar.
    complain about money not enough? sometime, but always think about others who need to appear on newspaper ask for donation, we are doing far more better than others.
    RM3/day or RM30/day, as long no need others to help us.
    and someone live in squatters still can help those who live under the bridge.
    as long we feel contented we always rich.

  9. lived in a one room flat with the family (five of us) till 27? it wasnt so bad twenty years (20!!)ago, just that as the older batch moved out the neighbourhood become more ‘chap’. of course very squashed up especially when damn inconsiderate relatives (family of four!) make half yearly KL visits and stay the whole week.
    so phobia against flats that i insisted on a landed property with the hubby. of late wished we stayed in apmt instead, no need to walk up and down endlessly and with all facilities. sigh.

  10. Yeah..i know what you mean. When if i see how some rich people enjoying their life each day, i will always consider myself poor and unlucky. But when i see some people living so badly each day, then i will consider my self lucky. Basically my mind just switches from one thought to another depending on what i see around me.

  11. yes. i always remind myself that. somehow, reading abt rumah kebajikan, fakir miskin here and there makes me a bit insaf. how much we should feel grateful for what we are having right now.

  12. yup…couldn’t agree more that “there are many people out there who are really, really poor.”

    “POOR”…it all depends on how we define n see it.
    For one thing for sure,all of us here NOW r not poor cos we r able to access to internet.
    There r still many ppl out there who don’t even have internet connection at home.That’s y my mum always says we must be contented with what we have.It’s more important to be happy than to be rich.As long as u r not feeling poor & inferior,then u r not poor but rich.It all lies in ur heart n there’s juz a thin line between POOR & RICH.

  13. I’ve walked the path , my childhood ect was filled with violence both parents were alcoholics.
    They divorced and my mum meet another extremely violent guy , who use to threaten me with a 22 . by putting in my mouth and saying he’d blow my head off.Although we had a home, mostly i seeked a hiding place n e where to hide from him whether it was hiding in bushes or sleeping in service station toilets.
    Then the first bf i had was exactly the same,so my life didn’t change until i broke the cycle 🙂
    I think i’ll end it here or it will become a blog post.

  14. They may be “money poor” but I’m sure they their hearts are full of joy, so much that money can’t buy.
    Thanks Auntie Lilian for reminding me about such harsh living conditions. I’ll blog about it today 🙂

  15. Even though the government owez says want to menghapuskan kemiskinan, I wonder how much actions they have taken. It just seem like they like to built all those super big luxurious buildings rather than handle and settle this first.

  16. “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world…Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
    Max Ehrmann

  17. “ah soh, mana you sudah pergi? anybody home?

    Posted by: twinsmom”

    I too busy yesterday, internet so slow, in the end, no time to comment here becos I go around kpc in others’ blog.

    Anyway, so glad to see so many people here with their thoughts. And the encouraging notes. Plus the thought provoking comments.

    What I can summarise is – it is ok to be poor sometimes because later on, we can look back and be comforted that we had been through the grind. And it does make us a better person later on.

  18. Well.. i’ve never been really, really poor… but being squeezed into the same room as your mom.. with 3 other siblings.. in a semi-detached house.. was quite pathetic.. 🙁
    We were staying with my paternal grandparents.. till i was 9yrs old. Subsequently, moved to 3 room quarters at Istana, of course still gotta squeezed into one room with my siblings sleeping on the floor for a couple of yrs before my mom could afford to buy double-decker beds for us.
    And then i volunteered to eat the fish head because there were only 2 fishes for 5 person to eat .. and lied to my mom that i loved fish heads. But we’ve always got clean clothes and shoes on our feet. So nope.. i donch think we were ever tat poor before.. but were we happy..?? Well for sure.. staying in that semi-detached house was miserable.. that’s another story altogether… and staying in the quarters… i was happier.. but still.. not that happy.
    Ok .. i’m blabbering.. lilian.. hahaha!! ok moral of my story… living conditions liked you mentioned should be improved.. and i’ve never been really that poor ever before.. but that doesn’t mean that staying in a huge house.. with a garden was any better or happier. I guess the most important thing is .. to have parents like lilian.. would have made a world of difference.. ??? no..???

  19. Hey there i was born and raised in the rifle range flats from 1981 up to 1993. Even thou there were 7 of us in a cramped up one bedroom flat. Me and my bro had the times of our lives there, we had great friends from all races. I now reside in KL and have not been back for 10 years. I am sad to hear that the situation of the flats has become worse as years passed. I just want to share the true spirit of 1Malaysia that we had back then. Our kids will grow up not learning to mix around and play with other races as we did in the Rifle Range Flats, this place is a memory for many of us…the memory of a great childhood we hold despite the conditions we lived in …i believe that is what true richness is 🙂

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