Penang floods: Cleaning up is the least of this single mother’s woes

 |Nov 8, 2017


Che Ba’i Kecik at her home in Padang Suria, Kampung Melayu, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: The Saturday floods might have subsided in Penang but for single mother Che Ba’i Kecik, it is just the start of the adversities in her life.

Having suffered a lung infection during the floods, Che Ba’i still has to brave her condition to clean up her home in Padang Suria, Kampung Melayu.

When Malaysia Outlook visited her today, Che Ba’i was still hard at work cleaning up her home.

Going against her doctor’s advice to be warded at the Penang Hospital due to the severity of her condition, Che Ba’i asked to be discharged so she could clean up the mess the floods left behind.

“I have lost everything.. even my dentures in the floods.

“If I allow myself to be hospitalised, who is going to clean up my place?” asked Che Ba’i.

Che Ba’i who also suffers from heart problem, diabetes and high blood pressure lost all her medication in the floods.

Her only son who stays with her, Mohd Ridzwan Shariff, 30, suffered severe haemorrhage during the floods and had to be rushed to the hospital.

“He was lodging a police report on the (flood) situation when a friend noticed he was bleeding from the back. There was a lot of blood.

“Doctors suspected it was due to stress and also having carried too many heavy furniture during the floods,” she said.

Mohd Ridzwan said he and his mother were lucky as friends from his traveling group called Couchsurfing Penang came to help them clean up.

The group is made up of many locals and foreign nationals who are avid travelers from all over the world.

He recalled how fast the water levels rose on Saturday and he actually clung on to dear life from a traffic light near his home.

“I was out running some errands and before I could reach home to check on my mother, the water had already reached chest level.

“I was told to climb up a flyover to safety,” he said.

His mother who makes and sells kuih for a living, lost all equipment and ingredients and is now only depending on temporary aid.

“I don’t even want to start to think how I’m going to go on after this.

“I’ve never experienced something like this in my forty years of living here. Even the September floods cannot come close to this one. I just really recovered from the previous one and now everything is gone,” she added.

As if the floods were not bad enough, Che Ba’i’s daughter is also warded for dengue.

“It’s triple whammy for us,” she said.

Despite their predicament, Che Ba’i and Mohd Ridzwan are still thankful for the help and aid they have been receiving.

“Help has been coming in but after this, starting over will be hard for us.

“We have been receiving a lot of rice and cooking oil from generous people but how can we cook as even our stove was washed away,” she said.

She expressed gratitude for all the aid she received such as innerwear, clothing items, mineral and prepared food.

“We’re still thankful anyway but I really hope this is the last time and the state government will think twice about approving projects that can cause floods.

“We live in this kind of condition but they (those living in big and luxury homes) can sleep soundly even if Penang drowns.

“They came to help but just for a while. After this we’re on our own,” she said. – MO