Tuesday July 17, 2012
Illiterate brothers forced to live in army installation due to poverty
By SYED AZHAR
BACHOK: For the past one year, a World War II bunker has been home to fisherman Zaini Kassim and his two sickly brothers at Kampung Nipah here.
They previously lived beneath an old wooden house near a Muslim cemetery.
“We moved out of the graveyard home after the houseowner told us to leave,” said Zaini, 43, adding that he earned RM300 a month.
He said that he used the money to meet the needs of his brothers Zami, 42, who suffered from tuberculosis and Zafni, 41, who had a psychiatric problem.
“I make a living from fishing as I do not have a permanent job,” he said, adding that the three of them were illiterate.
“Sometimes, I get offers to help other fishermen at sea. However, such offers do not come often.
“On a good day, I can catch up to 8kg of fish, which I would sell or cook,” he said, adding that his brothers would often help him mend his nets.
After the death of their mother Halimah Othman, the brothers began to search for a new home and a relative, Che Rahim Mohamad, found the bunker for them.
“During the day, we would set up a makeshift tent outside and at night or during rainy days, we would sleep in the bunker.
“The bunker is safe and comfortable but it is prone to flooding.
“We have no choice but to take the risk,” said Zaini.
Che Rahim, 53, said he used to bring food to the brothers when they were living near the graveyard.
“I feel sorry for them as they can neither read nor write and are unable to find employment,” he said, appealing to well-wishers to come forward and help the brothers.