This is the true story of a young couple, Shabbeer and Meharun. They lived with their five little children in a small HDB flat. This happened more than 40 years ago.
Shabbeer and Meharun were very poor. The husband worked 2 jobs. In the day, he worked as a cleaner, sweeping the roads and clearing rubbish bins. At night, he worked in the petrol station as a pump attendant.
Meharun worked 3 jobs. At 6am, she would clean the stairs and corridors HDB flats, from the top floor to the bottom. She would also clear the trash at the ground floor rubbish chutes. Cockroaches would rush out and crawl all over her arms and body. Nothing could get rid of the smell.
In the afternoon, she would return home to cook and to care for her old mother-in-law. She would teach her 5-year-old daughter how to cook nasi lemak, do housework, and care for her little brothers. Meharun herself barely had time to eat.
Then, she would continue working, cleaning the homes of other families – up to 8 homes every day, until late into the evening. At night, when everyone was asleep, she would start her overnight shift as a factory worker.
The couple worked very very hard. But they earned so little, they couldn’t afford their children’s text books and school fees. They don’t have enough to eat, and never had enough sleep.
But they were very, very kind. When their own siblings needed help, they offered food and shelter. At one time, more than 30 people were living in the same little flat.
Despite their kindness, life was cruel. Shabbeer’s mother was against their marriage, because she wanted him to marry another woman. Whenever Shabbeer was away at work, she would vent her anger on Meharun and her little children.
It was horrible.Read More