[PHOTOS] This 80-Year-Old Penangite Suffering With Elephantiasis Has A Heart Of Gold
This is Lim Kim Sung. Aged 80, he is suffering from lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) on his left leg and arthritis on both legs.
Lim, fondly known as Uncle Ah San, lost his ability to stand and walk back in the year 2011. He has no children and his wife passed away on 22 December 2012.
Since then, Lim's daily routine consists of him taking two half-boiled eggs for breakfast before hopping onto his wheelchair and slowly making his way to the Penang Hospital, reports The Star Online.
He crosses the busy Jalan Air Itam-Jalan Datuk Keramat junction from his rented house in Jalan Gopeng and travel about 600m to the hospital for daily dressing
Lim's been staying in Jalan Gopeng since his late mother rented the house in 1950s, and he has been renting at the same house since
“The rent used to be RM16.75 back in the 1950s, now it’s RM220 per month,” Lim explained in a mix of Malay and Hokkien dialect, interpreted by a visitor who wished to be known as Melanie.
He said he goes to the Penang General Hospital every day on his own on a wheelchair for his dressing. He said the hospital director had suggested that he should move to a nearby old folks’ home but he refused.
“It’s much more convenient for me to stay at my own place. I can cook and eat whatever and whenever I want,” he laughed.
He said he used to have an electric wheelchair, a gift from a kind donor. He said the donor helped to build a ramp in front of his house. When the ramp proved to be too steep for use, the man built a second ramp next to the first one.
However, three years ago, while on the way to the hospital for his dressing, a motorcycle rider accidentally hit his wheelchair. It turned out the rider had a heart attack and died on the spot, while Lim fell and hit his head on the road.
His electric wheelchair was damaged in the incident and he was forced to use crutches to get around until six months ago when another donor gave him his current wheelchair.
Once a vegetable seller and a coffee shop helper, Lim now survives on his monthly RM300 aid from the Welfare Department. According to The Star, uncle Ah San also collects and sells recyclable materials to make ends meet and pay his house monthly rental of RM220.
“My nephew would sometimes send recyclable items to my house, and I would keep it for a month before calling the recycling centres to come and collect them. I can get more than RM100 a month from selling the items.”thestar.com.my
Asked if the income and welfare aid are sufficient for his monthly expenses, Lim said occasional donations that he received from kind visitors and family friends helped him to pay for his expenses.themalaysianinsider.com
Uncle Ah San may be struggling with life, making ends meet while suffering from elephantiasis, but the octogenarian has a heart of gold. He shares the little he has to help the less fortunate. He has extended his hospitality to a Vietnamese cleaner who works at the general hospital and lets her stay at his house on the upper floor.
“I asked her to stay for free,” he said, adding that sometimes the cleaner would help push him back home on his wheelchair after his visit to the hospital.
Lim also said his neighbours were kind to him, adding that they would drop by his house for a chat and even cook for him at times.
His kind deeds include handing over some of his meagre savings to a charity organisation for the visually impaired and buying food for underprivileged orphans.
"Sometimes, it’s good to give back. As long as I am able to help the poor, I will."
"In this life, if we can have some food to eat, and be healthy, there is already so much reason to be happy and grateful," he said.
Lim's condition was brought to public attention by his ex-neighbour Shirin Aziha, who recently teamed up with social activist Syed Azmi to urge Malaysians on social media to help make his life easier.
Shirin, 27, said one of Syed Azmi’s postings about helping an elderly man being mistreated by his own family triggered her to seek help for Lim.
“I asked for his (Syed Azmi’s) help to use his platform to share the story of Uncle (Lim),” Shirin told The Malaysian Insider during a visit to Lim’s house on Sunday.
Shirin, who moved to Kuala Lumpur five years ago, said she got to know Lim when she was about 10 years old while growing up in Kampung Shaik Eusoff at Jalan Dato Keramat.
“I lived two minutes away from his house. I used to pass by his house every day when I walked to school,” she said, adding that she would help him walk across the road and this was how the two became close friends.
In this FB post, dated 12 June, Azmi together with Shirin asked people to donate to their crowdfunding mission to raise RM8,000.
They said the money will be used to buy items like a remote-controlled electric bed, a commode chair, groceries, medications for the dressing of his wound, along with it they would also hire a part-time maid and a private nurse for his daily wound dressing.
The Facebook post quickly went viral. As of writing this story, the post has 3,148 Likes and has received over 3,200 shares. It even caught the attention of social activist Marina Mahathir, and she too has shared it.
Speaking to The Star, Shirin said that, "Those who donated were not just Malaysians, but from around the world. Within 24 hours, RM8,000 had poured in. I had this need to help him, especially after his wife passed away. He is now alone. I used to give him money whenever I visit him but I want to do more.
"The funds will also be used to pay for a hired private nurse who will change his dressing daily, prepare meals for him, and assist with some chores," she added.
On 15 June, Penang Hospital Visitors Board chairman Lim Thoon Deong visited uncle Ah San at his place. He said he would help him apply for assistance from the Penang MCA Medical Aid Fund.
Meanwhile, uncle Ah San's eyes lit up when Shirin's name was brought up by The Star. He remembers her well. "She has been helping me since she was a little girl. I am very grateful for all the help she has given me," he said. "She is like a daughter I never had."
Those who wish to further help Uncle Ah San can call Thoon Deong at 016-4532086, and can reach Shirin at [email protected]