When I got to Azman's mother's house to attend Azman's funeral, his body had already been bathed. They were almost done. Since Azman died at home, the people from the hospital were called to their home to manage his body. 2 officers from the health department were also there.
I pulled Yah aside, I needed to know who was paying for the services. I knew the amount needed was not a small amount. As I had expected, the family did not help out. To them it was Yah's responsibility to pay for the funeral of her husband. I asked Yah if she had any money, she said she just received RM100 from the welfare officers who came to visit. That's not enough. I didn't want to make it obvious to Azman's family that I was passing some money to Yah, so it was a hush hush thing... I gave it to her when the others were not looking.
I told Yah to call me once things were settled down a bit. I needed to know what her future plans were. I couldn't call her as she didn't have a phone, so she would have to call me. She had a handphone when Azman first got his EPF money, but when Azman was hospitalised and Yah needed to charge her handphone, she sought the favour of Azman's sister to help charge the phone for her. Well, the phone remained in the hands of Azman's sister since then!
The next week Yah called me. She told me she'd be "running away" to her parents home in another town during the weekend. Azman's family wouldn't let her move out. They said the children were their strong "waris" so they must remain at their kampong. Funny... how come when it came to the financial needs of these children, they never helped out, yet now they're claiming that these children were theirs. The mother's side of the family had no rights whatsover, so they claimed. They threatened Yah that if Yah took the children elsewhere, they'd lodge a police report against Yah's family. I'm not sure which school of thoughts or which laws they followed! Sigh...
They probably thought Yah was dumb. Oh how wrong they were! This woman went to the police station and lodged her own report about her in-law's threats! And no, I had nothing to do with this. My policy is never to meddle with family matters. If they needed help, I'd help (if I could). If they asked for advice, I'd give one but would still leave the decision up to them. Yah only told me about all these after she had done things herself. She even quietly arranged on her own for the transfer of her children's school. I knew about her "escape" plan only because she told me about it. She was planning to move out in the wee hours of the morning before her in-laws realised it. Moving out during the daytime would be too obvious as her house was right in front of her in-law's house. She told me her plans before hand so that I would not visit her at her old house that weekend. Wow! She had everything well planned. And the only job she ever had was as a cleaner! Not in any planning department! This was one helluva lady I must say!
But because she had to move quietly with her kids, she couldn't take along too many things with her. Just whatever necessary, including her children's schooling needs. Although she had the rights over the house, she was willing to let go for her own peace of mind. All the furnitures, bicycles and other big items had to be left behind.
As soon as she made it safely to her parent's home, she called me again. I took down her new address and phone number.
The next weekend, Yah's father went over to Yah's old house to try get some other things belonging to Yah and her children. Coincidentally, Yah's in-laws chose the same day to look for Yah at her parent's place. So when Yah's father was at her old home, Yah's in-laws were at Yah's parent's home. While Yah's father tried to get whatever that was left at the old house, Yah's mother had a big quarrel with Yah's mother-in-law. Sounds more like a TV drama don't you think? But this one's for real.
Anyway, Yah's father couldn't get anything much from the old house. All the bicycles and furnitures were gone. And Yah's in-laws couldn't bring Yah and the children back with them either. Yah wouldn't budge a bit. Funny isn't it? Her in-laws not only wanted to bring the children with them, they insisted Yah came along because they said Yah belonged to them after she married Azman. Got ah such things??! My guess was they wanted Yah to come along so that Yah would be the one who'd have to pay for all the children's needs. Somehow they treated Yah and the children as their "property" but they were not willing to pay for the "taxes". They wanted to claim their rights but didn't want to carry out their responsibilities.
It has been a few months now. So far no action has been taken by Yah's in-laws. Yah's family may not have any fixed income, but they're so used to living a hard life, it's no big deal to them. They looked like any other happy family every time I visited them. I thought things were going fine.
That was until Yah called me last week. She needed help to withdraw her EPF and asked if she could see me next week when she comes to Ipoh for her blood test. I asked if there was any urgency for her to withdraw her EPF. I know for a fact that getting the medical report from the hospital may take some time. Yah said the landowner did not give them any time-frame but has already asked them to move out.
Landowner? I just found out that the house her family has been staying in all these years was actually built on somebody else's land. They had to pay rental for the land. They had not been paying rental for the past few months. Yah's father no longer works, and he has no pension either. So now the landowner wants them to leave as soon they can get another house.
Oh dear, one problem after another. Which reminds me, I wonder if Yah has got her welfare aid yet... I'd better check on that when I meet her next week.