Wednesday, Aug 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 12 October 2012 00:00

Poor but Determined to Pursue their Studies

Written by  By Loh Siew Chien, Melaka/ Translated by Ng Say Fen

Tzu Chi provided care and assistance to Rajamanickam and children since 2007. The volunteers and the family are like family now.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】

Linges and his sister, Lalithambiai believe that only through education can they change the way they live. Despite living in a tough environment and having to do housework, they obtained good results and were awarded Tzu Chi's scholarship, thus fulfilling their late mother's wish.


A bowl of ice mixed with red beans, green jelly, corn and coconut milk, will turn out to be a bowl of delicious cendol, one of the most popular desserts in Malaysia.

Forty-nine-year old Rajamanickam has been in the cendol business for almost 20 years. To make cendol, he needs to cook the pandan juice and flour for about one hour, without adding any preservatives. After that, the mixture is put into a machine where it will be turned into the long and round-shaped cendol.

Rajamanickam can make 50-60kg of cendol daily for sale in the market. Sometimes, he will receive special orders from his customers and this helps to increase his income.

Rajamanickam's eldest daughter, Lalithambiai, is pursuing her studies at the University of Malaya and will only be home once a month; while his second son, Arunkumar, has walking difficulties and needs to sit on a wheelchair. His youngest son, Linges, helps his father to make cendol once he is back from school as he is aware that it is the family's only source of income.

As a Form Six student, 18-year old Linges is busy with his studies but he is still able to find time to participate in the school's curriculum activities, like uniformed group, competitions and sports.

Linges also does not attend any tuition class. He said, "It is more important to pay full attention when the teacher is teaching and make revisions at home."

"I told my dad that there is no need to send me to tuition class to save his money."

Living in poor conditions, but still able to contribute to help others

The house that they are currently staying in is rented and it only has a small living room.

Originally from India, Rajamanickam came to Malaysia 21 years ago and started his family here. As he is still waiting for his citizenship application to be approved, he is unable to get a proper job and had no choice but make cendol at home. His sister-in-law helps him to sell the cendol at the market at RM2 per kg. Due to his low income, he needs to share the house rental with his sister-in-law.

His wife, Susila, passed away in 2010, due to a combination of high blood pressure, diabetes and other woman-related diseases. In 2007, Tzu Chi started to provide care and assistance to this family, as well as, transportation fees for his second son to study in a special school.

Despite their poverty, the parents have never neglected their children's education. The annual study grant from Tzu Chi helps the children with their school expenditures.

Rajamanickam also helps Tzu Chi in environmental protection by collecting bottles and cans for recycling. His children are also saving their pocket money in the bamboo piggy bank for donation to Tzu Chi.

Education, the only way to change life

Tzu Chi has set up a scholarship award this year to assist students in poor families. Linges and Lalithambiai were recommended to receive this scholarship due to their good academic performance.

Besides Tzu Chi's scholarship, Lalithambiai also received study loans from the government. When she learned about Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth in her university, she decided to join them.

"I hope to do work related to education after I graduate, and to contribute back to society." Lalithambiai is grateful that the teachers and Tzu Chi volunteers have all given her great support. She aims to study hard and help others in future.

Even though her study journey is challenging, she never gives up.

"My mother had always encouraged me to study even at the time when she was sick. She had hoped for me to obtain a degree from university as no one in her family had achieved that before. My mother did not have the opportunity to study when she was young."

Lalithambiai did not attend school for two weeks to take care of her mother when the latter was in a critical condition. She said, "I was very sad at that time but did not want to disappoint my parents." Hence, she studied hard and received an offer to pursue her higher education at the University of Malaya. Sadly, her mother could not attend her graduation ceremony.

Lalithambiai said, "Whenever I feel tired, I would recall the advice given by my mother and that motivates me a lot." She also reminded her brother to study hard and to fulfill their mother's wish.

Linges said, "Before this, I don't like to study and my PMR results were not good." He actually obtained 4B3C in his PMR examinations.

After the demise of his mother, he studied hard and his results improved tremendously since then. He managed to obtain 6A2B1C in SPM.

When asked how he managed to achieve such good results living in a tough environment, he replied that he has adapted to his challenging living environment. He also said that he would think of ways to improve the conditions at home."

Tzu Chi volunteers also sponsored him a laptop to enable him to complete his homework easily.

Linges said, "I do not wish to be rich as I prefer a simple life. I want to become an officer in the Immigration Department in order to understand the difficulty faced by my father in his citizenship application; and moreover, I dislike having to sit in an office all the time."



Tan Kim Luan, a Tzu Chi volunteer in charge of this family under Tzu Chi's Care Programme, praised the two children for their fortitude in facing their tough living environment.

She added, "Nowadays, the youths like to go shopping and spend their time outside, but Linges and Lalithambiai always stay at home to help their father." She hopes that other children can learn from them.

 

Linges and Lalithambiai study hard by themselves to get good results, without attending tuition class.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】 When Lalithambiai comes home, she will help his father to do housework.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】

Linges and Lalithambiai study hard by themselves to get good results, without attending tuition class.【Photograph by Lee Chin Seong】

When Lalithambiai comes home, she will help his father to do housework.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】
The children save their pocket money in bamboo piggy bank and donate them to Tzu Chi.【Photograph by Hong Geok Hui】 Linges helps to take care of his brother, who has difficulty walking.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】

The children save their pocket money in bamboo piggy bank and donate them to Tzu Chi.【Photograph by Hong Geok Hui】

Linges helps to take care of his brother, who has difficulty walking.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】
Making and selling cendol is the main source of income for Linges' family.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】

Making and selling cendol is the main source of income for Linges' family.【Photograph by Loh Siew Chien】

 

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