I work for at a beverage factory in PJ as a forklift driver and have been in Malaysia for almost ten years now. Like many of my brothers back home, we came to Malaysia to work because of the good pay there.
Back in the days, we were able to get 40 Nepal rupees for RM 1, and we were able to earn almost four times as much compared to back home where I worked as a primary school teacher. However, the Ringgit has fallen sharply and I am now getting only 24 rupees to a ringgit.
Life in Malaysia is rather comfortable as our boss treats us well and we are able to earn more money than back home. The hardest thing is actually the loneliness from missing our families. However, with our smartphone these days, we can easily call home and I call back home almost every day to talk for a few minutes.
Like many of us from the same village here, although we are brothers from different mothers, we take care of each other like our own. I had this arrangement where we take turns sending money back home. What we do is that one of us will send our entire salary for the month back home every other month while the other will pay for all living expenses for the month.
I like to share a story about one of my brothers whom almost died in Malaysia. It happened about two months back when he injured by back during work and went to see a doctor for the problem. The doctor gave him an injection for the pain and sent me home to rest. He felt unwell for the next few days but did not think it was anything serious as he thought that it would get better after a few days. He went back to the same doctor to look at my problem and was given some painkillers and sent home.
After getting home, he still did not get better and could not eat or drink anything as he felt nauseated most of the time. This went on for more than a week and he got weaker each day. We eventually brought him to my company’s panel doctor and the doctor told my brothers that his condition was very serious and had to be sent to the hospital immediately.
At the hospital, he was admitted to the ICU and the doctor said that he was near the brink of death as he had not eaten much for almost two weeks at that time. Turned out, the initial injection he was given as well as the painkillers can cause gastric problems but he was not given the proper advice by the first doctor. As a result, his gastritis got so bad that he was unable to eat and this eventually led to the rapid decline in health. Any longer and he would be dead as his body was shutting down already.
He spent more than two weeks in the ICU as his body battled some very serious infection. Throughout all these, we had been there with me taking care of him.
As foreign workers here, we do not get to enjoy discounts citizens get and the medical bill came up to quite a significant amount, RM 23,000, but luckily we have saved up enough money to take care of that and the company helped pay half of the amount. Although the bill is many months our combined wages, all I could see in my brothers’ eyes were the joy to know that he can be cured.
There are definitely some pains to see our hard earned money used to solve a problem that should not have occurred in the first place. However, at the end of the day, we are always here for each other and that is all that matters.
For now, all we can do is to continue to work hard and make a living here in Malaysia. I hope to save up enough money to open a school back in Nepal and return home to make a better living for my family.