A staunch defender of Orang Asli rights fades in health
Published: 22 May 2015
For those who know Pakcik Arom, you should know that he is in a very bad state now, healthwise. First diagnosed, wrongly, to be suffering from TB at the end of last year, he is now confirmed to be in the advanced stages of lung cancer.
He was first admitted the Gua Musang hospital in Kelantan, then was sent to the Kuala Krai hospital for a scan in early January but this did not materialize as the hospital equipment was damaged due to the floods. All this time he was taking medication for TB.
Only when he was sent to Gombak Orang Asli Hospital was he confirmed to be suffering from cancer. But by then, the cancer was too advanced. He returned to his home village in Kampung Pahong, Pos Bihai (Gua Musang, Kelantan) where he is cared for by family members.
During our visit on Wednesday (20 May 2015) he looked very frail and was not eating, only taking sips of water occasionally. It was a very sad sight for all. Our prayers go out to him.
Some of the participants of the JOAS workshop on the MTCC visiting Pakcik Arom in Gombak Hospital on 14 April 2015.
He returned to his home village of Kampung Pahong at the end of April.
The 36km journey to Kampung Pahong takes about 2 hours if the road conditions are good. We were fortunate with good weather that day as the previous days have been raining heavily in the afternoon.
Pakcik Arom had requested for a shelter to be built outside his house where it would be cooler.
He is surrounded by his family at all times. 12 children, 8 surviving, and their spouses and children.
His sons massaging him to relieve him of his pain and discomfort.
The daughters and his wife also take turns to attend to him, constantly. (At left is Nikke, from JOAS.)
Yein playing a voice message from Jannie Lasimbang of JOAS for Pakcik Arom to hear.
His daughter Eda reads out one of the messages send by whatsapp from JOAS members.
His grandchildren are nevertheless oblivious to what is happening to their grandfather. Nor do they realise how much he has done to fight for their rights.