Monday, June 24, 2024
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Brunei Town

‘I have to work to survive’

Lyna Mohamad

A lively atmosphere enveloped the capital as the Bandarku Ceria (BKC) programme resumed on Sunday.

However, a part of Bandar Seri Begawan told a different story.

Among those taking part in the weekend activity was a senior citizen making her way towards the Royal Regalia Museum with a cart of ingredients and materials for ayeng asah-asahan (scented water).

Pengiran Masuwang binti Pengiran Haji Taha sells the scented water at the Muslim cemetery in Kampong Kianggeh to make ends meet.

That morning, she wanted to get food from the BKC stalls.

She had initially gone to the old location and was disappointed to find that it was empty. With little choice, she headed to the Royal Regalia Museum, where the BKC stalls have been relocated.

Pengiran Masuwang binti Pengiran Haji Taha pushes her cart containing several items for sale in Bandar Seri Begawan. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

According to Pengiran Masuwang, she takes the water taxi everyday to commute from her house in Kampong Burung Pingai Ayer to the cemetery ground, bringing along a cart of items.

Usually, there would be people to help her carry the items from and onto the boat.

Before, she would leave her cart at a spot when she had to fetch some food. However, her items got stolen once and she did not want to repeat the same mistake again.

The money from selling the scented water heavily depends on the season.

She makes more during Ramadhan and Syawal, when people tend to flock to the cemetery, and barely have enough for basic needs outside of them.

Pengiran Masuwang, who lives alone, finds her old age pension insufficient to live on. So she supplements with the sale of scented water.

“I have to go out and work regardless of my health and physical issues because I need to live. I do not want to burden my child who has his own family to care for,” she told the Bulletin.

“I have never applied for any assistance from the authorities because I do not know how to go about doing so and I don’t like to bother people,” she added.

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