58-year-old Siti Endon Ismail was working as a Hello Kitty costume entertainer before the pandemic affected her only source of income.
After hearing about the #benderaputih movement, where regular Malaysians help those in need who raise a white flag, Siti raised her white flag in addition to a red flag for the 100 cats that live with her.
Putting shame aside, she had no choice but to voice out her plight in order for her to survive and feed her cats.
Speaking to NST, Siti said, “I cannot afford to be shy. If not for me, at least please help the cats as they need proper food and medication.
“The pandemic and MCO has badly affected my livelihood. I cannot afford to buy proper cat food, take the sick ones to the clinic or go to Teluk Chempedak to entertain people. The beach section is closed to the public.”
Back in 2019, Siti Endon surprised a lot of people when she revealed her identity as the person behind the Hello Kitty costume in Teluk Chempedak, where she would entertain kids and adults.
“I spent years dressing up as Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Snow White and a bear at the beach, and I am not sure if I am able to do another job. Being a costume entertainer is close to my heart and this is what I enjoy doing.”
She added that she had plans to start a lemang business but wasn’t confident enough that it would work for her.
Siti said that her only source of money now comes from the Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council where she gets RM300 a month.
Because of the MCO, Siti spends her days sewing, modifying and taking care of the mascot costumes at home.
When things were beginning to return to normal last year, Siti went on to buy a Proton Saga car for herself so she would not have to wait for the morning bus home.
“It was too tiring to stay back till late morning at the beach, waiting for the first bus at about 6.20am to return home. The car allowed me to bring all the costumes to the beach and return home immediately after work.
“I no longer had to rely on public transport or pay expensive taxi fares when going to meet the veterinarian. Some even refused to allow the cats into their vehicles.
“Everything was going fine until the MCO was reimplemented and derailed all my plans,” she said.
Many kind-hearted Malaysians have helped her survive during the MCO in March last year.
“A lot of people have helped me and some even visited me to hand over their assistance. I was forced to vacate my rented houses twice over the past three years. Some people were not comfortable with the presence of the cats.
“I was in the midst of building a proper area for the cats but the landlord told me to leave. So I moved to Kubang Buaya. But I pity the cats as they are forced to remain indoors. The house is located along a main road with a lot of vehicles passing by,” she said.
If you would like to help Siti, she can be contacted at 017 288 9199.