In Ipoh, Perak, a 63-year-old retired teacher, Chung Sook Khuan, could potentially be chased out of her own home due to her chronic hoarding habit.
For over 10 years, she has been collecting garbage in the form of leftover food, trash bags, cardboard and other waste and storing it at her home. The situation has gotten so dire that the garbage has begun to spill onto the roads as well as harbour a foul stench.
Understandably, her behaviour has turned a few heads and many neighbours have advised her to stop.
Agnes Kam attempted to bring the woman to her senses but failed. While she used to advise her politely before, now she has resorted to scolding the woman and showing her true frustrations towards the woman’s unhealthy disorder. Her main concern is definitely the propensity for cockroaches, snakes, mosquitos to breed in the dirty environment.
Agnes even mentioned that she can no longer open her windows due to the odour and that rodents have started entering her home. She even fell sick alongside her sister and it was suspected to be because of the Aedes mosquitos that have been breeding next door.
Mohd Hanifah Pareeth, another neighbour, has filed a report against the retired teacher. During an encounter with her, he told her to stop collecting rubbish but she replied by saying she planned on “selling” the trash she was picking up.
After NST’s report on the woman’s odd behaviour which has also led her three children astray, the Perak government has decided to help the woman and provide counselling. During a visit to Sook Khuan’s residence, according to State Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Datuk Dr Wan Norashikin Wan Noordin,
“The unwanted items she has been bringing home have turned into a pile of garbage of about 1.5 metres high in her house compound, a condition which has become a concern for the neighbours, not only for her health, but also of nearby residents.”
This immediate attention on Sook Khuan is spurred by the Ipoh council’s threat for legal action against the teacher due to her dangerous habit. Ipoh’s mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin stated that,
“We have received about 10 complaints on the issue since 2017. The individual is a bit problematic. We’ve also issued six disturbance notices and a compound but she still defies us.”
Since hoarding is often linked to a mental disorder, Sook Khuan is encouraged to seek medical examination. If the situation persists, she could potentially face legal repercussions as well as lose her home and be sent to a nursing home.
Hoarding causes a diminished quality of living due to the unsanitary nature of the habit. Living amidst garbage within a confined space is not safe for anyone and we hope Sook Khuan gets the medical attention and help she needs.
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