PETALING JAYA: A homeless mother and son who disappeared after they were given accommodation in a hotel room in Jalan Imbi two weeks ago, were found to have returned to “live” at their old haunt – a McDonald’s outlet in Mutiara Damansara.
The pair was found after appeals for information on their whereabouts were posted on Facebook by Justin Cheah, the project director of the Kechara Soup Kitchen Society (Kechara).
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Cheah said the 61-year-old woman, identified only as Mah, and her 23-year-old son, Wong, left the hotel quietly because they found the room uncomfortable and the area of Imbi, boring.
Cheah said the two went back to wandering the streets of Kepong and Mutiara Damansara, taking the bus to and fro and sleeping in restaurants at night.
This time however, after days of searching for them, Cheah decided to use a different approach before offering his help once again.
“Perhaps they did not trust me fully when I first approached them and placed them in the hotel, or maybe they were not comfortable with the attention I gave them.
“So, instead of approaching them this time, I hid and observed their interactions with each other. I only spoke with them the next day,” Cheah told Malaysiakini, saying he found them at a KFC outlet this time.
Approaching Wong when his mother left the table, Cheah said, “I reintroduced myself in a cheerful manner, and asked how he was doing.”
Later when Mah joined them, Cheah was able to ask them where they preferred to stay. When asked if Kepong was preferable, Wong immediately nodded, and Mah eventually agreed.
“After I checked them into a hotel room, I jokingly told Mah, ‘Don’t run away again, if not, I will be very sad’. Hearing this, Mah giggled,” Cheah told Malaysiakini.
The pair now live in an apartment room nearby. Cheah has also opened a bank account for them and arranged a mobile phone for Wong.
“Maybe, later, I will recommend to the mother to let Wong take up coding classes. He seems to be very good with numbers, he memorised my phone number after I told him just two times,” he said.
According to the news portal, Cheah has been with Kechara for 11 years and heads the soup kitchen division.
Speaking about the homeless in general, he said most people tended to have the perception that they were beggars, when this was far from the case.
“These are perfectly able people who have faced a lot in life. Some come from broken families, some are orphans,” Cheah said.
Donations to help support Mah and Wong can be made to the Kechara Soup Kitchen at Maybank a/c: 512231-334874.