Kidney patient robbed of last $50 in Sembawang
Kidney patient, family go hungry after man snatches bag in late-night attack
All the kidney patient wanted was a drink from the vending machine.
She ended up getting into a fight for her handbag that contained the last $50 she had for the week to feed her two sick sons.
The robber was too strong and made off with her bag after a short but violent struggle.
She was left with a sprained arm and an anxious wait of several days for her salary to come in so she could put food on the table for her family.
Madam Jurina Johari, 42, has been a kidney patient for 25 years.
The part-time assistant pharmacist was on her way home from work when she felt thirsty.
She stopped to buy a drink at a vending machine at Block 512, Wellington Circle in Sembawang at around midnight on April 24. She was retrieving the can when she felt a violent tug.
Speaking to The New Paper last Thursday from her one-room rental flat, the mother of two sons, aged 21 and 22, said: "I was flung around. I managed to only catch a glimpse of the robber."
She said she suspected the robber was a man in his 20s.
Madam Jurina said: "I held on to it (bag) as tightly as I could because the money in my bag was all I had. I didn't want to let it go."
A male passer-by, who was walking home with his mother, also gave chase, but he was too late as well.
Madam Jurina made a police report the next day and wrote to TNP to highlight the incident.
She said: "I was trembling. Everything happened in less than a minute."
Madam Jurina, who is in the process of finalising her divorce from her husband of nearly three years, also lives with her mother, 60, who is diabetic and has heart problems.
Choking back tears, Madam Jurina said: "When I lost the money, I felt like I failed as a mother to put food on the table for my children."
Madam Jurina has been struggling with chronic kidney disease since she was 17 - she had her right kidney removed eight years later.
Her older son, Mr Muhammad Shafiee Junadi, who is waiting to enlist into national service, was diagnosed with mild chronic kidney disease when he was an infant.
He has been a part-time mover after graduating from the Institute of Technical Education two years ago.
Said Madam Jurina: "He gets sick easily, so I was worried that he took on such a labour-intensive job.
"But he assured me the daily pay will allow him to support himself, so I'm just glad."
She added that Mr Shafiee would at times complain of aches and pain near his left kidney, but the family cannot afford to seek treatment at the hospital.
"Medication for the four of us can amount to more than $1,000 a month.
"So we visit the doctor only when one of us is really sick. Otherwise, we just try to bear the pain," said Madam Jurina.
"After I was robbed, Shafiee gave me $50 and told me to buy groceries. So I cooked one dish, reheated it for two to three days before cooking again."
She said the money lasted her till she received her salary on April 28.
Madam Jurina's younger son, Mr Muhammad Shahirul Junadi, was diagnosed with autism when he was one.
He attends the Goodwill, Rehabilitation and Occupational Workshop at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) from 10am to 4pm on weekdays.
The workshop provides vocational training and sheltered employment for adults aged 16 and above with cerebral palsy and other associated disability conditions.
When Madam Jurina called out to Mr Shahirul, he responded with a bright smile before lunging into her arms.
Planting a kiss on Mr Shahirul's forehead, Madam Jurina said: "I couldn't work full-time because there must always be someone to take care of him. So when my mother is sick, I have to take some time off work to help."
The family has also been receiving monthly food rations such as rice, biscuits and tinned food from the Lee Foundation through CPAS.
A Ministry of Social and Family Development spokesman said Madam Jurina's mother, Madam Saminam, was provided with ComCare's cash assistance, as well as support for water and electrical bills, from November 2015 to January 2016.
Representatives from the Sembawang grassroots group told TNP they are looking at how they can provide further assistance to Madam Jurina and her family.
Still traumatised by the incident, Madam Jurina raised her concerns about the groups of men seen drinking and hanging out at her void deck every weekend.
TNP spoke to 10 neighbours, who shared the same concern.
One of them, Madam Sheela Singh, 65, who goes on regular walks around the neighbourhood with her wheelchair-bound husband, said she has seen the group of men get rowdy at times.
"They will sit in groups of seven to eight people and drink. Especially on weekends, they can be quite noisy and usually leave the place in a mess," said the retiree.
Another neighbour, Mr Norjohan Buniran, 43, a security guard, added that the problem has not improved since he moved in six years ago.
He said: "I have daughters, so I'm very worried about their safety. That's why I don't allow my children to play at the void deck."
Madam Jurina said she is now more careful when she walks home at night after work.
"Even the idea of going to the shop at night scares me. I hope this incident will be a lesson to not only myself, but other residents as well to be more vigilant," she added.
A police spokesman said investigations are ongoing.
"Medication for the four of us can amount to more than $1,000 a month. So we only visit the doctor when one of us is really sick. Otherwise, we just try to bear the pain."
"When I lost the money, I felt like I failed as a mother to put food on the table for my children."
- Madam Jurina Johari