PETALING JAYA: Shunned by religious authorities and with little help from the welfare department, a widowed mother of three boys is now relying on her musical talents to make ends meet.
Nurzuraina Mohd Razib, 36, was refused help by an agency of the Johor Islamic Religious Council and has received a small amount of aid from the Johor Social Welfare Department (JKM) in Kulai.
She said JKM rejected her application for more aid and the reason given was that the house she was renting did not reflect a desperate state.
“I explained to JKM that the owner of the house had been sympathetic to my plight and agreed to rent the house to me for half the normal rate,” she said. “Also, the things we had in our possession were what my husband bought when he was still alive.”
When her husband, Nazrul Azhar, died last year, he and Nurzuraini had already separated after a 10-year marriage. Apart from the things in her house, he left her nothing.
“I have been active in the arts since I was nine,” she said. “Later, I used to work as an organiser for traditional Malay dances and also with the theatre in what was once known as Seni Budaya Melaka.
“When I got married, however, I quit my job. I stopped everything and focused on taking care of my sons.”
Nurzuraina said she was still trying to adapt to her role as a single mother to her three sons, aged seven, six and two.
Her first priority was to be gainfully employed, but she soon realised that with her SPM qualification she could not find a job that would pay enough to support a family of four.
“My first job was at a factory, earning RM1,100 a month,” she said. “But with our daily expenses, the daycare for the boys and the rent coming to more than I was earning, I decided to quit and look for another way to support my boys.
“That was how I came to be in music on a full-time basis. I didn’t know what else to do. I just needed money that would be enough to tide me over till the next day.”
She performs with a band at wedding ceremonies, festive events and the like.
When FMT met with her, she was staying at the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) headquarters in Brickfields.
“I was touring with a band and my car’s drive shaft broke,” she said. “So now I’m stranded in Kuala Lumpur. I’m trying to get back to see my kids in Johor Baru, but here I am.”
Her children stay with a babysitter when she has to go on the road.
When asked about her long-term plans, Nurzuraina said that she would like to move out of JB and live at a close friend’s neighbourhood in Kajang.
“My friends told me that the cost of living in KL is high but that in some places in Selangor it’s still alright.
“The friend who lives in Kajang is like a sister to me. She’s offered to take care of the children and she lives very close to a primary school, which my eldest boy will have to start going to soon. I’ve also heard that the rental in her area is still quite cheap.”
Nurzuraina has little idea how her future is going to pan out, but she knows what she needs to do now for her sons and she is happy doing what she loves, singing with a band whenever and wherever she can get a gig. -FMT