Blind masseurs face bleak future due to MCO

Diana and Asui.

MIRI: The massage and reflexology business has not been spared from the effects of the movement control order (MCO) since the Covid-19 pandemic wrought havoc to the nation’s economy.

Since the MCO was declared in Malaysia in March last year, it has deeply affected those in the business of touch as they could not operate due to the social distancing norm.

“It’s been a bleak period for us,” said a local masseur Asui Mulin, 39, when met by New Sarawak Tribune today at his rented room in Desa Indah.

Asui and wife Diana Lai, 32, have been operating their massage business at the first floor of a shoplot here since four years ago.

Asui and Diana are both visually impaired, and have hardly earned a living during the period.

Both of them work as blind masseurs, and had zero income due to the social distancing norm under the MCO imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“The MCO ruling forced us to stop taking any client for fear that the Covid-19 virus will spread. We have been struggling to pay for our monthly rental,” Asui lamented.

“During the MCO period, we are not physically able to help clients or to physically work,” Diana interrupted.

They said that most times they could not pay for the rent on time as they have no income since the MCO was enforced.

“Fortunately, the landlord (of the shoplot) is considerate, and he understands our dilemma,” Asui said.

Their rental per month for the room is about RM700.

The couple consider themselves lucky because they receive RM450 monthly assistance from the Welfare Department.

“At least we can use the money to buy some foodstuff,” Diana said.

Both Diana and Asui became blind when they were teenagers — Diana from glaucoma, while Asui due to scarlet fever.