82yo M’sian Woman Finds Joy In Selling Kuih For 21 Years Despite Earning RM10 Daily

What an Iron Lady.
At the age of 82, Som Jamilah Lateh, an elderly resident of Kampung Batu Lima, Sik, Kedah continues to demonstrate remarkable resilience and dedication.

Every day, she can be seen pushing her tricycle to sell her homemade kuih (cakes/cookies), a testament to her enduring spirit and love for her craft.

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Has been selling kuih since 2003

Som jamilah - kuih vendor
Photo via NST

Som Jamilah who has been selling kuih since 2003, affectionately known as Kak Milah, begins her day at the crack of dawn. Rising as early as 5 AM, she prepares the ingredients needed for her kuih, such as squeezing coconut milk and cooking glutinous rice, reported Berita Harian.

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After performing her dawn prayers and reading the Quran, she returns to the kitchen at 7 AM to continue her work.

“After waking up, I prepare the ingredients for making the kuih first, such as squeezing coconut milk and cooking glutinous rice. Then I perform the dawn prayers and read the Quran before continuing with the kitchen work at 7 AM.

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“I have been selling kuih for a long time, but as I get older, the quantity of cakes I make has decreased to only 40 pieces for each tepung talam and pulut sekaya.

I sell each piece for RM1, and Alhamdulillah, the cakes usually sell out in less than an hour,” she added. 

She is both a mother and a father to her 7 children

Som Jamilah sells her delicious creations for just RM1 per piece, and she sets up her stall in front of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Batu Lima.

Holding an umbrella to shield herself from the sun, she patiently waits for customers to arrive from 2:30 PM onwards, hoping that her homemade treats will bring joy to those who buy them.

Her journey has not been easy. After losing her husband, Ishak Jaafar, in 1977, she found herself solely responsible for raising their seven children.

To make ends meet, she began working at a rubber factory in Jeniang, cycling there alone as early as 5 AM. She dedicated 15 years to the factory before transitioning to a role as a kitchen assistant.

She’s happy, despite the RM10 profit

Kuih talam and others
For illustration purposes only. Photo via Canva

Today, making and selling kuih is a way for her to fill her time meaningfully. Despite the modest daily profit of around RM10, Som Jamilah finds satisfaction in her work.

“After my husband’s death, I had to ride a bicycle alone as early as 5 AM to work at a rubber factory in Jeniang. I worked at the factory for 15 years before becoming a kitchen assistant. Now, I only make kuih to pass the time, earning around RM10 daily.”

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Additionally, she receives a pension from the Social Security Organisation (PERKESO) amounting to RM229 a month, following the death of one of her children.

With 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, Som Jamilah is a cherished member of her community. She takes Fridays off to focus on her worship, showing a balanced life of work and faith.

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