While some would struggle to survive in school on $5 a day, Mas Yulaini Mazelan has to make do with the amount and use it over two days. Her family was not well-off and the 18-year-old started working part-time three years ago.
“I wanted to earn money for my own expenses and the family’s financial situation was not stable,” said Yulaini, a Green Building Energy Management student. “Asking my parents for money seemed off and starving myself to get my daily necessities with my allowance was not an option either.”
Yulaini is the eldest of five children. Her father works as a Uber driver while her mother is a Customer Service Officer. Besides a brother studying in RP and two other younger siblings in secondary school, Yulaini’s youngest sibling suffers from Down Syndrome. An aunt, who suffers from cancer, lives with the family in their Marsiling home. “I wanted to help my parents with their income. Furthermore, I am the eldest and I needed to be responsible for my siblings,” said Yulaini.
She works five days a week at a retail store at ION Orchard, even though this means a long commute. The store was the only company that returned Yulaini’s call and offered her a job. “I use my pay for my own expenses in school and outside of school. It also serves as my allowance and to pay off for my driving license,” she said.
After ending work at 11pm, Yulaini usually reaches home close to midnight. She would try to sneak in time to revise before she sleeps, but admits that she submits her work late on some occasions.
Yulaini’s hectic schedule juggling full-time studies and part-time work has taken a toll on her body. She added: “My mom thinks I have been neglecting the family for my job and got into a fight with me. Now, I have tried to take a few days off of work to give myself some free time to catch up on my family and also to recover from the long hours of school and work that I juggle daily.”
According to Yulaini, quitting her job is not an option. “Money makes the world spin and my world just might stop spinning if I give up my job,” she said.