Expats in Penang crowdfund to help street food vendor hit by drunk driver

Published:  25 May at 6 PM
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Local people and expats living in the Malaysian region of Penang rallied round to support a street food vendor whose livelihood had been wrecked by a drunk driver.

Georgetown roadside food vendor Ms Ooi is one of the city’s most popular vendors for her delicious Char Koay Kak made from fried rice cakes, a Penang speciality. Tragically, her livelihood was destroyed when a drunk driver ran into her mobile stall early last Sunday whilst she was pedalling it to her usual site, smashing it into several pieces.

Malaysia-based writer Robyn Eckhardt and a friend were on Aceh Street when the crash occurred, and saw several clearly drunk revellers leave a bar, get into a car and drive away, swerving all over the road with the horn blasting. Some 20 minutes later, the out-of-control car hit Ms Ooi as she was on her way to her roadside pitch.

A Facebook post by Eckhardt described the scene, saying police had arrived and spoken with the driver of the car and later telling Ms Ooi there was ‘no problem’ before leaving her to sort out the mess. Although the Facebook post was later removed, it had sparked the interest of many expats and locals who’d regularly bought from Ms Ooi and were more than happy to help get her back in business.

Immediately Eckhardt posted her fundraising campaign, donations from grateful foodies began to arrive, with many people saying they were regular customers and describing Ms Ooi as one of the city’s hardest working, best food vendors who cooked her dish on the roadside every day of the year. So far, around 2,000 Malaysian ringit – about £350 – has been received, with donors waiting to hear the exact cost of repairs to the food cart.

Eckhardt is thrilled at the response to her appeal and posted her thanks online, saying ‘ What happened to Ms Ooi sucks, but your response has been amazing – thanks so much’.
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