You know the saying that goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”? While some choose to give up during bad times, like this year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, others took it all in stride. For instance, small business owners selling various types of food and drinks during the CMCO, each with their own story to tell. Here are some of them that made headlines which you might have missed:
- Man without arms sells ‘nasi lemak’ with no worries
Muhammad Nor Abdullah, 28, was born without arms. Yet, he still wears a huge smile on his face as he sets out daily to sell Malaysia’s favourite breakfast – nasi lemak. His simple stall can be found near the 7-Eleven store in the same area as the Cheras LRT station.
“Due to my physical condition, it’s not easy for me to get a conventional job, therefore I’m really grateful to have a business like this. I was also shocked when my friend told me that news of my nasi lemak business had gone viral.” said Nor in an interview with FMT.
That friend is Tengku Mahatir Tengku Mamat, who helped promote Nor’s nasi lemak business on Facebook live. Nor runs his business by buying packets of nasi lemak at RM1 from a friend, and resells them at RM1.50, earning him a profit of 50sen per packet. Nor named his stall Nasi Lemak Bujang, and started operating in July this year. Since he wasn’t working, he wanted to give this a try. His business started out slow, but over time, there was an increase in customers which gave him the encouragement to continue.
Now thanks to the power of social media, Nor has been receiving huge orders from eager customers!
Read more about him here:
- Unique RM2 ‘putu mayam’ sold by Ipoh man with arm injuries
‘Ravi Putumayam Ipoh’ is a business, selling ‘putu mayam’, run by 24-year-old R. Navin Kumar and his father L.Ravi. Ravi first started his business by sourcing ‘putu mayam’ from an external supplier, this was before Navin tried his hand at making these stringhoppers from scratch. Navin also started adding unique flavours after being inspired by a variety of cakes. Realising flavoured ‘putu mayam’ can be popular with the public, he expanded his menu with bolder flavours. Currently, the flavours on his menu are yam, mango, pandan, mocha, cappuccino, and orange, among others – all priced at RM2 a piece.
Navin currently makes up to 300 ‘putu mayams’ a day by hand, which usually takes him around 4 to 5 hours. Doing this manually is painful, as he sustained an injury on his hand from a motorcycle accident three years ago. He’s looking to obtain a machine worth RM20,000 that will relieve him by automating the process. This would also free up some time of his to allow improvements on recipes and invention of new flavours.
Read more about him here:
- Engineering graduate sells RM1 Masala tea
Kavievanan Subramaniam, 23, had graduated in February this year and had dreams to work as a mechanical engineer. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores, it changed everything. Kavievanan had found that many companies were retrenching staff during the MCO, and that it would be a challenge to secure a job. So in May, he decided to start a business selling masala tea on a bicycle around Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur. He can be seen riding his bicycle, equipped with a large stainless steel container loaded with hot Indian spiced tea. What’s in the cup of hot chai are cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, pepper, cardamom, evaporated and condensed milk – all at a price of RM1 per cup.
According to Kavievanan, the tea is usually sold late afternoon onwards, as that happens to be the time people enjoy drinking tea. Kavievanan sells up to 100 cups of masala tea a day, and business has been encouraging. Now, he’s joined by his friend Arvind Ratna Kumar who is also an unemployed graduate. While Kavievanan is stationed in Brickfields, Arvind cycles around Lembah Ampang and Masjid India to sell the popular chai. With this, both Kavievanan and Arvind look forward to the new year as they plan to expand this business – known as ‘Tea Thambi’ – beyond the Klang valley.
Read more about them here:
The stories of these small business owners give us a glimpse into one’s resilience when adapting to life’s challenges, don’t you think? Hopefully they inspire you to keep moving on, weathering whatever storms that may come your way. Who knows? Maybe you can start a business or change someone’s life too, just like they did.