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By Wilfred Pilo
INCULCATING the spirit of `mencari rezeki’ (making a living), Azizah Abdullah, the industrious mother of three boys, used her 10 feet by 6 feet makeshift food stall along Jalan Stapok, Kuching, to earn extra income for her family.
Under a zinc metal roof, customers would patiently queue to buy her offerings of savoury food — Ayam Goreng Crispy, Nasi Lemak Pandan, Banana Cheese, Pisang Goreng, Keropok Lekor and Sutong Goreng.
For drinks, customers’ favourites are Creamy Ice Tea, Sweet Corn Syrup and fresh coconut.
Helping Azizah is her eldest son, Mohammad Saiful, 29, who, like her mother, wants to be in the food business and to have his own eatery one day.
While his mother was busy serving customers and cooking, he took a breather to talk to DayakDaily.
“We have been in this location for almost three years now, and operating from 10am to 6pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays. We are off on Sundays and Mondays to get our provisions for the next business day.”
Mohammad, who helps his mother almost daily, said most of their customers are regulars. Some of them lived in the vicinity, while others are motorists plying the busy road in front of the stall.
“Some will sit and enjoy the snacks and our cold drinks, while others usually stop by, buy and go. Our best sellers are crispy deep-fried chicken, nasi lemak pandan and banana fritters.”
Mohammad said he helps his mother and father at the food stall as they all believe in making an honest living.
“My mother is the one that really runs and manage the business, while my father and I look for provisions for the business. Once we are free, we help out at the stall.”
Mohammad revealed that his mother used to operate a food stall at Uni-Garden in Kota Samarahan before the family moved to Jalan Stapok Housing Estate, and later decided to do business by the roadside.
“This place is just temporary. My mother and I hope to raise more capital to open a proper eatery.”
Mohammad believed that to be independent and successful, a person must find his or her own way. Along the way, there will definitely be risks and obstacles.
“If you don’t try to do something, how do you know what comes next? In our business, we have to be careful as people consume what we cook. Touch wood that nothing ever happens.”
Mohammad said he hoped his mother would have her own cafe one day, and likewise for himself, too.
“I have cooking skills and learn how to make good local dishes and local cakes, but of course my mother is much better. We are always learning, and not only that, but we also do caterings or get specific orders from customers, like curry dishes and local cakes.”
Mohammad said he is ever ready to face challenges in the food industry.
“Everything has to start somewhere, and I have to start somewhere, too. I don’t like quitters, and I like to see physical cash in hand. How you do it, well, you must use what you know to get what you want.”
Mohammad said he is not much into politics, but his only hope is that the government could assist people like them to have a proper place to do their business in a more conducive and strategic place.
“No point having a proper place but no customers and no business. I don’t like to critic, but for the moment, I just want to help my mother and my family to earn a decent living … come rain or sunshine.”
For catering service, Mohammad can be reached at 0111-5837207. — DayakDaily