Voon `drives’ everyone bananas every day, literally

Voon shows off a comb of `Pisang Rastali’.

By Wilfred Pilo

TRADER Voon Joon Sen has to undergo dialysis treatment thrice weekly, but this health concern is not going to stop this resilient 62-year-old from continuing with a trade he knows best – selling tropical and local bananas.

He uses an old van as his mobile trading station, complete with a weighing scale and a table.

“I am usually here from 5am to 11am, and then I rest for the rest of the day. It is my daily routine as a street trader,” he told DayakDaily when met at the BDC commercial Centre in Kuching.

“This location is my favourite spot now, and I have been selling bananas here for a while already. Even if there are no customers, I just love to watch the world goes by and never like to think of my ailment.”

The wide varieties of bananas that Voon sells.
Voon’s regular customer stopping by his station at BDC Commercial Centre.

He said he loved the idea of staying independent and do something useful to help myself.

“If you feel helpless, you will end up being useless,” he said philosophically.

He narrated that he had been “streetwise” since young. After finishing his Primary 6 in a Chinese school, he had been into selling stuff ever since and is proud that he had been able to give his family a reasonably comfortable life.

Voon revealed that he had been selling all sorts of fruits along Gambier Street for an astounding 40 years before moving to a place in Jalan Semaba, which is near his house.

“Ever since I was put on dialysis treatment more than six years ago, I focussed on selling bananas, while my wife sells a variety of fruits at Stutong Community Market.”

Voon said he would continue to work as long as he is able to in order to earn extra income for his family.

“We, locals, love tropical bananas, and in a way, I am doing something good to the community for selling them something healthy and make some money in return. What more can a man ask for?”

A customer takes a look at the range of bananas for sale in Voon’s van.

Voon sells quite a variety of local bananas, such as `Pisang Mas’, `Pisang Berangan’, `Pisang Rastali’, `Pisang Cavendish’, `Pisang Abu’, `Pisang Awak’ and `Pisang Tanduk’, where the last two varieties are good for making banana fritters.

He said many of his regular customers were now his friends of sorts, and being able to greet each other almost every day makes for a life worth living.

On his dialysis treatment, he said it was paid for the state government. He, thus, hoped the government would continue to assist folk like him who has health issues. — DayakDaily