Gambar hiasan, among my recent weddings in my client list.
At the age of 9, I was schooling at Felda Tementi Primary School in Bera. I came from a parents which their household income is RM350 per month (not even my earning in an hour now). My father is a land settler in Felda Tementi. Granted with 10 acres oil palm of land (which actually we pay monthly for it price) and my mother was a fulltime housewife.
I got to know Sidek when I was in standard 3 and he was one of the poorest. Consider he got a big family with the same amount of income like my family. Sidek worn the same pants from standard 1. Worst than me, I have 1 pant and 1 shirt every year. One day, Sidek brought to the school a class photograph when he was in standard 1. He was just like a policeman in 40s. Short pant that look like a bermuda. He used rope as a belt. I was lucky at least I have an RM1 belt from the night market from my standard 1. In standard 3, his father bought him a belt but he still wore the same short pant to school. It was torn at few places and stitched properly but the colour wasn’t an even blue anymore. It was blue with a few light-blue spots.
During the break, i never went to canteen to buy food. Instead, I ate whatever in my meal box. My late mother is the best mother. She woke up at 5.30am and cooked me breakfast. Anything from roti canai, lempeng, curry puff, nasi lemak, fried rice and many more. I was blessed with my mother’s handcooked food.
Sidek didn’t even go to canteen and he didn’t even have a meal box.
He always ported himself at the school backyard watching nothing but the grasses on the field. Eventually, that was my eating place as I didn’t want other pupils yelled at me for eating something from home (well actually, that was only my feeling, they are not as bad as that) but eating the meal box wasn’t that stylo among others and i felt inferior about that.
One day, I brought along my food and I offered Sidek to share my meal. He came and ate it all and left me nothing. Pity him as his mother didn’t cook enough as he got 9 siblings and normally the breakfast prepared are all gone deficit (tak cukup). Means…nothing left to bring to school. After he “burbb” then he said thanks to me. He complimented the nasi lemak he ate as the best nasi lemak ever. (but I was kruurkkkkkkrukkk krukk….hungry)
In the next day, I asked my mom to prepare more nasi lemak in my meal box. But a day after, I told my mom to separate it in 2 boxes as Sidek will wallop all my nasi lemak if I put it in 1 box. Now, I have a class break companion. We shared our stories together. Mom asked me, why should I bring 2 boxes. Then I answered, it was for Sidek. I told the story about Sidek to my mom. My mom agreed with what I did. She said…“Baikkk anak emak. Emak bangga dapat anak macam Angah”.
The tasteful nasi lemak by my mom eventually spreaded among Sidek’s friend. In the next 1 week, I had 5 class break companions then. But later I told them…
“Korang minggu ni sahaja tau aku bawak bekal, minggu depan korang kena beli tau kalau nak…”
That was after I have to be like a delivery boy everyday I went to school and my mother started to asked weather all of them are as poor as Sidek or not. Another 3 wasn’t as bad as me and Sidek. 2 of them are sons to my school teacher (upper primary). They normally ate at the canteen. Suddenly, an idea popped-up. I let them try another recipe of my mom in school which was nasi goreng belacan. They loved that too.
In the next 1 week I started the business. I let them know “Friend, tomorrow I’ll bring nasi lemak but you need to book first”. Eventually, I’ve got not only 3 orders but 10. One of them was my school teacher (which his son ate my mom’s nasi lemak). I collected RM2 that day as 1 nasi lemak sold at RM0.20 which canteen sold at RM0.40. Well, maybe because I didn’t have overhead to pay for the canteen that’s why it can be that cheap.
The money I collected, I passed to my mom. She said…wow…u did a real good business Angah!
But, emak passed me RM1 for me to put in my “Tabung Ridsect” (Sorry to Ridsect, after we used your aerosol, we used that as coin container as that one can’t be korek). As the tabung can’t be accessed to count the money I earned in that business. I managed to note down my earning every day in my small note at my house wall.
The business grew well. Until it reached the maximum limit I can bring in my 2nd bag. It was about 20 nasi lemak and nasi goreng everyday. I earned approximately RM30 nett for the first month. Same goes to my mother as she got half of it (but of course, that’s her cost to cook that meals). Sidek still got it for free eventhough the nasi lemak was getting so popular.
The nasi lemak got so popular until the canteen operator knew about it. The canteen operator was one of my teacher’s wife. She complaint that I shouldn’t have to sell it in school as it’s against the law. Well, I was 9th and I didn’t really alert about selling in school was wrong. A discipline teacher asked me to come to his office. He asked me about the business and I told him everything.To cut it short…
He asked me to stop…
I cried. I told him, I didn’t do anything wrong and I really need money to help my mother. Discipline teacher made a straight face (buat muka garang). The time I walked out from his office, he came to me and started to talk (slowly…bisik-bisik soksek soksek yada yada yada yada good luck).
Nasik lemak collected in front of the school.
Just outside the school gate…
in that very school
(And that was my discipline teacher’s idea)