Small businesses in the past could feed a whole family of ten children. And some of the children could even go to university if they could get a scholarship. But most of these hawkers in TAmu Muhibbah are fortunate that their children have made a success of themselves in different walks of life.
This post is dedicated to all these senior hawkers I know and I hope the new year 2010 will bring more blessings to them and their families.
Now in their senior stage they are just happy to pass their time . The tamu is like their day time living room. They have someone to talk to while doing a little of selling. They replenish their stock only once in a while.
Like the hawker above I have a relative in Sibu having a similar stall. This 70 year old relative of mine told me this when I visited him at his market stall...."I am selling almost the same things as my friends. What is different is this : I have my own customers who come looking for me in the last 30 years. No change. Life is still the same and I like it. Business is not chaotic like the new businesses of today. I don't think I can operate a coffee shop. That's too difficult...."
This lady in red blouse is my aunt's friend from Sibu. She operates a "general" stall in the Tamu and is always cheerful when I drop by. I always pick up my Tiger Balm and Wellaform (for hair) from her . And I like getting my scissors and little mirrors from her too. In between customers she copies by hand the Chinese Bible.
Giving her support is very important to me because I like spending my money on things she is selling . If I can help it I do not wish to buy goods from large supermarkets which charge me parking fees. Besides it is very difficult to have to queue for a long time behind customers who have hundreds of items in their trolleys. Sometimes the salespeople in supermarkets are rude and they also tend to have their own conversation without paying attention to senior customers like me who may need help. And most importantly I do not like to crush myself between customers who think that the end of the world is coming and they must grab that packet of sugar!! or that tin of Milo!!
I like buying things from people who know me and are very friendly. And besides that their goods may be even cheaper!!
This is a "disappearing business scene" in Miri. They will be replaced by the impersonal huge supermarkets.