“What is there to be embarrassed about? I’m not doing anything illegal. I’m just trying to earn an income so I don’t burden my parents. I rather spend half of my Sunday doing something beneficial than lazing around,” said 12-year-old Hakim, who can be seen at Bandarku Ceria, selling a cart full of drinks.
The eldest of four siblings, Hakim lives with his parents, who are unemployed and are on the Baitulmal aid programme.
The situation at home was what prompted Hakim to become a vendor to lessen the financial burden on his parents. The Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) College Year 7 student shared that he has been selling drinks since he was young, years before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
Every Sunday, he leaves his house in Kampong Kota Batu after performing a Subuh prayer and pushing his cart loaded with cold beverages into the capital, a trip that usually takes him about an hour. It is not easy to walk as there are areas where he struggles to get the cart to pass. He stops to rest a few times along the way.
“My parents always remind me to behave myself and perform good deeds whenever possible. This is also one of the reasons why I decided to sell drinks. My parents support my business by providing me with the capital to start,” Hakim said. He is relieved that business activities have resumed at Bandarku Ceria, especially since the easing of restrictions.
Hakim believes that honesty is important when it comes to business. What is equally important is though, he added, “Safety on the road as I may not be visible to motorists during the wee hours. So I stay on the right side of the lane while pushing my cart to avoid accidents.”