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    Up with the rooster, senior citizens’ nasi katok stall keeps them busy

    Lyna Mohamad

    For many, the twilight years perhaps evoke images of rest and a sedentary lifestyle, but senior citizens Hamdi bin Haji Osman and wife Rohani binti Elli instead have filled their time by venturing into business rather than idling and waiting for their monthly pensions, or relying on their children who have their own family to look after.

    The Bulletin came across a viral post on social media on a recently-opened nasi katok stall by the couple and visited them.

    Rohani, 71, shared that they had experience in operating a business many years ago in Kampong Pasai and in Kuala Belait. They decided recently to rent a small stall in Kampong Bengkurong where they are currently residing.

    Hamdi was a civil servant for several years before working at a local oil and gas firm where he worked for about 17 years.

    He resigned before retirement with plans to run his own business.

    However, the venture failed to take off following issues with his business partner.

    It was then the couple decided to run a food business in Kuala Belait. When they moved to Bandar Seri Begawan, they continued operating in Kampong Pasai.

    Hamdi bin Haji Osman and wife Rohani binti Elli prepare the nasi katok. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

    They put the business on hold for a while. But when they had extra dependents to look after, Hamdi suggested restarting and found a space relatively close to their residence.

    The couple have three sons and a daughter. While their sons are employed with their own responsibilities, their only daughter – who has hearing disabilities – is under their care along with her five-year-old child.

    “It is not about not having our children help out – our children have never neglected us.

    However, as parents ourselves we know how busy it can be to take care of the family – mouths to feed and responsibilities to take into account.

    “But then our daughter, who is dealing with marital issues, came back to live with us along with her young child,” he said.

    He said their monthly pension is sufficient for their daily expenses.

    But with additional dependents, they would also expect to spend more than usual.

    Additionally, the family want to be prepared when their granddaughter begins school next year.

    Hamdi added that as senior citizens, practicing a healthy lifestyle is important and the business helps as it keeps them active and moving about.

    The couple is currently living at their third son’s house.

    During their free time, they tend to a vegetable garden on the compound, which provides enough to meet their daily needs and helps with their food expenses.

    The couple also have a durian farm at Bukit Nenas Sinaut. They would sell the harvest as an additional source of income.

    Hamdi admitted that the biggest challenge in operating the business at their age is they are only capable of doing what they do at present.

    Occasionally, they run out of ingredients and would have to ask customers to wait.

    His wife usually begins preparing the two types of sambal, spicy and non-spicy, after Subuh prayer, making particular adjustments on the amount. He said if they run out of sambal, they would close earlier than their usual 8pm time. Hamdi shared that despite most nasi katok operators increasing their prices and reducing their portions, they are still keeping to their generous portion of chicken in their nasi katok.

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