Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many Malaysians have dipped their toes into entrepreneurship in order to keep afloat.
Back in May, 26-year-old Muhammad Syukur Mohd Patthi and his squad named Geng Superhero Penang (GSP) made waves on the internet for distributing a whopping 450 servings of bubur lambuk to civilians in Penang while dressed as our favourite heroes. In an effort to liven the Ramadhan spirit, these real-life superheroes managed to cheer the people up since many were feeling down due to the fresh announcement of the MCO.
Cut to a few months later, after losing his job at a telecommunications company, Syukur was determined to continue striving in order to put food on the table. His creativity led him to start dressing up as culturally-prevalent superhero, Iron Man, so he could attract more customers as he sets up his air jagung business.
He had lost his job in August and only started his business two weeks ago because he found it difficult to find vacant jobs amidst the pandemic. Syukur alongside his friends Yusri Md Saad, 35, and Mohamad Zaidi Zainal Abidin, 33, started their air jagung business by the roadside on Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam. Syukur told Bernama,
“As youths, we can’t always depend on others for donations. As long as you have the will, you must work hard to find earnings for yourself.”
His group GSP was popular since they were always booked for children’s parties and birthdays. However, due to the pandemic, their business began to tank. Syukur told Bernama,
“Ever since the pandemic struck, all bookings had to be cancelled. So, since we had the costumes, we might as well use them to sell our air jagung as a unique way to attract customers.”
He admits that selling drinks by the roadside does come with a few challenges, the weather being the one that tests him the most. However, remaining determined, he stated that despite the unforgiving rain or scorching sun, every time a passer-by waves or beeps their honk at them, he feels that the exhaustion is worth it.
He understands that because of the MCO, many miss the feeling of being outdoors and if he is able to entertain them for the short period that they are outside, he feels all the more happy to do so.
Initially, Syukur disclosed that at the start of his business, he suffered from a 90% loss of profit but now, things are beginning to stabilise.
With many companies laying off their employees, a lot of locals have been left jobless. Thankfully, SMEs and small businesses are receiving more support during this difficult time because Malaysians have inculcated the #RakyatJagaRakyat spirit into their everyday lives. When tribulations come, we know that “Bersatu teguh, bercerai roboh.”