IPOH: With mouths to feed at home, former bank clerk Asrol Mohd Saidi now cuts fish at the Menglembu wholesale market here to make ends meet.
Asrol, who took up a mutual separation scheme from the bank where he had worked for 23 years, said he was left unemployed for 11 months after that.
The 44-year-old said he shopped at the market because fresh goods were more affordable, and got his new job after meeting a Rohingyan he knows only as Ali, who does the same job.
He said Ali was also struggling to earn money for his family.
“Ali asked me to join him and I did not hesitate since I know that as a father, I need to be able to provide for my family, ” he said.
Asrol said it was also not easy to get another job at his age.
“After all, I only have a Sijil Rendah Pelajaran qualification, ” he added.
The father of five said it was a big change for him to switch from working in a bank to cutting fish in a market.
“I would start work at 3am and finish at 9am.
“Our income is not fixed as it depends on the sales, but I remember the lowest I have ever got was RM30 day, while I can earn up to RM80 on a busy day, ” he added.
Asrol said he loved working at the bank as it was his first job.
“I am still on good terms with my former employer and colleagues.
“They would sometimes order food from us. I had a great time working with them, but I am on a new path now, ” he said, adding that he also sells nasi lemak at a restaurant at night.
Asrol said although it was tiring, he was relieved to be able to support his family. He is also glad that his children understand the family’s financial status.
“My eldest daughter, who is a university graduate, is now working at a fast food restaurant to help ease the family’s financial burden, and she is helping to pay the electricity bill.
“My second daughter just graduated from a diploma course and dreams of pursuing her degree, but she understands that I cannot afford it now.
“My three other children are in Form Five, Form One and Standard Three, ” he added.
With the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, Asrol said he was not worried about preparations.
“My children understand our difficulties, they never demand expensive clothes and would be happy to go to the thrift store instead.
“Right now, I am working hard to earn as much as I can, so that our family can have some savings and emergency funds, ” he said.