When filial piety leads to business opportunity

KLUANG: International business degree holder Lim Tian Hock had no qualms helping his parents at their vegetable stalls in wet markets after graduation.

The 24-year-old who graduated with First Class honours from the Multimedia University in Melaka in March, said he got a taste of the working environment during his three-month internship at a logistics company last year.

“When I was told to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had some extra time to help my parents who operated vegetable stalls at the Kampung Yap Tau Sah and Kampung Paya markets here.Early start: Lim begins his day at 4am at his parents’ vegetable stall in Kampung Paya, Kluang.Early start: Lim begins his day at 4am at his parents’ vegetable stall in Kampung Paya, Kluang.

“Sales were badly affected so they closed down the Kampung Yap Tau Sah stall. I was determined to help out with what I learned.

“I started promoting their business online and took orders for vegetables through Facebook and WhatsApp, which requires a lot of coordination and organising.

“The response was surprisingly good and business slowly improved, leading me to my decision to take a completely different route after graduation to help my parents,” he said.

Lim said his parents gave him the freedom to make changes and try new things out with their business in the hope of keeping it afloat.

Initially, he tried selling some vegetable varieties online and as sales picked up, he expanded the catalogue to include a wider variety of greens, as well as poultry, eggs, cooking pastes and noodles.

He plans to have a website in future and include more items to offer more to customers.

Lim said he felt comfortable swapping office attire for T-shirts and shorts as he had the experience of helping at their stalls regularly since young.

“When I was in primary school, my parents used to sell fruits at night markets to make ends meet. I actually find it much tougher selling vegetables.

“These days, I usually start at 4am as my father and I need to get fresh produce from suppliers. Back at the stall, with the help of my uncle, we sort out the produce for online orders and also arrange them for the stall.

“After making delivery runs at 7am, 9am and 11am, I head home at noon for a shower and rest. I still take orders online and reply to messages and enquiries from customers, sometimes till late at night, to prepare for the next day’s deliveries,” he added.

The second child of four said he was not ashamed of his decision and found joy in slogging it out as it meant that his father, 54, and mother, 51, could eventually retire after selling fruits and vegetables for over 20 years.

“At first, some of my relatives and friends were not impressed by my decision and even urged me to find a job in Singapore to earn more money.

“Some teased me for wasting money on my studies just to work at the pasar (market).

“But I feel comfortable and proud of the route I chose because it will be a better achievement if I can do something to help my parents and contribute to my hometown Kluang at the same time,” he said.

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