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These 10 'Ibu's In M'sia Are Some Low-Key Entrepreneurs We Should Be Talking About

Moms are hard workers, and they don’t earn nearly enough recognition for that amount of effort. It is no secret too that they often put others before themselves and it is this nurturing quality that is one of the reasons why everyone gets looked after, but mom herself. Hence it is no surprise whatsoever that even on the day which they are meant to be celebrated, some moms did not even take a day off.

It is these sacrificing qualities that makes the Spice Girls’ song all the more apt. “Mama, I love you. Mama, I do,” the girls sang and they were right. Perhaps it is an Asian mentality, but uttering those very words becomes quite a task with Asian children.

We at Vulcan Post are well aware of the many startup entrepreneurs who are juggling their work and also the welfare of their children. These women are indeed admirable for their ability to multi-task and lead their own mini empires. However for this Mother’s Day, we wanted to do something different by acknowledging some mothers who are not usually in the spotlight.

These are the mothers who deserve a little recognition for what they do, whether it is successfully feeding happy tummies with their homemade meals, or marketing beauty products they have engineered themselves, at local bazaars. Either way, they are entrepreneurs in their own right, and at the core of it all, these 10 women are mothers—mothers less spoken of.

1. Rafiza Binti Mahmud, 48

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Rafiza currently mans a stall selling pastries such as cucur udang and curry puffs, in the USJ 2 neighbourhood area. She has 5 children aged between 9 to 23 years of age. She used to hold an office job but quit her corporate career in order to have more time with her kids. “I have to sacrifice my own personal time and passions for my children too, and that is something all mothers would naturally do,” Rafiza said.

Rafiza says that the hardest part of her job is when it rains and there are less customers, as well as the price hike in food ingredients. Yet what she enjoys about her job now is the flexibility in time, and also how her income is dependent on how much effort she decides to put in.

“My hope for my kids is that my kids finish their education as best possible, and that they would achieve success and independence in life. The easy and tough things happen for a reason and they all serve as a lesson in life.”

2. Punaveswari, 55

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Punaveswari has been working at her stall selling homemade chapati for the past 5 years in the USJ 2 housing area. She shared that the hardest aspect of her job is how much effort is needed to knead her dough daily, and this gets tiring, but even with this, she enjoys every aspect of her job.

Punaveswari’s hope for her 4 children is a simple one. “As long as they turn out okay in life, I’m good with that,” she told Vulcan Post.

3. Rukaili, 51

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Rukaili and her husband walk to their workplace in Subang Courtyear 2 daily in order to sell their homemade ayam penyet which they prepare early every morning. The mother of 2 children aged 35 and 32 states that the hardest part of her job is that there are less people who visit her stall and even when she wakes up early to prepare the dishes, it may not be able to be enjoyed by many due to rain or other unforeseen circumstances.

Still, her cheerful disposition shows how she is able to withstand all that comes her way. “My wish for my children is that they receive good education and that they would have a good job,” Rukaili said.

4. Roziah Binti Abdul Derafar, 39

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Roziah may only be new to the game with one year of experience but that does not deter her from starting up her own gerai selling everything from home-cooked fish and chicken and vegetables. She states that her working hours are between 4pm-7.30pm when her patrons visit her to purchase their dinner. She has 3 children who goes to school near her working place in USJ 6.

Roziah says that the hardest part of her job is the unpredictable weather because not many would stop by her stall to purchase some food when it is raining heavily. She enjoys her job because of her desire to spend more time with her kids. With her venture, she is able to spend time revising with her kids and checking up on their homework.

“My hope for my kids is that they achieve success in life and that they won’t have to go through the hardships that I did. Having a business these days after all is not easy too, and there are plenty of expenses to settle,” Roziah remarked.

5. Rani, 68

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Rani is the woman behind a Sri Lankan homemade food stall known as ‘Rasai Machan’. The stall was recently moved to Monash University Malaysia, from its original location in Bandar Sunway. The mother of 4 says that she is very happy with her work and takes on even the smallest of tasks such as cleaning the stall, as she feels more satisfied doing things by herself.

The hardest part of her job she relayed to Vulcan Post was the lack of air-conditioning. “I have to stand the heat both from the hot Malaysian weather and from the kitchen and hot plates from 10am to 9pm every day. During lunch time, especially, I have to change clothes several times,” Rani said. Yet what she enjoys most is meeting local and international students alike, and to the students who patron her stall, she says, “I’m like their second mother.”

Rani’s wish and hope for her children is what all parents would wish for their very own, and that is to help them have a better tomorrow. As such, she works hard for not just her children, but even her grandkids too. “You know, I just want to see their future bright,” she said.

6. Tilda, 30

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Tilda is a self-employed florist in the Sunway area for the past 6 years. Her work is highly dependent on different seasons whereby flowers are purchased as gifts, such as during graduations. On Mother’s Day, she parked her stall next to the Sunway Pyramid mall in order to attract more customers. The mother of 4 enjoys her work as she believes she is doing something good for herself and is allowing herself to be more independent.

The hardest part of her job is the loneliness and adversity of being on her own. Nevertheless, any mistakes that she makes, she accepts and learns from them. In fact, she is motivated by the fact that being a florist gives her the freedom of being able to earn a living on her own. Her wish for her children, she relayed is, “I want my children to become professionals and to have a good future. I hope that they would have a better life than what I’ve been through.”

7. Sabrina Yong, 62

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Sabrina is the founder of a quaint little bakery located in the USJ 4 neighbourhood known as Brumby’s. Selling everything from cheesecake to tarts and buns, Sabrina started her venture 6 years ago and has customers visiting her just to purchase some of her pastries, even after they have upped and moved from the neighbourhood.

Sabrina is a mother of 2 sons aged 27 and 28, and she said that she enjoys her job. “My children are grown up now, and this is something that keeps me occupied,” she said. The hardest thing about her job is when she is short of staff and needs to be hands on with everything, noting that it is not easy to employ staff.

“My hope for my children is to grow up to be a normal person. Don’t go into the bad side. Lead a normal life, that is all I hope for,” Sabrina said.

8. Komethi, 38

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Komethi is the woman behind Millennial Insta Gift, a startup that creates creative gift packs and door gifts for all kinds of events, and more recently even for Mother’s Day. Komethi relayed how, “The hardest part is maintaining a balance between commitment to the family and work. For example, most bazaars are held during the weekend so I have to be out. Do I spend time with the kids or do I work? So now I bring my kids along with me.”

Her children aged 11 and 8 were seen all smiles as they helped to man the stall alongside their mother, during the Mother’s Day weekend. Komethi said, “Other women motivates me to do what I do. If other women can do it, why not myself?” With her venture, besides starting something of her own, she has her own set of lessons that she wishes to teach her kids through Millennial Insta Gift.

“I want them to learn how to be independent. If they are independent, they can achieve success in every way,” she said.

9. Kartini, 36

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Kartini is the owner and baker of Kidz ‘n’ Kitchen. The mother of 4 shared how the hardest part of her job is dealing with time management, especially seeing since her youngest is only 3 years of age. “I don’t know when they will be cranky and sometimes they can be cranky just when I have a lot of orders of when I’m conducting a class,” Kartini said.

She stresses however that her venture is a fun one, and it’s more to encourage her kids to learn how to operate a business. “Like during a bazaar, I get my older one to walk around to sell and boost their confidence. So this is partly for me and partly for my kids to expose them as well,” she said.

Kartini used to work full-time in a corporate job but resigned 3 years ago to stay home and look after her kids. The entrepreneurial instinct kicked in when boredom took over. She started her business as a means of having a little more adventure in her life, whilst still being able to be there for her little ones. Kartini said, “I just want them to be happy and successful in a way that they define success for themselves. I hope they enjoy life and be positive.”

10. Angeline Chin

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Angeline is the founder of Moms4Projects, an online portal for moms to look for jobs, and also for them to look for workshops that can help them in the e-commerce sector. Angeline has a 9-year-old daughter and had quit her 20-year corporate profession in order to pursue this venture as of August 2015.

Angeline said, “The hardest part is to educate employers to give women talent a chance. I’m also running this on a shoe string budget and without a large team. But I persevere anyway by knocking on doors.” She desires to spend more time with her daughter but the fact that nobody is doing what she currently is, is motivating her to do more.

She added, “I hope that one day my daughter will learn what the mother has done for her. I don’t expect her to be me, she will grow up to be an individual of her own. She knows I always work late at night and she always tells people that ‘my mom never sleeps’. Actually I do, just that the only time I can do work is when she’s sleeping. But I want to show her that when you have a dream, go for it, and work on it.”

Image Credit: armykat on Flickr
Image Credit: armykat on Flickr

These are some of the mothers who aren’t running their business because it’s “cool” to be your own boss. They’re doing it out of necessity, for their children.

From these responses, one can see that the similarities between the mothers are quite obvious. They would love to spend more time with their children, and they are willing to make the sacrifices to be able to do so. And in their hearts of hearts, they only want the best for their children.

So do you want to repay your mom’s love for you? It shouldn’t be about the flowers and dinners that come once a year, it should be your lifestyle and your future—achieve success, whatever your definition of success is, be a good and useful person in society, and be happy.

 

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