It’s has always been a mystery of why I always have a better sleep when I’m in penang.
I do sleep till late hours at times in KL yet somehow I’m just not satisfied with the sleep of the past night.
My dad says that it’s probably the essence of home and the bed that you’re accustom of while giving a grinning smile, indicating I can always come back more often for the sleep.
And yet he is always the one who wake me up from my deep sleep.
I just came back from chit tiao loh bansan (the 7th street market) for my mum to do some grocery shopping for some fresh vegetables and eggs.
Though slightly dirty and hot in the afternoon, chit tiao loh bansan has always been a nice place to do some marketing. And I’ve been visiting there quite often during my younger days.
The wet market is always packed with people, especially those of the older age.
It is like their “1- Utama” for the house wife, where you can buy all your household commodities under one roof.
Literally, one roof.
Since the past, the market never fails to amaze me with its daily antics of drama and conversation of the people there.
During my visit in the afternoon, a vegetable stall caught my attention.
We were walking towards that stall and the scene of two little kids accompanying their mother manning the stalls.
My mum was holding and inspecting oh wah chai, obviously it will be on tonight’s dinner menu.
“oh wah chai kui lui?”
(“how much is the oh wah chai?”)
The elder brother, about 7 years of age shouted back in the noisy market while packing 1 kilo of huan jio kia (cili padi) just like any other seasoned seller for an aunty beside us.
“oh wah chai ji kilo si koh”
(“RM4 per kilo for oh wah chai”)
I was surprised by how fluent this young boy is with the nature of the business. On top of that he was having small talks with the aunty he was selling the chili to.
All these happened while his mother stood at the other end of the stall cutting off damaged vegetables that will be put back for sale shortly.
With the typical penang spirit, my mum then proceeded to the next stall repeating her question again while complaining that prices are expensive.
I stood my ground, amazed with the kid business capabilities, I continued to observed how this young man do business with people 5 to 8 times his age.
“ang huan jio uh boh?” asked a customer.
(“do you have red chili?”)
“boh, kia jit boh ang huan jio. Huan jio kia ai mai?” he replied while summing up the payment of another customer.
(“nope, today we don’t have red chili, how bout chili padi instead?”)
Making math calculations on the fly on how much change needs to be given back to the customer while walking to the wooden cash deposit behind his mum and cheekily checking towards the sky to see if it’s a fake RM50 note.
The concentration, maths and the speed of calculation that this young man exhibited truly surprised me as I’m quite sure that his classmates or even his seniors at the school are still getting used to the basics of those entire math.
And not only this kid is doing business, he is also making sure his customer gets the satisfaction by recommending alternatives to the customer.
Every now and then he would get a little praise from his customers and the proud mum would draw a little smile across her face.
After spending a few moments observing the young kid, I proceed off with my mum after she managed to get oh wah chai for RM3/kilo, she probably saved about 50cents for that few steps.
Even on my journey back from the market, my mind was really replaying the scene of the little kid doing business while the mother had her full trust on the young man.
Even though I opinioned that he should be spending his childhood years having fun, however, reality as usual is harsh and unforgiving, even at that age, he is not spared from giving a helping hand to his mother.
Given the circumstances, that kid has my respect for his spirit and capabilities. There are many people at my age that still can’t count fast enough or find it tedious to count and would require a calculator when calculating discounted items in the mall.
That kid beat you guys hands down.
Happy New Year.