“My motivation for staying out is to support my family. So now I’ve stopped a lot of things. I stopped hanging out with friends, stopped all the partying and nightlife, and just hope to save the money for my family.
I currently operate a Western food stall at Thye Hong Centre and occasionally other food places, toiling all day with little rest. My wish now is for my business to grow. I’m really thankful for all the support so far – hoping for more (new and repeat) customers to order from me, even for company gatherings and parties. Now people ask me where to buy contraband cigarettes, I say ‘Sorry now I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t know where to buy.’ After that, I would tell them: ‘Now I’m busy doing business if you are free just drop by my stall.’ I gave them my card to show them I’ve changed. Who knows maybe 10 or 20 years later he might think, ‘If my friend can change, why can’t I?’
I always tell my children: now is the time for you to concentrate on your studies. When I want to message my friends or customers I always got the wrong spelling and asked my children to correct me. That’s when I would say to them, ‘See, because last time I was stubborn and didn’t want to study, this is how I am now’. Only you can make yourselves successful, not me. I can only advise based on my own experiences. At most when I’m angry, I cane you. That’s it. But no matter how I cane you or push you forward, I still cannot do anything if you refuse to study.
My children have their ups and downs. This is normal, just like sea water – sometimes high tide, sometimes low tide. I also cannot expect them to give me 100 per cent results all the time. My wife and I did not have a good education background, so we think it’s OK as long as they pass. If they fail I will be upset.
I tell them, ‘I want you to study because ten years later, houses will be expensive. What you want to use will be very expensive. If you don’t study now and get good results, how would you change your family’s life when you grow up? Now I struggle to do whatever I can to make our family become more financially stable, and I am still trying and have yet to reach my goals, even until today. All of you must work hard to change your own future. That’s all I can advise them.”
-Mohd Azlan, 47 years old, father of seven, including four from his second marriage