21 Dec THE 84 YEAR-OLD FRUIT SELLER
An 84 year-old man brushes his teeth, gets ready and leaves for the market. He walks down the aisle towards the direction of his regular fruit supplier, neighbouring friendly market vendors greet him affectionately as he smiles cheerily back.
After running his errands, he returns home and he savours on his simple, yet hearty, breakfast comprising of only bread and fruits. Later on, he single-handedly prepares the fruits bought earlier. Once the needle of the clock touches 11am, the 84 year-old begins to push the fruit cart towards the entrance of Lorong Macallister.
That 84 year-old man, whose routine was narrated above, is named Khaw Bah Choon. Khaw has been vending a broad array of pre-cut fruits in Penang Island for more than half his life, which is a good 43 years. He is a strong, healthy, kind and hardworking man with fairly strong principles adhered to his fortitude.
One of Khaw’s prominent convictions is selling affordable fruits within everybody’s means of living. With that, he only sells fruits at only RM1 on average per packet. Furthermore, Khaw persistently rejects tips given by customers notwithstanding how much or little it may be. Stating, “If I accept other people’s tips, doesn’t it mean that my fruits are already sold expensive?”
Only earning approximately RM1000 of profit monthly, he is contented and gratified with the amount acquired for his sustenance.
After work, Khaw does charity work at a Buddhist Temple daily as an act of thanksgiving to god for blessing him with an abundant and wholesome life. He, being a family-oriented person, visits his sister often to catch up with her current state of affairs and, of course, to keep her company. Later at night, he would take away dinner from hawker food stores to be enjoyed in his comfort zone, his home.
Life Khaw underwent, for many of us, is adverse. However, with an earnest heart to serve others, the hardship of withstanding the scorching hot weather and bracing through cumbersome rainpour becomes forgiving.
Finding joy in simplicity. A man who not just practice, but integrate himself as a reflection of this renown saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — contributing kindness, love and overflowing generosity.