Many ordinary Malaysians work hard to be good citizens of this land, earning an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work, while helping to shape the nation in unassuming ways.
SOME years ago, it was a weekly ritual for me to make my way to one particular roadside stall in Bangsar for breakfast.
Here, my wife and our two very young sons would eagerly wait for our weekly treat – piping hot poori served with a special potato curry. The taste was unlike the fare I’ve had anywhere else.
One cannot but be impressed by the passion shown by this hawker and his wife – running the stall six days a week, offering breakfast and lunch, providing excellent and affordable food to the office workers nearby.
This man not only gave us food for our stomach, but plenty of food for the soul as well.
He would regale us with tales of his humble beginnings and his perspective on the current issues of the day.
We are of different faiths, he and I, but we find much common ground in our many conversations about the virtues of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If I could describe him in one sentence, it would be, “He is a friend to all, an enemy to none.”
And often in the early hours of the morning while the parents were hard at work, the children (who were about the age as mine) would still be sleeping in their van.
Over the years, I followed the progress of the children and was always happy to see the joy in his face as they crossed one milestone after another.
When they did well in their examinations, he would be beaming with pride. When his son became a prefect, he called me to announce the good news.
Today, the son has graduated with a law degree and the picture of the family in England for the convocation really spoke a thousand words.
Ever the sociable person, he would open his house to all of us for every special event. I try not to miss his Deepavali open house because it is truly a muhibbah gathering.
Today, I am very happy for him because he will officially become a father-in-law to the man who has won his daughter’s heart.
News like this won’t make it into the newspapers because he is just an ordinary person, not some titled personality who can afford a lavish wedding dinner at a top-notch hotel where the Who’s Who will be on parade.
I know I will be all choked up at the wedding dinner tomorrow because this man of such humble beginnings has reached a milestone where he now hands over his daughter to another man to love and to cherish.
And I believe he too will be teary because unlike many busy fathers who only have time to provide material needs for their children, he has walked alongside his daughter all the way, nurturing and teaching her the way few fathers do.
Yes, we love to read about those who came to our shores with only the clothes on their backs to become prominent tycoons.
Yet the reality is that many of those with humble beginnings do not move up the ladder in that spectacular manner.
Many continue to labour on to provide a good life for their children, especially their educational needs.
They work hard to be good citizens of this land, earning an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work, while helping to shape the nation in unassuming ways. I am proud that my friend, like many ordinary Malaysians, is one of them. Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (firstname.lastname@example.org) dedicates today’s column to his good friend Panir and his wife Kala, son Methulan and the daughter Narmatha, and looks forward to savouring his famous poori again. Home > Opinion > Columnists Sunday Starters Sunday September 7, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM