SINGAPORE: With the durian season hitting peak over the past couple of weeks, Louis Lee feels grateful for the bounty of fruits he will get to promote.
The 31-year-old Malaysian, who owns and operates a durian stall at Owen Road, has seen a spike in enterprise and income amid a bumper crop of the thorny fruit coming in from Johor and Pahang.
Contented with the extra earnings, he determined to assist teams of individuals whose lives have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with CNA at his store on Tuesday (Jun 29), Lee stated he was counting his fortunate stars as a result of in spite of the pandemic, he nonetheless earned a good dwelling.
“I think it’s important for me to give back to those who are struggling. It’s a small gesture – just a free meal, nothing much,” stated Lee.
Over the weekend of Jun 19 and 20, Lee distributed a complete of 250 packets of nasi lemak to his fellow Malaysians who’re primarily based in Singapore. The following Saturday, he distributed 100 packets of Hainanese rooster rice to taxi drivers.
He introduced his intentions on Facebook for these eager to acquire the meals from his stall and the gesture was warmly acquired.
“All the food was snapped up. People came forward to collect amid their busy schedules and I’m thankful for this,” added Lee.
When requested why he selected to distribute free meals to these explicit teams of individuals, Lee stated that for the previous, he may empathise with the hardships they face as most of them reside distant from shut relations.
Many of them are additionally not incomes a lot, and have to be frugal in order to pay for lease and meals, Lee stated.
“I can empathise with the difficulties they face. It’s not easy living away from your loved ones and having to work hard every day. I was poor before, so I know what it feels like,” stated Lee.
A SMALL GESTURE
Lee opened his store, Louis Durian and Fruits, in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He had been working as a stall assistant for numerous durian outlets in the earlier seven years, and opening his personal outlet was a dream come true.
“I realised that when Singapore entered the circuit breaker (in 2020), sales for durians were boosted. Many people still craved durian, and they made purchases online. The online durian business boomed and I wanted to take advantage of that,” stated Lee.
His spouse and two younger kids dwell in their hometown Muar. Lee thought of himself lucky as he managed to go to them as soon as in 2020 in spite of COVID-19 border closures.
He had travelled again by the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme, which permits work allow holders like him to head dwelling after working in Singapore for 90 consecutive days.
Lee famous that as a results of the tightening of rules just lately, many Malaysians couldn’t afford to journey dwelling as they would want to fork out their very own charges for a 14-day quarantine each in Singapore and in Malaysia.
“I don’t think going home now is viable for many of them. I feel their pain, and while giving a free meal is just a small gesture, I hope it makes them a little happier in these trying times,” stated Lee.
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Lee stated he purchased the meals from a hawker pal who specialises in halal nasi lemak, and he distributed the rice along with packet drinks.
“Some of them (Malaysians) came alone, while others came in groups. Some of them also wanted to take some packets back for their flatmates, I said yes please, give them to your friends,” he stated.
“I managed to speak to some of them and we talked about home and how much we miss it, but what to do? We now live in a pandemic world,” he added.
How did Lee confirm if those that got here had been certainly Malaysians?
“I did not check their passports or anything like that. Usually from the way they speak Mandarin or Bahasa, we can sort of tell,” stated Lee.
Response was equally good for the free rooster rice he provided a week later to taxi drivers working in Singapore, no matter their nationality.
All 100 packets had been collected inside 5 hours, he stated.
“HIS KINDNESS REMINDED ME OF HOME”
Among the Malaysians who got here to his stall to acquire nasi lemak was Mohd Amin Fauzi, a 28-year-old who works for a manufacturing firm in Yishun.
When contacted through Facebook, Mohd Amin instructed CNA that he appreciated Lee’s gesture.
“I was on my way home from shift and I decided to drop by after seeing the Facebook post,” stated Mohd Amin.
“I was surprised because it was a big pack of nasi lemak, complete with rice, egg, anchovies, sambal and even fried fish,” he added.
“His kindness reminded me of home, how we Malaysians are willing to help one another in spite of any difficulties we face,” he stated.
Lee instructed CNA that he hoped to conduct extra of such distributions if his earnings permits.
“All things considered, it has been a great year for me. I am able to better take care of my wife and children, and recently help some people and put a smile on their faces,” stated Lee.
“It’s a joy to share whatever little I have with others,” he added.