With words of encouragement from seasoned bloggers and friends, I'm quite ready to continue my small mission. I want to thank everyone for their kind words, advice and suggestions.
Pahit Manis will be different from other bloggers. They are well ahead in the game and have amassed considerable following. Some might even point out that they've gained a degree of notoriety in the process!
I'm taking a different route. Pahit Manis is about the small man and woman, who goes through life seeking comforts while trying to make ends meet. It's about everyday life. About everyday struggle. About daily survival.
And about their hopes, that somewhere out there is a silver lining. We all know that many real people have neither the connections nor the power to change their situation at the press of a button or over teh tarik chats. Many of them are so distant from the power centres. Yet they plod on and on...
The Hassans, the Mohamads, the Tonys, the Oois and many others go through their daily routine deep in debts; pursued by their Ah Longs and other creditors. While they insist that their businesses are doing well, they struggle to pay salaries of their staff, maintain their lifestyle. They try to keep a cheery outlook, which is easier said than done.
Recently, over sliced roti bakar at Kluang Station at the Ikano shopping complex in Damansara, one of the strugglers, Bob, took one long sigh and narrated his predicament - no money to pay staff wages, none of his cars are on the road since there's no road tax and insurance, no bank want to extend any loan, and no friend who's prepared to offer a shoulder to lean on.
Another sruggler is ML, who's putting all his energy into agriculture. ML was an aviator who went through some bad times. But he's a survivor. ML sincerely believes that his future is in cattle rearing, fishing and some downstream agro-based ventures. He visited the big agriculture show (MAHA) in Serdang everyday since it opened, drawing inspiration and getting new ideas.
Bob and ML are just two of the supporting casts on the country's business stage. They are resilient chaps. They don't give up. While Bob may have to sell his company soon if no help is forthcoming, ML seems sure that he's going to hit the big time soon. Both pride themselves as being street-wise, but confessed that it takes more than this to survive in today's business environment.
In the coming weeks, I hope to share with you real stories about real people trying to deal with real problems. If we can all rub shoulders with some of these strugglers, I bet you that you'll encounter gems whose hearts are in the right place.
They are your everyday champions - dads who brave the morning rain on their kapcai (two-stroke motorbikes) to go to work; and mums who open their living rooms as day care centres to help dads keep food on the table, pay the house rent and give their children a monthly satay treat from the nearby pasar malam.
Depressing you say? Not meant to be actually. "Nations are born out of travail and suffering," said Gandhi. In the same context, the Bobs, the MLs, the Tonys and every other strugglers will see the light at the end of the tunnel, God willing. Their silver lining can't that be elusive..