Wednesday, December 24, 2008

AM - white knight for old kampong folks

WHILE many people are planning and executing mega deals through their connections and network, Am, a farmer-contractor, plods along doing some basic agriculture stuff. No high-end sales pitch, no big political backing, no big bank loans. No publicity too. Am, a nickname by which he is fondly called by his friends, has just embarked on a catfish rearing project which he hoped would yield good returns from the third harvest onwards. That would be sometime in September or October. He's invested RM1,600 each for his 21 canvas-ponds (as these pictures show). He's hired a rubber tapper to help manage the catfish project. The rubber tapper has fallen on bad times with the big drop in rubber prices. When I asked how he's coping with the big drop in income, he gave me a toothless grin and said: "Nasib baik ada projek ikan keli ni!" Am has done some excellent replanting scheme for the kampong folks in the lower Perak area. As aging landowners whose children have gone on to live in the cities earning good, regular salaries, these folks now found their plots have grown lalang and are untended. The lands have become idle, unproductive. Then came Am, riding in to rescue these old folks with replanting schemes funded by Risda, the government agency entrusted with helping rubber smallholders. Am has organised these folks and they are now quite happy to see their four or five acres being toiled once again. Talking to Am over near his catfish farm, the young man is full of ideas to help the rural folks raise their income level. He said: "Orang kampong nak tengok contoh macam mana projek pertanian boleh menjamin hidup mereka. Kalau setakat hantar gambar dan berpuluh makalah (brochures), lebih baik tak payah. Kalau dia orang nampak projek depan mata boleh berhasil, mereka ni boleh diajak berunding." For the last couple of years, that's what Am has been doing. And doing it well, I must say.


Unknown said...

Hey Am could start off the cottage industry in the kampongs.

I read about a tawke keropok lekor who ia doing quite well.

Other initiatives could be sun-dried fruits, fruit juice concentrate, patch-quilt items like bedsheets, bags; pandan handicraft items, dried leaves and flowers, even compost.

These could then be packed and transported to the local pasar tani.

Mr Bojangles said...

While great deals are made by the connected and crooked, quiet people are quietly keeping the hopes of many alive.

The difference is that while the latter bring value addedness, no matter how small, to the lives of ordinary folk, the formers' main objectives seem to be getting a free ride, enriching themselves, piggy-backing on other peoples successes and, in the process, adding to the burdens already faced by the rakyat through their brilliant corporate moves and rent seeking strategies.

But I am a little disturbed that these people left behind in their kampungs seem to wait for white knights and govt agencies to pull up their boot straps. Wouldn't it have been more logical to have continued tilling and, yes, toiling, even after children left to ensure their independence and economic worth would not have been compromised? No labor? Increase capital inputs. There are many ways to skin a cat.

Anyway, just a humble opinion from one whose extent of tilling and toiling is just a little garden plot in our suburban jungles.

All the best.

Ahmad A Talib said...

Mr Bojangles,

You are right! Some kg folks are just plain lazy, and that's from my own direct interaction with them. Some of the kg people I meet have no self-help ideas at all, and when some in their midst do, the latter is often laughed at. I've been trying to help some kg kids to be given tuition but has not been successful. A few parents came up and asked: "Tuition? who's going to send and fetch them? Better they just study at home."

It's different if these kids actually study!

Ordinary Superhero said...

Thank God for a person lika AM. We need more of 'back to basic value creation' entreprenour (sp?) like him.

Anonymous said...

Dear Datuk Pahit Manis,

1. The Malays can do well in business if they are hardworking and well guided;

2. I've grown up in a rural business family. My father dabbled in all sorts of businesses;

3. But admittedly it's difficult to compete with Chinese;

4. They have official (banks) and unofficial (along and underground economy) sources of capital to fiance their businesses;

5. But they also got killed and kindnapped for not paying debts to the alongs and the underword;

6. My father used to run a licensed rubber purchasing business. He was doing ok until unlicensed Chinese traders went into the villages with their lorries to buy direct from smallholers and give with along-type loans on the padi kunca basis;

7. My dad closed shop and sold beef instead. The Chinese could not enter beef trade in the kampung because people were very concern about halal and haram;

8. But nowadays too many Malay traders are ameteurs and are not serious;

9. Their shops and foodstalls are dirty. They are rude and they open and close anytime they like;

10. I think they are not very Islamic. If they are Islamic, cleanliness is number one. Cleanliness is after all the basis of halal ;

11. I think the Kesihatan authority must teach Malay traders about cleanliness and close down dirty foodstalls;

12. Orang Islam yang pengotor, tidak berbudi bahasa dan tidak menepati waktu (tutup kedai sesuka hati) adalah tidak menghormati agama Islam yang mementingkan kebersihan, tata tertib dan menepati waktu dan janji.


Anak Peniaga

ChengHo said...

Do not forget to guide them how to market their product teach them packaging and branding..