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Earning an honest living despite circumstances and physical disabilities

Those with physical disabilities face a lot of obstacles in trying to earn a living. It’s not easy most places are still not disabled friendly. When I was in restaurant having my breakfast one weekend, I came across this couple, who went around singing and asking for donations. The man does not have a right leg while the lady had deformed right leg- possibly due to polio. Both went around slowly with a donation box while the man sang to entertain the crowds. And I must say, he really have a very good voice.

Another day I saw a blind man, being led by a young man and going around singing and requesting for donations. With difficult economic times, not many would opt to donate to NGOs. By going out to the fields, on their own, they could elicit maybe RM1 or some syillings- and the numbers would add up. It is an honest living because they’re not stealing or forcing anyone and donors give at their own free will. But to see the resillience in them is admirable.

Below is an Indonesian lady with her child selling corn in the market. I love to eat corn- especially those I need not bite and with the cute child tagging alone, she charged more expensive- you see the small white container at the basket- one full container is RM2. But we still bought from her.

One thing we can learn from them is that they are very resillient and resourceful when it comes to finding ways to earn a living. The cleaners in my office, being paid a miserable sum is very into recycling in order to earn a few extra bucks. Toilet rolls, unwanted paper, pizza boxes, plastic bottles are all promptly being recycled.

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Where most Malaysians refuse to work any jobs that they consider ‘beneath’ them, foreigners come in to fill up the important gaps required to keep the industry going. Often, they are being exploited- alone in a foreign country with expensive cost of living, they have to save and stinge and pinch dollars. I’ve seen one cleaner eating instant noddles (the cheaper brands) almost everyday. This is to enable them to send enough money home to lift their families out of poverty. It’s a tough life. So, don’t bully them- if you are not happy with their services, don’t complain to their supervisor that may result them getting scolding or their already mearge salary being cut further. Tell them nicely- and most often, they’ll do what you say.

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  • Ben June 2, 2011, 5:18 am

    I personally admire those disabled people who make a living from street performance. They put on a show to entertain others and ask for a small donation in return. They don’t have to be good at what they are performing since they have already shown that they never give up in life. They need just some spare change in order to support themselves. I enjoy watching street performers and honestly some of them are really talented.

    • Yin June 6, 2011, 10:42 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, the special attribute about them is that they never give up- it’s hard to meet expenses especially with rising costs and yet, they find a way to survive against the odds.

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