Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Come out of the shell ...

Following the recent 'unity' ponggal celebration in KL ... wait, all the while ponggal is a unity event among the Tamils, right? Suddenly, we are bombarded with messages of being united via ponggal or such. Well, why not? Let's unite the already united 'unitees' and move on. I almost missed the point here, but I'll catch up soon.

One Tamil daily, published some facts and figures about this MEGA, GIGA, TERA event. Some of the facts 'incited' me to write this piece. It seems after the event, the journalist observed that, contracts for cleaning, sweeping, washing the venue wass NOT given to an Indian contractor, nor there were any local Indians working as the sweepers. Adoi!

I put the paper down, turned to my politically & historically savvy father and asked, why are we (Indians) still whining about not getting road building, road sweeping, sewerage cleaning contracts? Why not talk or explore possibilities of other business that we can earn equal or more income? Something that not many Indians do? He said, there are still some portion of our people stuck in the paradigm of 'coolie workers' (pardon the term), I understand he meant ‘salaried workers’. He added, we can be proud of very FEW individuals, who've over the year shown that, wealth can be earned in many other businesses, which may or may not be our heritage businesses. I blurted out names like EverSendai, Puteri, Babas, Maxis, Astro, Lotus, Maduras, IJM, Rakyat Group, Lourdes ... some of them are still traditional business, but done in big scale.

Well, we can go on and whine about not getting contracts for the usual works we are familiar with, but with unity (I caught up, you see?) we can pool our resources and venture into business. The ‘pooling without poramai’ is particularly tough among us, but not impossible. There are many funding facilities available for small to medium size business nowadays. Coupled with micro loans, special funding for single mothers and disables, the potential is vast.

For example, why can't idiappam (not putumayam) makers & sellers join forces and develop proper facilities to produce their products. Since its food item, they should strive to get Halal certification (no matter how tough it is), before 'someone' else does it and stamp their trademark over OUR idiappam. Same goes to many other traditional business that can be modernized, before its completely overwhelmed by other people.

Bangladeshi selling vadai, without kodai at Masjid India

How many time have you seen foreigners learning to make our delicacies and selling it to our people in places like Masjid India. Why can't our (jobless, mystical gang-fanatic) youths do it? Oh pride matter huh, then don't complain Indon making athirasam, Nepal making toseh or Bangla making idiappam, earning good income here.

There are few businesses that we see good potential, but not attempted (much) by our community: 
  • Motorcycle workshops / dealers
  • Mobilephone sales / repair shops
  • Laundry
  • Bakery / Baking supplies
  • IT shops
  • 2nd hand vehicle dealers
  • Florists

Perhaps our complacence with salaried jobs and our parent’s perception on own businesses is stopping us from venturing into own business? Many times, the resistance and naysayers for budding businessmen are within their own family. Families should encourage their kids to venture into business, no matter how small the idea is. Find more information, plan properly and talk to people who’ve experience.

“Oruthan veleiyei vittutu business panna porennu sonna, avanai yesathingeh! Avan patthu peruku velei kodukureh alavirku tairiyam irukum, atharku ookam kodungal … sontha ulaipaal uyarvom!”