Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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18-year-old Malaysian orphan defies odds, runs nasi lemak business despite heart condition

PERAK, MALAYSIA — Despite having a hole in his heart, 18-year-old orphan Ahmad Awaluddin never shies away from life’s challenges. He has taken it upon himself to run a nasi lemak (coconut milk rice) business, ensuring his own livelihood and the survival of his caretaker’s family.

Malaysians commend his resilience and dedication to making a living despite his struggles and health issues.

While most teenagers his age are busy with activities, or socializing with friends, Ahmad wakes up as early as 3 a.m. to cook 150 packs of nasi lemak before selling them at the stall starting from 7 a.m. He maintains this routine almost every day.

According to the Malaysian media outlet Harian Metro, Ahmad Awaluddin was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and airway abnormalities.

Every day, he cooks nasi lemak and sambal tumis with the help of his aunt, Surani Ariffin, 57, and his cousin.

Surani has been caring for Ahmad since his biological mother, Surana Ariffin, passed away due to waterlogged lungs when he was 10 years old.

His father, Idris Ibrahim, had previously passed away when he was only two years old.

Ahmad affectionately calls his aunt Surani “Mak Yang.” As a single mother of two, she supports the entire family by selling food in front of their house.

Ever since he was 12 years old, Ahmad has been assisting Surani with the business, always expressing gratitude towards her.

Ahmad took over the cooking work after his aunt no longer fit for work after an accident

Unfortunately, Surani was involved in an accident last year that resulted in a broken leg, which has not fully healed and prevented her from working.

“For the sake of our survival, I took over the cooking work every morning because I still need to undergo regular check-ups at Penang Hospital every two to six months.”

Having previously conducted their business in front of their house, Ahmad has now started selling packed nasi lemak at a petrol station located approximately 100 meters from their house.

Despite recently achieving passing grades in all subjects of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) (Malaysian Certificate of Education), Ahmad chose to continue with business instead of pursuing further studies due to the pressures of life.

Ahmad sells each pack of his nasi lemak for RM1.20 (approximately 0.26 USD).

“I want to continue Mak Yang’s efforts. Besides, I am genuinely interested in business.”

“I am also very grateful to Mak Yang for taking care of me. Therefore, I want to repay her kindness in taking care of me all this time,” he said.

Ahmad’s resilience and determination win praise on social media

Many netizens have expressed their empathy and admiration for Ahmad, praising his resilience and determination despite his challenging circumstances.

Another food channel, FS Channel, also visited Ahmad’s stall recently and called other netizens to support his business at Petronas Padang Rengas, Kuala Kangsar, Perak every morning.


A netizen commented: “Congratulations, little brother… diligent and enthusiastic despite not having good health. I pray that you will always be under the protection of Allah and that all your affairs, both in this world and the hereafter, will be made easy for you. May you be blessed with abundant sustenance and blessings from Him.”

Commenting on the Harian Metro’s Facebook post, a netizen praised Ahmad and commended his aunt’s dedication to raising this child, “It’s already tough being an orphan, and your challenges are even greater, dear. May you remain steadfast. Thank you to your aunt for taking care of you since you were little.”

Another netizen responded, expressing gratitude and acknowledging the presence of such a caring aunt. She mentioned the countless blessings and sincere intentions of the aunt, which will surely be rewarded greatly in the hereafter.

“My own siblings were oppressed and mistreated by someone who was both their aunt and guardian when they were under her care. For you, may endurance, patience, and strength always accompany every step of your journey. May you be healthy and free from the illness you are facing.”

A netizen’s comment on The New Straits Times expressed his admiration for the hard work and determination of the young man. He also expressed a hope that the Tunku Azizah Foundation, known for its charitable work, could provide assistance in funding his medical bills for his heart condition.

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