Have you met Mr. Goh? You might have seen this friendly uncle delivering your veggies. He’s one of our most regular drivers, having delivered over 1000 Cultiveat orders since last year.
In his heyday, Mr. Goh owned multiple businesses, and a Rolex watch. But with regret, he tells us that he traded them all – the businesses, the money, the Rolex – in service of bad habits. “Saya sudah bankrupt lor”.
Having lost his main sources of income, in 2013 at the age of 46, Mr. Goh started rebuilding as a ride-hailing driver. After 6 years of sweat and toil, he saved enough money to fund the opening of his wife’s beauty salon in 2019. She was to paint nails and beautify lashes to diversify their income for their family of five.
Last month, after only 1.5 years in operation, Mrs. Goh bid farewell to her salon. The couple could no longer sustain the business that remained closed for most of its short life. With ride-hailing jobs becoming fewer and farther between, Mr. Goh turned to on-demand delivery, which led him to our doors.
Mr. Goh wakes up at 5.30am everyday and is out of the house by 6am. He makes deliveries until 8 – 9pm at night, then goes home to have dinner with his wife and kids.
At the beginning of the pandemic last year, he told us how his peers became fearful of the exposure that comes with delivery work. But he could not afford to entertain those fears. “Kalau takut, tak boleh kerja, takde kerja, tak boleh makan.”
He’s lucky, he says as he pats his chest. He’s healthy, well, and still able to work. Mr. Goh works 7 days a week, and has to fulfil a minimum number of daily deliveries to be able to afford his rented car and its maintenance, plus petrol. Without meeting the minimum amount of daily deliveries, Mr. Goh pays to work – his expenditure exceeding his earnings.
Mr. Goh cannot own a passport, bank account, or any asset, all consequences of bankruptcy. He doesn’t think that he can be released from bankruptcy, but he hopes to give his family what he lacks: opportunity.
He dreams of a future unbridled for his children, “Kalau nak belajar, boleh belajar. Kalau nak melancong, boleh melancong. Kalau nak kerja, boleh kerja.”