Wednesday, June 23, 2021

From 5-star hotels to 5-foot ways

Before the MCO, Mohd Zawawi Jusoh and his wife, Khatijah Haji Musa, performed at hotels like The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur and Hilton Petaling Jaya, but now they are struggling to find a spot on the road.

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He makes sure to write out the chords for all the songs he will be playing later that day.

He and his wife, Khatijah Haji Musa, practise their songs together.

It’s time to get ready. Zawawi puts on a long-sleeved collared shirt while Khatijah carefully applies her make-up.

It’s important to stay professional, even though the five-foot ways where they perform are a far cry from the glitzy hotels they used to frequent.

But five-foot way or five-star hotel, the music they play is still the same. Zawawi plays the keyboard as he sings with Khatijah.

The orderly queue of customers entering the restaurant as they sing is testimony to how the Covid-19 outbreak has impacted everyone in one way or another.

A customer drops some money into the box set up on a chair in front of them.

It’s not much, but for now, it’s enough to keep them going until things get better and they can return to regular performances at hotels and clubs.

The money they earn from performing, sometimes only RM600 a month, goes towards essentials such as the humble groceries they buy once they are paid.

As Zawawi gets back to practising, Khatijah makes traditional kuih which she sells to supplement their meagre income.

At the end of the day, they enjoy a simple meal together after their hard work.

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