Friday, October 22, 2021

The ‘Babu Roti’ of Sentul

Abdul Hafiz Md Daud has been selling bread around the Kuala Lumpur suburb since 1965 and he intends to keep going despite ill health and even a few accidents.

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Hafiz always makes sure to put on a face mask before starting his morning shift. He goes out in two shifts each day, one from 8am to 11.30am and the other from 4pm to 7pm.

Different kinds of bread and buns hang from the back of his bicycle as he makes his way through the bustling suburb. On good days, he can make about RM60.

He stops outside a restaurant to deliver bread to one of his regular customers. Such rounds have been the norm for him since he was 17 years old.

He gets off his bike at a hilly area and pushes it to his next stop. He used to go about on a motorcycle but his doctor forbade this after he was diagnosed with a heart condition which also saw him involved in several accidents.

At another restaurant, he pauses to refill more bags with bread. These days, he feels his age but he needs to keep working to feed his family back home in India.

He does one last stock check before heading back to his house at the end of his morning shift.

During his free time, he calls his wife in India to catch up on things and make sure his family is doing all right.

He performs his midday prayer between shifts as well.

He also enjoys chatting with his housemate, who like him goes about selling bread in Sentul.

Later in the afternoon, it’s time to get back to work.

Years of experience help Hafiz navigate the busy traffic despite his heavy load of bread.

He stops for a while near a shoplot to catch his breath and to see if anyone in the area wants to buy bread.

Then, it’s back to the main road as he makes his way to the government housing area in Pekan Batu, about 7km away from his home.

Once he arrives, he waits for the customers who know his daily schedule.

With nowhere else to sit, he perches on a motorcycle in the parking area of the flats.

Hafiz chats with a customer who stops to buy a loaf of bread for her family.

Sometimes, he uses a miniature trumpet to attract the attention of customers.

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