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From company director to clown

Mohd Fadly Abu Hasan left his job at a private company after 10 years and is now literally as happy as a clown.

Photographs by Djohan Shahrin

Mohd Fadly Abu Hasan, in full costume and make-up as Awang the Clown, entertains a group of children at a birthday party.
Mohd Fadly Abu Hasan, in full costume and make-up as Awang the Clown, entertains a group of children at a birthday party.
But just being a clown isn't enough to pay the bills. Fadly also runs a side business selling sugar cane juice which he makes from the plants that he grows beside a block of flats in Taman Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan.
But just being a clown isn't enough to pay the bills. Fadly also runs a side business selling sugar cane juice which he makes from the plants that he grows beside a block of flats in Taman Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan.
Fadly works hard to keep his small orchard tidy and fruitful.
Fadly works hard to keep his small orchard tidy and fruitful.
He shaves off the outer layer of bark before running the sugar cane plants through a machine in order to extract the sweet juice.
He shaves off the outer layer of bark before running the sugar cane plants through a machine in order to extract the sweet juice.
His sugar cane business which he began at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic carried him through many tough times when performing as a clown in front of large audiences was out of the question.
His sugar cane business which he began at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic carried him through many tough times when performing as a clown in front of large audiences was out of the question.
One of his workers helps him hoist a plastic barrel full of juice into the back of a pickup truck, to be taken to his roadside stall.
One of his workers helps him hoist a plastic barrel full of juice into the back of a pickup truck, to be taken to his roadside stall.
When they arrive, they set up a large blue canopy under which Fadly sells ice-cold juice and soya bean milk.
When they arrive, they set up a large blue canopy under which Fadly sells ice-cold juice and soya bean milk.
He keeps the brand name of Awang for his stall, a nod to his other job as Awang the Clown.
He keeps the brand name of Awang for his stall, a nod to his other job as Awang the Clown.
After setting up his stall, he returns to his shoplot where he keeps his mascot: a pastel purple pony which he checks over for damage due to wear and tear.
After setting up his stall, he returns to his shoplot where he keeps his mascot: a pastel purple pony which he checks over for damage due to wear and tear.
Then, it's time to get started on the thick layer of make-up that is the trademark of his career as a clown.
Then, it's time to get started on the thick layer of make-up that is the trademark of his career as a clown.
He works in front of a small mirror, with a rack full of costumes behind him. It takes him anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to finish applying his make-up and get dressed.
He works in front of a small mirror, with a rack full of costumes behind him. It takes him anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to finish applying his make-up and get dressed.
Of course, a clown is nothing without his red nose.
Of course, a clown is nothing without his red nose.
The costume he chooses depends on the performance he will be giving.
The costume he chooses depends on the performance he will be giving.
Even his socks match his colourful outfit, patterned in cheerful red and white stripes.
Even his socks match his colourful outfit, patterned in cheerful red and white stripes.
The finishing touch: a pair of oversized, floppy red shoes.
The finishing touch: a pair of oversized, floppy red shoes.
Walking along a row of shoplots, Awang the Clown brings a smile to the face of everyone who sees him.
Walking along a row of shoplots, Awang the Clown brings a smile to the face of everyone who sees him.
The children love him, and enthusiastically join in his performance.
The children love him, and enthusiastically join in his performance.
Awang the Clown fastens a yellow balloon flower to the head of a little girl to match her dress.
Awang the Clown fastens a yellow balloon flower to the head of a little girl to match her dress.
He also performs at restaurants and eateries where he goes table to table, delighting the customers and adding an extra dimension to their meal.
He also performs at restaurants and eateries where he goes table to table, delighting the customers and adding an extra dimension to their meal.
Young and old alike enjoy his act as well as the balloons that he hands out.
Young and old alike enjoy his act as well as the balloons that he hands out.
At the end of the day, he goes home tired but content with his life as a clown, bringing laughter and smiles to the people around him.
At the end of the day, he goes home tired but content with his life as a clown, bringing laughter and smiles to the people around him.
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