NUR HASSANAH Zahari smiled fondly at the memory of helping her father at his butcher stall in Pasar Payang, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu when she was a teenager.
Now at 22, Nur Hassanah is the one who runs the busy stall at the bustling wet market. She took over the family business when her father died over a year ago.
“We were close, my father and I,” she recalled lovingly, linking her fingers together to emphasise her point.
“I was so happy helping him out, just because it meant I got to spend time with him.”
Since her father’s passing, Nur Hassanah and her brother have taken it upon themselves to provide for their family of six, which includes their mother and three younger sisters.
“I could have furthered my studies, but I chose to take over the business because I knew how much this meant to my father, and my father meant a lot to me,” she said with a sad smile.
Working in a market like Pasar Payang, however, provides an altogether different kind of education.
Nur Hassanah’s younger sisters, Nur Aniza and Nur Hafikah, 19 and 15 respectively, help her out in the stall during school holidays. They take turns to butcher and clean the meat and handle the money.
“I have learned things here that one doesn’t get from just studying in school,” said Nur Aniza, a business student at UITM Chenderiang, Perak. “I have the opportunity to talk to customers who come from all walks of life.”
Nur Aniza and Nur Hafikah also said that helping out at the butcher stall has made them interested in studying business and led them to consider business-related careers in the future.
“It has also made me better in calculations. I can solve mathematical equations pretty quickly,” said Nur Hafikah.
She is currently studying at Sekolah Menegah Agama Khadijah in Kuala Terengganu, and aspires to be a lecturer in the future.
“I hope my siblings will be successful later in life. We do our best to support them financially for their studies now. Education is important,” said Nur Hassanah.
The oldest sister also wishes to expand their business in the future. “If I have the funds I will do it, but right now the income from our business is just enough to make ends meet,” she said.
Nur Hassanah makes an estimated profit of RM500 per month, and her brother makes about the same through delivering butchered meat orders. The rental for the stall at the market is RM30 each month.
Nur Hassanah also earns extra income by selling Ais Batu Kacang (ABC) in her neighbourhood in the afternoon. In the evening, she tutors her younger sister.
It’s a pretty hectic schedule for someone her age but Nur Hassanah takes it all in stride. “I’m used to it. Furthermore, I have helped my father at the butcher stall since young so it is not much of a problem to me.”
“Working at a young age is tough, but it also makes me a tough person,” said Nur Hassanah.