36-year-old Malaysian foodpanda delivery rider Mohd Akmal Azhar took to Facebook recently to share his good news on attaining his PhD after 4 long years! He shared pictures of his PhD thesis, and a touching message thanking his wife and professor for supporting him on this tough journey. His wife’s unwavering support was key to his success – pulling them through the obstacles over his years of studies. Oh, and she was also pregnant twice during this period when he was juggling delivery work and studies!
According to Malaysian news portal Kosmo!, Akmal was pursuing his PhD from the University of Malaysia Pahang. In the interview, Akmal also said that working as a foodpanda food delivery rider has taught him new skills, like communication and time management skills.
Akmal started working as a full-time rider since the beginning of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) back in 2020. His inspirational post on his personal Facebook account has since garnered 524 likes and 200+ comments – many, many praises and congratulatory messages from inspired netizens!
It’s always heart-warming to hear of inspirational workers like Akmal! Closer to home, food delivery riders are also our ‘invisible heroes’. They face unreasonable customers, they brave the hot sun and thunderstorms while we stay home and wait for our food with a few clicks on our smartphones. An increasing number of workers are turning to doing food delivery because of the flexibility and apparently, relatively good money if you are hardworking enough. Think 12-14 hours on the road daily. ☹What can we do to show more appreciation for our food delivery riders in Singapore? I’d say, we can tip them more often if we have the ability to!
The thing is, in the longer term, food delivery riders need more support too! Beefing up their skillsets, having more financial safety nets, all these will help improve their lives. But who’s looking into this?
Recently, Dr Koh Poh Koon announced that an advisory committee on platform workers will study how to strengthen protection of those in delivery services, as well as cab and private-hire car drivers.
The National Trades Union Congress is also working on proposals to see how the union and association can ensure adequate protection for our delivery brothers and sisters to make sure they are not left behind. We all can play our little parts to better the lives of our vulnerable workers!