Covid-19: Gopeng’s white water rafting coach and team members turn to selling durians to earn a living

Muhd Syafiq Yusoff (right) said they were supposed to participate in two white water rafting competitions this year but due to Covid-19, the competitions had been postponed. — Pictures by Farhan Najib
Muhd Syafiq Yusoff (right) said they were supposed to participate in two white water rafting competitions this year but due to Covid-19, the competitions had been postponed. — Pictures by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, Aug 18 — Muhd Syafiq Yusoff considers himself lucky.

After his convocation from Universiti Sains Malaysia, the 26-year-old was lucky to do something that he likes — coaching.

He started teaching white water rafting in Gopeng and went on to organise the inaugural Kampar River Fest in 2019.

He then formed the Malaysia Rafting Association last year.

If not for Covid-19, Syafiq and his team of 10 people, who work with him in the company offering white water rafting services, would be training for two international white water rafting tournaments in Indonesia and China this year.

But due to the pandemic, they are now forced to do things that are unrelated to their field.

Syafiq said the team did nothing last year after the government enforced the movement control order (MCO).

“We kept thinking the MCO would not be long so we just waited it out and used our savings for our livelihood.”

Speaking to Malay Mail, Syafiq said things improved a bit when the government allowed inter — district travel at the end of last year.

“We could take in people who wanted to have a taste of white water rafting.”

Things went downhill again when the government reintroduced MCO early this year.

“We tried offering online lessons for white water rafting but it did not go down well.”

“Imagine white water rafting is a sport-related to water and here we are teaching the skills online.”

When things started to look bleak, Syafiq and his team decided to look for other jobs just to put food on the table.

Syafiq said the durians are from a farm belonging to one of the team member’s families.
Syafiq said the durians are from a farm belonging to one of the team member’s families.

Three of them managed to get permanent jobs working in hypermarkets while the rest are currently selling durians.

Syafiq said the durians are from a farm belonging to one of the team member’s families.

“The family took pity on us as we had no job and no income. So they asked us to collect their durians to sell and pay them a nominal sum.”

Since the start of the durian season in June, Syafiq said eight of them would collect durians twice a day, 7am and 5pm, before selling it at Pasir Pinji Market and SMK Seri Ampang.

“We will start selling at 8am in front of the market until the market closes before moving to the school where we will sell until our stock finishes.”

Since the start of the durian season in June, Syafiq said eight of them would collect durians twice a day, 7am and 5pm, before selling it at Pasir Pinji Market and SMK Seri Ampang.
Since the start of the durian season in June, Syafiq said eight of them would collect durians twice a day, 7am and 5pm, before selling it at Pasir Pinji Market and SMK Seri Ampang.

Since the start of the durian season, Syafiq said they had been sleeping in the orchard, located in Gopeng, to ensure no intruders would come in to steal the thorny fruit.

“We will continue to stay there until the season ends, expected in the middle of August.”

Muhd Syafiq Yusoff said after the current durian season, he will return to be a Grab driver.
Muhd Syafiq Yusoff said after the current durian season, he will return to be a Grab driver.

Asked what they will do to sustain their livelihood after the season ends, Syafiq said he would drive Grab while the others would turn to farming.

“We have to do whatever we can just to earn a living. We cannot always expect help from the government.”

Those interested to buy their durians can contact Syafiq at 017-4738895.

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