Fragrant Thai-Style Chicken Rice By Hawker Who Runs Stall Solo Despite Hand Tremors
May Lee used to sell Hainanese chicken rice in Bangkok. She opened Thailand Chicken Rice at Golden Mile Food Centre to support her young daughter and herself.
It’s not even 9am on a Tuesday morning and things are already getting busy for Johor-born hawker May Lee, 50, at Thailand Chicken Rice, her two-year-old stall at the basement of Golden Mile Food Centre. The lady boss is rushing to pack a couple of big orders as a steady stream of customers come to tapow her Thai-style Hainanese chicken rice. She toggles between cooking rice, chopping and packing chicken, and we notice her hands shaking quite badly as she goes about her tasks efficiently.
Mays says she suffers from hand tremors due to a kidney-related condition she’s born with. She tells us it’s worsening with age, but in spite of this, she works fast and reassures us that customers do not have to wait more than three minutes for their food, not even during peak hours.
“The only problem is, I always scald my hand when serving customers their [bowls of] soup. But they really sayang me. Sometimes when they see my hands trembling, they will help me to pack the food into the plastic bag or buy me coffee. They are very friendly,” she says with a smile. She doesn't have a stall assistant as she can still manage on her own. Cost, she says, is also an issue.
When we urge her to get her condition checked, she says: “Medical bills are very expensive for Malaysians. I did go for acupuncture, but I don’t even have enough time to sleep — where to find time to see a doctor?”
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