Kuala Lumpur — His name is Captain Azrin Mohamad Zawawi and, until the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he was a commercial airline pilot.
Last weekend, he wore his uniform to his new job as a food stall operator because he did not know when he would be able to fly again, according to a Facebook post by his father which has since gone viral.
Cpt Azrin’s story, of going from flying a Boeing 737NG with Malindo Air to operating Kapten Corner, a stall at Boom Town Cafe in Subang Jaya, Selangor, has been picked up by the media, including the New Straits Times (NST) and The Star.
What’s even better news is that Kapten Corner, which sells mee curry, mee hoon soup, laksa utara and rojak buah, sold out its offerings this week, as Malaysians rallied to support Capt Azrin.
His father, Mr Mohamad Zawawi Ahmad, wrote on Monday (Nov 2): “Yesterday my son Captain Azrin Mohamad Zawawi manned his Kapten Corner stall at Boom Town USJ11 in full pilot uniform. He wouldn’t know when he will be donning the uniform again as a pilot as nobody knows about the future of the aviation industry.”
NST reports that the senior commercial airline pilot was retrenched recently. Capt Azrin, who has chalked up more than 13,000 hours over 20 years with three airlines, has had to rely on other skills to see his family through these hard times.
“Knowing well that I and my family will be hard hit managing our finances and lives, I decided to fall back on my culinary skills which I had picked up after leaving school more than two decades ago.
“Rather than grumble about losing my job and face unwanted sufferings, I consulted my family about the stall business, which requires a manageable investment.
“They were all for it and here I am,” he told NST.
Capt Azrin, who turned 44 recently and has four children, said that the main cook at Kapten Corner is his mother-in-law Rohime Abdul Rahman. He assists her with his wife Latun Noralyani Meor Aminudin.
NST added that Capt Azrin had been given wise advice by his father.
“My father knew well that nobody knew what the future of the aviation industry would be as a result of Covid-19. He told me that he was pessimistic about the situation returning to normalcy soon and when I would get to wear my pilot’s uniform again.
“That is why I decided to don my full uniform to carry out my stall business.”
The pilot called the pandemic “a wake-up call for everyone”, including himself and his family. Whereas he used to earn RM50,000 (S$16,300) monthly as a pilot, he may now, at best, be taking home only RM1,500 daily (S$490).
“But I am confident business will pick up with social media publicity.
“I badly need to stay afloat as my overheads are about RM30,000 a month for maintaining my houses, cars, children’s private schooling, personal expenses and other incidentals,” he said. /TISG