Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Kopi Kia

In my old home, we befriended the kopi-kia (coffee boy), as regular customers at the coffeeshop. By and by, we learnt of his life story - he left his family behind in China to work here, to provide better for them. He had a two-year-old daughter. Every day he worked from 12am midnight to 12pm the next afternoon, 7 days a week, and earned $2000 a month. Isn't there a labour law somewhere to prevent such inhumanly long hours?

So when the newspapers started discussing the possibility of self-service in coffee shops, as compared to having a kopi-kia deliver the drinks to our tables, this man came into my mind again. 

While we all appreciate the convenience of having this service at the coffee shop, we cannot ignore the fact that this is an exceedingly menial job that pays the worker far less it should. I had always wondered how many miles a kopi-kia has to walk in one shift. We don't want to have to pay more for our drinks, yet no one should have to exploit his strength for so little in return. 

So, DIY is probably the best way to go at the coffee shops. That would free up manpower for more productive work, which would be more financially rewarding for the worker.


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