Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Warong Malaysia 2009

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One of the main event in every college festivals - food stalls, in which the Japanese call it 露店 (roten). Not rotan-hor.
How fast time flies.
It has been more than one year since I joined the rest of the Malaysian students in my college to open a stall during our college festival. Exactly a month ago, it was our annual college festival again and just like the previous year, we decided to open a stall again because based on our experience from what we earned last year, the profit we can make is...
Errr, I think I shall just save the details here haha.
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The poster for Warong Malaysia 2009.
This time however, I wasn't the main person as I let the forth year juniors to take over. Nevertheless, I was in-charge (actually, I was only SS (self-syiok) and self-declared myself as the person-in-charge haha) of the poster-making department. I did some slight changes to the advertising poster introducing our stalls, which were to be pasted around the college. Personally, I feel the poster this year had a fair improvement from the one last year, and I am quite satisfied with the final result, considering my limited skills in Photoshop haha.
Poster design is not really the most important thing in the whole process of Warong Malaysia; but this is.
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Shah (first from the left) went to work immediately when he saw me taking this photo haha.
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Baked groundnuts, before being used for the kuah kacang.
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And you'd guess it right, satay was the main menu this year.
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I know this look kinda gross, but trust me, the grilled satay was superb.
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Errr, not this one though. This one is the failed first batch haha.
The very next morning, the juniors were already at the working pit, setting up the stalls and everything. It was such a cold morning, and it was just the perfect setting for us to continue sleeping underneath our futon. But we had a job awaiting and since we are such nice seniors (yes, SS again), we went down to help the juniors.
Initially, we joked with them, saying that the seniors would not do anything except giving instructions only lol.
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Two Malaysians setting up the fire in Japan using charcoal imported from Indonesia. Sounds so international haha.
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Here, we were using cardboard to make dustbin wtf. See, I've told you the seniors will help out one.
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Took turns to fan the stubborn charcoal which was so hard to burn.
It didn't stop at just setting up the fire using the barbecue set. We had to get chairs and tables from a room, and use newspaper and plastic wrapper to wrap the table so that they would not get dirty. They also gave us a bottle of disinfectant and had us to prepare a basin of water so that we can wash hands there. Not only that, we also had to send samples of food from our stall to the Students' Affair Department before we start our business every day. It is one of the formal procedure so that they can use those samples for testing, just in case someone gets food poisoning.
Talking about the food samples, we had to send 50 grams of each food to them. I was left cursing my luck because every time I took the food there to be weighed before handing the food to them, the food was sort a few grams. Not just once, but it was so many times that I have lost count on the number of times going to-and-forth from the stall and the Students' Council Department to add and reweigh the food. I think it was no less than five times, that on the forth time, the satay in the plastic bag was 49 grams.
I don't have the slightest idea how can it be that precise =.=
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Anyway, let me rewind backwards a bit; after the guys had successfully set up the fire, they started to grill the satay.
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Faiz (left) here wondered why his satay didn't look as nice as the ones grilled by others haha.
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Took some time off from grilling the satay for some pictures.
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I was actually there standing among the satay team just for the sake of snapping this picture haha.
The satay from the first day was the worse. Okay-lah, maybe not that bad that it was not edible. But the colour didn't look appealing, and the taste was below average as well. However, the look and the taste improved on the second day and the satay on the third day was the best. It was so good that I think we ate half of the total numbers of sticks we were supposed to sell on that day haha.
Halfway grilling and selling, we ate the satay at the same time-lor haha.
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Satay in the making.
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Satay was 100 yen per stick. That is like RM 3.50 for one stick. I know that is the worse cut-throat business in the entire history of mankind haha.
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Besides satay, kuih bakar was on the menu. It was 100 yen per piece. Quite cut throat also-lah in fact lol.
If you know basic Japanese, you should know the word "baka" means stupid in Japanese. So, it was not surprising to see the facial expressions of the customers when they looked at the menu. We had to convince them that eating kuih bakar is perfectly safe and they will not turn stupid haha. What to do right? The pun was definitely unintended.
Business was pretty good, as expected. Most of them were supportive and willing to try the satay that we were selling. However, there were a few people, especially the older generations who looked uncertain when they saw a stall selling weird food from a country that they have never heard about.
Did I mention before that there are still Japanese who thought we live on trees =.=
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Prof. Yamada, the one who helped me to clean some of the shit happened several months ago, was one of the customers.
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We saw the school principal from afar and we waved to him. He had no choice but to drop by our stall lol.
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Sato Sensei, whom I think bought at least something from every stalls there. Carine trying to play hide-and-seek behind.
Advertising is one of the important factors when you are doing business. That is one of the factors that we emphasise on when we work for Warong Malaysia. For that, we had our third year junior Bai to take that responsibility. Seriously, he was up to it for that job.
Here is an example.

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Inviting several of his classmates (I think) to the stall.
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However, this green Froggie was one of our main rival.
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Besides that frog, there were Panda, Pikachu, Rabbit and Bear from other stalls who tried to lure customers to their stalls.
Like that, how to win them-lah, right?
Luckily, we got Bai with us, and with the great minds of a few of us, we came out with a totally different advertising method. That is to stick the menu on his rear part of his body, and let him go around promoting the selasih syrup we were selling. We expected him to sell off at least one cup of syrup, but guess how many he sold?
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Bai, the syrup guy.
Zero. Haha, but at least we should credit him for trying.
Besides those mascots, I have no clear idea why they made our stall to be next to the stall that sold the Japanese satay, yakitori. Not very sure if it was part of a conspiracy to bring our stall down, or it was just a coincidence. Nevertheless, we didn't give up and tried all out to outwit the stall next to us. Just mention anything, from shouting non-stop whenever we see customers walking pass our stall, to luring them to try Malaysian satay even though they were standing at the yakitori stall. That is not considered as customer stealing, right? I feel that we did a great job as we managed to match, if not overtook their sales.
Rain was one of our major concern throughout the three days of business. According to the weather forecast, it would rain throughout the three days, especially in the evening. We had no choice but to continue with our business, although we were aware that business would be affected more or less.

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Rain or shine, there were still customers, especially during lunch time.
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Enjoying ourselves eventhough it was raining.
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It was not only rain, because on the third day, the weather got really cold and it hailed!
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The most excited ones were the third year juniors who saw hailstone for the first time.
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Fortunately, it didn't stop customers from coming to our stalls.
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The wife of Mr Haga and their cute little daughter, Manami paid a visit to our stall as well. She seemed to be enjoying eating the satay very much.
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I tried to carry Manami and the next thing was, she cried so loudly haha!
There was one first year student, whose name was Kobayashi. His head is cleanly shaved which made him look very much a monk. His small eyes and sharp pointing-mouth makes him look like a photocopy version of Sineo from Doraemon. Not forgetting, his short figure just made him one of the most recognisable person in the college.
So, he was there, walking aimlessly while looking for food to buy.
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His name is Kobayashi.
The cheeky few of us, looked at his movement from our stall. He finally ended up at our stall, and he took no less than five minutes to go through the menu, then looked at the food on the table, and went back to the menu again, looked at the food again, looked around the stall and the process repeated on and on haha. We were discussing among ourselves, wondering how many sticks of satay he would buy after the detailed observation that lasted so long.
In the end, he finally spoke out, and guess what he ordered.
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Told you he was so famous among girls haha!
「サテーを一本下さい」or "Satay one, please".
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Woah, stand there so long, think, think, think, and now wanna buy ONLY 1 satay?! I was so pissed off that my face turned like this haha!

Haha, no-lah. The picture above is just a candid shot by Hong Yao, I think. But anyway, it was just like what I had guessed lol! It was fun and interesting to see this little guy to take such a long time to decide on what he was gonna buy, only for him to tell us that he was gonna get a stick of satay. I think the attention we paid on him had make him felt a bit uneasy and scared him lol.
This entry is getting too lengthy that I guess I should end it soon. Here are a few group pictures taken at Warong Malaysia.
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Alogo from Gabon and Salehin from Bangladesh, the two juniors in the third year.
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The official booklet for the college festival this year.
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The girls wore baju kurung on the third day, despite the freezing temperature.
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It was so cold that the guys had to have their sweaters on.
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Promoting the selasih syrup haha.
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All can apply for part-time job to act in satay advertisement after this haha.
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In between grilling and selling the satay and other food, we had our kind juniors to prepare this for us - nasi himpit and sliced cucumber. Dip them in the kuah kacang and eat them in a cold day; the orgasmic feel is beyond description.
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We had some seniors from the nearby Nagaoka University of Technology who came over. They were the last customers, as they bought more than 50 sticks of satay. A big thank you to them for letting us to close shop early.
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Finally, time for cleaning up everything.
Last but not least, a group photo as this is gonna be my last year here.
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Take one.
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Take two.
Just in case anyone are still wondering how much we earned from the three days, well, it was not that much.
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Net profit from selling (partially were eaten by ourselves lol) more than 800 sticks of satay, 100 pieces of kuih bakar and around 50 cups of syrup.

Well, I will let you do the Maths.

20 comments:

Reenybob said...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2781/4143408592_4223a77522.jpg

this picture looks damn wrong can! :P

MichelleG said...

wei u shd put some sample only word on the money photo otherwise ppl can copy!! counterfeit lol

~Live Life~ said...

Wow! That's some kind of blood-sucking business...how many of you share the profits? haha...

How did y'all get those satay meat? I'm impressed with the effort you guys put into especially in promoting Malaysia's delicacies...

Good job!

calvin said...

@ reenybob:
if you notice, the guys behind seemed to be enjoying the moment lol!

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
are your referring to people who loves to do silly stuff like your bunny? xD

calvin said...

@ ~love life~:
there are eighteen of us, so it is not that much to be honest xD

we ordered halal boneless-chicken from the internet, and used the spices we brought from home to marinate the meat.

it was super tiring, when you consider that we worked around the clock for three straight days and nights without much rest. nevertheless, we had real fun, joking around while working together :)

Wee Kien said...

foreign student stall= malaysian stall??...haha

fufu said...

wow... this reminds my daigakusai!!! preparin those food the day before... and then woke up early for the tent and shouting out loud.... and got all the food sold out very fast every year =p but we dont have this event here in germany ><

=chuan guan= said...

wow..selling 100 yen per stick..i think i shall be da satay man in japan..earning big bucks there..hahaa..
*shall begin saving for this investment..wink~~

~Live Life~ said...

Hmm...yea...the fun and bond is much rewarding than the money earned, I believe...

yea...and plus it's so cold! great job anyways...=)

kh said...

haiyo.... our satay ¥150 also still got people buy ... hahahah....
500 sticks sold out some more....

calvin said...

@ wee kien:
the rest of the international students from mongolia, vietnam, gabon and bangladesh didn't seem like joining us. so we made it a typical malaysian stall :D

calvin said...

@ fufu;
i love the shouting part a lot because that is the time we can shout out loudly in japanese, yet nobody will think that we are crazy haha! =P

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
we wanted to make it 150 yen per stick, but we thought that would be too much lol!

calvin said...

@ ~love life~:
true. money and making profit weren't the main things we wanted from doing this. now i know how to deal with the japanese when we are doing business with them.

nevertheless, of course we were happy that we made some extra pocket money xD

shouting and promoting our stall is one part, but the standard lines we kept on repeating for three days was another exciting time we enjoyed a lot. i have lost count how many times i used the word "irasshaimase" and "arigatou gozaimasu" haha!

and yeah, it was super cold this year. add that to the wind and rain, it was one memorable experience for all of us =D

calvin said...

@ kh:
but yours looked so much fatter!

~Live Life~ said...

cool!

how to deal with japanese in business? any special tricks?

=)

calvin said...

@ ~love life~:
hehe, i'm not sure if i should mention it here but anyway, japanese are generally kinda gullible. they will believe whatever you say if you're a promoter and promoting on a certain product. just point out something uncommon and they will want to try the product instantly.

another trick is by telling them the item is a limited edition item, which works well on the japanese most of time.

so now you know how to do business with the japanese and remember, you first heard it from here xD

~Live Life~ said...

I don't think they are neither gullible nor fleeceable...maybe because of they having really strong, virtuous work ethics that it had shaped their culture of doing business...

Afterall, business is built on trust...and as u said, they really trust promoters...

Well, that's the tip of the day! Thanks to our advisor today, Calvin! LOL! (Sound like the man at Yellowstone National Park...xD)

calvin said...

@ ~love life~:
yes, i think you are referring to the honesty of the japanese, don't you? i guess i gotta agree with you on this.

it is too true that you gotta be true to your customers when you're doing business. if you have the intention to cheat or trick the customer into buying your product, that would be the first and the last time that customer gonna do business with you.

a simple example i can see is when my mom buys fruits. the seller will never tell us that their fruits are sour, although they are some really nice one who will be honest if the fruits aren't that fresh.

however, i don't think we tricked the japanese at warong malaysia cause our food was really really good. price wise, you cannot say we over-charged them because we cannot sell our stuff at an extremely low price and we were just following the market price.

p/s: i think you got influenced too much from 2012, eh? xD