Sat at a bar with this amazing beautiful bar girl giggling and flirting with me. I know its really all business and her job is to keep me in the bar and maybe buy her a lady drink but it still boosts a guys confidence to have such a young pretty thing hanging on to your every word. I just start to tell her what I thing is a rather entertaining story about an orangutan walking me up a mountain when the sound of an engine pulling up outside loses all of her attention I had and she jumps up and runs out of the bar giggling followed by an exodus of other bar girls all giggling and shrieking as though a movie star has pulled up.
I look around bewildered all vague hopes that she was really interested crushed. I’m not the only one. Several other customers are doing the same. Was it a movie star or a famous musician or even some well known Asian male model just getting out out of his limousine. Well no. It’s a skinny guy in shorts and vest riding a moped with a home made sidecar made into a mobile store displaying glittering shoes. Unbelievable. The Hobo has lost out to shoe shopping.
Welcome to Asia where because of the lack of stringent rules and regulation which choke back so many businesses back home Asia has some of the most amazing little entrepreneurs in the world. Any chance of any vague sort of business here exists because of the complete lack of strangling laws that we have back home and the cheap price of licences . You want to sell fish. Well just buy a customised sidecar for your moped or build a handcart and you can park it down a street and sell it from your mobile shop on the road side.
You build your mobile shop and drive it around targeting your customers. The mobile shoe shop is but one example. I have seen the same mopeds driving round selling trashy jewelry hand bags or dresses, down bar streets, or stuffed toys and beach balls along the beach front, fresh fruit on the roadside right next to ones selling fresh hot sweetcorn on the cob.
Its not just restricted to moped owners. You own an apartment on the ground floor. Well just open the front up and you can sell most anything. In fact foreigners are not usually allowed to rent ground floor apartments because its taking business away from locals who will do just this. It may just be grandma left alone to sell a few drinks and snacks while the rest of the family is away working or a young wife and children managing a clothes shop run from the front of their ground floor apartment. Most will actually have TVs (the Asians love telly more the the English) installed to keep them entertained. I have even seen hammocks put up with the owners fast asleep in their own shop or mattress’s on the floor with half the family curled asleep. Some are converted into full garages to service all the mopeds and tuk tuks. Some just have a few seats and cook noodles for locals or any foreigners brave enough to dare to eat outside the box of his normal comfort zone.
The main point I am trying to get across is that without all the rules and regulations and the government taking a huge slice of the pie or demanding such stringent accounting and tax returns families can live here maybe not in luxury but at least they have a roof over their heads and food in the families belly. They are satisfied to make maybe make the equivalent of say ten pounds a day back in England. Not much most people would consider but for poor families back home that equates to seventy pounds per week which without the government taking such a huge chunk would pull a lot of them out of the poverty bracket.
It may not work back home. How many people would want to pull themselves away from a sofa and the tv soaps just to get a few extra pounds, but for a few it would be a start to go from no business to a small business to a bigger one. I believe many people could run successful business’s if this choke hold of petty laws, rules and regulations did not hold them back. I believe most people do want to make their own way and be successful and put the roof over the families heads and the food in their bellies without having to rely on government handouts.
I don’t think it will ever happen but it is something to think about.
Thanks for reading