Zamri, 29, is accustomed to saying no to social invitations. It is not that he does not want to spend time with friends and family - he just doesn’t have a choice.
Every day after finishing up at his nine-to-five job as a marketing executive, Zamri (not his real name) flips burgers at his own stall he set up two years ago.
Zamri is one of many Malaysians who are taking up extra work, mostly to make ends meet or to supplement salaries that have remained stagnant.
Graphic designer Hafiz Ahmad (not his real name), 32, says he works nights so he can save for rainy days.
"My salary may be enough to cover my basic needs but for savings purposes, it is not enough. I need savings so that I have enough money to get married and to buy a car and a house.
"My current salary is only enough to pay the monthly instalments for a car, and in doing so, I won't have money to spare for savings," Hafiz said.
His basic expenditure includes paying rent, insurance premium, electric and water bills as well as Astro and Internet bills. He also sets aside money for his mother, the monthly instalment for his motorcycle and petrol cost.
"Altogether these expenses come up to RM1,800," he pointed out. "I cannot spend more than that."
Because of this, Hafiz has been spending his nights managing a drinks business, which he shares with two others. They share the tasks from preparation of the drinks to delivery and selling the drinks at a stall.
Now, at the end of the month, Hafiz has more money in his bank account, but it has come at a cost of his rest and leisure time.
"But being tired is not a hindrance for people nowadays if they want to live in comfort," he said...