Cycling hero washes cars to make ends meet
Published on Saturday 14th June
Monday, June 16, 2014 - The Malay Mail
But in real life, Rosli Abdul Kadir, who turns 75 next Saturday, is still washing cars to make a living instead of spending time leisurely.
The father of eight children and 23 grandchildren was a member of the gold medal winning team on grass at Merdeka Stadium in the 1963 Asian cycling championships.
A double international, having also represented the nation in in athletics, Rosli made his debut at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta and retired in 1973.
In the 20km Big Walk, he had competed in the 1973 Sea Games where he finished fourth.
He also won numerous walking meets in the region, including The Malay Mail Big Walk where he had won the junior veterans category thrice in a row to make the challenge trophy his to keep.
However, the accolades and honours earned as a cyclist were not good enough to get him a decent job to bring up his family.
Rosli had worked as a driver, odd-job worker and gardener before he decided to try his hands at car washing.
It started about 30 years ago when he managed to get CIMB in Damansara to allow him to wash its employees’ cars in their premises.
Three months ago, he moved to the CIMB Sentral office, thanks to the assistance of group administration and property manager Khairizal Khalib.
Armed with a motorcycle which had been specially fitted to carry two pails of water, he moves up and down the car park to wash his regular clients’ cars three times a week.
He charges RM50 a month for regulars and RM5 a wash for random clients.
"I have about 40 regular clients and together with the random clients, I can earn about RM1,000 a month which is suffice for me to survive," said Rosli, whose wife passed away last year.
He currently stays with his youngest son in a low-cost rental where he pays RM124 per month.
“I am very grateful to Khairizal for giving me permission to operate in the bank's premises.
He is an ardent sports fan and took pity to allow me to earn my living washing cars.
“I have been doing this for more than 30 years and I am not ashamed of it because I am earning an honest living and working for it,” said Rosli, who was inducted into the OCM Hall of Fame last year.
Rosli said he also gets assistance from The National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) from which his medical bills are taken care of.
“I am grateful to Yakeb for assisting me and many other former athletes with our medical bills. We have a medical card given by Yakeb and use it to get our monthly medication.
“But it would have been nice to be remembered for services rendered to the nation. Something like pension in our old age."
When Yakeb launched their 1Ringgit 1Malaysia campaign in 2009, they had presented RM2,000 and a bag of rice to Rosli and his family.
“Thank God I can still work and earn pocket money by washing cars. I use the money for my daily expenses, buys gifts for my grandchildren when I can and save some just in case there comes a day when I cannot work," he said.
Rosli, who hails from Bunut Payong in Kota Baru, Kelantan, said he came to the city in the 1960s to attend trials for the Asian Games cycling team for three days on a hired bicycle.
He said it was the passion to represent the nation which saw him leave home.
"I have no regrets despite my current position. I enjoyed every minute of the 11 years in cycling," said Rosli.
“And to see my two sons — Nor Effandy and Noor Azahar — follow in my footsteps and don national colours was a proud moment for me.
“At least they are better off as there were efforts to secure employment for national athletes. Nor Effandy got a job as an enforcement officer with City Hall under (former KL mayor) Tan Sri Elyas Omar."
Rosli said that sports will be benefit with officials who are passionate and have the welfare of athletes at heart.
“Elyas was truly an exemplary official who has done a great deal for Malaysian sports.
“But more often than not, officials are there for their own benefits and athletes are often neglected.”
He said that athletes today have it good and should be performing much better in the international arena.
Rosli said one way for Malaysian sports to progress was to expose athletes to training methods overseas and more importantly, compete in top level competitions regularly.