Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
The Chinese have always attached great importance to ties of friendship. Some Chinese, however, attach greater importance to money and flee in the face of hardship.
When it comes to affairs related to money and interests, most people will prioritise their own gains and losses and cling to their line of defense. When the boss is in trouble, employees will usually flee.
In Kuala Kangsar, Perak, however, a few Malay employees had actually stayed by their Chinese employer's side and even suggested wage cuts to help him ride out the storm.
The employer treats his employees like his brothers and he even helped them start their own businesses after his business was stabilised. Their relationships are impressively close and harmonious.
Rubber collector Yan Jian Yuan used to get addicted to stock trading and in 1997, he was greatly hit by the financial crisis and became heavily in debt overnight.
His Malay employees had kept consoling him and even suggested to have their wages cut to help him ride out the storm.
Forty-eight-year-old Yan has been a small business owner since 20 years ago. He is now having six employees and all of them are Malays.
Two of his employees have worked for him for 20 years and they are as close as family members.
At that time, he owed others a large sum of money. He was so depressed and could not sleep at night.
He even thought of suicide.
Even worse, rubber prices plunged to only a few cents per kilogramme, bringing a closure crisis to his rubber collecting business.
In addition to consoling him and willingly having their wages cut, his Malay employees even went around to help him find more rubber.
Meanwhile, some of his Chinese friends actually deliberately avoided him and made irresponsible remarks behind him when they heard about him having financial problem.
He was sad when the gossips reached his ears. Fortunately, his family members and employees did not give him up and became his spiritual support.
Finally, he paid off the huge amount of debts and started a small petrol station. His career and life improved.
Yan cherished very much his Malay employees and he then provided financial and other assistance to help them start up small rubber collecting stations, so that they could be the bosses themselves.
Last year, a Malay employee was reported and taken to a police station for growing bananas on someone's land. The employee did not call his family but Yan for help.
Yan rushed to the police station and explained that the employee's move was excusable as the land originally belonged to the employee's brother and after the land was sold, he did not want to let the new land owner enjoy the bananas and thus, he went to harvest and had a dispute with the owner.
He humbly pleaded to the police officers. The police officers were moved and the employee was spared.
Another employee of Yan started to work for him when he was in his secondary school.
A motorcycle shop owner once went to look for Yan and accused his employee of not paying his motorcycle instalment for six months.
Yan immediately settle the instalment for his employee and made monthly salary deduction as repayment, so that the employee would not have to pay interest to the motorcycle shop owner. Yan has used the same way to help the employee buy two more motorcycles.
In fact, Yan always paid for his employees first when they bought cars, motorcycles, refrigerators, televisions and other things and allowed them to repay him through monthly salary deduction, so that they would not have to pay instalment interest.
The close relationships of Yan and his employees are reflected in their daily life. They take turns to treat each other to dinner and sometimes, they go travelling, picnicking, swimming and catching fish together.