DESPITE what people say, Johor Baru is still a place of opportunities for those who are prepared to work hard.
My journey here reads like those who typically came from rural areas or other states to look for work. It involved years of working hard to gain experience.
After graduating with a diploma in mechanical engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology in Kuala Lumpur, I first worked for a year in my hometown of Malacca.
In 2003, I decided to come over to Johor Baru in search of better opportunities and I was employed at a workshop in Taman Perling, specialising in wiring work.
I worked there for about two years where I learnt the finer aspects of mechanical repairs and servicing. At the same time, I also broadened my knowledge in automotive electrical and wiring work.
After two years, I returned to work for a year in Malacca before deciding to return to Johor Baru again to help a friend in his workshop.
In 2008, with some funding, I decided to operate my own workshop in Taman Perling.
Initially, it was not easy as I had to do most of the work myself.
After nearly two years, I roped in my younger brother Leong Seng, 28, to help out in my new venture.
Later, both of us became co-proprietors of the business.
Over time, our workshop became popular within the Taman Perling neighbourhood.
To me, Johor Baru has its charm and, most importantly, opportunities. As a workshop proprietor in this southern city, I would say life can be good if you are prepared to put in hard work and also be creative and innovative.
Our business base now covers more than cars as we also work on commercial vehicles and sometimes specialised projects that need some mechanical engineering know-how.
Since I also love to tinker with all-things mechanical, my brother and I would sometimes help out with our friend's superbikes which need specialised care.
It is also a boost to be based in Johor Baru as we get business from Singaporeans who come to service their vehicles on weekends.
Business is definitely growing and we are excited as the workshop also has an online digital presence on Facebook.
At present, I am grateful that my work is also my passion, which is repairing old and new cars.
If you ask me now, it is quite difficult to work as an employee with a company, as I am quite comfortable with the daily running of my garage.
Yeap Leong Eng is a Johor Baru-based mechanic and proprietor of Hong Fatt Garage in Taman Perling. The 30-year-old originally hailed from Batu Berendam in Malacca, but has made Johor Baru his home since mid-2000.