M. KELVINRAJ, 18, better known as Kelvin among his family and friends, was shocked when his friends told him that pictures of him making cendol in Ipoh, Perak, have gone viral on social media because of his good looks.
Kelvin took the Internet by storm recently when a customer shared photos of him running his family’s business, called Cendol Wawasan.
It wasn’t long before he was nicknamed “Abang cendol kacak” (handsome cendol man).
Kelvin’s sudden popularity is similar to the blue-eyed chai walla (tea-maker) man in Pakistan, who has been hired by a modelling agency.
Here’s his story.
“My dream is to open my own cendol shop all over Perak one day.
“Since the cendol picture went viral, sales have increased tremendously.
“I only found out about it when my friend texted me through WhatsApp.
“I was surprised to see my face all over the Internet.
“However, I took that as an opportunity to promote my business. It was just my luck.
“Normally, I would sell between 50 and 60 bowls and packets of cendol. After news about my stall was published on the Internet, I managed to sell between 100 and 150 bowls and packets. Even my family was surprised.
“It was good publicity for my business. I only started helping out my parents with the family business for about one year, after finishing Form Five at St Michael Institution.
“I decided to take a break for a while and keep busy by going to the gym.
“One day, after returning from the gym, I decided to learn how to make cendol as it is my family business.
“I’m not going to waste the opportunity.
“At the same time, I can help my parents.
“It was my mother who taught me how to make cendol.
“She gave me tips on how to get the right amount of ingredients so that the customers are happy.
“Every day, I wake up as early as 6am to prepare the ingredients, such as the coconut milk, cendol, grassjelly and shaved ice.
“I ride my three-wheeled motorbike to Jalan Yang Kalsom from my house in Buntong and set up my stall at noon.
“I finish around 5pm. After that, I go to my gym in Menglembu. That is my daily routine.
“My parents have different areas where they open their stalls.
“My mother goes to Menglembu and my father takes Gunung Rapat.
“On weekends, either my father or I will ride our motorbikes to the Plan B area in Jalan Bandar Timah as there are more people and tourists there.
“Since my pictures went viral, most of my female customers will come and take my photos while I make cendol.
“I don’t mind at all. In fact, I enjoy this opportunity to connect with my customers. As long as they are happy, I will be even happier.
“I plan to pursue my studies in Business Administration next year. However, I won’t stop selling cendol and hope I can manage both.
“People always come and ask me if if I have a girlfriend.
“My answer is no because I want to focus on my family business and help my parents.
“Besides, I am the second of four siblings and I have my responsibilities.”
WAWASAN Cendol has been operating for the past two years, after M. Kelvinraj’s father, S. Moses, 50, resigned from his job at a bank.
It offers a variety of cendol, including cendol kacang (red bean), cendol jagung (corn), cendol lengkong (grassjelly), cendol pulut, cendol with Nata de Nenas and cendol with Nata de Coco, with the price ranging from RM3 to RM4.50.
Those who love cendol can find Wawasan Cendol in Ipoh in Jalan Yang Kalsom (in front of Yong Suan shop), Jalan Bandar Timah (near Plan B), in front of Public Bank in Menglembu or night markets at Gunung Rapat, Bercham and First Garden.
Kelvin’s mother, M. Mugilarasi, said she knew pictures of her son had gone viral after the former shared the excitement with her.
“I think it is good for him and for our family business, and I’m also happy knowing this,” she said when met in Jalan Yang Kalsom.
Customer Mohamad Hasshim Abdullah, 57, agreed that Kelvin was good looking and said he resembled Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
“I came here from Bagan Datoh and this is my first time trying this cendol. The taste is really good and this man is not only ‘selling’ his looks. It is not too sweet and just nice.”
Another customer, Hazwani Arina Sulaiman, 25, said she found out about the cendol stall on the Internet and wanted to try it.
“This is my first time. For me, the amount of gula melaka and santan that he (Kelvin) puts into the cendol blends well and makes me want to come again.”
Another customer, Datin Yam Ah Luy, came all the way from Kuala Lumpur just to try Kelvin’s cendol after she read about it in a Chinese newspaper.
“It is good to eat cendol during this hot weather. I really recommend it to the public, to come to Ipoh to try Wawasan Cendol.”