GEORGE TOWN: Trishaw riders will be a happy bunch this Chinese New Year as their customers will once again give them ang pows.

After two years of muted celebrations due to the movement control order, many trishaw riders are looking forward to welcoming tourists during the festive season.

Trishaw rider Thoong Wee Huat, 72, said that in previous years, he and his friends received ang pows worth hundreds of ringgit during the festival.

“I hope we can get at least RM50 extra a day just from the ang pow alone.

“Tourists, especially those from Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China, will usually give us ang pow as part of their tradition.

“Since I’m celebrating the festival alone, I prefer to work to gain extra money,” said Thoong in Penang Road yesterday.

He has been a trishaw rider for over 40 years. He added that he had already received bookings.

“I will only take off on the first day of Chinese New Year if there are no reservations.

“I will try to wear brightly coloured clothes while pedalling during the festive season to set the mood,” he said.

For Gniam Kah Hooi, 60, Chinese New Year is the time to earn some extra income due to the increase in tourists and the ang pow he receives.

“Since I’m single and my parents have both passed away, I have no one to celebrate Chinese New Year with. With more tourists in town, my chances of getting business and ang pow increase.

“During the past few years, I managed to get RM100 per day on the first two days of Chinese New Year,” he said.

Gniam counts himself lucky to spend the festive season with his friends who are alone as well.

“Several riders here who are my friends are also single.

“So we usually celebrate Chinese New Year together.

“Sometimes, we get free food and mandarin oranges from charitable organisations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Roshidi Abdul Rahman, 58, has put up flowers and lanterns on his trishaw.

“I decorate my trishaw according to the different festivals. I usually change my decorations four times a year: during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Christmas.

“I will hang ‘ong lai’ (pineapple) lanterns on my trishaw for Chinese New Year. For Hari Raya, I will decorate my vehicle with ketupat. For Christmas, soft toys and tinsel garlands, and colourful flowers on Deepavali,” he said.

He said some of his rider friends play Chinese New Year songs on their mini sound system, but he prefers his customers to enjoy the ride without distractions.

Roshidi, who has been a rider for 16 years, said he is looking forward to the festive season as he would get extra income from the ang pows. He is also looking forward to celebrating with his fellow trishaw riders.

“On Chinese New Year eve, most of us who are single will gather to have a meal together.

“My Chinese friends will sometimes invite me to their homes too,” he said when met on Armenian Street.