PETALING JAYA, Aug 14 — For many Malaysians, our contact with the postman or post office involves either dropping off a package or waiting anxiously to unwrap one.
But for those working behind the scenes, it doesn’t just stop at delivering.
Couriers such as Mohd Yuzali Muhammad Yusof, 38 start the day bright and early, waking up at 5am to clock in at 6am.
Upon arriving at the Brickfields Pos Laju centre in KL Central where is he normally stationed at, Yuzali begins processing the parcels from Pos Malaysia’s Integrated Parcel Centre (IPC) in Shah Alam by scanning and sorting the items into stations, zones and specific housing area known as beats.
The sorting takes around two hours and ranges between 80 to 120 parcels daily.
“In the morning, we start delivering around 10.30am and finish around 7pm,” he told Malay Mail.
Delivering 120 parcels before 3pm
With a policy that promises customers their packages will arrive the next day, couriers race against the clock each day to complete their daily deliverables.
“All the parcels in the van must be delivered on that day itself,” said Yuzali, who completes 80 to 120 parcels daily before 3pm.
After 3pm, he makes his rounds collecting items from contracted customers, mostly e-commerce proprietors.
“But if I don’t finish my delivery items, I will resume it after I’m done with the collections.”
Most days, there isn’t enough time for a proper lunch so Yuzali tends to eat around 6pm after his duties are done, only taking breaks for prayers and a quick drink of water.
Having joined Pos Malaysia 14 years ago straight out of secondary school, he named technology as the biggest change in his work environment from operating manually to time-saving scanners.
From his heritage pre-war building office, he has seen the rapid rise of the transit hub that is now Kuala Lumpur Sentral.
Back then Pos Laju’s surrounding areas in Brickfields was just a flat area that was used as an open-air carpark.
He remembers his first day vividly, describing the job as tough and he asked himself if it was something he could do long-term but gave it a shot anyway.
“I was assigned a lot of complicated housing areas such as villages. The lot numbers were not in order and it took a few weeks to memorise the houses and routes.
“After a while, I got the hang of it,” said Yuzali who hails from Setapak.
As expected, Pos Laju’s busiest periods include festive seasons such as Christmas, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.
“We love delivering during the Lunar New Year period, usually older Chinese customers will give ang pau and mandarin oranges or packet drinks,” shared Yuzali.
You get all sorts of characters
Asked if he had experienced strange behaviours while out delivering packages, Yuzali said landed property and condominiums each possessed their own quirks.
“Houses, for example, we’d honk or ring the doorbell and they’d pretend they didn’t hear but actually we can see them through the window. When we leave that’s when they’ll start shouting ‘Postman, postman’,” he said.
For high-rise dwellers, Yuzali said receivers who answer the door without dressing appropriately makes things awkward sometimes.
At offices, it’s not always clear why receptionists or receivers kick up a fuss when they are asked to write down their identity card (IC) numbers and sign off.
“Sometimes they get angry and start tossing things around — maybe they were stressed out, who knows?”
And then there’s the age-old love-hate relationship between postmen and dogs — even Yuzali was not spared having been chased by several four-legged residents.
Expert navigators who know their way around
On top of skills such as good planning and being organised, courier guys are expert navigators who could give Waze a run for its money.
It’s no wonder lost folks always ask postmen for directions.
“We have this problem in Malaysia where addresses are incomplete. Sometimes you’ll find a lot in villages that have the same numbers, and lettering and street name,” he said.
The father of two added that to have a fulfilling career as a courier, one must have honesty, a sense of responsibility and urgency.
Yuzali said his favourite part of the job is being able to enter some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
“I once delivered a package on the 83rd floor of the Petronas Twin Towers, which I never thought I’d get to see,” he said.