Hajjah Romlah Haji Kassim
Hajjah Romlah Haji Kassim was born on December 12, 1955 in Telok Kumbar, Penang . Married to a Sarawakian, Haji Jamaludin Haji Mohd Yusof, she came to Sarawak in 1981. They have two sons and a daughter – Shahir Akmal, Shazwan Ehsan and Syaza Athirah.
Going Beyond Dreams
Hajjah Romlah Haji Kassim often bemoaned the dreary feelings of being a mere housewife. In her many moments of solitude at home, she dreaded the idea of not being able to support her kind of lifestyle once her husband retired. She did not like the idea of having to lead the monotonous life of a typical housewife although she had hobbies to look forward to. She had great passion for orchids and also loved cooking for her family and friends at home.
However, there were times when she felt stuck in the mundane routine of her life as a housewife. Sheer boredom stirred her to put some thought to self, hence leaving her contemplating on how she should live her life. Romlah was prompted to try her hand at business but it must be connected to what she liked to do. All those came to mind out of boredom.
How boredom can drive people into enthusiasm! Todat, Romlah is more than a housewife who grows orchids or entertaint friends with her favorite recipes. She has become an enterprising businesswomen. In her humdrum moments, she could only dream of owning a beautiful orchid garden and pursuing her hbbies.
“My problem at that time was I was too free. I never planned this business. I just wanted to make a little money out of the things I loved to do. That was all,” Romlah explains how it all happened.
Ten years ago, she started developing an empty land beside her house into an orchid garden; the orchids brought money to her purse. That boosted her enterprising spirit and brought out the business potential in her. Added to her orchids are a collection of a ornamental plants and scented flowers. While the opportunity to expand was already at her doorstep, she used her profits to make more money.
Her favorite pastime sees indulging in money-spinning activities. Kampung Siaol Kandis at Lorong 5, Petra Jaya where she lives, comes alive as Rom’s Orchid Garden occupies the lot next to her house. People come not just for her plants but also to satisfy their palate in the homely environment of her café – Rom’s Café, just next to the orchid garden. Her lodging house is also located in the vicinity of the garden.
Her latest addition are her Garden Centre located just behind her house and an orchard cum nursery at Samarahan. The Garden Centre sells fertilizer, compost and topsoil.
“My business is not planned. It just happens. As you can see, my business is simply about the things I personally love to do and they are so closely connected. With the orchard, I can have my own supply of fruits for the café. I also plant my own vegetables and herbs. Then I will have my own supply of fertilizer, topsoil and a host of other things from the garden centre.” She enthuses.