Meet Spidey the Petai Man

“Spiderman” takes a break from crime busting to sell petai in Kuala Kubu Baru and Ipoh

THE cops will have to go catch the bad guys and villains on their own for now. “Spiderman” is taking a break to sell petai during his free time instead of doing his bit for community policing.

Meet Selvakumar K. Tharmalingam, Slim River’s “Spidey”. He is hard to miss with his red and blue Spiderman suit while holding out bunches of petai he offers for sale to passersby.

Customers with arachnophobia may squirm at the sight of Spiderman but for the rest of us; imagine buying petai from Spidey himself and perhaps getting a photo with him as well for free. A bunch of petai sells at RM10.

Selvakumar has only been selling petai over the last two months, traversing from Slim River to Kuala Kubu Baru or Slim River to Ipoh during his free time. The 22-year-old is presently studying for his Bachelor in Business Administration of International Business. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, his physical classes have gone online and this has freed up some time for him to dabble in the petai trade.

“I started selling petai two months ago. My grandfather used to sell petai but no one in the family took over the business from him. I decided why not give it a try.”

Spiderman selling petai in Kuala Kubu Baru

“I didn’t want to be just another petai seller. So I came up with this idea of wearing a Spiderman suit to attract my customers,” he said, adding that Spiderman was chosen as it was a well-loved character and people were attracted to it.

Just like his comic book character who takes photographs for the local newspaper to earn a living, Selvakumar is earning his keeps selling petai.

“People get attracted to Spiderman and they buy petai from me. My marketing strategy actually works. It proves to me that one must not only work hard but work smart as well.”

“I have made 6 trips to Kuala Kubu Baru in August to sell petai. I also do make my way to Ipoh to sell petai as well,” he said.

He travels almost 50km one way from Slim River to Kuala Kubu Baru and almost 100km one way from his hometown to Ipoh to sell petai.

The income he earns from selling petai helps him with his monthly expenses. Selvakumar who lives with his grandmother said the income was enough for the two of them.

“My parents are divorced. My mother stays in Kuala Lumpur with my younger brother and sister,” he added.

Despite doing brisk business selling petai, Selvakumar does not intend to make a living out of it.

Selvakumar wants to be a policeman

“I want to be a policeman one day. It is something I have wanted to be for as long as I can remember,” he said.

Selvakumar’s zeal and initiative is something extraordinary for a man his age. Instead of spending his free time lazing around like others his age, he has put his energy into entrepreneurship and is reaping the rewards of his efforts.

He smiled sheepishly when he said he was still single.

If you are interested to follow “Spidey” Petai Man Selvakumar’s adventures, check out his Instagram: spiderman_petai or his Facebook: spidermanpetai.