BATU GAJAH — From a distance, one may think Mr Azhar Ibrahim is your ordinary mechanic. But the 34-year-old, who hails from the village of Batu 6 in Jalan Tanjung Tualang, Malaysia, has been blind since birth.
He relies on his other senses to dismantle, repair and reassemble motorcycles. Mr Azhar is able to identify the problem of a motorcycle just by listening to the way the engine sounds.
He also changes tyres “but I’m sorry I don’t do wiring”, he said.
His extraordinary skills put those with perfect eyesight to shame. Mr Azhar’s journey as a mechanic is an inspiring and motivational tale and he has been the talk of the town.
His passion started seven years ago when his step-father Zaini Zailan’s motorcycle kept breaking down despite him sending it for repairs.
Mr Azhar’s friend, Mr Saiful Azmir, 26, from the nearby Batu 5 village, volunteered to teach him all about motorcycles.
“I spent about a month learning about the motorcycle body parts and their functions ... just by feeling and listening to the sounds they made. I then decided to overhaul my cousin’s Honda EX5 which was not used for several years,” Mr Azhar said.
“I repaired the bike all by myself and it worked. That boosted my confidence. I then did my stepfather’s motorcycle before working on machines belonging to my friends,” said the fifth child among seven siblings.
Thanks to overwhelming support from his family members and friends, he decided to open a workshop in his house.
Mr Azhar attributed his success to his keen sense of touch and hearing. He has suffered cuts and wounds from sharp parts of the motorcycles but that has not stopped him.
“I ‘see’ through my hands. When I touch a certain part of the motorcycle, I am able to know where the screws, cylinder box, sprockets and other items are attached to the particular part,” he said.
“I didn’t take up any course or obtain any formal education from any institution. The entire village is surprised how I’ve managed to come this far on my own.”
He has since repaired hundreds of motorcycles of various models.
Mr Azhar believes in keeping customers happy and he would go all out to ensure their machines are in order. He has his friends to thank for they had assisted him in purchasing spare parts and work tools.
“I only use genuine parts. I always give my best when repairing motorcycles,” he said.
“I don’t want my customers to feel shortchanged just because they sent their motorcycle to a blind man.”
This business has given him something to look forward to everyday.
“Several years ago I had nothing. I was always dependent on someone else,” he said.
“Today, I can proudly say I earn my own living. I don’t have to depend on others, especially my parents who are in their 60s.”
Mr Azhar envisions a brighter future. He plans to open a bigger workshop and hire assistants.
“I want to have bigger and more comfortable working space. I plan to hire several other mechanics as this will enable me to do more repairs,” he said.
“I believe in myself and I know I will own a decent workshop in the near future.
“Nothing is impossible ... I’m a happy man as I enjoy what I do. All you need is true determination and confidence to achieve your goals.” THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE