Freelancer=Jobless+Not Working?

I daresay that my math teachers would hang themselves out of disappointment and frustrations if they happened to stumble upon my ‘algebra equation’.

Pardon me for the rather queer ‘formula’, but this is the simplest way I could put in words to describe the misconception of the term ‘freelance’ , especially in Malaysia.

I am a freelancer myself. Freelance Editor cum Writer. People often ask me what I do for a living as I am quite flexible in how I manage my time. I could go out anytime I like, do things spontaneously as long as it’s within one or two hour notice and many more.

It irks me to no end when I told people that I am a freelancer and working from home, they would negatively assume that I am not working and all I do day in, day out, is shake my arse at home. Bloody brilliant indeed.

I am not quite sure what is wrong with Malaysian in general, but if you tell them that you are a freelancer, they would automatically assume that you are not working, period, no arguments.

This is absurd! And it most definitely annoys me. I am more than sure that this does not only apply to me, but many other men and women in Malaysia as well. Some people who are SOHO workers are accused of being a lazy bum as well.

Bloody hell, what is wrong with Malaysians in general? As long as you tell people that you’re a freelancer or a SOHO worker, people would either look at you with disdain, and almost disgusted that you are not slaving in the corporate office from 9am-5pm. And then the talk and lecture on ‘you should stop bumming around at home and get a job’ would start.

Malaysian had a rather twisted mind. As long as you are not working in an office, there would be possibility of people accusing you of not working. First, freelancers are associated with lazy bums who are not working and does nothing but wasting away at home or loitering the street during working hours. What’s next, I truly wonder? Teachers are accused of not working too ? Well… teachers do not work in office… why not accuse them of that as well?

Malaysian says the darndest things. I’ve seen many men who are freelancers and doing business of their own accused of not working as well, just because they don’t have an office to go to each day and night. Just take a look at the case below, written in nastily broken English, or rather, Manglish.

Case 1

A man and his wife picks up their kids together in school everyday, and it happened to be during regular working hours. This is what will happened:

Kaypochee Housewives: Eh, how come ah, you both everyday oso pick up your kid together? Both of you not working wan ah?

Husband: I’m a freelancer. So is she.

Kaypochee Housewives: Ohhh, you both are not working ah? So where does your money come from?

Case 2

A man who is doing his business on a small scale picks up his children from school at around 2pm every damn day.

Kaypochee bitch: Eh, how come you everyday oso come and pick up your son/daughter yourself? You’re not working ah?

Man: I’m working for myself. Doing small business.

Kaypochee bitch: But everyday you so free wan worr, can pick up your kids. Nonid to go office wan ah?

Man: I’m working for myself wan ma, working from home. The home is my office.

The bitch started to act smart at this point of the conversation.

Kaypochee bitch: Aiyohhh, you’re a househusband, say early la…I know wan la your kind. Haiyorr, mister, you cannot like this. Why you let your wife work and you stay home to jaga the kids? Men should go out and work wan ma. Get a job, dun just stay home. need me to recommend some job for you bo?

Case 3

A woman who is a freelancer receives a call from her housewives friends. They asked her out for a shopping session when she’s having a project that needs to be submitted soon.

Cao Cibai Bitch: Come, let’s go shopping. Got sale wan worr, very rugi if dun go and grab those stuff! Dun just stay at home and rot nia. Must go out, shopping, chill out, socialize…

Woman: I can’t go out. My workload piling, I have to finish up my work first. The submission date is tomorrow.

Cao Cibai Bitch: Haiyorr, I don’t understand you la. You’re housewife only, why bother la… those work can do later…your husband won’t die wan la if you dun cook one meal for him! Ask him to eat out la! Simple nia!

I think, the above scenarios is rather common in our conservative and narrow minded society.  Most men and women who chose to be a freelancer would at least encounter at least one person who would mistook them for a lazybum who does nothing but rot at home.

Some people really do not understand the concept of freelancing. So, it is time to learn  and brush up some English after reading the awfully rotten conversation in the scenarios above.

Freelance definition:

  • working for yourself

  • work independently and on temporary contracts rather than for a long-term employer

  • freelancer: a writer or artist who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them

  • mercenary(a): serving for wages in a foreign army; “mercenary killers”

So basically, a freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer  for longterm. The term was first used by the late Sir Walter Scott, the writer of Ivanhoe to describe a “medieval mercenary warrior” or “free-lance”.

Fields where freelancing is common include journalism, journal publishing, and other forms of writing, editing, copyediting, proofreading, indexing, copywriting, computer programming and graphic design, consulting and translating.

Freelance practice varies greatly. Some require clients to sign written contracts, while others may perform work based on verbal agreements, perhaps enforceable through the very nature of the work. Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work and request deposits from clients.

Payment for freelance work also varies greatly. Freelancers may charge by the day, hour, or page or on a per-project basis. Freelancers may earn or may not earn big amount of money, but that is another story.

I’d like to stress it here is that when someone mentioned that they are freelancers, that would mean that they do have a job, and they are not shaking their bloody asses at home, waiting for money to drop from the sky.

Some people chose to be a freelancer for many reason. Flexibility with time is one of it. Some mothers, or even single parents might choose to do freelance work as it would enable them to spend more time and their small children and whatnot, so I’d appreciate it if all of you out there stop accusing freelancers of being lazy bums who knows nothing but rot at home. Freelancing might not be a great career prospect to some, but to most, it is rather rewarding, as when one chooses to be a freelancer, they are completely in control of their time, and they get to spend more time with their family.

Cleffairy: Not sure what certain words mean? Use the dictionary. Speechless? Use the thesaurus.


  1. Gratitude says:

    HAHAHAHA reading your post has gotten me wide awake and grinning! ^_^

    So true! Many Malaysians are still ignorant about freelancing or working from home. After all, “Free” ma….. mana ada duit?! lolz

    • Cleffairy says:

      It’s true wan ma… you tell people on the street that you’re a freelancer, and almost 100% will assume that you are not working and is a lazy bum or a useless person with no paper qualification. 🙁 Freelance ma… mana ada duit. Wait I give one penampar for them, free. 🙁 pissed me off nia!

  2. donna says:

    eh.. who said working from home = jobless??
    stupid ar..
    working from home means smart ppl ok!!!
    “read from rich dad, poor dad” one ok!!!

    *just read the title get back here later.. coz start working already.. >.<

    • donna says:

      Ok.. read!!
      Totally agree~ ~, who said only working in the office = working and hardworking?
      Plain bullshit!
      most freelancers, self-employed ppl earn more than us who stick our butt in the office earn money for the boss, minimum 8 hours per day ok!!!
      If I have a chance to start working from home, definitely I will go for it loh…
      I have tuition teacher, he is not a school teacher, but somehow popular and only God knows why wtf… he earns more than RM10k a month loh.. then each day have 2 classes nia (4 hours per day), 5 times of my salary, half of my working time. T.T
      Now who said working from home = not working + no income? Help me slap them too!!!

    • Cleffairy says:

      Eh, alot of people say that wan leh. I kena alot…so many people ask me what I do for a living, and when I replied, a freelancer, all tot I’m just a housewives and a full time mummy. Sakai punya. Den horr, ask me out, never give me enough notice, and when I declined… they keep say, I so damn free… why cannot go-must go socialize la, bla bla bla? Ma hai! Sometimes I have to work my butt off at home wan ma, need to finish up projects.

      Actually, I dun earn that much. It’s just merely for the convenience of being with the family whenever I’m required to. Nonid to take medical leave or come up with ridiculously lame excuse when I’m needed elsewhere. More of a convenience in that department. I earn almost as much as when I was working outside…minus the travelling to work and whining about bitches in the office that is. LOL…I agree with you, the long hour is a killer. 🙁 If want more money, den have to do OT, and I can’t spend time with family. Freelancing is much better for me, cuz if I want more money, I work my butt of to get more project lorr, den do at home. of course, not always can have good projects, but my priority is my family… my son… 🙁 so working in office is abit off lerr…

    • Garfield says:

      to be honest, robert kiyosaki’s theory a lot are not really suitable for everyone.

      but anyway, i do agree that working as a freelance do earn more and have much more time flexibility.

  3. suituapui says:

    Best lah…work from home, flexi-hours and all! As long as can make enough to live comfortably… Why get caught in the rat race…and become one of those walking time-bombs? Life is a lot more than that!

    • Cleffairy says:

      Working from home suits me best, Cikgu, though I may not earn as much when I was working outside. Enough to eat, enough to pay the bills. Wun have those luxuries, but I feel blessed, cuz it gives me the flexibility of taking care of my family too. Anak needs my attention, you see? Summore, I don’t quite like the idea of other people looking after the brat. LOL… sounds weird coming from me, eh? I dunno la.. I’m not quite into the corporate things. It’s rather trying and frustrating, though you get to see people ever day.

  4. ericlee says:

    some just don’t realize that working freelance is much more rewarding than working in office…take for example a design field….A freelance job will earn you about RM2k to 3k and even up to 4k a project and when I went through internship as an interior designer, I did not even get to earn that much a month handling more than 1 projects….you get paid a by monthly basis from about 1.5k to 3k….imagine you had 2 projects a month, it sums u up to about 5k a month? and usually the projects just took less than a few days to finish…imagine the flexibility hours and income earned…I tel this to many and most of them are really surprised by the amount money you could get from freelancing design…I knew someone who earned 8k a month from freelancing…it definitely pays a lot more than most who work a 8 to 5 job..

    • Cleffairy says:

      Exactly my sentiment, Eric, though I don’t earn that much… cuz I dun have good business networks to bring home expensive projects. Yep, not many understood the beauty of freelancing. Many of us freelancers has been steroetyped for lazy ass-staying home and do nothing.

      Freelancing certainly is more rewarding… it gives me the flexibility, and I am the master of my own time, not my boss. 😛

    • Garfield says:

      not all freelance earn a lot and live in luxurious.
      sometimes when luck good, can earn alot. sometimes when luck not good, the whole month also no income….

  5. kimberlymay says:

    I totally agree with you. I am also a freelance writer. However, sometimes its really hard to tell others that I am a freelancer as I am surrounded by many aunties. And you know how aunties can be most of the time. Just by telling one auntie that you are a freelancer, the WHOLE community thinks that you are not working!

    • Cleffairy says:

      🙁 Definitely hard. I’m in the same shoe as you! Freelance Editor cum Writer. You tell ppl that, they will straight say ur not working. 🙁 I assume those aunties are mostly housewives? I know most kaypochee always spread such news around. I’m a victim too.

    • Garfield says:

      Just tell them, coz you are good, thats y u can no need to go office and work. U get the rights to work from home and your clients have to tahan ur attitude, not u tahan ur client’s attitude.

      then they will shut up already.

    • Garfield says:

      To be honest, a lot of those blue collars thought freelance is jobless and they look down on these freelancers.

      But to be honest, these blue collars who thinks like that is the one who are pathetic. Why, coz they work until like a slave, have to face office politics everyday, but just earn peanuts.

      While people who are working from home, only need to tahan some client’s attitude, but earn so much.

      So these blue collars who are look down on freelancers should be the one who get look down…

  6. fatty oldman says:

    they jealous mar thats y came out diffrent thing to say about freelancer…if can i oso wana work as some of my frens make a lot more money than us all…sumore time flexible n can do own things… 😉

    • Garfield says:

      But before even start to be a freelancer, you have to make sure yourself already have enough skill to compete with those companies that you might going to compete with.

      Although as a freelancer, can earn a lot.
      But if skill is not enough and experience of working alone is not enough, will actually cause you very very hard to get any income also.

  7. eugene says:

    I really wish i could be a freelancer as to give me free time to do what’s good for the family.

    Freelancer that i have come to know, most of them are from MLM or insurance…. none has i come to know as a freelance writer,except you…

    keep it up,,, dont care about the general perception lah

    • Cleffairy says:

      Yep, freelancer gets the flexibility… ur in charge of how u wanna do ur work, how u wanna manage ur time. So if you intend to be wif ur family while you work, freelancing is the answer.

      I don’t care about people’s perception, but sometimes, people needs to be educated. It’s annoying to such that kind of ignorance…. what’s more, their accusation is a defamation; and if ur living elsewhere, you could sue those people for tarnishing your reputation.

  8. Christopher says:

    A very stereotyped society indeed. If you do freelance , they thought u are lazy. If u see a psychiatrist or take tranquilizers, they thought u r gila. If your kid plays while other studies, they thought u r not responsible for his studies. If your kid always sick or skinny, they thought u didn’t take good care of him. blah…

    • Cleffairy says:

      Very well said, Chris… there’s more… if your kid’s skin are tanned, they will tell you to keep the kids out of the sun. But if your kids are fair, they will say you din feed ur kids enuff, that’s why look pale. They can come up with many strange things! Good imaginations.

    • Garfield says:

      actually just 1 word lah.

      1 whole malaysia also full of morons.
      even though there is exceptional minorities exist, these arse holes will just think them self are the best only 1 lar….

  9. Cynthia says:

    that’s Malaysians!! when they suppose to read between the lines, they don’t.. but come to just a word, it goes beyond their super good imagination.. maybe coz they jealous we can work from home.. muahaha..

  10. CheaHS@n says:

    You are not alone & I know how you feel as I’m faced the same almost everyday. People just cannot understand the concept of SOHO. Each time I go for lunch dressed in my usual T shirt & jeans, sure kena asked “you’re not working today”. Initially have talked to lots of people I’m SOHO-ing but still face same music. So each time if someone ask ‘you’re not working’ would use one word answer “NO” habis cerita no need to talk three talk four save saliva haha.

    Love SOHO save considerable $$$ & time, no need petrol & toll everyday, no need iron ‘working’ clothes everyday, save time burning brain cells in the rat race fuming mad during peak time on the road. But must be very discipline that’s why no Astro at home and I never sleep on the couch during hours, merely cat nap on my chair. Long live SOHO & Freelance..

    • Cleffairy says:

      You’re a freelancer/SOHO worker too? *high 5*. Freelancing rocks. LOL…minus those busybodies with ignorant mindset towards our choice of career that is. i got sick and tired of it too. LOL… looks like must learn from you. just say ‘NO’. End of story! LOL…

    • Garfield says:

      you missed out 1 very important thing
      can wear watever we feel comfortable when doing work.
      example, just wear pajamas, and no need to comb hair everyday.

  11. Calvin says:

    there are too many kaypochees around la….that’s why. the only way for them to shut their mouths from gossiping is when you work from home and drive a merc or a beemer. just my 2 cents 🙂

  12. mnhl says:

    Wow…if I got a chance to work as a freelance, I will the happiest woman in the world. I’m lazy to wake up early in the morning just to reach the office in time and was stuck in the office for at least 8 hours everyday. Then, no privacy also because everytime when wanna apply for leave, have to inform boss. So leceh la.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Yea…. but it’s kinda a big step for people to freelancing. Have to be ready to earn less at the beginning as well. Some people are not okay with this, but for me, it’s much more worth than slaving in the office.

    • Garfield says:

      The biggest step to step into the freelance world is, you should have saved enough money in your savings account before you start to do so. You must at least having 3x of your current salary in ur account.

      Coz when starting that time, it is quite possible that u will not able to get any business at the 1st 3 months. even if get, it is very less.

      2nd, u must make sure the skills u have is sufficient to compete against some small companies that doing the same field as u did. y i said small companies? coz at the starting point, ur potential clients will be those clients that currently using these small company’s service.

  13. Bananaz says:

    Stereo type and die hard thinking. People are judgmental and always jump to conclusion. What people do for a living is none of their bloody biz right? Remembered once when I went over to a friend’s place in KL to deliver some stuff at noon with a few of my papa’s friends in the car from Penang. Friend of mine just woke up and the old folks in the car said this guy is useless slept till so late why no working oblada obladi. When they finished I told them he is a sub editor of a major newspaper working on nite shift..and that shut them up from pumping their gums.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Some people tend to judge and condemn others. Nothing good ever comes out of their mouth! Pissed me off too with this kind of people. Speak without thinking! 🙁

  14. fufu says:

    well… freelancer is still a new term in the society =p just like when the first car introduced in 1920s in germany 🙂 not one at that time knew that malaysia would be a so car dependent country

    i wanna be a freelancer + photographer… but i know i wont dare to do so unless i have completed my studies 🙂

    • Garfield says:

      actually it is not something new in malaysia already.
      freelance working style is already have in malaysia very long already.

      a lot ppl prefer to call it SOHO previously.

      anyway, from last time until now, ppl mindset still the same….

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