Today, I stopped by a Charcoal factory near Taiping city in northern Malaysia. Here is ‘Abdul’ who has spent his entire adult life working 7 days a week, producing charcoal for export to Japan.
It takes 32 days to turn the trees from the nearby mangrove forest into charcoal, involving hundreds of hard and unhealthy working hours.
I was told that the the factory owner makes real good money on the business.
Abdul is paid 1.000 ringgit (USD 250) a month.
In a shed next dor to the big ovens, I met young women, stuffing bags with lower quality charcoal for local consumption. They get 0,2 ringgit (USD 0,05) per bag.
With a per capita income of USD 11.000, Malaysia is one of the richest countries in Asia.