The Big Issue Australia’s Kim: “It’s given me more pride”
Kim sells The Big Issue at O’Connor, Ainslie, and the Jamison Centre, Canberra. He heard about The Big Issue through word of mouth and has been working as a vendor for a few years. Kim feels pride in his work and enjoys forging connections with customers and other vendors.
Interview by Melissa Fulton
I grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales, [in] a whole bunch of places. Growing up, we moved around a lot. Mum didn’t get along with all her different landlords. I went to all sorts of different new schools. I had to fit in a lot. It’s just what happens, you know – the kids don’t know you so they wanna test the waters. I got sick of it by about Year 11, so I dropped out. I wasn’t super interested in my classes. I was alright at maths, but I just scraped through in all the other subjects. I fell off the wagon for a bit after school, had to move out of home and ended up in a refuge and stuff. It was a hard time.
I’ve got a few brothers and a sister. I don’t see them much anymore really – I just kinda do my own thing. I moved to Canberra because my mum was living here and I wanted to reconcile with her, but it didn’t really work out that way.
I first heard about The Big Issue when I was hanging out in the city. That was a couple of years ago now. I sell the mag most days. Before that, I was begging for my money – just trying to get by really. The Big Issue has given me more pride about what I’m doing.
At the moment I’m living up at Ainslie Village, getting along with a few people up here. I’m just trying to get by, not treading on any toes and all that sorta stuff. It’s working out alright. Living in lockdown was very boring, but at least I’ve had company up here in the village, so it’s not too bad. I’ve been put on medication recently and it helps me concentrate and get along with people easier. I’m not as all over the place. It’s helping.
I’ve got a few hobbies. I play games on my phone. I’m into strategy war games, sorta thing, the Total War series – you’ve gotta command your different units in different provinces, and you go around trying to command other provinces, but not go to war with everybody, use a bit of diplomacy and stuff like that. I like music. As a kid, I played trombone for a while, but I gave that up. I haven’t played an instrument in a very long time, but I still listen to a lot of music. I listen to everything from country through to hip-hop. I like movies. I really liked Avatar; that was cool.
I like the flexibility of selling The Big Issue. I was just going to do this to build up a bit of a rapport for my résumé, so I could get a different job – I’d like to work in a shop or something, packing shelves at Woolies – but I don’t know, I just keep doing this. I’ve met a few good people selling the mag. People are more inclined to talk to you that way. When people see me selling, they like it, I think. I’ve made friends with a few other vendors too.