Another group of people who worked hard to survive were the ricksha or jinricksha pullers that were transport before pedal power. These hardy fellows pulling their wooden vehicle with passangers or goods aboard, existed throughout the region. I found these cards from Singapore, Sumatra and Osaka.
How similar they all look
And here is one sad story recorded by Dutchman Hugo Pederson which he describes as "surrender".
Notice how the bullock carts in the background are encouraged with whip lashes to enhance the point of how tough life can be.
Introduced to Singapore in the 1880s, considered inhumane, it was replaced after WW1 with the pedal trishaw.