Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Wednesday blues

Many of us have read stories about how we should not take those who are around us for granted. It’s a fact which we sometimes learnt it the hard way. But I think there is someone which we truly should not take for granted at all… that someone is… ourselves.

I never thought my right hand is so important until yesterday, when I woke up with what the doc said was a ‘tennis elbow’. No, I am not a tennis player and the injury was from badminton the day before. From the moment I wake up, my whole day was turned upside down… from brushing teeth to washing my face to eating and any action which requires my right hand. I felt like a handicapped.

That simple visit to the doctor yesterday led to some unwanted discovery in me which then led to a visit to the specialist clinic today. I had my maiden CT scan in my life today. It was quite a frightening experience… not the scanning process, but waiting for the results. The scan gave me all clear but I will have to return to the clinic this Friday to do another test.

I am sure many will agree that our bodies take the most beating sometimes. We abuse it, to the max really. If we do not learn to take care of ourselves and continue to take our health for granted, there will only be one loser at the end of it all… us.

I thank God that Jules have been very supportive and positive about things. I am glad she will walk with me all the way. Perhaps I am the one who is a little too negative. Whatever it is, the 2 days between now and Friday will be the longest 2 days of my life. Do pray for me.

Monday, 29 October 2007

The mess continues

I have been blogging for almost 10 months now and on an average, each posts usually gets about 45 comments. But if you were to notice, there are certain types of posts which do not get many comments. Indeed, those boring socio-political posts usually get very low comments count. Also, comments on such posts are usually made anonymously.

It’s quite apparent that people are not only afraid to blog about socio-political stuff, but they are also very afraid to comment. Very strange though. While comments count for such posts are hard to come by, the traffic of AZAIG will usually hit above average when such posts are being put up. I can confidently conclude that there are a lot of people out there who are interested in reading about socio-political stuff but are just too afraid actually get their hands dirty to type in something.

I linked a post written by an 18-year-old girl in September. It was a brilliant piece about the state of our country amidst the 50th Merdeka celebration. It was so good that Jules said she wish she could write like that 18-year-old. Hmmm… how come Jules never said anything about my writing before…

Anyway, this 18-year-old girl once again wrote another magnificent piece about the
current judiciary issue. It is quite apparent that the younger generation are quite aware and very much concern about the local political scene. When I say younger generation, I actually meant those in their teens. I have met up with TingTitLei and his bunch of friends once and they are all in their teens. But their knowledge and awareness about the current development and how they wish they can register to vote puts many of us to shame.

Besides those teens, another bunch of people who are very much concern about the current affairs of this country is the (with all due respect)… the ‘older generation’. If you are familiar with the blogosphere, you will realise that all the hardcore socio-political blogs belongs to this ‘older’ generation.

So we have the really young generation and the ‘older’ generation very much concern about the development of current affairs in our country… what about those in between?

I believe those in the ‘in-between’ generation made up most of the ‘silent readers’ population. They are those who live in frustration and fear. Many in the ‘in-between’ generation are frustrated and to a certain extend angry at things, but they are the ones who live in fear. They are afraid that their normal comfort lives will be turned upside down if they were to do something. Frankly speaking, I am quite one of them.

A quite quote from my earlier post…”Those who refuse to do anything because they rather not be a part of the mess… by virtue of not doing anything… IS part of the mess”

Based on the above… looks like we have the younger guys hoping that they can clean the mess… the older guys trying to clean the mess… and those in between… making loads of mess.

P/S: I am certainly not expecting many comments for this one...

Are you part of the mess?

I was at a forum on Saturday, one which talked about “Christianity and Politics”. It was more like an open discussion amongst those who were there but there were some church leaders at national level who were with us. It was quite an eye opener, for me at least, to see many young people who are so aware of the current happenings around our country.

One interesting and provoking discussion point was raised by a former church-mate of mine. He said that he was increasingly ‘frustrated’ dealing with churches which only concentrate on evangelism and nothing else matters. It sparked a verbal attack by a respected figure in the local Christian community. No, he was not attacking my church-mate… he was attacking the churches...
To me… Christians have always been a bunch of hypocrites… particularly those from big mega churches. We claim that God is almighty… that Christians should not be afraid of the devil… but yet, we are afraid of ISA. We claim that God can deliver us from ‘death’, but yet we are afraid of ISA. We said that we stand for the truth… but we would rather sit on lies just to keep our ass-es off ISA.

Christians, just like some politicians… also suffer from foot-in-mouth disease…

For those who are unaware, there has been news going around saying that the current monarchy (i.e. the Agong/Sultans/Rulers) has grown increasingly frustrated about the current administration of this country. Further news suggest that our Agong may come up and ‘do something’ about it. Of course, regular rakyat like us will usually go… “yeah right”… I am one of them.

Those who have been following the local political scene closely will know that this coming Tuesday, 31st October 2007 is quite a significant date. It is the final day of the current Chief Justice (“CJ”) tenure. The govt has been ‘pressuring’ our Agong to approve the extension of the CJ’s tenure to which our Agong has yet to agree. I shall not go into why he refuses to extend the CJ’s tenure… go find out yourself.

To me… if our Agong stands his ground and refuse to extend the CJ’s tenure, then I am somewhat convinced that our Agong means business. And because I think he means business, I will play my part in making a difference and not let the foot-in-mouth disease to eat me up.


Following the recent lawyer’s march from Palace of Justice to the Prime Minister’s Office, another walk has been organised and this time, the walk will be from Dataran Merdeka to the Agong’s palace to hand him a petition to reform the Electoral Commission. The date is 10th November 2007 and the walk starts at 3pm. If the Agong stands his ground and refuse to extend the CJ’s tenure, I will be there.

I shall leave you with a one point which really hit me during the the forum which I attended. It was raised by quite a young fella who was there… he said…

“Those who refuse to do anything because they rather not be a part of the mess… by virtue of not doing anything… IS part of the mess”

Are you part of the mess?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Living: Malaysia vs Hong Kong

Hong Kong (“HK) has always been a country with high cost of living. Ask any regular Malaysian about HK and you will probably hear the word “expensive” in most of their remarks. Of course, there are Malaysians who will flock to HK during the mega sale as prices then are believed to be cheap. However, they have not factored in the flight and accommodation costs yet, which are usually quite high during that period.

Anyway, I have been to HK twice and I have to admit, prices are quite ridiculous… if you keep converting them to RM. Below are the average prices of some of the things in HK as verified by one of my friend currently working there. When I said average, I mean it’s somewhere in between mediocrity and luxury.

Exchange rate: RM1 = HKD2.1
Indeed, the prices are quite over the top aren’t they? One will wonder how can anyone survive in HK. But is HK that expensive?

I have always been thinking about a way to compare cost of living between countries and I have somewhat come up with a salary-expenses multiplier method. First, let us do a salary comparison between Malaysia and HK. Below is the average (please note the word average) salary scale in the Big 4 accounting firm industry. Again, this is an average between all the 4 firms.
As you can see from the above, the salaries of modern slaves in HK are more than those in Malaysia by an average multiplier of 8.7. By using the multiplier of 8.7, I have factored in the multiplier into the prices of stuff in HK to obtain the multiplier-adjusted-prices (“MAP”) by dividing the prices of HK stuff by 8.7. You may not agree with me but I believe that by factoring the multiplier into the prices, a more reflective comparison between salary-expenses here and HK can be obtained.

Below is the table between the MAPs of HK stuff as compared to Malaysian prices.
Based on the above, you can see that things in HK are not that expensive if you are working there. Of course, some economic expert here may not agree with my methodology but to me, by factoring the salary multiplier into the prices of goods/services, a relatively reflective comparison can be made.

As such, I believe we live in quite an expensive environment unless you are a very fortunate person who happened to own a big business or work for MFC Sdn Bhd. MFC… My Father’s Company. Otherwise, a regular modern slave in Malaysia lives in quite a tough environment staring at imminent tougher challenges. Oh, I have not even mention savings yet, but I think that is a story for another time.

I also invite Malaysians living abroad to do a Zewt MAPs comparison if you think it makes sense.

This is purely a personal analysis and you may disagree with me. But should you choose to apply this methodology in any of your assignments or presentation, I would appreciate if you could mention that it is taken from AZAIG. It has come to my attention that some contents from AZAIG was used in some college presentation and claimed as original work by the presenter. While I cannot sue you, I do hope you will respect me and AZAIG.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

An enlightening comment

I just got back from a small dinner gathering with some close friends so I am going to take a short cut in today’s entry. Fellow blogger Vincent left a very long comment in one of my recent post and I think his comment worth mentioning here. He is talking about how an increase in crude oil price will not benefit a net oil exporter country like ours. Quite enlightening I must say. His comments are as follows:-

Because I actually like you (I think you are better than a lot of the silly “socio political bloggers”) I shall take the time to explain how fuel subsidy works. (zewt - vincent, you're not gay right?)

Being a net exporter is actually irrelevant in many ways. In some countries where their National Oil Company is the one who runs the petrol stations, they can afford to charge the people at cost price or even subsidise the fuel significantly. I would argue that socialism is bad for business, but since it's the "people's oil" it is acceptable that they charge at cost price or a lost.

However, in Malaysia, we have loads of oil companies operating different petrol stations. Shell has the market share of about 35% while Petronas has about 32% (don't quote me on the exact figures). The rest of the market share is split out between BHP, Esso and Mobil (Projet now belongs to Shell).

Therein lies the problem. Foreign companies charge the market price. The government has to PAY them the difference between the market price and the set price of RM1.92. Which means that when the price of crude oil increases, the foreign oil companies will charge the government more and hence the government spends more just to keep the price at RM1.92.

Again, we can argue that subsidies are meant to 'help' the people. But that argument can only hold valid if the market was dominated by Petronas. But since 70% of the market share is taken up by foreign oil companies, surely it doesn't seem wise that all those subsidies are flowing out of the country into foreign hands instead of remaining within??

10-15 isn't exactly accurate. This is a case of a politician talking without exactly knowing his facts. I believe the latest figures stand at about 19 years. 10 years ago when I was in school, we were told there was enough oil for another 20 years only.

The 'discrepancies' in the figures are actually due to discovery of new wells and new technology which allows oil that was previously un-extractable to be available. Also, rising crude oil prices have made many small wells which were previously not financially viable to extract very feasible now.

I am sure you all find it informative cause I did. By the way, crude oil price hit a record high of USD90 per barrel a few days ago before settling down.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Is smoking an addiction?

I found out that one of my colleagues is smoker, the only one in the finance division actually. He seldom smokes around us but the nicotine remnant accumulated around his gums gave it all away. When I asked whether he is addicted to it, he answered with an almost immediate “yes”.

I used to think smoking is an addiction but one of my former uni-mate (let’s call him Col) told me that smoking is not an addiction at all, it is a habit. A bad one if you were to ask me. To Col, it’s just a habit of the need to hold something between the fingers. I didn’t believe him then, but he proved me wrong… so so wrong. It’s a bit egoistic to say it but seriously, seldom people prove me wrong.

Col is quite a chain smoker, puffing away 2 packs a day since his schooling days if I remember correctly. During Christmas of our final year, he travelled back to Malaysia as he missed home very much. Lo and behold, he fell in love with a girl and amazingly, they got together in that short visit back. Obviously, they kissed when they were together and she gave him a remark which sounded something like this…

“Col, I don’t want to kiss an ashtray”

From that moment, Col has not smoked… until today. And no, he does not even smoke socially… not even a single puff, no kidding. Addiction?

“It’s just a habit, I can kick it anytime”

That was what he told me, something like that. I was quite shocked really but it made me believe that smoking is nothing but a bad habit. My friend has showed me that if you want to quit, it’s really quite easy. It’s just that you have not found something worth quitting it for.
For the girls who want their boyfriends to quit, you can try the me-ain’t-kissing-ashtray trick.

For guys who want their girlfriends to quit, sorry… think the kissing trick won't work.

For those smoking who think you’re addicted. You’re addicted simply because you think you’re addicted.

For richer or poorer

I was running on the treadmill the other day when something on the tv screen in front of me caught my attention. It was a statement issued by one Multi-National Corporation (“MNC”) regarding their record profit growth for the year. Not long after that, statements by a few other global giants were shown. They too, achieved phenomenal profit growth.

Usually, MNCs will claim that their growth was achieved from effective management or well-structured financing or dedicated people or other sophisticated reasons. I may not be an expert in the business world but as far as I am concern, profit growth can only be achieved by a few methodologies:-

Increase the volume of sales while maintaining costs; or

Increase the price of products/services while maintaining costs; or

Reduce costs.

Of course, the most effective way of achieving profit growth is to adopt all of the above which is… increase price and sales volume and at the same time, reduce costs.

Ya’ know, all these big MNCs continue to be where they are simply because their profits keep increasing year by year; and it has to increase. A MNC, or any company for that matter, have to keep growing in order to survive in this ruthless world. More often than not, growth is measured by profit increase.

Leaving the reducing costs part aside, when a company increases the pricing of its product or service, there is only 1 loser… us. Maybe it’s too harsh to say that we’re losers, after all, we do enjoy the product or the service that we paid for. But then again, when you consider that our salary is not exactly growing at the rate of which the prices are growing, then we are quite near the losing end…

Now, let’s have a look at the ‘cost cutting measures’. Such initiative is often hidden behind the name ‘cost management’. It is interesting to know that when a global MNC decides to cut its cost perform costs management, it is usually being implemented in Asian countries. And trust me, Malaysia is a country always being targeted, probably because they know Malaysians corporate slaves will do whatever they can to please the big boss.

Anyway, what happen when you’re a victim of a cost cutting regime and you have to face increasing prices situation? Yeah, then you are the ultimate loser…
The above may not be the exact situation for you, but that is quite the trend on things happening around us. We always complain that our salary is not increasing but prices of things kept increasing but you know what? The thing is… prices are going to keep increasing while our salary will not be increasing in a rate that will match it. Well… perhaps some will, some might even have their salary increasing in a rate much higher than the increase of products/services. But for many many many of us… we will not be that fortunate.

We all know that we live in a world where the rich will always get richer; and most of the time, they get richer by making the poor gets poorer. But what we don’t quite know is that the poor, in the struggle to become rich… all ends up helping the rich to get richer. The above is a classic example; and there are many more. But that’s a story for another day…

P/S: The prices of bread just increased. Soon, every fellas who eat bread are going to increase the price of their stuff… what are you going to increase?

Thursday, 18 October 2007

From shitty good news to gym and a penis song

I was feeling rather chirpy while on my way to work today. Yeah, the thought that Friday is on the way is enough to cheer me up. But just as I was about to cross the road, I felt something fell on my head. I raised my hand to check it out and my worst fear was confirmed…… a bloody freaking bird shit right smack on top of my head! Like right at the centre ok!

I had to walk all the way home to wash my hair which caused me to be late for work today. My mood was obviously spoilt until my boss told me a rather good piece of news… I have been selected to go London next January for global consolidation. Good news indeed as it also means my Paris honeymoon plan will be happening after all.

Anyway, I had another freaky gym experience the other day...

I was standing near my locker wrapped in towel about to change when someone called me from behind…

“Eh, zewt”
“Yo, didn’t know you’re a member here”
“Yeah, joined not too long ago. Got dinner plans?”
“Not really”
“Wanna join me? I am eating with YM”
“No thanks, a bit late. Maybe next time”
“Come la… I can fetch you there and drive you back”
“Come la”
“Another time la...”
“Ok then”

He was my former school and church mate. It was a perfectly normal conversation but as soon as it ended, I realised all the guys around me was staring at me. It then struck me… Lesson learnt… do not discuss dinner plan in the locker room of a gym wrapped in towel… particularly when the other guy is trying to ‘ask you out’ and you’re trying to ‘turn him down’.

Last but not least, I wanna share this really kick-ass video with you. I was laughing like an idiot sitting at my workstation the first time I watched a few years ago. Some of you may have seen it but certainly worth another view…

Happy weekend to you all!

Turning your eyes from oil to ferry

Well well well… whadaya know… one of our ministers in our beloved govt issued a statement today telling us to brace ourselves for imminent increase in petrol price. What perfect timing considering what I blogged about yesterday. Well, I can't blame him. According to, crude oil rose to as high as USD88.70 per barrel today.

That minister said that high fuel price is affecting oil producing countries. Honestly, I have yet to decipher how that is possible. A fellow blogger commented that Malaysia, being a net exporter of oil, should benefit from increase in petrol price. Indeed… and how an increase of petrol price for a net oil exporter like our country be detrimental is quite beyond me. Perhaps someone may want to enlighten me on this point.
He also mentioned that our, i.e. Malaysia’s, oil reserves could last us for about 10 to 15 years. Hmmm… that is not what I heard though… perhaps someone can also enlighten me on this point.

Anyway, I think we should leave the oil issue out for a while. I think we should also stop talking about our tourist in space too.

Too much attention has been given to this space tourist so much so that we have actually missed out on a tragedy which took place lately. Did you all read about the ferry which sank while on its way to Tioman? Honestly, I didn’t know it until today and a quick look around the blogosphere showed that most bloggers are more interested in talking about the space tourist than anything else.

Were you aware of it?

Yes, a ferry caught fire while on its way to Tioman and you know what? They found out that the ferry was operating without a licence. Lives were lost and some are still missing. Ya’ know, those people who call the United States as a land of possibility, they just have not been to Malaysia yet.

So we had non-road worthy buses driven by drug addicts caught a few months ago. Oh… you’ve forgotten all about that already haven’t you? By the way, I wonder if the buses on the road now are really ‘clean’ already. And now, we have unlicensed ferry in the sea. What is next? Broken airplanes flying around? Seriously, I won't be surprise. The Nuris are still flying, aren’t they?

At this point, I want to draw your attention to
a testimony by a blogger whose girlfriend’s relative is one of the victims of the tragedy. I am again left speechless after reading that blog entry. What typical Malaysian way of doing things. If you don’t feel angry after reading it, you are probably inhuman.

A fellow blogger commented in my previous entry saying that there is nothing we can do about it because we are so low here and the powers are so high up there. C’mon, let’s be honest with ourselves. Is there really nothing we can do? Or do we choose not to do anything about it?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The price to drive

I was browsing through the comics newspaper online a while ago when I stumbled a piece of worrying news. No, I was not referring to the list of sex offenders names being released, though I have some reservations regarding that. I am referring to the latest crude oil price which just hit a record high of US$85 per barrel.

If you remember, the last increase in petrol price of RM0.30 happened in late February 2006 when the crude oil price was hovering around US$60 per barrel. It caused much uproar amongst many Malaysians with some badly hit people doing a big demonstration made themselves heard around KLCC area. Yes, it did happened, just not reported in the news.

Anyway, the price of crude oil has now soared to US$85, which is a 41.6% increase from US$60 per barrel; the price of crude oil during the last increase in petrol price in Malaysia. Oliver Jakob, managing director of Petromatrix, a consultancy firm in Switzerland was quoted
here; saying that US$90 per barrel is “within easy reach”.

Yes, our wonderful government is saying that there will be no further increase in petrol price this year. But you and I are all painfully aware that the lifespan of “this year” is fast running out. And let’s be honest with ourselves, if the election is not on its way, we may well be paying RM2.50++ per litre of petrol already. The question is then of course… what will happen after the election?
Having said that, I am dead sure that even if petrol price increases to as high as RM3 per litre, all we Malaysians will do is start f**king the government in blogs and complain about everything under the sky in our regular mamak gatherings. Maybe some will make themselves heard and seen again in KLCC. But before you know it, we will all be ordering the new Camry-s and Civic-s and play our part in contributing to traffic jam. Don’t you think so?

But you know what really bothers me? It is the usage of the savings arising from the cut in petrol subsidy which ticks me. One I could think of right now is to send a Malaysian as tourist to space. Oh, did you read the news today? Our supposedly Malaysian first astronaut has successful conducted his first space experiment…
by spinning a top (“gasing”) in space.

Hey… you and I may find it stupid, but a lot of Malaysians out there are actually quite proud it. But you know the irony of it? It is the same bunch of Malaysians who take much pride in having that dude in space and having the “gasing” played in space that will feel the pinch most should there be a price increase in petrol price. Don’t you think so?

For those people residing overseas, don’t you dare say that petrol price will still be cheap if it hit RM3 per litre here in Malaysia. Yes, it may be US$0.86 per litre (RM3) but when you consider that the average income per capita in Malaysia is US$496 per month as at 2006 (source:
Malaysian National Budget Speech 2008), petrol is freaking expensive.

Well, what am I getting at here? With the second dude also heading to space in the near future; all I can say is… brace yourself for the inevitable.

P/S: I have to say it… the experiment performed by our space tourist is just so damn fu*ked up.
P/S/S: Anyone upgrading their car?

Monday, 15 October 2007

Let us be reminded...

One of my friend’s mom was admitted to hospital last Friday, she fainted. Her kidneys failed and the surgery to remove some puss from her kidneys was not successful. She stabilised on Saturday and the next surgery to remove the pus still present in her kidneys was scheduled to be performed tomorrow.

But all is not meant to be, she passed away yesterday.

One of my mentors since my early school days who is going to be the worship leader during my wedding ceremony was admitted into hospital too on Friday. The medical staff found a stone in his kidney and due to some other complications, the doctor took a sample of his tissue for a biopsy to rule out the possibility of cancer and the result will be out this coming Saturday.

Perhaps I have reached an age where such things are part and parcel of life; but one thing for sure, I am reminded again of how fragile life is. I am reminded again of the pain when I lost my mom. I am also being brought back to earth to once again catch a glimpse on life’s reality.

Amidst our euphoria of celebrating the beauty of life, let us not take it for granted… let us know our limitations… let us realise what are the important things… let us find time to do things that truly enrich us and most important of all… let us cherish those whom we love while we are still walking this path on earth with them.

Friday, 12 October 2007

A very personal sharing

I met some of my former church-mates for lunch last Wednesday in the same restaurant where the erotic lunch happened last week. I think it’s just something about that restaurant. For those who want to know, it’s one of the hottest eatery spot in Pavillion. Maybe you should go and have lunch there some time.

Anyway, we were doing our usual catch up but there has been a certain change in the flavour of our conversation. We used to bitch about work and gossip about so and so dating so and so. Yes, Christians are human after all. As age catch up with us, the conversation topic has shifted to marriage and children. One of us is already a mother.

Somehow, the conversation led to feeding the infant and about so and so having a lot of milk… breast milk. One of the girls was telling us about how her cousin (I think) has a lot of breast milk …

“Really damn a lot, when I opened the fridge, I could see so much!”
“Why she wants to pump out so much?”
“XXX don’t have much milk, so she just take from my cousin’s reserve”
What the…...!!! My friend’s cousin shares her reserves of breast milk!!! Okay, I think I have a few mothers reading my blog. Will you all share your breast milk? Or, will you let your child drink someone else’s breast milk?

Any thoughts on this very ‘personal’ sharing?

Last but not least…

Zewt ingin mengambil kesempatan di sini untuk mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua pembaca AZAIG yang beragama Islam terutamanya deOughtred, Ardy, Alan Zed, Wazir, Kata Tak Nak, Pak Zawi, j or ji, Manal, Lucius Maximus, Tunku Halim, Zaty dan yang mereka yang saya rasa masih membaca AZAIG seperti Nuraina dan Rocky Bru. Harap-harap saya tidak meninggalkan sesiapa.

P/S: Thanks Babbles for the “I love your blog award”. Very flattering indeed my friend.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Modern Colonisation

During the olden days, the British were a powerful empire that spreads across the globe with countless colonies. Of course, colonisation was not only the habit of the British, the French, the Portuguese and the Spaniards all had their fare share of colonies too. With the exception of Japan who tried and failed, most olden days colonial masters originated from the west.

While being colonised, all the wealth of the colonies in the form minerals, spices or produce were transferred back to their home country. Our country’s reserve, once said to be the highest concentration in the world, were all repatriated back to England. There were also gold, mainly from India and other reserves being sent back to England. All these are achieved by using the local population as cheap labour. Once they have sucked a country dry, they leave in the name of ‘granting independence’ to the colonies.

Basically… they came…they invade… they repatriate…

The days of colonisation are over… or are they?

Former colonies like ours, which have been granted independence spent years in developing themselves in order to reach whichever state they are today. Let’s just leave out the notion of corruption or mismanagement of funds in our country for the time being. That aside, our country have indeed made much progression from whatever that was left with us when the colonial masters left.

Now, with whatever wealth that we have gathered, we asked the west, or anyone who has money to come and invest in our country. With much potential, many came and some are still coming. They pour money into our country… employ us as their employees… make us slave ourselves in trying to make profit for them… and finally send back the profit to them in the form of dividend.

So now… we ask them to come… they invest… we repatriate…

In the old days, they came with their warships carrying troops and invaded our country. They put our forefathers into a somewhat slavery state to plough our lands of our resources and took all our wealth away.

In the modern era, they come with their Multi-National Corporations (“MNCs”) carrying cash. They pay us and tempt us into believing that we will be paid better and better thus most of us are willing to slave ourselves for them. Unknowingly to most of us, they will only pay us a nominal amount. All the wealth in the form of profits of the MNCs will be sent back to them by way of dividend. Worse, some professional mistakes makers here are willing to slave day and night to trying to package the repatriation process in order to maximise rewards for them… and then feel proud about it.

You will be surprise that there are a lot of MNCs whose domestic operations are not making much money; some are even making losses domestically. But they are seen as giant on the world stage simply because the money generated via overseas operations is tremendous… simply because operations from overseas keeping sending money back to the MNCs.

It has been years since the colonial masters left their colonies. But where once there were invasions, there are now investments. Where they were once invaders, they are now investors. Where we were once slaves, we are now employees. Where there was once this land is a colony, it is now flooded with subsidiaries.

This is indeed… modern colonisation.

P/S: Thanks Rinnah for the “Fabulous Award” and also to Mumsgather for the “Creative Blogger Award”. I feel very honoured indeed.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

KPMG in law suit over unpaid overtime

I am feeling really tired today trying to do some songs searching and see what is appropriate for my wedding dinner and which one I should embarrass myself on stage. Hence, not much time to blog and I shall leave you with this piece of news which came to my attention last month. I have pasted the article below.

As for those formerly Ernst & Young, you might want to have a look at the debate on overtime payment that’s happening here. Apparently EY is also under a lawsuit over unpaid overtime… Very interesting time we live in…

I wonder such thing will ever happen in Malaysia… you’ll never know.



KPMG LLP has become the second high-profile employer to be slapped with an unpaid-overtime class-action lawsuit and could face damages worth millions of dollars, says the lawyer for the lead plaintiff.

The suit against the Canadian division of KPMG, which provides audit, tax, and advisory services, comes on the heels of similar action in June against Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Both cases were filed in Ontario Superior Court.

"Professional services firms are under the impression that because they are professional service firms, they are outside the purview of the overtime rules," said lawyer Henry Juroviesky, of Juroviesky and Ricci LLP.

That's because chartered accountants make up the bulk of KPMG's staff and are excluded from overtime provisions, he said. The firm, however, has a diverse workforce that includes other professionals subject to the rules. The suit's proposed class covers those employees who worked more than 44 hours in a week without overtime.

"This class action will hopefully make them cognizant of that fact and lead to behaviour modification on the part of these firms," Juroviesky said in an interview.

The lead plaintiff is Toronto resident Alison Corless, who was employed as a "technician" at KPMG from 2000 to 2004. She alleges she is owed $87,000 in overtime for that period.
According to the statement of claim: "It is well known in the accounting and professional industry that hours worked by a productive employee are approximately one-third more than the hours they charge."

The suit alleges breach of Ontario's Employment Standards Act and breach of contract. It seeks $20 million in general damages for the class, but Juroviesky estimated the claim is viable for damages between $65 million and $100 million.

The case has not been certified and none of the allegations has been proven in court.
KPMG issued a statement saying it values its employees, adding it provides "a competitive compensation and benefits package in keeping with its goal of being an employer of choice."

"Our comprehensive compensation practices include overtime policies which comply with applicable legislative requirements. We have only recently received this lawsuit and will be reviewing it in detail with our counsel before making any further response," it added.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Are you still chasing?

“lei oi cho fung sin dai mo?” (would you like to be sitting under the fan?)
“yu gu em cho fun sin dai, kam jo mei ah?” (what if I fail to be one sitting under a fan?”
“jau wai jao, ho san fu” (running around, would be torturous)
“gam ngo oi cho lang hei dai” (then I want to be sitting under an air-cond)

That was one of the conversation I had with my dad very long ago, since I was a little kid. Sitting under a fan simply means working in an office environment, where your income is stable and don’t need to run around. Any job not office based is tough, to my dad at least. Of course, I was more ambitious; I wanted to sit in an air-cond room instead.

As I grow up, I observe the people around me… and my dream was to work in an office environment room, and not any office… must have air-cond! I also wanted to be able to go to work wearing a tie; don’t quite remember what the reason was. Then I remember I wanted to have a car because I saw a lot of my church friends having car and I don’t have one. Another thing I wanted to do was to travel to Hong Kong, probably due to too much TVB series.

Those were my dreams when I graduated.

Now… I am working in an air-cond environment. Yes, I wear a tie to work everyday. I have a car. I also own a property. I have been to Hong Kong… twice. On top of that, I have been to China, Singapore, England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and the Czech Republic. Not showing off really.

Technically speaking, I have over-exceeded my dreams already… What were your dreams when you were young? Have you achieved them already?
And yet we wonder… why are we still struggling? Are we trying to chase our dreams? Or are we trying to meet the standards the world has set for us? Some of us may say that we are slaving ourselves for the well being of our children… is it really true? Is it really for your children? Or is it for you to upgrade from a Civic to a BMW?

Indeed, some may say we should not hover in the realms of mediocrity. But if we continue to chase new dreams… when are you going to live your dreams?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

An erotic lunch and a traumatic locker experience

We had a farewell cum birthday lunch for a few of my colleagues today; 1 person leaving the company and 4 people celebrating an increase in their age. Since birthday celebration is involved, we got ourselves a cake. We passed the cake to the restaurant captain and he immediately placed it in the fridge while we enjoy our lunch.

Lunch was quick and soon enough, the birthday celebration began…

We lit 3 candles and after the first was put off, the remainder 2 birthday girls did a fantastic blow job putting off theirs; they were slick and quick. After the fantastic blow job, we assigned one of the girls to distribute the cake.

For some strange reason, the cake was rather hard. I guess staying in the fridge for some time made it… harder. Someone said he was puzzled why that thing was still hard after having blown by the girls. Must be a tough piece of cake…

Then, one colleague was tasting the cake (still hard by the way) with her tongue and said she felt some nuts. I guess it’s not a strange thing to find nuts around hard shaft… I mean cakes. A few minutes later, one colleague shouted that there is… hair in the cake!!! I wonder if it’s curly. Thank God I didn’t have that piece.

While we all continue to savour the hard piece of cake which survived some efficient blow job,
the girl who refused to use the sponge then said… “I like the authentic colour of the cream”. And it made us all wonder what kind of cream she has been seeing.

It was a chocolate cake.

On a totally unrelated matter… I was at the gym today and after a good work-out, I went to the sauna and thereafter, had a very refreshing shower. No no no, nothing was hard or being blown in the shower. Anyway, after my shower, I went to my locker and there was a guy occupying the space where my locker is.

Those who have read
“The locker tale” before will know that the lockers in my gym are 2 tier like the one in the picture. As I approached that guy occupying my space, he said noticed me and moved away and said…

“Oh, you’re here?” Pointing to my locker.
“Oh, I’m here, on top of you”… he smiled… cheekily.

If there is a world record for the fastest time in dressing up and leaving a particular gym, I would have broken that record today.

Metamorphosis of slaves

I had a very long talk with my boss. I did share the conversation with some of my colleagues and they were totally astonished that I pulled of such a feat. What was the talk all about? Well, I refuse to put myself in an I-have-no-choice situation… I asked for pay rise and complained about over-worked. And when I said complain… I really mean complain.

I shall not go into the details but one of the many things I told my boss was that things have changed; that I am not like her. To my surprise, she agreed and told me that she is aware of this perspective. She told me she could see it in her children.

Indeed… things have changed; particularly amongst the modern slaves living in the urban area of this country. In my zewtpinion, the current modern slaves population is generally segregated into a few generations…
The True Slaves Generation… To me, they are usually aged 35 and above and are very much infected with the I-must-work-very-hard-and-die-for-the-company virus. They believe that hard work is the only way to success and success is measured by way of status and monetary rewards. They only know how to say yes to the company and bosses, never dare to voice out any grievances and their worth lies in their work. They think they are sacrificing themselves for the betterment of their family not knowing that their family may also be sacrificed at the same time, metaphorically speaking. That is, if they do have a family in the first place. Because of their I-must-work-hard mentality, they will instil the same to those below them… us…

Most of us here; aged 24 – 34, we are The Transitional Generation. We are stuck between the need to work hard in order to support our lifestyle and the need to not work so hard in order to have a lifestyle. Basically, we still carry a bit of the gene from the preceding generation but at the same time, we are also painfully aware that hard work does not necessary guarantee success. Further, we have a very different definition of success, and we look at the path to success from a different perspective.

We are constantly in a predicament of wanting to leave our job because we are so fed up and angry at the bosses and/or company but never truly get around doing it. We suffer severely from the I-have-no-choice syndrome. Some of our friends did make it big doing their own things, but we just can't bring ourselves to follow their footstep because we are too afraid to venture out of our comfort zone. Also, some decide to be modern slave in the name of ‘glamour’ due to a certain type of slavery.

Next is the generation hovering in the horizon, I call them… The New Breed. A few souls of this generation were seen a few years back and their numbers are growing. Made up mostly of urban population, work to them is just… work. Hard work is slowly being removed from their vocabulary and if you were to ask them to put in a few hours of over time, you will probably not have them as colleague very soon. This is real… I am hearing more and more stories where a new modern slave was asked to work past their official office hour for a few days and before you know it, they handed in their resignation already.

I foresee that this new breed will soon form the next generation of modern slaves. Let’s look at the current pre-slave population, those in their late teens, like the children of my boss. Despite not having made their first cent, they are already having ‘pocket money’ as high as a thousand a month, or more. I don’t even want to go into how they spend their money. This does not include a car and possibly even a condo if their parents are from out of town.

Brought up in such environment and with parents continue to be ever willing to over-provide, do you think The New Breed will slave at a job for a puny pay? Sorry for being too judgemental but I doubt it. Like I said earlier, the signs are already showing, some of them are already giving us glimpses of things yet to come.

But I think it is a good thing. It’s about time the exploitation of the labour force in this country morph into a better form.

Zewt supports the call to free burma, participant #2153. Come,
join the stats. Post up the banner and make it your ARK.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

They have mutated

There was once when the chief of traffic police made a press statement saying that they will ‘go all out’ to get them. That ‘go all out’ proclamation ended up as a few road blocks and operations which can be counted with one hand. We know where they gather, we know when they gather, we know they are often up to no good… but the police did nothing about them.

But the question is… are they still as brainlessly harmless as they used to be?

No, they are no longer a bunch of pest who probably complained about the rise in petrol price but will yet gleefully waste petrol by strolling around at night.

No, they no longer just ride in a horde and weave around your vehicle and irritate the shit out of you if you so encounter them at night.

No, they no longer just race amongst them for drugs, booze and pussies.

No, they no longer just perform some stupid stunts in the name of thrill and fame.

No, they are no longer the same… they have mutated…

Hop around some blogs and you will probably be able to read many horrific experiences of some bloggers with these hideous creatures. What more… they are so daring nowadays that some of their destructive acts can be seen in broad daylight. Some of us here would probably have terrible stories of our own.

I have personally had
an encounter with them several years ago, before they were granted ‘national heritage’ status by a certain group of people. I wonder if I will be able to survive their onslaught should the same thing happen to me now. Some of my friends and friends’ friends even had some experiences which can be quite… sensitive. Ya’ know, things that I can't say but we all know it anyway… I do not need to say more.

Many stories have been told about the rampages of the horde. If the mainstream media can report about properties were damaged, windscreen smashed and in some case, lives were lost, can you possibly imagine what actually happen in real life? You can I can only wonder…

Yet… can we do anything about them? Can we expect the police to deliver their promise to ‘go all out’ against them? No… not when a certain group of people even granted them the licence to play police. Of course, we all know very well that these pests would rather play villains instead.

And no, I am not going to call them by that glamorous title given to them. I think you should stop calling them by that name too; it only gives them more fame. They are nothing but a bunch of brainless morons who have been used as pawns in a big game. And the perks in being used as pawns are what we are angry at.

Such is what we have to live with everyday. Given the trend, I wonder what they dare to do next with this unofficial immunity that they are getting. It really worries me. But hey, I am sure it does not worry you… I am sure you still find the
food is still good.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

A state of many people

Just in case you’re living an ignorant life, let me draw your attention to a state of chaos currently happening in Myanmar. The monks are protesting against the government after years of suppression. It appears that they are representing the people and being a suppressing state, the Myanmar government issued a ‘shoot at sight’ order against the monks and the rest of the protestors. It all began in what seems like a peaceful demonstration against the sudden rise in fuel price.

I am not going to go into details but amidst the chaos happening there right now, I can't help but ponder upon the type of people who live in a suppressed state. I wonder if they made up of such type of people…

Type A: Those who fight…
Like the monks and the protestors in Myanmar, these are the people who stood up for what they believe in. They are the ones who are willing to get their hands dirty. They are the ones who try their very best to get the people at large to stand up and fight too. More often than not, they will fail. And occasionally, they get arrested for no apparent reason. The people at large support this type of people, but only behind closed door.

Type B: Those who don’t need to fight
These are the type of people whose lives are so comfortable and thus, they are totally oblivious that they are living in a suppressed state. The state can continue to fall but because the lives of these type of people are every so prosperous, they do not see a need to do anything. Even if they believe that there is a need for a change, they strong believe it is the dirty job of Type A. Perhaps… just perhaps… they are the other side of the suppressed.

Type C: Those who only know how to talk
By far, this type forms the most amongst those living in a suppressed state. They are the masters of verbal attack, and that’s basically it. They appear to be openly supporting Type A but when any sign of danger shows, they will all just shut-up. But the beauty of Type C is that their mouth will soon be opened again. Being the noisiest of the lot, Type C is probably just what they seems to be… noise.

Type D: Those who keep quiet because they have plan
This type appears to live in an oblivious world too. But deep inside them, they already have everything well planned out. They do not see hope in the state anymore and are constantly working on their quest to head to another state. Not wanting to jeopardise their master-plan, they remain quiet. Many of those in Type B are slowly evolving into Type D but its population never grows big simply because… most will end up successfully leaving the state.

Type E: Those who keep quiet because they are afraid
They are afraid not because they fear for their safety, but rather their family; most of the time at least. Not wanting to rock the boat and land themselves in trouble, Type E chooses to swallow whatever suppression or oppression thrown at them. Sometimes, the reason why they are Type E is because they can't afford to be Type D. As the days go by, their lives morphed from bad to worse and without them knowing. I believe there is a limit in being Type E. And I believe this is the type of people who then ended up being Type A… just like what is happening in Myanmar… they just can't take it anymore.
But what really puzzles me is… what type of the people does the soldiers fall into? I seriously do not think they fall within Type B. Is the training that they went through that effective that as soon as they put on their uniform and carry a rifle or whatever apparatus given to them… they forget that
they are also a citizen of the state? It truly puzzles me.

If I am in a suppressed state, I will probably be Type D. What about you?