Friday 31 October 2008

I have not made it...

For those who follow the comments of “Tuesday reflection on a reflection”, you will note that there is a reader by the nick of 2x2 matrix who is somewhat a self-proclaimed successful person and said that I should not complain about the modern slavery world. Some of his comments include…

“Your thinking is rather primitive and communist in nature”
“Perhaps you are disgruntled because you have not made it in life”
“Don’t be despair, try harder and you shall one day be a true capitalist”
“I am up there, but even if I fall, sorry to say it won’t come down to the level you are referring to”.
“Some people just make more money than you”

I must admit, things that he said made me reflect on my life. It’s so true; there are so many people who made more money than me… like the 4 in my department of about 30.

I guess I am just disgruntled for I have not made it in life. I am now driving a Japanese car and with my current salary, I probably can afford to only get a new BMW 3 series. How I wish I can afford a Ferrari. Sigh… I am disgruntled…

When I went to Italy for my honeymoon of 11 days, I fine dined with my lovely wife for I think 9 days of the trip. How I wish I can fine-dine for the whole 11 days. I am sure 2x2 matrix can afford to do that since ya’ know… he is “up there”.
I also bought a honeymoon remembrance gift, which is a set of 4 Venice Murano drinking glass for £500. But there was one black glass horse which I like but it cost £800. How wishI can get that and I am sure 2x2 Matrix can cause ya’ know, he is “up there” while I have not made it yet. Sigh… I am disgruntled.

And yesterday… just yesterday… I was verbally informed that I will be one of the candidates who will be recommended for a regional position in Asia. I am such a failure, I should have been offered the role directly… but I only got a potential recommendation.

I am truly jealous of what 2x2 matrix for being “up there” while I am down here.

Surely, my father who once couldn’t even afford to send me to college would have been very disappointed with me

I am going to sulk this weekend.

Once a modern slave, always a modern slave
Where up there, or down here

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Why others say not safe but we say safe

I have been closely monitoring ShadowFox’s dedicated coverage on the melamine scandal in the past weeks and he has raised quite a number of disturbing discoveries.

this particular entry, he highlighted that Munchy, an award winning Malaysian food manufacturer did used China based ingredients after all when a press statement they made earlier stated otherwise.

Nevertheless, the most alarming news would be the fact that he highlighted quite a number of products which our very own Ministry of Health claimed to be safe but has failed the melamine test conducted by the
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (“AVA”).

The abovementioned entry can be read
The list of food products which failed the melamine test based on a press statement by AVA can be downloaded from AVA

Whatever he said may be just a blog entry. But when an agency such as AVA made a statement about products failing the melamine test, one can't help but wonder how in the world did these products pass the test in Malaysia. Singapore’s tagline is Integrity, Service and Excellence while Malaysia go on “Malaysia Boleh”. Who should you believe?

Oh, I forgot, Malaysia claimed to be recession-resistant amidst a global crisis. It is certainly not surprising when Malaysia believes Malaysians can be melamine-resistant too. After all, "Malaysia Boleh"!

But I am going stay off those products. On top of that, I am going to be kiasu and kiasi and stay off some other dodgy products based on instincts.

Good luck.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Tuesday reflection on a recession

Late last month, I wrote an entry which hovers around

Recession is bad for poor…
Recession is worse for the rich…
But recession is worst for those who are poor but think they are rich…

Some commented and disagreed with the above saying that the poor will be badly hit. Well, did I say a recession will be a good thing to the poor? Put it this way, when a recession hits, no one will be spared.

Why did I say a recession will be worse for the rich, generally at least? For your information, a lot of rich people have got their wealth slashed by more than half in the last couple of weeks.

Of course, with half of their wealth gone, many of the rich are still left with plenty to spare. That is actually quite true but it does not change the fact that rich are affected more compared to the poor. Anyone here got their wealth slashed by more than half?

And then there are those who commented and said about their fear of losing their jobs and unable to pay their mortgage and car instalment…


If you have been earning RM4,000 to RM6,000 a month and you are driving a nice and big Japanese car and at the same you bought a RM400,000+ apartment… or worse… if you are earning that amount of money and you are driving a BM or a Merz and living in a nice luxury condo in Mont Kiara… don’t you think you belong to the third category above?

Oh yes, the usual crime-rate-will-increase. You mean crime rate in this country… THIS COUNTRY… will improve if there is not recession?

Let me reiterate… a recession is bad. And it appears that this is going to be the mother of all recession. Just in case you didn’t know, the last version of such recession started World War II.

In the last couple of weeks, I have witnessed that greed will always present in everyone’s heart. Everyone is just trying to make the best out of the situation. The middle class jumped into the share market thinking that it was the worse. The rich whine and whine about losing so much money and needed to make back what they have lost when they still have millions with them. The poor are thinking about using their lifelong saving to “capture the opportunity”.

Everyone just want to profit. And I see a lot of rich people trying to trick middle class and poor people into believing that they can profit so that the rich can regain their wealth. This is why I think I think a recession is good. It will put some realign the lives of many… a healthy reshuffling of wealth as some call it.

And is the worst over? Well, someone said that 2 weeks ago… and also last week. And probably, someone will also say the same thing this Friday.

Monday 27 October 2008

A move that speaks a lot

You know the RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) which the govt said EPF will lend to this company called ValueCap to buy undervalued stocks? It’s turning into quite a ruckus with arguments coming from all sides…

But you know what?

It’s not about EPF being our money and we should be consulted before spending the RM5b… it’s not about that…

It’s not about poor financial market sense that RM5b is not sufficient to boost the market… it’s not about that…

It’s not about how EPF could have invested the RM5b themselves without having to go through ValueCap… it’s not about that…

It’s not about the background and credentials of ValueCap and having to check out ValueCap properly before giving it the loan to buy undervalued shares… it’s not about that…

It’s not about undeserving listen companies and their share value does should not be given redemption… it’s not about that…

It’s beyond all that…

It’s about the fact that a really bad financial tsunami is coming and people are probably going to be out of jobs, some lives may be changed forever, some may even have to jump down buildings in a few months (or weeks) time… and amidst all that, they still have the “heart” to do something like “this”.

To me, that’s what it’s all about… and it speaks a lot.

Let those have eyes see…

Friday 24 October 2008

Have you ever tried this before?

We were all 17, the year which most of us got our driving licences. I am sure many of you remember how it feels. The elation of being behind the wheel was quite sensational feeling. Calling out friends for “yum char” session at night is a norm while occasionally; most road newbies will head to Lorong Haji Taib to check out the transvestites.

But for me and my friends, we had other ideas…

While driving out at night is already quite a challenge, not many parents will allow their children to take the car out till the wee hours of the morning. But so happen, one of our friends had this liberty. And we will all cramped into this dad’s Iswara Aeroback (could be 6 or more) for our night adventure.

One one… well, actually a few nights… we headed to… the cemetery… Now, this cemetery is not the current expensive and modern type where there is vast land and there are proper roads going into its compound. The one we headed too is a typical Chinese cemetery by the hill where tombstones are located just by the driveway.

Try to imagine… 6 or more of us cramped into a car… those unfortunate souls sitting at the side have their faces literally plastered against the door windows. Can you imagine your face and the tombstones are merely a breath away? You can really see “their” portraits smiling at you. And may I remind you, it was right smack in the middle of the night.

That’s not all…

In this particular cemetery, the driveway heading into it can only fit 1 car. It means if you drive in, you have to drive all the way into the cemetery before you can come out on the other side of the hill. It’s what you call a … one way ticket.

As a risk control measure and to ensure that we can escape in the event of any “emergency”, we decided to… reverse in. Yes… put the gear to reverse and head into the cemetery with the backside first so if anything is to happen, the driver can switch to 1st gear and accelerate out immediately.

Yes, it’s reverse gear and 1st gear and 2nd gear… it’s a manual car. Can you imagine the feeling if the driver releases the clutch too fast and the engine died? And… the car refuse to start? Honestly… never crossed out mind.

And one more thing… when the car is reversing in, everyone except those sitting at the side were looking towards the back, nobody was looking at what is in front of the car. Halfway through…

“Eh, mo yan mong chin min meh?” (No one looking in front?)
“Lei mong lah..” (You look lah)
“Huh, lei mong lah” (Huh, you look lah)
“Wan go yan mong chin min, fai tit!” (Quickly get someone to look in front!)

No one did. Well, probably there’s nothing in front anyway, right?

Nothing ever happened though it was quite spooky. Looking bad and consider the ‘what ifs’… what if the engine did die and unable to start when we are in the middle of nowhere! That would have been something.

Tried anything like this before?

Heading to Melaka this weekend and probably going to eat myself silly in Jonkers Street Bazaar.

Have a good break all of you and to all AZAIG Hindu readers… Happy Deepavali!

Wednesday 22 October 2008

A grand proposal

And so our new finance minister announced new measures to preserve our economy. I thought our economy is the only economy in the world which is not and will not run into a recession? Hmmmmm….

And so RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) will be allocated to this company called ValueCap to buy undervalue stocks. You mean the shares in our stock market are worth more than what they are now? Hmmmmmm…..

Wait a minute…

The RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) will not coming from the govt, which means the RM5,000,000,000 will not be coming from taxpayers’ money pool. Instead, it will be coming from EPF!!!! WTF!!!

It will be RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) our O.U.R. money!!!

I have a grand proposal…

Why don’t they give the RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) back to us since it’s our money and we use the money to invest in the stock market. I am sure that will be more “effective”. What say you?

After all, one will wonder how much of the RM5b (that’s RM5,000,000,000) will actually be used in buying undervalue stocks.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Why you should want the inflation to be up

It’s the time of the year again. I am talking about year-end salary revision and (hopefully) bonuses.

If I could get our beloved finance minister to do one thing, that would be for him to publish an accurate inflation rate. Why? The answer is very simple.

A lot of big corporations out there rely on inflationary statistics to adjust the salary of its employees. I happen to work in one of such corporations. So the maths is very simple, the higher the published inflation rate, the higher the salary revision will be.

I understand the inflation rate for the month of Aug 2008 was 8.4% and it is expected that the figure for Sept 2008 would be around 8.2%. Regardless of the argument that calculation of consumer price index in our country is not entirely accurate, around 8% will do just fine.

There have been arguments late last year and our CPI can be as high as 20%+. Well, with the basket of goods used to calculate the CPI being mostly controlled items, one will tend to agree.

Regardless of whether the figure published is high or low, we cannot deny the fact that things have gone more expensive. As such, I am really hoping that the published CPI will remain high for my salary sake. And if you are in the same boat as me, you should pray hard about it too. And for others, maybe you’re in the same boat as me… you just don’t know it.

Related article:
Don’t bother about inflation?

Monday 20 October 2008

The pouring that’s keeping us alive

Nobody likes it when it pours in KL. Gone are the time when it pours and you think to yourself… “great time to sleep”. Not anymore; for when it pours, the streets will be congested. This is most significant as it affects most protected habit… our driving. Scan around facebook and you can see quite a number of people complaining about the rain in their status update.

Although the rain has indeed made me spent additional time behind the wheel, I prefer to have it keep pouring. Let me tell you why…

On my way to work everyday, I have to drive through this particular highway that gives me a rather good view of the KL skyline. I have noticed that for the last month (could be more than a month), the visibility of the KL skyline has been rather poor.

No, the haze is not back. The haze has always been here for the longest time, we are just too occupied with other things till we are not aware of it. And for the most part, the very one thing that has been cleaning our air on a daily basis is the one thing which many of us are complaining about… the rain.

Anyway, I am on leave today and it poured cats and dogs before I decided to go out and run some errands. Despite the heavy downpour, the visibility is still poor. And I am very sure it’s not because of mist. It is bad air quality.

One very simple way to see the air quality is to look at the sun. Normally, one cannot look directly to the sun, but if you manage to do so in a particular day, and that the sun looks beautifully orange, it is a sign of highly polluted air. I saw such sun yesterday.

I am inclined to think that when the dry season hits us, we will see the haze craze all over again.

I read in an article some time ago (sorry I couldn’t locate the article now) and it states that air qualified as “good” in Malaysia does not meet the minimum standard set by Japan. Considering that an average Japanese live the longest in the world compared to the rest, it does speaks something about the quality of their air.

Also, I have got many friends with sinus problem and their problem will miraculously disappear when they live in places like Australia or the suburb in England. The moment they return to KL, so does their sinus problem.

If you have been reading the kind of effect poor air quality has on the people of China, it can be quite scary. Industrial development is killing their people, literally.

Anyway, let’s not talk about that today. For now, I thank God that he has been watering our land everyday and keeping the air quality at a considerably safe level. It is interesting to note that despite the daily heavy downpour, the
Air Pollutant Index (“API”) in KL only manages borderline between good and moderate. That also includes the present of “serbuk halus” (fine dust). I wonder how safe is this “serbuk halus”.

Is the forest fire in Indonesia again to be blamed? Maybe… maybe not…

Thursday 16 October 2008

Japan got the hit

Found this in my inbox:-

The financial crisis has finally hit Japan…

In the last few days, Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly-up while Bonsai Bank has announced plans to cut some branches.

This follows by Karaoke Bank being up for sale and will likely go for a song while shares today in Kamikaze Bank was suspended after they nose-dived.

Samurai Bank are soldiering on following sharp cutbanks and Ninja Bank are reported to have taken a hit and will remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff in Karate Bank are going to get the chop and analysts report that there is something going on in Sushi Bank where it is feared that something fishy is going on and staff may get a raw deal.

Original addition by Zewt:
Last but not least, Yamate-Yamate Bank has ceased on penetration attempts into new market.

P/S: Zewt has got nothing against Japan. It’s all for a good laugh.
P/S/S: Any AZAIG reader currently residing in Perth? Plan to make a trip there.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Different breed, different reaction

Regular AZAIG readers will know I once blogged about how modern slaves have morphed into different species. And just to recap the main characteristics of the respective breed…

The True Slaves Generation --- Aged 35 and above… heavily infected with the I-must-work-hard-and-die-for-the-company virus… hard work is the only way to success… work is life… never dare to say no to the bosses / company.

The Transitional Generation --- aged 24 – 34… stuck in between the need to work hard to support a lifestyle and the need not to work hard to have lifestyle… constantly complain about the bosses / company and vow to resign but will never get around doing it… severely suffering from the I-have-no-choice syndrome…

The New Breed --- mainly offspring of successful urbanites… salary means additional pocket money… overtime is not in their vocabulary… teach them the meaning of overtime and they will teach you how to break the world record for the quickest resignation in the company.

The gap between these 3 generations of slaves is getting more apparent judging by their reaction to certain things. Let me tell you a real-life scenario…

The company gives out a small promotion gift...

True Slaves – “Wahhh… so nice… so lovely. I really like it. Quick, go get yours”
Transitional Generation – “What??? Such a big company and give us this!! So damn cheapskate lah this company!”
New Breed – [no comment available, did not collect the gift]

Really, the reaction can be quite hilarious. Particularly when a Transitional Generation has to respond to the excessive happiness shown by the True Slaves, who most likely are the bosses.

In the light of the current economic turmoil, would the reactions from the respective breed be like this?

In response to the company’s announcement that the company is strong and doing extremely well despite the current bad patch…

True Slaves – “See… I told you right… our company very strong wan. No need to worry la”. Proceed to another individual and repeat the same thing. Then proceed to another… and another… and another…
Transitional Generation – “Yeah right. You think I am stupid ah? I read the news ok!” Continue complaining…
New Breed – “What economic turmoil? What’s going on at the moment ah?”

In response to the company’s announcement that there might not be bonus at the end of the year…

True Slaves – “We should be happy that we still have job”
Transitional Generation – “What the !&*!@%!$@^%$!@^%!. Surely the big boss took all the bonus lah”
New Breed – “Daddy, where are we going for our year end holiday?”

Indeed, we have morphed well…

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Are they really safe?

Looks like the Melamine alert has died out. Most of us are pretty convinced that the dairy products in this country are entirely free from contamination, except for those really delicious white rabbit creamy candy which most of us loved.

Honestly, I am still sceptical about the so-called “all clear” given by our very own Ministry of Health. I remember 2 years ago, there were news report saying bread in our market has got some toxic and it was given the “all-clear” within a number of days. It just doesn’t quite make sense, to me at least.

Besides lacking confidence in them, I am also rather reserve about the quality of our food, generally speaking. Make no mistake; melamine was found in milk products in China not because it was discovered by the health officials. It was discovered because babies there started falling sick and they arrived at the common source, their diet.

But then again, you can't blame the health officials. Why?

Say, if you send your blood to the lab for test, they probably test for your kidney function, liver function, cholesterol, cancer marker and so on and so forth. Nobody in the world will test your blood for say… sperm. Because it just doesn’t make sense. But could there be sperm in our blood? Who knows?

Similarly, when they send the milk for contamination test, the health officials would most probably check for bacteria, fungus or virus. They might just check for human sperm just in case someone got too excited while milking the cows’ tits. But no one in the world will test milk for the presence of melamine.

It was only where people starting to fall sick that melamine contamination was detected. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I read in
this blog that the famous (and delicious) Ma-Ling luncheon meat has been banned in Singapore as cancer-causing antibiotic was found in it.

Well, would you agree with me if I say quite a number of foodstuff in our shelves, particularly those processed ones, have got some form of dangerous substance or another? It may be clear from virus, fungus, bacteria or cancer-causing antibiotics, but what about a whole lot of other harmful chemicals?

How sure are we that if they were to test for melamine, mercury or some other toxic in say… our bread and it’s 100% free? After all, prior to this, no one in the world expect to find melamine in milk.

P/S: Don’t worry, I don’t think the milk you drink contains sperm.

Monday 13 October 2008

3 comparisons, 1 interview, 2 awards

Jules went to a health exhibition yesterday and the nutritionist who gave a talk there gave her 3 comparisons…

Apparently, smoking a single cigarette is like burning away the nutrition that you get from eating 60 oranges.

You think that is bad? Well… eating a packet of instant noodles actually required 90 days of detox before your body can get rid of all those preservatives and chemicals. It’s a good thing I have only eaten maggi mee once in the last 9 months.

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. I am sure most of you will like the 3rd comparison. There is this thing called inflammatory agent which is bad for the body, said to be a cancer causing agent. And… between a roasted skinless chicken breast and roasted lean pork… roasted lean pork (focus on the word “lean”) has got more anti-inflammatory agent.

Anyway, I had an interview today with a journalist from a new local IT magazine. Why do people like to ask “Are you afraid to be ISA?” when they interview me? This is the second time I am being asked this question. I guess blogging is indeed a dangerous interest in this country. Anyway… do look out for me in this new magazine called “Surf”… hehe…

AZAIG would like to say a big thank you to Mar for the
“Brillante Weblog 2008 Award” and to U-Jean for the “Butterfly Award”.

So… ‘siew yok’ anyone?

Sunday 12 October 2008

Maybe... just maybe...

My friend who works in the treasury division pointed out something very peculiar to me. If you have been paying attention to the currency and market movement around the world, you might just agree with what our second finance minister so proudly proclaimed last week; that our country is not, and will not fall into a recession.

Indeed, our very own stock market has plunged below the 1,000 points barrier. “But it’s only around 3%”, that’s what my friend said. 8% - 12%, that’s the average drop in the stock market across the globe. Dow Jones, what is arguably the heartbeat of all stock market, has plunged from 11,000 points to 8,500 points in 8 days.

What make our very own Bursa Malaysia so strong?

The reason why the stock markets are tumbling is simply because all the “investors” and fund managers just dump their shares into the market to get back their cash. I know of a fer overseas fund managers who just sold their portfolio and went to the pub and drink their sorrows away, during working hours.

So are they not dumping their Malaysian shares? Or… is there no foreign holding in our stock market? Words are going around that all the foreign investors have sold all their Malaysian shares after the 8 March tsunami.

So, if the foreign fund managers are all gone, who is holding our shares?

Our stock market is quite peculiar indeed. You can have 200+ counters falling and yet, the index can rise. That is because, in order to push the index, you just need to make sure a few counters perform well. So who is sustaining the market by keep buying all these index linked counters? Certainly not foreign funds. Ask around, and you’ll know. It might just be your money.

Of course, one can always say the above are all a load of bull and the reason why our Bursa is still strong (index wise) is because our beloved country is actually a damn strong country. Regardless of the extreme diarrhoea currently seen in the price of crude petrol and palm oil, the bread and butter of our country, we are still very rich.

And top that with highly capable leaders, recession will never come to our shores; just like melamine tainted products also never hit our shores. Milk of a particular brand can fail the melamine test in Hong Kong and yet, our papers can just squashed all the “rumours” by saying “xxx tidak mengandungi susu dari China”. Apparently these companies do not use cheap china based milk but expensive milk from Australia. Would you believe it……

Well, maybe our country is actually very strong. Maybe our country product quality control is really top notch. We just can't build roof and roads properly… that’s all. Maybe… just maybe…

Thursday 9 October 2008

The Chronicles of Hole and Pole

With so many things happening around the world, there are actually quite a number of things that I would like to write about. But then again, it’s always good to take some time off to relax and have a good laugh, particularly when the weekend is near, right?

A year ago I wrote about
“The other Newton 3 laws of motion”. And during an e-mail chat with some of my colleagues a while ago, I mentioned to them about the second law under “The other Newton 3 laws of motion” which reads:

When a pole is put into a hole
The result is a new soul
Of either a hole of a pole

This actually sparked off amongst us with this second law being twisted and modified in all ways possible. Jane’s (not her real name) reply to the above was:

When a pole speaks about a hole
All intellectual activities are put on hold
It’s a fact that we all know
Men are always boys who will never grow

To which I replied:

Even for boys who didn’t grow
His pole is enough to produce new soul
Don’t believe?
Go try and you’ll know

I have actually forgotten who made the reply to the above but the fun continued with:

Without a hole, a pole cannot produce new soul
And if the pole doesn’t grow
The pole will have hard times finding new holes

I don’t know what has gotten into us that day but the reply just kept coming:

North Pole South Pole
They all need a good hole
But some holes have to pay toll
Before the pole gets the hole
But while others prefer asshole
But all in all, it’s good for the soul
So let’s wait not for the bell to toll
And get on with the common goal

Finally, I made the final reply to the e-mail conversation with:

Sorry but when it comes to asshole
I will have to say no no no
Though hole is indeed our common goal
I prefer to keep shit off my pole

Who says accountants are square?

Wednesday 8 October 2008

And you think everything is still hunky dory

I have said earlier that all those big investment banks should just be left to die but some tend to disagree. Did you know that the former CEO of Lehmann Brothers, the world’s oldest investment bank, pocketed US$480m before the company filed for bankruptcy? And this includes some US$20m+ in bonus just months before the collapse. Was it done on purpose?

Do a quick google around and you will see that people working in Lehmann Brothers are paid on an average of US$300,000 per annum. Tell me, why should the govt (though not our govt) bail all these people? Should the world save the rich just to keep the economy going?

This is why in the
latest banking bail out talk in London, the UK govt has made it clear that “chief executives will not be paid huge bonuses”. Oh yes… looks like Europe has just joined the world financial crisis bandwagon as talks about banking industry bail out sparked in London today.

Are we staring at the worst economic downturn the world has ever seen? Nah… rilek-lah… we are not Singaporeans who are kiasu and kiasi… we are Malaysians… we Malaysia boleh… just look around and you will see people still going ‘yum char’ at Coffee Bean and people hanging around in Pavilion swiping credit cards like nobody’s business.

And while we are at it, what are our leaders doing?

The top guy announced that he will step down in March next year and I wonder whether our current finance minister will be using his brain power to sustain the economy or whether he will concentrate all his might to secure the top post. What say you?

Isn’t our people and country wonderful…

Tuesday 7 October 2008

And you think the big pays big

Someone in my colleague’s team resigned and naturally, he, being the manager of the team had to look for a replacement. On a fateful day, a particular candidate who seemed to fit the bill based on her resume came to our office for interview.

She went through the usual protocol of filling the application form and was then sent to a room for the interview. During the interview, my colleague (the manager) was shocked when he looked at one of the information in the application form.

Expected salary = RM14,000!!!!!

My colleague nearly fell of the chair but of course, he tried very well to remain calm. The position in question was “Senior Financial Analyst” and the candidate is currently working as a “Financial Analyst” in her current company. And you know that? Her current salary is… RM11,400.

Current position is Financial Analyst
Current salary is RM11,400

Position applied for is Senior Financial Analyst
Expect salary was RM14,000

My colleague later found our from the candidate that she thought a “senior” position in one of giant foreign multinational organisations in the country, RM14,000 should be reasonable. Bearing in mind that the candidate is currently working for a local multinational, we certainly cannot blame her. What she does not is that the position she applied for, though “senior”, so to speak, does not even offer half of what she was expecting. Heck… it was not even half of what she was getting!

People in my department have always been complaining about being under-paid. This incident shocked us beyond words. If you think working in a big foreign multinational company means you will get a fat pay; well, think again. Those getting the fat pay cheques are those sitting in the headquarters.

Like I mentioned a few days ago, companies are definitely going to squeeze our balls. Recession or no recession, companies are going to use it as their licence to cut cost and squeeze more life out of us modern slaves. And while at it, they expect us to work harder to keep our job. So why not let everything come tumbling down and we start all over again? After all, most of us are at the bottom of the food chain already.

Monday 6 October 2008

From far and near, they all flock here

In case you don’t know, the picture on the left is the entrance of a small park in Bukit Bintang called Ain Arabia. Our govt was so kind to the middle-eastern tourists that we have park built just for them. Well, since we claim that tourists from that region now contribute a significant amount of money to the tourism industry, I guess that was just a small hospitality gesture.

We often hear that middle-eastern tourists prefer to come to our beloved country as we share the similar culture, religion and a somewhat less-punishing but yet similar weather. Those are the reasons why they are pouring their oil money into our country, or so they claimed.

When I was in London earlier this year, I visited Harrods; one of the premier shopping places in town. As I entered the building, I was greeted by a multitude of Arabs. No disrespect but it is very easy to recognise them due to their distinct dressing. There were just an ocean of them. I told my friend that I thought they prefer to go to Malaysia.

“Cannot afford to come to London then go Malaysia lor…” that was his reply.

On that weekend in London, I had dinner at this placed called “Wong Kei”, a very famous Chinese restaurant due to a peculiar reason. A story for another day perhaps.

Anyway, sitting next to my table were five “ang mohs” chatting away about purchasing properties. I know it’s rude to ear-drop but their conversation caught my attention as they mentioned the phrase “properties in Malaysia”. True enough, they were talking about how cheap it is to buy properties in Malaysia as they cannot afford properties elsewhere and how the local girls here are “hot”.

After their meal, they picked up their helmet and left. Their helmet… no, they were not policemen… they were… construction workers. No disrespect to construction workers but, that bunch there didn’t look very pleasant.

If we think that the “rich Arabs” are flocking here because they like our culture and weather and the “rich ang mohs” are flocking here because of our Malaysia-truly-Asia slogan, we might just have to think again.

By the way, I heard that Filipino maids here are those who can't make it in Hong Kong and prostitutes here are those who can't make it in Geylang.

Oh well, I guess I am over judgemental. What say you?

Friday 3 October 2008

And you think they have no life

I was invited to attend a private function organised by my mom-in-law’s friend yesterday. Since it was a holiday and I have got nothing much to do, why not? It was a private screening of the movie “Mama Mia” and the host booked the entire cinema in one of the mall in town for her friends.

On the way to the cinema, we bumped into some of guests and when I saw them, I turned to Jules and I had the “are-we-going-to-be-the-only-young-punks-in-the-outing?” plastered on my face. I don’t mean to be rude but… they are after all, my MIL’s golf club friends.

When we reached the reception area where finger-food, wine and champagne were served, it was good to see some other faces from my generation. Some are even younger. Not that many but enough to make not feel out of age.

Ya’ know, there were times when colleagues were talking about which babysitter is taking care of their baby and all the baby stuff and I feel out of frequency. Have you ever had that before? Well, if you think that was bad, think again. A guy came and talked to me while I was enjoying the finger-food and he was talking about where his children were… working!!!

After taking our seats in the cinema, the host gave a short speech telling the guests that we can all be crazy since we were among friends and when the songs are played, we were asked to stand on our feet and … shake-a-boom-boom.

At this stage, I already see some alcohol-high souls running around… a little screaming here and there… I even saw a few ladies, yes… ladies…smuggled wine and champagne into the cinema. If you think only young people do such things, think again! I repeat… they are my MIL’s friends.

The movie started and there were people screaming. And when the song came on… wow… some people just went wild. There were people standing to clap and hands waving and people singing to the tune of the song. It’s really quite hilarious watching the movie-goers, and I mean hilarious in a good way. I repeat, they are my MIL’s friends and their reaction was like how some of us boys go… “OoooOOoooo” when we saw Transformers last year.

When the finale came on after the movie, the climax set in and so many of them got to their feet and start shake-a-boom-boom. After the movie was over, I could see many ladies (not men though) were pretty tipsy due to the smuggled wine. All these people made the saying “age is catching up” redundant.

I wonder if there will be any shake-the-bed-boom-boom tonight. I know… I know, they are my MIL’s friends… but still…

But you know what is the morale of the story?

I found out towards the end that the host has just gone through a major operation and could be still fighting against cancer. I guess this private screening was for her to celebrate life and get to enjoy the best things in life… fun with friends, true friends.

Do you need to wait till something like that before you have some fun and not neglect your friends?

How many of you are working this weekend

Just have to share it

When I talked about how nice Singapore was a few days ago and how I wish we are perhaps 50% like Singapore, some disagreed.

Well, no matter how compliant-based or how Singaporeans are made to just follow law, I am very sure
something like this will never happen there. And it is incidents like these which make me worried about the future of our well-being in this country. What's more worrying is that looking at the trend, things like these are just going to get more rampant.

Read it, and you will know.