Wednesday 21 November 2007

It Hurts, It really Does Hurt.

This is a true story. No, nothing Earth shattering or anything to that effect but still very interesting to me. Its about everyday things. I was at a mini-market buying stuffs when , at the counter, I heard a Mak Cik lamenting the price she had to pay for her goodies. Now, this mak cik is an ordinary mak cik. By the conditions of her attire you could safely say that she's from an average income family, maybe in the lower rung of the average group. What got to me was when she suddenly said, "Pak Lah terok! Mahathir dulu pandai ekonomi, Pak Lah terok, tak tau apa".

Now this place, Taman Tun Sardon is one of the last Malay bastion in Penang. The Malays there are fiercely UMNO with a sprinkle of Pas supporters and a few Keadilan. What is interesting though is that the leaders' there are known to be staunch Mahathir supporters. The fact that the mak cik exploded that way could be the brain-washing that she got from her children. Of course her children conveniently hid the fact that everything is going up so prices of essentials would naturally follow. But then isn't that what UMNO is good at? Telling half truth is an UMNO trait. Yes, the children must have told her how Pak Lah had gone against his promises but they also failed to explain about the price of crude and wheat and everything else. Oh, how true they are to the UMNO spirit.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Pak Lah has been wronged? No, far from it, he wronged himself so he deserves all the condemnation.

Well, anyway, being there and witnessing her outburst, I decided to see how she would response to some provocation. I saw that her bill was RM37+ so I interjected and said, " Tahun depan, barang banyak tu nanti kena bayaq RM50". Immediately she answered, "Memang la, depa bukan tau apa orang rasa". Then the shopkeeper quipped "Dengaq kata depa nak naik harga gas RM5". Her answer says it all, "Kalau naik RM1 takpa la, naik RM5 mampoih la".

That answer of hers tells me how hurt the common people are by the increasing cost of living. Maybe the authorities didn't see that for non-government servants, their take home pay has actually declined. Previously they were earning quite a lot in overtime at the factories but those days are gone. Overtimes are rare. Komaq, a well-known factory in Penang which employed only Technicians used to pay their workers well. Now I heard that it is bought over and the new management offered their employees continued employment but with reduced pay. Is this true? Can anyone from Komag confirm this?

I am not saying that the people has lost faith in the government but I am saying that, I don't expect this from an UMNO stronghold.


Anonymous said...

Che Gu,
Im from the manufacturing sector and I can tell you this much.
No matter how much we hate Tok Mahathir, he have brains.
He saw this coming and thats why he pegged the Riggit to the Dollar.
However comes ABB, the first thing that he does was to unpegged it. Che Gu Im no ecomonist but I can tell you there are pros and cons to it.
Most factories in Malaysia are assembly plants and assembly plants are labour extensive. By unpegging the Ringgit our operating cost become expensive and in the end our products are also expensive. If this goes on Im not surprise to see most factories will relocate their operation else where.
And this is the best part. For those who have millions of Riggit stashed some where they become much richer.
By the way Che Gu, coming back to the mak cik punya story, I believe you and me, we have another..say 3-4 years of working life left. What will it be by then??? Cukup kah duit pencen tu???


monsterball said...

hahahahaha.....People's PM.
Even a simple minded lady can talk more sense than that sleeping Pak Lah...and you are right ....kata tak nak....he asked for it.
Cans of dirt...worms....filth he did clean up...left by Mahathir. Now...our hardships are due essentials prices keep rising..due to non stop corruptions and lavish spendings....from present UMNO ministers and big liar Pak Lah....want no big big cars....then out come new BMW 7 series bullet proof and my God..a yacht .Besides them...being the most corrupted ministers amongst the so call developed countries in the world...UMNO trade mark is bad managements and make alot of excuses...downright liars and on going...that's their characters. They are never wrong and they are the best for the country with newspapers talking all if oppositions are all dead. My household budget went up by 35% in only two years to maintain same living standard....nothing lavish and infact need to cut down waste ourselves. I do feel the pinch...what more ordinary folks.
Maybe we all should go back to be farmers..grow our vegetables...sweet potatoes...dig ponds to rear fish..rear chicken...pigs...and that maybe the best solutions.
That's Vision 2020 for you.....hahahahahaha
Or vote for change to save us all. Will God answer our prayers?

tokasid said...

Salam che'gu.

Yes, the price increase is really biting us common folks. Am sure makciks and pakciks in Kedah,Perlis,Perak,melaka and Johor are grumbling too. These are states with very strong UMNO stronghold.

I read few weeks ago in one of the newspapers, it showed a table comparing prices of essential good for january,June and Novenber. There is a trend showing the ever increasing prices.

Telling half truth, it makes the common low income and us middle income group have that 'safe' feeling. If we know the whole truth, many of us will be angry and this is not good for UMNO and BN. A half truth will make most ppl feel its still okay. Then suddenly something hit them like a coconut falling on their head(without a helmet some more meh). They feel a sharp pain and becomes dizzy, and BN will tell them pls be patience and be more prudent( I think Najib did mention this last year), its just a temporasry thing and the govt will get us out of it. Hah! Another half truth again,right.

Here in Melaka too, many factories are relocating to China, Batam and Vietnam esp those from Taiwan and Japan. We had become less competitive now.Many are offered VSS and after that they couldn't find another job.

But worry not mal;ays, UMNO and BN will come out with new promises for the coming election. They have said the new corridors will create more jobs.Unfortunately I don't believe that.

monsterball said...

hi kata tak nak."It hurts, It really Does hurt"...sound like a person suffering from big balls falling down...rubbing body. Medical term...sound like.."hernia" to spell?..nevermind...I am a Malaysian...bukan orang puteh..atau journalist....misti correct grammar and english la..hahahahahaha
But when I dictate my letters to my Sec...everyone receiving my business letters says I write excellent English....hahahahaha
I am still laughing at your title imaging you tell a get a cure. Wear tight suspenders man and wash backside...not use toilet papers. The Dutch actually introduce washing backside after barak....and caught up by all muslim people...correct KTN??

Unknown said...

I have nothing against Mahathir as an economist, I don't like him as a human being. My expectation of people is simple, do not be cruel and never-ever humiliate another human being to the point of their families having to suffer. Uphold the teachings of ALLAH/GOD. That's all. To safe his skin, he destroyed the lives of many people: that, I can't take.

I fear, what life is next year, what more 3 to 4 years to come.

Unknown said...

With the next round of fuel price increase, don't be surprise if Najib will say exactly what you said: spend less, plant own vegetables and maybe plant your own palm oil tree for oil, go fishing more often and he will make a promise that 'curi ayam' is not against the law.

Unknown said...

I still remember in 1987 or was it 88, they said that there will be a vocational wing in all sec schools. I was for that idea because we could produce ample technical people and move forward from labour intensive to high tech.
As usual, promises have remained promises. A nephew of mind in a Korean factory told me that, what my nephew saw in the plant in Malaysia is actually a syllabus in Korean schools. Why can't we do that? Look at where Korea is and where are we.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

ok, this may not go down well with all here but abit on a similar line to that mak cik, i started to admire and appreciate dr M more after a few months into our current PM's leadership. like anon had said, he may not liked by many but who can deny dr M has the brain and sleeping only comes in 2nd? i was anwar's sympathiser back in '98 but decided to stay away from politics as for my dad's sake who depended on the economy to feed our mouths, our country's development was our utmost priority.

*cikgu, no big deal but km/j tomorrow is ON.

ali allah ditta said...


Bayan Baru is a mixed seat,though Malays outnumber the non-Malays in terms of electorate,BN always put up a non-UMNO candidate for this seat. As U said Taman Sardon is probably one of the last Malay bastion in Penang apart from Balik Pulau,but for how then the Malays will be migrating to Cerok Tok Kun,Kubur Panjang & Tokai.

As for harga barang,that macik is 100% correct & next year things are going up by another 10%,when the gomen increases the fuel price,
bridge toll will rise too & that will set a chain reaction.

But cikgu,with all the complain,
naik itulah,naik inilah, I am certain that makcik will vote BN for another 5 years.

Well, they(UMNO)come with a RM50.00 gift,2 helai kain batik,1 kampit beras Siam and 2 kilos of Prai sugar,coz makcik thinks all the hadiah can last her for another 5 years. Mak Cik thinks that the best price she can offer for her vote. How not to make Pat Lah happy!


Unknown said...

What you said about the mak cik is most probably true. They forget too easily. Wait till school reopens when they hear about the replacement to school fees.

monsterball said...

Yes KTN...I agree with ali writer too!
Some of my Malays friends told me they explained that UMNO is corrupted ...and their parents say....corruptions is acceptable.
They simple cannot change their minds at can expect many old UMNO members are die hard supporters.....but the middle age and young do out number them significantly.Lets hope for the better.
I certainly don't want to see our young generations punching ikan and grow vegetables to survive.
We are joking....but it can come true.
More and more people will have a difficult tough life ..if 10% increase in living conditions predicted by ali comes true...and the signs will be bad for us to imagine.
I am holding back...what I feel the signs will be.

Unknown said...

My predictions for nexr year would be at least 15%.

Anonymous said...

Komag was taken over by Western Digital and it is correct, lots of continue employment but with reduced salary, following the salary scale of Western Digital. It is a company policy to have a standardised salary scale.

But with price increasing, everyone is affected. The joy following civil servant salary increment has now been neutralised. The non civil servant is the one feeling the impact. I am feeling it too. A pack of 1 litre fresh milk goes up 15%. Look around, cost is up and what has the government is doing to combat rising prices? Deep in my mind, I think they don't really have any idea on how to do it, all waiting for instruction from Pak Lah, who is a non economist, no knowledge of economy and finance.

Face it, we are not looking at brighter days ahead. Work with me and not for me? Fuck!!

Unknown said...

Exactly. My 15% increase has been effectively neutralised already. Next year with the expected recession in the US and with the current Dollar Ringgit exchange our currency would just be too strong making exports expensive no oints for guessing what happens next.

monsterball said...

kerp!...Hope you are feeling fell from your recent mishap.
Chinese has a saying ...sometimes we get a fall..break a please the protect that said evil take our life away.
Based on could be a blessing in disguise...take it in that good spirited way.
Every time...I feel bad things are coming to me...anything...I check myself...have I done anything wrong? If I just live on and be as I am.
kata tak nak....if your prediction is correct...I may need to give up my 40 year old habit to smoke cigars...but I will not give up...just go for cheaper brands...and last all go palm oil tree....I will stop driving and take a bus and I will smoke Indian curoots...same enjoying...but hell of stinking smell for people near to me. Win some..loose some..what to do.....hahahahahaha
When I puffed away....and my children could withstand the smoky filthy room....means I am in trouble...they need money from me.
Now all grown up ...on their own...see me sarcastically with hand covering the me a present and telling me to smoke less. I do have a bunch of jokers...not afraid of their father.

Mat Salo said...

Chegu.. I think 15% is reasonable but on the low side. 20-25% is more realistic. I don't want to alarm people but you brought up a very good point Chegu: even in UMNO strongholds, the grassroots are beginning to feel the pinch. But when push comes to shove, the makciks with their RM50 and kain batik, will vote you-know-who. AmeNO will put the spectre of the opposition party... raise all sorts of issues --the ogre that will cause the fall of 'ketuanan Melayu'. Paint the opposition black, racist, seditious, --Looks who's talking!-- mampuih. And come next year, the crisp RM50 you pull from the ATM won't feel so crisp no more. And the makciks will complain...

Inflation, price increases are inevitable. Only it's the gomen's job to recognize it as such, and then swing the OX-Bridge Boys on Lantai Ampat with their Philosophy, Politics and Economics Degrees--into action. This is where they've failed; the young turk millionaires are concerned only of enriching themselves with their think tanks and fancy corporate mergers. Corridor this corridor that. Easing the pain of the regular makciks and Chegus, I'm afraid, is not on their agenda at all...


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