Harsh realities of this flawed paradise | Selangor Times
Issue 118


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Harsh realities of this flawed paradise
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 10 Jun 2011

As we turn the corner and head for the second half of 2011, things sure ain’t looking that hunky-dory. My family and I enjoyed a few days in the remote beaches of Cherating, Pahang. Those four carefree days of rushing waves and gentle breezes and oh-so-calming peace and quiet were elixirs for the much-stressed average Malaysian soul.

But those few days of no internet, newspapers and urban Malaysian stress merely served also to hide the harsh realities of life in this flawed paradise. We returned home to Petaling Jaya to the stark reality that life will never be the same again.

A little overdramatic, you say? Well, maybe it is, but think about it. Life in Malaysia has changed dramatically in the last year or so. And the latest announcement of the increase in electricity rates kind of puts another nail in the coffin, as the saying goes.

As usual the government tries to soften the devastating blow by trying to reassure all of us in the usual patronising tone that the increase will not “burden the rakyat’” I tell you ah, the next time I hear that phrase used I think I sure vomit one.

Okay, while my lunch is still sitting safe in my stomach I will try and look at things a bit more objectively la. While my family and I were away at the beach it was announced that electricity rates would be increased by an average of 7-8%. That was quickly qualified with saying that the increase would not adversely affect people whose electricity bills were RM77 a month or less. Or something silly like that la.

Well, I guess if there are a lot of people who actually use less than RM77 worth of electricity per month, these people will say that we urban folks are just too used to our air-conditioned homes, LCD television, Wii games, and internet and computer addictions.

“That’s why la you all use so much electricity. So you pay lor. We all kampong folks don’t need so we are sure not going to be burdened by the increase. Just like the Kerajaan tells us.”

That’s what the Kerajaan wants you to believe. That just because you don’t use air-conditioning, just because your kids play marbles in the garden instead of Wii games, just because your internet visits are limited to what your urban cousin shows you on his iPad, you’ll be spared the extra tenaga expenses needed to survive. You believe ah?

Well, just last week I was at a kopitiam in Petaling Jaya. One of the old-style, traditional ones. No air-con. No waiters in starched uniforms. And the kopi-o came in a cup sloshing spilt kopi-o. You know the type. I ordered one Milo ice for my son and a kopi-o ice for myself. The bill came to RM5.60!!! Imagine that!

And what was before the announcement of the electricity price increase. I wonder how much it will cost the next time I go there for breakfast?

We have all experienced how prices of stuff increase with the increase of other “stuff”, right? Most times prices increase without any logical reason. For example, when the price of sugar goes up 10 sen per kilo or ton or whatever, the flers selling the tarik will raise the price per glass by 10 sen. And so on and so forth.

When you ask why, the fler will say, “Boss, gula naik harga lor.” But that’s naik harga 10 sen per kilo. How many kilograms of sugar do you use in my glass of teh tarik, boss?

How can an increase in electricity prices not affect most Malaysians? Up to 75% of Malaysians?

Okay, if we believe the government spin, there might be millions of Malaysians who use very little electricity in their daily lives and so are not bothered by the tariff increase. But it is only common sense that what you don’t pay to Tenaga Nasional you will need to pay to your local sundry shop, mamak stall, nasi lemak seller. They will all say, “What, you don’t want fan ah? Damn hot you know. Fan use electricity and electricity rates gone up ma. So RM2.50 for your kopi-o kosong please.”

Parting thought.

Each and every time the government increases prices for stuff or cuts subsidies they tell us the same old story. The rakyat will not be burdened. The money saved will be used for the betterment of life for the Malaysian rakyat.

I don’t know about you la, Ali, Rama and George, but I am sure about to keel over from the weight of the government-induced burdens over the years. I still don’t see any sign of better public transport, better schools, hospitals.

Okay la, I have to turn off my computer already because I need to keep my electricity bill this month to below RM77.

And if you’re still feeling the effect of being screwed yet again, here is something else that will worsen the pain in your backside. Check out this link: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/6/6/business/14432852&sec=business.


 Selangor Times



Also by Patrick Teoh:

Quit the wishy-washy themes

few weeks ago my daughter who lives in Singapore sent me the link to a Singapore National Day promo video. 

It has to be bleep, bleep and bleep!

When I first coined the word “Niamah!” a lot of people asked me what it meant. Well, for those of you who don’t speak Cantonese, when spoken aloud the word means your mom.

Malaysia a safe country: The spinning goes on

The morning newspaper had on the front page a story about security in housing estates. How foreign guards are better than local ones. How illegal foreigners are getting jobs as security guards. How if we pay peanuts we get monkeys as security for our family and property.

Those damn illegal parkers

By the time you sit down to read this, the memories of Bersih 3.0 would be more than two weeks old. But I’ll bet that people will still be talking about the rally. Exchanging experiences. Telling some tall tales.

Transforming to what?

Just a few days ago I was driving past the Umno building in Kuala Lumpur. It was raining and the infamous bottle-neck traffic jam in that area of the city was worse than normal. I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic right beside the Umno building.

Absurd cost of … everything

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Along with the perennial, prerequisite hoo-hah that accompanies it.

End of the world?

In just a couple more weeks the Year of the Dragon is going to roll in. For the Chinese flers it is always an extra-auspicious period of the Chinese Lunar calendar. So what we can expect this Chinese New Year is an even more garish display of the colours gold and red in the shopping malls. Actually, the incessant Chinese New Year musak is already playing endlessly. Petaling Street vendors are going to drag on their sales of made-in-China new year “must-haves” until the last minute of the 15th day of the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.

Your right, my right, and all the ‘goreng’

In just a couple of weeks it will be the new year. Yes, 2012. Another year. But as with every new year for the past decade, I would say we Malaysians step rather tentatively into the next 365-day period.

Time to take the wheel

For a very long time now there has been almost complete anarchy on Malaysian roads. There appear to be no laws governing traffic, nor does there appear to be anyone bothered to obey them if there were. I am sure you see, as I do, on a daily basis motorcycles and motorcars ignoring red lights, double lines and stop signs.

Come on, get happy!

The past couple of weeks has been sort of tough. On the old brain I mean. Mine. Having to remember lines from a script that is not exactly Shakespearean quality and having to say them while moving around without knocking into the furniture on stage. Things were so stressful that I missed the big event of the month: the announcement of the Budget by the prime minister!

Manifestoes un-manifest

Last month I attended a fundraising dinner for a political party. For an opposition party la. When have we ever heard of the ruling coalition ever needing to organise a FUND-raising party? No, right? No need what. Fund-giving got la. Especially near elections time. But I digress.

Conditional love…?

JUST a few days ago a friend of mine sent me a Tweet message in which she referred to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as our Conditional Prime Minister. I laughed out loud when I received that. What a wonderfully apt description of the man, I thought.

The Great Clean-Up

For the past week or more the whole of the Klang Valley has been quavering with excitement, fear, anger, frustration and maybe a little despair.People have been arrested. Threats have been issued by both government and normally level-headed Malaysians. Balai Polis stores are bulging at the seams from overstocking of bright yellow t-shirts which everybody wants but cannot have. After all they’re perfectly good shirts. 100% cotton some more.

Who copied who?

By the time you read this the good folks in the little red dot, Singapore, would have been to the polls and either a) elected the almost all-powerful PAP again as their government of choice, or b) elected a much younger, more change-oriented government from one of the opposition parties like The Workers Party or the Singapore Democratic Party.

He who laughs last…

As I sit down to write this a lot of funny things are happening in my country. Sex scandals. Snap elections threats. Detailed explanations of when a Bribe is not a Bribe but a Gift.











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