Absurd cost of … everything
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 24 Feb 2012
Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Along with the perennial, prerequisite hoo-hah that accompanies it.
Which happens annually so that members of some religious groups can have their own brand of excitement celebrating their own brand of chaste, celibate activities. Like snooping and pontificating about this and that sin.
For me Valentine’s Day is a day to reflect on how silly some things have become in this beloved country of ours, Malaysia. But I think that enough has been said and debated about Valentine’s Day before this so I shall leave it with this one thought which came from a radio listener caller who apparently is heading for a career in stand-up comedy.
He said that although everyone complains about the ridiculous prices of roses and other flowers and also dining out on Valentine’s Day, he is very glad that condoms were still at the same price! Yay! Wait a minute! Shouldn’t someone in some religious department insist that condoms be priced up too? So that it will discourage illicit sex, baby dumping and other immoral fun activities.
Right or not?
Someone screwed up and missed this perfect opportunity to get into the media. Wait! Did I just say ‘screwed’? Sorry. I didn’t mean to put thoughts of fornication in your minds. Which of course would result in baby-dumping since illegal babies are……well, illegal. Which leads me to this part of the column which is about what I actually started to write about, the rising cost of everything.
There was a time, which now feels like soooooo long ago, when the family and I could afford to spend long holidays at a certain beachside hotel in Batu Ferringhi. Then they decided to “upgrade” and renovate. Now we can no longer afford the almost doubled up prices. (Actually, this has nothing to do with anything but I was upset when I found out and needed to vent it on someone. So I thought you’re as good as anyone. You’re getting the paper for free what!)
There was a time when I could turn on the tap and drink the water. Without having to pass it through an expensive filter. And without having to deflate my wallet for a plastic bottle containing water from someone else’s tap.
And there was actually a time when my monthly salary could comfortably feed and house and clothe my small family. And still have some left over for a few beers and maybe a trip out to watch a movie. With popcorn.
These days I pay much more for what I used to take for granted. Like water for instance. And now I hear that some flers are charging up to RM1.50 for a glass of water with a meal. And that cup of teh tarik with that shrinking roti canai costs more than it did last year.
And now they tell me that my salary is going to be cut further by the deduction of 10% to go towards a revamped health-care system.
I wasn’t even aware that there was something wrong with our healthcare system to warrant revamping. Did you? But we are on the verge of taking home 10% less money than we used to do. It’s all for our own good they tell us.
So that they can tell us which doctor to see for whatever illness we are suffering from at the time. That is of course assuming that we can survive long enough to get sick and require medical assistance la.
On that 80+% salary that we will be left with to buy rice, books for the kids, water and other essentials that most of the politicians who make rules and laws they do not have to worry about.
I know I might be stretching it a bit la. But there was a time, I think, that I could almost believe most of what my government tells me. That seems to have disappeared too.
How to believe in transformation this and that when there is a daily struggle to put food on the table? How to believe that there are billions of foreign investments coming into our economy when it takes 30 years to pay off a sub-standard house and nine years to pay off a car whose power windows stop working half a mile out of the showroom?
How to believe that our country is a harmonious, cross-cultural melting pot of happy contented citizens when our government itself openly supports race-based policies?
And finally, how to believe that there is actually anyone managing the affairs of the country when on a daily basis I see photos of the prime minister shaking hands with professionally-posed people, kissing appropriate-looking babies, going on walkabouts in areas full of smiling, contented citizens.
Nothing better to do is sit?.