The sound of the rush hour traffic was already in the background. It was building up. 6.35am. I was struggling looking for my underwear in the dark and had contemplated on doing the “Seluar dalam aku mana, Pah?” routine with the P.Ramlee intonation on her, but she had just went back to sleep after Subuh, recharging her batteries before facing the traffic again; something she did not have to do for the past 7 years or so. As from yesterday, her daily toll fees would total up to anything between RM7.20 to RM10.20, while my daily commuting costs me anything between RM4.50 to RM15.80 in toll fees alone, depending on whether I want the shortest and lesser traffic route versus the nerve-wrecking jammed-up route. I know the jams in KL have somewhat reduced in length and duration, but they are still there nevertheless. But for me, leaving at 6.30am means I drive in a jam-free environment, whereas she, after sending the boy to KAFA at 7.45am, would have to face the worst of KLites’ behaviour on the road.
As I drove out, I saw an expatriate Caucasian walking with his trolley bag. Just two days ago I almost ran him down after office hours as he was walking back. It would easily be a 3km walk to work for him…one way.
As I was having my Dosa for breakfast, I saw a guy with his notebook in one hand, a black backpack, in office attire, necktie hanging on his shoulder, walking towards the main road. I thought to myself, “This guy must be in a hurry!” Five minutes later, I saw him walking back towards his house and never came back out.
Can life be that bad now?
Like typical malays, we have been living on borrowed money. I remember those days when my Thai counterparts would seek my written permission for them to be able to drive all the way to Changlun to refuel their vehicles. That was 15 years ago (Gosh! It has been that long!). I must admit that the big hike in fuel prices does have an impact on me – I just spend more. My monthly burn-rate including for the household stands now at RM8400.00, and I have not taken into account the new electricity and water tariffs that they want to introduce this month. I shudder to think of those in the lower income bracket and how they are trying to cope with life. While fuel price
remains cheaper compared to those in neighbouring countries, it is the purchasing power of the Ringgit that has been greatly reduced. We need to have a more self-reliant economy and cut down in imports of essentials. Increasing pay is not the answer as that would increase inflation rate as traders would take advantage of the increase to justify for an increase in the prices of goods that they sell. Maybe the government should look into increasing the subsidies for essential goods as well as the production of NGV fuel and kits. On top of that, look into buying back the highways in the Klang Valley from the concessionaires.
And I have also not included cost of dive trips. The discounts given to me by the dive centers remain more or less unchanged, with only Tioman that has increased the per dive rate by RM15. Perhentian still accords me the same rate – unchanged since 2005. That is for me to enjoy, of course.
Anyway, we had dinner at Chilli’s last night. Bumped into Bunnyears and Babysetan. Bunnyears was out shopping for some material for her wedding next month. Finally, she and Holemaster are getting married, after some two years courting. Somehow, the place was filled to the brim. People, young and old, were still enjoying food at relatively higher prices. So times cannot be that bad after all. It is just a matter of adjusting and adapting to a new lifestyle. You want something expensive, you have to sacrifice something in order to get it. But of course, you shouldn’t be talking about buying handbags or shoes every week or so. Wear them until they’re worn out before getting a new one instead. Take cost saving measures and try holidaying in-country instead of going abroad.
Life somehow reminds me of a verse taken from a popular song:
Pinoy ka – sigaw na – sige
Kung maganda ka – sigaw na – sige
Kung buhay mo’y mahalaga – sige
Salamat sa ‘yong suporta
The first and third lines are meaningful. Times are bad only if you refuse to admit it is bad, or continue to live in denial, and refuse to adjust accordingly. If you are Malaysian, you should be happy of where life has gotten you to now, as compared to a decade ago perhaps. There are those little things that may annoy us from time to time, but life in general is still good.
She had cramps last night: a result of having to park far and walking uphill to her office building. I massaged her calf and sole before she went to sleep. My poor Honey, struggling to find money to make sure her kids are well taken care of. And massaging her leg’s the least I can do to help her.
And as part of the same song goes:
Masdan mo ang magagandang dalaga
Nakakagigil ang beauty mo talaga
Lambing na hindi nakakasawa
Ikaw lang and gustong makasama
‘yung bahay o kubo
Pag-ibig mo ay tutoo
Puso ko’y laging kumikibo
Wala kang katulad sa mundo
How so true…