Friday, March 30, 2007

The 13th Blog

There's no need to be afraid of blogs, mr politicians. They're pretty harmless, not like viper snakes or something that might get at you when you are not looking or when you are busy watching the world go by sipping your Darjeeling tea or something like that, or something stronger like triple shot whiskey.
I know why you are so afraid of blogs. A few decades ago politicians like you were afraid of rock music because those where the era when rock music meant something because it had something to say about anything like Vietnam war, corruption or something like that. But you know how it is nowadays, rock music is as innocent as dondang sayang. For cryin' out loud, even dikir barat is more brutal than rock music.
And that's why you are so afraid of blogs, aren't you? You think blogs is a version of rock music in disguise, don't you? You think blogs is another form of subversive elements like anti-goverment posters of the 70s.
mr politicians, take a good look. Do you seriously think blogs can bring a government down? That's what they used to think rock music could do. They thought rock music would undermine everything that was good in a society, and that it would bring chaos and disorder that sons will go against their fathers and mothers, against their daughters. They thought long hair, torn jeans and scruffy t-shirt were going to disrupt the world order that young men and women wouldn't want to have anything to do with the economy. They thought the youths were going to spend the rest of their life smoking pot, and go around the world playing hippie, attending woodstock concerts, sucking on free sex and and booze that would have their mind go bonkers.
Do you seriously believe this?
And now blogs.
Do you seriously believe those anti-government blogs are going to make people vote for the opposition? Gosh, what are you afraid of? Are you that insecure? Or am I missing something?
I bet you RM400, mr politicians, that you too will become bloggers when you become the victim of your own doing, putting your trust on those whom you think can bring you wealth, power and women. Listen to me, man. They are gonna play you out just like they have played out a lot of politicians like you. Rock music, rap music, budaya kuning, budaya lepak, bohsia, bohjan, too much tv, too much reality tv, too much Starbucks, too much Big Macs, too much jeans, too much blogs. All this is gonna bring the government down? Do you have a real case like a real country being brought down this way by all this?
Blogs don't bite, if you know your mathematics. Go figure the percentage of those who read the blogs and believe everything they read and brave enough to do something about it like vote for the opposition. Compare this with those who read your propaganda newspapers at coffee shops, watch your propoganda tv and attend your proganda functions where they get free bicycles, pelikat and batik sarung, or watch you kacau dodol while the ketua kampong is behind you laughing like a drunk goat while the rest of makcik and pakcik laughing to show their toothless gum like real pro-government supporters that they are. You know they're gonna vote for you. So what are you afraid of blogs for, mate? What are you afraid of when you can put the fear into your docile citizens with slogans like, remember the sacrifice of our cowards heroes, remember the racial riot, remember the scholarships, remember the subsidi, remember the bicycles, remember the pelikat, remember the batik sarung, remember remember remember all the things we have done to bring you development, peace and stability so you can enjoy the fruits of independence. We drove the British away (and now we are bringing everyone back in to partcipate in our economy, but you kampong folks don't have to know this because all you gotta do is, yes, you've got it right, vote for us.)
Blogs won't bring a government down, mr politicians. But your fear of truth will. So I ask, who's gonna bring the government down? You, mr politicians. Not blogs. Not people who want to find out the truth behind the projects you approved, the money you take home. No, we are not bothered with who you sleep with. That's your right. Hey, maybe that's why you are so afraid of blogs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mat Rempit - A Glocal Solution.

We gotta export Mat Rempit culture in a big way. We gotta do it the way the American did it with rock n’ roll, and the clever ways they market the rest of their cultures that we have considered ours like hamburgers, hot dogs, jeans, sodas, movies and the way we spell and pronounce some words.
We gotta do it and we gotta do it now.
We gotta the whole world as the market and this market is totally untapped and we are the only country with this Rempit culture. Think of the money. Big big money like we’ve never seen before.
And think of the roll outs. We can be world’s number one manufacturer of 150cc bikes designed with Rempit in mind. And those innovative mechanics we’ve got working in some seedy workshops can now dream to become world-class Rempit race consultants.
We need the government to get this thing off the ground. We gotta talk to the politicians. We gotta rack our brains how to market our Rempit culture. Maybe we can turn this Rempit into a popular culture through a movie first like that of Saturday Night Fever, or Grease, or Sea Biscuit. Or a TV commercial like that of Apple’s when they first came out in a big way to take on IBM.
We can start with New York. Or Paris. Or London. Or any major cities in the world with a similar street like Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. We live in a satellite era so I figure we can officially launch this Rempit thing simultaneously in all the cities we consider major markets. Start with something like Malaysia Fest with girls doing the stupid traditional dances and then vrrrrroooom, out come the famous sons of Malaysia, the Rempit guys in their 150cc souped up bikes racing down the streets of London Paris New York. It will encourage the youths in these countries to pick up the Rempit culture, buy our bikes, hire our mechanics and before you know it the whole world is gonna be on it and we are gonna be famous, mate! And rich. It's gonna make politicians happy like they've never been happy before. It's gonna be the catalyst to our new economy. Vendors producing exhausts, handle bars, seats, and the rest of the parts you usually find in a Rempit bike. We are gonna be bigger than the Teutul family of Orange County Chopper. We gotta start a national program where our secondary children be taught how to ride a bike Rempit style. We've gotta keep Rempit dudes coming. We've gotta produce them by the millions every year. We can stop thinking about producing students who score 22 As or 49 As because this is not where the money is. We've gotta focus on something that can bring real money. We've gotta think like the Americans. We've gotta act GLOCAL.
We can rope in other cultures of ours in marketing this Rempit thing. Like putting up teh tarik stall at any available space, under the flyover, next to a garbage dump, or under a lone tree. 24-hour mamak shops. Nasi lemak, roti canai, roti tissue and maggi goreng. And then when their arteries are clogged, we can always package a health tourism to Malaysia.
There you go, a glocal solution to the Mat Rempit Culture. Think outside the box. Look at this Mat Rempit thing as something positive. Maybe that’s what Umno Youth is trying to do that I don’t know of. Maybe North Pole is the test market. Except what I don’t understand is, there is no street like Jalan TAR there so I am thinking, maybe I’m missing something.
Think global act local. Glocal. Now that’s another marketing concept developed by Malaysian.
I begin to like this word glocal that I’m thinking maybe I should take it up as my surname.

Whaddaya think?

They're Gonna Jump.

So it is not a joke that I thought it was. A couple of guys from Umno Youth and a couple more guys who used to be professional Mat Rempit are going to the North Pole to jump from an airplane next month. They figure this kinda stunt will help solve, once and for all, the problem we are facing with Mat Rempit in the city.
These guys are pretty smart. They must have gone to a high-class university to come up with this kinda thing since they figured, the country is totally helpless to do something about it they might as well take control of the situation so Malaya can move forward now that we are going to celebrate our 50th Merdeka.
They don't get it, do they? Mat Rempits are right here in the city, Chow Kit, Maju Junction, Dataran Merdeka, Jalan Ampang at KLCC. They are all over the city but the Umno Youth can't see that so they say among themselves, let's go to North Pole and solve this Mat Rempit problem from the top of the world.
And these guys are gonna be our future leaders. I don't know about you but I'm migrating to New Zealand to live in a location where they shot Lord of the Ring.
Here's the question, who came up with this North Pole jump in the first place? Maybe a lot of people out there can't see through this whole thing, and maybe I shouldn't be writing about this but this whole thing to me, is making me laugh so hard I almost got latte coming out of my nose.
They're gonna jump.
It doesn't get any funnier than this, mate.
They're gonna jump.
(Take it away, David Lee Roth!, the Malaysians are comin'...
And these are the cream of the crop, the best of the best
and the coutnry is gonna be so proud of them
the prime minister himself is thinking about jumpin' himself since
we can all jump jump jump
oh Mexican jumpin' beans
make jumpin' jack flash out of us so we can jump like toads.
Who says this ain't no great country we live in, mate?
I'm crazy about this country that I am falling in love with it all over again
in fact, I'm so crazy about it I'm jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Yo, Tennessee Willy guy,
the Malaysians are comin'...

Sunday, March 25, 2007


There was a bit of commotion at the Summit USJ that I had to decide whether to stop the car to find out what was it all about, or drive on to meet a guy who said he could get me a lucrative contract supplying the oil and gas equipment to a company linked to someone higher up. There was no need to think really, since KUB would decide not to get into the oil and gas business. I figured the news was going to upset the shareholders since the company had announced a few months back that they were going to buy Kejuruteraan Samudra Timur Bhd. And so I called up the guy to call off the meeting and told him to check the news report next couple of weeks if he wanted to find out the full story on KUB.
And so I stopped the car to join the angry crowd who was there to protest over something that affected their life in a big way and I found out soon enough that it was about a toll hike that had been recently announced by some high-powered minister in some high-powered office. I haven't lived in the the city long enough to feel the pinch of paying tolls but the street protest really had me piqued since there were women and children in the crowd whom I believe hadn't the faintest idea the kind of trouble they had gotten themselves into. The riot police were on stand-by, fully geared to handle the mood of the crowd who may turn for the worse since it was a hot day with humidity close to 80%. A couple of guys in the crowd got excited and this prompted the men in blue to close in on one of them, bringing the poor guy down in a move they had been trained for. They got him in the knees with the baton which brought him down like a tower when the base is blown off with high explosive. He twisted like a night crawler on fire, almost coiling himself into a complete knot, handcuff locked tight at the wrists. Two women were hauled in and I saw the worried look on their faces. A few well known figures from the opposition were there, but they were not physically militant. I saw a guy surrounded by the riot police, their shields up and the batons ready, waiting for the guy to make a wrong move so they could land a heavy duty boot on the face. I know this move too well. But nothing happened. In the end they got him by the arms.
Maybe you have never spent a night in jail. Or maybe you have never been hit in the face, ribs, groin or legs by anyone. Lemme give you a piece of advice, the last thing you wanna do on a hot day like that was to be hauled in by the police into their big red truck and driven to a police station before they lock you up for a week with the rest of the common criminals like burglars, rapists, thieves, drunks, drug addicts, or suspected murderers. You may think you can take on the riot police, having studied all the martial arts in the world, or you may think you know where to hit. But think for a second, take a good look at the guy with the shield the size of a coffee table. He is fully protected, all the vital points in his body are guarded with the kind of material that's strong enough to take your best front kick, but flexible enough for him to move in on you after you've delivered your best shot. He's got the back of his neck covered, the knees, the elbows and the face. For crying out loud, he's an expert in how to use his shield both as a weapon and as a device to protect himself against whatever you've got going for him. My advice is, when they come after you like a pack of hyenas, you'd better roll up your body into a fetal position like that of a child in a womb and pray they don't break your ribs, or their heavy boots won't dislodge your jaws.
I have lived long enough to know that when the government decides to do something, you'd better live with the fact that nothing you do or say will ever make them change their mind. They decided to go ahead with the National Service Program so fast you didn't have time to read what was it all about. Before you know it, the whole thing got off the ground and so far the programme has made a lot of people rich, from caterers to camp owners, bus owners, uniform suppliers. And now the toll hike. You know that they are going to hike it up from time to time and nothing you do, especially street protest, will make them change their mind. That's how the whole thing works. The people higher up got an idea to start a massive national scale project, and then the people connected to them work out the profit and profit account, and then they got the approval from the cabinet and the whole thing get started real quick from there. That's how it is, and that's how it's gonna be and there is nothing we can do about it. Everyone knows it and it is no longer a secret. In fact it has become Standard Operation Procedure that we have come to accept like a good citizen that we are.
Will this ever come to a stop? Not likely since the people who turned up at Summit USJ to voice their protest represented something like 0.001% of the population. Since politics is about numbers, this number is too small to be taken seriously and who is more qualified to crunch this number into dust other than the ever efficient riot police.
I didn't wait for the crowd to disperse because I saw what I needed to see and it was not a pretty sight to see innocent people being treated that way.
I don't know what got me that day but I failed to view the whole street protest thing as a comedy that played itself out to a full-length movie. Maybe I should do less business to maintain my sense of humor. Am I becoming less and less humorous since I got into this business thing? Lemme go figure, but first lemme have some of this Sumatran coffee down. Where was I?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

First Day Of Spring. 21 March. It's My Birthday.

There's gotta be a reasonable explanation to my forgetting my own birthday. Maybe there were too many things that I had to do, or too many people I had to meet that it didn't matter anymore whether I turned 47 or 67. They say age is nothing but numbers. Maybe it is but I'd rather consider it a milestone to mark how far I've come from a little kid raised by Grandma, Aunt and Cousin. 47 can bring the philosopher or a poet in people. I am neither but 47 does feel to me that I don't have much time left to do the things I've gotta do. The problem is, I don't know what it is that I've gotta do.
Life is about giving it your best shot. Do the thing the best you can. The problem is, sometimes you don't know whether what you are doing is good enough for you because you don't know enough about an industry to measure up your performance after you've passed the learning curve. And you keep meeting people who seem to know what they are talking about until you found out that they don't know any better about anything other than knowing how to talk like medicine peddlers. It's good that I keep meeting this type of species who do nothing except to calculate commission, kickbacks, and cuts. I've learnt to listen and watch. Funny thing is, they've got neither transferable nor nontransferable skills to their name but they drive flashy cars and seem to be doing all right in life. They can cut into my profits to leave me with almost nothing to roll over. Over time, I've learnt.
It's a funny world. You've got a client who needs this equipment. He calls you up because you know the equipment like the back of your hand, and so he cuts a deal with you. That's deal number one. You call up the manufacturer to analyze the drawing. You agree to cut deal number two, which is price and date of delivery. You call up the guy in deal number one to say everything is on. Somewhere along the line, a guy comes up to say, he can get it through the paper process faster than you can blink your eyes, and so you start to think about running cost multiply by the number of days before the whole deal comes to an end where you can start to ask the girl in the office to raise the invoice. And so you cut deal number three. Deal number three rolls over to deal number four and five, until you realise the whole thing has its beginning with the guy in deal number one. Ha ha ha. I love this industry.
One day when I'm done with this, you'd get the names and places of these characters in deal number one, two, three, four, five and six.
It's a long time coming before the invoice.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's Gonna Take Some Getting Used To, Mate!

How long does it take for someone like me to get used to the idea of making a life out of running around, meeting people who don't look as if they are thrilled to see me. Probably not very long. Give me a few more days I reckon I'd get used to this whole idea of explaining to these young executives with flashy laptops the logistics of moving an equipment from Point A to Point C by way of Point B so that people at Point D can install it in time before people at Point G start to make noise and pull out of the whole deal, which is going to make a lot of people at Point E very unhappy. All because someone in Point B fails to understand the simple concept that in this industry you don't take a look at your watch at the end of a long day so you can have a pint or two with a couple of guys talking about things best left to politicians.
How long does it take for Aunt Su to learn how to use the cellphone? Almost half a day and she's been calling me nearly every hour to say, hello, hang tang mana? Maybe it is not such a hot idea to get her the phone in the first place but I thought it was a pretty harmless piece of technology compared with a laptop so she could learn to Skype. Maybe I should have got her a scooter. Ha ha.
I am beginning to wonder whether I really need an office since I seldom spend more than two hours there, rushing from one appointment to another from morning to late at night. I am typing this at Starbucks in Subang, enjoying my 12th latte for the day that I begin to wonder whether this stuff is really good for me. This whole image of a guy my age drinking coffee at a joint like this, working on a laptop, isn't my idea of what business should be. But I reckon this being the new age and all, I really have to get used to the idea of coffee, laptop, 501s, cotton shirt, Rockport shoes and belts by Greg Norman. You don't see young people dressed this way so I must be that old guy trying to catch up with the world.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

That's Not What She Said Yesterday.

We ran into a hitch before we even started. It's nothing new. This whole venture depended on the promise of a friend who had more or less, gave her assurance to award us the contract. I should have warned my partner that this isn't the way to do business because you can't depend on promises but he insisted that she was her best of friend and that they go a long way together. I said, have it your way, mate. (Inside I said, you're making a big mistake.)
And so we started this whole outfit, putting together a place that resembles an office with a reception and coffee corner. And we waited. But the call never came and so my partner decided to give his friend a call. It took him two days to hand me the bad news because he was afraid I would blow my top.
Oh, okay.
That's all I could say because I am used to something like this way back as a child when people promised Aunt the sun and the moon that they'd buy everything from her next week and so Aunt put the stock on hold for them but when the time came, they never showed up, and Aunt had to dispose the stock the best she could.
Good thing I was ready for this and so I said, don't worry about it. I've got me a contract to keep us going for a couple of months before we go under. Good thing I decided not to take up any kind of loan to start off this venture. This I learnt from Aunt too. If you start a business on people's money as loan, you're gonna have to work hard from day one to pay off the loan.
Of course my partner doesn't know that I went into this venture with the mindset that we've got a 50 50 chance of making it big, or going belly up big time. And of course he doesn't know that I am prepared to go belly up and get up again and again until there's no point in getting up. Of course he doesn't know that I am willing to go separate ways when the time comes if he doesn't live up to this partnership.
Nothing personal, it's business.