Thursday, June 19, 2008

Drive-thru service

Today I went to the Post Office at Kg.Tunku just about next to the Kg. Tunku Primary School in order to renew the road tax which is expiring in July. I did not want to wait for next month since I am going to perform the Umrah next week. I thought there would be long lines of people waiting for their rebates but fortunately the hundreds of millions of Ringgit had been disbursed by the Post Offices around the country and in most likelihood had changed hands. I still recalled when the late Tun Razak was the Prime Minister, he saw the folly of giving outright cash as aid because even the subsidy to farmers in the form of fertilisers were sold for cash. I suppose he knew human nature better than any of our leaders today. But that's not the story I want to tell here. While waiting for my number, a former Colonel in the Armed Forces and an OP ( Old Putera ) the I.D. for ex-RMC boys came and sat next to me. He was grumbling about the drive-thru counter outside of the Post Office lobby was unmanned for about twenty minutes and finally he came in. So I told him to lodge a complaint to the Post Office Manager so that he would be in the know and make sure that it doesn't happen again. But he chose not to. This is a typical attitude of our people who complains but did not address the matter to the proper authority. I am always fond of taking the bull by the horn, because it will always reflect a positive side and also doing your duty as a good citizen. It's not just for your own good but also for the good of others as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Spiritual Journey; Umrah.

Many things have different meanings to people and performing the lesser Haj or "Umrah" is one of them. The thought of performing the Umrah came about when I was looking at the fares for a return flight to UK and ask myself why should I spend that money for a journey which I have been many times before and why not spend it on a spiritual journey which is of much greater significance. Actually however one look at it, the journey to perform the lesser Haj is challenging especially at this time of the year where it's very hot because it's summer and Makkah is again undergoing a lot of construction work adjacent to the Grand Mosque or Al-Haram. Nevertheless, I have planned for it since very early this year and made the enquiries with Tabung Haji Travel Services Sdn Bhd, the subsidiary of Tabung Haji. This time my wife Nasimah and I will be accompanied by Nurul my daughter and Haniff my youngest son. My sister-in-law Naida will be in my group too. I hope to renew my soul by performing the Umrah and refresh my commitment to be a better Muslim always. Our journey in this world is only transient and the ultimate is the hereafter. So I hope this time the journey of the heart will be profoundly meaningful because the purity of the mind begins with cleansing the heart which is a constant struggle till one leave's this mundane life forever.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pouring Petrol over fire

Last Monday, anticipating the impending increase on petrol prices at the pump, I went to fill up my tank. Somehow I figured out that after the wednesday Cabinet meeting, the announcement would be made and it would take immediate effect, even though the Minister's statement showed otherwise. When my daughter came back from office on wednesday evening, she told me that all petrol stations were swamped by people queuing for their turn, spilling over to the roads. This is a typical reaction of many Malaysian motorists, who suffered this syndrome like pouring petrol over a fire. We should thank our lucky stars that we are a net exporter of oil, that we have been cushioned against the steep prices at the pump, as compared to those countries who are net importers of the precious black gold. But we should not be complacent because our country is said to fall into that category in a few years. Since the lid over pricing of petrol is lifted and the market forces will be operational, then the motorists are going to be more hurt before the close of the year. The Domestic Trade Minister indicated that petrol could even go up to RM4 per litre by August, judging from the trend of global price of oil. Thus Malaysians should be asking the Govt. what is the long term strategy to curb the consequential effects of the spiralling costs of oil. We are merely reacting, rather the Govt. should be more proactive. Subsidies are just stop-gap measures which do not address the problem. The Govt. should come out with a sustainable long term strategy of coping with the problem of oil so that we will not be caught with our pants down. At the same time, motorists should be prepared to pay RM4 per litre at the pump earlier than expected.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Trip to Kuantan

Last week, on Tuesday 27 May 2008 my family comprising wife Nasimah, daughter Nurul, son Hasnul and his family of four drove in separate cars to Kuantan using the East-coast highway. We stopped at the Temerloh rest area and I confirmed with Hasnul that we'll exit at the last stop of the East-coast highway. So I was quite confident to exit at the last section which had signs of going to the Kuantan Port, without realising that the last exit was only recently opened and Hasnul was not aware of it. When I saw the milestone shows only the kilometre distance to Kemaman, I felt rather uneasy whether I had taken the right turning. So when I saw the signboard to Kuantan Port, we took that turning and it was actually a backtracking trip heading towards Kuantan after having to navigate the Gebeng Industrial area and exiting on the Kuantan bypass to go to Semambu and then to Telok Chempedak. So, instead of arriving in two and the half hours, it took more than three hours. I find that the signage is of not much help, and this is typical of Malaysian roads. The people who put up the signs don't think of the outstation drivers, but they only see it from the viewpoint of the locals. So much for people who put up road furniture, things have not changed much from my days of working in the Works Ministry from 1988 to 1992. The beach Hotel where we stayed have not changed much either, except that now the car-park is operated on a gated entry basis and the parking charges are levied. Fortunately for hotel guests, the charges are waived. One of the most glaring shortcoming of the Telok Chempedak beach now is the effects of coastal erosion. This happened to the Batu Buruk beach in Kuala Terengganu, until something was done to improve it. Unless the beach in Telok Chempedak is rehabilitated, then soon it would be an attractive place anymore. My family, especially my grandchildren spent a wonderful time together and this is one memorable holiday which is cherished for a long time.