Rebas III

My wife has been urging me to to register for the pilgrimage to Mecca. Maybe next year she said. I kept quiet. Not that I am not willing to go. God knows how I am yearning to go. I have to be realistic, with roughly RM2500 in the TH kitty how on earth I am going to make it. I really yearn to go but with payments to be made all around, the monthly pay is just barely enough for me to put food on the table. I was really irked when someone last year told us to change our lifestyle to face the economic crunch. My lifestyle is already in the minimal survival mode, what is there to change?
Lets look at this critically. Food, I buy my supply weekly at the local hyper. I spent a long time at the place looking for bargains. The cheapest food is still chicken, kembong, kerisi, indian meat block (the australian and local one are a few times more expensive), local vegetables like kangkung, bayam, timun, labu. These are the cheapest that I can get. I used to go to Pasar Borong Selayang, but the jam is horrible and parking problems, I ended spending a lot more on wasted time and petrol. So what is there to change?
Next, children. My five children are all in secondary schools now. Thankfully the BN Government is kind enough in abolishing the exam fees, or it could be worse for me this year.One will be facing STPM, one SPM and one PMR. My two sons are in boarding schools, there is always something to pay. Baju batik, T-shirt prep, t-shirt outing, t-shirt sukan, lawatan here and there, extra class fee, yuran class, yuran silat, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention the foodstuff that I have to provide to tide them over until next week’s supply. Sometime I wonder, doesn’t the school provide them with enough food? But they are growing up, they are physically active and they consume a lot. My eldest daughter is in form six. Almost every week she complains that, she does not have enough material for her PA presentation. She needs to have access to the internet. The two newspapers that I buy everyday are not enough. The alternative is that I have is to send her to the infamous CC, or send her to the national library every other day or improve the dial-up internet connection in the house. The schoolNet connection in her school is not properly up and running yet. Even if it is running, the lab is only open at certain times. Students are not allowed into the lab without teachers and teachers only use the place occasionally in their lessons. Typical case of ‘takut rosak, nanti rosak siapa mau repair’ attitude of the school. So I signed up with the Streamyx which require me to upgrade the access facilities. More money. Is this a luxury?I do not trust the environment in the cyber cafe (CC) to send my daughter every other day. After all the access charges is quite a sum after a few times. I relented all in the hope that my children would not be deprived of quality education. Am I suppose to alter that as well? well man, if you have children you have to preprae for these. Thats what my friend said. Exactly, so do not ask me to change my lifestyle without knowing what you are talking about.
Next is transport. I used to take the public transport. Is started at 6.30am and ended up at home by 9.30pm. I can only attend my surau congregation during weekends. Not good for the soul. Everymorning, I spend 20mins walking to LRT station, five minutes waiting for the train, 25 minutes in the journey from Wangsa Maju to Bangsar, 30 minutes waiting to the transit bus to Pusat Bandar Damansara, 15 minutes bus journey to PBD and another 15 minutes walk to the office. That is if eveything is functioning like clockwork. But most of the times, there are hitches here and there and I end up with a red mark on my punch card. Going back is the reverse. What if it is raining? What if there is an accident along the way. What if the police decides to close the road for majlis Raja Bersiram or something. Why not get a motorbike? or a small car. Ok. I got myself a small car (which means another extra weight to the already overloaded debt department). Now I have to contend with toll and petrol charges and maintenance. I do miss the LRT journeys where I get the chance either to read, watch people or doze off. Now, some fat cats tell me to alter my lifestyle. Well, I can always walk to the office if they allow me to start at eleven, provide cover for worn out shoes and some shower facilities at the office.

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