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.


Rebas II

Emm.. today I was intrigued by this column by Hasrizal Jamil in the Karangkraf publication called simply, i. It is a monthly publication. Hasrizal is a regular columnist and for June he was commenting on his experience in Galway, Ireland, or Galway’s Council rather. His contention was that the Galway Councl is so meticulous is ensuring the rubbish recycling programmes is working, the council even wrote warning letters to household which placed their rubbish in the wrong bin. You see, each household is given three bins so that their rubbish can be separated and disposed off properly. If you put wrong garbage in the wrong bin, you’ll be fined by the council after three warnings. Hasrizal further iterated that, amazingly this kafir council is acting in a more islamic way than the so called islamic countries as far as environmental protection and cleanliness is concerned. Some imams, tuan guru, penceramah and all that jazz speak of Islam as a religion that place a premium on cleanliness. But the suraus and mosques toilets are dirty, the compunds are littered with rubbish. They themselves hardly concerned about personal and household hygene, they throw rubbish everywhere, some of them even smoke and never bother to separate their household garbage. So cakap tak serupa bikin. I remember Dr Asri, the Perlis mufti also spoke about this in one of his column in the Mingguan Malaysia. In fact he went a step further by saying that, the Islamic preachers spoke of Islam as a peaceful religion but at the same time they are hammering the Jews, the Hindus, the Christians,the governments, all and sundry, on top of their voices which further enhancedby by the loudspeakers, as if they are starting a war! All over the world we see that Islam is associated with violence. We see that in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh. So where are the images that shows Islam is a peaceloving religions? Islam is a peaceful religion, the very word Islam itself connotes peacefulness. Unfortunately, the peacefulness have been hijacked by religious zealots who cakap tak serupa bikin.
On a different note, I am learning on something called path analysis to measure latent variables in statistics. Can anybody suggest a good introductory book on this? I am thoroughly confused by the current book that I am reading and I thought I should try to find some good introductory materials on this subject.

Rebas – First drops

Hello everybody,
I am new to this. As an introduction let me explain the title of this blog – REBAS (pronounced as in REBAH, RESAH or REDAM in Malay). Rebas (in my kampung they called it rebeh) in Perak Malay lingo means a slight rain or drizzle. Sometimes if you walk below a big leafy tree in the village after moderate to heavy rain and something shakes the tree, the shiny water droplets collected on the leaves would fall as rebas as well. Somehow rebas always comes with sunshine and you can see the droplets sparkling on the leaves.
I hope my postings would be like rebas – slight and abruptly drizzly not intending to drench anybody. Rebas can fall anytime, anywhere. Likewise, mine would be on any topic that takes my fancy anytime, anywhere, but never heavy, in keeping with the rebas.
As you can guess by now, I grew up in little village in Perak where rebas happen quite often. But having living in the capital city for good many years, I cannot really say I have experienced any rebas, more of acid rains rather.
The first few drops of the rebas today is on the newly announced naik gaji for the civil servants – quite a hefty quantum by Malaysian standards. I do not know what is the government actual intention in giving such a huge increase. After all they have never done it before. It is quite reckless I think. Why is it suddenly the government so appreciative of the civil servants? Maybe they should increase it to such a sum that is comparable to our southern neighbour in order to attract a more competent people to join the service. In the meantime, cut the excess fats and trim the service to a more lean and mean machine. I am worried that the rise would eventually wipeout by the gradual increase in living costs. Mind you as it is now, prices have started to creep up. My average weekly supermarket trolleyful of household needs in January is definitely less than the average in April or May. Come to think of it, I would rather see the government not giving us any increment but cutting down on fuel and gas prices, toll, parking, income tax, books, etc.
Having said that, being a typical toeing the line Malaysian citizen, I must say, thank you Pak Lah.
Alhamdulillah. Eventually everyone would benefits. They should have done it many years ago before my credit cards debt ballooned to the current level. Well thats another ensemble of rebas droplets!