Thursday, November 23, 2006

Real people and real problems

With words of encouragement from seasoned bloggers and friends, I'm quite ready to continue my small mission. I want to thank everyone for their kind words, advice and suggestions.

Pahit Manis will be different from other bloggers. They are well ahead in the game and have amassed considerable following. Some might even point out that they've gained a degree of notoriety in the process!

I'm taking a different route. Pahit Manis is about the small man and woman, who goes through life seeking comforts while trying to make ends meet. It's about everyday life. About everyday struggle. About daily survival.

And about their hopes, that somewhere out there is a silver lining. We all know that many real people have neither the connections nor the power to change their situation at the press of a button or over teh tarik chats. Many of them are so distant from the power centres. Yet they plod on and on...

The Hassans, the Mohamads, the Tonys, the Oois and many others go through their daily routine deep in debts; pursued by their Ah Longs and other creditors. While they insist that their businesses are doing well, they struggle to pay salaries of their staff, maintain their lifestyle. They try to keep a cheery outlook, which is easier said than done.

Recently, over sliced roti bakar at Kluang Station at the Ikano shopping complex in Damansara, one of the strugglers, Bob, took one long sigh and narrated his predicament - no money to pay staff wages, none of his cars are on the road since there's no road tax and insurance, no bank want to extend any loan, and no friend who's prepared to offer a shoulder to lean on.

Another sruggler is ML, who's putting all his energy into agriculture. ML was an aviator who went through some bad times. But he's a survivor. ML sincerely believes that his future is in cattle rearing, fishing and some downstream agro-based ventures. He visited the big agriculture show (MAHA) in Serdang everyday since it opened, drawing inspiration and getting new ideas.

Bob and ML are just two of the supporting casts on the country's business stage. They are resilient chaps. They don't give up. While Bob may have to sell his company soon if no help is forthcoming, ML seems sure that he's going to hit the big time soon. Both pride themselves as being street-wise, but confessed that it takes more than this to survive in today's business environment.

In the coming weeks, I hope to share with you real stories about real people trying to deal with real problems. If we can all rub shoulders with some of these strugglers, I bet you that you'll encounter gems whose hearts are in the right place.

They are your everyday champions - dads who brave the morning rain on their kapcai (two-stroke motorbikes) to go to work; and mums who open their living rooms as day care centres to help dads keep food on the table, pay the house rent and give their children a monthly satay treat from the nearby pasar malam.

Depressing you say? Not meant to be actually. "Nations are born out of travail and suffering," said Gandhi. In the same context, the Bobs, the MLs, the Tonys and every other strugglers will see the light at the end of the tunnel, God willing. Their silver lining can't that be elusive..

20 comments:

ZenArt said...

Its amazing, i seem to relate to every single character in there be it tonys hassans or mohamads in this story of yours. I cannot wait for it to unfold.

Denise said...

Waaa.... kinda like where this blog is going... about ordinary people and their ordinary lives with extraordinary effort to keep on living... menarik ni dato'...

tokasid said...

Salam to Pak Mat,

Bugus juga jika Pak Mat ambil pendekatan sebegini untuk mendengar keluhan insan-insan kerdil yg bagai menyabung nyawa/kehidupan mereka di bumi Malaysia ini. Memang dari luaran ramai insan nampak OK tapi sebenarnya pelbagai masaalah yg dihadapi. Namun ramai yg menjadi strugglers dan ada yg sampai terjerat dgn belitan 'ceti modern' Ah Long.

Kalau boleh Pak Mat sekali sekala ceritakan sama kehidupan insan2 yg di luar bandar. kehidupan mereka lebih terdesak apalagi dgn kos hidup yg semakin meningkat. Mereka ini tidak perlu maintain gaya hidup untuk survive dlm perniagaan spt Bob atau ML. tetapi mereka perlu maintain utk meletak sepinggan nasi utk anak isteri dan sebotol susu utk si kecil di buaian.
Mereka ini yg kebanyakkan tidak mengerti sepak terajang politik orang Putrajaya atau semangat over perwakilan di PWTC.Mereka ini yg senang diperkotak katek oleh ahli politik kerana mereka lebih memikirkan kaisan pagi dan kaisan petang untuk perut anak-anak.Tumpuan mereka: esok anak2 aku akan ada makanan atau tidak. Bila ada ahli politik tiba-tiba mencanangkan ketuanan Melayu akan hilang jika tak sokong kami, insan2 ini menjadi risau dan rimas.Bimbang akan esok anak2 mereka.Sebagai penyedap hati insan2 ini percaya tindakan ahli politik mereka. Maka dgn kebimbangan ini( dan mungkin ehsan RM50.00 atau baja sekampit atau kain batik serta pelikat sehelai) kumpulan insan sebegini memberi kuasa agar negara di perkosa selama 5 tahun.

Teruskan Pak dgn kisah2 yg Pak ingin kami berkongsi bersama.

Whales said...

Thank you for this blog. Although it's purpose is on daily life but I find it most refreshing as compared to other blogs with all their "doom & gloom".

And the title is very apt - about "REAL" people. I can feel for these people as I am also one of them (aren't we all?)

palingallout said...

many thanks if you do write what you think . it's really hard to find these days. for now, i shall bookmark your blog.

HangKasturi said...

Assalamulaikum Tok Mat,

Izinkan saya terlebih dahulu mengucapkan tahniah di atas usaha TM memulakan blog PAHIT MANIS ini. Lebih mengujakan lagi perasaan saya adalah kesudian untuk menengahkan isu-isu marhaen. Sebenarnya usaha untuk merasai degup nadi permasalahan khalayak bukannya mudah. Ia bukan sekadar mencabar tetapi memerlukan kejujuran yang hakiki dalam menyelami permasalahan massa ini.

Apabila nawaitunya itu elok, doa dan harapan kami warga siber, semoga kembara ini dipermudahkan serta dirahmati Ilahi.

Wassalam Dan Salam Hormat

HT said...

I can't wait for your next posting...

Yup! life is full of the unexpected. It's what makes it worthwhile, I suppose.

azmi said...

As you said: “They are your everyday champions - dads who brave the morning rain on their kapcai (two-stroke motorbikes) to go to work; and mums who open their living rooms as day care centres to help dads keep food on the table, pay the house rent and give their children a monthly satay treat from the nearby pasar malam.”

I would also like to add that we often see families totalling depending on their valuable kapcai as the only means of transport. More than a few occasions I have seen the dad, mum and three children on a bike. Parents plus one or two children are a daily sight. I don’t recall newspapers treating it as a plight of the poverty stricken; instead, they usually take photographs and call these dads irresponsible road users. I’m sure these dads know the risk yet they probably feel they have no choice. These parents are poor. If they go anywhere they probably have to bring their children along because they can’t leave their kids home alone. (no maid of course). That could be even riskier than having all of them squeezed on a bike. We’ve heard of children killed in squatter houses while their parents were out. Certainly from my own observation I can say that they do not ride recklessly. I see them going on the road slowly and trying to be diligent of other less alert drivers. It is easy enough for the occupants of a mercedes to overtake and give them a stare of disapproval. And even worse is a journalist taking a photo of them not to help but for the purpose of later condemning them in public (although there is at least the decency to blank out the registration plate).

It is good that you will their stories. The politicians in power have failed to properly address poverty despite sufficient availability of funds because their own pockets come first. And when we do see them coming to the rescue of someone, it is with entourages with a huge mock cheque. Sometimes they’ll give the cheque proper but the photo taken will be big enough for the donor to be recognised. Well, you know what I mean. And of course I am really happy that the newspapers (much as I may criticise the media for other reasons) and the public have always very much largely been responsible for helping raise money for those in need. That is fantastic. But it is in the hands of the politicians to address the causes, structural or otherwise. And conscientious journalism will ensure that the news yang pahit keeps getting shoved down the throat of these politicians until we see them sincerely doing something about it.

May Allah give you the strength and perseverance to always bring to the public and the government the plights and elevate the quality of living of the needy. It does not matter their religion or race. And may Allah reward you for your efforts.

azmi

lipaskudung said...

This blog is yours brader, so its solely up to you what you want it to be, as long as you can draw the attention either as many as possible members of the public or peoples that matters, whoever and where ever they are.

Dato', suka atau tidak, kewartawanan akhbar di Malaysia sudah hampir mati. Ia tinggal nafas-nafas ikan. Datuk AKJ you boleh komen. Saya baru bertemu seorang wartawan muda yang diperkenalkan kepada saya pada perhimpunan agung Umno yang lalu. Saya memberitahunya mengenai satu isu perbahasan yang agak menarik ditulisnya. Dia menjawab, tak perlu tulis isu itu sebab pengarang dia tidak akan menyiarkannya. Maka, timbul persoalan jika seorang wartawan yang hanya setahun jagung dalam dunia kewartawanan sudah boleh membaca keputusan dan fikiran pengarangnya, dia adalah wartawan yang amat hebat. Bagaimana seorang wartawan boleh menapis maklumat (self-censorship}tanpa perlu menulisnya dan menyerahkan kepada pengarangnya terlebih dahulu?. Wartawan ini sudah meletakkan dirinya sebagai seorang pengarang. Kalau kiamat ada tanda-tandanya, maka ini pula adalah petanda awal kehancuran dunia kewartawanan. Self-censorship memang wujud tetapi tahap hari ini sudah parah akibat munculnya pengarang-pengarang yang bersetuju dengan tindakan wartawan mereka.
Saya juga tidak lagi melihat tulisan-tulisan yang boleh dianggap sebagai tulisan seorang pengarang yang prolifik, tulisan yang boleh dijadikan renungan untuk mengasah minda. Di mana pengarang besar yang mengulas mengenai perhimpunan agung Umno. Mengapa wartawan saja yang menganalisi suatu peristiwa yang begitu bermakna bagi orang Melayu. Pengarang hari ini jenis pengarang cari makan dan jaga diri, menyebabkan mereka langsung tidak mengasaah minda mereka. Mungkin mereka belajar dari keberanian pengarang-pengarang terdahulu yang dibuang kerana tulisan mereka yang menyinggung sesiapa juga. Sebenarnya, inilah salah satu prasyarat untuk menjadi pengarang. Kalau sekadar berfungsi menyunting berita dan rencana dan membuang apa juga isi yang boleh menyebabkan dirinya dipersalahkan dan tersingkir, lebih baiklah tinggalkan dunia kewartawanan. Pengarang yang tahu tanggungjawabnya, WAJIB mengeluarkan idea mengenai perkara-perkara atau isu yang menjadi persoalan semasa. Pengarang tidak boleh sekadar melihat dan memekakkan telinga, jika mereka faham fungsi media sebagai watchdog. Di mana-mana juga akhbar dikawal tetapi pengarang tetap menjalankan tugas mereka sebagai pengarang yang bermaruah.

Untungnya hari ini, ada bloggers. Menariknya mengenai tulisan di blog-blog begini ialah mereka boleh memainkan peranan akhbar perdana. Ada 9 juta bloggers di dunia hari ini yang boleh memberi kesan kepada edaran media. Secara ekstremnya, hari ini orang ramai tidak memerlukan akhbar lagi. Jika membaca tujuh atau lapan blog-blog yang sedia ada, anda sudah cukup maklumat untuk menghadapi dunia luar. Sudah ada blog berbicara mengenai politik, hal ehwal semasa dan Pahit Manis pula dengan cerita-cerita masyarakatnya. Jika selepas ini ada blog yang menulis mengenai ekonomi, jenayah, mahkamah, sukan dan sebagainya, ia sudah lengkap sebagai pencarian maklumat. Pengarang-pengarang akhbar perlu ingat, saingan anda bukan lagi pengarang-pengarang kaunterpart anda, tetapi bloggers yang sentiasa melihat kelemahan anda, sekiranya mereka masih membaca akhbar.

ummuhassan said...

Pak Mat,
ini adalah permulaan yang baik. Teruskan

The Wayfarer said...

Datuk,

Apa cahaya di hujung terowong yang boleh rakyat biasa harapkan bila minyak naik, elektrik naik, air naik, tambang naik, harga ikan temenung (ikan kembung) di kampung saya di utara ini sudah Rm8 hingga Rm10 sekilo?

Datuk kena tulis tentang penderitaan kami. Orang macam kami tidak ada cahaya di hujung terowong Datuk. Hidup kami dah lama gelap gelemat.

Ahmad A Talib said...

Sdra/Sdri lipaskudung,

Terima kasih kerana sumbangan anda. Saya menghargainya. Sebenarnya, komen anda lebih sesuai dihantar kepada sahabat seblog, Rocky Bru. Beliau ialah "specialist' dalam hal-hal media. Namun, saya harap anda tidak berkecil hanti dan tidak serik menghantar komen. Sama-samalah kita berjuang memperbaikki mutu hidup di negara kita yang tercinta ini.

Kak Teh said...

datuk, dare i say that most bloggers do write about real people and real problems. This is the medium that allows them/us to do so. The difference that we hope you will make is that whatever real plight you highlight by real people, will get noticed as you have more clout than us. Just my two sens worth.

Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad said...

"The world does not owe anyone a living..."

lubok melayu said...

Sdr TokMat, sekadar mengunjur, bukan mendesak: kalau Sdr khusus pada cerita tauladan untuk hujung minggu, mungkin lebih baik. Untuk hari lain, Sdr jadilah mata dan telinga untuk rakyat siber, tangani isu sosio-politik dan ekonomi negara dan tangan mereka yang lembab, lena dan malas supaya Malaysia bangun sebelum 2020. Bagaimana? Kalau Sdr hanya papar kisah tauladan, takut jelak, mual dan muntah jua akhirnya.

Terima kasih.

Arah said...

Tahniah Datuk!

Terima kasih kerana telah mendidik dan memberi panduan tentang kehidupan, keluarga, agama, masyarakat, kerjaya dll.

Harap dapat terus belajar dari anda tentang erti kehidupan terutamanya melalui ruangan ini. Setiap kita tentunya ada takrif tersendiri tentang kehidupan.

Apa pun, kita harus terus melangkah dengan penuh semangat tanpa melupakan mereka yang disekeliling kita. Biar kelihatannya seolah-olah tiada cahaya di hujung terowong, namun kita harus ingat bahawa setiap sesuatu yang terjadi itu ada hikmahnya. Wallahhualam.

salams,
ARAH

abid said...

Salam Tok Mat,

perjuangan Tok Mat memang sesuatu yang wajar diteruskan sampai bila-bila..

p/s: i miss reading Newspaper Sentiasa Tepat during ur time... Mr Plagi**** sudah bikin itu paper jadi Newspaper Selalu Tipu.. pls consider making this site as alternative to Never Say Truth

auto said...

Yeah, typical pahit manis. I hope you can make it interesting, unlike your bone-dry and uninspiring column in NST satu ketika dulu. Balik-balik nasi lemak, roti canai, roti bakar, teh tarik di kedai si anu, stall si polan, etc, etc...

Yes, this is your blog. But if you expect comments, the least you can do is to (try) make it interesting.

freelunch_2020 said...

which is why we must wipe out corruption.
so that the ordinary person will have access to basic amenities.
so that our country will be be a more equitable society.
i am a long time fan won't say die-hard but am glad to read your articles again.
:D

mananbuyong said...

Being out in Sg. Sekiah, Behrang ulu, takes me sometime to read you, Mad.

I am always among the ordinary people, and reading 'blogs' are far from our minds. But I will get to you here, insyaAllah.

As you know, I read NST and when you were there I waited for yr Sunday column. I like it, and am happy to read you here.