Thursday, May 1, 2008

No cheers on Workers' Day!

AMY asked me a simple question this mornng - will the Government extend the age of the country's workforce to 58? Of course I can't answer her question, but she's not alone in trying to get an answer.

Many employees are wondering whether they can continue to work until 58 years old because of one simple reason - they need the wages to survive in today's very trying times. Amy's friends said today's cost of living is so high that they may have to work so many extra hours to earn some overtime to make ends meet.

A food caterer friend of mine said he's having a torrid time trying to survive. He said he could get ample supply of vegetables, fish, chicken and other items when he goes to the wholesale market a year ago. Today, this is no longer possible.

And he can't increase prices when he takes orders for kenduri, parties and get-togethers. His profit margin has been greatly reduced. He still takes orders just to tell the market that's he's still in business. Barely just, he said.

Life is very tough for many workers, and more so for self-employed people. A taxi driver I met a few days ago said he had to borrow money to change two tyres of his taxi after it failed the regular inspection at Puspakom. This never happened before, he said.

Many workers don't believe news reports that say the economy is resilient, healthy and continue to grow. Forecast that the country's economy continue to grow at whatever per cent means nothing to the majority of workers, especially the blue-collared ones.

Are you going to take part in the Workers Day celebrations, I asked Amy. "Sudahlah...tidor lagi baik. Kalau pergi, kena keluar belanja juga - minyak, parking, tol. Duduk rumah lagi baik," she said.

Hearing this, I didn't wish her Happy Workers' Day. Maybe it's better just to stay home rather than listening to empty rhetorics from union leaders and employers. And that includes the Government as well.

5 comments:

Eddie said...

Most of my business friends have gone to other countries to work. What a shame , they are unprevilige Bumiputera businesman. Who says all Bumiputera are protected. At a moment ,I can't think of anything special that Bumiputera gets except of 7% discount when you buy new houses. So Happy Workers Days to my friends who have changed from Usahawan to Pekerja. Happy Workers days guys!

NGINAP SRENGENGE said...

No cheers but jeers .

Jangan cari duit berjuta2 , carilah Al-Ghazali & Al-Shafie.You'll never find through Hadhari .

tarings said...

They always said money is not everything. But as the AKPK would like to remind us before it's too late, everything revolves around money.

Finding it hard to scrape a living in a desolate and destitute country is quite acceptable. But in a country where the Malaysia Book of Records is as thick as some Malaysian politicians is definitely unforgivable. Especially when the government is talking about mega these and mega that worth mega billions. Corridor here and corridor there when them school corridors are not properly maintained. And sending people to Mars. Well, I made up the last bit but the message should be clear. The government can afford to spend to impress, and maybe to stay in power but they somehow forgot whom those actions are supposed to benefit, or in their case, the reverse.

I dunno, maybe am a bit shallow on them economics but to me there could be an impending economic doom when you see people desperately doing what they normally not do. You see people of all races in their late thirties and younger collecting cans and plastic from garbage bins. You see peeps you know who had good jobs became guards, cleaners. Imagine the indignity, not because the said jobs are undignified but things you have to do to get food on your plate, and the plates of your loved ones at home. Putting aside whatever dignity left, misplaced or otherwise, to bring home not the bacon, but scraps of leftovers.

The fact is, some section of the society are really desperate. And what these elected leaders are doing is denying that facts even when people are eating escargot and appearing on Bersamamu just to survive another day. I won't feel bad if this country is one of those African aid receipients. My Chinese neighbour, when asked for his opinion on the country's economy, had this to say. When the harvest aplenty, all is fine and all is forgiven. But when times are bad, the Chinese tend to suffer more because there is this need to portray this well-off image, and of course there are not many places for them to turn to, despite all those Chinese associations. Maybe Micheal Chong but he too had to give up sooner or later.

And when all else failed, could we turn to Jalaluddin Hassan? He could give you three lifelines. You could ask the audience, which could be your friends or families. You could make that phone call to a buddy, or them alongs. Finally you are pushed into the fifty-fifty situation, a do or die situation. The latter are the petty crimes you are currently reading in the news. Crimes committed not to be rich or committed by career criminals. Just by rakyats who are being pushed into a corner. Just to survive another day when Who Wants to be a Millionaire didn't.

Happy May Day y'all.

daniel said...

happy worker's day.

it's time for us to listen to pak lah and buck up people! Here's to better government service in the future!

Hamidi Ishak said...

Tidak dinafikan keadaan ekonomi pada hari ini mendesak kita untuk bekerja lebih kuat dan mungkin perlu dilambatkan sedikit tarikh bersara.

Namun kita juga perlu ingatkan diri bahawa meskipun kita bersara pada 58 tahun atau 60 tahun sekalipun, adakah kita akan terus bekerja secara efisien dan produktif dan mampu bersaing dengan rakan sekerja yang lebih muda dan mungkin lebih efisien?

Lainlah kalau kita bekerja sendiri. Apa-apa pun tidak terlambat untuk saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Pekerja kepada semua.