Malaysia may reverse its role

There is an interesting letter in Malaysiakini today. What attracted me to read the letter was the title:  Malaysia may one day supply maids to Indonesia.

The writer pointed out that Malaysia is not in the G20 nations which discuss periodically the world’s financial system and map out strategy and cooperation among these nations to deal with world financial problems.

The writer also pointed out that Malaysia is not in the N11, the so called Next 11 countries, which are countries that are supposed to be the next in line to become world economic powerhouse..

For your infomation, G20 consists of the following countries:

 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
 South Korea
 United Kingdom
 United States
 European Union

While Indonesia is in the list of G20, Malaysia is not..Of course, we can argue that Singapore is also not in the G20, but do not forget, Singapore is one of the 4 tigers or dragons.

The Next 11 consist of these countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam . NOte that most of  these countries are below Malaysia in GDP per capita(except South Korea). BUt please also note that once upon a time, actually not so long ago in the early 80s, Taiwan  and SOuth Korea were also behind us and now they are far ahead of us.

So the contention here is that if we do not buck up, Malaysia is going to be overtaken by all these N11( south korea is already far ahead), and that while our neighbours are becoming richer than us in the future, Malaysians may have to go to these neighbouring countries to work as construction workers and maids.

It would really be unthinkable for our future generations to work as maids in the neighbouring countries.. But it could really happen, since if Malaysia does not buck up, we will very well be marginalised… pls read my article in 2006 ” will Malaysia be marginalised” which was quite widely reposted in many sites at that time.

At the present moment, so many Malaysians are already working overseas, but mainly in the top echelons of their professions, such as professors, scientists, doctors, engineers, nurses, businessmen, entrepreneurs etc…. This is because of brain drain, but as the country becomes more backward relative to our neighbours, the situation may change to that of us supplying others with low cost labours, such as maids, and construction workers..

Our politicians may not be immue to these, as wealth that are gathered easily can disappear easily, seldom more than 3 generations. So do not be surprised to see their future generations work as maids in Indonesia… That day could well arrive in this century… :)

Swine Flu and prevention

In 2003, during the height of the SARS alert, I had to travel to Torornto for my eldest son’s convocation. I flew to Singapore from where I took a NorthWest Orient flight to Detroit, and from Detroit to Canada.

I sat at he Bulkhead row, (the first row from the partition seperating business class and economy.. I always booked either bulkhead or the emergency row to have longer leg space since i am a six footer), where normally it would be fully occupied by children and baby cots.. The whole row then was occupied by only 2 persons, myself included, and the whole economy section could not have more than 30 persons, despite it being a jumbo plane…All of us , despite being economy class pasengers, were able to lie down and sleep comfortably across few seats for the long flight. And of course, we had extra attention from the crew, and were really pampered with drinks and titbits…

That was the impact of SARS on travelling and tourism..The whole world economy was affected despite the epidemic being confined to a few thousand cases at most, which was like a drop in the ocean, bearing in mind that the world population is 6 billions.

This time around, the swine flu would hit the travel and tour business hard again. Coming at a time when the whole world is in recession, it is indeed like what the CHinese say ” a continous storm at a time when the roof is leaking”.

Actually, at the present moment, the number of swine flu cases are in the hundreds, and chances of any traveller contacting the virus is remote and probably the odds are little. However, that is not to say that we should not take precaution. Flu has a way of spreading very fast, just like the common colds that we get from our colleagues .. Often, when one guy is sick, the whole office is down with cough and cold, although with varying severity , depending on individual resistance and response.

We have to be vigilant at the ports of entry. Anyone who is detected to have a fever coming into the country must be screened. If there is a possibility of someone being an infected swine flu cases, he or she must be quarantined. However,there is a catch in this.  In the early stages, when the virus is in incubation stage, there might not be any symptoms. It takes only one visitor to carry the virus into the country to start the chain of infection.

Still, vigilance at the ports of entry is of utmost importance in reducing the chances of swine flu cases coming into the country. The Health department actually did a very good job during the SARS outbreak, where suspected persons were quarantined in rooms with negative pressure (where air from the room is sucked out or blown out in a certain direction, and medical staff would be in areas where the flow of air would not carry any viruses to them). and strict barrier nursing were practised.  This would cut down the chance sof spread since the medical team is the one in contact with the suspected cases,and they could become the media of carriers to the public if such practises are not observed.

One thing i find it strange. During SARS outbreak, we have several thermo scans scanning visitors coming into the country. In fact, on my way back from the Canada in 2003, I passed through one of those scans. But the pictures  in newspapers today showed that nurses at KLIA are taking temperature manually… Where are those thermal scanners?

Well, boost up your own resistnace by having adequate rest, sufficient exercises, adequate fluid intake, avoid those who are coughing and sneezing, open your house windows to allow free flow of air, and most important disease prevention technique: wash your hands always and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands ( these areas are covered by mucous membranes, which the virus can easily get through, unlike our skin). The correct way of hand washing is very  important… Pls refer to the link to my article on SARS in Star in 2003, which is available in the comment section of the last post.

Of course, when there is really no choice, there is a prevention drug to take. This is Tamiflu, from roche, which if taken within 48 hours of developing first signs of flu, or after contact with flu cases, can mitigate the effects and hasten recovery. This drug acts by inhibiting multiplication of the virus within our body. But it is not so effective once the flu is past the initial stage.

Tamiflu is available in malaysia. For treamtment, it is a course of 10 capsules, taken twice a day for 5 days. For prevention, the course is one capsule  daily for 10 days. It is not cheap since this is a patented drug, per capsule is in the region of around RM 15, and the whole course is about 150…. Plenty of profit for Roche.. I am sure the shares will shoot up sky high now..

A word of caution.. Do not rush out and buy the drugs.. So far the cases in most countries are not serious, so it is best to wait for more info..



(FYI, i do not have any shares or interest in roche; this is purely for infomation purposes..)


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