Hopelessness and Helplessness

Many people are unhappy.

These people don’t care much about politics. They don’t care much about religious issues. They don’t care about the ‘agreement’ between Liow And Chua in the election of MCA (if posts can be agreed upon, why the need for election?). They don’t care about why no action is taken on the case of a deputy minister being hit by a third tier leader of the Big Brother. They have gone immune to these happenings in the Bolehland.

They are unhappy because they feel helpless and hopeless.

After the last General Election, I can feel a prevailing sense of helplessness and hopelessness especially among  those who live in the urban areas.

While they go about their daily activities, most things have become more and more expensive. It is no longer a case of tightening belts. It is now about survival.. This is especially true for those with young children.Many of the young parents with young children are finding it hard to make ends meet. A tin of infant formulae now is more than RM100. And that is considered essential item for a growing infant. A family income of 4000 is no longer enough to live in the cities.

This is no longer about not being able to afford a house. There is now despair that soon, many of them who are renting houses will not be able to afford to have a roof over their heads; they may not have enough to pay for the rentals.  Many of them who work and who used to eating lunch outside is now eating bread and water for their lunch.

They are feeling helpless because they see no light at the end of the tunnel. Even when most of them voted for change, there is no change for the better; there are changes but all these changes make things more and more expensive and there is now less and less money in the pockets.

They are feeling hopeless because apparently these changes are just the beginning. When GSt is implemented next year, things will become worse.

They see ministers and top civil servants travel and move in luxury while they have to cut back on everything.  But they cannot hope for any changes in the short terms since another GE will be 4 years away.

They look at opposition run states and there is not much to shout about too. So even if next election comes and they vote for change, will change be around? They have lost hope. A opposition CM has just bought a new Merz. What difference is he from other politicians? In another state, internal politics are so intense and there might be a change in MB..

Is there any solution to this? Sorry, I don’t not actually see any. Not with the current batch of ‘managers’. There is no more leadership around. The so-called leaders up there  have really lost touch with the common people and the needs of the rakyat.

My advice is only this: Live from day to day!

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UP

up(Inflation is like inflated balloons. What will happened if the balloons burst…)

Came back recently from a trip to US, where I spent quite a long holiday there, visiting afew cities during my stay.

After coming back, I went to my favourite coffee shop in Paramount Garden for breakfast last Sunday. Wow, a plate of fried kway Teow has gone up 10% from RM 5 to RM5.50.

Went to one of my favourite cafe and a plate of nasi lemak has gone up a few dollars. Nasi Bojadi is now over 20 ringgits. WithRM 50, you can now buy so little even in  a hypermarket!!

what has happened?

Reading the newspapers, it seems like traders and hawkers are to be faulted since there are so many photos of enforcement officers visiting markets and checking on prices. Is it really due to profiteering by all these small traders?

Prices have generally gone up. I do not have any business but by running a clinic, I too know how much medicine costs have gone up. Paracetamol , the cheapest of all drugs, is now more than 3 times more costly than just 5 years ago. Running nose medication , especially those with vaso-constrictor drug pseudoephedrine, has gone up 8 times. The latter is because of an artificial shortage caused by the Ministry restricting the import. The reason given is there are people using pseudoephedrine to make other more sinister drugs that are commonly used by patrons of night clubs and so on.

Tranquilizers have gone up more than 10 times, and are unavailable most of the time. Again because of certain restriction by government authority to reduce its import. But there are many patients with psychosomatic symptoms that require such medication to tie than over. So these genuine patients have to folk out ten times more than the usual price to get their medication.

The last few years also see a general hike in all the drugs, be it generic or originals, but not to the extent of the drugs mentioned above. Instead of causing an artificial shortages, the government should target those who manufacture sinister drugs and those who misuse it in the night clubs and so on, instead of making the genuine patients pay for the huge increase.

Then, outside the medical fields, almost everything has gone up in prices. This is not so much due to profiteering , but due to increase in overhead.

After the 505 GE, price of petrol has gone up. This translate to an increase in transportation cost.

Electricity tariff has gone up.

Property prices and thus renta rate has gone up. Assessment in KL has gone up and this translate again to an increase in rental. Those with foreign workers have to pay RM110 more because of the i-kad. The weakening Ringgit has also caused imported goods to be more expensive.

All these resulted in an increase cost n doing business. Not so much profiteering.

So instead of asking enforcement to go down to markets to check prices, government  leaders should ask themselves, what have they done ?

Malaysia is a rich country. Why are we having deficits years after years? Why do we need such a big civil service workforce? Why do we need so many ministers? why the need to have lavish  functions whenever a minister needs to hold a meeting or so on?

Why are there so rampant corruptions and wastage? Just look at the Auditor-General’s annual reports.

If all these can be tackled, do we need to spend so much on subsidies?

All the photos of officers checking on prices are more for political reasons and rural consumption. BUt if the leaders really care, they should postpone GST, cut down on wastage, and lower electricity and toll charges.

Reducing subsidies do not really need to raise tariff or taxes. It can be done by more prudent spending and more belt tightening by the government.

Cousumer ‘Kangkung’ Index

Prime Ministers and presidents are wise people.

If they are not, they would not have survived and excelled  in the world of politics  that is more savage than the most primitive jungle. To rise to their positions, they must have endured obstacles and booby traps of all kinds. That of course requires utmost cleverness and wisdom.

As wise men, what they say and do are often wise words and deeds that we ordinary souls should just listen and follow.

So when our Prime Minister recently mentioned about the prices of kangkung going down, he should not be criticised.

Maybe what he meant is that the prices of kangkung can be used as a replacement for CPI.

So many ordinary folks have criticised that CPI is not really a good reflector of inflation. People laugh when told that CPI is only 2% or so. They laugh because the price of their roti canai or Wantan Mee have gone up faster than what the CPI depicts. So maybe CPI is not such a good indicator and should be replaced by a more accurate measure..

Maybe we should use the price of kangkung as a measure of the inflation rate. Call it Consumer Kangkung Index, CKI. Just like globally, people are using Big Mac as a comparison of living costs of different regions.

The price of kangkung is determined by many factors. You have to factor in the rentals of the vegetables sellers, the wholesalers and the farmers. You have to factor in the  transportation costs which are influenced by the petrol and toll prices. You have to factor in the fertiliser cost which requires electricity in their production.

On top of that,  most premises and machinery require water and electricity to run.  You have to factor in the minimal wages, because the farmers, the wholesales and even the vegetables sellers employ people to help run their businesses. Most probably they are foreign workers , since we Malaysians are said to be not keen to take up these jobs.

So, you see, the price of kangkung depends on so many factors, it is indeed a good measure of the inflation rate.

And prices of kangkung are said to have dropped. This coming from a wise person and this is indeed wise word.

This despite the increase in electricity tariffs, the increase in petrol prices, the increase in tolls charges, the increase in rentals caused by a sharp rise in property prices, not to mention the RM 110 per head of foreign workers for i-kad.

So it is indeed good news that despite the increase of so many factors that influence cost of livings, the price of kangkung has dropped.

Our government policy must be right. We ordinary folks may not know how, but the wise men up there , they must have a way to tackle inflation that we dont know. Perhaps it is due to the effects of BR1M.

We should not question the wise words of our leaders. We should just accept it that kangkung price has dropped and that shows that there is really no inflation.

The only thing that puzzles most of us  is that  despite the low kangkung price, we have no more money in our pocket to buy it for dinner!

Maybe we should listen to the wise words of Marie Antoinette, if we don’t have bread to eat, why not eat cakes?