Friday, December 27, 2013

One -handed Man

we are so used to doing work with both hands that left with one hand, you can hardly do anything. Losing both hands would of course make you a cripple, especially if the loss was permanent. Yet we see people with no hand being able to cope with life magnificently or courageously. However losing the use of one hand temporarily can be an interesting experience and can teach you many wonderful things.
I injured my left hand while working in my one-acre orchard or "kebun" about a month ago. It happened while trying to get my heavy lawn-mower into the truck using two pieces of planks as a sloping platform to pull the contraption up. While pulling it up it slipped and fell off. I stopped it and lifted the mower up onto the truck with both hands. No sweat. But a day later my left wrist began to swell like a cake in the oven and it hurt like hell. I nursed it for a few days applying traditional massage. It got worse and I finally went to see the doc.

A wrist bone was fractured as the X-ray film showed. Since it was not broken and only fractured only a strap was applied but my left hand became entirely useless for even picking up a cup or glass brought a spasm of pain running up my entire left arm.From thence on I became a one-handed man.

Wow. Can't even put on or take off my pants or sarong without help.Can't button my shirt or open a door with my left hand when the right one is carrying something else. Praying became an ordeal since you have to move your left arm up and down and help to hold your weight when bowing low on the floor (sujud). God. You can't even clean your bottom with the left hand or hold the spray pipe so that you can do the work with your right hand. Any slight movement of the left hand or the fingers on it would give you a shot of pain that cause your eyes to water although you weren't crying. Playing with the grandchildren or even fooling around with the wife because a great hazard. A slap on the left hand would make you cry with pain.

Hey, you suddenly become a VIP with your wife, kids, relatives and friends giving a ready hand in whatever you do. I have to sit in the back seat of the car with a toddler when travelling around as the wife or the toddler's mother does the driving. Can't use the folk and spoon when eating and you get help in getting whatever you want into your plate. You can't chat on th phone or iPad while laying in bed nor read a book which you've to hold up. God, there were so many things you couldn't do.

So, I know fully well now why God gave you two hands. Try living for a day with only one hand and see if you can manage to survive, less so enjoy it. Many things are happening in Malaysia, may beloved country, that caused a lot of concern and unhappiness. Prices of consumer goods are just shooting up like crazy in spite of the so-called price control, and so are the charges or rates for services and rentals. Prices for houses and land are putting the lower middle-income group out of competition for ownership and giving the rich an open field for expanding their estates. The increase in prices far exceeds the rise in salary for the common workers and public servants although private sector Chairmen,Directos etc and politicians holding public posts in government are getting huge pay jokes. Tenaga Nasional employees are to get a five-months' bonus this year while electricity tariff will increase next year by about 14%.

More disturbing, fishes, crabs and shells are getting out of the sea and coming onto the shores in Sabah, Terengganu and elsewhere. Why is this happening? What disaster lies ahead? Let's pray that Malaysia will remain a peaceful and progressive country with the leadership caring more for the common denominator of the population rather than promoting the greed and ambition of the rich and powerful. Wealth would mean nothing if the country ends up in protests and chaos as a result of the chase for a developed and high-income status.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Picking up the pieces

After about two months of absence from yhe country, doing pilgrimage to Mecca and recovering from jetlag and spiritual readjustments (readjusting from a life of prayers and supplication to Allah then crashing back into the material world is not quite easy), I find myself rather disoriented. There were too many things that didn't maku much sense to me.

The first thing that baffled me was to see a notice from Citihall addressed to a relative imposing on him aa assessment tax of RM131,200 a year for an acre of undeveloped agricultural land in Sungai Pencala. I understand tha the value of land in that area has been reevaluated, the status othe land having been changed from agricultural to industrial. The previous year he had to pay about RM400. The new charges almost gave him a heart attack, and indeed he had to undergo an operation for a minor heart attack later. A evaluation or cess tax of RM131,200 f year for an acre of lang isjust ludicrous to. There must be a mistake somewhere in the caculation although Citihall blendly talked of a 300% raise in the tax. Even a tax of RM12k or RM13k would force the old man to sell the land...

On reading the papers I saw that the new rate imposed by Citihall has shocked people in many areas in Kuala Lumpur including Jinjang and Kepong. A 300% raise in evaluation tax is certainly somethi g never heard in the history of thiscountry.

Then I heard the overall cry of anguish. "The price of almost everything has gone up by leaps and bound, especially that of petrol. Electric and water charges will also go up and so will the toll rates. The only thing that comes down in this country is rain...rain and more rain causing the worst flooding in Pahang and Trengganu." Then there was the announcement about the raise in the allowances of Prime/Chief Minister, Ministers and parliamenterians in xpite of the millions needed to help the flood victims.

We hear also that lands for new indusrrial and commercial purposes are being sold to foregner in the new development corridors, at fantastic prices. It follows tha the coomercial buildings and shophouses (including residential homes) will be built an sold at fantastic pricess, far beyond the financial capacity of the non-superrich Malaysians to buy. Yes, there are rich Malaysians too but very few Bumis. Even now the luxury homes in commercial areas are not affordable to the Bumi middle claas. So, how is the economic status of the Bumis going to be improved vis-a-vis the incresing strength of the non-Bumis?

The country is making haste to become a developed nation by 2020. The Per Capita is supposed to shoot up to RM15,000 or more. The income of workers are to be raised. But what we see is prices of consumer good going up faster than the rise in the personal income of workers. So is the charges fo public services now taken over by the private sector and the taxes or avaluation rates.

Is the standard of living and level of comfort in life really improving? Are the citizens getting more for the rinngit they earn or there's just more ringgit but of less value? We can only ask questions. Ghe leAders must provide honest answers and not reply to the hard questions in equivocal platitudes as we often here in parliament.