Part III – of a continuing series
By Faiz Al-Shahab
I remembered my childhood days living in England, where my family were the very few coloured existence in the suburb of Salford city. From time to time, we make our way to the city of Manchester to meet up with the Malaysian community, the only chance we get to eat satay and laksa at the time. For those who never experienced living abroad in the 80’s and 90’s, Malaysian community overseas especially the students and post-grad students live modestly. They buy cheap old cars, and rent cheap homes, contrasting to their lifestyle back in Malaysia.
Evidently it is due to the exchange rate that gives Malaysian studying community overseas a smaller buying power, but it is also due to the fact that everybody’s goal was to save money and buy bone china, mini-compo, wallpaper, a car or two, and Western brand accessories, all to be fitted into a shipping container heading back to Malaysia at the end of the stay. In the meantime, standard of living abroad suffers, but it was never an issue because status and style did not come into equation amongst Malaysian community abroad, accept for the ones in London.
Bear in mind, these people in that community later on in life sat in high positions in government and corporate offices of Malaysia. Many became Secretary General and Director General of Ministries, deputies, CEO’s and MD’s of corporations, Directors, you name it.
It demonstrates that downgrading on lifestyle is perfectly fine, and we can benefit from it. Nonetheless, once in Malaysia all that is put aside.
Today unfortunately, the heated topic still revolves around the dire straits situation of our economy. The bad news is, we have yet to go through the worse of it.
Nonetheless going through bad times can open up to new opportunities and provide us reasons for changes.
We at e-Sentral urge our society and organisations be it government or corporate to take austerity measures in printing medium, to reduce expenditures. If we cannot make big changes, do the small things that we can first. Slowly slowly catche monkey. By making our annual publications such as annual reports, news bulletins, manuals, informative books, boss’ biographies, and company’s audit in digital book form, entities can save huge amount of yearly expenses. Many have joined the band wagon and made savings.
Of course, this comes with having to change our mind set and the way we do things too.
Running a tight ship is not for everyone, but we have to be smarter and increase our value and dignity.
This is the best time to reflect at how we can improve in doing things we have not changed in many years.
For local Universities par example, the press and publishing houses should publish more textbooks and academic materials for own consumption rather than using far more expensive foreign publications. If our lecturers and professors deem that local materials are not good enough, then there is no point to have university press and publishing houses in the first place. The local lecturers in a way are saying that their own writing is not good enough for our students. Moving ahead, there will be no room for this kind of mentality.
Tighten your seat belts. strong waves ahead! Prediction for the near future will not be so forgiving either, with fuel price forecast to go up, it will only set the left overs suits and ties of the oil and gas club back to its arrogant mode, but for other industries, austerity is still very real. So lets take the opportunity to be smart about things, and make effective spending.
Other articles by the Author:
Malaysia: The Inferior Nation Series
Artikel Bahasa Melayu