Sunday, July 26, 2009

The perils of an 'usahawan’

One advertisement, government sponsored, says, ‘kita bukan along, kita mahu tolong’ or more or less to that effect. I’d take that with more than a pinch a salt. In fact I would take it with a sack of salt, ‘se karung’ for effect.

I have been an usahawan for more than twenty years now. Still, in the so many years I am not without the nagging feeling that my life is being made miserable by the so many agencies and institutions that rules our so called usahawan life. EPF, SOCSO, Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri, Kastam, SSM (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia) among the many. Now they are all so trigger happy to compound and to sue. Certainly our courts are so free, so it seems. Or is it in their KPI – I must compound not less that 20 companies within a month or else I and my boss the ‘pengarah’ will not ‘naik pangkat.’

EPF and now SOCSO will now sue for delay in contributing. Even after you have paid albeit late and paid penalties for the late payment. They don’t care if you can’t pay your staff salary, they don’t care if their salary was paid late because you have no or not enough money, to them come hell or high water, EPF must be paid. And hell and high water awaits those who delay, what more those who fail.

SOCSO now threaten to sue you for your staff not reporting an accident or death. And sue you the same if the report is made late. ‘Buat salah, tak buat pun salah.’ SSM so happy and proud to impose a two thousands ringgit fine and then threat you with court action for not filing your return.

Then there is the income tax, scouring for mistakes in your tax return some five to seven years earlier. And how can you win when they say your business expenses was not business expenses. It is always our words against theirs and theirs are always to only one right.

The list seems almost endless.

So what are we to them ‘pegawai-pegawai kerajaan?

Are we usahawan all liars and cheaters? Is that how they see us? Definitely that’s how they treat us.

Maybe the first rule to being an usahawan is to be a perfect human being, a ‘maqsum’ who committed no mistakes, one who is well versed and obedient in all aspects of laws and regulations. And given the current rate of laws and regulations change in this country, you end up studying statute books and little time to be an usahawan.

Sadly, we all [at least most of us] became usahawan first and learnt the rope and the whips as we journey such perilous journey.

Sometimes, and many times you look at people like politicians and project brokers and the new breed of ‘sumbangan amal’ solicitors selling tables, zooming around in brand new mercs and beemers, building multi million dollar house in cash, knowing they never pay taxes, knowing they have no business or office or employees to look after. You knowing that EPF, SOCSO, even SPRM never bothers them, you wonder why did you became in the first place an usahawan.

Wonder, if I am the only one.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Death and PPSMI remembered.

This is not really a new news. On 8th July 2009, the government had finally decided to kill off PPSMI or Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Slowly really. The euthanasia taking effect in 2012.– a policy perhaps so well thought (at least by one person) supported by the sycophant and the well meaning but so badly implemented is finally on the way to its rest. Of course with the sycophant again clamoring loud – it’s a good decision.

Well and good I thought until my 10 year old son said, ‘Bakpe pulok?’ He’s been scoring well in Mathematic and Science and the thought of it to be taught in Bahasa Melayu confuse him. My son is right I guess. We the parent had been fiddling with their lives. Maybe a little too much.

So now, to bring knowledge to the rakyat we can perhaps go back to translating. I got my contract translation hanging for years half done. Time to dust the cover, again. I think.

Now, to digress a little.

This is one story about death, translated from Jeffrey Archer’s To Cut A Long Story Short. Archer admitted that it was not his original because story has been told since long ago in the Sufi traditions. I heard them too long before I found the book. and I think it is an interesting story to share.

So here’s my take on the story.

Pada zaman dahulu, di Kota Baghdad, seorang saudagar telah mengarahkan khadamnya pergi ke pasar. Tidak berapa lama kemudian khadam itu pulang dengan wajah yang pucat dan dibasahi peluh.

‘Kenapa?’ Tanya sang Saudagar yang kehairanan.

Si Khadam tidak menjawab. Sebaliknya dengan nafas yang tercungap-cungap dia berkata, ‘berikan kuda tuan hamba kepada hamba. Hamba mahu lari ke Kota Bukhara.’

‘Baiklah kata Sang Saudagar. Tapi jelaskan dulu kenapa tuan hamba tergesa-gesa.’

‘Hamba terserempak dengan Maut tadi. Dia terperanjat melihat hamba. Hamba masih muda. Hamba ingin lari ke Kota Bukhara supaya dia tidak dapat mencari hamba.’

Sebaik diberikan kuda, Si Khadam terus dengan pantas memacu kuda ke Kota Bukhara.

Si Saudagar langsung ke pasar. Ditengah-tengah orang ramai Saudagar berjumpa dengan Maut lalu menegurnya. ‘Wahai Maut!, apakah benar kamu mencari Si Khadam? Kurang moleklah kamu menyergah dia ditengah orang ramai disini.’

‘Maafkan hamba,’ jawab Maut. ‘Hamba tidak berniat mengejutkan Si Khadam. Hamba pun sebenarnya terkejut bertemu dia di sini.’

‘Kenapa begitu? Tanya Saudagar.

‘Sebab hamba patutnya bertemu dia di Kota Bukhara esok.’