Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quality goods for the rich, cheap ones for the rakyat?

***************** In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ***************** Reflection ******************** "Do not spy one another, nor let any of you backbite others..." (Hujurat 49: 12) ************************ AS a 'pensioner' who has to cut on cost of living, I have opted cycling for short journeys such as going to the 'masjid' especially for 'subuh' (dawn) prayers when the air is cool and to buy grocery items and newspapers at shops in the neighborhood. ************************* After cycling for a few months, I realize one shortcoming using the bicycle; its tubes inside the wheels can easily deflate or puncture. *************************** When cycling on roadsides, the bicycle wheels are prone to hit sharp objects and broken glass usually located there. ************************* When luck is with me, a tube may last a month or more but there are times when I need to change the tubes every now and then. Once I had to change the tubes two times in a day - one in the morning and one in the late afternoon after the tube concerned punctured! ************************* I asked the Chinese 'towkay' who runs the bicycle repair shop why these tubes easily get punctured. ***************************** He answered; "Well business is like that. If the tubes punctured often; then our shop would be receiving many customers. If the tubes last long, then business would be difficult for us. *************************** "If 'lu' (you) want tubes that are hard to puncture, then buy the expensive ones. The ones that are often sold are 'koman' (of low quality) made in Malaysia at only RM7. The expensive one is at RM10 each; you want which one?" **************************** Since the 'towkay' was also trading motorcycles, I asked him about motorcycles tubes. He said the 'Made in Malaysia' one is RM8 each while the imported one would be RM15 each. He claimed that the imported ones from Thailand was of high quality; it was thick compared to the local product which was very thin. ****************************** "If you want tubes that are difficult to puncture, then buy the imported ones. You just add a few more ringgits, I 'guarenteed' you could used the tubes for a long period of time," suggested the shop owner. ***************************** "So you want which one? The RM7 one or RM10? Don't think too long. You better take the imported one. This time 'lu' (you) are lucky. Next month the price of this item would surely rise!" **************************** Talking about local and imported products; a friend who is an 'old timer' have this to say: "Products from this part of the world including our country are of 'low quality' - they were not at par with those from 'mat salih' (Western countries) such as England. For example bicycles with 'R' (Raleigh) trademark are 'robust', they could be used for years. It's steel still looked shinny even after 10 years. **************************** "But local produced bicycles or from countries in this region, their steel parts get rusty after a few years or even months usage. After being used a year or two, the bicycles broke down and were left to rust at trunks of trees including near the chicken scoop. **************************** The question is could we produce high quality products and most importantly at cheap prices? *************************** A friend quipped: "You want a 'high quality' product yet at a cheap price, then you produce it yourself-lah." *************************** Talking about 'cheap products' during the Eid Adha celebration I found out that there is no such item because prices of almost all necessities have soared to a very high level that sent shivers to ordinary housewives and part-time 'house-husbands' like me! ***************************** As buying pf fresh items such as fish and vegetables lays on my shoulder, I know the prices of those necessities are too expensive and keep on soaring. I found out that the most expensive product nowadays is 'udang' (prawns) which soared to RM30 per kilogram! Perhaps at this price, 'udang' is almost beyond the reach of the ordinary 'rakyat'. ******************************* Nowadays local 'daging lembu' (meat) is RM20 and above a kilogram, chicken is about RM9 a kilogram and even the humble 'ikan cencaru' which is labeled as the poor man's food is about RM12 per kilogram, For the rich man's diet such as 'ikan parang' and 'tenggiri', the prices would soar to around RM25-RM30 a kilogram. It is almost out of reach for the ordinary rakyat. ****************************** So expensive food is exclusively for the rich while poor food is exclusively for the poor? If this is the case, in which direction is actually our country heading? **************************** Perhaps with a daily budget of RM10 (an allocation of RM300 a month for wet items such as fish and vegetables), a housewife would face difficulties in running her kitchen. ******************************* The irony of it is when the people are suffering with this 'barang naik' (price raising) syndrome; some leaders keep on telling the people to spend on necessary items only and "please do it' at Kedai 1-Malaysia which offers goods at a very low price. **************************** I have never gone to any of these 'kedais' but I do hope they would offer quality goods at cheap prices. ********************************** I too hope that our leaders would go to these 'kedais' to do their shopping; so please cancel your wives planned extravaganza trips to Dubai, London and Paris. Perhaps items sold here including bags are at par with those sold in the three cities! ******************************** The truth is that fake Birkin handbags sold here are cheap but of low quality compared to the original one; so is the fake one specially made and designed for the 'rakyat' while the original one is only for the rich, famous and powerful few?

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