Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Defective Supremacy

I have on my table a letter from somebody from the government, telling me that the minister of a particular department have viewed a tender document (for a project in my place of work) and therefore, we are to give this tenderer the "best consideration" (in bold).

The irony of it was, when the letter was passed to me by my secretary, I was reading an article by Karim Raslan in today's The Star entitled "Difficult to take crutches away". Karim was making comparisons between the welfare state in England and the Malay privileges in our beloved country. Yes, there exists a welfare state in England, where the students and the unemployed get subsidies. The only difference between them and us is that, the subsidies are for all races, while we confine it to Bumiputras.

Karim, in his closing, urges us to change... or die.

This letter epitomises the inability for the Malays to compete. The company sadly needed the support from the government to ensure that it is successful in its bid, regardless of its (lack of) competencies. And, even sadder, someone in the government saw it appropriate to dispatch such a letter, which I, in my personal opinion, is a threat of some sort, not unlike a message sent by a mafioso asking for a "favor".

Although, the people that my company serve are government servants, we are an entity separate from the government. In fact, the project we are initiating has nothing to do with the government, as we are merely upgrading our work processes to better serve our customers. So, what was the motive of the tenderer behind their act of sending a copy of the tender document to the minister? That very act in itself is a violation of confidentiality, which means automatic disqualification.

Worst, this letter is dated after the board have made the decision to shortlist the number of tenderers to the top three based on their competencies and price, i.e. based on merit. This particular tenderer was eliminated since they did not meet these two basic criteria.

This is what becomes of the Malays. After over a half century of independence, we are still leaning heavily on our mental crutches.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A weekend to forget and remember

If anybody out there ever try to book a room in a hotel in Ayer Keroh, Melaka, and the guy say that they have no vacancies but there is a vacancy in Lake Garden Resort, do not accept. We were at the lake Garden Resort and it was really a good place to stay if you like staying in a horror movie set. The corridors that led to our room were paved with stained carpets that I could have sworn that the stain patterns change each time I look at them. The room we got had a nice view of a wall with peeling paint. It looked so depressing that we closed the sliding doors and then realised that there are no other openings to the outside world that we have no idea what time of day it is if we did not have a watch.

The bathroom was gloomy and the sink was leaky. I do not know when the last time anybody used the bathtub. I dread the thought that we will have to step into the heavily stained bathtub to shower. The floor of the bathroom is of the same level as the rest of the room and the water leaking from the sink soon start to snake its way out of the bathroom.... wasn't that in Ju On or The Ring?

The last straw was when my wife took the "fresh" towel neatly folded on the bed, and found that it is full of brownish spots all over it.

We repacked our bags and left, and lost RM100 deposit. They offered to give us another room.... but, we already scared out of our wits... We cannot imagine staying in the room at night....

We found another accommodation just a few hundred meters from the Lake Garden Resort, called D'Village Resort. It wasn't great, but after our horrific experience... it was heaven.

The next day, we went to Serkam for an engagement ceremony. The boys and I got bored and we left for Muar. I thought of going to Kak Besah's house to maybe take a nap, but she wasn't home. So, we end up spending time touring Muar. After, lunch at Pizza Hut, I took the boys to the Mosque. The majestic Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim, Muar, brought back many sweet memories. I remember the times when I will always drop by to pray almost everyday on my way home from school. The times when I "lepak" with my friends by the river behind the mosque, and once even caught shrimps there. I drove around a bit more, looking at the changes that Muar have gone through. Trying to find familiar places, and maybe bump into familiar faces. Unfortunately, the familiar places looked run down and some have even totally disappeared. And, I found no familiar faces any where.

I went through Jalan Ibrahim, to have a look at my first love's house, but where the house once stood, there was nothing there but the cement stairs that I once climbed up to visit her on Hari Raya some three decades ago. I wonder where she is now...

After that, I drove back to Serkam.... back to the present....

It was a lovely weekend after all....