04 March 2006

How Now Brown Cow? Petrol Up Salary How?

Government can't take the burden of rising oil prices. Subsidy too expensive to pay. Pass it on to us - 30 sen increase in petrol prices - overnight - without dialogue, preparation nor consultation.

Transport operators can't take the burden of rising fuel prices. Fares don't cover expenses that have been rising all these while. Pass it on to us - increase in transportation charges on goods, possibly even public transportation fares. Again overnight.

Retailers and grocers can't take the burden of rising transportation costs. No way their current price structure will make up for the increases. Pass it on to us - increase price of goods. Vegetable. Meat. Poultry. Whatever. Why of course, now.

Food vendors and sellers can't take the burden of rising fuel and goods costs. Prices no longer give them enough margin. Surely your plate of nasi lemak and my bowl of wantan noodle can't stay at the same price, can it? Pass it on to us - increase the price of our food. Today. Without any delay.

So, where does that leave me? I earn income from work. I can't take the burden of rising fuel costs, transportation charges, goods costs and food expenses. My salary no longer supports me. Surely I need salary increase of a similar quantum, don't I? But I can't just bill my boss extra. I can't demand my boss to pay me more.

I can't tell my boss the prices of everything is up and ask for a raise. In fact, I'll be lucky if my company still makes profit and I get some bonus come the end of the year.

I can't ask the government to tax me less because I have less money to spend. In fact, I'm hoping the tax rates would stay as they are when the next budget is announced.

I can't tell my bank I need to take more time to pay off my house because everything has gotten more expensive. In fact, I'm hoping the interest rate will stabilize - it's been on the up, if you haven't notice - need to fight inflationary pressure.

How now brown cow? I feel like a petrol price was always inevitable, but .... this much??

How much would 4.4 billion be worth anyways? How much non-toll infrastructure would I get? Already the SMART tunnel looks like having toll gates constructed. Halal chicken processing plant already costs 200 million bucks. How many new or even upgraded roads have you travelled on lately that doesn't collect money from you? Even parking on road side costs money.

How many more buses can we choke onto the not-wide-enough streets? How many more aging Iswaras are we sending onto the streets as taxis? How many more flyovers do we build to transfer the traffic congestion to the next juntion? Is there a blue print? How come I don't know where our light transit systems (trains) will go next? I know exactly where the Bangkok transit system will be 10 years from now. I know where exactly the new Circle Line trains in Singapore will open in the years ahead. At least there's a plan for those. If there's a plan for our transit system, most of us probably don't know about it.

Does anyone actually know what is the so-called 'Public transportation' blueprint? Why no mention of Public Transportation improvement before the price increase? No dialogues, no campaigns, no TV interviews, no press coverage. Nada. Nothing. Zip. All was well. Why the overnight emphasis on public transportation and lifestyle changes?

I'm under no impression that the 4.4 billion bucks we save will make any real difference. Saving 4.4 billion can come from so many other places.

Let's cut those overseas "Lawatan sambil belajar" trip to learn about another country's toilets or whatever. Let's cut all those villas for councillors. Let's cut all the production money that goes into making those corny patriotic songs.

Maybe we don't even have to cut. Maybe we just have to make the ringgit work harder for us. If we are asked to make adjustments to our lifestyles, we the rakyat, maybe the powers to be can make adjustments too. Do we really need bridges over man-made lakes?

OK. Now I've ranted. Let's stay grounded. Let's face it - oil prices will only go up. It won't come down. Ever. It's a non-renewable resource. Someday all the oil will be no more. Maybe we won't have to worry about petrol prices then.

Until then, we'd best adjust. Don't even think for a moment there'll be any reduction of oil prices. It'll be marginal at best, unless we discover that oil exists under every inch of land on earth. Then hope may yet exist. But don't hold your breath.

I've grumbled, but all I can do is adjust. I'll buy new clothes less frequently. I'll eat out less. I'll watch 2 movies less each month. I'm cancelling my fitness club membership - I'll wake up earlier to jog instead. I'll watch less TV, and buy second books instead. No more sodas, more plain water.

But I still hope my boss will adjust my salary to at least soften the blow. I have a car, a house, 2 TVs, 1 fridge and 2 laptops to feed, boss. Very high maintenance, boss.


pelf said...

WOW MOZ! This is one of the best posts ever! :)

moz monster said...

pelf: just stating the obvious ... *sigh* ... no budget for raisins this week =(