Dec 26, 2009

Dec 16, 2009

Your money or your life

Sometimes life can be very funny. It is just like magic: Now you see it, now you don’t. The untimely deaths of Yasmin Ahmad and Michael Jackosn are just two examples of how fragile life can be. Like sometimes, while browsing your morning paper, you would have come across an obituary of a friend whom you have just met a few days ago.

Our lives are not born-out to be perfect. As we grow up, there are a host of challenges and obstacles for us to clear before we can retire in peace: education, employment, children up-bringing and family. However, there are greater challenges that lie ahead: the social and health challenges.

The social challenge here refers to the social elements that can influence the behavior of our children. As parents, we are certainly very concern about how our children grow-up and to prevent them from mixing with the wrong kind of people and indulging in vices. Such a challenge is within our control. It is the health challenge we are facing that is scary.

Our lives are bombarded and ravaged with so many diseases that when we managed to overcome one, the next one awaits us. Just let me name some of these diseases so that you can realize why good health is so important: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and a host of other major organ diseases.

Of all the diseases, cancer is the most fearful to the extent it simply spells death to the person it strikes. The treatment cost for cancer which can be in the region of a few hundreds to tens of thousands or more a month and which do not guarantee a cure, is simply way out of the reach of ordinary working people. And for those who might have some savings, it will be a predicament: to spend on treatment or to save for raining days.

I must emphasize that it is not only the cost of treatment in cancer that is expensive as there are many other diseases that are equally beyond the reach of many, like hypertension and diabetes whereby the treatment is for life. With each discovery of a new drug that has numerous claims of better efficacy and cure rate, the price marketed by the multinational drug company is simply way above the reach of many. As if the cost of medication is not enough to ‘kill’ you, then together with the cost of hospitalization and the doctor’s fees, your ‘death’ is guaranteed.

Now, while you are still able to, it is extremely important that you pay a lot of attention to your health and well-being. Let us not wait for disease to strike us and when it does, treatment will be too late.

If we are to talk about fairness, then death is the fairest of all. Regardless of who you are, from being a King to a beggar, both must die.

This article is in memory of my late brother James Liew, who was either too stubborn or just not able to look after himself.

Dec 8, 2009

Where people dare

The property boom in the country during the last few decades has seen a surge in the development of many houses, shops and complexes.

If you were to take a drive to the many housing estates or to the shopping complexes, you will notice a distinctive feature of the many shops: majority is operated by the Chinese. Even during the current economic slowdown, many are still bold enough to venture into various types of businesses. Whenever and wherever there are opportunities, they will set-up their businesses like a swarm of bees that are attracted by honey.

In my housing estate, where there are so many restaurants that if I were to take my family for dinner by choosing one per week, it would take me a year to patronize all of them. I have noticed that not all of these restaurants are doing well, let alone to survive in this competitive market. In fact, it just amazes me that when one closes down, someone will take over, either to continue operate as a restaurant or to convert to other type of business. I have also noticed that there are more and more boutiques emerging which in future will change the area into a fashion street. There is also a posh snooker center whose capital outlay, I presume could be more than half a million. Just like the snooker center, some of the boutiques and restaurants are equally posh looking. I am just wondering how long it will take to earn back their capital outlay, not forgetting the profits.
I am sure such scenario is very similar throughout the country.
Why it is that the Chinese are bold enough to venture into business despite the many handicaps, while others are complaining of lack of opportunities? Even when opportunities are given on a platter, there are still so many failures? And with these failures, come the blame game.

Let us visualize what it will be like if there are no investments by these businessmen: many shops in the housing estates, shopping complexes and in the towns will be emptied and devoid of ‘life’. The whole place will be plunged into a dark and lifeless area like a ghost town without the vibrancy of human activities. And not forgetting the lost in the many jobs opportunities. With no jobs to feed the families, what will they do? To become small time thieves or big time robbers?
Oh yes, and the loss in taxes: income tax, licensing tax, signboard tax, the 5% Govt. Tax and a plethora of other taxes.

There are basically three attributes to be successful in business: be daring, be first and be perseverance. These attributes do not belong to one race. They belong to all. I am not here to glorify one race, for glory like the three attributes belongs to all. It is how one seeks glory through the use of good attributes that makes the difference.

Dec 3, 2009

Wake-up, please

I believe many of us must be extremely frustrated and disillusioned with the current happenings in the country. But then no matter what happens, maybe through the interference of God or maybe through the stupidity of the people who seemed still in slumber land that BN has been ruling the country since independence.

If these articles are not able to wake you up, then by all means, suffer at you own perils: read here and here and here.

Like Najib, who has Bugis blood, I have the Chinese blood. And like Najib who is born in Malaysia, so am I. And so are all the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, Ibans and the Dayaks. And we call this rich potpourri of races: Malaysians. As Malaysians, I do believe we still love this country and will most probably die here. As long as we want change for the better, I see some hope in this country, despite the fact that thousands have already emigrated.
By now, you must have woke-up.
So, what are you going to do to change this country for the betterment of all?