Saturday, April 11, 2015

APRIL 08 2015

That time of the year has come again. April 08. A date that will never be erased from my memory. It's been 10 years now and at times, it seems as if time flies without my ever noticing it. My Abah left us when I least expected it. I knew he was getting on in his years but it never crossed my mind that he would go so quickly. I guess nobody will ever be ready enough to face anything so life-changing like that. Since his passing, I have become more mellow and I am grateful for all the positive changes in me. This morning, I went to the graveyard and to my shock and horror, the rubber tree that once stood tall at the head of my late father's grave was uprooted. Luckily, no serious damage was done to the grave and miraculously, the tree trunk had missed the headstone by one and a half foot or so. I was stunned but there was nothing that I could do except remove the dry leaves which were scattered all over the place. There will be a 'gotong-royong' tomorrow morning to clean the graveyard and I will make it a point to be there to help. There is not a single day that passes that I don't think about him but I know I should have visited his grave more often. Next week, there will also be a 'Yaasin recital' and prayers that I have planned for him, one of my colleagues who passed away about a month ago and the late parents and spouses of my colleagues. I hope everything will go smoothly as planned and our prayers for the dearly departed souls are accepted by Allah. Abah, I am still missing you and I know nothing can ever fill this emptiness. May your soul be blessed. Al Fatihah.   

My Abah's grave.

The uprooted rubber tree.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


The implementation of Goods and Services Tax officially started yesterday, April 1 2015. I am yet to do any shopping so I am not sure if there is any obvious price hike or not although a few of my facebook friends have been posting on their walls about the unscrupulous acts of certain businesses who have been taking advantage of the newly-executed GST. I will not write about what others say since I do not want to spread anything that might not even be true. I will only start bitching if what is happening is totally different than what has been said. From what I know, not all businesses have to register with the Customs Department. If they want to impose the 6% GST, they will also need to have (and prove) an identification number which consumers can refer to. It is indeed ridiculous and unscrupulous for any traders (both big and small) to impose any tax when they are not registered with the Customs Department (some of them don't even have a licence to begin with). I was surfing the Internet yesterday looking for more information on GST when I came across a GST website. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore provides a website where consumers can check if a business is GST-registered or not. In this age of ICT when any information is just a click or a touch away, a website which enables consumers to check the identity of a business is undeniably necessary. Consumers can check if a business is GST-registered by keying in the name of the company or even the identification number provided by the authorities. In my opinion, consumers have to be more aware of their rights so as not to be exploited by unethical and dishonourable individuals and businesses who want to reap more profits than they should. In more developed countries where the rights of consumers are very much protected, those who are engaged in unscrupulous and exploitative business practices are punishable by law. In Malaysia, awareness of the rights of consumers is still low especially in certain areas and sometimes, consumers are much more willing to let themselves be taken advantage of rather than to fight for and defend their rights. All in all, I believe the GST is another way of educating consumers and ensuring transparency in our society. Its success (or even failure) very much depends on all of us and nobody else. Give it some time before we start judging, pointing fingers, blaming others and giving negative comments. As consumers, we have a lot of choices and it is up to us to exercise our rights. Below is a sample receipt to help those (and me, too) who are still not sure what to expect when certain items are purchased. Let us all become wise consumers and don't let anybody take advantage of us.