Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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National Service Camps for Malaysian youngsters – my family’s experience

Friday April 10th, 2009 by fathersez

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This is a picture I took from Az’s website from her collection of her PLKN photos. (Hope you don’t mind…Az.) I was not really into photos when my daughter attended the camp.

 The uniforms give them a sense of solidarity and purpose.

National Service or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara was started in 2003 with the objectives :- 

-         Of instilling and strengthening the spirit of patriotism,

-         Promoting racial integration and unity,

-         Instilling positive attitudes by the absorption of good moral values,

-         Nurturing the spirit of volunteerism,

-         Creating a generation of young who are active, clever and self confident. 

Quite noble aims, I am sure you will all agree. Since the program is over a period of only 3 months, I suppose they’ll just be able to lay some foundations. Still it’s much better than nothing. 

The children are selected via some computer program from a database of children born in a particular year. They are then allocated training camps where they have report on a particular date. Those who have been allocated camps far away, are directed to meet at a pick up point for transport. 

(This NS cannot really be compared to a draft, where the youngsters are treated as recruits for the armed forces. The Singapore Government, for example, has a program where all 18 year olds get conscripted for a 2 year program with the Singapore Police, Civil Defence or Armed Forces.)

My eldest girl was just about 17 when the NS was announced. My wife told me that she was so looking forward to being selected for the course. (I was working in India at that time.) Unfortunately for her the computers did not pick her name. 

Azah, my second girl was totally against the National Service. When the announcements were made, she was all about hoping not to be selected. As Murphy’s Law would have it, her name came up. Azah was so nervous and even tried to get her mother to try to get her name off the list. Well, this did not happen. 

Finally the day to report drew close. The whole family drove down to the camp area to scout out the place. Incidentally that was about the first time my family had ever been to Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, about 30 kilometres from where we lived. (I never would have guessed that this would be where we would end up buying a piece of land for our rubber smallholding.)

On the day the kids were supposed to report, I drove Azah (and a friend of hers) to the camp. It was like a carnival, anxious parents giving last minute instructions and advice, the camp administrators running hither and thither etc. Azah was very nervous and I must admit, so was I. Finally, I like the other parents had to leave our (little) children there and get back home.

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This was the mental picture I had of my daughter as I left her at the camp. Yes, I realise the photo is about 18 years old, but then I am a parent!. Maybe that should explain everything…..hehe 

We brought her back twice during the program for the Chinese New Year and the Christmas / New Year holidays. By then she had adapted to the environment and was enjoying herself quite a bit. 

The experience for her was good. All the nervousness was gone and she came back a more confident and responsible young lady. She also made some good friends with whom she still keeps in touch. 

For our family, this first experience with PLKN was excellent. We have another 3 young children who are waiting in the wings. Our son should be in the database pool in 2011/12. This time, our family will be hoping that he gets chosen.  

Hopefully by then, a well tried and tested personal finance module would also be in place for the trainees.  

Read about the personal PLKN experiences of other young Malaysians here. 

- CandyGurl  

- John Diew  

- DJRay 

- Az (she has some great shots of her experiences.) 

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Taking hostages, sometimes it is a commercial negotiation tactic. I should know!

Monday April 6th, 2009 by fathersez

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I found this picture in Google from a story about Karnataka Housing Board officials being gheraoed for being late in water supply connections.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the gherao that I went through. I suppose the taking of pictures was very far in my mind.

Taking the boss hostage? In France it is a labour tactic, says the New York Times. Apparently this had happened during some labour related disputes in the French operations of Caterpillar, 3M and Sony.

Taking the head honcho or the senior executives hostage is not rare. Coming to think of it, the workers cannot wait for all the legal and “corporate big talk”. The most effective avenue they have is the “holding the senior officers hostage” tactic. This gets them publicity, applies tremendous pressure on the senior officers and their bosses, and most often results in concessions being given by the other party.  

Holding someone against his or her will is, of course, illegal. Still the Authorities seldom inflict the punishment that comes with hostage taking on the offending parties. Countries like India, many of the African countries, Indonesia and even in some cases, Malaysia have had examples of these.  

In India, trade disputes such as non payment of debts are often settled by these measures. The creditor and his supporting cast (usually other creditors and their staff) just walk into the office of the debtor and sit there, refusing to leave until their debts are settled. You can imagine the   pressure applied on the debtor to find the funds to settle these creditors.  

In India, the term used to describe this kind of tactic is gherao.  

I went through a gherao in Orissa, India sometime in 2004.  

We were building a highway project there and there were some payment disputes with some of our subcontractors. I strongly suspect there was also an element of complicity by some of our local staff.  

Anyway it all started harmlessly enough. 5 guys turned up in our quarters seemingly claiming to want to discuss their payments with me. (This was on a Thursday evening.) They refused to go home and wanted some settlement to be arrived at there and then. They insisted on staying the night. As they were people I was well acquainted with, I agreed.  

The next morning more people joined in. Even people who were not our subcontractors. Basically it turned into a crowd, but I must say that they were generally well behaved and there was no chanting or beating of the war drums, so to speak. I mean, these were largely people with whom we had worked for well over a year!

We called the Malaysian Embassy in Delhi, and the person I spoke to informed the Indian Foreign Ministry.  And that night all hell broke loose. A police riot squad was despatched to our house and we were asked if we were feeling threatened in any way. By then about 15 of my staff had joined me, including two fellow Malaysians. A local TV crew turned up and basically we were portrayed not much different from being the scum of the earth. 

The Superintendent of Police for the District was also there and he explained to me that he was sorry about this, but there was little he could do. But the little was quite a lot. He made sure the guys did not cross an imaginary line he drew on the other side of the road facing our house. I was allowed to freely move about but not to leave the District without informing him. I thought that was pretty fair. 

By now my Head Office was aware of this gherao and arrangements had been made to send the required funds over. We finalised the accounts of each and every contractor, though I must admit that we were a little naughty in finalising the accounts of the chief instigators last. 

All the while, including at night, they took turns to watch the house, perhaps to make sure that we did not slip away in the middle of the night. That thought never crossed my mind. For one, the town we were in, was about a four hour drive from the state capital and the road was also not a good one. To face such a crowd along the road would be far worse that what we were going through. 

On Saturday, one of the chief instigators called one of my staff, the Project Manager who was an Indian, though not from Orissa. I think he must have been quite pissed at having been made to wait his turn whilst others were being paid. Some very harsh words were spoken including an alleged threat to my PM’s life. 

I asked everyone to stop work and we went to see the SP to lodge a report, and the reaction was firm and immediate. The SP’s logic was simple. We were taking steps to make payment and people were being paid. We were also working late into the night and this fact had been reported back to him by his patrolling officers. The SP gave the rest of the crowd a sharp tongue lashing (the guy who made the threat by then had taken off and I have never seen him since), and told them all to go home and not to come back unless they were called by us.

He also told them that if we made another report, he would not care if it was false, but would just lock each and everyone of them up. 

That was the instant the gherao ended. 

Looking back, it was one of the most harrowing times of my life. I had to show leadership in this time of crisis and I think I persevered. Later I was told by some of my local staff that if I had just bowed to the “head of the instigators” all these would have just blown away.  

Still I am very grateful to the Malaysian Embassy in Delhi, the Indian Foreign Service and the Superintendent of Police in Berhampur, Orissa. I count myself really lucky that this incident did not happen at some of the other Indian states where even the Police might not have been able to be of much help. 

I feel for those expatriates who come from developed countries and get posted to 3rd world nations where trade disputes are not always settled via the courts. It would have been terrifying and most probably result in a complete overhaul of life’s priorities in the minds of those affected.  

Still, I never thought something like this could happen in France!

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Links – The nation’s leader for 2049 identified - edition

Saturday April 4th, 2009 by fathersez

A friend sent me this picture early this week. I think this young man who is clearly standing up for something he believes in, should make a great leader someday.  I suspect, in fact, predict that we shall hear more about this currently unidentified young man.    

our-future-leader.jpg

And other interesting reads: 

The CFO wrote about the marriage penalty. This refers to an apparent unfair income tax provision that taxes married couples more than 2 single people. But then which part of the income tax is fair? 

Make Love Not Debt seems to have gone off on a slight tangent from the blog’s tagline. The disparity in incomes earned between the husband and wife seems to have become a small nagging issue. Maybe it’s time to make some more love.  

Frugal Dad wrote about the business of renting vehicle rims. What will people think off next? Is subprime rims going to be the next big financial mess? Or are there other rentals, like refrigerators, 42” LCD TVs etc. lurking out there?  

It seems that there is a pi day. I have been using this strange number a bit lately whilst going through areas and circumferences of circles with my son. Steve seems to have managed to remember it to 10 decimals. For me it has been 3.14 all my life, I think I’ll leave it at that. 

I loved this Green Panda’s debut into the world of video filming. She and her husband can now list the movie industry as another field for them to get into. Have a look and enjoy! I did. 

RocketC, who, I think, started off as a personal finance blogger, and has openly confessed his love for politics, wrote a thundering piece on the financial crisis. So many of the issues he has mentioned are so eerily similar to our situation, thousands of miles away. I think the public all over the world are getting so much better informed. Soon we shall flex their muscles and make sure the politicians and their appointees do what they are supposed to do….that is “to serve”. 

Patrick at Cash Money Life celebrates his 2nd anniversary. He is offering some books to his readers through a random lucky draw. By the time I got to know of this special occasion, he had closed his article for comments. So I am offering him my heartiest congratulations and the very best for the future through this mention.   

That’s it for this week, folks.

Have a great, happy and productive weekend.  

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Our children’s weddings – is it going to be a major cash drainer?

Monday March 30th, 2009 by fathersez

Asian parents normally bear the full cost of their children’s weddings. This cultural norm + keeping up with the Joneses + inflation + number of children can inflict serious damage on a parent’s finances. 

We have five children. The two eldest should have marriage in their plans over the next couple of years. The younger three are still young and have quite a number of years to go. So, as you can imagine, all aspects of weddings are an important part of our long term planning.  

Malaysia is still a young nation. Until recently we were still an agricultural nation, basically a rural economy, with a large number of people living in the villages. Development has resulted in the migration of many to the cities with the villages being left with the old or the very young. As this phenomenon is relatively new, many of us in the cities still have a strong rural background, at least in our minds.  

As they say, “You can take a Malaysian out of the village, but you cannot take the village out of him.” 

These days many weddings are held in hotels or halls. The grander the hotel or the hall the higher would be the price tag. This is usually the case for city folk.  Some just have it in their homes, often barricading off the roads to function as the dinner / lunch venue. Though this inconveniences the neighbours, it is taken in good spirit and everyone just goes with the flow. 

Village weddings are another thing. They are far cheaper, as there is no hall to rent, no caterers and almost everyone pitches in to help.  

I had an opportunity to be present at a wedding in Zai’s village last week. Whilst having lunch, I thought about the cost of the weddings for my children and wondered if going rural should be the way to go. After all, on my wife’s side, the grand matriarch of the family has a huge house which is lying empty now. It would be prefect for a wedding.    

On the negative side, attending the wedding would be a major pain in the neck for my friends who mostly live in the city.  Well, just thinking.  

Here are some pictures taken at the wedding. Enjoy.

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The King and Queen for the day. The groom is from Zai’s village, whilst the bride is from another State. Her delegation was there is full force to lend support and to get to know the boy’s side better.

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The official car park. The unofficial ones were any house which had space in their lawn, and there were plenty!

  the-kitchen.jpg The kitchen. All the cooking was done by men. It started at 5 a.m. and finished at 11.00 am, just in time for the guests.  Notice the firewood, it’s rubber wood from the nearby rubber smallholdings. Almost everyone in the kampung has a small lot planted with rubber.

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We cannot have the function without the DJ, can we? This DJ was perfect for this crowd, speaking in Nogri slang for the groom’s people and Kelantan slang for the bride’s people. 

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The ladies wearing yellow are from the village association. They help out at all the village functions and weddings with the serving of food etc.

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The main lunch hall. With tall rambutan trees providing the shade and the cool kampung  wind providing the ventilation.

lunch-hall.jpg

Guests having their lunch. Though the seating could take only abouy 50 people, the function spread out over 4 hours. People came, ate their fill, mixed with the other guests and left. Then others arrived to take their place. This is a great way to accomodate the late comers and the early birds.

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Is my so called “Elixir of Life” a banned substance?

Friday March 27th, 2009 by fathersez

I wrote about the “African Leaf” in my blog sometime ago. The name was told to me by my brother in law (who is no botanist, by the way). He, in turn, had heard the term from his neighbour. So I do not know the actual scientific name of this plant.

I planted a few cuttings back home last September. Since then I have harvested the leaves twice and have dried the leaves and used them to make tea. I drink this tea much like one would take a drink of water, and so far so good. 

A reader, Sam, wrote in asking me if this leaf was any good as a herbal treatment for diabetes. I told him that I had not heard of any such effects and since then I have exchanged a couple of emails with Sam. He dropped a bombshell when he sent me a picture of a plant that looked eerily like the African Leaf and said that it might be Ketum. A search on Google revealed that the English name for it was Kratom.  

Kratom is banned in Malaysia and every Malaysian and any traveller to Malaysia should know about the tough laws we have on drugs.  As I have no intention of tangling with our Anti Narcotics cops, I asked around.

A friend told me that this plant is grown widely by Chinese families in Malacca. (My brother in law’s neighbour was Chinese). It was used as some sort of herbal medicine though my friend did not know what were the particular uses of the plant. 

A University Science Malaysia publication showed a picture of a large Kratom tree. Thankfully, it did not look anything like my African Leaf shrubs. You can see the  comparisons of two pictures here.    

 ketum.jpg

 My African Leaf. This picture was taken at my brother in law’s house.

kratom-tree.bmp 

I found this picture in www.kratomfarm.com. This looks like a tree and a huge one at that. I don’t think my African leaf will ever reach this size.

A lady reader has recently commented asking me where to get such plants. Apparently she wants to do some research. I have asked her to get in touch with me as I should be able to give her plenty of leaves.  

I only hope that my research is not wrong, and this lady is not actually an undercover cop.  

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Did I spoil someone’s rice bowl or did I do the right thing?

Wednesday March 25th, 2009 by fathersez

In Malaysia the term rice bowl is often used to describe one’s livelihood or avenue of earning a living. A job is a rice bowl, a investment paying returns might be another. Spoiling someone’s rice bowl is to negatively affect the person’s livelihood.  

I was put into a difficult situation last week.  Everyone already knows that the economic environment is getting harsher, jobs are being shed left, right and centre and that lots of people are looking for jobs now.  I have often been asked to act as a character referee by my friends when they send out their CV’s. I always agree, since they are friends, which by definition means that I should be able to vouch for their character. 

A former colleague called me out of the blue a few days ago and told me that he had submitted his CV to a head hunting firm and listed my name as a reference. That was fine. He went on to add that he had listed a particular year as the year he started worked in the organisation and that he had been involved in certain types of projects. He ended by telling me that I should know how to weave some story around it. Some story I would have to weave, since the basic facts seemed a little too far from the truth.  

I was stunned. My immediate reaction, which I mentioned to my wife who was with me then was that this guy must have a very low opinion of me. I asked her what I should say should the head hunter call, since it appeared to me that I would have to stretch the truth a little too much for my tastes. 

I am all for helping others in anyway I can. In fact, this is one of the affirmations I read daily. But this grated a lot.  I thought deeply about this issue, as I truly wanted to help him, but not by agreeing to what I considered to be something a little too far away from the truth. I would have been more than happy to work around some little embellishment, though. 

My wife gave me a solid piece of advice. She told me that if the headhunter called, then I should evade questions that might expose the untruths, but instead just talk about what I was involved in. And let the headhunter piece things together.  

Well, the head hunter called, and that was exactly what I did. I just told him that I would tell him what I did and then he could ask me about my interactions with the applicant. I don’t know if the head hunter detected or would consider the discrepancies as “technical errors” or would put a question mark on the whole application. That has to be his decision. 

As for me, my conscience is now clear.  I sent the former colleague an email and told him not to use my name in this manner again. I would like to help him but not this way. He has not replied, either to state his side of the story or to apologise. Well, what he should do is for him to decide.  

The CV Store has an article on whether we should lie in our CV and also the results of a poll conducted on the same topic.

I am happy to know that the majority seems to have the same view as I do. 

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My family and I offer our deepest sympathies to Liam Neeson. We were spared from such a tragedy by God’s Grace.

Monday March 23rd, 2009 by fathersez

There have been lots written about the tragic accident to the talented and young Mrs. Neeson, actress Natasha Richardson.  The cause of her death was apparently an epidural hematoma caused by blunt-impact trauma to the head, as per the New York City medical examiner’s office. It seems the severity and the consequences of the accident was not fully understood as the family had thought it was minor and even turned down medical treatment.  

My wife and I went through a similar situation about 22 years ago. My wife and I were both working and our two senior girls were tots. Along was a year old and Azah was about 2 months.  

We returned from work one day to see Azah going into fits. We took her to a clinic who then referred us to a nearby private hospital. The doctor at the private hospital in turn referred us to the University Hospital, after his diagnosis that the child was having a blood clot in her head.  We got to the hospital around 9 or 10 pm and it was well after midnight by the time we got the doctors at the University Hospital to examine Azah.  

It was the most worrying 3 hours of our lives for both my wife and I.  

The lady doctor who examined my daughter, (I don’t remember her name, though my family will always remember her in our prayers) told us that there was a blood clot in her head and that she had to be operated on. Our precious Azah by then was turning blue.  

By the grace of the All Mighty everything went well and Azah was transferred to the child ICU ward early in the morning. Her mother stayed back with her whilst I went home to get her some stuff. The UH Child ICU ward was an open ward with a number of children with all kinds of chronic ailments.  

I asked the doctor if I could transfer her to a private hospital and I have never forgotten her answer. The doctor told me that whilst the private hospital may have better room facilities, UH had far better medical expertise, and what was more important for my daughter was medical expertise.  

My wife and Azah (with one year old Along in tow) spent about a week in the ICU before our daughter was discharged.  The doctor told us that this clot could only have been caused by a fall or someone knocking Azah on her head. There was no other way.

This incident resulted in my wife and I reviewing our priorities in life and my wife agreed to resign from her work to become a full time mother.  

Azah is now a fine young lady looking forward to living life to the full. No amount of story telling by my wife or me can ever let her know how terrified her parents were that fateful day.  

All these happened about 22 years ago, but reading about Ms. Richardson’s tragic death has reawakened those memories.  My family has been blessed by the All Mighty in that our precious daughter was saved in time. We are deeply grateful for this gift. 

My heart goes out to Mr. Neeson and his family. Our prayers are with him and we pray that God will give him and his family strength in this time of need. We are sure that the thoughts of families the world over, who saw Ms. Richardson in The Parent Trap as we did, will be with Mr. Neeson.  

 

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An “interview” with a loan shark

Friday March 20th, 2009 by fathersez

Vicky did not look anything like what I thought loan sharks would look like. He struck me as a cultured and soft spoken businessman. He certainly had the build to be pretty intimidating if he wanted to, though. 

I met Vicky whilst waiting for my wife to finish an errand. I wanted to have a tea at one of the local mamak shops whilst waiting for her. There was an empty seat at the table where Vicky was having his lunch. I asked his permission and he cheerfully asked me to take a seat.  

I mentioned that it was pretty late for him to be having lunch (it was already about 4 pm). One thing led to another and we got to talking.  

Vicky, single and 30 years old had been doing this for the past 7 years. He told me that his “brothers” had given him capital at 3 sen, and he lent out the money at 10 sen. His cut would be the 7 sen. Though he used the term “sen”, it basically meant % per month. 

7% per month return or 84% a year is no small return.  

Vicky told me that he had lived in Seremban all his life and he knew personally almost all the Indian small businessmen and traders. He only lent to people he had known for at least 5 years. People whom he was confident would not run off on him. 

He had a very low opinion of loan sharks who resorted to acts like throwing red paint in people’s homes etc. Vicky’s stand was that this was a business. He made his money by choosing good borrowers. This was the key and his USP.  

The second was to be reasonable in his rates. He claimed that there were some loan sharks who charged more than 200% per annum and a day’s delay in paying the monthly instalment would result in the repayment being doubled. He pitied people who had no choice but to borrow at these rates. They are doomed……were his words.  

I asked him about his bad debt rates. (Though I wanted to, I did not ask him what he did to people who did not pay). He mentioned that a 10% provision for bad debts should be enough. He gave an example of one person who ran off to another town and returned later to pay the principal plus interest. 

His “brothers”, who had invested the money with him were actually just investors. He considered them as his brothers as they had given him this means of making his living. (He also had a restaurant as well as a scrap metal business.) 

I told him that my religion forbid me from participating in this type of business. He had heard about this, but his view was that he was actually helping people get second chances.

It seems that Vicky hangs around this particular mamak shop often as his office was just around the corner. He was still single and he always had all his meals there.  

Though I hope to get to know Vicky better, it should not be for the intention of becoming a customer.

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Our undrawn personal boundaries

Wednesday March 18th, 2009 by fathersez

We all have our own boundaries. Not the physical ones, but the mental ones. Boundaries that we don’t cross unless pressed to under really extenuating circumstances.  

I was reminded about this lately when I read the story of how one guy found some old pictures (taken more than 30 years ago) of his then girlfriend and sold them to the media. The pictures were taken when the girl was a teenager and showed her in lingerie and semi nude. Unlike the guy, the girl had risen up in life and was now a politician. Hence the pictures became so called “news worthy”.

And this brings me to the point of my story. 

I’ll never ever have considered doing this. (not that I have any such photos, anyway). No matter how down and out I was, putting another person into such an embarrassing position purely for monetary gain for me would be well outside my personal boundaries. And honestly speaking, I also think that the media house that bought these pics also had very porous boundaries.  

We must all have seen movies about people who swear to certain principles and lines that they would not cross, whilst the hero looks at them with a cynical look. At the end of movie, there would be a scene where these boundaries are crossed. One such movie was Rambo 4. A Christian missionary, who was part of a team illegally crossing into Myanmar to help some of the refugees, berated our John Rambo for killing some pirates, claiming that nothing justified the taking of human life. By the end of the movie, he had killed someone.  

But our life is not a movie.  

Our boundaries are defined by our upbringing, our education, our religious inclinations, our morals and conscience. Some boundaries are tighter and others may be a little more porous.  

Then there was a time when a colleague asked me to join him in a “side deal”. He was holding a very senior post in a subsidiary, whilst I was holding a senior position in the holding company. The deal was for both of us to work out a cut on purchases done by the subsidiary. And I must admit that it would have been quite lucrative. My friend’s logic was that the prices would be at the company’s budgeted levels, so any savings should not be missed. I turned him down. 

Let me assure you that I am no angel. Like my friend Jaya pointed out, all of us have a dark side. I also do. So I am not being judgemental at all by writing this article. It is just that I do have some boundaries that I won’t cross. 

The present difficult times can result in many of our boundaries being tested. There was a recent story in the local papers about a young mother caught stealing milk powder for her baby. And shoplifting was the only way she knew how to get milk to feed her baby. 

I am sure my children have already formed some boundaries. Some of these may change over time, and I hope that their boundaries will not veer far from the lines I have drawn for my life.   

And I pray that neither I nor any other member of my family will be tested like how the young mother was tested.

  

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What I have learned from the Sandwich Man

Monday March 16th, 2009 by fathersez

This morning I read an article in the local papers about the state of the economy in Thailand. Malaysia and Thailand have many similarities besides sharing a border. It’s safe to consider this Thai view as another opinion on Malaysia’s own state of the economy.  

Update: Our Government is now talking about bad times…finally.

The writer had talked to none other than the Sandwich Man, Mr. Sirivat, who found fame selling sandwiches made by him and his wife at Bangkok street corners, after tumbling from the lofty heights of being one of Thailand’s richest businessmen.   Mr. Sirivat had quite dire predictions for the Thai economy. His logic being that Thailand’s main earners are export oriented manufacturing and tourism. And the customers i.e. the rest of the world, are in too bad a shape to do much buying. He expects that the next quarter will start seeing serious pain being inflicted on the Thai economy.  

Mr. Sirivat’s website explains how after his highly leveraged business collapsed in 1997, he took to selling sandwiches. His first 20 sandwiches took over 6 hours to sell. Now, 12 years later, he has a number of coffee restaurants and has turned his economic fortunes around.  I am not sure about his current age, though his website says he is 59. Asians generally are a proud people. Very cognisant about face and social status etc. At this age, and from his prior position, it must have taken a tremendous sense of tenacity and courage for him to have taken on the sandwich business. 

I, too, am seeing tough times ahead for me. Though I believe I have my plans worked out and am implementing them to the best of my ability, it is clear that the traction has not taken place yet. 

Tough times never last, tough people do. This title of a book by Robert Schuller, is a really powerful phrase!  Being reminded about the Sandwich Man’s fall off his economic cliff and his climb back has given me renewed strength. An example of there is always another way. A guide to looking at every option available. A true life example of the phrase, “Tough times never last, tough people do!” 

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is what I should have said this morning to one my best friends, when I visited him in hospital. He has one of the highest levels of inner strength that I have ever seen in anyone and perhaps he was already running this phrase through his mind many times. 

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is what I should tell my eldest daughter as she tries to find herself and merge her love for applying psychology on children with the earning requirements of her everyday life.   This is what I should also tell my second daughter as she works her way through unrealistic and unreasonable deadlines.  

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is going to be my mantra for these economic times.

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