23 January, 2007

Tebang pokok jambu with Pak Engku.

I am a city boy. Born in KL and raised in Klang...typically your modern fairly educated bloke from the block. but troughout my years I have had the indulgence of doing what kampung kids did. Name all the traditional games, I have played them all. How about the act of cruelty towards animals? Done lots of that too....with my old faithfull wooden slingshot. Last weekend came with a journey to the past. I had to help my friend chop down a tree...and a Pak Engku was the supervisor.
So, with squeeky limbs and all we climbed the tree and started to chop it bit by bit. As we were dangling from the high tree top (it was as high as a 3 story building) and alternating saws and hatchet between us, I was reminded of the time when climbing trees was for fun and stealing fruits. Heheh...yeah I was a naughty boy.
Anyhow with swift supervision and strategy from Pak Engku it was not that difficult...in fact it was really fun. At one point we decided to take a break...and the topic of income and inflation came to discussion. Now as his title suggest Pak Engku is a man with loads of experience. So I lemented on how nice it would be if my pay now averages RM3k per month...."Confirn aku kahwin siot~!". Pak Engku gave out this smile...."You guys have it easy these days, but there are things in the old days you will never ever enjoy". We young lads gave him this look written allover with question marks. What did he meant?
"During my time..." he started, "RM600 could afford you a car and get married". I was just simply at awe~! And this was in the 70s. 30 years on with RM2500 per month can't get you a wife and car with some left for savings~! Bloody hell...Pak Engku said inflation since then has crept up to 600% (based on his calculations). "Mane lagi nak dapat Ikan Kembung sekilo seringgit? Jangan mimpi lah. Sekarang everyone is underpaid all because of inflation. By right to balance buying power working in current inflation rates, graduates should be paid RM6k for a start. Now you guys only earn 1/3 from the capacity of which what I could spend with RM600 thirty years ago".
Shits....times were hard then and these people from that era survived and are raking in their well deserved earnings now. Which leads me to wonder.... can I make my pennies and secure a future. I just hope I don't need to resort to the corrupted route. This has got me thinking...I seriously need to rethink my career path.

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