With the recent price increase on petrol, I was expecting comments aplenty on this subject. I have my two-sen worth and would have told my story that night itself if I wasn't feeling so sad then. Why was I sad? When a day comes when I can finally laugh about it, perhaps then, I will write about it.
On 4th June 2008, the government suddenly announced the price hike of petrol from RM 1.92 to RM 2.70 per litre - a whopping 40 plus percent increase. This, coming not too long after an announcement by the same government that the petrol's price is only expected to rise in August.
As was the case everytime such an increase was brought on, the people of Malaysia rushed to the nearest petrol station to "enjoy" one last bite of the old price. It must be almost six in the evening when I pulled up into a petrol station in the Seremban R&R, and I have not heard yet. I usually fill up my tank in the morning before I head for the office but on that day, I thought maybe it will not be such a bad idea to fill up there and then, considering that it hasn't been a terribly hot day. I ended up with just buying a drink as I was very thirsty. About 5 minutes after I left the station, Roy sms-ed me informing me of the price increase effective from midnight.
I just left a station and it was not packed, so I thought he must have mistaken. After all, I have my own inside source on this matter and Duncan has not informed me about it.
I made a stop in Kajang to helped Silas and Rachel buy an ear thermometer and decided to eat there too when Wendy called me, reminding me to fill up. OK.. maybe Roy hasn't mistaken, he was a bright chap right?
I sms-ed Duncan to confirm and he informed me he knew about it an hour ago. What? And he never thought to tell me? Some friend. So much for my inside source.
As I drive out from Kajang, it took me more than 20 minutes to just turned around the bend of a shop block. It was the first time I was there at such an hour so I didn't suspect a thing, thinking it must be always like that in there.
But no.. the whole delay was caused by the many vehicles lining up to enter a petrol station just around the block. For that, I was stuck for 20 minutes over a distance of a mere 300 or so metres. Though the road I travelled to go home that night was mostly wide enough not to be affected by such jam, I can see that every station is packed with a long line of vehicles waiting to go in. I estimated that it would probably take an hour for anyone before they can fill up. I thought of how I entered an almost empty petrol station and did not fill up. On top of that, I realised that I actually received an sms from one of my bosses about the increase as early as 5.17 pm but I didn't notice it. Bummer..
Duncan called me later. He too was stuck in a jam near Uptown Damansara as everyone was trying to enter the petrol station. He cursed and asked why are Malaysian like that? I brutally and honestly replied," Because Malaysian are broke."
We all know this. We need this subsidy for no other reason than we are not making enough money. As my own job stabilised these past few months, I suspected I may be making more than quite a number of my friends, if you don't count my colleagues, that is. But that amount is probably only as much as what a waiter in New York can makes, minus the stress. And of course, I also need to pay my car installment and the cars in my country is super-expensive. The economy is in shambles and anyone who try to tell you otherwise is either his/her own boss or the government. That is why we are all broke.
Let's face it. Rich people are not going to be bothered much by such increase. You won't be seeing Donald Trump inside his car waiting to have his tank filled up. You don't expect Michael Schumacher to stop driving around his fuel-thirsty Ferrari. We lined up for hour(s) to fill up so we may saved peanuts and have our heads filled with endless doses of negativity as we wait because we are not like them. We have a job and we are just over broke.
I am not rich (yet) but I do not want that kind of negativity. I drove home straight and fill up the next day. It was 29.9 litres for RM 80.85, meaning I just lost RM 23.44 just by paying the new price. Way I figured it, if I thought my one hour is worth a mere twenty-plus riggit, I don't have the vision for greater thing in live. And a man without vision shall perishs.
How can we look at this? We can continue to complain about the rising the cost of living or we can do something about it to ensure that we are above being affected by these costs.
ps: I was wrong. Most of the famous blogs I read did not mention about the increase. Even among my blogging friends, only Peter and Silas posted something but even that was just repost of materials they read elsewhere.