Sunday, December 26, 2010

The night life

Gambar hiasan
Would you be able to lower down your lifestyles you have upgraded over the years?

When a few years back I decided to end my employment and enter self-employment, I would like to think that it was by design and choice, and not dictated by external circumstances. I was happily employed by an American firm, and suddenly an opportunity arose for me to start my own business and being at the right age, I thought it was about time I venture outside my comfort zone.

My marketing lecturer, Dr Ali Kartibi had told my MBA class in 2000 that it would be useless for us to do our MBA if by the end of our course, we would still working for someone else. I laughed at his remark then, knowing fully well that I am not a business oriented person, despite having a Minang blood in me.

However, my old boss at Perak Hanjoong Simen Affandi Osman was not impressed with my decision to go on my own.

He said, "Are you prepared to lower your lifestyles in order to succeed in business?"

I don't know to be honest. I didn't know that it would require such sacrifice.

If I were to reflect on my own life over the years and how I have improved my standard of living, albeit slowly (but surely), I for sure would not want to lower it again for any reason, if I have my way.

I used to live in kampung house in Dungun Terengganu in the late 80s. It is wooden, and sits on stilts, with a kitchen on the ground level. It has a veranda, and of course louvre windows, and a single ceiling fan in the living room. It only has two bedroom, not that we need more, to be honest. The owner, I guess, out of respect for his new tenant, decided after a year to build an attached bathroom for us.

Before it was a 'tandas curah' at the back of the house.

I can live in a kampung house, provided it has all the amenities. Heck, in fact I still dream of having a kampung house  before I retire. By that I mean a traditional wooden house. The outside can be fully wooden, but inside it will only use sporadically wood as its interior.

Otherwise, it will be too dark for my liking.

For transportation, I drove a 13-year old Opel, and we car-pooled (with some friends) to the plant in Kerteh on a daily basis. Obviously the car has no air-condition, and we had to rely on the cooling effect of the wind the car generated while moving around. When it rained heavily, like it would always do in December, the passenger side of the car would be flooded.

Still I thought I was lucky. At least I have a car. Actually that's not even true. It was not my car, it was bapak's, though then all my friends would be driving a brand Proton or Ford/Mazda.

Can I live without a car? Well, if the public transportation is convenient, I would. I would not bat an eyelid taking public transportation aka the bus, if I don't have to wait at the bus stop more than 15 mins, or if I don't have walk more than 10 mins to the bus stop. It has to be, well, convenient.

And as long as I don't have to take another cab to reach my final destination. I hate having to bargain or argue to the cab drivers. As a rule of thumb, I dislike taking the cab unless it is driven by my cab driver friend David. He is about the only other person I would trust not to con me, or trying to take me for a ride.

In Terengganu in the late 80s and early 90s, we had a great night life, something my kids would not be able to enjoy today. Serious, I am not joking. We would have our fun practically every night. The night life then was even better than KL ten decades into the new millennium.

Every night we would party at different places.

On Sunday night, it would be Air Jernih. Monday night at Kemasik, Tuesday night at Kerteh, Wednesday we would move to Paka, and the mother of all parties would be on Thursday night in Dungun.

Dungun, or Dungeon as we would call it, would be the biggest of the them all. It is crowded with people coming coming from the surrounding district and kampungs. For us working people, the timing is ideal, especially with the weekend looming.

You would find anything and everything you need here. You don't have to travel far. All kind of kuih, and foods, clothings, trousers, household items, fresh veggies and fish; all sold very cheaply.

Heck you may be able find wife too, if you are looking for one. I know a friend who met his (future) wife there! ;-)

I am of course referring to the pasar malams. You would be able to find pasar malam within driving distance  - each is about 10 mins drive from one another, except for Dungun, and have your fun under the star lit night. Every night of the week, I would say.

You don't need the neon lights, I can assure you. What else would you do, if you, like me then, were living in a fishing village slowly transforming itself into an oil hub? So small that we were thankful that there was a minimarket, and a wet market; otherwise you would wait for the boat to return at Sg Kerteh late in the day, and get your daily ration of fish and other seafoods.

The starry starry night would be more fun.


  1. Rahman, a great writeup indeed.

    You have been to my place that I call home and I love it. It is just 5 minutes away from KLCC and just a walking distance to a supermarket and stores where I could get my grocery.

    We all dream of living in a Kampong but after living so long in the urban area it would not be easy to live in a Kampong where the culture is different. So to get that Kampong atmosphere I turn my humble abode into a sort of a Kampong house but with a difference, it has a four star status.

    When you retired the kids would be on their own and if you live away from the city I doubt you would be able to see time often, so it is best that one settle in the urban area like KL where all the actions area. And of course living in KL would give you all the enjoyment you would like, the night life and the shopping and other things that you call enjoyment. But as I had remind you you must have a retirement financial plan to enjoy a happy life in the city.

    Have a nice day.

  2. Your house is not only four-star, as if you were to add the 5-min drive to KLCC, it would become a 7-star home. It is spotless, well-kept and cozy. Love your abode very much.

    I don't disagree with your observations. It was just a dream; whether in the end we would do it or not, it is yet to be seen, I guess. KL is our home, and chances are it would be the kids' home in the future too. May be as a get-away; may be, I don't know.

    Thanks for your thought. It is appreciated.