Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Water Business!


Let’s talk about one of the most important consumer items — water, or more precisely bottled water (be it still, reverse osmosis or whatever fancy term marketers use to describe water). I honestly feel that the price of water can be mind boggling, and it should be standardised across restaurants, malls, airports, hotels, and any other retail outlets.
At this point of time, I don’t think restaurants and hotels are currently bound by a pricing cap when they sell bottled water to consumers.

For the past few years, I started to drink water instead of other beverages as I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake. So, whenever I dine at a restaurant, I opt for water – mineral or still.

From my experience when dining outside, certain establishments can get away with charging exorbitant amounts for water. And I can’t help but wonder why water can be overly priced, and how much profit these restaurant owners make by just selling bottled water.

Hotels charge over RM15.00 for a bottle of mineral water (250ml). Ok, fine, I’ll be the first to admit that the water came in a very fancy looking bottle. And depending on your preference, they’ll also throw in a slice of lemon to make it look fancy. But, still it is extremely overpriced. Come on, it’s just water!

Normal restaurants charge between RM3.50 to RM7.00 per bottle, and that is depending on where the restaurant is located.

For the very same product – I mean, the exact same brand can be purchased from as low as RM0.70 from convenience stores. And the price goes lower if purchased at wholesale outlets. I once bought mineral water from a local hypermarket for RM0.35 per bottle. Yes, you read correctly, RM0.35! 

I am pretty sure business owners are resourceful enough to get their supplies directly from manufacturers, at cost price and sell it at any price they wish. Let’s just say they bought it for RM0.35 per bottle, they would have made a profit of RM0.65 per bottle if sold for RM1. Now imagine those who sold it for RM5 per bottle! 

I spoke to a number of people in the consumer business industry just to get their general feedback and almost everyone said that water is overpriced, and it is indeed the best form of income for these businesses. Just think about it, when was the last time you didn’t order water when you went out for a meal. 

I also found out that locally produced bottled water usually comes from the same source and goes through the same process of distilling. The only difference is the brand. Anyone can come up with a brand and arrange for a special packaging. The price is obviously determined by the brand owner and if they want to tap into the luxury market, they can sell at a higher price. 

Since this topic is about excessive profiteering, I must also point out another thing that has been on my radar for quite some time. Why are prices at airports generally more expensive? All items (including bottled water) skyrockets when they are sold at airports.

Many F&B outlets charge extra at airports too. And many promotions, coupons or and form of special price are never applicable at the airports.

I was told that airport prices should be more expensive due to the simple case of “supply and demand” – shop owners can charge higher prices on foods and goods and operate with higher margins due to the expensive cost of operating a retail outlet at an airport. Some also said there are only few choices and limited selections, so, the retailers can charge more than the usual price.

I don’t agree. There shouldn’t be a difference between the cost of operating at an airport and operating at prime shopping malls such as Pavilion, KLCC or Mid Valley. And plus, airports have sizeable foot traffic. Why should the consumers be short-changed?

And before you start bombarding me with snarky comments and replies about AirAsia’s on-board pricing, please note that transportation companies such as train, busses, airlines and ships can charge more than retail prices because there is an actual cost incurred to carry the products on board. Weight of the items loaded on the respective vehicle affects the amount of fuel the vehicle burns to move that said item. There is also a weight limit.

PS : For the record, Pendang mineral water is sold for only RM4 per bottle (350ml) on AirAsia flights. 








Saturday, July 28, 2018

Cerita Sekolah 3 Beradik

My brother, Azmir, sister Azmira and I went to the same 3 schools in Alor Setar. During Raya, we decided to visit the school and share our strory

Check it out here:


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Dress appropriately or don’t bother showing up!


Recently I was chatting with one of my best friends about weddings and while checking out her wedding photos, I noticed a person who was very inappropriately dressed. Now before you get out the pitchforks, hear me out. It’s not a gender issue and I’m not imposing a man’s perspective on how women should dress.

The wedding was held in a church and this young lady was wearing a mini cocktail dress. She looked absolutely stunning in it but when the elders are giving you the death stare, it’s not a good sign. Plus, you’re also taking attention away from the bride to you. I wouldn’t take issue with it if we were at a bar or club, but we weren’t. It’s about common decency, where one should dress appropriately according to the venue and occasion.

My friend explained that the lady had lost her luggage and she was late to the wedding (or something like that). She felt sorry for this person but still agreed it was inappropriate.

I am blessed to have been invited to many weddings. I love cultures, rituals and traditions of other races, and attending a wedding is the best way to gain a better understanding of it. I also enjoy people watching -- the happiness and joy that everyone is feeling and of course witnessing the union of two people. However, on some occasions you can spot the odd one out, the one that dresses so inappropriately that one cannot help but notice.

There are few simple guidelines to follow when dressing up for weddings. My advice would be to choose the outfit according to the venue. If the wedding is held at a place of worship i.e. mosque, church, temple or any form of religious setting, cover up! Nobody wants to see
the extra bits hanging out and about.

It may be just a wedding for you (so you think you can wear the most glamorous dress you have in your wardrobe) but you stick out like a sore thumb when everyone is covered up and you’re not. You could consider wearing their traditional costume. Trust me, the couple and their family will appreciate that gesture as it means you’re not only respecting them, but you went out to buy an attire so that you could be part of the festivities.

The next thing is the type of event, because not all religious ceremonies take place at a temple or a mosque. So, you need to know what kind of ceremony you are attending.

Example:
If you are attending a Muslim solemnisation ceremony (nikah) held at home/hall, it’s best for you to cover up because it is a religious ceremony.

If you are attending an Indian wedding, you should find out if you are attending the wedding
ceremony or dinner. If you are invited to the wedding ceremony, that’s a religious event too – there will be priests from the temple who will perform prayers. I’ve attended a couple of Indian weddings which are not held at a temple. In such cases, the couple will choose to build a temporary temple in the hall for the elaborate ceremony.

Whether you believe in god or not, you should show your respect and dress up accordingly. Because what you wear might be of discomfort to others - and that’s not a cool thing!

While I’m at it, let’s talk about those who are extremely underdressed. Early this year, I attended a rather extravagant Indian wedding. It was held at a fancy wedding hall in the morning, which also meant that it was a religious wedding ceremony.

The couple wore a full-on traditional wedding outfit complete with flower garlands. Almost all the guests wore beautiful traditional outfits - ladies in saree and men in kurta. While queuing to greet the bride and groom, I noticed a couple who went to take photos with the newlywed. They wore t-shirts, jeans and sneakers and looked completely out of place. Like, really.
I am not trying to be mean, but I feel they have no sense of respect towards the newlywed. The least they could do is put on some decent clothing. (I kind of know them, and I know they come from a well to do family, so, it’s not like they can’t afford to buy anything).

I just shook my head when I looked at that horrible image of two extremely underdressed people with the newlywed. Very disrespectful.

It’s someone’s happiest moment in life. And this underdressed couple obviously matter to them hence they were invited. The least they could do is respect their friend on their big day.
Make them happy with your presence, and not have to explain to their family members what kind of inconsiderate friends they have.

If it were my wedding, I will probably print it on the invitation card, “Dress appropriately or don’t bother showing up!”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Why is God always an afterthought?


Religion is a beautiful thing and our world is filled with a plethora of faiths that make it that much more interesting. While we may practice different religions and pray to different gods, one message is universal and that is the message of love and peace. No religion preaches hate and violence. Unfortunately, it’s fanatics who taint the image and the word of god.

I am a firm believer of God, the almighty. I wish I can do more to be connected to Him. But this post is not about my relationship with god. It’s about how god is treated by us.

You are welcome to disagree with me on this, but for the most part we are guilty of only reaching out to god when we want something. Whether it’s passing an exam or getting that dream job, we are only thinking of god when something is at stake. And of course, thank the almighty when have achieved our goal. That’s even if we remember him after getting what we wanted.

Just ask yourself, when was the last time you took the time to reach out to god and thanked him for the small things? 

Even if you’re not religious, I’m sure you’ve heard people say how important it is to live in the “now”. It’s good to chase your dreams but if you’re too focused on thinking of the future, sometimes you forget to live in the present and that’s when you will start to lose out. Stop and smell the roses, they were afterall the creation of the almighty.

That is what I mean when I put out the question, why is god always an afterthought?  

On the other end of this spectrum are those who push god’s image to the forefront, and not in a flattering way. And this is the thing that really bothers me, when some people use the image god as part of a decoration or even worst, for personal gains. I have been to clubs or bars where I have seen large sculptures of Buddha as part of their decoration.

Although I am not a Buddhist, I find that using people’s religion in such a manner incredibly offensive and disrespectful. I don’t have a problem with clubs and all the partying, dancing and drinking that goes on there but you should not do it in front of someone’s god. In fact, the statues of Buddha should not belong in there at all!

These instances are not limited to clubs though as I have noticed the same practice at massage parlours. The owners happily place images and sculptures of Buddha. I can only shake my head and think about how people have lost touch with religion. Massage is not part of Buddhism. Hence, it is not right to place the sculptures in massage centres.

Some of you may disagree and point out that in Thailand they have sculptures or images of Buddha in their business premises, including massage centres. I must remind you that they put it on proper praying altars, and it is not a decoration piece.

I cannot compute why some people find it appropriate to place a statue of someone’s god in a massage room, where people are usually half naked. That is just plain wrong.

My point is:
Regardless of what religion you practice, you should treat your own god right. And also treat others’ god right - just because it’s not your religion, it doesn’t mean you can use any images or sculptures as a decoration item or in any inappropriate manner.



PS: I also feel a lot architects in Malaysia forgot to factor in praying area (surau) during construction of buildings, which is why Surau are usually located at parking area —completely disconnected with the design of buildings and space. An afterthought. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

#GE14 - Malaysia’s 14th General Election



To say Malaysia’s 14th General Election is historic is an understatement. It is and forever will be a game changer, not just for Malaysia but for the rest of the world. We may have waited 60 years to do so but when we set the bar, we set it high!

The whole nation held its breath and waited to the wee hours of the morning for the results. Needless to say it was intense and I was glued to my phone and TV (on a side note, kudos to Astro Awani for a great coverage)!

My Facebook timeline was flooded with juicy stories, fierce statements, funny images, revealing videos and unfortunately, abusive language. While my Twitter feed was filled with up-to-date news coverage from local and international media.
Everyone from my family, close friends to colleagues were all discussing about the election. People from all age group, from different races were engaged and it consumed us all. As a nation we are brought together by a number of things usually it involves some sporting activity such as badminton or football, so it was a refreshing change to have been brought together by politics.  

However, I must also point out something which I found to be distasteful during this period. I didn’t like how the election changed people and their relationships. Fighting with each other by using hurtful words, is just uncalled for.

I totally get it when one feels they are entitled to their opinions by openly airing them on social media and even in WhatsApp groups. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, it is your personal opinion. But you should never let the elections ruin your relationships - with friends, family, colleagues or employers.

I feel that as adults we can still have a healthy discussion without all the nastiness such as name calling and using obscenities. Why must it always involve someone’s mother’s private parts?

If you feel strongly about your camp, there are people who also feel strongly about theirs as well. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s Netwon’s Third Law and you’re welcome ;)

Like I said, we are all entitled to choose what we want and we should never be judged or labelled negatively by anyone. I believe in what I believe in, and I know which logo to vote. Some of my friends are on the same boat, and some think differently. That is okay.

I make an effort to watch what I say when I speak to friends who may not have the same opinion as me. I listen to their points and arguments. I take note of it, and respect their conviction.


Does it in any way make me change my mind? No.
Does it make me a ‘traitor’ to the camp I believe? No.  
Does it affect the elections result? No.
And most importantly, does it ruin my relationships with my friends? No!


The 14th General Election will be part of our national dialogue for years to come. We may have towering skyscrapers and fancy infrastructures but if we are not mature when it comes to our way of thinking then what’s the point of it all?

What I also cannot compute is the court of public opinion - a large group of people think they are entitled to “hukum” certain people, post election. No, you don’t have that kind of power.

The other thing that caught my attention during the election was how foolishly judgemental people can be. I saw a certain group of people who thought they were “involved” directly in the campaign by just posting and reposting things on their personal social media. I absolutely hate the word, keyboard warrior, but that aptly describes who they are.

You made a lot of noise, but some people may contribute in a big way but remain silent. I have friends who put their heart and soul in helping the camp they believe in, doing extremely important things, investing their time and money but remain chilled on social media. They don’t go around and start attacking family and friends.

We have shown the world that we are truly a democratic country by voting out a government that has been in power for over six decades. And above all, we did it without bloodshed. But let this not be it, let us continue to show the world that we can rise above the name calling to become a society that can engage in a meaningful conversation.

While some first world nations continue to devolve and move backwards, let us as Malaysians propel the country forward. Let our mindset be mature and let our speech be civil, and for once, let’s leave our mother’s private parts out of it!

To me, the friendship and love I have for my friends and family are extremely valuable. And I will not let GE14 ruin it. It’s Ramadan. It’s a good beginning. Let’s spread positivity and continue to build a nation that everyone can be proud of.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Live In Malaysia

One of the main highlight for 2017 was to be able to attend Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's concert in Kuala Lumpur. He is a great singer from Pakistan (in case you don't know). 



He sang many beautiful songs which are featured in many Bollywood movies. 



One of my favorite song is "O Re Piya". That night, Rahat sang that song, and he actually changed it; and made a great version of the same song. And i absolutely love it. 



Check it out. 



Monday, April 23, 2018

RSVP




This is one topic I have been meaning to write for a very long time.

In case you don’t know, RSVP is derived from the French phrase “R├ępondez s'il vous plait”. The meaning is quite simple, “Please Respond.”

It is a very easy request -- The host is asking you to let them know whether you are attending their event, or not. That’s all. When you receive an invitation, you take a short time to think, decide and reply to the host with an answer - to inform them whether you are attending or no.

If you say you are attending, attend.
If you say “InsyAallah, I will attend”, that means you are attending.
If you don’t want to attend, reply by saying no.
If you are not sure, say no.
There is no “Maybe” or “Insyaallah”.

Why is it so important to RSVP, you may ask. The answer is :
  • You have to reply so the host can plan seating, food, and anything else that need to be arranged for your needs and comfort.
  • You should also know that the host will be spending money to have you attend their event.
  • It is extremely rude not to reply

Everybody is busy, and we all know we can’t be at 2 different places at same time. So, if you are tied up with something unavoidable, that means you can’t attend. So, you should just decline the other invitation.

Simple. 

ps: I will share few stories of rude people in my future posts. 


Water Business!

Let’s talk about one of the most important consumer items — water, or more precisely bottled water (be it still, reverse osmosis or whatev...