Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No ironing

The electricity tariff is raised again. In the country, the rate is regulated by the authority rather than the service provider. As usual, the trend is the media would be busy giving advice to the consumer on how to reduce electricity usage. It's good in the sense that the consumer should be aware of the cost that electricity would take against the environment. Everyone should do his or her part somehow.

Apart from the role of consumer as individual, we think, a lot more could be done by the authorities who are decision makers in many sectors which have far bigger impact to the society and the use of the resources.

One of the things that I really hope to be done is the change of school uniform for the children especially in the primary school. The school uniform in use currently is in white and use material that need to be ironed every time.  

If school uniform could be changed to t-shirt and track suit in dark colours, a lot of electricity usage could be saved, a lot of energy and time could be spared for other things. Mothers - many think that ironing is the most dreadful chore to do - could have more rest. Money could be spent for other needs which prices are on the rise too. 

T-shirt I think is better to suit the lifestyle of the children. They would be free to run around without the need to take care of the 'whiteness' of their clothes. It is better for the hot climate in the country. It is cheaper in cost, lasts longer and easier to wash as it could be washed together with other clothes. The most important thing is it is practical.

The gorgeous

Just like these photos very much .. 
specially designed by Maksu for her princess nieces... 

Thanx maksu.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Missing the blue sky

Since yesterday, the days look gloomy with haze. The air index has reached up to the unhealthy point in some places. Nilai was rated the third highest but still within medium phase.

When we went out of the house yesterday morning, we saw a neighbor burning some rubbish in the compound of his house. With this type of air quality, could he be more considerate? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Comparing prices

In the news yesterday, it was reported that about 52% of the population in the country have income less than RM3,000. I am not sure how many are in the majority portion.

When we came back since last month, we really feel that the price of many consumer basic items especially foods have increased dramatically. They include rice, sugar, flour, fishes and meat, milk and baby items - those every day consumptions. Even small fishes like kembong and selar kuning could be more than RM10.00 per kg. In looking for a rented house, we could also feel that the house rental is also on the rise. We also brought Ammar for dental check and to our surprise it costs us RM200.00 for checking, cleaning and filling. That is the amount covered a year by our employer for a staff.    

For us, this trend is worrying. With the price such as that even RM3,000 would not be sufficient to cover basic expenses. That is the amount of salary generally for fresh graduates in the country, depending on the sector. 

Comparing apple to apple, we feel that grocery items are cheaper in Melbourne than the home country. Let say, we have AUD$3000 in Melbourne, the amount would be sufficient to cover comfortable lifestyle. We could get good rice as cheap as $1.60 per kg, fresh milk at $1.00 per litre, sugar and flour at $1.00 per bread at $1.09 (the supermarket brand only), Ainaa's formula milk $22.00 per tin of 1 kg, diaper $15.00 for about 60 pieces (supermarket brand). 

Comparing the price to Malaysia: RM2.60 for medium quality of rice, RM5.00 per litre of a supermarket brand of fresh milk, sugar RM2.00, flour RM2.00 per kg, RM20.00 of 1 kg formula milk, RM26.00 for diaper (supermarket brand). 

But, in contrast to us in Malaysia, medical and other services like car repairing and child care are expensive in Melbourne, but some subsidies are given to citizens.

Cooked foods, depending on status of the provider, might be more expensive in Melbourne compared to Kuala Lumpur. But pizza is cheaper in Melbourne - $8.00 for family size with abundant toppings compared to the popular pizza in Malaysia - RM23.00 for family size with not as much toppings. In Malaysia cooked foods are easily found sold by small hawkers and in night market. There is no such outlet in Melbourne.   

We also found a fact which makes us wonder: The items that are imported from Malaysia selling in Melbourne would cost us the same price as in Malaysia, but the items imported from outside, let say Australia, selling in Malaysia would cost us the same value

We give an instance: the price for kipas udang ketchup in Malaysia is RM4.50 last year (but now RM5.50). In Melbourne the price is AUD$4.50. When we arrived back in Melbourne next couple of month I believe it would be AUD$5.50. But the price for spaghetti in Melbourne, a good quality is about RM2.50 per packet of 500gm but supermarket brand is only $1.00. We also could get the instant sauce for $3.00 per bottle. But in Malaysia the price of spagetthi is RM4.50 the same brand, and the instant sauce is almost RM10.00.

Clothings I think are of same price between the two locations, but since the second hand good quality clothings are abundant in Melbourne, we could get more.  
Whilst Melbourne record the most expensive housing rental in the world, we in Malaysia have the most expensive car in the world. Melburnians afford to pay cash for their first car as luxurious as Camry, but it is unlikely for us who may only afford to buy a small car 850 cc with the same amount of money.     

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The fieldwork

This is a note about my fieldwork, which is a part of the research project that I am undertaking. 

My supervisor said, everyone will feel anxious about this, but once it has started everything will fall into place. He said this when I said to him that I was really anxious about the fieldwork - about whether people would want to speak to me on the matter, whether people would want to cooperate with the research, whether people that I meet would really want to answer the questions.  

For the start, at this point of time, I have completed 10% of the target but 10 lesser in number will do actually. The same number has also been achieved by Mr Daddy, who is also on the field.. It's a race heh!

I started off with 3 people in the same footage with me, having research on the same issue but different specializations. Another is I met with one from a category that represents the group itself. Researching an issue, which only recently I realized (that the naive me) as a complicated social science issue as it affects the law and its implementation and development, I think requiring certain level of brevity and ability to interact that I feel I need to develop.  

This far, I found that I met with helpful and cooperative people. They are really inspiring, motivating and cooperative. One said, the research, the issue and its life itself make us a better person. It really will transform us, the way we sees things, the way we deals with others. Thing which is worth doing,  a former lecturer in IIUM said. Another said, he hopes to see me bringing back the report that will give some contribution in the field. That statements are real drive factor for us to move.

Still it's a long way to go. But both of us hope it has already fallen into place.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Search for a place

We found that it is not easy to find a good child care for Ainaa. After 8 days sending Ainaa to a child care center near our house here, we decided that that center does not suit Ainaa. Or put it another way Ainaa is simply resistant to that place. Every morning she refused to go there. She cried and clinged to me when she realised that we were about to send her. She looked stressful too. At night she didn't sleep well. She suffered from colic even. We thought things would get better, she would adjust herself and will like the place eventually. 

But on the 8th day, I listened to my instinct. After an appointment in UPM, about 60 km from home, we went straight to the center and picked her up. That day we went to another center recommended by a friend. 

When we arrived at 12.45pm, all kids were asleep. It is the nap afternoon time after lunch, informed by the principal. She agreed for us to give Ainaa a trial for several days to see whether she will like the place. The principal said it is normal for babies and toddler to cry in the beginning. Some of them even show resistance up to three weeks, she said. That statement actually make us more worried. How could we concentrate with our work then. But the monthly fees is quite cheap - RM160.00.    

So the day after, we went to the center. We arrived at 8.44 am. It was quiet. There were two rooms for the kids. The kids of 3 and above were in a room watching tv. Another group, the toddlers of Ainaa's age, were asleep in another room. When I saw through a window, there were two carers. About 10 toddlers were sleeping. But some of them just lied on their back but not asleep - their eyes opened.  One carer I noticed in an angry manner, I thought, asked a boy to sleep. Then she patted the boy at his back. She didn't notice my presence. The two carers each were then patting two kids to sleep by both hands. I brought Ainaa into the room seeing if she liked the place.

But deep in my heart I felt difficult to agree with that. The day before when we arrived at 12.45 pm, the toddlers were sleeping. Early in the morning that day, it was also sleeping time for them. Surely it is a big no for Ainaa. So we canceled our intention. Since I had an appointment at IIUM, Gombak, off we went there with Ainaa. I was 30 minutes late for the meeting.  The intention to go to the IIUM library after that had to be cancelled.

What should be done was to look for her care center again. The question we added that needs to be asked now is how many are the sleeping times for the kids.  

We went to two centers around our house that afternoon. One looked good with three middle age carers. The fee is RM280. We went to another. There were two carers - looked very young either early 20th or 18-19 years old. The principal was in maternity confinement, they told us. The fee is RM260.

We chose the one with the middle aged carers. It has been 4 days we sent Ainaa to the center. Allah's willing, she seems to like the place. Hopefully, it is a good place for her that she will be happy to spend her day.