Friday, June 18, 2010

Cheated..Yes! but Financial Lost..Maybe Not

One day in early 1994, a long lost friend, while we reminisced the happy days in our alma mater, proposed to me and 3 other mutual friends to invest in his 'market do talk' project. He has been talking about his commodity market project whenever he has the opportunity during the three hours we have been at the meeting place. It is not that we are not warned that this particular friend has some history of running away with the project money.... We then discussed about the project openly for some 15 minutes, nobody seems eager enough to depart with their money. I told the whole group that I was willing to give RM10,000 as a test, nobody else is to invest without contacting me first. Our newly found friend need a second chance before we wrote him off as incurable.....

Well, sure enough, our newly found friend did not answer my phone calls or SMSs right after the check I gave him was cashed. Somehow he managed to convince another good friend, who was also present in that fateful "meeting" to depart with another RM10,000. Talk about smooth talking. So we lost our newly found friend yet again..

The same month, I got involved with someone who worked in fibreglass boat making industry in Kuala Trengganu. He is a friend of my mechanics and I met him while he was helping my mechanic repairing my car. He has even accompanied my mechanic to my in-laws house in Dungun to repair my 7+ year young second hand car. After asking for his credential from the mechanic, we got on a small project to built fibreglass fish tank. I was keen on this fibreglass project as I believe there will be a niche market in luxury fibreglass catamaran which can be a very profitable venture.

Luxury Fiber-glass Catamaran

The initial investment was only RM7500 and an anticipated profit of about RM500 per unit fish tank. The initial project was for 30 fish tanks, sub contract to us from the main contractor who was contracted to do some 200 fish tanks for LKIM, Trengganu. The main contractor promised to pay directly to me and I will finance the whole project, depositing money to my friend's bank account. The anticipated profit for the project was recalculated to be in the range of RM13,000 to RM14,000, which was agreed to be shared equally between me and my friend.

We started off rather poorly, spending some RM1,500 and 5 days to build the mould for the fish tank and would be in position to build 6 fish tanks (costing at RM900 each). The main contractor would be paying RM7,500 for every 5 fish tanks completed and delivered to be transported to main contractor warehouse. We end up doing two moulds to speed up the process to catch up the agreed dateline.

After a while we made a good enough progress of making 1 boat for 1.5 to 2.0 days depending on weather. There were few small incidents here and there but we were rated good enough by the main contractor, securing us another 20 more fish tanks order.

Somehow, the main contractor got in some tight spot and RM8,000 need to be pumped into the project. I complied by sending in the money but I was not getting good reception from my better half who was not at all happy with the development. I duly conveyed my better half's apprehension to my partner and I got back my RM8,000 about a week later.

When the project was completed, I should be getting back my initial investment of RM7,500 and profit of about RM12,000 , from the agreed 50-50 share of total profit of RM24,000. However, as feared by my better half, my partner went missing from his rented house and as you all would have guessed, he has absconded my initial investment as well as my share of the profit. There was another RM5,000 cost I incurred to have my brother in-law oversee the whole project on my behalf, making my total loss of some RM24,500 from this venture.

And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people’s property - Al-Baqarah :188

The last quarter of the year 2004 saw me and my team on behalf of my company drilling Anding Utara-1 deviated exploration well. The well struck oil in an entirely new reservoir, metasediment or metamorphic basement, flowing about 200 barrel of oil per day.

The well was then sidetracked to penetrate another culmination some 400m from where we found oil and again the new well struck oil in the metasediment reservoir,which on drill-stem-test (DST) flowed about 1000 barrel of oil per day on 18 December 2004, just 8 days before the tsunami struck and ravaged northwestern Sumatra and western shore of Thailand.
Flare on Anding Utara-1 Sidetrack-1

This discovery got me a lump sum increment of RM35,000 and some RM700/month more than my normal increment which I enjoyed from April 2005 till 15 May 2009, the day I officially retired. This monthly increment significantly improved my gratuity and my salary for the 2 year contract job after the official retirement. Alhamdulillah!.

OK, OK, I am a sucker to fall for these investment schemes but like they say "No pain, no gain". You probably had figured out by now that I did not mathematically lost any RM as the loss from two "investments" has been offset by the lump sum increment. I told my other half those money that I had invested will probably need to be paid handsomely to yours truly and to her by those "so-called friends" on the Judgement Day.

Ooohh, Banyoooook tuuuu!!! (Ooohh, that's a lot), If that's is true...Alhamdulillah! was her only response.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chölök and Api Läk

This entry is a variation from my other earlier entries, written partly in jest, to promote Trengganuspeak.

I have read an interesting entry from a fellow blogger, Anak si Hamid (Puan Maznoor Abdul Hamid) on safety matches , you can read it here. I always found her writing interesting and inspiring and as a mark of appreciation I am sharing with you small Trengganuspeak snippets on the subject.

In Trengganuspeak the safety matches is called chölök. I believe it is partly due to the fact that when you want to lit the match..i.e. you strike it against the box (CHEH in Trengganuspeak).. it make a sound ..CHÖ .
then in order to make it ..lit.. you have to let it be for a while ( trengganuspeaks for " let it be" is LÖK )
hence the name of safety matches : Chö Lök or just chölök.

Safety matches in the 60's, were relatively expensive.. a box of matches shown below will cost you 5 cent then, when 600 gram (1 kati) of flour and sugar prices were only 15 cent and 25 cent respectively.
the picture is from Anak SiHamid blog (with permission)

Due to the relatively expensive price of safety matches then, we have this puzzle in Trengganuspeaks (with translation) which I used to share with my peers at workplace..
The three liner puzzle (no prize for getting it correct though) goes like this..

Oh kayya krajéång ök, ---- oh the government is so rich.. eh
Api dalang makkuk.. ------ (you have) the fire in the bowl..
cheh bööh..cheh bööh - -----(you) lit it up & blow it off..(you) lit it up & blow it off)

The question is Who or What is this Trengganu guy refering to...

There are still some friends who on seeing yours truly and will immediately shout across the room "Krajéång" :))

My mother, the other day, quote this pantun which she had heard from her brother( who was very young then) some 60 over years ago , here is the pantun.. without translation though ;)
(you will have to excuse me if it is not your liking though).

Cheh, cheh chölök
Cheh chölök tteppi telagê
Hök dia belök
Dök ccayyê cubê bukê.

OOPS! this is written in JEST :)))
and this time around, I am not asking anyone to guess anything!

Oh, by the way what that Trengganu guy was refering to is a "light house".

The "light house'" - in Trengganuspeak is API LÄK. This is my understanding, partly due to the fact that, as far as I can remember my friends in Pulau Duyong, Kuala Trengganu called Pulau Che Kob (in close vicinity of Pulau Duyong) which housed a light house as Pulau Api Läk.

Have a nice day!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Strength of Intention

This story was narrated to me by my late FIL(#1), a retired Headmaster, some 25 years ago and is written here from my not so-strong memory.

Pak Cin (not real name) operated a meat stall in the wet market of Alor Star. I am not sure whether he was the owner or just a worker. Although he was not earning much, his children were rather successful, three have already graduated and were working in the capital city while the other one was studying overseas. Pak Chin was one of the follower (makmum) of my late FIL, at a surau located beside my late FIL’s house.

One evening after the sunset (maghrib) prayer while waiting for evening (Isya) prayer, my late FIL prodded Pak Chin “ When are you going to Haj, Pak Cin (he was known as Pak Chin and my late FIL addressed him as Pak Cin although he much younger than my late FIL)”

“Oh where can I find the money, Chikgu. Saya hanya kais pagi makan pagi (what I earned in the morning, I ate it in the morning)… but I have the intention to go to Mecca to perform the Haj, one day..” came the reply.

“Ha, good do have intention! How strong is your intention.. do Pak Chin have buku simpanan Tabung Haji (Tabung Haji saving book)?" said the retired Chikgu.

"No, Chikgu, I do not have the book as I thought I do not have much money to save, not while my children are still studying" said humble Pak Chin.

"OK, now that most of them are working, why don't you go and open up an account for yourself and bring your wife to open up an account for her as well, maybe you should go tomorrow then " said my late FIL, who can be rather commanding, at times.

The following evening, my late FIL asked Pak Chin about the previous day conversation.

"Yes, I went and open up the account but my wife refused, she told me 'Ah, why bother!, we are not going to get enough money to perform the Haj from your meat stall's income anyway" Pak Chin informed my late FIL rather sadly.

"Good, after our prayers; why don't you telephone your daughter, tell her of your intention to go to Mecca and perform the Haj next year, give her the account number and ask her to tell the other children as well" countered the old Chikgu.

"InsyaAllah, I will do everything that Cikgu has recommended" replied Pak Chin.

The next two evening, Pak Chin beaming with pride told the maghrib congregation that his eldest daughter has deposited RM500 to his account.

"Don't you think, you should ask your wife whether she would like to open an account as well?" my late FIL asked.

"Oh I will try to persuade her tonight" Pak Chin replied.

A few days later, Pak Chin came for the congregational prayer and proudly announced that another RM1000 has been deposited into his account by his two other children. The children did promised to try deposit more money should they have some to spare so as to ensure their father can perform the Haj next year. A few days earlier, Pak Chin has informed the congregation that his wife has refused to open an account - saying that she do not want to unnecessarily burden her children.

Less than two and a half months later, Pak Chin's youngest daughter, who was then studying in the States, won a second prize, worth USD5,000 in an essay competition. She has told her father that she entered into the competition, which offered USD10,000 as first prize, only after hearing that her father wish to go to Mecca and perform the Haj next year. She also told her father that she will be depositing RM5,000 to her father's account as soon as she get her hand on the prize money.

The Tabung Haji fare (for going to Mecca and perform the Haj and come back) in 1985 was a little bit less than RM5,000 per pax. Thus with RM7,500 in his account, Pak Chin has enough money to perform the Haj, the next year -alone, within three month of making known and acted on his intention.

He duly went to Mecca and performed the Haj as planned.

Now we will never know whether their youngest daughter can win that USD10,000 first prize should the mother also declared her intention to perform the Haj with Pak Chin.