How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Can't get over Rm1.90 for 'teh o kosong'

I am one in a group of retirees who used to go to Pusing, Batu Gajah Perdana or Menglembu for breakfast and chit chat. We seem to ignore those in Batu Gajah!
The other day, we went to a corner coffee shop across the road from the One-city hawker centre in Menglembu and it was packed! Being new, we had to try out different dishes to find out. Nothing to shout about, though I particularly liked the tau foo from a stall. But it was the pricing of 'teh o kosong' which baffled us. Just imagine a glass costs Rm1.90 when compared with teh sweetened with condensed milk at Rm2.00! Because we were served by a foreign worker, we thought it was a mistake and we actually asked the boss for confirmation.
At home, I used to make tea with fresh milk and without sugar the first round, and plain tea by just adding hot water the second round which is 'teh o kosong'. The profit margin for this particular drink must be fantastic. Once, in KLIA sending off my daughter, she bought me a cup of tea and refused to show me the price. It costed Rm13++ but price aside, the tea bag was put in a cup of hot water and fresh milk added before it was properly brewed!
Anyway, at the coffee shop, when it was time for Chinese tea, I asked for price first. Instead of a pot of tea (since we were new there and some places do not encourage 'long stayers' especially where business is brisk), we asked for a glass each. It costed only 40 sen each and for 5 of us, it costed Rm2.00. In other words, the cost of one glass of 'teh o kosong' (plain Ceylon or English tea) is equivalent to almost 5 glasses of Chinese tea! Some shops actually welcome 'long stayers' (or  those with 'cheong see fatt' in Cantonese) because too few customers do not look good for a coffee shop. There is a rule of thumb way of looking for a good place to eat: look for one with the most people!
I notice old established coffee shops still going strong despite competition from new shops and even big hawker centres. There is a big hawker centre in Menglembu, near some blocks of flats. It was well planned and has the coolest of fan, a huge one which could be from a helicopter. Somehow, the customers seem to be reducing each time we were there. It has a lot to do with the variety of foods served there which are presumably unpopular.  New stall operators tried their luck for a few months and closed when they could not make enough to make their effort worthwhile. To them it can be as casual as renting a stall for Rm10 a day for a few days to find out. A retired lady teacher actually did that for the experience of selling 'char kway teow'! But it is certainly not for those half-hearted.
Years ago, many Perakians 'jumped aeroplane' when they pretended to be tourists to US or Europe. It was their 'one-way trip' despite having paid for two-way.  Tour guides knew about this ruse and immigration officers were wiser too. Some even went to Europe or Ireland first before entering UK, the original destination of choice. But a friend pushed his luck too far when he was caught trying to bring along a couple of friends!
Most of them worked long hours in restaurants, even as dishwashers, to earn USD or GBP. The long working hours meant they could save because they did not have the time nor energy to spend! Except for a few inverterate gamblers, most of them could send back in Ringgit value, a few hundred thousands, enough to buy a shophouse each. They either rent out the shop or be coffee shop operator renting out a few food stalls.
Setting up a coffee shop with a few food stalls must be the easiest and most popular business venture in and around Ipoh. Yet, to be able to sustain for a long period, tasty food and drinks are essential. It is common for people like us to go round from one place to another out of a few favoured ones, and occasionally trying new outlets. Except for festive days when those who work elsewhere came back to visit their parents and relatives, the limited number of customers patronizing an increasing number of outlets means only the tough get going. Those marginal cases will lose out and close shops because customers tend to go to same places where they can expect and get the same standard of food and drinks like before.
Once I was asked by someone from KL which food stall is best in Pusing. I was stumped for an answer because there is none really outstanding and every one is fairly good. As is typical of food, what is good for one may not be so for another.



Rich said...

I enjoyed this post. It reminded me of times with my (then) family searching out the best coffee shops. I loved the traditional old shops. One in Johor served wonderful sambal mian bao along with the tea. Another in Kota tinggi had wonderful small cups of coffee and looked as though it had been there since time began!

CLY said...

That is too much for a teh o. Could report the shop to the authorities.
I remember that prices in Bruas were shocking too but in a positive way. Once I went there to visit a relative and had char kuey tiaw and wantan mee. It was 40 sen each! At that time, it was RM 1.60 in the Klang valley. Similar portion and quality but at that price! Wonder if the great bargains still exists in Bruas.

KoSong Cafe said...

CLY, there is no way anybody can continue selling at prices of many years ago. Just the costs of ingredients and labour at today's rates would ensure prices in rural areas keeping up with urban areas, though still cheaper by roughly 20-50%. The argument for the teh o kosong is likely to be similar to that of boiled water ie. based on cost of gas and service. But in the same shop, they could sell hot Chinese tea at 40 sen per glass shows the lack of logic if on this basis.

Bruas is a town I have passed through but never once stop for a meal or drink. But my wife remembers having been there for lunch. Wild boar curry was mentioned.

Rich, there remain many old shops in small towns all over Malaysia. It is not only the drinks but the overall ambience of a place which modern Kopitiams cannot replicate, not with air-conditioning and high prices!