If I become Prime Minister, first 20 liters of petrol will be free

Part of being parents during school break, my wife and I took a week long holiday so that we could take the kids to places. Today, we were so busy taking our kids to KLCC that we missed the petrol price hike announcement. After dropping the kids home, we went straight to Sunway Pyramid to run some errands for our new house. On the way there, there was some heavy traffic for a short while and we saw people queuing at a petrol station. There had to be a major announcement on petrol price hike, we thought to ourselves. But the worse had yet to come. As we return from Sunway Pyramid at around 9pm, we were caught in a massive traffic snarl. A trip that should have taken 15 minutes turned into an hour. We don’t know for sure because we took the exit towards Bandar Kinrara but we think that it could be caused by people queuing to buy petrol at petrol stations along the highway in Puchong.

Petrol price has gone up to RM2.70 from RM1.92. But diesel price has received a massive hike. It is now RM2.58 from RM1.58, a mere 12 cent less than the new price of petrol. You see, we bought a massive diesel people mover for our family last year (Ssang Yong Stavic, to be exact) thinking that diesel would save us some Ringgit Malaysia in the long run. Unfortunate, I guess our long run has just been cut short. With the given engine size, and the fact that the car will not qualify as a truck or a jeep (What is a jeep anyway? I thought it was a brand name like Colgate), it will not receive any of the cash rebates except for the puny RM200 discount on annual road tax. A full tank will cost that much from now on.

This morning, just after we had our roti canai at the Mamak stall, my wife and I laughed when saw the headline on an alternative tabloid that proclaimed that Anwar Ibrahim would reduce the price of petrol if (when?) he becomes the Prime Minister. We are not laughing now.

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Welcome to Sekolah Kebangsaan

Our elder daughter started her primary school today at a nearby public school. We were hoping for a memorable day. A day where the new Year 1 students would feel welcomed and the parents were assured that this was the school for their children. Was that so much to ask? Apparently, it was. The school was a bit disorganized, to put it lightly. There was nobody from the school to greet us when we reached school just after 7am. Nobody to tell us where to go and what to do with our kid. The school day was supposed to start at about 7:30am.

The parents and their kids ended up gathering around the school courtyard and, as our number grew, blocking the movement of some students, presumably, from Year 2 and above who seemed to know what to do as they lined up neatly in a number of rows in the courtyard. Finally, at about 7:30am, we were told to line our kids behind any of the existing rows of students. The school assembly would then start. The welcoming speeches were, well, not particularly welcoming but I don’t think the students paid much attention to them.

My wife and I were flabbergasted to see the haphazard organization of the school. This was the 1st day of school for crying out loud! A school is more than just for delivering lessons to kids. It is also about building a community. The poor management of the first day of school reflects badly not only on the the school staff but also the coordination among them, the existing students and their parents. Through the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), parents, teachers and students could have worked together to make the day unforgettable.

Are we are complaining too much? Perhaps. Let see how we as new parents in the PTA would deal with the first day of school next year. Actually, my kid was quite happy with the school. After all, she has got one of her best friends from preschool in the class. Maybe, kids deal with it better than us, parents. Maybe, we need to lighten up?

Happy Father’s Day

Kids nowadays are taught to say they love their parents without too much thinking about it. It is almost a second nature to them. My elder daughter surprised me with a nice Happy Father's Day card she created at her preschool with some help from her teachers. And, of course, she did not fail to mention she loved her father.

Contrast what my daughter has done to how much courage I had to muster to call my father this morning to say I loved him. It was almost pathetic. I was stumbling with my words even though I had rehearsed what I wanted to say a few times in my mind beforehand. He did not even know that today was Father's Day. I managed to ask him whether he needed anything from me or the rest of his children. He simply said no, nothing in particular. Asked if he was satisfied with all of us, he said yes without hesitation. He is a man of few words. But I love him dearly. The whole call lasted for less than 5 minutes.

Happy Father's Day, Abah.