a case of being selfish


1. A while ago when I was a student I had this experience that has brought me a bit down to earth. Sometimes when we are too comfortable about the things we enjoy we tend to forget the suffering of the others. My life was not easy, yet I have almost always believed that there's always somebody else had it worst, or better.

2. Back then the financial reserves was not too dramatic and I had to be prudent in order to survive for the next scholarship allowance to arrive. Nevertheless, I was able to stretch the ringgit for some luxuries that I find myself worth indulging. Apart from that, I was able to take some part time jobs and attended market surveys.

3. Market surveys was an interesting experience. I'll bet most of college/university students, namely in the cities had this opportunity to attend one. It was an excellent, and easiest way to make a buck within the shortest amount of time, instead of prostitution. Nevertheless, one of the prerequisites was that you have to be an elaborate actor and know how to talk persuasively. The amount of dough given was very handsome, ranging from RM50- RM200 per survey. For a student back then, this was enough to get decently wasted in a pool of liquor.

4. Usually the market surveys I've attended was very broad, and it can include anything. The prime objective of these surveys was to acquire the feedback, comments, and constructive criticisms for a given product. I've even attended this survey that involves a floor detergent product in which I never even mopped before. Perhaps the best survey I've attended was beer and whiskey testing whereby it pays highest , and getting wasted at the most economical way.

5. Also, I had the chance to meet people from all walks of life. Discussion with them somehow expands your thinking horizon, but most importantly it showed that the world doesn't revolve around myself all the time.

6. There's this one particular survey I've attended that I'd like to share. The 'commission' upon completion of survey was a handsome RM100. Not bad, it's one of the highest payouts. I was thinking to spend it on a nasty massage in town. It's been couple of months since I had a nice soothing and nasty massage from the thai parlors there. Excited, I was more than prepared to undertake this survey with full confidence and success.

7. The product was nothing difficult, it's just a beat-up cigarettes with a new so-called flavor. I knew this ciggie because it tasted really awful. It was so awful to the extent that you might do yourself better burning a paper and try to smoke it from there. For the pursuit of the money, I had to adjust the following ordeal so that the massage will worth the effort.

8. And so I was at the discussion room, waiting for the corum to be filled. The participants there were diverse, even a express bus driver. I knew it was a bus driver because I recognized the uniform, and I took the bus regularly on my way back to college. But there was this particular fella that caught my attention. He looked very focused. By the look of his age I'd guess he's around late 20's with a family. He's definitely a working paycheck person because he was wearing a plain green shirt with black trouser that has been bought in tesco. While waiting for the coordinator to arrive, I decided to have a small chat with him.

9. Apparently my prognosis was right. He's 29, working in a bank as a clerk. I asked him whether it was his first time in this survey, and he replied , 'yes'. He was looking forward for couple of months, hoping for the pay out to happen. I asked him again what was his intention if you had the money. Instead, he asked me first. I just said to him I'm going to have this nasty massage at a hotel nearby. We just both laughed .

"Actually I really need the money for my wife and kids" he added on.

I replied and asked, "Well, don't you think your pay is good enough to sponsor all the needs ? "

"Hell, no. How much do you think a clerk earns in a bank? "

"Well, I don't know, RM2000 at least ?"

"I'd sell my soul to the devil with that pay, if offered. Right now I'm only worth RM fucking 800 a month"

"What the hell ? RM800 ? My scholarship is higher than that,"

"You see, that's Malaysia and the labor scene. We the frontline people, are almost always treated this way. Wait till you finished your studies and welcome to my world"

"So how you make ends meet ? "

"I'm struggling. Currently I owe lots of debts, my outstanding for my credit card alone is RM50k. I've married for 5 years and still my marriage debt has not been settled."

"How many kids you have ? "

"I had four. I lived in a flat in Rawang and usually I ride the motorbike here".

"Oh hell, that's more than 50 km away and, you're doing this form RM100 ? "

"Dude, RM100 is lot more for me, I'm desperate need for money, wife and kids has not been feeding with noodles for the past week. I want to take them out for a chicken rice meal"

10. That was perhaps the most remembered conversation in which has caused me crashed down to my knees. There I was, using the dough for a sex fee and this guy needs it to feed their family food. I was quite heavy hearted throughout the survey session .

11. At the end of the survey, I just give my RM50 portion to him. Initially he refused, because he did not ask for pity. I insisted saying that I felt like giving.

12. How selfish and self centered we can be. I hope I'll never fall to that category. It's saddening to hear how people struggled in the city. While the employers enjoy big hefty profits, they would not give a fuck to these hard earned working people.

13. Anyway, I've thought of canceling the massage because of my guilt. But I went it anyway because I just cannot tahan. So much for my guilty conscious.

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  • 1) ok that nearly made me cry
  • 2) ouh my goodness..i've always thought, u cant live in kl if you earn less than 2k! apparently, there r ppl who survive! from the bottom of my heart, i wish that guy good luck, and hope he'll manage to figure out a way to change his life...

    p/s: lesson to learn, dont spend too much for ur kenduri kawen, u'll end up having debt tied around ur neck!
    • sha
    • 12 years ago

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