Ringgit falls to record Low. One SGD is now 3 RM.
There are just so many things going on that it really reflected quite badly on us Singaporeans as a group. A recent trip to JB was quite uneventful, thankfully. There was no traffic jams as it was a weekday, and the immigration officer (on both sides) were quite happy, yet bored, to just routinely scan and stamp our passports.
As we passed the checkpoints, our stomach growled and we had our breakfast at the R&R along the expressway. The tudung-ed makcik at the foodstall lost her smile as she spied us approaching. Her face changed to a “RBF” that supermodels would be proud to flaunt but was definitely out of place in a supposedly welcoming Malay society.
“Nasi Lemak Ayam: RM6”
You could see on the signboards peppered around the stall that prices have been adjusted abit too frequently. A faded RM3.50 shadowed a pink shade for RM4.50 before the current price of RM6. As she took the order, her hands moved with mechanical memory, taking the ikan bilis and chicken and the sambal to garnish the fragrant pandan rice. As we made our way to the table, I spied a smile on her face once more as she attended to a man in PLUS Ronda Overalls looking to purchase his own breakfast.
He didn’t buy it immediately like we did, he looked around and pondered the dishes, he glanced, twice, at the contents of his beaten and aged leather wallet.
I turned to purchase drinks.
As I made my payment for drinks, the stereotypical plea came.
“Bang, ada duit kecik?” (Bro, do you have small change?)
But it didn’t sound like he meant it tho’. It seemed like he already knew my negative answer, and this was just a formality to see if I actually did have change. I rummaged through my wallet and managed to at least get 20 cents, which would make the return change easier.
As I left the drinks stall, I looked at him once more.
“Sorry eh bang, takde duit kecik.” (I’m sorry I didn’t have smaller notes)
He just smiled and nodded.
As the day progressed and the visits to the various shops and Aeon Shopping centres ensued, I observed more. The middle-aged couple sitting opposite us at Nando’s paid with a garishly bright DBS Mastercard. The lady paying for her truckload groceries at the supermarket had thick wads of RM100 notes in her clutch, along with a Pink IC. As we browsed through the shops, I spied the Army Half-Marathon teeshirt on a man paying for a stack of button down work shirts. Three shops later, the rudely white Colour Run 2015 teeshirt adorned a lady paying for a handbag at Braun Buffel. At Harris bookstore, where I purchased yet another anthology of Malaysian Authors, I spied a middle-aged lady begging for further discounts as her ~7yr-old daughter was holding to her quetly, clad in a Malaysian school uniform.
When we topped-up petrol at Petronas station, an old man was having troubles with his dilapidated Proton Saga which probably had it’s engine overhauled more times than we Singaporeans would dare.
Recent events has somehow made the Ringgit Malaysia drop to frighteningly low levels, and I believe that this is somehow related to whatever news was highlighted about the investments and ‘donations’ within the country. How true it is, or whether they are legit is not my decision to advocate, but it isn’t the country that I’m worried about. It’s the everyday people struggles that got me feeling really, shitty, for the lack of a better term.
“WAH, RM3 now sia. Who want follow go shopping?”
“Time to go across the border bros !”
“CHANGE MONEY NAOOOO”
How many of you have seen these statuses on your news feed?
In the blink of an eye, our money has surged to unthought-of ‘strength’ against our neighbour’s currency.
Yet, in that same blink, our neighbour’s money has gone so weak that they can barely make ends meet now.
So for the plethora of people making plans for a weekend at JB, or a Shopping Escapade, or “Just to feel Rich”, I cannot stop you. Actually, I won’t, it’s your choice.
But I just want you to think about the people that, without any whim or fancy, have suddenly become less rich. Just because of uncontrollable events within their nation.
Our SGD$1 could buy a plate of food there. Their RM1 can barely buy a pack of Bee Bee from our HDB mama store.
So go and Visit Malaysia, Truly Asia.
Just don’t be a dick about it. Humble yourself before you step into the country. It’s no wonder they resort to aiming our people if we are boorish there, as they struggle daily to feed their family.