“Ouch … “
“Where am I? Am I dead?” my nose felt like bleeding.
“ …apart from the petrol price increment of 78 cents, the price of diesel will also be raised by RM 1.00 per litre … “ the radio announcer continued.
Oh no! The world was spinning again …
That was 6:15 pm on the 4th of June 2008.
Back to 9:00 am of the same day:
I was reading newspaper during breakfast. Headline news: Higher fuel price by August even with new subsidy plan.
“Well, at least we have two months to adjust towards the price increment. Should be enough time for me to get a bicycle, exercise, shape up my physical stamina, convert the petrol-free machine a little bit to accommodate 2 adults, 2 children and make rooms for 2 brief cases and 2 school bags, ” I concluded smugly, before happily going to work in my petrol-sucking monster …
As I regained consciousness in my car (in about less than one split second), I was trembling slightly (out of excitement, or out of anxiety? I’m not so sure). On the way home, I could see queues of cars building up from all directions at various petrol stations waiting to suck all the petrol from the stations’ tanks into their vehicles before 12 midnight.
When I read the newspaper in the morning, I was expecting the government to officially announce the new subsidy scheme before letting the petrol price loose, in a manner not unlike the current scenario, swift, clean and precise. As efficient as a guillotine. As full of impact as a punch in the face.
After much anticipation, after the opening acts of flour, cooking oil, and rice, the star everyone is waiting for has finally entered the stage, with a big bang. A new era begins: days when we will need a bigger fridge, to accommodate the larger volume from conversions of daily marketing to weekly marketing, weekly marketing to monthly marketing, etc; when short 5-minutes drive now means long 20-minutes walk; when a jog in the park means a jog TO the park, then jog around the park (if you have enough energy to jog back to the house afterwards). And, of course, fuel cost being the mother of all things inflationary, a firework of price increment of other items will surely follow suit. Now, instead of using the same buckling hole on my belt all the time, I finally have a chance to use the holes to my right to fasten my trousers.
“Stagflation” – some would call it – is when prices of daily items are on the rise while economy (and our income) remains standstill, or slows down. But, being an optimist, I’d rather call it “Vacation” – when my income remains the same, and suddenly I wake up holidaying in an exotic country where the people looks familiar, the places look familiar, the weather feels familiar, but all things on the shelf are being priced in figures that are twice of what I’m used to pay, if you're visiting Singapore. Let's hope we won't be visiting US or UK anytime soon!. Wallet on alert!
Here’s to a happy and memorable vacation ahead.(Click here for news article)