The budget has been announced. There are some “ooos” and “aaahhhs”… carrots behind tall glass panels. Oh yes, that is where the hippity hopping comes into play…and here, we’ve been thinking about dance music of the 1960s and frogs. And I remember seeing a picture of this announcer…the scene… the floods of late 2021. It was a few days after the heavy rain. People were still on rooftops and stranded without food.

The picture was of the announcer in a large wide motorized raft / boat, standing at the front end of the raft / boat and pointing…”the flood, the flood…look at all those people stranded and suffering! It is a pity we did not bring any relief or supplies because we do not have space on this vessel. What with all you 10 or 15 media people with cameras and equipment crowding out the space.”

Back to the budget…what was that again? People are generally excited about the coming budget due to the hype that builds up leading to the day. This year, the hype was intensified by daily bombardment of news in almost every nook and corner that one would be hard-pressed to escape it for even an hour.

Budget 2023 is better known as an election budget. Up to 80% discount as the sale of big stores would advertise. Thousands of items to choose from – 107 inch televisions, flying cars, furniture, electrical items and the list go on. People rush to these stores hoping to grab that mega tv or super-luxurious, expensive leather furniture sets hoping to get 80%. They search and search for these items hoping to get them with the 80% discount or close to it.

“Up to” 80%. You will find the 80% discount on items such as a $1.50 wall plug, a plastic vase costing less than $5… The big ticket-priced items have a 5% or 10% discount only.

So, election budget… carrots behind glass panels.

While the greenback is strengthening against the local currency, and the central bank is raising interest rates to curb further consumer spending; the consumer is enticed to spend more.

Where does the average man go from here? Reduce spending. It only makes sense. (Haha, get it?) Will this affect the country’s coffers? Yes, for a short while… in the transition period of being a spending nation to one that saves. Otherwise, our financial position will head south.

Speaking of south, we have our southern neighbor as an example to emulate. It may be too drastic to do an about turn and head north to be debt free. Who came up with these “head south” and “head north” idioms.

I am all for working with the finance minister, central bank governor and all those that have an interest in helping re-build the nation’s wealth and people. It may look like a tough balancing act to follow, walking on a tight rope. Just make sure the balancing pole of ideas keep growing longer and evens out on both ends.

Purely coffee shop talk with just a couple of sips of coffee, today, so far.😉


It is a very cool morning. Just off-ed the rain. It has a minute and some seconds left before the morning officially becomes noon.

I have been dilly-dallying putting paper to pen (or is it pen to paper), finger to keyboard pad to get an article going. Well, now it is moving. See, words are coming out on the screen. Is it time for a break?

Everyone is super-excited about what is to come in a few hours. Picture the finance minister, skipping and hopping all over the place I know, I know. The anti-hopping law has been passed. That is for the record only. Not gazetted yet. So…skippity hop. He has been advertising his budget-to-come over radio and perhaps other forms of media… shadowed by more of himself, really.

Was there any cost involved in creating this media blitz? Did heee paaayy for this media blitz from his own pocket? Logical question, yes? I mean as finance minister; he has to record everything in his buku tiga lima. he learnt from the sayur man uncle (1) of the 1970s.

The sayur man uncle used to come around our housing area in his partially wooden Morris Minor station wagon, bringing the freshest vegetables to the neighbourhood. Not sure if the vegetables he brought were from the lively hills, not the Sound of Music…no not those hills but from Cameron Highlands. He always wore a safari-type hat.

The sayur man uncle used this type of vehicle to go round selling his vegetables. Same colour, too. The Morris partially wooden station wagon.

The familiar dash – meter in the centre between two parcel shelves.

The safari-type hat similar to this, but without the strap.

The sayur man uncle had a mini library of Buku Tiga Lima, one for each of his customers. In this book; he would record the “Utang” (I.O.U.) amounts each customer purchased. So, this uncle was like a banker but better – he did not charge interest. He was his own economy, ran it wearing many hats (besides his safari hat) – Minister of trade, finance, transport, hospitality…

There was a lot of hype over the past couple of weeks asking people what they wanted to see in the upcoming budget. Most people talked about having allocated amounts going to their cause. Radio shows in the mornings and evenings each day had people interviewed on what they expected the budget would provide. I think all that is well and good.

Without having to pour cold water over “make-beliefs” when the budget has already been prepared and is only waiting to be presented, I think it has been a waste of time. if you multiply time used on this make-beliefs per person x number of persons x number of days; it amounts to a big number of hours translated to $ and cents (or Ringgit and “seen” [as pronounced over radio]). Unless it was considered purely entertainment. Then, it is just that.

The biggest missing piece of this whole budget charade (maybe), is that there is hardly any pronounced talk of rebuilding the nation’s financial coffers, to help the nation become debt- free. Yes, there will be talk of narrowing the budget deficit. But what about the nation becoming a net-income saver instead of the current spender?

I think let’s rally behind our finance minister to help steer the nation to becoming a net-income saver. Possibilities.

Chef Jeannie Atkinson teaching me (modern day sayur man uncle) how to chilli fry char kuey teow. In these pictures; the kuey teow has not been added in yet.

1. We knew the man that came round our area selling vegetables as the “sayur man”; not veegetable seller. Mentioned “sayur man uncle” and everyone knew.