Saturday, April 11, 2009

Confidence Man

I hate conmen.

I have been fortunate enough for the entirety of my career not to have lost much money from conmen.

In the past five years, there was only one job which I have never been paid anything. And I don't really give a shit because I never wanted anything from that project anyway.

It's just funny that a huge publishing entity and some of Malaysia's top artistic personalities can actually be so greedy over so little money.

Oh well. I will never work with those people ever again, and have made my recommendations to people in the industry.

I know some had nothing to do with the whole shit. And am not willing to take it further than using the incident as a cautionary tale for any writer.

It's all water under the bridge now.

Horror stories abound. A prominent non-political blogger complained that he only received RM200 for a job worth over RM20K.

I am not sure as to the veracity of this claim, but like I said. Horror stories.

These days, I make sure everything is in writing. Any problems, and the pieces of paper will hold up in court.

However, writers in Malaysia almost always get a raw deal. I have seen many contracts that break several labor laws in just one clause.

If the people who sign the contracts file a class-action lawsuit, there is a slight chance of them winning.

And even if they lose, the offending employers would be set to lose untold millions in reputation and image loss.

And there are no writers' union.

I envision a strong guild where creative writers can band together and demand some kind of standard rates and frequency of payments.

Any entity that try to take advantage of writers can be boycotted. Acting as a pressure group, the guild can force shutdowns of production everywhere.

And then the guild can also be used as a networking tool and also to share knowledge and experience in the discipline, making for better writing and better writers.

I think everyone needs to lawyer-up.

Currently, there is SWAM - Screen-Writers Association of Malaysia - but Government regulations that stipulate all MSC-based companies to not deal with any workers' union is playing in favour of big corporations.

And then, the writers themselves are selfish and suffer from short-sightedness.

Too selfish to even think about improving the industry as a whole. So that they can get better pay and better working conditions.

So in the end, there's just a bunch of scared people being taken advantage of by con-men.

Well, I bought a machete. If a race riot breaks out, I know who to kill.