Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Being Civil

Towards the end of the working day today, I had a headache. I am thinking about my parents.

My father was a teacher. A Government civil servant. Surprisingly, he is not rolling in cash as some of the Opposition and idiots make out civil servants to be. And even as a teacher, he took very few off days. Even on leave, the old man used to go to school and cut grass, paint the school building and did other things.

See, my father was born in 1941. He was constantly living in the homes of relatives and good samaritans. It was a tough life, and having a home of his own is something he valued so much.

His starting salary was RM222, ending at RM445 for his payscale. His work lasted well into the night, alternating blue and red Pilot pens to mark students' work.

He retired with no insurance, a few hundred ringgit a month in pension, and a whole lot of pride in his work.

In 1981, doctors told him he was going to die. Here he is, 30 years later, very much alive - last time I checked.

My mother is 64 years old. She used to sell stuff to make her own money. Kuihs, junk food, rattan weavings - she used to take orders for clothing.

Two old people, repeating the stories of their own fathers and mothers.

"I have so many stories that I could tell you," said my father, his eyes glazed. Stories I have heard before. Communists killing people. The back stories of thousands of individuals.

My parents are staunch, loyal supporters of the BN Government, from a time when being an UMNO politician actually meant something. And yes, I can't deny that civil servant pay - meagre as it was and still is - paid for my food, clothing, put a roof over my head, and gave me an education. It is an education I still do not trust, but there it is - an education.

I hear people and I read their writing, convinced that civil servants earn a lot of money for not doing work, and I just rub my chin. While it is true in some cases, the plight of most of them and the poor - they rely heavily on the civil service.

Most civil servants will end up like my father - low pensions in an ever-inflating economy. Getting first-stage cancer means a few hundred thousand nowadays. Complications from diabetes, high-blood pressure, various forms of heart disease will deplete any kind of savings from anyone who are not millionaires when they retire, within a handful of years. And most of these people, do not have insurance.

My parents are from the Silent Generation. When the Baby Boomers start to hit 60 or 70, medical expenditure will go through the roof. It is the Gen-Xers and Millenials who will bear the brunt of the cost, our tax dollars spent on medications and procedures.

I suggest we get rid of the problem - a systematic culling of the Baby Boomers. We kill Baby Boomers, ensuring more resources for all. A true Malthusian solution.