Sunday, October 09, 2005

Pay Money Orso Cannot Get Ah? Niamah!

Photo of Adam. "You lookin' at me?"

I get very upset when I pay good money for goods and services and I don’t get my money’s worth. Don’t you? It’s just natural. Case in point. A few weeks ago I went to watch a movie in one of the cineplexes in a shopping mall in KL. The film was the then local hit movie and the hall was packed. The big budget film was advertised as a milestone in Malaysian film history. The film boasted Dolby Digital Surround Sound. And being always interested in good sound in films I bought my ticket and went in with great anticipation. Imagine my disappointment when the film played with one channel of the sound distorted and with a loud irritating hum coming from the screen. Not only was there no surround sound effect the film was also shown through what must have been a projector whose light source was a nearly dead 60 watt incandescent lamp. I found out later from a reasonably reliable source that it was common practise for cineplex operators to run projectors at less than optimum light intensity to save costs. It was not a good movie experience. Certainly not worth the RM10.00 ticket and the RM6.00 parking fee. I could have bought a pirated DVD version of the same film and had a much better viewing in the comfort of my home. And still have change left for a packet of kua chee and a beer. Later when I complained to the management of the cineplex the response was some plastic smiles and tired nods and I was told, “It’s like that one lah. Local film what.” WHAT???!!! So much for the Malaysia Boleh spirit and being proud of our achievements.

So where is this leading to? A few days later at a Hari Raya open house I met the marketing manager of the film’s distribution company and related to her my less than satisfying experience at the screening of one of her company’s films. She was politely apologetic and then offered me a reason which totally had me in hysterics. She said that bad quality sound and picture quality in Malaysian cinema halls were the results of movie piracy. Her reason was that because of piracy the exhibitors could not make enough money to maintain their equipment and had to resort to cost cutting measures. She then proceeded to urge me to join the fight against pirated movies and also to encourage everyone I knew not to buy pirated movies. If there was no piracy we would then get the quality expected when we visit the cinemas. Wait a minute. Isn’t there something wrong with that equation? Maybe I’m old fashioned but I always thought that the equation worked the other way around. It is the producer’s duty to the consumer to provide the best quality product and the consumer’s decision on whether to buy. Has the rule changed? So now we give you our money first to buy your inferior quality products, then you use our money to develop the product that we should have had in the first place issit?

When I finished laughing and left the company of the by then pissed off marketing manager, I thought further about what had just been said. Then I got really scared. I think I’m the one who’s out of touch with reality. That’s the way things have been done around here for quite a long time now. Look around. I’m sure you will see many examples of this pay first, receive later formula at work.

You interview someone for a position in your company. The first thing the applicant asks is how much money you’re going to pay and what benefits you have for him. Not what he can do for you. I remember a time when job applicants would try to impress you with their abilities and potential contributions to the organisation first before YOU decide what they’re worth. Sure, if at the end of it they don’t think your offer is up to their expectations they have the option to tell you to **** off.

Our poor showing in sports is a fine example of this screwed-up system too. It’s no longer about passion and achievement before rewards. It’s what do I get now and IF I should achieve something.

Malaysian theatre seems to have adopted this mentality as well. We hear or read all the time about practitioners bellyaching about how their efforts are hampered because they can’t sell enough tickets and therefore make enough money to do what they want to do. They are asking for support so that they can achieve what they promise us will be quite worthwhile. Again, give me the money first, then I will show you lah. You make something first that we want to buy. We will buy. Then you will get money to do something else. Then you see if we buy that or not and so on. No ah?

A friend told me the other day that all this is the result of the growing of the current “Y” generation. Another friend called it the MTV generation. A whole generation of people who’ve been brought up expecting to be given everything NOW. Forget effort, forget passion, forget achievements. We want everything NOW. Faster lah. A generation with a kind of thinking that perpetuates a culture of mediocrity.

And all the deaths on Malaysian roads. Isn’t that another scary example? To me, it’s like someone sitting up waiting to see how many people will die before he decides to improve the quality of the roads or the highway system. Or the killer mudslides, landslides etc. “Errrr…wait ah….how many people have been killed ah? Oh that’s all ah? Okay we’ll approve a few more housing projects on hill slopes then.”

Scary isn’t it? Okay, I’m going out to my pirate DVD dealer. See you at the movies.

This article first appeared in The Edge's Options 2 in January 2005. I think.


Sharizal said...

Eh you getting lazy like Smith also ah? Recycling old stuff... cheh

Julian Chan said...

Yay... go pirated DEE-VEE-DEEs!!!

What a load of hogwash, this MTV generation thing. Death of art, death of longevity. Give it all now.

So, Malaysians also like instant orgasm and not the all-night-long variety also lah? ahaha... damn...

For some strange reason, I seem to feel piracy is something you can't get rid off that easily. Not saying it's right, but it's just part of our reality right now. And in Malaysia, it seems pretty necessary also. Especially with our dwindling buying power.

"Get with the program.."????

midnite lily said...

sharizal: he's worried he doesn't ve enough material =P

"If there was no piracy we would then get the quality expected when we visit the cinemas." No money no talk?

It's kinda the same in television too eh? "Why the shot like dat? No budget mah!" And scriptwriting gets the first slit-throat, cos no budget mah! Money all goes to u know where ^_~

Uncle Bob said...

Ha Ha. That was quite a funny story.

Did you know that pirates have upgraded their product offerings ? For a mere 13 ringgit, you can now get "direct copy" disc, which is just like the original dvd, with special features, making of etc. etc. So cool.

god bless malaysian pirates.

btw, good blog site patrick, your humor never fails to crack a smile. keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw TV Smith's piece on you.

Now, I have another blog site to lighten up my day. Like that comment on pirated DVDs and dwindling purchasing power. Me thinks Malaysia can single handedly support the global pirated DVD market-- not becoz' we want to but how else to enjoy the latest movie/CD without an arm or leg to spare?


mob1900 said...

Buying a house/condo is another scenario where you have to forkout the dough before you even get to see the first brick being laid(sounds abit kinky)and it existed eons ago. And we should've known better the developers were rolling our money for other projects.
This is uniquely Malaysia, where you don't get the goods til you pay up first. ;)

patrickteoh said...

Hello Anonymous. What do your friends call you? Nony? Nymous? Anon?
Cute name. Ya I couldn't believe my eyes either when he posted it on
his world famous blog. But he's like that lah. Good bloke.

I think you didn't quite get my point. It's not that watching a
movie costs an arm and leg. It's just that when we buy a ticket we
don't get what we pay for lor.

The last movie I saw in a cineplex was Gol & Gincu in the spanking new
GC place in 1 Utama. Things have not changed for the better. Sigh.

patrickteoh said...

Aiseh, sure I know it's uniquely Malaysian this...where you don't get the goods til you pay up first. Yes, I am prepared to pay. But after I pay you, you must deliver the goods of the standard that I expected of you when I decided to buy. You advertise Dolby Surround sound for the movie in your hall then I pay and get single channel mono sound. That is cheating. You advertise Double storey link house with 5 rooms and then you give me only 4 rooms. Cannot what. True or not.

What's this about cops and all?
"Coppers demands to be fed or the cook gets it!" Which blog did that come from?

patrickteoh said...

Julian, perhaps you are not an example of the Y generation I was talking about. You are prepared to put in effort before expecting results and rewards. For that I am glad you are my friend. But sadly millions of others are not like you.

Pirate DVD's were never the issue of my post. Sorry to have misled all you flers lah:-)

Imran said...

Nice write up. It just proves Malaysian's Third World Mentality. Look at other countries. Take Japan for example, did they bitch and moan after the atomic bomb was dropped? No siree! They stood up, realized that it's they themselves who can change their future because no one is going to help them out.

In Malaysia? We have everything spoon-fed to us, but greed still rules the day. I wonder how are we ever going to survive in 10 years time, when everyone has overtaken us if we still have this type of mentality?

Julian Chan said...

HAhha.. another case of "misread-isms". Well, almost.

I definitely encountered stuff like this before, even in the working music scene. There are some, roughly speaking, who wants to ensure they get paid real well first, then they will really do a good show.

If I chose that kind of mentality, I wouldn't be able to do the stuff I do today. For me, some gigs don't pay that great, but on the longer term basis, they're great for exposure (which hopefully can lead to better paying gigs!).

Imagine if I were to insist lots of money for a gig and cannot deliver.. die case man! Guaranteed formula for no-work! I can put down my horn and let it collect dust while I go sweep the longkang!

helen said...


For one freaking second I thought the lady was going to tell u they purposely make the picture crappy so, the pirates cannot come and curi-shoot the film...

The truth is, watching DVDs (pirated or not pirated)at home will never have the same 'feel' as watching it in the cinema. Yes, even if you have those damn big screen flat screen TV and kick-ass illegal sound system to boot. It's still not the same. The reason why most people chose to endure sub standard entertainment at home is... The bad Economy-lah, what else...

midnite lily said...

"The last movie I saw in a cineplex was Gol & Gincu in the spanking new
GC place in 1 Utama. Things have not changed for the better. Sigh."
> I was at the 2nd cinema at the premier & it was the same thing. How sad is that? The whole production tean were there, from EPs to supporting, and all the effort the technical crew made & money "spent" on making a good quality film gone down the drain cos the cinema distorted the audio capacity? *sigh* indeed. =(

Trashed said...

Ya lah, based on what midnite lily says, wat for spend so much money to make good sound when the blady cineplex flers got no budget ???

Maybe better go back to good old days of big cinema hall - no need so hi tech ler. Just loud cukup already.

mob1900 said...

"Coppers demands to be fed or the cook gets it!"

from your 'Buka Puasa' contest thingy. we noticed the cops were already at the restaurant since 6:30pm lepaking and ordering food with empty machine guns(no barrels) sling on their back.thought it would be depressingly funny. ;P

and oh, Richard Ye Win try to pull one off(makan) at a restaurant but kena lectured by the owner. lol

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this does not happen to you alone but also to other people but, hey, who should we complaint to? Would you want to go to a consumer association and file a complaint which you need to pay another few ringgits for the form in your situation? Sometime last year, I went to watch Harry Potter in a cinema in Klang, also, almost like you but mine was sound system was perfect but I could only imagine the scene for 15 minutes. No picture!! No compensation nothing!
Another one, 3months ago, I bought a wireless router from LY plaza which cost me about RM200 and 3months later, puff, smelly smoke came out from the router and its still under warranty!! There was no lighting or what so ever that day when I online, the router just died of nature. OK fine, so I went to the shop again to redeem my rights as a consumer. Guess what! That kinda situation is not under warranty! So, what is under warranty? Where is our rights??? A lesson to be learnt, I guess, remember to ask what kind of warranty are they offering!!