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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My First Payday

I just watched this McDonald’s advert on TV. It shows young guy smiling, with his tie loosened out and collar unbuttoned, holding his first paycheque (swaggering in Mont’Kiara). Then it shows his mother, his bills, and other things that he needs to pay. Then the ad ends with him holding a tray McDonald’s McSaver meal and smiling. The whole premise of the ad is that no matter what financial difficulties you’re facing, you can always afford a McSaver.

(Side note: Nobody gets a paycheque as a salary, unless you’re a freelancer, trainee or outsourcee. We get a payslip, which usually holds no significance as it’s always late. The correct Malaysian way is “let me go and line up at the ATM, I want to check if my gaji masuk already or not…”)

Ah, yes, I remember my first month’s pay all those years ago. I was 22, and I remember the days leading up to payday, I was getting more and more desperate as cash was running low, and hutang (debts) was slowly mounting.

But life was great, exciting and positive; I was looking forward to that special day - 28th of May. I even drew up a list of “Things I’m going to buy when my first salary”. Can’t remember much of that list, but getting a decent dinner was definitely one of them. At that time I was renting a room in SS3, had plenty of good friends living nearby, and hung out most of the time in SS2 area.

So the day finally came. My colleagues told me that “money was in” at about 4pm (These old-timers had some kind of 6th sense…) So after work, I rushed to the nearest Maybank ATM and withdrew…my first salary… Woo-hoo! Man, it felt great. The first month of work was challenging, but it was all forgotten at that very moment.

So I went back, set aside some cash for my parents, my rent, repairing my old junk car (is that going be another blog…), then went out for a ‘tai chau’ (‘good’) dinner with some of my good friends…
The following Saturday, I took a No.12 minibus to Sg. Wang Plaza and bought a Sony Walkman for RM300 in a cheery yellow shop. It was the state-of-the art model at that time (Discmans were still too expensive then), single AA battery for 15 hours straight of play. The store guy ‘conned’ me into buying a special remote control headphones for an extra RM30 (which died on me after a month). Stupid remote control.

So followed many, many hours of Metallica, Def Leppard, Manowar, Bon Jovi, et al for me.

I bought a few other things with my first pay that week, but none as memorable as the Walkman. Even after my iPaq, Discman and hi-fi set, I still now use my old grey Walkman. My wife used them to play music for my two children while they were still in the womb.

I was from kind of a disadvantaged background and didn’t have much in life, so the Walkman was very significant to me. I know what it meant never to ask or hope for anything while growing up, coz I always got nothing. But once in awhile, I fire up that trusty old Sony, and listen to James Hetfield say “…Never opened myself this way, Life is ours we live it our way, All these words I don’t just say, nothing else matters…” At that point in time, nothing else matters much.


  • Haha, I remember how dead broke I was, too at that time. Nowadays I am still broke, despite many increases since that first pay check (too many bills to pay).


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/05/2005 09:36:00 am  

  • When I first time work part time job in Form 1, the daily pay was RM30. The first day all went to my family's dinner. I had none left.

    By Blogger Jason, at 4/05/2005 12:30:00 pm  

  • My first pay was RM180 (less after deduct EPF). And that is for a whole month! I was only 17 yrs going to 18 yrs old, right after SPM. I worked as a clerk in OE Design (the jeweller) counting diamonds and weigh gold. Lost one piece, sendiri kena tanggung. Now, can look back and feel proud I went through the grind.

    By Blogger 5xmom, at 4/05/2005 01:45:00 pm  

  • I think that must be many years ago liao. Can understand the excitement, cause after so many years of studying, it finally pay off.

    By Anonymous mrkiasu, at 4/05/2005 04:52:00 pm  

  • pat - dude, your pay has prolly multipled 5X since then!

    jason - where did u work? 7-11?

    5xmom - wah, you lost a piece of gold? that's was painful, man...

    mrkiasu - oh yeah, every payday is still very special! :p

    By Blogger Simon, at 4/06/2005 10:54:00 am  

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