Credit versus Debit

By Hakim Joe

Credit in terms of income is what one would get for services rendered or what the layman calls salary or income or wages or revenue. It can also imply what we are able to obtain either through legal (or illegal) means. It might be in the form of a lottery ticket win or a legacy left behind from someone’s last will and testament. Alternately, it could be an undeclared payment from some sinister job or otherwise. 

Debit on the other hand is how we spend or use or squander this income. Food, utility bills, licence renewals, vehicle instalments and maintenance, home mortgages, entertainment, clothing, repairs, traffic fines, donations, medication, insurance, investments, etcetera. Some might even use it to purchase male/female companionship.

The remainder is what we term as savings or what the opulent calls liquidity. So far so good. While some have positive remainders, a lot of us have negative remainders and these are usually amounts owing to the credit card companies because plastic is so easily obtainable and flashing one is not as painful as paying in cash.

In the real world where a man has to work his butt off to obtain sufficient credit to offset the debit, it is a hard ritual of waking up at some ungodly hour, getting stuck in traffic to the workplace, tolerating those higher up in the hierarchy with a smile, packing in an eatery during lunch attempting to wolf down some ungainly looking stuff impersonating as food before the allocated lunch hour is up and back into the traffic when the time is up. Five days a week, four weeks a month and twelve months a year until we have stashed enough dough for retirement.

And then there are the politicians, Boleh-Land politicians to be precise.

We see them in luxury cars as big as our master bedrooms with a professional driver, bodyguards and police outriders clearing the way for them as if they were in reality god personified.

And there are their official residences with front gates as wide as the length of our apartments and a land area probably larger than our entire block of flats.Additionally, there are their kids, driving those German or Italian marques, who spend more during one night out in town than what we make in a month.

What about the missus and the personal maids? The fine epicurean dining at posh restaurants with those unpronounceable French or Italian names? The private schools for the children, the overseas vacations, the club memberships, suits by Ferragamo, Armani and Hugo Boss for him and clothes from DKNY, YSL and Dior for her, shoes by Charles Jourdan and Tod’s, bags by LV and Gucci, umbrellas by Burberry, Rolex and Brequet watches, Mont Blanc pens, DuPont lighters and the most essential fetish of them all – “housefly eyes’” sunglasses by either D&G or Versace.

Now, how is it that their credit is so much more than ours? I did a calculation of just how much the repayments are to borrow 3 Million bucks (BLR=5.55%) for a period of 20 years and it came to $20,721.43 per month.

The reason why I used 20 years is that all banks do not usually allow a lender to exceed 65 years old before he completes his repayments.

Now that we have the bungalow loan, what about the cars? Let’s say three cars at an average half a million a piece with 10% down payment. That is a repayment of $17,000 per month for the next 108 months and a whooping $37,721.43 a month of combined repayments even if their other debit is zero i.e. they don’t drive those cars, switch on the electricity, use the tap, dine and wine, visit the quacks, pay up their insurance policies, change their clothes and their maids work for free.

I know that Boleh-Land is a rich country but do we really pay our ministers that much a month? So much that their “liquidity” additionally allows them to invest in “investments” after all those repayments? A prime minister gets less than $30K a month and I think I would not be incorrect to assume that ministers and deputy ministers get a figure less than that.

Unless my calculator works in another manner (as compared theirs), the maths just don’t add up right. Is this what the former PM terms as “money politics” as in “there is money in politics”?

When the former PM of Boleh-Land, during a time of madness (with wolves howling in the background), proposed that all politicians declare their assets as a gesture of “trust and integrity”, what he got was not wolves but these politicians howling (in rage). That was his undoing and he made more enemies with just one statement than the total number of foes he accumulated from his previous ten or fifteen lifes added together and tripled.

Now, why is it that those politicians deem it insulting? It isn’t as if they would have to personally list down everything, right? With an excessive of credit, it would have been as simple as getting the secretary to call his accountant to prepare it for his signature, but I digress. If my actual credit exceeds my legal credit, I would have probably turned into a wolf and joined in the howling bout as well.

With the setup of MACC and what-not, one would think that it would have been quite simple to identify those with more credit than what they should have. Afterall, there are such things as bank accounts and financial statements.

Oh, I completely forgot… MACC is responsible for nabbing those “in the process” of accepting additional credits ala corruption (mind you, not money politics, ok?) and not after the fact. Oops! Sorry, my mistake… for awhile then I imagined MACC being established as an independent, non-partial, apolitical organisation. My apologies.

So, where was I? Yes, the question remains why my parents did not buy up the entire rubber plantation (some forty years ago) called Bukit Bintang when they had the chance to do so at a ridiculous price of ten cents a square feet? Well, at least some good came from not buying it cause you guys (and gals) would not have had the honour of reading this if they (my parents) did.