Category Archives: vocation

1010 – For Starters

An anxiously-anticipated telegram in mid-1979 brought me one of the greatest joys in early adult life. Motorola (M) Sdn. Bhd., Penang, had offered me an engineer’s job @ RM1010 per month.  Wow! 

That was huge in those days, considering one other offer from a printing company coming in  at only RM800 and another from Singapore at S$850.  Without a second thought, I took the plunge into the electronics industry, though my training was in mechanical engineering.  (Money lah!!)

Competition for engineering manpower in the Bayan Lepas FTZ was intense in those years. Thus, neighbouring factories like those of Intel, Monolithic Memories, Mostek, HP, etc., embarked on a wage race to lure the nerdy ones.  Motorola responded by generously giving “market adjustments” of around 20% yearly, to everyone — on top of individual performance merits.

Those were the truly “GOOD OLE DAY$”

Hindsight Was Mandatory

Up to the early 1970s (if I remember correctly), all lorries above a certain net tonnage were required by law to have an Attendant at the back.  Apparently, it was to help the driver in front navigate safely through the streets, especially when going in reverse.

“Kelindan Lori” was not a glamorous job by any measure; rather, it was often fraught with danger, toils and snares.  Be it rain or shine, the person had to sit or stand among the goods onboard, without any physical protection.  On top of that, the attendant also had to double up as the primary loader and unloader for the goods.

But in those days, jobs were hard to come by,  thus there was no lack of takers for this work.

By contrast, life for workers in the transport industry is so much better now.