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$850. Without a second thought, I took the plunge into the electronics industry, though my training was in mechanical engineering. (Money lah!!)
Competition for engineering manpower in the Bayan Lepas FTZ was intense in those years. Thus, neighbouring factories like those of Intel, Monolithic Memories, Mostek, HP, etc., embarked on a wage race to lure the nerdy ones. Motorola responded by generously giving “market adjustments” of around 20% yearly, to everyone — on top of individual performance merits.
Those were the truly “GOOD OLE DAY$”
[..It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange…When I try to explain how I feel..]
35 years (a/o 2019) have passed since I quit Motorola, Penang, and went south, in search of greener pastures on a Little Red Dot. Memories – both heart-warming and heart-breaking – came flooding in, as I looked at this old photograph.
Motorola was then the world’s leading portable communications equipment maker, which made it a hotly sought-after employer. We employees used to stride in pride in our distinctive batik-style uniforms even after work, in town!
This was my first place of work and also the place where I met my GF who is now my wife. We had some pretty awesome workplace interactions during the 5 years’ vocational sojurn.
Alas, Motorola today is a faint shadow of its former giant self – as a result of an over-confident leadership that rested too long on its laurels. So sad indeed.
Here I don’t mean that mantra which all politicians, from aspiring wannabes to seasoned veterans, chant feverishly in order to look legit. (But most end up just talking).
Rather, it is about a team of talented engineers at Motorola Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Penang. There, circa 1980~84, they developed the first “designed & built in Malaysia” two-way radio, aka, Walkie-Talkie. The product was launched in 2 tiers, a Low-Tier model HT90 and a High-Tier model HT440. Both series were identical except for the outer case. The HT440 had a two-tone casing.
Daily, the R&D engineers would walk up and down, testing out the prototypes by talking (and listening). Kudos ! Malaysia pasti boleh. Penang lagi boleh.
Oh, where was I ? As a process engineer and NPR coordinator supporting the program — cari makan lah !