Tuesday, October 21, 2008

‘The Lull before the Storm..’ (Segmen A2)

It was mid-morning, Tuesday Oct 07, 2008. We were on our way to Rawang to see on the renovation works. While in the car, Jordie narrated to me of events of the last few days.

He confirmed his workers came back after the festive holidays and were now on site, They had gone earlier in the morning. There were altogether 3 able-bodied, muscular hunks ever ready to start.

Upon arrival in Rawang we found that the water and electricity connection were unfortunately not done just yet .This meant that Siva, the electrical contractor could not start on the wiring works that morning. However, he had enquired from the owner of the next but one lot who was kind enough to allow us to tap the connection from his mains for a few days. Power was restored and works could therefore continue with the temporary connection.

We were again in Rawang on Tuesday Oct 14, 2008. We had stopped over to view the progress while on our way to Proton City, Behrang, just north of Tanjong Malim.

Work had progressed from the last time. All the debris had been cleared. The workers were painting away a new coat of paint on the walls. It was a drab black colour, very unattractive by human standards but ideal for the birds apparently. Jordie had the wisdom of choosing an odourless Nippon paint which had cost more but plainly necessary in order not to distract the birds.

After giving a once-over of all the 3 floors we had then proceeded to Behrang in the late afternoon. We had the intention of conducting a duress test at Encik Shah’s land. However it was just our luck that it rained cats and dogs when we reached Behrang. A test could not be conducted in rainy conditions. However rain stopped later but it was already nearing dark.We proceeded to the land anyway just to view the location with the intention of coming back on another day.

Jordie and I had reasoned that we view sites as and when available. These lands were either made known to us through offers by landowners that Jordie knew or through my friends who had lands that are undeveloped and were willing to participate.

‘There should be no let up in our preparing for future expansion’ Jordie used to say. Despite the impending recession looming our way, the birdhouse industry beckons!

‘We’ll look at any potential site. We’ll build up our arsenal so that we can pick and choose when the time comes. We anticipate reduced economic activities in other sectors as a consequence of the recession. A birdhouse can be an attraction to those looking for an alternative.

We have to be happy with a some level of preparedness’ Jordie said. We had since gone around a 200km distance to the north and south of K.L doing just that ie conducting duress tests.

With a free fall in commodity prices (where CPO is now RM 1700 per ton from a high of RM4400 and crude oil at USD70 per barrel from USD145 all barely 3 months ago), bailouts galore around the globe, volatile stock markets, toxic assets to account for, who is not worried?

While economic activities will be severely curtailed and markets severely restricted, none would remain unscathed. It was predicted to be worst than the 1930’s Depression years, none that we had experienced in our lifetime. It is frightening!.

The recession is coming, slowly but surely. It is expected to reach our shores by the second (Q2) or third quarter (Q3) of 2009. It comes roughly once every decade as shown in 1974, 1985, 1997 and now ‘the mother of all recessions’ in 2009. The pundits had predicted it to be at its worst in 2010. Are we not worried? Not many seemed to care. On the ground life goes on as usual because it has not impacted on them yet. They pride themselves in complaining about the rise in the price of goods and some other mundane things but forgetting bigger things.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, Jordie had targeted for 3 birdhouses by June 2009(the end of Q2). As the birdhouse business is reputedly recession-proof we are lining up for a few more for which we are criss-crossing Perak, Negri Sembilan and Malacca in recent months. (territories within easy one day driving)

‘The lull before the storm’ Yes, we have to set the pace. ‘We have to double our efforts to do the ground work now before it all happens.’ so says Jordie.

It has been termed a financial tsunami. It is very likely to be so, given the current scenario leading to it. The economic meltdown thumbed the big and developed economies. Its ripples would find its way to our shores in no time.