Friday, May 01, 2009

Drinking US$5 cups of tea show you're a true postmodern Asian

My friend Andy told me he goes to Starbucks every day. I told him he was a coffee addict. He shook his head. "Actually, I can't stand the stuff," he whispered. "I order tea."

Andy is your typical modern Asian yuppie fashion victim, or what I prefer to call "an idiot." You may think that's harsh, but anyone who pays US$5 (HK$39) for a cup of tea - just to look good - deserves to be dissed.

But then I realized I was no different. I go to trendy Western restaurants, but sneak in a bottle of chili sauce to give the food a chance to bite back. (Warning: If you do this, DO NOT keep the chili sauce in your trouser pocket. Accidents can cause inflammation of the underpants, which can painfully damage your chance of fathering multitudes).

It's funny: the inhabitants of Asian cities look totally Westernized these days. Yet, scratch the surface and you find traditional Asians underneath.

So here is a list of Signs That You Are a Postmodern Asian.

If you haven't eaten rice at least once a day, you feel hungry. You have black hair, but think of it as dark brown. Many members of your family have politically incorrect nicknames, such as Fatty-Uncle. Your No1 guilty secret: you enjoy karaoke.

You have lived next door to someone for five years, but know nothing about them. Your older relatives still think that you have to shout into phones to make yourself heard. You drive a German car in your dreams, and a Toyota in real life. You think wearing a Rolex Oyster is a legal requirement for Asian businessmen.

You have Western pills in your medicine cabinet, but also strange smelling rocks, seeds and a bit of sliced deer antler. You have never even thought about paying full price for a DVD or CD. Your parents don't realize that there are other things you can study at university other than accounting, business, medicine, law and engineering. You have at least one friend whose first name is a noun, as in Diphtheria Chan.

You never realized that solitaire could be played without a computer. There are jars of dried leaves in the pantry of your family home. Your mobile phone has a different ring tone for your main spouse and your "minor" spouse.

You know more European designer labels than any of your European friends. You have no time for organized religion, but take the fung shui of your office seriously. You think there's nothing odd with an adult buying a Nintendo DS or a PSP for his or her own use.

You think of all software as freeware. Several of your friends use what they think are trendy, popular Western names, such as Winnie, Gilbert, and Fanny. You are amazed what your Western friends pay for designer Asian clothes that look like stuff in your grandmother's wardrobe. You have no interest in classical music, but were forced to do piano or violin all the way to grade eight.

All your Western friends think you are a whiz at maths. And lastly, you are reading this in a designer coffee shop - drinking a US$5 cup of tea.

IRB servers overwhelmed

Done my 1st tax filing cum e-filing at 5am, 30 Apr.

Thursday April 30, 2009

PETALING JAYA: For the second year in a row, taxpayers filing their tax returns online at the last minute have caused the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) computer servers to jam up.

On a normal day, filing the returns online would only take a couple of minutes but the process took hours in the last few days as today’s deadline approached.

IRB has acknowledged the problem, and advised that the best time to access the e-Filing system is between 1am and 7am.

Last year, the servers were also jammed up in the last few days before the April 30 deadline.

Taxpayers crowding the IRB office in Kelana Jaya yesterday as the deadline for filing their tax returns nears. - GLENN GUAN / The Star

About 1.2 million people - almost half of the 2.5 million taxpayers in the country - used the e-Filing system last year.

When the system was first introduced in 2006, only 187,000 taxpayers responded to online filing of taxes. The number grew by more than 350% in 2007, with 876,000 e-filers.

Counter services at the IRB headquarters in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, were extended to 10pm yesterday and will be extended until midnight today. More than 70 computers have been set up at the headquarters to assist taxpayers to file their taxes.

At 8am, there was already a growing crowd at the Shah Alam office while at noon the Kelana Jaya office was packed.

Kelana Jaya IRB public relations officer Noorhaya Ibrahim said there was an average of 3,000 people daily for the past week and the crowd had doubled in the last two days.