Fret not, it’s a good year ahead.

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By Angela Fernandez

COMMENT: It’s astounding. There he was all along and I did not know it.

I have a pub-going friend, Roger, who has the ability to make insane but sound predictions. “I am psychic and I can predict what will happen in the coming year,” he claims. “Oh dear, the prognosis is not that good.”

And then he suddenly exclaims, “Wait, it’s too quiet out there.”

We’re actually sitting at the back of a noisy pub and Roger’s eyes are beginning to cross. He can’t seem to focus on his beer mug. So I have to lift it to his mouth. Then after a few inebriated seconds, Roger speaks.

“Ahmad Maslan and Ismail Sabri will shut up, but fret not, some other dense ministers will step in to fill the gap with unbelievable stunners. The sheer vacuousness of their remarks will afford Malaysians some comic relief in the months of March, August, September and November. Expect them to say something about unemployment, food prices, salaries and education.

“They will say unemployment is being kept in check. The No 1 and No 2 men still have their jobs and are not likely to be thrown out soon. Food prices are still manageable. Ahmad Maslan is not complaining while Ismail Sabri has sworn to keep a closer watch on his cholesterol so no shortages are expected. Consumers will have enough essentials, including eggs.

“The Red Shirts will rise again. They will wear red T-shirts, red shoes and black pants and ride mostly red or black motorbikes. They will make their first appearance in February and try to rule headlines for a few weeks. They will attempt to irritate everybody by throwing red paint on stalls run by proprietors who apparently indulge in profiteering.

Roger says that’s fine with him as many businessmen are still making big bucks while the rakyat suffer.

“I also see them attacking a fast-food chain with a big M on its roof. The reason? One of their members received two chips short in his French fries as compared with another who got exactly 10 pieces.”

After these breathtaking pronouncements, Roger takes a break and listens to the music and conversations for a while.

Then another pronouncement slides out. “The 6% GST is becoming an encumbrance to count for government accountants. So they are dropping it to a more manageable 4%.

“Businessmen, while applauding the move, are however not pleased at having to reconfigure the accounting systems on their computers. The Customs and Excise Department suddenly find their computers flooded with DOS attacks.”

Roger stops, draws his mug to his mouth and takes a long draught. Suddenly, his eyes glaze over again. He goes into an inner space, his eyes rolling in their sockets. It seems like another pronouncement is coming. Wait for it.

As we gaze expectantly, Roger slumps forward and promptly falls asleep, his face just an inch away from his beer mug. So much for our psychic encounters. – FMT

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