Saturday, March 7, 2009

Made In Malaysia

Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I have developed a conscience. Maybe the Hajj has something to do with it. May even be that I no longer care about what other people think. I honestly don't know the real reason.

What I do know is that I am experiencing a sudden burst of patriotic fervour in, of all things, grocery shopping.

Brands that say "Made In Malaysia". Brands proclaiming halal, suci and bersih (permissible, unadulterated & pure, clean).

Make no mistake. I have never compromised on the 'halalness' of what I use and have been buying halal and suci products for as long as I can remember. It's the brands I am talking about.

For a long time I avoided many locallly made products for the simple reason that they sounded unsophisticated and local. In other words, 'takder kelas'.

Of course, when I think about my erstwhile shallowness, I cringe. Then again, we are allowed sheer stupidity in the course of our lives because life itself is one long learning experience.

I can take the easy way out by blaming my anglophilic tendencies on my upbringing. Grandpa was the consummate anglophile; unashamedly so.

He taught me English before I step foot into school, and spent his free time reading books and magazines ordered direct from England, his two favourites being 'Reader's Digest' and 'Popular Mechanic'.

His breakfast was Horlick and Quaker Oats, or half-boiled eggs and toast with marmalade. Porridge or congee was to be eaten with Marmite. And absolutely nothing but Chivers for jam.

Shopping was done at The Store, where the butcher's white apron was as crisp as his accent and prices were shown in Malayan dollars and pound sterling.

I stepped foot in Kuala Lumpur with the notion of "British Is Best." I was that way raised. True, I could have used my head to think, but I was young and impressionable and rational thinking wasn't part of the deal. Mary Quant was all the rage and I was a dedicated follower.

It was not until I went to UK that I learned Marks & Spencer and Clarks were just your usual everyday brands. I had always thought those were 'the' brands to end all brands.

Coming back down to earth, it feels good to wean oneself off this foreign yoke. Can I live without imported foodstuffs? Can I survive without Brazilian coffee and Earl Grey? Are there alternatives to Woods Grape Peppermint Cure and Mothercare?

Yes I can and yes there are. Although I have no intention of denying and depriving myself and my family good products, local brands take precedence.

Brand consciousness is such a waste of money. On a few occasions, I had paid RM10 for a bar of soap just because the brand was 'green', thus 'in'. Nothing elevates one's status faster than being seen as a 'greenie.'

The time has come to use discretion while shopping. Just as foreign brands do not necessarily translate into 'the real thing', local names certainly do not mean substandard products.

Safi shampoo (limau purut scent) is marvelous and Safrah face cleanser does the job just as well, and at a fraction of the cost compared to imported ones. And they don't come any suci-er! What more can one ask for?

21 comments:

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Ya, dalam Islam aspek kesucian dan kebersihan sesuatu barangan adalah amat penting, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai anting-anting.

Queen Of The House said...

I think this just goes to show that Malaysia Boleh!!

(I share your ... errrr .. sentiment? upbringing? from my grandpa's Reader's Digest right down to Mary Quant etc). I am glad we are finally realising that what's imported aren't necessarily the best. They are certainly not the cheapest around.

Kama said...

Ray - betul apa yg ray kata
angguk kama dengan terkebil mata
asyik tengok ray pakai anting2
sampai duduk hampir terpelanting!

Qoth - i think every bodoh sombong has its limit.. I hv attained my pinnacle..hehehehe..

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, I have never been brand conscious. If anything is good, and functional , I buy, no matter where it is made. And you know, I go home to Malaysia to buy clothes while Malaysians come to london to buy theirs.

My father was quite an anglophile as well - and we too grew up on Quacker oats bought from Barakath Store, and once in a while we'd have Black Magic chocolates.

Now, I yearn for things malaysians.

Salt N Turmeric said...

Hear ye! Hear ye!

I feel kinda embarrassed when I think the amount of money that I spent back when I was younger and earning my own money. It was not necessarily bad since it was my own money, hasil titik peluh I but still!

Finding out how 'everyday brand' those stuff that are sold as 'designer brand' in KL/Msia is really an eye opener. That said, I heard that there's an Old Navy in Msia now. Is this true?

mekyam said...

chalk it to pragmatism too, puteri! ;D

given the times, i think one has to make a concerted effort to help with the economic recovery of wherever one's periuk nasi is. and buying local whenever possible is just plain good sense.

me, barring rempah and suchlike, i try to buy most things made in yankland nowadays. not an easy feat, i have to admit. most things here are made in china since many yank companies went to town outsourcing to the middle kingdom in the last decade. :D

Pi Bani said...

I ni memang jenis cheapskate kot. I never was the type who'd go for the branded type. As long as I'm comfortable with whatever I buy, doesn't matter what brand - even if it's a brand yang orang tak pernah dengar. Kalau nak cakap about being "classy", I ni confirm memang takde class langsung!!

Tapi sometimes when I use a cheap product, ada juga orang tegur, "Eh, cantik. Beli kat mana?" Nak jawab pun segan... kat pasar malam... hehehe...

─╣aptop™ said...

Likewise, the same applies to bab mencari jodoh.
Better to have Malaysian made/born in Malaysia.
Siap dengan ada cop SIRIM nya sekali.

Anonymous said...

Puteri,
...life itself is one long learning experience.
I totally agree with you because I am just about to start all over again - bearing in mind that I am older than Pak Abu.

F1 Driver

Zendra said...

Satu perubahan yang menunjukkan haji kama mabrur, agaknya.

bangkai said...

Your Grandpa sounds like my kind of guy! Bet you he adores scones, too.

Altho I'm an unrepentant Anglophile, my buying pattern is pretty much like yours: buy Malaysia first. Pelikan (the renown pen maker)is now a Malaysian company... phew!

Now... if only a Malaysian company can come up with a decent notebook...

Capt's Longhouse said...

,,,Part of our role to help pull through the economic crisis right now is to buy Malaysian product!
,,,Well done Mak aji, you are leading the initiatives for the country n rakyat survival.
,,,Every single Malasian MUST proactively participate in this manner.
,,,every cents count, don't forget this !.
,,,perhaps you can reactivate Tun Razak's Buku Hijau programme too ?,,,Plant our own vegetables !

Capt.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Bersih and suci...that's the way to go. I switched to local products some time back and I found them as good as the imported ones. Safi, Mukmin are a few that's been in my list. Reasonably priced and just within my reach on the supermarket aisle :)

Kama said...

Kak Teh - That's always the case, kak Kak Teh? when we are far away from home, we yearn for all things 'home'.

Farina - makes you feel kind of "Tipah Tertipu" kan? the price we pay for being too brand conscious la tu..

Mekyam - it's true what you say; buying local has a lot of merit.

Pi - my best buddy Julie (now dah migrate to Australia) anak lord, duduk di d'sara heights. her clothes punyalah cantik2. one day i commented on one very pretty blouse yg dia pakai.. and she said.. psstt.. this one bought in petaling street for RM25! julie was very down to earth...

Lap - u nak kawin ka? meh I tolong pi pinang..

F1 - it is never too late. just look at us two codgers..hehehe

Zendra - mudah2an Allah makbulkan doa untuk haji mabrur.

Mat B - indeed he did. you and he would make quite a pair.. having buttered scones and cucumber sandwiches while sipping Assam or Darjeeling... LOL

Capt - plant my own vegetables? aduhh.. I tanam serai dengan pandan pun tak hidup.. I wish I hv green fingers.

Kay - I never realised banyak local suci brands in the market today until I went to buy shampoo not so long ago. and I didn't even know that the 'zaitun' brand is no more..

Tommy Yew said...

Hi Puteri,

I’m not too particular when it comes to non-edible stuff like clothings, white goods etc. But for food stuff, you must give it to the ‘western countries’, for their stringent quality control which makes a lot of difference. That’s why I don’t mind paying extra for my piece of mind. See the recent China milk product scam. I’m not trying to knock us Asians but our business practises need a lot to be desired, unlike the ang-mohs who will go out of their way to protect their Brand image, I’m not saying 100% are squeaky clean but given a choice, I’ll go for KwaiLos brands anytime.

Cheers,
Tommy

Kama said...

Tommy - I tend to agree with you on that score. The only issue I (and Muslims in general I guess) hv with imported foodstuff is the halalness of the some of the products (with the exception of cheese, thank God). Camembert and Brie still hv to be the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Brand is not important...its about quality,value for money and stuff like that.Thats why i sometimes choose a Gucci rather than stick to LVs.And once in awhile Fendi can be adorable too.
However,this philosophy has not filtered down to consumables such as rice,sugar and stuff.How I look fwd to a cup of Prada coffee sugared by Armani..and feast on D & G nasi dagang with a Blahnik pickles.
Its never about brands when you can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Prada actually are co branding coffee my dear Anon...so you should try it soon.

Princess

Kama said...

Anon 1 and 2 - how interesting, hehehe... gimme nasik dagang mokcik nah anytime. btw, I hv never owned a fendi or a prada. I hv had gucci and LV in another lifetime, though. Now I hv a couple of ethnic bakuls as handbags.

Anonymous said...

please...where can i get this mak cik nah nasi dagang?

Isma

Kama said...

Isma - you are late by about 15 years. She passed away in dungun the early 90s. Kak Puteri saja sebut nama dia sebab nasi dagang dia memang best. :)