Quality, at the sacrificial alters of compromise.

People have found a new way to make a quick buck; by cutting corners. A little less of this, a smaller size of that, fewer these and voila! Profit margins increase. But then again, few years down the road, profits need to be increased again and the cutting and slashing frenzy begins. Soon we’ll be living in a world where slices of bread will be paper thin, paint would have the same consistency as water and buildings would be as solid as ginger bread. So the question that has been niggling at the back of my mind is this; How far would people go till quality is seen as obsolete?

Yesterdays headlines read ‘MyKad Error’ where over a million holders have reported the chip to be faulty. Oh for goodness sake! Do you mean to say the chip which had our personal data is of cheap quality!?? Apparently the manufacturers didn’t realize that we would use our identification card for trivial matters such as bank accounts and saving schemes.

Recently, the building in which I work in had a mishap where a section of the lobby crumbled and fell. Fortunately, none was injured. Or should I say unfortunately, because that’s what we do. We wait for someone poor ole soul to be tragically killed or injured before we leap into action like some kind of lame hero. But I digress.

This same building has had problems with leaky ceilings all over its corridors and classrooms and more money is being spent on patching and ‘camouflaging’. But I haven’t gone to the good part yet. The building is hardly four years old! Now as far as I know, no earthquake took place anywhere near the vicinity. Is it not a little ludicrous to cut corners while building and then spent the same money that you saved from those corners on unnecessary repairs? Even a 5-year-old can tell that’s terrible financial management. How stupid can you be?? By you, I mean corporate morons who oversee the process of the building and squeeze the contractors dry.

By now, I am sure readers can guess where the root of my frustrations comes from. Frankly, I’m a little fed up of hearing my grandparents ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the greatness of the things they use to have back in the days. Then, a whole loaf of bread could feed my grandfather’s entire family of seven! When now, that same loaf could barely satisfy the dog. I would like to enjoy a nice big fat juicy sausage every now and then instead of the pale limp ones we find at the grocers. Or I would like to sit comfortably in my chair without worrying whether one of its legs would give way. I do understand the need for profits as the cost of living rises every single day. But, manufactures transfer that shortage to reducing the value of products. At the end of the day the never-ending cycle comes back to us. It is we who suffer because of poor quality products. Why not take pride in producing high-quality products. Some may argue saying that the underprivileged are unable to afford high-quality. This may be true but then what of construction and basic staples?

Exactly a year back, there was a news report where several house buyers here had a rude shock when they checked the houses – the outer frames of their windows were made from polystyrene! According to a rep from the architect, the sills were not meant to be stepped on as they were purely for decoration. What utter @*&?!! What next? Cardboard walls as nobody is suppose to lean on them!?? How can someone get away with this? Doesn’t quality mean something to anybody anymore?

I shudder to think of what our children would have to put up in the future. I know it quite impossible for manufactures and corporateurs to show even the slightest of integrity in producing high-quality products so I’m assuming that my frustrations will not meet its end anytime soon. All I do now is just pray that the ceiling of the room in which I am sitting right now doesn’t right smack on top of my head! Oh and there goes my pen…

By Nitha Nathan

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