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Monday, August 18, 2008
Who’s Your Daddy? (The Merdeka Post)

Dedicated to every down and trodden Malaysian.

"Just because I'm losing
Doesn't mean I'm lost
Doesn't mean I'll stop
Doesn't mean I would cross."
~ Coldplay, 'Lost'.

‘Do you know who my father is?’ he barked on the mobile. Earlier that day, my brother and I visited his office, a tiny dot on the face of the Earth. Prior to our appointment with Daddy’s Boy, we were at Michael Chong’s for some legal advice.

‘Do you know who my father is?’ he asked. ‘My father knows Mahathir, ok! Do you know who you are getting involved with?’

These were the words of a full grown man businessman, who co-developed a Malaysian franchise. We are not talking about some kampung business selling prawn crackers. No offence to the successful business women in Kelantan, who by the way (I’m assuming), worked hard for their money and relied on nobody but their backbones. We are talking about a legitimate business with ’11 years of technology’ behind the brand name. Those were also the words uttered by Daddy’s Boy (though I personally prefer to call him ‘Purse Carrier’ in my private time).


Without going into details (less they sue me because they evidently spend more energy, time and money on making sure the little they’ve gotten from impressionable and hopeful young entrepreneurs stays within their bank account) it is suffice to say that I am all for building a high standard franchise brand.

There are lots of issues that I have very many questions to ask and they have a lot to answer for. But what irritates me most about the franchise was the willingness to use Mahathir’s name. Poor ex-premier’s name being used by some businessmen for personal gains. (I've no issues if the said business man had used Mahathir's name to promote some kind of charity event).

Can you imagine that my brother and I had to seek for FREE LEGAL ADVICE to ensure that the franchisor cannot suck any more money from my little brother? Contrasting our story is Daddy’s Boy, who not so subtly asked us to be careful because his father is a friend’s of Mahathir.

(I’d like to think that even our ex prime minister has some standard to maintain-lah. It is unlikely that Daddy's Boy or the good Daddy himself share Sunday Roast with Mahathir. This post has nothing to do with our previous Prime Minister. He happens to be a by-stander in this Merdeka post, whose name was borrowed and leeched off till kingdom come.)


We are putting up flags and banners to celebrate Merdeka. Fifty one years on and we (still) have many grown men telling common people who their daddies are. What big crying shame!

Won’t you take a minute to think where our nation is heading to, if legitimate businesses NEED to borrow big shot names to justify their business and survival? What happened to running your business based on just principles and healthy competition? What happened to right and wrong? What happened to defending the poor and needy? What happened to responsibility and accountability? What ever happened to consumer’s rights?

My brother is not pursuing the matter. He just wants to get the whole issue behind his back. His energy is drained and his enthusiasm is crushed momentarily. I however, have much energy to pursue this and to highlight the fact that each and every Malaysian’s consumer rights should and must be protected from the big shots and even bigger names. Businesses must be accountable and responsible for the product that they are peddling.

My brother was one of three franchisees opened at the same time. Out of the three, two of them chose to end their businesses within very short time. From my last two sentences, please form your own judgement on the quality of the franchise brand.

Now the excuse offered was, ‘Businesses have up and down’ and ‘sometimes you win, sometimes you lose’. That is a fact that I will not deny. However do you not agree with me when I say that most people buy a franchise brand for its in depth knowledge and experience in a certain type of business? Basically when you buy a franchise, you are buying a systematic approach towards a particular business. The success rate should be higher than opening a business on your own.

A franchisor has to maintain a certain standard of quality. Blaming many franchisees for lacking tenacity and perseverance is sloppy and unprofessional. At the end of the day, a franchisor is responsible for weeding out grass from corn. A franchisor should have a system of identifying suitable franchisee partners to work with and pursue a relationship with people who will be able to withstand and stay competitive within the game.

My modestly short list of criticism includes:
  • You do not hand out a franchise agreement to every Tom, Dick and Harry who hands you the cash for the start-up (which by the way equals approximately a Honda City in cash at minimum). (Failure rate of 2/3 does not look good to prospective franchisees.) You should set up several interviews to discern the best from the lot and work with those who are committed to your vision. For example, Kumon protects its brand name by insisting that all franchisees work within the franchise on a full time basis. This ensures commitment and dedication (which guarantees a certain quality for the brand name).

  • You have to identify profitable areas and look for franchisees in those locations. You should have done your market survey and know which locations work and which don’t. You do not allow a franchisee to open wherever he thinks fits him. After all, you are called "PARENT company" for a reason. You should know better.

    On a micro scale, you do not allow a franchisee to open in an unfavourable spot in the shopping mall because in almost all businesses, it is always about location, location, location!

  • You must have sufficient time to train your future manager and staff. First impression means everything, so you should never allow your franchisee to open his doors before he is fully equipped, trained and staffed. How is it possible for you to allow a franchisee to open your franchise brand when a simple thing called ‘staffing’ is not prepared, trained and resolved?

  • You should listen to the grievances of your franchisees with an open mind and see to their needs through your support system. You must make time for your franchisees and not claim that you are attending one meeting after another and have no time for your clients. You should solve grievances within a target time shorter than your very best of ‘3 to 5 weeks time’. That is almost as miserable as TMnet's current duel with MiniBoyFriend, who is trying to terminate his internet service since February 2008.

    The best part is you have spent your resources defending your little bit of money instead of solving the issue. In your busy schedule of getting more franchisees to sign up, you do not even know what is the issue at hand. We do not want all our money back. We want what is right for Malaysia as a acceptable and standard practice. We want justice and consumer rights for the average Malaysian. We do not want some big company threatening us with legal action this and that. We are just small folks.

    Take a hint from AirAsia who responded positively to Kenny Sia's criticism. They could have sued him for defamation but instead were gracious and generous enough to take a little criticism and show sincere actions to improve their products and services. Well done, AirAsia. I will vote for Tony Fernandes as Prime Minister any time of the day!

  • I do not appreciate being told/advised by the franchisor’s employees that I should use a softer approach ‘because he (the boss) will become hard if you are hard on him’. I have the right to question if a mistake was made. The last time I have heard, it was my brother who paid you a sum of money. In my book, that makes him your customer and not your slave/court jester.

    And unlike some employees who might need to curry flavour some bosses, customers do not need to butter the boss. And don’t you even dare start with the ‘my father knows Mahathir’ miserable line of an immensely pathetic excuse.


This ‘who’s my daddy?’ would have been an urban legend in many countries but it is alive and well in ours. Welcome to Boleh-Land. We send astronauts into space and build the tallest towers. We use the internet and have hifi, wifi, 3G and whatsonots everywhere. We are the land of everything also must can – from the longest dumpling to the fastest worm in Malaysia. We are still working on a Gold in the Olympics but that’s okay. Lee did us proud anyway. We sent some guys up to Everest and to the north pole. And yet, grown men borrow their daddies names and that of every important person they know with the aim of bullying and intimidating the common Malaysian man.

Everyone had their very own come back lines when they heard the 'Who's your daddy?' line. These lines painfully highlights the differences between the well-connected upper class with political connections and the common everyday everywhere people like you and me.

Him: Do you know who my father is?
Me: Who the hell is your father?
Him: My father knows Mahathir.
Me: Eerm… What am I supposed to say? Congratulations? I'm glad that your dad knows Mahathir. My dad knows Mahathir too. We used to have his photos on our walls.

Him: Do you know who my father is? He knows Mahathir.
A very white Mat Salleh: Do YOU know who MY father is? He knows Ah Beng, the pirated DVD seller on Tuesday’s pasar malam. Can get really cheap DVDs one…

Him: Do you know who my father is? He knows Mahathir.
A 64 year old retired English teacher: So what if your father knows Mahathir? Does that make you right?

Him: Do you know who my father is?
My brother: *in rather meek tone* Who is your father?
Him: My father knows Mahathir. So don’t play around with me.
My brother: Sir, I am not playing around, sir. I am quite serious about the business.
(After hanging up, my brother looked to me and said: Die lah, die lah. They (are) preparing C4 now.
To which I replied: You think it's easy to get a hand on the C4 now?)

What is your best come back line? What would you say if someone intimidates you with his father's name? Let's celebrate Merdeka this year with some deliciously wicked come back lines to the bullies. Submit your smartest and cheekiest come back to 'Who's Your Daddy?' in this post's comment section.


If we were more prepared, we would have recorded the whole conversation and posted it on YouTube. It was a huge surprise to hear those words. It was the topic of conversation for days and many jokes were spawned from the "Who's Your Daddy?". We are living in 2008 in the land of the free and here is an overseas educated and good looking man (and likely father to some kids) using his daddy's name and Mahathir's name like a baby using a bib while feeding from the milk bottle. But alas, we did not record it, so he is not going to be a superstar anytime soon. (I really wished that we did though because his reaction would be priceless and worth every single Ringgit paid.)

My family is not pursuing the matter anymore. The issue is resolved and closed as far as the family is concerned. Well we have lost, isn't it? We do not know Mahathir and he claims that his father does. The company has a huge legal eagle machinery to condemn us to financial ruins. So Daddy's Boy wins and we have lost. The franchisor is yet to reimburse some money which they had promised and we are not hopeful. I told my brother that this is a bitter lesson that he must learn. Life is not all wonderful and businessmen can be as cunning as they can be honest.

I am writing this so my young readers will be informed and educated. Read the terms and conditions of your franchise agreement properly. Read the fine print. Hire a lawyer to protect your rights BEFORE you sign the agreement. A franchise brand is like all other businesses. It isn't infallible. Choose your business partners wisely. Protect, yes protect your rights as a consumer and do not be afraid to ask questions. Be brave to seek for what you think is right and is rightfully yours - as a member of civil society, a consumer, a citizen of a free country called Malaysia.

But above all, think of Malaysia. Love our country. Show some pride in your conduct. Shape your future. You can be better than the ordinary. All of us are born equal. This isn't the 1800s. We are no more living in a feudal system where some lord has the right to push us around - where the folks have to bow to those with connections and right family names. In Malaysia, we are each accountable for our actions. We cannot blame our parents and grandparents for our choices. We cannot blame our forefathers or politicians for their choices in the past. We make our choices today and shape our very future.

It is time for our nation to grow up and walk on our own two feet. Fifty one years on, we are more than ready to grow stronger shoulders so we can carry our own weight and walk the long and narrow. We no longer use our father’s name. We have ours.


"You might be a big fish
In a little pond
Doesn't mean you've won
Cause along may come
A bigger one."
~ Coldplay, ‘Lost’.

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His father knows Mahathir, so what? Everybody in Malaysia also knows Mahathir what.
Put it this way, I also know Britney Spears what, its just that she doesn't know me only.
Besides, what can Mahathir's name do now anyway.

Him: Do you know who my father is? He knows Mahathir.
Me: My farder is RELATED to Mahathir. His ancestors are cousins of my ancestors, I think they're even of the same species.

6:08 pm  

Mahathir so what? Badawi so what? Anwar so what? Are we going to bound down to people that has power, money and status only? I only choose to respect people has intelectual and passion in what they do. My simple theory of life.

6:02 am  

This really annoys me the way how in Malaysia we always have to know people to get around.

What about those people who dont know anyone ?? Guess we will never never get anywhere in life.

We will never grow up as we constantly depend on people and free stuff and the NEP of course.

I really dislike this talk that I so often hear in Malaysia ! besides that it usally follow with So and do Doctor , Engineer, Lawyer etc ! Who cares I know people with Engineering degress who cheated during exams in uni. Its just a title its not WHO you ARE.

1st World Tech 3rd World Mentality.

PS: Btw the Avril concert came out in the UK papers under the Joke section. BRAVO !

3:08 pm  

Happy Merdeka!

5:12 am  

Hey there! Come and join us for a BBQ buffet at the beach in Penang with watersports activities included this Christmas! Sign up now! Check out my website at Thanks!

3:43 pm  


11:25 pm  

New Cabinet:

Prime Minister - Anwar

Deputy Prime Minister - Lim Kit Siang

Agriculture Minister -

Community Minister -

Culture Minister - Farish Noor

Defence Minister - Azmin Ali

Education Minister - Nga Kor Ming

Environment Minister - Teresa Kok

Finance Minister - Tony Pua

Foreign Minister - Ramasamy

Health Minister - Tan Seng Giaw

Home Minister - Sivarasa

Information Minister - Jeff Ooi

Law Minister - Teng Chang Khim

Manpower Minister -

Sports Minister -

Technology Minister -

Trade Minister - Khalid

Transport Minister - Liew Chin Tong

Tourism Minister -

8:25 pm  

hey otto still waiting for a new post u ok ?

6:54 pm  

dear M'am, you dont write anymore? i miss your entries because it gives me insights and perks me up. till then, please take care!

7:33 pm  

why is kennysia a related link in this post?

4:57 pm  

Its a nice blog! Carry on! Will be back soon!
shopping website

2:20 am  

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