Edward Degas "Waiting", 1882
“RM6,000 easily for every RM2,000 investment. There are ready customers. Two months only and they have already received calls from a customer from Johor..”
I feigned interest amidst the torrent of “facts” on some venture involving freshwater fish from my dearly beloved wife during a good weekend when we managed to sneak in some cozying hours with our daughters succumbing to their hectic morning play schedule.
Apparently, some colleague of hers had made some investment and telling others of how big a potential and how lucrative it was.
Having covered one such assignment involving a similar state government mooted project sometime back, somehow their calculations on potential revenues and earnings – to me - seemed overly optimistic, to say the least.
She caught my doubts (hiding them from her has never been my forte, really) and she asked if I wasn’t even a wee bit curious of the opportunity presented.
I did what good husbands always do when caught red handed and blabbed something incoherent.
The venture – as far as I can recall – goes something like this: you buy a container (some new age plastic thingy), breed some 1,000 or so freshwater fish inside and when they mature, sell them off to give you – the owner – your money back and more.
All fair, really, except for the level of enthusiasm that somehow belittled the level of effort and the patience required before you could eventually get your investment value.
My own quantification show that you would have to wait a full year before the sale figure would allow you to break even and this is without taking into account the required investment into feeds and other costs.
There is no such thing as easy money.
We were introduced to another “business” last year promising much for so little and that much, much money would be coming our way by following simple, simple moves. It seems kosher (pardon the phrase!) so we went in.
It was much later that I learn of the great Charles Ponzi and his ingenious method of making money and how those in the tail end section of the grand scheme would not be making that much after all.
(I so hate to use the Malay phrase for something so alike what we went into. The shame, the humiliation! )
There are, of course, success stories but, as I have come to realize since, these sort of income are not sustainable once the enthusiasm level wanes.
My wife continues to look for opportunities, while I am too tired to believe in such grand projections anymore and sticking to my freelance articles writing which gives me such pleasures (and headaches when the topics are dull) as I work late into the night finishing them.
The pay I get is hardly even 10 percent of what I earn every month, but the satisfaction when I see the increment in my account is non quantifiable. It reminds me of the good old days of my writing scripts for a now defunct television series.
It was a lot of hard work – the scriptwriter has to be there during the shooting for some impromptu amendments and such – but seeing the check makes the effort worthwhile.
Just as it is the first sip of rose syrup makes the whole day of fasting worth in gold.