Walked out from Ikano and HH headed to pay the parking ticket. I naturally stood a foot away from the machine.
“Why you stand so far a way?”
“Erm… For a moment i thought you’re withdrawing money from an ATM.”
Then i started to think, the matter of how much one earns and saves is such a secretive and touchy subject here. People who accompany their friend to “press money” from the ATM normally stand far aside and pretend to look away from the screen. Haha, its so funny whenever i look at their expressions.
It’s only natural that people are afraid of letting others know how much they have in their bank account. You never know! Your favorite laundrette man might be a multi-millionaire who has one hundred and five listed companies but at the same time also a disturbing predilection for sniffing women’s panties.
We’re also afraid to tell people how much we are earning. Maybe not afraid, but embarrassed?
But why embarrassed? Is it that you earn so little you fret people looking down on you? Or is it that you earn too much and you worry they will blackmail you with anthrax letters?
The question “How much you earn ah?” is considered fairly intrusive to me. Others find it completely rude and offensive. It’s just like asking “Eh how long is your ku ku jiao ah?”. No one even bother answering you. They think,
“Why you want to know? It’s very personal can?”
“关你屁事。 (None of your fartking business.)”
Porkie said in UK, people would normally answer such question. He said maybe it’s because of the minimum wage thing (the least you can earn is £5+ per hour), so people don’t really bother about it. Or maybe they’re just not as KIASU as us! But in Malaysia, it seems like a complete taboo to talk about salary openly.
Then i wondered, what’s so ashamed to answer that? If i earn RM1,500 a month, why can’t i just say so?
Even when very close friends pop the sensitive question, maybe we’ll answer reluctantly and give a very ambiguous figure.
“Ok lo, enough eat enough use lor!”
“Normal lo. Normal admin rate lor.”
“Less than five figure lo. 搵食艱難啊! (Find eat very hard ah).”
“Very little nia.” (added by Ellone)
Hardly do you hear people answer,
“Me ah? I earn RM2,820 a month lo. You deduct the EPF yourself la.”
Do you think we should talk about salary more openly? Because if no one talks about it, no one knows how much to ask for when applying for a job. How do you know how much is too much and how much is too little? Maybe we’re afraid to ask for too much. The worst thing is, we might set our expected salary too low from the start and never able to recoup the difference.
The employers always win because they know well about the wage range. If you put too high, they don’t hire you. If you put too low, they just pay whatever you asked for and nothing more. They can set salaries using whatever criteria they choose, which perpetuates unfair salaries.
That’s why more often that not we put a higher figure in the “expected salary” column so that there is a space for bargaining. Now applying jobs is like selling Gucci bags in pasar malam.
So, how many of you would tell me how much is your salary?
Seriously , none of my friend will tell me how much they’re earning a month when i asked them. 1/4 of them will only give me an answer like ‘around 2k plus abit lo’ ..like dat…The rest all answer ‘same lo’ , ‘as usual lo’ , ‘very little only’ … -.-”
How come a ?
Ellone:Very little only is classic man. Haha I’m gonna add that.
My celery is about RM4.42 per kg lor…
RM15/hour basic + Outstation Allowances + Unlimited Calls Claim + Toll Rebate + Parking + Entertainment Claim + Company Share Options + Relevant Claims = Surviving Essentials
Haha… guess it is in an asian perpective not to talk abt salary, but then again it may be because of culture as well, the way we’re bought up and stuff…. Then again, what you said is true what is so embarrassing abt how much you earn?
So… how much do you earn ? :p hehe…
it is semi-true for my case! hehe.. i guess when i asked my friends(Singaporeans) they will be reluctant to tell but they will still tell in the end! 🙂 their pay is S$2.8 (starting pay) . I guess they are shy to tell because they are afraid that people would compare with them ! however, i am not interested in knowing people’s wage rate except for bf’s !!
hahha, a little secret goes a long way.
haha! not one here on the comments listed above reported their incomes, either being VERY evasive, laughing it off or switching topics. typical of human nature from an asian mindset. i lived in the states for some time, and asking someone their income is no doubt a sensitive topic but when asked, (generally among acquantainces or people you know at least for some time,) they will tell; not the exact figures though, but at least they will report an income range somewhere along their own vicinity. I work in the higher education sector and I make between 20-25K a month. My wife, whose a businesswoman in the fashion industry, makes 300-450K annually; it varies.
mine is a part-time job: CA$8.50 per hour. I think it’s decent..
I get 3k US per month but after notorious US tax, I get like only 2k in my pocket. That amount is hard to survive on high california cost amd I try my best to save money.
(“-_-) Asian culture…
Guess we just don’t like being compared to each others. Ignorant is a bliss. 😛
I have no interest in how much my friends earned. Probably the only salary i interested in is my OWN! I don mind being overpaid but definately not underpaid. hahaha…
I work in Aust… Aud6k+ per month and after paying tax in Aust I’m only left with Aud 4k+. Pay additional tax to FAMA Malaysia. Wat is FAMA?… FAther MAther lor… and I’m really left enuff to survive. Hahaha…
In brunei most of the government sector salary scales are fixed so you can always estimate how much your friends in the government sector earns, so no point to hide one .. we normally just say it out.
I earn RM2k per month as an Analyst Programmer.
Been working 3 years plus, almost 4, at the same company. Started out at RM1.7k. If they don’t start increasing my salary by more than 10% in the coming salary review, I’m gonna hop else where.
Salary’s below average for an AP but the benefits & EPF % make up for it. But I’m still not satisfied. We’ll never be satisfied with what he have.
I earn RM 2888 per month. Now go and buy this lottery number. Jackpot liao share me some ok?
sometimes its BETTER NOT TO TELL !
personally i feel its rude to ask how much is one’s salary , unless the person doesnt mind revealing, otherwise its a private matter to most people, everyone’s got their own reason of not telling how much they earn
I’ve got this friend .. thinking now, I HATE HER.. SHE’s A SLY ! who constantly ask how much i earn, how much my boyboy give me . Back then, i was young and naive , so i told her the figures of my income ( not exact amount) . Then just some months ago she told me some sob story and that she needed to borrow a few Gs from me !!!
I don’t really believe her sob tales but i lent her fraction of what she wanted cuz i thought she might be in some trouble. Few weeks later i found out it was a total lie ….. she used the money for comfort enhancements and best part is when i confronted her, she forgot about the sob story she told me earlier and burst her own bubble and kept on ranting on other stupid subject to avoid my further confrontation .
NOW I have ANOTHER GOOD TOPIC to write on my blog …. A FRIEND WHO BITCHED MY TRUST
i earn rm 1200 only…i work as a embroidery designer….sien~ but my salary is better then nothing lor…now u know my salary i got excuse not to belanja u cheesecake…peace~
Nah, if people ask me I’ll tell the exact figure… coz I’ll ask “How about urs?” then they would have to tell the exact figure also loh 😛
rm2,750 – knowledge engineer .. 6 months working experience
but most of the time if ur pay is higher, ur fren sure always ‘wat’ u belanja makan…
Normally I don’t mind telling except for my grandma, I will never tell her how much I earn… I’m earning plus minus with all 3 offices, sometimes can reach 5k geh…
i seriously dun mind telling others how muc im paid every month… i will usually tell them my basic and the amount after deducting EPF..
but when i ask them in return, they dun fucking wanna tell me…
there’s this time when i asked a friend how much he earns, this bloody guy jz pretended that he din hear me… and i get scolded by my bf for being “too rude”…
is it really rude to ask?? if yes, why?? not that im gonna announce live via CNN how muc they earn ma… diu…
oh btw.. i earn RM 1300.. after deducting EPF and SOCSO, it’s RM1150…
been working for 1and half yr as a designer… and i think im underpaid..
Well, right now in Korea, earning RM9200 per month. I don’t care about salary, just need enough to live and make family (in future) happy. It’s not enough, but I only here 7 months 🙂
RM4K per month partime and still studying in the UK, not bad..and enough for me to spend on things and people..hehe..
So cheesie, how much is yours ? waiting………
can check in jobstreet.com to take a look of average earning from ur industry. they take a sample and then have random resumes for u to look at (ie: how many yrs experience, what levels of education, etc) without giving out personal info.
never put ur exact salary. put a range. like, rm2- 2.5k if u’re earning 2.2k
i alw do that and alw get offered at least a bit more than my higher level. worst case also they wld offer the middle.
oh, and i hate it when they insist on u giving them passport photos. beauty contest meh.
Dear all, thank you for sharing with everyone. I’m overwhelmed by your honesty really. Seems like there are more people who are comfortable telling others about their salary than what i originally thought. Feedback really appreciated.
Which is only fair if i tell the story of my side. And yes, raYz, I’m one of those women out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers who, you know, lie (about my salary), as commented by Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor.
No, really. If you wanna know, go check how many piece of clothes i sold last month.
In AUS, I ask many of my friends who work casual or part time. In fact it is almost always the first question asked. Yesterday, I asked a friend from msia who was supposed to get a new job today. I asked her how much, she replied she dint knew and only going to discuss with the boss later. I find that quite ignorant and foolish. She is in a very vulnerable situation anyway you look at it. She explained that she is paiseh and feels rude. I could almost stab myself then.
In malaysia i will think it is rude/offensive/[insert own bad word] because it is taboo and my parents dint help in that, they dint even divulge to their own son about it. I can understand many reasons but when you look at it on another perspective, ie: in australia, you see the ignorance behind the attitude like my friend. It is really disturbing I say.
Besides, hasn’t we always asked for transparency on our government, lives and such. Sure we don’t have minimum work wages, and to make it worse, no one talks about it that’s no wonder everyone says they don’t have money.
Do try to ask around a bit for those working in very paltry conditions or just typical shop assistants. They earn shit while the boss earns a lot. Exploitation? Maybe. You be the judge.
Simply put, what and why do we need to hide it anyways? Self protection/preservation?(as said not to let people cheat you off or take advantage?) Maybe. it may also be that we are too kiasu anyway and there are more unscrupulous people there which will get jealous and take advantage and steal/damage/kidnap your kids. Just maybe, that’s what my parents told me =D
PS: personally I will mention it the first go if I work that is. I mean really, cut the bullshit aint it?
tell to ur fren as all u want but not to the kawan sekerja…especially one kind of “RACES” …I hundred percent promise u..u be back stab to death by them…used to be my experince to tell my salary range not even close to exact figure…end up fired by boss cause this issue…cause the stupid “tak makan babi” thinks she underpaid so complain to boss….and another thing..never tell it to ur kawan sekerja is because…again those “RACES”…is because..after u telling them..they will feel no willing to work and u need to be the only one leg kick king…IF u noe wat i mean??…”aiyah” kerja mati mati apa guna, tengok orang tak payah kerja pun boleh dapat gaji lumayan….bia die buat lah kasih ragging sikit..baru tahu gaji banyak…kerja pun kena banyak..”…..those “RACES” with they mindset…
by the way now earning 2600 as operation exec with RM500 petrol allowance with RM300 handphone allowance….the job i always wanted…
I guess the question is not how much one earns. It’s how much one can save. The more money we earn, the more we spend. At the end of the day it’s back to square one. I wana earn more $ (I wana spend more $). When is it enough? NEVER
naeboo, the passport photo is for them to remember you and in case you join them, they don’t have to ask for your pic again for filing.
It’s only fair if both parties disclose the salary. If someone asks me about it, I would ask him/her back to tell me his/hers. 🙂 Fair.
Lowyat has forum where the members post their salaries with job info.
We should always ask about salary & perks before signing the offer letter if the employers didn’t inform us. Else, we could’ve been short changed.
to NOpigJUSTDog, don’t be ‘stereotype’ lah. My colleague know my pay is much higher than her *tak-makan-babi-mia* and she acknowledge it in proper way… she do her job i do mine.. she has 5 yrs working experience while me a fresh graduate of 6 months working(differences almost 1k)…the point is.. not all *u-know-what-race* is that bad … only certain … portion 😉
Everyone tok so much but forgot about whether we should reveal our current salaries when applying for jobs.
Most idiots would just reveal and end up unable to negotiate their real worth.
No wonder Malaysians always complained about being underpaid, because most are too chicken shit to stay firm or learn how to negotiate.
Most don’t even know what is Private and Confidential and most even volunteer their salary histories in their resume.
Now you know why Malaysian’s salaries do not tally with cost of living, because too many are willing to reveal their current and history wages to the new employer, therefore cancelling out their chances to negotiate.
ShadowFox, we should reveal our current salary … so that we can get higher pay ma…
i think it is ok if the person that you are asking is not working in the same company… else there might be a problem.
other than that salaries varies from job to job within a company too… but i think you get what i mean.. here being in the workforce for awhile i make about USD$5k per month.. hopefully after graduation i am in the 5 figure range per month!! hahaha… school basically wipes out my social life…. 🙁
Interesting post. I agree with previous posters that you cant tell people within the same company, because it will lead to jealousy and backstabbing.
Mine is AUD $100k per year at 26 years old. Some of my course mates that are the same age are getting more than $150k 🙁
Crazy economy in Australia right now
On the average I earn 22,000 us per year. Just enough, but then if I earn more I spend more so it is always just enough.
My previous job pay me S$2k……Now i am unemployed and looking for a job that pay me RM2k at least…..fresh grads….E&e engineering…
I’m a programmer earning 2.8K. Quite surprised to find fresh grads earning more than me (I got 1 year plus exp).
but I can still find people in my line earning lesser. O_O
Porkie: you can take up job in UK and studying part time? earning not bad also! I’m interested in how you do that as I’m trying to find a way to support myself if go UK study masters 🙂
I will tell if ppl ask me 🙂
I will ask my fren too, and normally they will tell.. haha…
Me earning 1.9k onli..
“enough use, enough eat lo” kakakaka
I’m currently earning NOTHING. Cos I’m only 18. Haha. Some people don’t wanna reveal their income is either quite low or quite high than average. Low=no face, High= people think you haolian. but i’ll settle for high in the future. Haha.
viviensiu – Oh, its because I’m born n live in the UK..hehe.. plus I’m studying Cisco Networking, so don’t have that many classes to go to 🙂 You can work if you’re studying degree/masters, but I think overseas students can work max of onli 24hrs? If you want, I can find out for you 🙂
i think the problems is the attitude… some people might keep on teasing you when they know you are earning more then them like wah you earn more then me or everytime when they see you then they will said you are so rich, can have this and that and i’m so broke or mostly i ended up they will ask you to pay for the food since you are earning more then them… so i guess it is the attitude problem and some to the extend will try to cheat your money out of you…
hmmmm i dont think not disclosing salary is an asian thing. cause for examples, vietnamese is very open about salary and pricing. and it’s natural they will tell you how much they earn and will ask you how much something cost without taking it personally….
on the contrary, i found western culture is much more discrete about incomes and such. like it’s not a greatest thing to start a convo on how much one earn.
as for my salary, well i can tell you how much i earned in my previous employment… but if i were to tell you when i was working there, i might get fired. it was the company’s policy to prevent employees from comparing each other on the pay i believe.
I agree with sakakida.
If it’s high, they will take advantage of you & maybe have grouses over you.
If it’s low, either you’ll feel discontented or your friends will act all superior over you.
I’d never reveal my salary figures over my workmates, even if it’s lower than them, for the above reasons.
Revealing salary figures in resume and during negotiations is another thing all together. Applying for a job is an art in itself. I talk too much. Maybe I should get a higher base salary figure before saying anything. Bah.
This is sooooo bloody true! I always wonder what the other people around me get paid….but nobody and by an exception of none do people reveal the real pay ever!!!!!
seriously i think ALL of us are under-paid! i was under-paid.. started off with Citibank and i was earning RM800 + RM200 (allowances).. then as an admin officer, i earned better 🙂 RM1,450.. the boss treated me badly so i left and went to a stock broker company.. and i was earning RM1k (basic salary) + commission.. was earning more than RM2k at that time.. was so happy.. haha.. bad things happened and the market was bad.. my boss couldn’t afford to hire me.. she said she doesn’t need any assistant.. i was like OMG! anyways, i got a job as an AE in an advertising company and they paid me RM1,100! fark! they made me do ALL the things.. tea lady la, postman la, grocery lady la, clean lady la and etc..
now, i’m not working anymore.. got married and my hubby is supporting me.. i think ppl just don’t reveal their income coz yea, if they earn more ppl will take advantage AND probably kidnap u! and if they earn less, they feel embarrass.. so whenever ppl ask me what my hubby does, i’d tell them he’s working offshore.. just by mentioning offshore, some might know roughly how much his income is.. yea he’s earning USD and he’s paid by per day.. i just think we’re living a comfortable life 🙂 to be humble..
ps: he’s earning USD715 per day and after minus paying the tax, it’d be USD500 per day
Annie’s right. My current employment is my third in 3-4 years since graduation, and it says clearly on the employment contract (for all three companies) that i must not reveal my salary, bonus payment, and annual increment to my fellow colleagues! Well, i would confidently assume that the same goes to all of you readers earning in RM here. So, since we are contractually bound to be discreet about our income, it somehows became a culture for most of us to keep it that way. My first job landed me RM2200 end of each month, second job RM2970, and my current one pays (hopefully) RM5000 with all the benefits added to it. There, i’d just breached my contract! hahahha
but i would happily reveal to all my frens about my income, i see it as a way to gauge the market for my profession, and subsequently react accordingly.
Nicole’s hubby is one lucky bugger to get an income most of us envy. however, working offshore is not just anybody’s option. its tough and extremely dangerous, and i’d reckon the risks involved, justifies the quantum.
cheesie, you’r depending on your wardrobe as your sole income? …… you must be selling quite an amount each month!
not to mention i have to deal with the fact that he’s always away from me 🙁 he deserve such pay coz it’s a high risk job.. and i’m always worried whenever i don’t hear from him.. there are just pros and cons *sigh*
ps: DO NOT kidnap me.. i’m NOT rich.. just moderate
I am not earning much, only RM15k per month excluding USD 4 to 5k from my internet business.
If you think Malaysia is kiasu, then wouldn’t Singapore be worst?
That question is almost non-existent here xD
i earn nothing.. lolx.. still a student.. but when i did summer vac jobs in m’sia, get about 7 rinngit per hour lo..
There is a very good answer to that question “Why are we so afraid to tell people how much we are earning?”
Its embarassing to tell your peers you arent keeping up with them. Particularly if one already know a peer earns more than 50% than their own. One goes practically silent when one knows a peer earns more than 100%.
er my friends earn like 3x more than me. but i dont feel anything pun. only si ai bin ppl will be so sensitive la. i earn 1k a month nia.
Looks like people like to talk about money. Wow
Money money money! It’s so funny, in the rich man’s world. :p
i still think asking us to send passport photos is a waste of money practice for unemployed persons while looking for work. plus, it’s discrimination. they dont like the look of u, u’re not gonna get interviewed. so far, i got no problems getting interviews even without sending my photos.
filing is just collecting waste paper. i worked in administration b4. it’s all bs. if the company is strict in filing, then they will file it away and all those wont see the light of day again. if not, ur resume gonna be used as rough paper anyways. why bother.
an honest answer to anyone that ask u tat would be, my salary is sufficient to live a happy life
RM4K+ inclusive of Shift Allowances, Mobile Allowance. Not that hard wasn’t it.
I’m a teacher: RM$20K per month in Hong Kong.
Porkie and viviensiu, it’s 20 hours per week. Students studying in UK are allowed to work only 20 hours per week.
7k/month… but still in debts every month…
loans loans loans…
Hey Fes, how can u earn U$3k and after tax bring home U$2k. After all the bullshit social security, medicare its about 28%. How u surviving on that salary? You in southern california selling PC parts in City of Industry?
Nicole Westwood: $500 a day for 52 weeks a year? He need to pay the US tax and Malaysian tax for checking diving instruments off Louisiana. How does he pay for those taxes and U$52 * 5 * 52 = More than humble life!!!
Interesting. Had no idea so many were so open about their salary. keke.
Want to know someone’s salary? work in a bank 🙂
Ringo, happy birthday! Hope you had a blast. My take on not revealing salary is simple – if it gives me absolutely no benefits whatsoever in revealing how much I make, then I wouldn’t reveal it.
PS. In response to your post a while ago, I do visit your blog from time to time.
Felicia: he’s not a diver.. hehe.. he takes care of the divers only.. and he works 24 weeks only! lol.. my hubby works 6 weeks and off 6 weeks SO it means he actually works 6 months a year and holiday for another 6 months.. heehee.. he just started to pay tax.. 30%.. i don’t think he has to pay tax here.. furthermore it’s not ‘Hasil Dalam Negeri’.. his company his from south africa :p not a malaysian company..
ps: how do u know i’m a westwood? hmmmm.. and also that my hubby is somewhere at Louisiana..
3k amonth before CPF…
RM120k per annum + 0.5% profit sharing (average turnover of RM20mil) + business class flights & 4-star hotels + the usual mobile, transportation, meals, laptop, secretary and shit like that…
Well, I work overseas, and I hate it when my friends asked me how much I earned.
Especially when they are not in the same field as me, and you know that they are asking for fun. (if want to ask something for fun, pls ask something else lah.)
First of all, after telling, they will start with conversion, then brag about their misfortune, or they will start “polish your shoe”, or asking you if you have any “kang tao” overseas.
I have encountered many kiasu people, who once they know about your salary, they compare. Some wanted you to belanja this and that, expecting a lot from you when you return to Malaysia next time. (not chocolates or food, but branded clothes, necklace etc.)
I think there are many other ways to ask about the market price of a profession, apart from “ei, how much you earn ah?”
Here’s a tip for anyone in a position to negotiate their salary, which I just found out. (only applies if your income is taxable).
Your employer pays 12% in EPF, but this amount can be INCREASED UP TO 19%.
So you can easily convince your boss to pay you less in salary, but max out the EPF to 19%. The benefit? Contributions to EPF is tax-free, and you are getting better than fixed deposit rates (currently the EPF dividend is 4-6% per year). By the time you can withdraw your EPF, the 7% extra EPF will make a big difference due to compounding. Besides, you know you should be saving a portion of your salary anyways, right? 🙂
ronnie: What if i die at age 55?!?!?
Earning US$500 per day. $2500 a week.
But thats just ok ok salary here in US….its slightly above average but not spectacular.
i make $0 but i’m a happy guy…LOL
Curry: that’s a strange question. well, hat if you died tomorrow?? what if your parents thought the same question, and decided to spend all their money on themselves and didn’t give two cheeses about your education, your entertainment, your food, your handphone, your car?
In any case, if you do leave at 55, then the money goes to your beneficiary that you are required to name – your wife/husband, grown-up kids, etc.
awk semua fucker la. mana boleh bagitahu pasal gaji ni. it will only cause grief kpd yg bertanya dan yg di tanya. fuck u all la man. and fuck to all the company yg bagi low pay. fuck u humans.
SAP Specialist : RM26k per month basic and some travel allowances and carpark and minyak and telephone. I’m a big contributor to the IRD.
I earn RM100k a month.
I will tell my friend frankly how much is my salary. We don’t keep it secret among us because we’re buddies from high school days so there will be no look down or look up among a few of us. I can’t tell my colleague my salary though because it’s company policy of not discussing salary with your co-worker unless he/she is your reporting manager then of course your manager will know how much you earn.
I am earning RM300k per year at age of 27
I earn RM500 permonth oni… from FAMA (FATHER MATHER)
Profession: 2nd Yr Student
Around 150k+- a year,age 25(Family Business)
i think ppl from chinese ed schools mostly are secretive la. probably don’t want to tell cos they think they earn very little?