Monday, 10 December 2012
My husband and I left campus at 11.30 am to go to the insurance company and visit Syarikat Muda Osman (SMO) manager for Kota Bharu. After going round and round in circle, we managed to get in touch with the man on the phone. He was also out visiting the branches in Kelantan and was returning to SMO HQ in 7/44, Pengakalan Chepa Industrial Park. We were told to wait at the "pintu gerbang junction 3" so we could meet up. We arrived at the said place and saw the blue-white SMO signboard by the roadside, at the junction. We turned into that junction and waited for him to show up. After waiting for quite some time, we called him. He was already in his office at SMO HQ. We followed his instruction and went past a lot of premises and missed the SMO HQ which was on the right. Its view was blocked by leaves on the tall trees that grew on the premise. After driving past all the landmarks, we called him again and asked where SMO HQ was. We quickly made a U-turn and went the direction we came. I saw a faded blue-white SMO HQ and we turned left in front of an ugly place on the left. We called him again to inform we have arrived on site. We parked and went through security hut. We went inside and were told by the receptionist that he had other customers. We waited. It was a long wait and we decided not to meet him. We called him to inform we wanted to leave. He quickly called us upstairs and up we went up a narrow staircase. At the top of the staircase were 3 men who were ready to go down the same narrow staircase. They waited till I was upstairs and then they went down. Upstairs was a busy open office with a lot of ladies working. On the left I could see a bird's eyeview of the huge warehouse interior. I saw images of it through the dark glass panels while waiting downstairs earlier. I was curious what they were doing behind closed doors in the warehouse - I saw little cranes moving stuff about and dark shadows of men working (very interesting to me). Now I could see a lot of stuff at SMO outlets which were stocked at SMO HQ warehouse. I was attracted to the brightly coloured luminous paper - yellow, green, etc. There were shelves and people working far down below. There was some lighting but it was not so bright as in my office. However, the lighting was very bright near the boxes on the shelves. I thought the place would be good to shoot a movie. Then we were called in to see the manager. He was standing behind his desk, clearing up after the last 3 men left. We showed him the 2 books on TEMD. The minute he saw the English titles, I think he almost fainted! He explained to us, that English books don't sell well in Kelantan; the readership is decreasing. I took that as a positive clue that our community is not the "reading type" and don't like to read. He said even with fiction books, SMO has a hard time trying to sell books. We explained to him it was ok and informed him where to get the 2 books if customers asked about them. We informed him to find the books at Xlibris (I gave him the tiny business card for Research on the Early Malay Doctors). He was happy. We also talked about how much SMO profits from book sales. He said SMO takes approx. 30% of retail price of books at SMO outlets. We thanked him and headed home for lunch.