Archive for September, 2007

Hard facts!

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

This time, i have chosen to write on some aspects of being an expat. Personally i am not one but my brother has been away for some time in South Africa. First time he is in South Africa. We knew there is an aunt who has been living there for she married a South African. So my dad phoned her and politely asked her is she can accommodate my brother for the period of his stay in SA. She replied positively.

The first impressions my brother got when he got to her house is the fleet of vehicles in her garage, ranging from Toyota Lexus, jaguar and BMW. There is also a portfolio of apartments she rent. So as you might have guessed, she rent one of the apartments to my brother for an amount less than the market value. Fair enough!! Then after some time, she started to tell my brother that he needed to move to another apartment because she found another locataire or that her son needed the apartment.

My brother faced another problem just recently. The aunt had been asking him to move out because she needed the apartment for a friend who will be moving in at the end of the month. Yesterday, my brother informed me that the aunt removed her bed and messed with his clothes.  I have not received further updates since then. I asked him to look for another apartment till his assignment is over and then return home.

After this experience, we faced a hard fact. Relatives are only there for the sake of relatives. We can only rely on then for a temporary period.  Familiarity breeds contempt and my brother unfortunately discovered that in a foreign country. You will probably have encountered the rhetorics of foreign relatives when they left Mauritius after their stay. “Vini zot tous. Ena place kot moi” The story is another when you go over there. Perhaps I am making generalisations but it seems that is true of my family. That is why i  tend to stay away from family gatherings, especially when aunts and uncles from abroad come.

Psychological profile wanted!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Geehh! It seems that I am kinda repelling all those who are working with me. This time again, my immediate right hand is leaving, for personal reasons. It seems that it is because she is returning too late and her in-law has been blaming her not to look after her kids. That should not have happened in the first place if the boss did not cancel the transport service provided to her. The motive behind the cancellation is that because she lived too far and because of her, staff is late at work. This is of course very flawed because the system has been around for years… The colleague even complained to him when the service has been canceled. She told him that he is bullying her, and that because of that she will have to leave home very early and reached home late. The boss did not even feel compassion for her. Now that she is leaving, the boss is stating the service. Is that what is called HR??? From my studies, this is called harassment. But then, what’s the point of restating the service if he wanted the colleague to leave? Is it because he wants to be the good guy suddenly????

And the funniest part is that my boss even proposed a system of flexitime to her. He does not want her to leave….What a shit!!!!! Is there a psychologist around? I could not surround the profile of my boss. Is he kinda playing some sort of game? To see the reaction of my colleague. This is very unhealthy and i wish the colleague does not fall in his trap.

Hurrah for the numerical era!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Today, i witness the usual propaganda of the national station. With no warning or communique, the programme on the third channel has been changed since eight or earlier.  I was keenly awaiting the usual epic of Dr House, but instead, i got to see a bunch of groups dancing and singing in front of the PM. Some cultural show to mark the birthday of the father of the nation. And the funniest thing is that the national station did not even bother to modify its programme settings. When i tuned on the first channel after the weather forecast, it was the usual loop with the original programme settings. I am not in audiovisuals, but these settings can be changed can’t they? Even at the last minute. MBC does have the functionalities to do that. And they always claim to be innovating to bring new changes. Mon oeil!!!!  Vive the numerical era!

Enigma!

Friday, September 14th, 2007

La route aux enigmes was broadcast today. It was animated by Gilles Sooben, who also presents ‘avant premiere’ on Fridays. Well??!!! The quality of sound was very poor. We could barely hear what was saying and the communication networks between the candidates demonstrate clearly the poor infrastructure of our wireless networks. For this first show, the candidates were quite poor. The brainy candidate clearly did not know how to execute a search on the net and the presenter each time has to help her out.

To rate the show, lets say that the quality is the same as the Miss Mauritius pageant competition. The initiative was good, but i think the concept copies too much from the french show. It has to be adapted to the Mauritian concept. Clearly the spoken french was patoit like. Why not in creole? This would save us, spectators from trying to guess what is being said.

On your calculators!

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

September-month where every employee who has a chargeable income needs to fill his/her income tax form and return it filled by the 30th. For the year under assessment, there have been some changes to the presentation and the content of the form itself.

Following the budget speech last year, the section where you can claim reliefs for pensions, insurance, fees for children attending universities or even medical expenses is no longer available. Instead you can claim only deduction for self, or dependents up to a maximum of 3. Dependents should either be your wife or husband or children. So a handicapped relative under which s/he is under your care does not fall under the definition of dependent and is not allowable.

The most important changes are the interest and the National residential property tax sections. The latter has gone through some passionate debates since its introduction under the budget speech. Interest acquired during the year through deposits or savings in financial institutions should henceforth be declared under this heading. Statement of income tax deduction from financial institutions should be annexed when the return is submitted. It is not in the interest of tax payers to conceal this issue as the MRA will already be in the possession of such information.  So interest on savings earned by minors should be declared by a parent as this form part of the parent’s  income. The interest issue has also raised debates on the sacrifices of parents to make savings and the justification of taxing this effort is being questioned.

With regards to the NRPT, residential properties are subject to a tax rate of rs 10 per square metre. Other properties are taxed at rs 30. Tax paid under the local government  act can be claimed back.

The government knows how to bese casse. So in the end, every individual who have a chargeable income in excess of his/her income exemption threshold will be paying tax on interest. Couples who have income in excess of rs 385,000 should be paying the NRPT. The heads of the MRA department did not unknowingly said that there will be a minimum of tax refund for the year under assessment.

As a final word, on your calculators, and seek advice for a better tax planning.

Censored!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Benetton again!!! The latest ads on billboards showing a woman on top of a man on a “sofa” have been censored by the Road Development Authority.

International Group Benetton started the campaign on Monday last and by Thursday, there have been representations made to the RDA.  Divisional road managers have asked the advertisers to alter the advertisement failing which the permission will be revoked as per section 22 of the Road Act. However there have been reports that even before the warning was issued, some people had been tearing the posters, in certain parts of the Plaines Wilhems regions. It’s not the first time that Benetton International shocked through its posters. There have been controversy over its campaigns using religion, sex and AIDS.

Employment rights bill!

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Minister Bunwaree has presented a new law on employment in the Parliament.  The new bill focuses more on the employability of employees rather than the job itself. Thus job security will no longer an issue. Redundant employees will be re-molded to be employed in another sector of the economy. This practice is current in the northern European countries. Trade unions view this bill as a threat to job security in that it will prompt employers to massive redundancies. The Federation of employers on the hand fears that employees are reluctant to job mobility and to new areas of work. The employment rights bill as it is called calls for:

1. fifteen sick day leaves compared to 21 days under the current labour act;

2. 20 annual local leaves as opposed to 14 currently;

3. 5 days paternity leaves;

4. 90 hrs fortnightly, instead of the 8hr/day work.