Sat, 27 Jul 1996

In regard to the recent letters from shoppers complaining about Hero Supermarket's new pricing methods, perhaps Hero could follow the policy of other stores around the world using price- scanner technology. These systems have been in use for many years. When the new technology first came out, many were skeptical about the accuracy of the system, just as they are with the recently installed system at Hero.

To reduce the level of anxiety of the buying public, it has been the policy of other stores using price scanners to pay the difference if the price charged at the checkout stand is higher than the price on the shelf. If the shoppers at Hero continue feeling wary Hero would be wise to adopt the above policy. It would at least show that the store is not trying to cheat anyone.


Surabaya, East Java

;JP;WYS ANPAk..r.. Letter-Parkinson law Parkinson law JP/4/letter2

Letters, space and content

I am amused by the brouhaha triggered by the mysterious writer who wrote of an alleged "hogging" of space by some and the subsequent ton of bricks that fell on him.

According to Parkinson's First Law, work is supposed to expand to occupy the time available. I am not aware of any expansion of letters edited by the staff to fill the space available, but some letters do seem to have been (badly) truncated and abbreviated to fit the space.

By and large, I sense that the quality of the letters published in "Your Letters" tends to be inversely proportional to the space available on that particular day. On a sepi (quiet) day a lot of meaningless letters seem to appear while as on a ramai (hectic) one, meaningful letters seem to fight for space.



;JP;WYS; ANPAk..r.. Letter-British beef British beef JP/4/letter

Food for thought

This is in response to Mr. Piero Ronci's July 23 letter regarding British beef. Mr. Ronci, how many people die each year in Britain from CJD? Currently 50, or less than one in a million. How many people die each year world-wide from famine and malnutrition? How many people die each year from smoking related illnesses? From road traffic accidents? (In 1995 it was 11,516 in Indonesia alone).

What is the average life expectancy in developing countries? What is the average age of those who have contracted CJD? Old! How many people die each year from heart disease? Does eating beef on a regular basis contribute to heart disease? Do the British still eat their beef?

It is believed that of the ten cases which may have a possible link with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy the victims all ate the infected beef before the late 1980s, that is before the British government took preventative action seven years ago. The slaughtering of many thousands of cattle destined for the abbatoir merely because of their age is unnecessary. It is only being done because scaremongering by the European (especially German) press and television reports caused ordinary citizens to panic. At the height of the scare, Paul Preston, the president of the British arm of McDonalds, said "We believe that British beef is safe. However, we cannot ignore the fact that recent announcements have led to a growing loss of consumer confidence in British beef."

No one, will force developing countries to buy our beef, the respective governments can make that decision. The beef sold would not be from cattle that are at risk. If the world ban is lifted and Indonesia decides to buy the beef, no one is forcing anyone else to buy it. And yes, I would eat British beef, in fact I may well be doing so by the time this letter is printed.


Cilegon, West Java

;JP;WYS; ANPAk..r.. Letter-criticism Criticism JP/4/letter5

Criticism goes unheeded

The following is a story about Hori Hidemasa -- an aide to Toyotomi Hideyoshi -- who lived during Japan's warring period.

One day someone posted a large placard in front of Hidemasa's castle listing the shortcomings of the government for all to see. The castle officials held a meeting to discuss the affront, eventually showing the placard to Hidemasa with the words: "We must arrest and execute the person who wrote this without delay."

Hidemasa carefully studied what was written on the placard. To the amazement of all present, he put on his most formal attire, ceremoniously rinsed his mouth and hands and raised the placard above his head in reverence. "No one has ever given me advice like this," he said. "I regard this placard as a gift from heaven and I will keep it among my family treasures." He then got down to business with his officials, discussed each grievance listed, and set about reforming the government accordingly.

In our society people tend to keep criticism and bad news away from their leaders. They reason that if criticism and bad news make the leaders mad, why not make the leaders happy with flattery and good news instead. Those who do not share the same views with the leaders and openly voice their criticism will easily be indicted as makar (attempting to topple the government). These people are called names -- that change with time -- such as kontrev (counter revolutionary) in the early 1960s and "leftist" or "new-leftist" today.

No wonder that with such an attitude -- refusing to listen to criticism and bad news -- the leaders never have enough information about the way things are going. The leaders are not prepared to face tough problems and much needed action may never be taken.



;JP;SHA ANPAk..r.. Letter-Bank Bali Bank Bali's ATM JP/4/Let

Bank Bali's ATM

From Kompas

At around 5:30 a.m. on June 5, I went to Bank Bali's automatic teller machine (ATM) at Kopo Permai in Bandung, West Java to collect Rp 800,000.

It is not possible to collect that amount with one push of the button. The first push yielded Rp 400,000. The second one also produced the same amount of money but the 20 bills of Rp 20,000 got stuck in the collection box and after some time were swallowed by the machine.

My Bali Access card appeared together with a slip of paper mentioning the withdrawal of two times Rp 400,000. I went to look for the security guard but could not find anybody on duty. I did not use the hot line (021) 260 0888 because the monitor screen read "temporarily only in the Greater Jakarta area".

The same morning at 9 a.m. I reported the ATM failure to the bank. I was informed that the ATM network was controlled from Jakarta and I was advised to send a letter of complaint. The bank promised me, that if my complaint was well founded, the money would be directly credited to my account in three workdays' time.

On July 2, I returned to the bank and received a copy of the Card Maintenance (ATM) report dated Bandung, June 28. It said that the withdrawal was made. I was supposed to have received the money, while actually I lost Rp 400,000.

Because there were no witnesses, was my complaint considered an invention of my mind? If so, who got my money? Was it a bonus to the "smart" ATM who operates 24 hours a day or did the money go to the next customer?


Bali Access card holder

;JP;SH; ANPAk..r.. Letter-Baygon Roach bait station JP/4/Let

The lure of roaches

From Bisnis Indonesia

On July 14 I bought a Baygon Roach Bait Station at Hero Sarinah. One package normally contains a pair of baits.

One of the two baits attracted a number of cockroaches but the other container was completely ignored by the insects. This proved to be empty.

This was an astonishing discovery considering Baygon's reputation.

Stricter control of the products to be marketed would be appreciated.



;JP;WYS; ANPAk..r.. Letter-advice Advice to writers JP/4/letter6

Sour and sweet always meet [tolong dipasang paling bawah]

Mr. Coelho turned a pale shade of yellow

When he was maligned in a letter unsigned

And Farid Baskoro couldn't take any more - o

When journalists Western, asking difficult questions

About RI planes, gave him terrible pains.

Pak Arman says, "Please, take away all Chinese,

I can't stand their wealth, their success or their health."

Pak Djuana considers today's generation

An insult to the Indonesian nation.

And Mr. Chandramouli holds strong views

On almost any subject you care to choose.

Writers all, please don't despair

If not all readers find you fair,

One man's poison is another's meat.

Some like sour, some like sweet.

But one point is agreed on by most:

We all read the letters in The Jakarta Post!