Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Atomic Men (and women) Let’s Fight Back

A Kadir Jasin

THE atomic men (and women) are dying; killed by the advancing digital age. The faceless, robotic digital men (and women) are taking over.

Human beings are becoming slaves to machines
 The human tellers are being phased out and replaced by the electronic ones. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) now occupy the front office once manned human beings.

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The atomic men (and women) are told that their passbooks and cheques are being phased out. Their monthly bills are no longer posted to them. Go online, they're told.

Even the Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), which is supposed to serve the poor and the downtrodden, had gone online banishing the trusty passbooks to the garbage bins.

I damned those heartless, uncaring digital men and women at PNB as I damned the rabid dogs. I gave them a middle finger.

I keep my trusty passbook & enter transactions manually
I ask them this question. Who are the big, loyal investors of the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) – the passbook generation or the computer savvy crowd?

Thankfully, my lady banker is a gem of a woman. I have known her for decades and my accounts follow her wherever she is transferred. We literally grow old together. Of course she’s a lot younger than I am.

The future is uncertain for an atomic man like me. A personable banker like her is becoming harder to find as managers and clerks become more attuned to treating customers as mere numbers and passwords.

I am from a generation that treasure human touch. We deal with humans. At this advanced age, I have no intention of becoming slave to teller machines and recorded human voice telling me which button to press.

I started banking back in the 1960’s with the Post Office Savings Banks (POSB) that required me to buy stamps whenever I wanted to put in more money into my account.

Deposits were made using stamps
Those days, as a remnant of the British legacy, post office clerks had beautiful English style handwriting – clear and legible. Today very few people have beautiful handwriting.

As a young reporter working for Bernama and later the New Straits Times, going to the old Bank Bumiputra at Jalan Melaka in Kuala Lumpur was something to look forward to.

It was not just about the money but the expectation of being served by the young and sexy counter clerk by the name of Azean Irdawaty  who would later plunged into the acting world and went on to become an accomplished performer.

With some banks and investment companies so rudely sidelining atomic customers like me, I am now in a crusade against unabated, uncaring digitization of banking and investment services.

I am now on the way to closing down accounts that require me to go totally digital and transferring them to where humans still provide the service.

Atomic men and women let’s not get deleted. Let’s demand our right to exist as body and soul, and not as mere numbers and passwords.



  1. Dear Dato

    Like your post.

    Digitization of banking would be good if it promotes convenience. I.e. a peek of bank balance, hassle free bank transfer.

    It comes at the expenses of reduced man labor. Bank to let go staffs, so called with obsolete skills. While the savings go to the shareholders, executives?

  2. HeHe Jangan begitu Dato.Kita kena berani berubah.Kalau buku biru ASB pun kita tak sanggup nak buang macam mana nak buang bendera biru tue...

  3. Where's the gain?8 April 2018 at 15:04

    Many of the banks, local and foreign, decided to go digital for the sake of a few dollars more. What about the mammoth losses they make when the wrong decision for investment goes awry? I am unabashedly an atomic customer, used to seeing the face of the counter staff when I make withdrawals or deposits. Now these so called wealth relationship personnel are only happy to see us when we make invest in some of their financial instruments, and let me say at the outset I have been there and got hardly nothing back in returns. At the beginning, the statements look rosy and dandy, we are reminded by the bank the investment is positive, and then as the economic gloom overtakes the world and the nation and the investments turn sour, other schemes are then mooted for the unsuspecting public to dig into their savings and put up more money.
    AT the end of the day, our so called investments into this scheme and that turn very risky. Are the banks even safe places ?
    An interesting anecdote, one of the local banks has stopped accepting deposits over the counter, first we are told to go to their atm machine, put in the cash, and then approach the counter with the bank book and the counter staff will update the book.
    Isn't this wasting our sweet time, why have 2 actions instead of just passing the money over to the counter staff and having the bank book updated straightaway.
    I think they should consult me before enforcing such useless policies,
    I am prepared to give my advice free of charge.
    Tenaga is offering a RM2 rebate monthly if we switch over to online payment, even discouraging us to use their atm payment counters. In time to come, no more atm machines, just on-line ?
    What a big mess!

  4. Quote Budha :

    " The past is already gone ...
    The future is not yet here ...
    There is only one moment to live ...
    That is the present moment ... "

    So ...chill Datuk ...enjoy the present.