23 August 2005

e-Ah Long

Following yesterday's entry, a little bird (doffs cap to jeff ooi) has introduced us to this little gem of a website.

Yes, that is a camel in a desert. Very apt for a site named WaterArea

waterarea.com styles itself as "your business classified portal" with a nascent directory of services categorised under Government, Property, Restaurant & Credit Company. All the categories have only a token number of advertisers except Credit Company which you will not be surprised to know is euphemism for a loan shark.

Here waterarea lists 8 Ah Longs, sub-divided into their various locales in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor. Each advertiser is provided with an online enquiry reply form where prospective customers fill in their name, tel no, e-mail, postal address & loan amount (only name & tel are compulsory fields, in contrast to some over eager marketers elsewhere).

There's even a listing for a Credit Consultant who specialises in assisting SMEs* to obtain "Loan on machinery project", presumably by directing these SMEs to the next Ah Long up the street.

As impressive as this effort is, this website seems to have not garnered any support from the government, IT bodies such as the MDC or any venture capitalists. This is a shame, as this is the sort of e-commerce/i-business/v-portal thing that this country needs to ensure that the rest of the country can make the great leap forward to join Selangor in being developed.

If anyone decides to obtains a loan from these Ah Longs, remember to mention shagadelica. Some of them pay commissions to introducers. Purchasing a comprehensive health insurance plan would probably be a good idea.

*Abbr. for: Small to medium sized business

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