Redeem your first flight to exotic locations!

siem reap

Siem Reap

phuket

Phuket

patpong

Bangkok

club med bali

Bali

…and many other places just by signing up! It’s a proper card for travelers! :D

boat

You have credit cards for gas, food and other dedicated stuff. There’s even dedicated cards for travelers but usually they don’t go across the board in airlines e.g. they’re fixed to a particular airline. Travelers like me like the flexibility to choose so this one is perfect for me.

The thing that really piqued my interest is the ability for you to convert your points to various airlines!

(actually, that wasn’t the first thing that caught my eye – it was the name in the sample credit card – the generic name they used is my brother-in-law’s name)

standard chartered worldmiles

The Standard Chartered WorldMiles card earns you 1 WorldMiles Point for every RM 3 local retail purchase or RM 2 overseas retail purchase. You can then convert the points on a 1:1 basis with three different frequent flyer loyalty miles/points (of which I own all three, amongst other frequent flyer cards).

1 WorldMiles Point can be converted to:

  • 1 Malaysia Airines Enrich Mile
  • 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Mile
  • 1 AirAsia BIG Point

This is the ultimate selling point for me. I honestly got so excited that I want to make this my regular primary credit card.

kuta bali

As you all know, I travel quite a bit. It’s a hobby of mine. I’ll go so far as to say it’s my lifestyle. Thus, having a credit card that allows me to earn points for holidays and vacations and even convert those points to an airline of my choice is an *irresistible* attraction.

There’s even a 15% discount on Asiatravel hotel and land packages!

You use your credit card for large purchases, grocery shopping and bills anyway, so why not be rewarded while you’re at it? The best thing about the Standard Chartered WorldMiles card is that you get 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles instantly!

beach

You’ll need to sign up to the AirAsia BIG Loyalty Programme (it’s their frequent flyer miles card) and once you have a BIG account, you’ll get 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles credited within 5 working days upon approval of your credit card application. It takes less than 5 minutes to sign up for a BIG account.

I agree, this is really, the credit card that takes you to more places, more frequently! It’s good when your credit card gives you more holidays indeed.

bali

You can use the complimentary 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles to redeem AirAsia flights to Melbourne, Kathmandu, Seoul, Hong Kong, and many more. Thus, your first flight could very well be redeemed!

The 25,000 BIG Welcome Point promotion runs until 31st December 2013 but it’s good if you can get the credit card earlier so you can use the points on the various AirAsia promotional periods since the prices of tickets can fluctuate. I reckon you might as well keep it there for use when you’re planning a holiday!

kayaking

You’ll definitely see me using this card as my primary credit card. I just love to travel and for all the cards I’ve seen, this is the best one for travelers! The promotion is only open to new card applications so I’m going to go for it. Sign up for the Standard Chartered WorldMiles card here. I know I just came back from a holiday, but I want to go for another one.

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many vacations. ;)

The first headphones-only event in Malaysia

french house kl

I was at Maison Francaise a couple of days ago for a launch. The restaurant, literally translated, means “French House”. It’s located on Embassy Row and serves pretty decent Black Angus Carpaccio – thin slices of marbled beef topped with slivers of cheese and finely diced tomatoes.

black angus carpaccio

Oh, and they had really good organic pumpkin juice too but that was not the reason I was there.

headphones

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST Media Launch in Malaysia was the first to incorporate the use of headphones for the entire event. I was quite puzzled when I walked into the dark room and was handed a pair of noise-cancelling headsets with blinking LEDs.

headphones only

I was given a short primer on how to turn it on and adjust the volume and set down for the presentation.

michelin primacy media launch

The headphones are meant to illustrate the “ST” bit of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST – the Silence Tuned part. These new types has a unique tread pattern that makes it run much more silently than all its competitors and the headphones used for the entire duration of the launch is a great idea to showcase this.

headphones wearing crowd

It was such a great idea that when I recorded a video of the interviews done with limo drivers who had gotten an advance set of these tyres, I didn’t realize that I could hear it coz I was on headphones but the rest of the room is silent.

I present to you this video I took. Haha! Apart from the occasional coughs and clearing of throats, the entire room was silent – coz everyone was on headphones. I was on them too and though it was recording as usual, not realizing that there isn’t any sound from the room at all. No worries though, it has subtitles coz the people were speaking dialects like Hokkien. ;)

headphones only event

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres have several advanced features that provides you with silence, comfort and safety:

EvenPeak Technology
Gives you a ride 8% quieter than average of competitors with a greater variation in the size and position of the tread blocks, the noise power is spread across a wider frequency range, making no peaks of noise power.

CushionGuard Technology
Keeps the ride smooth, steady and comfortable. Cushion vibrations when the tread blocks contact the road surface using supple FlexMax compounds and absorbs bumps in the road using shock absorbent sidewalls.

michelin media launch

FlexMax Technology
With FlexMax technology, the tread adapts to the irregularities of the road surface for better connection and grip. FlexMax chamfer prevents the tread block from distorting and losing contact pressure under the centre of tread blocks, ensuring maximum rubber contact with the road when needed most.

StabiliGrip Technology
StabiliGrip technology uses self-locking bands inside the small grooves to minimise tread block deformation, improving handling and cut through water in the wet.

michelin primacy3 launch

MICHELIN Total Performance
At MICHELIN, we don’t just improve tyre performance one aspect at a time, but deliver all performance factors together. This means that you’ll experience the silence, comfort and safety of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres, whilst also enjoying 25% better longevity.

Yup, all the new performance enhancements comes with no degradation of longevity – in fact, it provides 25% longer lasting tyres when compared to the previous iterations. These are not tests done somewhere in Europe, which can cast doubts on their functionality here, but actually done on drives inside Malaysia!

michelin primacy 3 st

The Stabiligrip and FlexMax technology combines to achieve a 1.6 meter shorter braking distance in wet conditions compared to its predecessor and a staggering 2.9 meters compared to the average of leading competitors!

As drivers, I’m sure you all can fully understand the significance of even a single meter – it is a very practical and useful feature which you might thank the heavens for someday.

michelin primacy 3

On to less morbid topics, the new MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST is available in 16” to 19” sizes in Malaysia and distributed at all TYREPLUS and Michelin authorized dealers nationwide. It’s priced from RM 480 onwards.

maison francaise

Surf on over to the MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST site for more videos on how their technology works or Like the MICHELIN Facebook page and see photos from the unique launch event! :)

How to kill mosquitoes!!!

mosquitoes

I remember very vividly the first night I was in Phuket a couple of weeks ago. My buddy Marco kept insisting that there were mosquitoes in the room and they were biting him. I neither heard the tell-tale buzz of a mosquito nor felt the itchiness that ensued from a bite…

….until he sprayed some anti-mosquito repellent on himself.

phuket

Everything changed! The moment he sprayed the personal anti-mosquito I felt all the horde of blood sucking, disease carrying critters all over me.

I had mosquito bites in places I didn’t think was possible!!!

Now, that highlights a problem with personal mosquito repellent. It only works for one person. Thus, when he passed the atomizer to me and I started spraying, the mosquitoes went back to him. He had to spray again and the buggers came over to bite me again. We were just a couple of feet apart!

It’s a lot like this video except we neither managed half the great music nor a quarter of the dance moves in our efforts at insect pest control. Haha! It’s a funny one, I’m sure everyone in Malaysia has that experience of mosquitoes before, whether just irritating or dengue related.

aedes killer

I have since discovered a wonderful contraption that allows everyone in the room to be free of the pestilence. It’s called the Khind Magic Aedes Buster and it’s the best thing since sliced bread in the arena of insect repellent technology.

My dear sleeps over sometimes and we need something that works for both of us (instead of the personal mosquito repellent that just moves the blood sucking insects back and forth). I unpacked it and assembly just takes a couple of minutes. The concept is easy – it works by mimicking the human body!

khind aedes

Odour
The CO2 produced by the Titanium Dioxide Coating mimics the same carbon dioxide exhaled by human beings. You can actually rub a ripe banana or it’s skin onto the exterior to enhance the scent to attract mosquitoes up to 100 feet away!
Light
The UV light attracts mosquitoes within 30 feet away.
Heat
Heat released by the UV lamps and the dark colored body of the buster mimics body warmth and lures mosquitoes within 10 feet to the buster.

What happens then is the the mosquitoes goes into the trap windows and gets directed down to the sticky mosquito collecting area where you can get it with the glue tray!

khind aedes buster

There’s also 2 x extra ultra-violet lamps and 2 x hygienic glue tray included – you only need to change the UV lights once a year if you use it 4 hours per day. There’s a timer which allows you to use switch it off after 4 hours too!

aedes machine

I really found it quite useful in providing restful sleep. I like how there’s already an existing pair of UV tubes inside in addition to the spare ones so it’s ready to go after placing the glue tray. I reckon it’s a lot cheaper when you calculate all the smelly insect repellent you have to spray over 2 years when compared to the Khind Magic Aedes Buster IK 610 which just retails for RM 132!

2 x Khind Aedes Buster Give-away!

I’ve got two (2) units of the Khind Magic Aedes Buster IK 610 to give away! Just leave a comment with an anecdote on the worst mosquito bite experience you have and two of the most creative answers will fear mosquitoes no more!

Contest closes 7th July (Sunday) so start commenting now to win a unit!

You must be able to pick the Khind Magic Aedes Buster IK610 from KL.

khind giveaway

The winners will need to require to provide their details upon being selected. It’s just that simple! I’ve been using it and lovin’ it so far so it was nice of the folks from Khind to provide 2 additional Khind Magic Aedes Buster IK 610 to giveaway to my readers! :)

new aedes buster

It comes in dark blue and maroon and there’s a 2 year warranty to boot. You can also go to the Khind Facebook page for their contest in addition to the two units I’m giving out on sixthseal.com. Just be sure to place it 3 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from you for best results! You want the mosquitoes to think it’s the human body, not you. :)

Buying a new car or just thinking about it?

bugatti veyron

I’m part of the latter. I’ve driven my faithful Vios for 7 years now and I’ve found myself browsing around to see the latest car news and what car to buy. A lot of people gravitate to heavy news sites but I think the success of a car site is that it’s accessible to people who don’t know a lot about cars (or newbies rather) but yet is still fulfilling enough for the hardcore crowd who wants all the juicy, technical stuff.

live live drive

It needs to capture both sides of the market and I’ve found LIVE LIFE DRIVE to be one of the sites that I browse just about daily nowadays.

It has just about everything you’ll think of, from the latest news to a widget on the side with the most researched cars with immediate star ratings and a link to the review in question,

research cars

I found that feature most useful when buying a dSLR and loved the sites that has it – it shows what cameras (or cars in this case) are popular now – they’re popular for a reason, and shows you a quick rating with a review hyperlink. It’s perfect for those who’re strapped for time or just wants to see what the popular options are.

The other awesome feature which I first found useful when shopping for a dSLR (which come to think of it is a lot like a car) is this:

livelifedrive

You can browse News, New Cars, or Buy a Car by the manufacturer! This is very useful if you’re only interested in, say, Euro cars or have always bought from a Japanese brand like Honda.

The interesting thing about LIVE LIFE DRIVE is that it’s actually a print magazine. That’s where it’s origins are from but all the news and articles are also available online.

I found the Price List feature to be very useful too!

installement

It lists all new cars and shows the full price as well as the average installment price per month so you can quickly browse through and see what you can (or cannot) afford. smirk

That’s the research part of buying a car, or just browsing for news if you’re interested in automotives. There’s also a site where you can actually purchase a new or used car!

carlistmy

It’s called Carlist.my and the best feature of it is that it hooks you up with used car sellers. You can browse by various search parameters or just by price.

You can also choose whether to buy direct from a seller, dealership or sales agent. It’s very useful for when you want to make that step to purchase a new car. :)

carlist

There’s more than 119,000 cars for sale on Carlist.my and for those kiasu ones amongst us (hell, who isn’t?) there’s a feature to compare prices of the car you intend to buy too!

lamborghini miura

It’s a great sister site to LIVE LIFE DRIVE and the place you go when you reach the point where you stop thinking about buying a car and actually do something about it! ;)

Surface RT Launch Party

surface booth babes

It’s finally here! I had a sneak peak at the ultra-light Microsoft Surface RT during the Windows 8 launch in Singapore last year and was very impressed by it. It’s a thin, sleek and amazingly crafted device functions and both a tablet and laptop!

surface rt launch party

The Surface RT Launch Party was held in Publika on the 25th of April.

microsoft surface

There was a lot of people lining up to be the first in Malaysia to own one of these babies.

tablet made into skateboard

There’s even a custom-built skateboard from a Microsoft Surface device! Carlos Lacerda, the Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia came on stage on one of these to deliver his speech.

tablet skateboard

They basically turned a Surface into a skateboard. Check it out! It’s incredible! :)

elecoldxhot

There was also a performance by a dance crew Elecoldxhot featuring Surface devices. I’ve seen them before and they really hyped up the crowd at the launch.

danny ong

Danny Ong, the Chief Marketing and Operations Officer gave a demonstration of the capabilities of the Surface RT device.

mizz nina surface launch

Mizz Nina also came on-stage to do an impressive choreographed song and dance routine.

mizz nina windows surface

She is also an early adopter of the Surface and told us how using it has allowed her to write songs, review contracts and proposals while keeping in touch with her fans on social media and playing games at the same time!

surface launch

Everyone had a chance to check out the Surface in detail at the demonstration booths all around. It’s really quite impressive and loaded with cool features!

Full size USB port
There’s a full size USB port on the Surface (as in the tablet, not the top – lame joke) which allows you to connect to all sorts of devices. You can plug in anything from a thumb drive to external card readers for your digital camera memory card.
MicroSD slot
The Surface also has a microSD slot so you can expand the memory of the device or transfer files. It’s a feature that is lacking in a lot of other tablets, and a very important one.
HD video-out
It also had a HD video-out port so you can connect it to a large screen television to to show off your vacation photos at home to friends or present a slideshow during a business meeting. It’s the ports on the Surface that makes it so versatile.

surface rt

Touch Cover / Type Cover
There are two options for the Surface device:

  • Touch Cover comes in five vibrant colors and comes with a slim, spill-resistant keyboard
  • Type Cover combines the speed and comfort of a classic keyboard with a super-thin classic keyboard

Unlike other tablets which are not designed to be a hybrid, the Surface does not require third party or aftermarket keyboards to turn it into a notebook. The laptop functionality is built natively into the tablet – the two types of covers comes with an magnetically attached keyboard! There’s a kickstand on the tablet that allows you to use it like how you’ll use a regular laptop.

surface office apps

Surface starts at RM 1,549 and comes with Windows RT – a touch operating system that allows you to have the full Windows experience that you’re used to. There’s Live Tiles and you can download the apps you want from Windows Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT is also included so you can get all your work done as you would with a regular laptop! I was really impressed by it.

surface skateboard

(and also the Surface tablet custom made into a skateboard)

surface owners

Serious. Fun. Starts. Meet Surface.

Cooking at MAGGI Celebrity Potluck with Belinda Chee!

cooking belinda

I had the awesome opportunity to cook with Belinda Chee a couple of days ago! She created a hearty Fish and Vegetable Soup recipe and I helped her create the dish. It’s a contest called Celebrity Potluck organized by MAGGI and we were the second team to present a dish.

maggi celebrity cooking

I asked Belinda about why she choose this recipe – it’s something that she cooks herself at home and it’s easy to cook but tastes delicious at the same time.

maggi kitchen

The first team came up with a Seafood/Vegetable Tom Yam Soup. Peter Davis (of Mixed Martial Arts fame) cooked the first one and Sazzy Falak cooked the vegetarian version. It’s basically the same thing, except one has more protein in it, had a nice chat with Peter about MMA competitions and weights categories too.

belinda chee

Anyway, I actually cooked twice in this MAGGI Celebrity Potluck event. The first was helping Belinda out with her recipe and it goes like this:

fish vege soup recipe

Yup! I didn’t realize that the walls of MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen was actually hand-written with the 3 recipes from the 3 different teams. It was so nicely done I thought it was the décor!

sixthseal belinda

The trick to Belinda’s Fish and Vegetable soup is to stir-fry the thinly sliced shallots with a bit of oil in the pot first before anything else. Chopped garlic and ginger was added to the mix and sautéed for a while for that extra bit in taste.

chef muluk

The item that makes this really fast and easy are the MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes. These are soup cubes (ikan bilis is the local word for anchovies) that produces the wonderful flavor and aroma. It’s really very versatile as I came to find out later.

tasting

I tasted it while we were cooking and it’s delicious! You just need 2 MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes for 1 litre of water – it’s a standard, convenient pre-measure that makes it easy to scale up or down.

sarawakians

That makes it really convenient to cook delicious and fast dishes! Two MAGGI stock cubes for each liter of water, it can’t get any easier than that. It’s also surprisingly tasty since the ingredients they use basically concentrates the flavors so you get instant stock/soup/topping/whatever you can think of.

cooking belinda chee

The Fish and Vege Soup was left to simmer for 15 minutes and served to the audience afterwards. I didn’t get to eat this one coz it was all gone by the time I got down from the kitchen on the stage. Haha!

mystery ingredient cookoff

No worries though coz there’s a second cooking competition! I was paired with Belinda again and 4 other members of the media joined us for the MAGGI Mystery Ingredient team challenge to create a dish with the following:

  • 1 mystery ingredient
  • MAGGI Stock Cubes
  • Ingredients from the table
  • 30 minutes for everything

mystery ingredient

It felt like a I was in one of the popular cooking shows on TV. Heh. We got “Dory Fish Fillet” from the mystery box and there was a mad rush to grab items from the table.

ingredients table

We could only use those and some of them were nicked by other teams and once it’s taken, it’s gone, we had to make do with what’s left!

masak masak kitchen

Our well equipped kitchen island!

dory fish fillets

We wanted to make something a little different so we went fusion and decided to bake the fish fillets. We’ll just use ginger, garlic, shallots, button mushrooms and celery (I know, a lot of people went “Celery?” too, but it worked out well) to pile on top of the dory fish fillets.

baking

The fillets were sliced and then marinated – the most important part of the cooking. It was a quick marinade (more of a topping) made with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. We crushed two of the cubes into 2 tablespoons of water (it’s very versatile – you can use it like this too) and then realized we didn’t have starch to thicken the mixture (!!!).

cooking contest

Luckily, there was custard powder on the table. It’s flavor neutral e.g. not sweet, and it coagulates the tom yam topping to the texture we wanted, so that’s perfect! We dissolved that into the hot water with 2 MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes and poured the mixture on top of the fish fillets before adding MAGGI Thai Chilli Sauce and MAGGI Concentrated Chicken Stock and chucking it into the preheated oven (220 Celsius) for 5 minutes.

siamese fish fillets

We were running out of time and we thought 5 minutes wasn’t enough but that’s all the time we had in the 30 minute cooking challenge. It turned out fine coz dory fish fillets cooks really fast! We all tasted it and concluded it was delicious!

judges

I ate a lot of it myself coz it was so good! There were a couple of fish fillets left after we plated 3 of them for the judges (Siew Ling, the Brand Manager was one of them) and everyone came in and ate some. We didn’t have enough to serve everyone – it’s my fault guys, sorry, I was the one who ate the rest of the fish fillets. I evaded the question at the time, but it was me who ate it all. I apologize. It was tooooo good! smirk

team belinda

Our dish was presented to the judges and we didn’t win but we all got a consolation prize anyway! It was a large senduk (a kitchen utensil used for scooping stuff from liquids) which was perfect! I cook a lot more nowadays since it’s a common hobby I share with my girlfriend. I cook for her sometimes, she cooks for me sometimes. The MAGGI stock cubes will really come in handy here. I want to try out Awal’s recipe for Golden Braised Chicken with Fresh Mushrooms. It was the winner and a well deserved one! It’s so tasty that I must cook it at home – I shall be using the recipe add to my kitchen accomplishments! Haha! :)

maggi stock

It was a really fun session! Thanks for helping with the photos Sue Ann! :) I got to cook in a nice kitchen (the MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen is really something) and got great tips from the MAGGI Executive Chef (Chef Muluk) and I learned the versatility that comes with MAGGI Stock Cubes. The sky is the limit, it’s not just for soup, but can be used for practically anything! I can’t wait to try it in my kitchen. I’m planning to cook a nice dinner as a surprise for my girlfriend during our anniversary and I bet she’ll love the golden braised chicken. It’s always better to cook than to eat out, I believe – cooking comes from the heart.

maggi celebrity potluck

We named our dish Siamese Fish Fillets. The crunchy texture of the shallots and ginger goes really well with the baked dory fish fillets topped with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. I’ll share the recipe we used if anyone is interested! :)

Cambodian pancakes, Bolt and 4G LTE: Fast. Faster. Fastest!

cambodia pancakes

I was in Siem Reap in Cambodia and found street vendors selling the ubiquitous meant-for-Caucasian-tourist pancakes that I thought are similar to the ones that are sold in Bali.

cambodian roti canai

They’re not the same!

cambodian pancake

This is actually a Cambodian style roti canai – it’s practically made the same way. You can have it with Nutella, banana, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Milo or combinations of the above for just 3,000 KHR (0.75 USD).

banana chocolate pancake

It’s served differently though. We had a banana and chocolate pancake and it’s rolled up in a piece of paper so it’s easier to eat.

cambodian pancakes

It’s fast food, Cambodian style!

Closer to home, I saw this TV commercial featuring Usain Bolt running through KL city:

If you don’t know who he is, I honestly don’t know what to say. smirk He’s just the fastest man in the world, being the first person to hold the 100 meter and 200 meter world record and also the first to win 6 Olympic gold medals in sprinting.

He’s faster than you can imagine and he’s now the official ambassador for the Celcom network.

Celcom has come up with the 4th generation of wireless mobile communications, dubbed 4G LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and it’s 10 times faster than what you’re used to. It’s 100Mbps so think of it as a classic Cat5 cable (LAN cable) running at max speed (that’s the reference for all computer geeks like me ;)).

It was the fastest speed we could go in our university back then and to put 100Mbps into perspective:

  • Downloading a 5 MB song will take 2 seconds flat
  • Downloading a 750 MB movie will be completed in 5 minutes

…and all that on your smartphone!

Celcom has officially launched this service and you can get the 4G LTE modem at only RM 199 for the first 1,000 subscribers! Just visit Blue Cube @ Sunway, Pavilion or Menara Celcom and you’ll even get the first 3 months of data subscription totally FREE! Get more details on the fastest speed in town here or try your luck at winning a FREE LTE modem with 3 months data + subscription with your best Usain Bolt pose on the Celcom First Facebook page!

Viva la Riolution!

globebox cooling

Glove Box Cooling

Arkamys Audio System with 6-speakers

air bags

6 Airbag System smirk

kia rio launch

Haha! I was at the launch of the All-New Rio at The Curve just before I came back for the holidays. I booked my flight tickets the day after so I could be there. It seems like a very promising car, with a rather lofty tagline that got me intrigued.

There were performers using nothing but traffic cones and other day-to-day percussion instruments to do a choreographed intro which I liked a lot.

road rage

…and like a scene from West Side Story, a couple of menacing looking dudes armed with iron pipes came out – and started a hard charging dance of sorts.

percussion band traffic cones

Everything ties back to driving or automobiles so it’s good to see opening gambits that really makes sense instead of stuff that leaves you stretching you head and thinking “So what was that all about?”.

press con

Datuk Syed Abdul Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar also came on-stage before the launch of the all new Rio. He’s the COO of Naza Kia Malaysia and I bumped into him later at the press conference at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant.

/cue dramatic music

The launch gambit was also impressive in its own right. Having been to more than a few of these, I was expecting the usual and looked for when the car would be driven it. Watch the video! The cars are already there, and there were 3 Kia Rio vehicles that were unveiled to the hiss of smoke and the sound of revving engines.

kia launch malaysia

The all new Kia Rio has a lot of features that you wouldn’t expect to see in a car of this price range (OTR Prices: Rio 1.4 EX (RM73,888), SX (RM79,888)). It really is revolutionary. Or Riovolutionary.

rio front

It’s basically a 1.4 cc compact 5-door hatchback that comes in two variants. However that would be a bit like saying caviar is just fish roe.

kia rio back

Speaking of caviar, have you ever wanted a mini-fridge in your car? At least something that would cool down your drinks? The Kia Rio has it – the glove box is cooled! I think this would be the #1 selling point for me. Perfect for road trips in our weather.

rio back

Other awesome features:

  • LED Daytime Running Light
  • Static Bending Light (provides light where the steering wheel turns)
  • Safety Window (you won’t get your hand nipped when you accidentally wind up before you have your hand in after using Touch N Go)
  • Electric Folding Mirror with LED Side Repeater
  • Tiger Nose Radiator Grill Design (won a lot of design awards, this car)
  • Stylish Sunroof (woot!)
  • Full Air Conditioner with Cluster Ionizer (so you won’t get depressed during traffic jams)

rio interior

There’s also:

  • Arkamys Audio System with 6 speakers
  • AUX/USB/iPod port
  • Bluetooth (for your phone calls)
  • Tilt & Telescopic Steering wheel (so you can adjust to your optimal driving position)
  • Push Start Button & Smart Key

Some of the features are for the Kia Rio 1.4SX variant. You also get a 4-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate for those who wants to a degree of manual driving.

The all new Kia Rio 1.4L also got a EURO NCAP rating of 5 stars during safety certification. That’s widely considered as the toughest safety standard to pass.

kia rio engine

Of course, there’s also auto defogging and rain sensors for the wipers, which surprised me even more at this price range. The Kia Rio not only looks great – winning the reddot Design Award, Good Design Award and was the abc Design Award Winner in 2011 for the Exterior – but performs well too!

hb-kia-rio

Best of all, it wouldn’t break the bank. It comes in several colors for the 1.4EX version while the 1.4 SX Rio comes in Electric Blue.

kia winner

Oh ya, you remember that Rio Roundabout Contest I was talking about last time? Turns out the prize giving ceremony was held there too.

winner

The dude sure loves his all new Rio! :)

Bak kut teh for breakfast in Klang and KEN Rimba

teluk pulai klang

It started with one of the best bak but teh sessions in Klang. Sam wanted to bring us to this great BKT place he knew but unfortunately they had sold out (at 11 am in the morning!) so we headed to the popular fallback – Teluk Pulai Clay Pot Ba Kut Teh.

bak kut teh klang

There’s just something about eating bak kut teh in Klang – it’s the real thing, it’s what it’s famous for, and nothing quite beats plate of lard enhanced rice with various cuts of pork simmering in herbal soup. They do an excellent dry BKT as well.

pork innards soup

There’s even a healthy order or stomach, intestines and other innards.

How awesome is that? I had two plates of rice, and with that awesome start to the day we headed to KEN Rimba, which is surprisingly just minutes away.

living area

KEN Rimba is Malaysia’s first green township in Shah Alam, but don’t let the address scare you off – it’s not that remote. Despite it’s Shah Alam postcode, it’s actually a stone’s throw away from Klang…

ken rimba klang

…and I mean that literally. I could probably throw a stone from the eco-friendly development and hit Klang. I think. Heh.

ken rimba legian

The concept of KEN Rimba is inspirational – it’s a 60 acre freehold development that is built on environmentally sound practices. We were shown around the still-building JIMBARAN Residences (168 units) as well as the completed LEGIAN Residences (328 units). There will also be two phases of condominiums in this township and the streets are split up by rain trees in mini-roundabouts.

legian

The former is a scaled up and larger version of the latter, and it brings the concept of ecologically friendly houses to life. The basics are all there like building houses in a north-south orientation. It helps prevent the worst of the glare from the sun to come in and the consequent build up in heat while roof tiles that removes heat and proper ventilation meant to catch the natural wind is installed.

green alleys

The back lanes and turfed walkways running along the each carefully planned terrace house blocks has Palawan trees for shade (and good ol’ CO2 to oxygen conversion) – little oases that you can walk through that provides a burst of green that’s quite soothing to the eyes.

fish

There are even water features there that are being seeded with marine life. It all makes me feel like I’m in Bali, which is why I suppose the names of the residences are chosen. Heh. I like how this both works as a carbon sink and aesthetic feature.

ken rimba shah alam

The terraced units utilize some of the same green features incorporated in the high end KEN Bangsar luxury condominium – which goes to show that building green does not necessarily have to be limited to expensive developments.

ken rimba ecological

The bit I love most is how the homes are illuminated by a skylight – it allows natural light to shine down straight from the roof and reaches down to a small plot of open garden right in your living room!

living room earth plot

It’s dubbed an in-house green planter for internal landscaping in the industry. This is what it looks like in an unfurnished unit – you can do whatever you want with it, even tile it up, but that’ll be a shame considering the novelty of the area.

plot

Here’s what the potential of that (relatively) little plot can do. This is the show room and I thought that having real plants inside your living room would be something different, a real area you can put your green thumb to and introduce some greenery into your daily life, right where you can see it all the time.

breakfast bar

The terraced units looked small in the unfurnished lot that we went to but it was just a question of scale – without furniture inside, it’s hard to tell how space can be utilized and I was amazed when the show room provided a visual example.

living room

The living and dining areas are huge and can easily fit a family of four with rooms for everyone, including a maid if you’re so inclined.

master bedroom

The second level contains the master bedroom with its own en-suite bathroom and toilet while the other two rooms are spacious enough for future developments of your own. ;)

master

They can be your kid’s bedrooms or a study and library, depending on how you want your lifestyle to be. JIMBARAN Residences has a slightly larger lot size of 22′ x 65′ while LEGIAN Residences is a standard 20′ x 65′ but it’s what you do with the area that matters! The latter has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and the photos are from that showroom. It has a built up area from 1,800-2,200 sq ft.

rainwater

Sam also showed us how rainwater can be filtered and recycled with the rainwater harvesting tanks provided at the back, which you can reuse to water your lawn or wash your car.

ken rimba showroom

KEN Rimba has the 328 units in Legian Residences ready to live in (although it’s almost sold out) and the upcoming Jimbaran Residences is going to be built with a loft, which increases the area of space available (from 2,100 – 2,500 sq ft). That makes a total of 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and an attic/loft. I think the loft would be great for a teenager to live in, at least I’ve always wanted that growing up. :)

rooms

There is also a commercial area which will have F&B outlets (so you don’t have to drive to Klang if you don’t want to), an existing playground and other thoughtful conveniences like the covered walkway to the nearest KTM station. Both JIMBARAN and LEGIAN Residences are guarded communities and the security is awesome – it’s a place where you’ll feel safe having your kids play outside.

corner terrace pool

It’s easy to lose yourself in the greenery that is KEN Rimba – the trees planted to flank the area not only shuts out the surrounding enterprises, but also reinforces the feeling that you’re walking into a green township. It’s won several prestigious awards like the BCA Green Mark GOLD and GOLD PLUS (Provisional for JIMBARAN) as recognition of it’s ecologically friendly status.

ken rimba pool

The corner terraces all have a swimming pool! I think that’s awesome – a place to cool down after the stresses of the day.

ken rimba homes

The terrace homes are not just green, it’s affordable too and has all the nice touches that makes it desirable. You can find out more information at the KEN Rimba website.

Green Awards:
green logos

Facebook: https://facebook.com/KEN.Greenbook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamCS10
Email: contact@kenholdings.com.my
Sales enquiries: 1300-22-9933

bicycles

I really liked how there are bicycles available for residents to use free of charge.

Great concept, eh? :)

Panasonic Lumix LX7 review

julie woon

Yes, this is the latest incarnation of the wildly popular LX3/LX5! I managed to get hold of the new Panasonic Lumix LX7 – it’s a super premium compact camera that has a lot of features that even professional photographers would appreciate.

lumix lx7

BTW, that’s Julie Woon, the 8TV host that also had the LX7 and showed her photos during the event.

lumix showcase

I was at the Panasonic Lumix Photonista campaign cum launch on the 19th November which unveiled several of their new cameras and lenses. There’s the two high end Lumix G series – GH3 and G5 which uses the relatively new dSLM (nope, not a typo, it stands for digital single lens mirrorless) cameras.

fuzion
Lunch @ Fuzion before the event

Lumix came out with the world’s first dSLM cameras in 2008 – the technology which allows for a more compact body and lens while still producing the high image quality of dSLRs. The flagship GH3 is even splash and dust proof. There’s also the accompanying 12-35mm, 45-150mm and 35-100mm lens.

panasonic lumix lx7

The new Lumix range was also unveiled – with the ultra high zoom “prosumer” FZ60 and FZ200 leading the pack to bridge the high end G series with the compact and new LX7. That leaves the lifestyle targeted SZ5 which has WiFi that allows you to use a smartphone to connect with it to shoot remotely and upload direct to social media avenues.

professional photographers

That’s a total of 6 new cameras and 3 lenses announced that day and there were also two female professional photographers who used the newly launched Lumix G cameras to take photos and record videos. I found the one which featured the capoeira video to be quite intriguing – the quality was so good I though it was taken with a dedicated camcorder.

lumix tx7 top

Anyway, back to the Lumix LX7 review, it’s a 10.1 MP high end compact camera that you can just point and shoot with it’s Intelligent Auto Plus with a full range of manual shooting modes and RAW file support. The body is made of metal, which gives it a premium feel and a nice solid weight. I really like the feel of it.

creative control

There’s also a bright 3 inch LCD screen with a 920,000 dot resolution which provides a really clear view of what you’re about to shoot. The ISO goes from 80-6400 (there’s also an option for ISO 12800 but that results in a lowered resolution) and it’s a lot like a dSLR with all its features.

defocus

I like the option of going all the way to the fastest f/1.4 maximum aperture which is essential for shooting in low-light conditions and producing that signature dSLR depth-of-field effect with out of focus backgrounds.

depth field

It’s very friendly for beginners but the best part about the LX7 is the toggle switch at the side that allows you to switch from manual to auto-focus (with the addition of macro thrown in).

food

It’s these little manual controls that makes it simple enough for photography enthusiasts to use yet allows full manual flexibility for more advanced users.

lumix tx7 back

Shooting in manual mode is surprisingly easy with the 3-step ND/Focus lever (very nifty, this one) that allows you full control over shutter speed. Focusing, exposure, bracketing area and all the essentials are ready at hand when used with the buttons and jog dial.

lumix lx7 front

There’s also a manually adjustable aperture ring that allows direct control over the light source to the sensors as well as a switch to change aspect ratios from 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 to 1:1. You can even shoot in ALL the aspect ratios at once!

level gauge

The MF Assist feature helps enthusiast photographers to understand how things work too. There’s also useful features like Level Gauge which helps you align your shots – the horizontal/vertical lines are yellow until they register as level with the accelerometer, at which point they turn green.

lunch

The remarkable Leica lens on the LX7 more than makes up for the relatively small sensor – it takes impressively sharp photos.

panorama
Panorama shot that allows all four directions!

The other strong point of the LX7 is in the video recording – it allows for full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 60p at 120 frames per second for NTSC (50p / 100 fps for PAL). That produces extremely smooth and detailed videos. The microphone is placed on top and there’s an Auto Wind Cut function to block out noise. Best of all it records in stereo from it’s two mics!

Personally, the best feature is the ability to take a still image while you record a video. I’ve often struggled with two cameras while recording a video in case there’s a scene where I want a photo too. Now I can do both with a single camera. Heh.

quick af

The most amazing thing I’ve realized about this camera is the super fast AF – it can even shoot at 4 fps with full AF tracking!

glass through
Glass Through scene

through glass
Resulting photo

1 aspect ratio
1:1 aspect ratio

sepia
Sepia

cakes
Creative Control

desserts
Food

expressive
Expressive

miniature effect
Miniature Effect (love the irony ;))

Things I like:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Insanely fast burst mode at 11 fps full resolution
  • Speedy auto-focus
  • Plethora of Instagram-like digital filters (called Creative Control)
  • Amazing HD video

chocolate fountain

The LX7 is a very good compact camera that has a lot of professional features you’ll be hard pressed to find in other compact digicams. It’s a perfect backup camera pros shooting with a dSLR – it’s portable enough and has stellar quality for a point and shoot, which also makes it an ideal choice for enthusiast photographers who wants a compact digicam.

hdr

It’s been called a “real photographer’s compact camera” – the Lumix LX7 is not an entry level camera but one with a lot of features. I loved playing around with it and I imagine I’ll be carrying this instead of my bulky dSLR around from now. :)

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