shopping

The people who know me personally always give me a lot of grief about my wardrobe, or rather, the lack thereof. I keep turning up in the same outfits every single time. It’s not that I have a drought in the attire department, but rather I have a few favorite shirts that I keep on wearing.

This is compounded by the fact that I am an impulsive shopper. Worse still, I am an impulsive shopper who tends to get the urge to shop at totally random moments (usually twice a year) and comes back with a shitload of clothes, most of which I wouldn’t wear (see favorite shirts above).

sale

I don’t go during sales or the usual periods people shop – I go when I feel like it. This is generally detrimental to my financial wellbeing as I shop on credit so when the credit card statement comes at the end of the month, my reactions range from being slightly taken aback to downright horror.

I have several credit cards but no debit card so when I saw Alliance Bank’s Debit Mastercard I decided to take it for a spin. I had an urge to shop and decided that a debit card would be a better one to use during my retail forays.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, I do actually shop for clothes – else, where would all my shirts come from? smirk

I set RM 750 as my daily spending limit – no more RM 5,000+ credit card bills (happened to me a couple of times). I hit the shopping malls and got the stuff that I really need. I decided that this time I’m going to buy items that I will wear regularly instead of one off items like the RM 575 jacket I got two months ago which I’ve only worn once.

Quiksilver board shorts

board shorts

This is one item I don’t have in my wardrobe. I have Speedos and Bermuda shorts but nothing even resembling board shorts. Why would a 29 year old who doesn’t surf need board shorts? Well, it’s perfect as beach wear! I had a string of beach vacations planned and I thought this would be a good investment.

buy board shorts

Price: RM 269

DC skate shoes

dc

Yes, I know I’m not a 16 year old skater boi anymore but can’t a man revisit the prime of his life? :p

old shoes

Besides, I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in ages, I’m still wearing almost 2 year old adidas tennis shoes. I figure it’s time to change the tatty pair of smelly shoes for some new ones.

dc shoes

DC shoes is not a brand I would choose to buy but one of my ex-girlfriends really loved the brand and bought a pair of them back from Australia for me. I spotted the DC footwear line and decided to get a pair – it’s useful for weekends and it’s also a pair of sneakers so it’s quite comfortable to wear.

Mark and Spencer vests

mark and spencer

This is an essential item in all men’s wardrobes. I didn’t know that until a recent image consultancy that I went for. I’ve never had the habit of wearing singlets or anything like that under my shirts.

cotton vest

To be perfectly honest, I think that practice is incredibly old fashioned and slightly repulsive as only octogenarians (like my late granddad) do that so he can wear his shirts more often without the need to wash it.

vest

However, during my image consultancy, I was told that wearing a vest under your work shirt actually bulks you up and makes you look buff and more authoritative. I’m all for that so I grabbed a couple to wear when I go to work. smirk

It’s RM 79 for 3 x 100% cotton vests so it’s a pretty good investment.

I spent less than RM 750 that day which is really good. That’s the benefit debit cards give you – you don’t spend on credit, you only spend what you have. Even better, I set RM 750 as the daily spending limit and the transaction bounced during the Mark and Spencer purchase so I took a pack of vests out. Nifty, eh?

alliance debit card

I’m using the Alliance Bank Standard Debit Card under HYBRID savings and the best thing about this card is that you get instant 1% cash back on all your purchases. It goes up to 2% cash back for the Premium version. I also really liked the financial control the card affords you. You can set a daily spending limit like what I did so you won’t go over a pre-planned amount that you’re willing to spend.

With more than 1.4 million ATMs around Malaysia, you won’t have any trouble changing your spending limit too! Find out more at my.alliancedebitcard.com.

We never turn our back on it and we never ever allow ourselves the SIN of losing track of time.
- Cast Away

fuck i'm late

I am very particular about time. It harks back to an incident where I got locked in the public library when I was a kid coz I went to the gents near closing time. We didn’t have cell phones then so it took a while for my mom to realize I was missing and even longer to get security to open the grill. Needless to say, that experience was rather unnerving since I still remember it.

ellesse time

Ironically, I’m not much of a watch person. I keep track of time by using the computer’s lower right clock feature when I’m at work and a cell phone when I’m out. However, I can appreciate having a fine timepiece. A lot of people consider a watch an important accessory for men – a status symbol of sorts. Personally, the importance of a watch can be summed up with one word:

HINT

This only works with watches. Let’s say you have an important appointment to go to and you’re in a similarly important discussion. Dilemma! You wouldn’t want to be late for the next meeting and you ALSO don’t want to offend the people in the current discussion.

Solution:

michelle watch

Make sure you discreetly glance at your watch when the other person is watching. This will generally project a hint that you’re in a bit of a rush and allow you to exit gracefully without a social faux pas smirk.

This won’t work with my Blackberry since people would assume I’m just checking work emails.

That’s the importance of a watch and now I know why so many working professionals wear one. ;)

I’m not in the habit of wearing chronographs so it surprised my friend Michelle when I had the ellesse Sportivo on. I have to admit, it looks very nice and she was rather impressed with it as well.

ellesse

ellesse started out as a sports apparel brand from Italy but have since expanded into timepieces with ellesse TIME. I got one of the Sportivo collection for men. This stainless steel ellesse watch contrasts well with the black textured PU middle links around the bracelet. It has a very cool black dial too – large and stylish with three separate counters and a date display.

ellesse sportivo

This watch has all the features a good timepiece would have, like a tachymeter, but the best thing about the ellesse Sportivo is that it looks good and feels solid. The black/silver color scheme works very well – the red highlights is a real attention grabber too! It’s also water resistant up to 100 meters so you won’t have to take it off when you’re in the pool.

underwater

1 SECOND. YOU. THE WORLD.

ellesse is running a contest where you share a photo and story about a touching moment in your life. It’s really simple to join and here is my entry:

mom pre op

If I have 1 second with the world, I won’t give the usual Miss Universe crap about “World Peace”.

I don’t exactly have a very close relationship with my mother. We were always at odds for as long as I can remember and truth to be told, I used to secretly blame her for a lot of my personality traits. She worries a lot, over small and insignificant matters and somehow that passed on to me during my formative years.

She expects nothing less than perfection from me, using the rotan and vacuum cleaner tube liberally when I got anything less than 90/100 for my school exams. 90 would get a disapproving frown and a scolding. 95 would get a nod of acknowledgment, not approval. 99 got me a slight smile in the form of an almost insignificant upwards twitch in the corner of the mouth, which is quickly replaced by the oft repeated comment – “It’s just 1 mark short of 100. You could have done better.”

I remember that very well coz my dad wasn’t around when I was in primary school so all the insane expectations kinda left me with very low self esteem. I figured I just wasn’t good enough for the world. I was never going to be exceptional. I will always be mediocre.

I don’t blame her now though. I guess time and age changes perceptions.

It’s hard to be a parent.

(I also don’t want to be like Eminem – constantly whining about his mom for causing his problems smirk)

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of months ago and had to undergo an operation. I flew down to New Zealand before she went for the surgical procedure and one thing that surprised me was how well she handled everything. She trusted in God and was never fearful.

She was strong.

The trip also made me realize how estranged we’ve become.

She made it through and is recovering now, and I think my newborn niece had a lot to do with that. I wonder though, would I ever forgive myself for not setting things straight if she didn’t make it through?

mom post op

I’m always closer to my dad and although my mom nags a lot, she does it coz she loves me in her own twisted way (and I mean that in an affectionate manner). :)

I’m not going to pretend to be magnanimous and go on about stopping poverty, helping starving kids in Africa, or somehow magically cease the tense situation in the Middle East when the UN couldn’t even accomplish it in decades.

If I have one second with the world, I would just like everyone to be happy about themselves. No anxiety, stress, or self doubt. I want everyone to accept themselves and be proud of who they are.

I’ve learnt to appreciate all the things in life that I have now. The important things – my friends and family. Especially my mom, since our relationship has always been strained and I aim to improve that. I’m just thankful that it’s not too late for that.

ellesse watch

Do you have you own story to tell? Join the Touching Moment contest and stand a chance to win an ellesse watch!

dui

I have a confession to make. I am not the safest driver out there. In fact, calling my driving reckless would be something of an understatement. I hereby list the sins of the road that I am guilty of:

- Speeding
- Tailgating people who are “slow” e.g. driving in accordance with the speed limit
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
- Cutting people off
- Using the emergency lane
- Running red lights
- Using the horn and middle finger liberally

damage

Hell, I once nearly got into a fight for the last one. I would have definitely had the crap kicked out of me considering there are three guys in the car but after a heated exchange we parted somewhat amicably. I don’t want to go all Hong Kong bus uncle and it wouldn’t have been pretty (for me) if they were obliged to violence since in the frame of mind I was in, I was all too willing to indulge them.

I’m sure a lot of us here in KL are under a lot of stress from work and often we take it out on the road. I am not proud of it but once I chased this MPV that cut me off on the LDP and swerved right in front of him to make him stop to get out of his car.

back damage

I don’t know what I was thinking coz I was in serious road rage mode but when I got out of the car, I realized it wasn’t just a man – it was an ENTIRE family, grandmother and kids et al. The man apologized and said he didn’t see me and that made me feel really bad. I was in his blind spot and I overreacted and I took my stress out on him.

I have tendency of drinking and driving as well, which is Really Bad (TM). I used to have a statement tee that goes “If I don’t drink and drive, how the fuck am I going to get home?” but there have been a lot of incidents that has given me pause.

My car has gone through so many accidents I couldn’t keep count. In fact, I totally wrecked my previous car in Kuching. I also ran down a pedestrian while running a red light on a zebra crossing which took me ages to settle while I was in Kuching. I’m so embarrassed of that incident I always tell people it’s a person (being vague) while in actual fact..

tires busted

…it was an old woman crossing a low cost flat while buying groceries. I did not see her and the pedestrian crossing usually is empty so I didn’t stop. The bones in her right arm were all broken so they had to install steel rods. I still feel guilty about that incident.

Well, I guess that’s the trick isn’t it? What if it was your grandmother I ran down? Won’t you hate me and want me to burn in hell for all eternity?

towing needed

My sister recently gave birth to my niece and I went down to New Zealand to visit them. It was eye-opening, the way she took care of her baby. She’s super safe, it takes her 15 minutes to setup the car for the baby to go in.

my neice

I don’t have to wonder how I’LL feel if my niece got hurt just coz a speeding drunk driver rammed into my sister’s car. I’ll take it REAL PERSONAL.

We flaunt road rules when we drive – whether it’s due to bad attitudes or plain carelessness but take a moment and think about others. I drink and drive and sometimes forget how I even got home and it scares me sometimes…what if I ran someone over? Someone’s wife? Someone’s child? Someone’s niece?

Malaysians are known to be rude on the roads but it doesn’t have to be that way. MUFORS (Malaysians Unite For Road Safety) is a big advocate of road safety and it’s a community project aimed at changing the mindsets of people about road safety. I’ve pledged mine.

MUFORS is also running a contest for students of institutions of higher learning (which means all you college and university people out there). It’s called MUFORS Road Reels and it’s a short film competition where you can speak out and capture your opinions Malaysian drivers (either negative or positive).

accident

The MUFORS Road Reels contest aims to educate people that safety on the roads is up to the attitude of each and every driver (that means YOU too). It enables you to make the roads of Malaysia a safer place and change the mindset of drivers to reduce road accidents and deaths.

RRM_short_film_competition

There are prizes up to RM 10,000 in each of the three categories and the closing date is 30th October 2010. You can find out more about this awesome initiative and contest at the MUFORS website.

ADN_animation

It has been scientifically proven that there is a Racing Gene (TM) in every man’s DNA. Obviously, I just pulled that out of my ass…I mean, exhaust, there is no such thing in our genetic makeup. Heh! However, we love cars and we love driving said cars in excessive speeds.

group

…and let’s not forget our equally amazing female counterparts like Leona Chin. I’m a huge fan of her! Check out her drifting videos:

I love watching Formula One, NASCAR, drift competitions, drag races and such. On the more fictional side of racing, I can’t remember how many times I’ve watched Initial D (the anime) and Initial D (the live action movie).

rain

The Fast and the Furious series brought even more glamour to street racing. The first one was excellent with the tuned and modified cars, the second was rather disappointing but they returned with a third iteration that blew the original first movie away – Tokyo Drift!

honda

I loved the fourth iteration too but what stayed in my mind was opening scene of the first movie – the precision driving with the highly tuned Honda Civics with uber cool green neon lighting under the chassis while hijacking the trucks.

Pure awesomeness!

drift

I’ve even been to a drifting course due to my love for motor sports. The first half was a safety course, which was really useful for me considering the numerous times I’ve crashed my car.

It just feels good to drive at high speeds, it’s…very liberating!

HMRT2

Honda Malaysia Racing Team is participating in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MME) this 8th August. If you don’t know what the MME is, it’s a grueling 12 hour race in Sepang International Circuit that involves day and night driving.

HMRT3

MME is not just about speed – it’s about finely tuned cars, teamwork and perseverance! Racing has always been part of Honda, I’m sure you’re familiar with their high performance R range. The Honda Malaysia Racing Team has won the Class A Championships 4 years in a row and they will be using the same car they used in 2009 – the Honda Civic Type R!

HMRT4

They’re also holding a Honda Racing Ultimate Challenge contest in conjunction with the MME race. Are you a huge racing fan? Well, here’s your chance to prove it! Just register at http://honda.com.my and answer 5 questions with a slogan. If you’re shortlisted, you get to form a team with a friend and participate in a Go-Kart Endurance Race.

The top 20 teams will proceed to the final challenge at the MME race itself where you compete for cool prizes like Apple MacBooks, iPhones, iPods and Alpinestars racing merchandise!

Honda – Rising to the Challenge!

cert

You know you’re the best, now try at beat the rest! ;)

Registration starts now! Click here for some racing action!

clues

Our company recently had an annual party and we had lucky draw prizes and door gifts ranging from LCD TVs to Jusco vouchers. It’s the luck of the draw – I got engine oil and a printer, which is pretty good considering I don’t have a printer and it’s high time to change my engine oil.

Now some people got stuff which they don’t need or wanted to sell off for cash instead so the next day was filled with emails bouncing back and forth with offers and deals on their gifts. I remember one particular thread selling RM 600 worth of Jusco vouchers for RM 560 (5% discount).

cash voucher

I was laughing when I saw that coz who in their right minds would buy that for only RM 40 less? I wasn’t laughing a minute later when a bid war started and the seller decided to just sell it to the first person who responded. I was pondering about this the whole day until a coworker shrugged in the elevator and said maybe to some aunties, a RM 40 saving is a huge amount, especially if they buy groceries at Jusco.

I think he might be right – it doesn’t appeal to me coz I don’t shop there but what if it’s something I want? I can imagine bidding on a 50% MPH/Borders voucher coz I love books and I love reading. It’s all about affinity and interests. I may not be into buying groceries at a discount but a lot of other people are.

books

It’s also about the surprise and limited time offer factor that spurred the after-party deluge of emails. People are interested in what others have to offer and due to the time sensitive nature, they kept checking their emails. TVs, iPods, gaming consoles and whatnot flew off the company email servers – it’s virtual selling.

Now, that was just a company wide event. Imagine taking that up to a whole new level and offering deals for all Malaysians (even Sarawakians ;)).

cold storage

MyDeal.com.my is offering exactly that. The concept is very interesting – they have a limited amount of vouchers to sell every day and you won’t know what it is until you go to their website that day. The vouchers are all from well known brands – restaurants, movie theatres, hotels, massages and much much more.

masseuse

What MyDeal.com.my offers is discounts on vouchers which can be 50% – 90% (!!!) off. You have to click on the city you’re in to see what the deal of the day is and if you like it, you simply purchase it and the voucher gets emailed to you instantly! No waiting for the postman, just get the voucher in your Inbox and bring it to the store.

dinner at rhu

I’ve seen Nando’s, Parkson, Isetan, Popular, McDonald’s, Cathay Cineplex and more on their website. The wide range of brands ensures that it appeals to everyone. Movie buff? The RM 10 Cathay Cineplex voucher for just RM 2.50 will surely appeal with 75% off. Need to get something from Guardian? One of their past deals is 68% off RM 10 Guardian gift vouchers.

The most intriguing thing about MyDeals.com.my is that all the offers are time limited AND quantity limited, so if you want to get that exclusive deal, you have to put on them boogie shoes and be quick about it to get it on time!

rhu

That is what’s so interesting about MyDeal.com.my – you never know what deals might pop up and it’s an entirely different shopping experience. You have to be quick though coz I’ve seen great deals sell out before 24 hours.

jivarhu massage

You can check out tomorrow’s deal if you Like their Facebook page. It reminds me of that James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies where the media mogul’s tagline is “Tomorrow’s News Today”. Heh!

fruit basket

If you like the element of surprise (you never know what’s the deal of the day), just surf over to MyDeal.com.my and see what they have to offer today!

chef ismail

I went to the High 5 Bread Town last week for a cooking session with none other than Chef Ismail himself!

One clue that this isn’t going to be your regular boring cooking demonstration is when Chef Ismail gave the cue for heart thumping music to play and got us to exercise…with High 5 bread as “weights”. I got so into it that my adrenaline was pumping like a fireman attempting to put out a 5 story blaze. Lame analogy but it’s either this or something NSFW. smirk

play dough

Anyway, we started off the session by kneading and molding fresh dough and making shapes with it. It’s like playing with Play Doh! I attempted to make a heart shaped one while my teammates went for abalone and a vaguely phallic looking thing that she twisted so hard it fell on the floor. Heh!

baking class

It’s a good thing that wasn’t for eating though – it’s for getting a feel (pun intended) for the high quality dough that High 5 uses for its bread.

coffee bread

Steaming hot coffee with slices of soft and fluffy High 5 bread was served to give us an experience of dipping the freshly baked bread into coffee.

coffee dunk

This is a breakfast staple for a lot of Malaysians on the go. It sure brings back those childhood memories!

ceo

After a short speech by Dato’ Jackson Tan, the Group Managing Director of Silver Bird Group Bhd (yes, it’s the same company that makes those delicious cakes) we donned our aprons and got into the gist of it.

ingredients

The proper cooking session started with the Mini Pizza. You can choose either wholemeal or white bread and chuck it in the oven while waiting for it to heat up to golden brown.

oven

Chef Ismail here shows us how to do it. He had his own special tomato base made with plum tomatoes, diced onions, chopped garlic, chopped parsley, thyme, oregano, tomato paste, black pepper and olive oil.

mini pizza

I made mine with extra tomato base (which we nicked from the good chef’s table) on High 5 wholemeal bread with half covered with chicken sausages and the other half with onions. I also added some diced capsicum and topped it off with grated mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

This was sent to the oven and after a couple of minutes…

mini pizza cooked

WALLAH!

It tasted really good, and I didn’t regret using the wholemeal bread as the base as it provides that extra texture to the thing.

curry puff roll

Next up is Sardine Curry Puffs. Okay, this one ups the ante a little since it requires motor coordination skillz and a bit of expertise.

curry puff fill

Chef Ismail made it look easy and I was determined to make this one come out right.

curry puff seal

I opted for High 5 white bread this time and used a rolling pin to thoroughly FLATTEN the slice of bread. You need to make the bread into pastry. I didn’t have the right technique apparently, since Chef Ismail had to come over and teach me how to really work that bread into a 1 mm pastry like base.

curry puff flatten

Now comes the tricky part – you shouldn’t overfill the the curry puffs. After cutting off the crust, you put some filling into the curry puff before using a mixture of flour and water to seal off the curry puff. I applied the flour paste liberally – on the sides and to the entire other half of the slice of bread before rolling it up and submerging it into hot oil.

hot oil

I am pleased to report that my Sardine Curry Puff turned out golden brown and tasty to boot!

curry puff bite

The last recipe we did was High 5 Bread Tuna Canapés. Canapés, for the uninitiated, is another word for the little morsels of food you see served at atas functions with champagne. As soon as Chef Ismail went into the part about being sophisticated while eating canapés, mine promptly flew out of my fingers and went God-knows-where. FML. >.<

canapes

Anyway, the High 5 Bread Tuna Canapés is very easy to make and it requires no cooking! All you need is basically a cutter to cut the pieces of bread into round shapes before buttering it and adding some tuna, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of spring onions.

making canapes

It is an art form – you’re supposed to decorate the canapés and I guess I wasn’t really good at that.

group shot

Anyway, there was a prize for the best group amongst the gaggle of bloggers and media that was there. I did the speech, much to the woe of my teammates as I described how Kimberly dropped her dough, KY made a curry puff that expanded due to the overfill and how I somehow managed to eat a canape while at the same time unintentionally doing a Wright Brothers on it. Michelle and Nicholas‘ team won. Congrats! =D

Here’s a video of Chef Ismail working his magic. It’s quite long but good for the recipe!

tasting

There is also a contest where you can win iPads amongst other things called Jom Rasa & Menang. It’s really easy to enter!

ipad

Just look for the sticker on any High 5 bread products – there are different requirements depending on whether it’s sandwich bread, sausage rolls, buns, or cream rolls. After you buy it, fill up the entry form and enter the barcode displayed on the High 5 bread before dropping off your entry at the contest box located at bread stands in retail outlets or mailing it in. You can get more information and the contest form at http://www.silverbird.com.my/contest.php.

eating canapes

The High 5 cooking session with Chef Ismail was really fun! I liked how all the recipes bring out the essence in High 5 bread and now I have my own recipe arsenal to add to my repertoire of cooking! Thanks for the hospitality High 5! I really liked the Mini Pizza that I made. I guess you can say it’s the best thing since sliced bread. smirk

dick

Well, it shouldn’t! Sex isn’t something to be ashamed about when you’re of legal age and it’s within two (or six) consenting adults. In fact, sex is one of humans’ basic needs, like food or shelter. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about leading a healthy sex life.

There. I said it. SEX.

cherie

It’s not a dirty word. I was very enlightened when I attended SEXPO during my university days in Australia. There is nothing wrong about being sexually active. In fact, Malaysia is ranked #7 in frequency of sex according to the Durex Sexual Wellbeing Survey. We top France, UK and even the USA! Do we rock or what? smirk

shadow

However, despite all the horizontal boogie that we’ve been doing, we do not tend to discuss it as it is considered taboo by some in our culture. I personally don’t subscribe to this theory. Sex is a wonderful and important part of life!

For those of you who aren’t as open as me about sex, whether in real life or online, and have burning questions (pun intended – feel like you’re pissing needles after that one night stand?) that needs to be answered, myORA! is your online playground!

crowd

You’re totally anonymous and the site does not discriminate against your sexual preference (LGBTs welcome here!). There are so many topics on the site that you’ll be hard pressed to find one where you’ll not feel at home.

accsex

Fetish? Check. Sex stories? Here. Advice on anal sex? Got it! Oh, this reminds me, I chronicled some of my sexcapades in Bedtime Stories..I should probably post them there to get a wider audience. Heh!

Cauliflower

Anyway, there is also more serious stuff like Sexual Health – very important, I might add, if you don’t want to wake up one day to find a crop of cauliflowers on your penis as a result of HPV (genital warts) transmission.

The site even has a forum for Relationships so you can sound off and get advice about how you and your significant other is getting along (or not). There’s also experts you can seek guidance from and well written articles about anything and everything related to sex!

paint

I’ve registered and browsed through the site – it’s interesting to see different viewpoints on a subject matter, it really opens your mind. I’m quite partial to going down on a woman, I like the taste and the smell, but apparently not everyone does. The best thing is this forum is respectful of everyone’s tastes – one man’s meat is another man’s poison and all that but we can still get along and chat.

I have also had one night stands, something I won’t really admit to even if you threaten to stick a red hot poker into my right eye, but in this site, you can share your deepest and darkest secrets and feel secure knowing that you’re anonymous!

I also find it refreshing that the forum is also wordplay on oral – think of the exclamation mark as a l.

spa

Sex should be celebrated! Start your sexual journey by visiting www.myORA.com!

“Sex is always the answer, it’s never the question, coz the answer’s yes!” – Nickleback

petaling street

I am a Chinese kid born and raised in a small town in Sarawak. It is predominantly Chinese so I didn’t have a lot of interactions with other races. I was shipped off to New Zealand at the age of 15 for high school and there was a lot of racism going on over there.

I have never given race a serious thought before. Who would have known that being of a different culture would cause one to be a target of bullying? In my first day of school, a group of Kiwis in a car wound down their window shouted “Go back home, Chinaman!”.

However, I soon discovered that these people are the vocal minority. The vast majority did not really care as long as you can communicate with them. I guess it was the experience of being treated as a second class citizen which made me not do it to others.

lrt

When I finished my university and came back to KL to work, I had already been exposed to a melting pot of cultures in cosmopolitan Melbourne. Race didn’t mean anything to me anymore. I can only remember one incident over here – I asked someone on the road for directions in Shah Alam and was told in a less-than-friendly manner “Cakap Bahasa Melayu, jangan lupa ini Malaysia!”

It was not exactly the 1Malaysia that we have hoped for that but that was a totally isolated incident.

I can think of many more other positive interactions with strangers – like the one when I was lost in KL early in the morning (this was my pre-GPS days) and this kind Malay couple actually bothered to tell me to follow their car to my destination, despite it being out of their way. Now that is 1Malaysia to me.

I did a video for ASTRO’s MySTORY – the new channel for showcasing stories about 1Malaysia from people like me and you:

I shot the video in Petaling Street to illustrate my Chinese background before taking the LRT and mamak shots. The first few scenes were taken by a Dutch couple here on holiday – which I profiled as Least Likely To Run Away With Your Digital Camera (TM) ;).

dutch couple

I wanted to do one with different races locking arms and saying “We are Malaysians” but decided it would be too cheesy so I came up with the pigeon analogy instead.

…which I discovered by chance, while navigating from the car park to Petaling Street.

There was a flock of pigeons pecking away at a discarded pack of rice. The rice is Malaysia, it’s our economy, and the pigeons are Malaysians, irregardless of race. We are in this together. We literally share the same rice bowl and there’s enough for everyone.

national monument

I think we are coming closer to a united Malaysia – it’s just a matter of time. Sure, we crack some racist jokes now and then, and others do the same, all in the name of fun, but no one takes offence anymore. There is also an increasing amount of mixed race relationships (which I predict would be an archaic term in 10 years) which would produce offspring that truly represents Malaysia.

I remember Harith Iskandar’s joke about his yet-to-be-born children – he’s Malay while his wife is Chinese/Indian/Caucasian so would his future kids have to tick Malay, Chinese, Indian, and also the “dan lain lain” column?

Despite it being a joke, I am all for a 1Malaysia. I was born here, spent most of my life here and I plan to stay here. It would be nice for all third generation people to be recognized as Bumiputera but that would be an issue which would resolve itself in time.

It is possible, as the famous words “I have a dream…” uttered by Martin Luther King sparked off what is now an ideal situation for African-Americans in the United States. It is a trend that will endure, with the globalization of our world.

tugu negara

I believe in a 1Malaysia. One country, one race, one nation.

Interested in being featured on TV? Shoot your own 1Malaysia story and submit it at www.astro.com.my/mystory.

perth

I’ve been to Perth several times during my university days in Australia and I am very impressed with the relatively relaxed pace over there.

fish-chips

Nothing beats having some steaming hot fish and chips at the harbor! Make sure you go to the one at Cicerello’s – it’s the original, and the best. Located at Fremantle, it also serves beer if you want something to wash it down with!

perth_swan

Perth is home to The Swan Bells. It was a gift from London according to Wikipedia (O Wise One) and it’s one of the largest musical instrument in the world – you can even ring it and let yourself be heard all across the city! :)

perth-map

Okay, geography lesson time. I nicked this photo from Wikipedia. It has a hover text that says “Perth is located in Australia”. Well, no shit Sherlock! ;)

clothing-optional

You can also drop by Swanbourne if you feel like letting your dangly bits down. It’s a clothing optional beach in Perth. smirk

However, Perth is not Western Australia. You can’t claim to have visited WA unless you’ve been outside of Perth city proper.

black-truffles

I must admit, I haven’t been to other places in Western Australia though. I hear it grows a lot of black truffles (gourmands take note!) – and you can buy fresh truffles during autumn and winter! These are not just plain black truffles but Black Perigord truffles – the real black gold. Expensive, but delicious!

simmos

There’s a cult favorite ice cream store called Simmo’s Delicious Dilemmas in Dunsborough and Margaret River. I haven’t personally tried it myself but Kristine tells me it’s good shit. Probably the best ice cream that has ever done the horizontal boogie with your taste buds.

margeret river

You know all that wine you’ve been drinking that says Margaret River? It’s also located in Western Australia! I would love to visit the vineyards over there to drink the tipple closer to the source!

kristine

…and do that I shall! I will visit Kristine later this year – gonna fly AirAsia straight to Perth and visit the rest of the Western Australia region that I haven’t been too. She’s been to quite a few places around the WA region, most of the pictures were taken by her (others nicked from Wikipedia). Thanks for tempting me with all the photos Kristine!

Stromatolites_in_Sharkbay

One intriguing place I’ll love to visit is Hamelin Pool – it is home to stromatolites – the oldest living marine fossils in the world. There’s only two places in this third rock from the sun that harbors stromatolites (no clue where the other one is) and Western Australia is one of them!
There is a bit of a mystery surrounding their origin and trust me, I’ll be there to unravel (oh well maybe not, but I’ll go take a look) the fossils.

shell-beach

We’ll go to the Coral Coast okay? I want to go to Shell Beach (formed from shells made from just one type in of animal and the only one of two in the world) and The Pinnacles!

The-Pinnacles

Just look at this photo!

A recent research revealed that taking a vacation has been shown to reduce work related stress by 66%, increase worker productivity by an amazing 92.86% and shaved an impressive 42% off arguments between couples over issues like leaving the toilet seat up. Of course, I pulled all those numbers from where the sun don’t shine but still!

beauty

I travel a lot coz I value experiences more than material goods. Life is short, travel the world! I’ll be going to Melbourne end of this month and Perth is next on my destination list – probably August or so. I’ll give you all a full trip report when I get there k?

You can find out more about Perth and Western Australia by following the blog of the Extraordinary Taxi Ride. Or you can just fly AirAsia and experience it for yourself!

joke

Lemme just share my favorite joke about the banking industry:

A little old lady goes into a bank and says she wants to open a savings account. The account person asks her how much she would like to deposit to open the account, and the little old lady says, “Three million dollars.”

The account person is startled, and says, “In what form?” and the little old lady says, “Cash. I’ve got it here in this bag.” The account person looks and, sure enough, the lady has a big grocery bag chock full of green bills with big denominations.

This is a highly unusual event, and the account person excuses herself to get the president of the bank to handle this one. He arrives, and escorts the little old lady to his office to handle it personally.

Once in his office, he asks the little old lady where she got so much money.

She says, “Gambling.”

“Gambling?” he says. “What sort of gambling?”

“Oh, I make bets with people on all sorts of things, and I usually win. For example, I’ve got one hundred thousand dollars right here that says by noon tomorrow, your balls will be square, and I’ll even give you four to one odds. You got twenty five thousand dollars you’d be willing to wager on that?” she asks.

The bank president is shocked at this sort of thing coming from a sweet little old lady, but he didn’t get to be the president of the bank without knowing something about money. “I suppose I could come up with enough to cover that sort of wager, but I wouldn’t feel right taking it from you. There’s no way you can win a bet like that!”

The little old lady just shakes the bag, and says, “I know what I’m doing. I can afford to lose, though I’m not going to. Is it a bet?”

“Okay, have it your way,” says the president, and they shook hands on it.

“See you at eleven-fifty-five tomorrow morning,” says the little old lady, and with that she leaves.

The next morning at 11:55, the little old lady arrives with a younger man in a three-piece suit, and is escorted to the bank president’s office. The president is a nervous wreck, though a happy one. He’s gotten almost no sleep last night, waking every few minutes to feel his balls to check for impending squareness, but nothing happened all night. He has checked hundreds of times that morning, but still nothing.

When the little old lady arrives, he starts to relax, knowing he has won.

“Come in, please have a seat! Who might this gentleman be?” says the president.

“He’s my lawyer. For a bet of this size I want to have a witness. Any objections?”

“No, perfectly understandable,” says the president. “Well, it’s now noon, and I’m still unchanged, so I guess I win!”

“Not so fast!” says the little old lady. “For a hundred grand I want to verify things personally! Please drop your pants.”

The bank president is a bit flustered, but agrees that in her position he’d want proof as well, so he drops his pants. The little old lady goes over to him and reaches out to feel the organs in question.

“Okay, you win, here’s your hundred grand,” says the little old lady, handing over a bag of bills. As she does so, her lawyer starts banging his head against the wall and moaning.

“What’s wrong with him?” asks the bank president.

“Oh, he’s just upset. Poor loser if you ask me. You see, we had a million dollar bet that I would have the President of the bank by the balls by noon today.”

balls

You just gotta love them. They practically put you in debt for life from credit cards, and in addition to that there are mysterious fees for anything and everything which no one but people in the banking industry would understand.

I, for one, cannot comprehend the fees that are charged to me, and I have three bank accounts, which makes it worse. I usually don’t care much about that but a recent experience left me with more than a bad taste in my mouth.

Keep in mind that I used the SAME bank on the SAME day for this:

1. I withdrew RM 5,000 from an ATM (my max limit)
2. I used a credit card to withdraw ANOTHER RM 5,000 from my credit card inside the Genting casino (max)
3. Within 30 minutes, I withdrew RM 21,000 from my savings account from their branch in Genting (ALL the money in my account)

Hello? I know it’s not your responsibility to be your customer’s brother’s keeper but how on Earth can I make that last RM 21,000 withdrawal, emptying my account, when I was visibly intoxicated, at a casino, and you know very well that I have done RM 31,000 in withdrawals in a day.

I think I have a set a limit to my daily withdrawals but all I had to do was to waltz in, sign for a RM 21,000 withdrawal, pass it to the bank personnel and ABRACADABRA:

21000%20cash

RM 21,000 in RM 100 notes appeared in front of me.

No checks at all! I just had to fill in my account number, name and pass them my MyKad and in 5 minutes, I was out of the bank with more than 20k in cash.

…and the best part was, I just scribbled my signature coz I was too intoxicated to sign.

What if someone else got hold of my account number? I would have lost RM 21,000 just like that. Besides, I’m pretty sure I have set a limit to my daily withdrawals (gotta check on this) from one of my ex-girlfriend’s advice due to my impulsive nature.

I would love to explore the option of contesting that 21k withdrawal and approval in just 5 minutes when I was less-than-sober but I don’t have enough money now to hire a lawyer to look into it. :(

Also, I believe in personal responsibility, and I take all the blame for that. However, things could have been done better. A RM 21,000 account emptying withdrawal after my ATM and credit card limit has been maxed out should have raised a red flag no?

bank counter

I also remember the time when I had to wait in queue for ages to get my ATM card replaced when I lost it. There was one perfectly good counter with the person doing nothing but taking PERSONAL phone calls, but noooo that counter was deemed CLOSED (with the appropriate signage to show that it was indeed, CLOSED for all and sunder to see). My primary bank is also extremely slow in getting my credit card approved for overseas use as I travel quite a lot. Waiting on the phone for 30 minutes (!!!) is not uncommon. :(

I know people who are saddled with debt from credit cards, fast personal loan approvals (WTF did you actually check my credit before you did that?) and other dubious things that the banking institution do (and get away with).

can banking be better

It makes me wonder though…am I with the wrong banks? Can Banking Be Better?

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