Malaysia Boleh cigarettes

john cigs promo

Malaysia Boleh! Jenama Bangsa Malaysia (The Brand of the People of
Malaysia). This is a relatively new entry into the cigarette market –
John cigarettes.

john cigarettes

I found it in a coffee shop somewhere. It’s wholly made and owned by
a Malaysian Company. I just hope Phillip Morris don’t file a lawsuit
based on the er…similarities, shall we say, with their respective logos.

john cigs

It currently only comes in one variety, no menthols, no lights, but
that’s not an issue since I don’t go for those. It only costs RM 2.80,
around half the price of “premium” cigarettes like Marlboro and Dunhill.

john cigarettes my

It has the “MY” silk print on it – Malaysia recently launched a
campaign to get rid of all unlicenced cigarettes by imposing fines on
both retailers and end users and this affected the low income bracket
market by removing low cost cigarettes like Rave from the shelves.

It looks like that void is filled now, with these Malaysian made
cigarettes. I personally found it pleasant, somewhat like
Marlboros…for half the price. Two other test subjects reported
“sharpness” and an “acidity”, respectively, which I also noted, but
hey, it costs half the price of Marlboros. I think I’ll stick to
Marlboros though, but I’m just telling you, if you’re not choosy, you
might like John cigarettes.

…and er, support Malaysian made goods. ;)

DJ Mix flavored cigarettes

dj mix girl

This is one of the DJ Mix promoters that we saw during dinner
earlier in the night. They were selling a relatively new brand of
flavored cigarettes at a promotional price.

dj mix cigarettes

They usually retail for RM 5.40 per packet, but the promo girls were
selling three for RM 11. There were three flavors – lemon fresh,
strawberry and iced green apple. I shall report on them later, I’ve had
the strawberry flavor ones a couple of months ago and that was good.

Cigarette brands in Malaysia

cigarette malaysia

Here are photos with accompanying commentary of the common brands of cigarettes in Malaysia:

Dunhill

dunhill

This is the most popular brand here, according to my friends who’re
in the tobacco sales industry. I don’t like the taste – it seems to
have less tar than Marlboros, which produces a less than smooth draw
when inhaled. Dunhill is supposed to have the highest nicotine content
amongst all the cigarette brands, but that is just word on the street,
not based on any quantitative analysis.

dunhill other

It is available in Menthol, Menthol Lights and Lights too. It is
said that menthol cigarettes causes infertility but IMHO, that’s just a
joke passed around.

Salem

salem

This is probably the most popular menthol cigarette here. I remember
bringing some Salem cigarettes to Christchurch, NZ for my Kiwi friends
to try and most of them choked on the first inhale. Heh. Salem + winter
= cough, cough. Matterhorn is even stronger in that aspect.

Marlboro

marlboro

My personal favorite when I used to smoke. I started smoking when I
was 15 or 16, couldn’t remember. I would only smoke Marlboro reds in
the flip-top boxes. I can’t stand the soft packs, they always get
squashed somehow. Marlboros have a smooth, consistent draw – it tastes
great, which is more than I can say for other brands. Very versatile
too, just pop a Hacks sweet before lighting up and *poof* instant
menthol Marlboros. I read somewhere that Marlboros deliver nicotine
more quickly (they called it “crack/freebase nicotine”) so smokers get
a faster reward delivery system. I liken Marlboros to a chocolate taste
when inhaled…and just like chocolates, you can’t just have one. Best
one is the first one (or two) in the morning. =D

Mild Seven

mild seven

This is another popular brand. It tastes okay, it would probably be
the brand I’ll switch to in the unlikely event that Philip Morris folds
and discontinues Marlboros. I remember my Taiwanese friends preferring
this brand. They have this habit of opening up the soft pack, taking
one cigarette out, and putting it back in upside down. That cigarette
is known as “shu yuen yen” or “wishing cigarette” and it would be the
very last one from the pack to be smoked. It is said that making a wish
while lighting up that one would fulfill that wish. Smoker’s etiquette
dictates that you should NEVER smoke the last cigarette in someone
else’s pack. This applies more strongly for those who keep a “shu yuen
yen”, you shouldn’t ever smoke it. I once accidentally took that one
from a half full pack (it’s upside down, so it should be clearly
visible) and smoked it and was reprimanded for my transgression. That
upside down cigarette is meant for the owner of the pack.

Kent

kent

My late paternal grandfather (may he rest in peace) used to smoke
this brand. He used to keep cartons of it – he smoked about two packs a
day. He died of cancer, just like my maternal grandfather (lung
cancer). I have always been told that our family has a predisposition
to cancer and that I shouldn’t smoke, since both of my grandfathers
died from smoking related complications. Cigarette smoke is a
carcinogen, if you have been living under a barrel, and didn’t already
know.

Pall Mall

pall mall

I never liked these. Yeah, I’ve tried most cigarette brands
(including unfiltered Camels and this multi-colored cigarettes called
Sorreno or something) before deciding that Marlboros are my favorite
and brand loyalty stayed since then and I won’t smoke anything else
(unless I’m out, that is). Pall Mall sounds so grim…think “pallor” and “pall bearer”. ;)

Perilly’s

perillys

To be honest, this tastes disgusting to me. It doesn’t sound all
that good either. You can’t spell “Perilly’s” without “Peril”. Heh.

Lucky Strike

lucky strike

It’s not popular here. It’s alright, the taste is pretty good once
in a while, but then again I’ve always been a Marlboro smoker after the
initial experimentation with brands, so I can’t comment. It’s a
strange, acquired taste, Lucky Strikes.

Winston

winston

I don’t know anyone who likes these.

L.A. Menthol Lights

la lights

It’s an ultra slim cigarette, called “geh boh hong ki” (prostitute’s
cigarettes) over here. The etymology of this word apparently stems from
the popularity of this brand amongst working ladies in Miri.

Gudang Garam and Djarum

gudang garam

Clove cigarettes. They leave a slippery aftertaste to the tongue, lips and mouth. I can’t get into clove cigarettes.

Rave

rave

This is very popular amongst blue collar (low income bracket)
smokers. It’s cheap. When it first came out, I was given a sample (my
friend’s family owns a chain of grocery shops) and was told that it
tastes remarkably similar to Marlboros. I don’t know how he drew that
conclusion – this cigarette tastes completely different from Marlboros.

So, what brand of cigarette do you smoke?

my marlboros

I don’t smoke, but my desk is strewn with empty Marlboro boxes. Go figure. *shrug*

Melbourne: Day 0 – Cigar rolling demonstration @ KLIA

Day 0 of the
Convocation: Melbourne, Australia (December 2003)
series.

I really have to applaud the KLIA KL CAT system – it’s a really
nifty concept that allows you to check in at KL Sentral (!) and your
luggage goes direct to your destination (Melbourne in this case) while
you take your carry on into the KLIA Express and ride to KLIA in
comfort, without the need to check in again at the airport. A baggage
check in system and boarding pass issue service in the city! I was
impressed…just made it there at slightly before 7:20 pm so I was
eligible to check in there. You need two hours before the flight time
to be eligible.

cigar_rolling_demo.jpg
Cigar rolling demonstration.

I requested a window seat as usual (good for sleeping, and I don’t
piss that often) and took the KLIA Express to KLIA. The train looks
like the interior of a plane, probably designed that way. Well, I
arrived at KLIA and followed the rest of the herd into the aerotrains.
I wanted to make a short post at the net center there but their line
was down, and the seats were filled with irate surfers watching a blank
screen, so I walked around instead and found a cigar rolling
demonstration.

cigar_wrapper.jpg
A nice big leaf of tobacco to start with…

It was organized by Davidoff and the person turned out to be “Master
Cigar Roller – Mr. Ambiorix Pichardo Reyes” from Santiago in the
Dominican Republic. He had leaves and fillers and all sorts of tobacco
around him. It was interesting to watch him roll a cigar, he makes
about one per minute and I was offered a chance to sample his freshly
rolled cigars compliments of Davidoff in the smoking room, but I had to
decline coz my flight was boarding.

cigar_base.jpg
Cigar making in process.

It was a bummer, I saw several people took up the offer though, it
would have been a nice opportunity to smoke a freshly hand rolled
cigar, it’s not something that happens to you everyday, at least not
here. :) I think it was freshly rolled anyway, it’s not from the same
batch as the ones Mr. Ambiorix had beside him, and the ones offered to
us by the promoter looks more “finished”, but she said it was “freshly
rolled by the Master Cigar Roller, compliments of Davidoff”.

cigar_tobacco.jpg
Pulling some tobacco into the roll.

Nevertheless, it would have been great to have one since the chance
doesn’t come by that often, so I wanted to just grab one, have a quick
puff and then run off to my gate, but doing that just for the sake of
doing it and leaving a perfectly good cigar with just one smoke in the
ash tray seems blasphemous, so I declined. I’ll have to say though, I
would not have declined if this happens again, with hindsight. ;)

cigar_rolling.jpg
Rolling it all up into a cigar.

How many times can you say you’ve smoked a freshly rolled cigar by a
master cigar roller? Not very much…yeah, I’m still kicking myself
over it. Anyway, after taking a couple of photos (very grudgingly
taken, since I wanted to preserve CF Card space and battery power just
in case I couldn’t offload and recharge in Melbourne before the doof),
I boarded my flight and…couldn’t sleep.

cigar_finishing.jpg
Finishing a freshly rolled cigar.

Yes, I took enough benzodiazepines to sedate a small horse. Yes, I
drank heaps of alcohol. No, I did not sleep the night before. However,
sleep just wasn’t forthcoming. Nope. It wasn’t. No sleep for the
wicked, probably. I filled in the declaration card since I was bored. I
only had two “Yes” answers, was hoping to go out the Green Lane. After
that, I still couldn’t sleep so I wrote a post while continuously
downing Bloody Mary’s with a cup of water (can’t be dehydrated before a
doof).

customs_declaration.jpg
Yes for medication and used shoes.

It was called “sixthseal.com offline (12/12/2003)” and it was
written on pieces of tray liner (!) because the flight doesn’t have
letter pads, sorry. They did have postcards though, which they gave me,
but you can’t very well write on a postcard, so I asked for something I
can write on, and they gave me this. Personally, I think the cabin
attendants were just sick of me pressing the “Call” button and asking
for a Bloody Mary (can you make it stronger this time, please?) and a
cup of water every 15 minutes. ;)

Anyway, the two pieces of paper goes through things I’ve already
mentioned in this post, so I won’t be scanning it as I originally
intended. It had a story about me losing my Valium blister pack, which
I’m lazy to re-write, but yeah, I lost it somehow. There was either a
very sedated taxi driver or a very sedated MAS ground staff that night.
That’s at the expense of my sleep, those were 10 x 10 mg diazepam
tablets…I had to dip into my personal stash of 5 mg nitrazepam and
slept about 2 hours into the next day.

sixthseal_offline.jpg
sixthseal.com offline!

Oh, and towards the end, the irate cabin attendant made the Bloody
Mary in front of me. Heh. She poured two shots into the pre-mix in
front of me, probably to stop me from repeating “Can you make it
stronger this time?”. ;) However, she did not allow three shots,
stating some obscure code they have to adhere to – she said I could
have as many double shot Bloody Mary’s as I liked, just not 3 shot
ones. The trick to get cabin attendants to keep on serving alcohol is
to appear sober and be polite and obviously, don’t slur your words.
I’ve read about some guy assaulting flight attendants coz they refused
to serve him more alcohol, and I’ve seen people being denied more
drinks on previous flights, but I’ve never had the same problem myself.
Their mistake was to be demanding and appearing to be drunk – two
things you shouldn’t do.

As always, retain a sedated composure (it comes with benzos anyway,
that gives off an impression that you’re not a “violent drunk”), appear
to be sober (don’t slur your words, don’t give off any outward signs of
intoxication) and just be polite and friendly. I’ve never been denied
drinks before and I’ve had more than my fair share during flights,
including an embaressing one that ended up with me passing out and
spilling drinks and er…finding myself on the floor when I woke up.
Even with that faux pax, I was still served, so if you aren’t already
aware of the obvious tips, keep them in mind and the free flow will be
free flowing you to sleep. I only had a two hour sleep – but that’s
going into Day 1…coming up soon!

Smoking is cool – gotta start them young!

cigcandy.jpg

Pictured above is a round container full of candy cigarettes. I
found this at the local grocery shop while getting some snacks. I
remember those candy cigarettes they used to sell at the shop outside
my primary school – they look like real cigarettes (the length is
similar anyway, unlike these ones) but it’s actually chewing gum. It
caught on in our class and it’s not uncommon to see people playing with
the chewing gum “cigarettes” for a long time before actually eating it.
It was quite the thing to pretend to puff at the cigarette, emulating
“adults”, playing grown up. I was either in Primary 2 or 3 (age 8-9)
and I never took part in this as my parents frowned at the concept of
marketing candy cigarette look-alikes to children. I did eat a quite a
few of those though, at my discretion. ;)

cigcanab.jpg

cigcancv.jpg

cigcansz.jpg
Pictured next to a Malaysian 50 cent coin and an Australian 50 cent coin for size.

Anyway, I saw this again today and it was much longer than the
chewing gum cigarettes from my youth, but it looked similar, so I got a
box of it. It does look remarkably like a real cigarette – brown filter
with white writing (looks like the specks of white on the filter of
some cigarettes), brand name on the top of the cigarette (it has a
picture of a pagoda and says “Yantang” – tang is candy, I’m not sure what yan
in this context means) and a long white cigarette complete with “burn
lines” (I don’t know what it’s actually called, it’s those circular
lines at regular intervals on a cigarette to help it burn evenly). Very
impressive.

cigcanf.jpg

cigcant.jpg

It isn’t the chewing gum I expected though. This one is filled with
this fruity tasting round pieces of candy. It’s loaded back to back so
there’s quite a few inside the long candy cigarette. The length is
approximately similar to two regular (King Size) cigarettes or 1 1/2
100’s. The candy tastes pretty good too – fruity! :) It’s not bad for
the price – 80 sticks for RM 6.80 (A$ 3.40), so that’s about 8.5 cents
(A$ 0.04) for each one. It’s also convenient, you don’t have to unwrap
the whole thing, just the top (either end would do). If you want more,
it’s a simple matter of turning it upside down and giving it a little
tap, and the rest comes sliding down through the open end.

cigcantb.jpg

I happened to see another type of cigarette candy – this one even
had a quasi burning tip, all the better for children (I assume it’s
marketed to that demographic) to play “I’m smoking”. Cigarette candy #2
is shorter than cigarette candy #1 and I don’t think it contains the
same thing. I gave it a bit of a shake and it sounds like it’s filled
with those fizzy tiny crystal thingies that fizz in your mouth, so I
gave it a pass. I did take a photo in the grocery shop though, here it
is:

cigcan2.jpg

Note the glowing tip, a bit too realistic eh? I would have thought
that with the strict guidelines about cigarette advertisements in
Malaysia, someone would have lobbied the government to stop sales of
cigarette look-alike candies to children. “Oh, won’t someone think of
the poor children” or something. Anyway, I’ll leave the issue of
whether this leads to increased rates of smoking to scientifically
conducted surveys, but personally I think it’s just a bit of harmless
fun for the children. However, I did start smoking when I was 16
though, so hmm…;)

Anyway, on a related matter, it’s funny what you can find under
(inside – not below it, the folds behind and inside) the couch. My
girlfriend dropped the candy down the couch (our term when this happens
is “The couch ate it”) and I had to dig around (not a pleasant task) to
find it and guess what I found?

couchang.jpg

An ang pow with RM 10 inside. Ang pow = red packet, literally. It’s
an envelope filled with money to be given to guests and unmarried
relatives during Chinese (Lunar) New Year. That was in January, so
yeah, it was a bit funny to find one in July. :) My pet theory is
someone accidentally dropped it down the couch and couldn’t find it so
they didn’t bother and it only got discovered today.

7410beer.jpg
Bawalah saya pulang – bring me back.

Anyway, onto another matter, I found this great deal at the local
grocery shop again – 7 tins of beer for only RM 10! RM 10 = A$ 5. No
catch, the beer’s use by date is June 2004 and it tastes perfectly
fine. It’s Oranjeboom, a beer I haven’t heard of, but it’s imported
from Holland. It’s a lager, but it’s a bit too “watered down” for my
tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what I drink, I’m not a choosy
drinker, if it’s beer and it’s cold, I’ll drink it. Heck, I’ll even
consider drinking it if it’s warm. ;) Just passing on my tasting notes
here…this one has the standard 5% alcohol, so it’s not too bad,
especially for a can of beer that only costs slightly over RM 1.40 (A$
0.70) per can! That’s a very good price in Malaysia.

oranjeboom.jpg

On a somewhat related note, when I was about 10 years old, another
local grocery shop (now defunct) was selling whisky (!) in small
pre-packed plastic bags for RM 0.50 (A$ 0.25) and they stock that NEXT
to the candy and chocolates! I was having private tuition at the school
above that shop and that was like the Holy Grail, since I had asked my
father what it was last time and his answer only instigated my
curiosity. Naturally, he told me never to buy that, but one day after
my tuition, I did just that. I handed over my 50 cents pocket money and
bought the whisky in a small vacuum sealed plastic bag. The cashier
didn’t even blink because it’s quite common in a small town (at that
time) for kids to buy cigarettes/beer for their parents while they wait
in the car. With trembling hands, I ran to the back of the building
(where it was secluded) and bit into the FORBIDDEN FRUIT. I gave it two
small swallows before retching and throwing the rest of it away in a
drain. I didn’t remember feeling drunk, although I was a bit dizzy and
I was guilty and worried that my act of curiousity would be discovered,
but it never was. It’s worthy to mention that the product (whisky in
plastic bags) was recalled from sale after complaints from many
parents. There you go, an anecdote from my past. :)

The Cigarette Bible

The Cigarette Bible

cigbible.jpg

Genesis

To be a cigarette…

is to be squashed with other strangers for weeks or months in a dark
room with no air to breath, no space to move, and constant full
physical body contact with other cigarettes. Unfortunately, this is the
best part of your life. One day, your world-box will be suddenly
inverted and pounded against an invisible but strong object as your God
packs the box. That is your first indication that the world is not
limited to the box-world. There will be much rumbling and dissonance as
the box-world starts to undergo permanent changes – the sky will open
wide and you will meet your God.

Hebrews

God stares down at you with a ecstatic expression on His face and
you rejoice! God reaches down and takes one of your fellow inhabitants
and gives him a kiss. “Praise the Lord!” you exult as you watch one of
your neighbors go to Heaven and receive blessing from the Lord
with…fire? The awful realization dawns upon you…your God is not a kind
and loving God. The joyful expression on His face is not the benign
love you think. The path leads not to Paradise, but to the burning
fires of Hell. The fire of Hades will consume you slowly…leaving you
with nothing but a disembodied head. However, you are right in that He
is your God. He does not go by the names “Messiah”, “Prince of Peace”
or “Savior” because that is not his nature.

Lamentations

There is no deliverance. God decides when and where you die. It is
not possible to move around the “world-box”, and you start to realize
the worst thing of all – you know when you’ll be next. You watch as
your neighbor gets forcibly removed by The One Most High. You are next.
The dreadful waiting, the terrible uncertainty about the actual time of
death…you only know you’re NEXT. Maybe you will get temporary
salvation. Your other neighbor is chosen by The Almighty. But that
means you’re definitely next. Your time will be filled with fear and
insanity as you realize The Meaning of Life. Your average life span
after you meet God is 3 minutes. The 3 minutes are filled with agony
and pain and leaves you with only your consciousness, and a head
without a body.

Machabees

There is a purgatory called Ashtray and there you will receive your
second punishment with your fellow sinners. “Purgatory is good” is the
general consensus in there. “We have burned for our sins and now we
must repent! That is the only way to heaven!” is what everyone in there
believes. Soon, you will start to believe it too and you worship and
make penance. You will realize that there are several levels of
purgatory and their names are Wastepaper Basket, Rubbish Bin, and
Garbage Truck. The Day of Atonement will come after that and everyone
will get raptured towards a bright light.

Revelation

“Glory to The One Most High! Hallelujah!” and everyone sheds tears
of joy for you have paid for your sins and now you’re rewarded with
eternity in Eden, where the fruits grow as far as the eyes can see and
there is no suffering. Unfortunately, the destination is not Eden. The
trash combustion chamber is not Heaven, though it’s easy to make that
mistake as both has “bright light” as one of their attributes. It is
not Hell either, for that suggests your spirit lives on. The final
destination is Omega – The End. There is no afterlife for you.

The End

My attempt at creative writing. No blasphemy intended. There are
lots of verb tense inconsistencies in there, so I broke the story into
“books” make it more uniform. :)
The idea came from reading the post Being an actor would be good [livejournal.com].
Link: aciddreammer [livejournal.com].
Photo courtesy of veritas.

Scattered as fuck

Oh man I haven’t laughed this hard about something for ages. :) I
was driving my car and got a cigarette out and opened my window. I
searched around my pockets for my lighter, lit the cigarette and threw the lighter out of the window
(!). It was sooooooooooo funny I had a laughing fit for 2 full minutes,
complete with tears and real belly laughs. hahaha! My friend, who
didn’t see the incident, was puzzled by my apparently unprovoked mirth.
It might not be funny to everyone, but it cracked me up to no end coz
it reminded me of the last time a similar thing happened. That was a
couple of years back, I had bought a new pack of Marlboros, got one out
and offered the pack to my companion. She took one, and threw the nearly full pack out of the window!
hahaha! That was so funny, and we had laughed so hard I nearly crashed
into a lamp post. She didn’t know what possessed her to do that, but
thought it was because her mind suddenly thought that the pack was
already empty. I didn’t know what I thought when I threw the lighter
out today, but I’m glad it happened coz I haven’t laughed so hard while
not on cannabis for a long time. It sure feels good to REALLY laugh. :)

BTW, I’ve noticed myself making silly mistakes like typing “I’m”
instead of “I’ve” and “anyway” instead of “anyone”. Possible brain
damage or just scattered as fuck? I wasn’t like that before.

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