Pink shirt guy belts out an off tune (but heartfelt) song

I was at the karaoke last night and asked one of the staff to film this (admittedly horrible) rendition of the ABBA classic “The Winner Takes It All”. Mamma Mia was the first musical I went to with my better half and this song was in it. I think the staff member was quite confused as to what I actually wanted coz I had to use her phone to open the lyrics page while I sang outside.

I told her it was for my girlfriend and she happily agreed to do it. :)

Here it is for your weekend entertainment:

I don’t want to talk
About the things we’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me
Now it’s history
I’ve played all my cards
And that’s what you’ve done too
Nothing more to say
No more Ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s my destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I’ll be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

The gods may throw a dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It’s simple and it’s plain
Why should I complain?

But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say
Rules must be obeyed

The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

I don’t want to talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You’ve come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence

The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all

Top 5 Condo Upgrades that are Worth the Investment

If you’re looking to take your next steps on the property ladder, getting rid of your existing condo can be time- consuming and expensive. But if you’re impatient to put in an offer on your dream next apartment, it’s simple and affordable to speed up the selling process. I’ve assembled a few great ways of giving your condo property a serious spruce-up to command higher asking prices, and see your listing shifted in no time at all.

1. Upgrade your exteriors

First impressions count, so make sure your property proves an instant hit among prospective buyers. If you have complete access and right to your property’s exterior, now might be the time to invest in a serious image overhaul. If interested buyers can see the exterior of the condo upon approach, any neglect of the brickwork, cladding and finer details will be on show for all to see. Basic cosmetic fixes needn’t cost a lot, and can help justify headier asking prices. If you share communal space with other residents and neighbors, consider checking with your building super independent about exterior maintenance and upkeep.

2. Doors and windows

Some studies show that buyers make their final decision about a property mere moments after stepping over the threshold. Make sure you’re helping them make the right one, and ensure your doors and windows are up to scratch. Investing in newly- glazed windows and a secure front door can add several thousand to the value of any building, and can help a condo apartment stand out among a crop of similar units.

3. Bathrooms and kitchens

These are some of the most important rooms of any home, so make sure both the kitchen and bathroom are fit for purpose and don’t require any huge investments from buyers. A decent bathroom suite need only cost a few hundred, but can make all the difference when customers come to view a property. People are less inclined to buy if they think there’s a lot left outstanding on a property, so make sure all the hard work’s taken care of for them. Kitchens can be a more costly venture, but complete refurbishments can add thousands onto property values. For a more affordable option, simply replacing or repainting cupboard doors and counter tops can give any kitchen an instant makeover. These rooms should also reflect safety and style. Make sure you are ready to move out after refurbishing such rooms, since you wouldn’t want to ruin the paint job. Buy a condo easily on Zipmatch today, with must-see properties in your area.

4. Storage

If you’re trying to shift a property that’s short on space, helping potential buyers solve their storage woes in advance is a great way of cinching a sale, and bumping up the asking price. For small condos and apartments that are already tight on square footage, packing use of awkward spaces and integrating storage space into living and sleeping areas are great ways of ensuring there’s a home for all those odds and ends. Exposed staircases can be optimized with inbuilt storage cubes and shelving. If you have a generous budget, consider underfloor storage, along with innovative foldaway furniture and room features.

5. Designer fixtures and fittings

A fresh lick of paint can do any property the world of good as you prep for putting it on the market, but make sure you’ve given it the designer finish with premium fixtures and fittings throughout. You needn’t spend a fortune to ensure a stunning aesthetic, either. For meticulous buyers looking to inspect every last detail, getting the finer finish can help make or break a potential sale. When looking to boost property prices, a designer facelift can yield thousands more to add to any asking price. You needn’t pay designer price tags, either. Sometimes, a close imitation does a good job; however, always opt for quality every time. The right dimmer switch, sideboard choice or light fitting can help coordinate a room, and will be noticed by the more eagle-eyed property hunter.

7 reasons my smartphone plan is awesome

1. 7 GB monthly data


This is the highest data package I’ve seen out there. I use up a lot of data every month, especially since cloud computing (Google Drive, Dropbox etc) makes it easy to upload everything when you’re out. I also went for two trips this month (Taiwan and Bali) so the high data quota has been great for me since my lifestyle demands a high data package and this is the crème de la crème of high volume requirements.

2. No misleading advertising

I’ve seen all sorts of shenanigans by telcos with regards to data. Some advertise a high amount but in actual fact it’s a combination of WiFi + 4G LTE (not just mobile broadband e.g. 4G LTE) which is frankly false deceptive misleading. There are also “unlimited” plans out there – they just don’t bother telling you the network is so bad that you can barely load Wikipedia, much less something more graphics intensive.

3. Unlimited calls

Using Smartphone

Yup, I no longer have to choose between high voice or high data. I can have BOTH!!! This package allows me to make voice calls to ALL networks for as long as I want. Its true unlimited calls, which is a good thing as everyone is on a different telco nowadays. It’s no longer dominated by one or two and what’s the appeal of free calls within your network when you can have free calls across *all* networks for a low price?

4. Share Internet with your tablet

I know a lot of people who own multiple devices – I’m one of them. In the past, telcos would upsell you on another “data only” SIM card where you’ll have to basically pay for another SIM card with its own data package which you might not finish and can’t transfer. Those days are over. You can share data and get up to two SIM cards with your main line for just RM 10/month so your 3G/4G tablet can have its own number – allowing you to make calls and send text messages while sharing the 7 GB pool of data in the main line.

5. No unnecessary stuff

Monkey Business

I’ll be honest and put this out there – when was the last time you sent an SMS? With Whatsapp, WeChat, LINE and other mobile messaging apps, gone are the days when we require text messaging packages. It looks good for marketing when they can offer you 3,000 FREE SMS (just imagine the copy – 3,000 THREE THOUSAND FREE SMS!!!!!!1111111oneexclaimationmark) but who uses that stuff nowadays? I only get marketing/spam and credit card/bank notification SMSs now. I receive but I don’t send. Just pay for what you need, in the off-chance you time travelled 15 years back and needed to text someone (with SMS) and use Whatsapp like a normal person.

6. Free Internet roaming

I travel quite a lot. I’ve been to two different countries in this month alone so I quit the RM 38/day (or more) data roaming charges habit and jumped on the free Internet roaming bandwagon. Well, there isn’t a bandwagon per se coz this is the first telco in Malaysia to offer this AFAIK. The 50 MB/day I get while roaming is perfect – just the right amount for all the Hearthstone games, Instagram photos, and Facebook vacation albums I play/post/upload when I’m overseas.

Free Internet Roaming

7. Just RM 70 per month

This is the real kicker. You thought I was paying out of my nose for this kind of data, calls and roaming privileges right? Nope, I just pay RM 70 per month, which is just RM 2 more than what my tablet alone used last time (and I can use Internet sharing for mine now so I don’t need another package for my iPad).

What Kind Of Sorcery

What kind of sorcery is this? What am I using and where can you get it, you say? U Mobile mate, I’m using the Hero Postpaid P70.

I accidentally joined the Bersih 4 protest rally

Bersih 4

With hindsight, I should have suspected something was amiss. None of my fellow compatriots spoke a word of Thai. I was more than a little puzzled at their t-shirts saying Bersih 4, since I didn’t know what that meant.

Bersih 4 KL

All I know is that I woke up on the 29th of August and drove to join the PAD (no, that’s not a transcription error for DAP – it actually means People’s Alliance for Democracy or พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย) – the yellow shirts.

Bersih 4 Media

I didn’t know how long I was driving but I got stuck at Kelana Jaya so I stopped my car and went with the sea of yellow to board the LRT.

Bersih 4 Malays

I saw them getting off at Pasar Seni LRT and went with them, expecting to rally against Thaksin.

Bersih 4 Kuala Lumpur

I thought it was great that there were so many foreigners with us, it seemed like the royalist movement is really gaining some serious momentum!

Bersih 4 Police

The crowd got stopped by a veritable wall of police at the barricades around Dataran Merdeka so we walked up the highway flyover.

Bersih 4 Barricades

There was a huge police presence with ballistic vests all loaded up in trucks. These personnel carriers are all full of our dutiful men in blue at the back, and even had drivers at their seats, ready to deploy.

Bersih 4 Protest

Of course, I thought it was slightly perplexing that the emblems spelled “POLIS” instead of “POLICE” but I didn’t give it much thought at the time.

Bersih 4 Speakers

It was, after all, a beautiful day and I managed to go all the way to the front of the stage where the speakers were.

The speeches were a little confusing to me since there were bits I didn’t quite understand – keywords like “1MDB”, “Najib”, and “USD 700 million” were being bandied around. Baffling! I honestly don’t know what that had to do with Shinawatra.

Bersih 4 Me

I sat down in front and absorbed the bewildering and unfamiliar atmosphere, mulling and brooding over what was going on.

Bersih 4 Crowd

Suddenly, it dawned on me – this *wasn’t* about Yingluck…

Bersih 4 Dataran Merdeka

It seems that in my haste, I had driven all the way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! I was at the banned Bersih 4 protest in KL!

Bersih 4 Rally

Words cannot describe how shocked and dismayed I was to have mistakenly participated in an illegal rally, since I’ve always been a law-abiding citizen.

Bersih 4 Protestors

Thoroughly disgusted with myself, I immediately left the prohibited gathering with my Thai Patriots Network shirt. It took me 34 hours to drive back to Bangkok, indignant at my inadvertent blunder. smirk

Huge 5.4 kg Durian from Sang Lee, Pahang

Largest 54kg Durian

I was craving for durians late at night and went to check out one of the “posher” durian stalls near my place. It’s called Kota Durian Red Carpet, named for the red carpets on the floor, I presume. I’ve actually been here with my better half before but we didn’t see anything interesting (besides the dubious A24 and B24 durians, which they claim are better grades of D24).

Sang Lee Durian

However, this time I spotted a HUGE durian among the pile labelled as “Durian Pahang Sang Lee”. Sang Lee is a place near Raub, Pahang which is famous for their durians. These were selling for RM 12/kg and are supposedly durian kampong. It’s slightly more expensive than the RM 10/kg regular durian kampong in the other mound.

Durian Monthong

I was quite surprised at the size of the durian – it weighed in at a staggering 5.4 kg! That comes up to RM 65 for the durian, but since it was almost 1 am, I managed to convince them to let it go at RM 40. The durian was opened up and I saw the flesh was reasonably decent, although in such a gigantic durian, there’s bound to be irregularities.

Huge Durian

I suspect this durian is really a D159/Monthong/Bantal Emas that has been chucked into the pile since Monthong Durians generally don’t sell well in the local market. Yup, that makes it the bigger brother of the frozen durians you’ll find in Asian groceries abroad – Monthong has less odor and the flesh is inoffensive to first-timers. However, this isn’t a pure bred Thailand Monthong durian but the D159 Golden Pillow cultivar planted locally which is a colossal 4-6 kg beast.

Monthong Seeds

The 5.4 kg durian had so much flesh that I found that I could only eat two rows before I was full to the point of being stuffed! It took me 24 hours to finish the entire durian – eating it for every single meal. The flesh was sweet but mostly tasteless – fluffy like a soft marshmallow (it’s almost like eating foam) and very filling since the seeds are quite small.

Monthong Durian

It took a lot of effort to finish the durian and although I can’t say it tasted very good, the distinct lack of a odor and the relatively bland taste of the flesh together with the size makes me believe this is a D159 Monthong. It’s unusual to find durians of this size and it’s certainly one of the more interesting durians I’ve eaten this year. :)

Cadbury Egg n Spoon: The most interesting chocolate Easter Egg in 2015!

Okay, I’m a huge fan of Easter Eggs. I once sent a 1 kg chocolate Easter Egg back from Melbourne to Sibu! It was all eaten by ants by the time it arrived but it’s the thought that counts. I used to stock up on lots of Cadbury Crème Eggs when it goes on a massive sale the day after Easter but generally there’s not a lot of innovation in these things – you get the traditional Easter Eggs, chocolate hot cross buns (like this one I had while studying in Australia – blogged about it *12 years ago* almost to the day), chocolate Easter bunnies and that’s about it.

Cadbury Egg N Spoon

Until now! The past few years have seen hen-sized Easter Eggs packed in a traditional egg carton/box but they’re mostly artisanal products. Cadbury produced their Egg ‘n’ Spoon range just a couple of years back but it was different then. This *new* range is filled with white chocolate mousse inside the hen-sized chocolate egg so you can eat the inside with a spoon – which is conveniently provided!

This is a UK import, it retails for close to RM 40 here (which is a high markup from the £2 it sells for there). I’ll let you all know how it tastes like once we’ve eaten it. smirk

I lost (and found) my groceries at Ben’s Independent Grocer!

Missing Groceries

I’ve been shopping at Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG) in Publika for a few years. It carries a lot of imported fruits, vegetables and dry goods like candy which appeals to me. I remember a lot of my wacky cooking adventures are based on products bought here, like Gordon Ramsay’s duck breast with Madeira jus, tomatillo apple cranberry chutney and parsnip purée, How to Make Stuffed Artichokes and Buttered King Grouper with White Wine Reduction in Bouchees Poissons. I also got our turkey from them two years running – for both our 2013 Christmas dinner and 2014 Christmas dinner.

No, this is not a sponsored post or an “invited review”. I’ve never met the people from BIG – I’m just a customer, like everyone else. I just wanted to highlight a rather interesting experience that happened over the weekend.

BIG Lost Found Maxim

It’s very easy for people (including myself) to slam a brand/store/restaurant when something goes wrong. However, I don’t think enough thanks go to them when something goes right – it’s like the toast falling buttered side down theory, it seems like we’re less inclined to remember the good but never fail to recall the bad.

Maxim Egg Rolls

Anyway, I was at BIG in Publika to check out their Chinese New Year stuff and bought some items made by Maxim (the famous Hong Kong bakery). I love their stuff and the Mahjong pineapple tarts I got last year was a huge hit. I got a metal tin of Mei-Xin Egg Rolls (Classic) and Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille to try out with my better half.

I thought if they were good, I can buy more to bring back to Sibu and stock up over here. The point is that, we wanted to try them first.

CNY Goodies

However, I noticed that the Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille was *missing* when I got home 3 hours later. I think the cashier might have packed it in two different bags and I only brought one back.

I called the number on the receipt and spoke to a guy who identified himself as Fikri, and he said my Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille is there and I could pick it up anytime. I’ve done this before at other hypermarkets (having atrocious short term memory) but never had any success getting it back before – either someone else took it, or worse, apparently the cashier did (at a memorable instance in a local hypermarket chain which I won’t name).

It goes to show how good BIG is and the clientèle they attract that none of these things happened.

BIG Receipt

My missing Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille (RM 49.90) was logged in their log book and they were waiting for me to call. I was unable to pick it up the next day so I sent a photo of the receipt to my better half for her to get it on my behalf.

She didn’t need it at all – the lady at the counter just picked up another Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille from the large display they have there and she signed off the log book and I got it back at night.

BIG at Publika is my favorite place to shop, not just coz of good incidents like these but due to the overall customer experience. It’s the reason why I only shop at Coles when I was studying in Australia – they have a great policy where if the cashier scanned a wrong item, the entire bill will be free (not advertised anymore) and you can open a drink in there for a long shop and just scan the empty can at the end.

BIG used to have the same policy about drinking in their store too, but there are signs prohibiting that now. I think the trust system doesn’t work very well when it’s open to everyone so that’s understandable in Malaysia.

Found Groceries

Still, it’s a great place to get groceries and small positive experiences like this makes it all the better. :)

Another bumpy road, there’s so much wasted booze

drive shaft

I sent my car to the workshop over the weekend coz it was behaving rather strangely – it kept making quick and sudden swerves to the right on it’s own (!!!). Either the car was possessed by a vengeful and malicious spirit intent on causing me grievous bodily harm or there was something very wrong with the car.

Being a relatively pragmatic person, I thought the latter was more likely. smirk

My initial suspicion was that my right front tyre is running flat and so I leaned out for a quick peek during a traffic light stop (and nearly got my head taken off by a speeding bike). It looked nice and inflated.

Puzzled, I drove on, hoping that the problem would resolve itself when the next uninitiated swerve took me by surprise and I went *entirely* into next lane. I could see the steering wheel move. After my heart resumed beating again I decided to ground the car and send it off to get checked.

fixed car

I knew what happened too – a long time ago, when I was a functioning alcoholic, I decided to impulsively drift through a wet corner on my way home. It’s just one of the things you do when you’re shit faced drunk and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I ended up in the storm drain, with the rear of the car stuck inside the crevice. I gave permission to the tow truck to attach itself to the drive shaft (or suspension, I can’t remember) so I could get home quicker and without a trip to the workshop.

workshop bill

It turned out that the drive shafts were worn and the suspension was pretty much gone in the following 8 years, so the repairs on that alone cost me RM 3,043. I also fixed my long-running problems with the car air conditioning, which set me back a further RM 1,280 for a total of RM 4,323.

energy sandwich

I know, I’m still recovering from the price too. I guess I’ll have to eat bread for the time being while I save up to go to Japan next year. I’m glad I was alone when the problem manifested though, and I managed to fix it, coz that was very dangerous indeed and I have people I love and commitments in my life now.

The Curious Case of the “Half Price” Bakery

half price bakery

I was getting a loaf of bread from my usual bakery when I overheard a couple of students whispering and gesturing excitedly beside me. The bakery is open 24 hours and thus attracts a huge clientèle of mostly college kids who hang out there to “study”. It was about 2 am in the morning and I was just about to go to the cashier when one of the students leaned in consiprationally and murmured:

The butter milk buns are “half price” today, if you want to get them.

half price buns

Puzzled, I looked up and saw it was RM 5.20 for a small bundle of five buns – there was no mention of there being a 50% discount. This bakery doesn’t do discounts since it’s open 24 hours and they just cycle out their products instead.

What do you mean?”, I enquired, slightly baffled.
There’s a new guy behind the counter and he’s ringing up the buns as RM 2.50 for a pack”, the student breathlessly told me.

I’m not as excited as the college kids about potential savings by shafting it to a faceless corporate entity, but it did seem funny to me. I know that there’s a single bun version for RM 2.50 – the lowest price point of anything in the bakery. I’ve also had the 5-pack bundle before and thought they were quite good – especially if they’re just 50 cents per small bun instead of the RM 1+ it usually costs. smirk

I grabbed the pack and went to the cashier, and sure enough, the new guy rang it up as RM 2.50 when it came to the students turn. He also rang it up as RM 2.50 for me. I saw the supervisor beside him and was about to tell him about the mistake when I thought, why ruin the students fun?

half price bill

Let’s see how long they can keep this up.

I went there again the next night, and lo and behold, there was only a single pack left! There’s usually about 6 packs stocked on the shelves, it’s not a very popular item, but word seems to have gotten around and it’s *open season* on the “half price” butter milk buns.

I glanced outside and saw that the new guy was still on duty, and added it to my purchases to see if he’ll still do the same. Surely, he must have learnt of his mistake! How can a bag of 5 buns be as cheap as RM 2.50? Doesn’t he know better? Has he never looked at the bakery’s offerings? Most items are around the RM 6-10 price point!

buttermilk buns

Nope, it turns out that he was totally unaware of his mistake, and rang it up as RM 2.50 again.

I went again earlier today and saw that the new guy has left. I had a bag of the butter milk buns with me and it was finally tabulated at the correct RM 5.20 price. It was the supervisor behind the counter and I finally got the chance to ask him – “Did you know the new guy was scanning the bag of 5 buttermilk buns as RM 2.50 for a couple of days?”.

full price

He replied in the affirmative and said he’s been let go as a result of that. It turns out that they were selling out of the bags every single day, so they made more as a result but the books at the end of the day didn’t add up. They just realized what he had done after 4 days!

Oh well, I was sick of eating buttermilk buns every day anyway. :)

Angry Birds Board Game Review: Playing real life Angry Birds with the kids over the weekend!

playing angry birds board game

We brought the kids to Kidzania over the long weekend and after that we went to Borders to get some stationary for them. The big one needed some color pencils for school and while we were browsing, I saw an Angry Birds board game for RM 99.90 and thought it would be fun to play with the kids.

angry birds the board game

I was actually quite curious and looking forward to playing the game too. smirk

angry birds board game

This is called Angry Birds: On Thin Ice. There’s also Angry Birds: Birds in Space and Angry Birds Happy Holidays Edition. We brought it back and opened it up – there’s two Angry Birds inside, the most recognizable big red one and the more streamlined yellow one. I know they have names, the kids told me but I totally forgot what the names of the birds are.

angry birds card game

It’s a lot of fun! There’s 3 levels of difficulty represented by 3 different stacks of cards and a “free building” deck of cards. Your mission is the same as the game – to knock down the green pigs!

game of angry birds

There are three (3) pigs included with the game and each stage will incorporate them. The level is built according to the card you draw and it also states which Angry Bird you can use, the order you use them, and how many times e.g. Yellow Bird, Yellow Bird, Red Bird. You need to knock down all the pigs to clear the stage and you get 100 points for each pig, plus 100 bonus points if the pig is wearing a helmet (*and* you manage to bump it off their porcine heads).

You also get extra points if you’re the one to clear the stage e.g. “kill” the last green pig. It’s 100-300 points, depending on the level. The fourth card deck is a method to keep track of scores – each card is 100 points and the first person to reach 1,000 points wins!

building angry birds

It turns out that building the set is the hardest part – the blocks are all very wobbly and prone to falling down if you even breath hard on them. It’s designed that way so that you can easily break the tiles and destroy the level, just like the game, when the bird launches.

angry birds board game card

I thought it was quite ingenious! It’s also very realistic and faithful to the original game – the “ice blocks” can be *cracked* and split in half, since it’s actually two pieces fitted together. The most interesting block is the TNT crate – it functions in the same way as the game!

angry birds launcher

The TNT crate actually has strong springs inside so when you close it up, there’s tension and potential energy. This energy is released when you either:

1. Hit the TNT crate with a bird
2. Make the TNT crate fall down

angry birds board game complete

When one of the above two criteria is met, the TNT crate will actually “explode” and send pigs and blocks flying around. Haha!

Here’s how the TNT crate looks like when it went off. This is a video I took of me and the kids playing the Angry Birds: On Thin Ice board game.

angry birds on thin ice

Board games nowadays are so canggih and innovative – I’ve never seen stuff like this as a kid. It really jacks up the kids imagination and they all had a lot of fun launching the Angry Birds at the “levels” (which are sets that you build according to the cards).

angry birds launching

It made for a fun Sunday afternoon playing together with my better half and the kids! :D

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...