Your body is your amusement park temple

dialysis

I have treated my body (and mind) as more of a amusement park instead of a temple. I have done that for almost half my life, searching for the next hedonistic experience and by the time I realized that you can’t just do that and expect to live forever, it was too late.

kidney damage

You see, I used to have nothing to live for (or thought I didn’t). In my short sightedness, I have taken various interesting pharmacological agents to excess, damaging my kidneys in the process. I even needed an emergency dialysis and nearly didn’t make it – the doctor fully expected me to die and I was obstinate enough to recover.

home funeral

I have so much to live for now. My mom has passed but my dad is still around and I want to take care of him. I also have the best partner ever, which I’m very lucky to have. My better half is the best thing that has happened to me and she really set my life on the straight and narrow. I have two kids that I love to bits and I like to be there for them too!

jacuzzi

I am starting to live a very healthy lifestyle now and part of that includes exercise. You really can’t have a healthy lifestyle without exercise. I run, swim and play badminton with the kids (and sometimes my better half, who is, naturally, better than me).

family dinner

We Malaysians like to eat (a lot) and most of the time, the food that we eat is superbly unhealthy. That’s all fine and good but it needs to be balanced out by having an active lifestyle.

mooncake family 2013

The 1 thing that matters to me is being healthy enough to take care of all my dependants and to give them a happy life.

happy us

#matterstomeMY

kids

I can’t very well do that if I die of obesity related complications like heart disease or diabetes and I don’t want to give up eating well so I have to exercise a lot. It’s the best way to have a healthy lifestyle.

morib goldcoast us

I swim…

riding bicycles

I cycle…

run

I run…

bicycles

It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you do it – but if you run, you might want to download the Allianz Pacer app from Google Play or iTunes.

setting sun

Allianz’s priority is to help Malaysians to start taking care of what matters to them most, with a special focus on your health. They’ve set up Allianz Pacer – which is a social running community. It’s really quite interesting.

swimming with kids

Go and Like the Allianz Malaysia Facebook and participate in the sharing now!

family trip morib

#matters2meMY

Julie’s x LINE Limited Edition Cookies Media Launch

julies girls

You remember the Julie’s biscuits that we all grew up with? I fondly remember eating lots of these when I was a kid, it was one of the staples of growing up. I absolutely *loved* their Cheese Sandwich back then, I couldn’t have enough when it came out. It was revolutionary at the time. Absolutely fabulous!

julies cheese sandwich

This is what it looked like! This is the box with 18 convenient individually wrapped packs which wasn’t available back in the early 90′s, but I would have happily eaten the entire box when I was a still growing boy! :) There was a media launch event for the unveiling of a new product dubbed Julie’s x LINE on the 4th of July and true to the name, it’s a collaboration between Julie’s and LINE (the app).

juliesxline art

I was quite surprised coz this isn’t a usual collaboration – there’s not much in common between a confectionery manufacturer and the developer of a communications app for smartphones – at least that’s what I thought at first.

juliesxline mascot

It turns out that the popular characters from LINE – Brown and Cony – is a collaboration between Julie’s and LINE for this season’s Oat 25 cookies range.

cony brown cookies

The first collaboration came out with Brown, the popular character from LINE and this second launch is to add one new character – Cony!

juliesxline registration

Interestingly, we received instructions to either dress in brown or pink. I didn’t quite get it at first until I realized that they were the colors of the popular LINE characters!

juliesxline me

Brown is the color of the the LINE character Brown (the bear) and Cony the rabbit/bunny is the pink bit! I have a pink shirt, which I don’t wear a lot (but I hear looks good on me), so I thought I’ll go with that to the launch of Julie’s x LINE.

juliesxline cookies

The Julie’s x LINE OAT 25 Cookies are limited edition. It’s available in these cute little metal boxes which has Julie’s oat biscuits inside and either Brown or Cony from LINE on the cover.

juliesxline

The Cony and Brown variations aren’t purely superficial though – the chocolate and strawberry flavors in Julie’s x LINE Limited Edition cookies are specifically chosen to match Brown’s peculiar characteristics and Cony’s sweet attributes. On top of that, Brown is known for his love for chocolate cookies while Cony looks adorable in pink.

juliesxline cony brown

I thought it was a stroke of pure genius, at least when the Julie’s mascot came out with both LINE’s popular Cony and Brown! You can get the limited edition Julie’s x LINE Oat 25 Cookies in any AEON, The Store, selected Popular outlets and many more hyper/supermarkets nationwide!

juliesxline media launch

There’s also a Snap, Tag & Win photo contest going on with the hashtag #JuliesLINEcookies, so if you’re a fan of both LINE’s cute characters and Julie’s biscuits, head on over to the Julie’s Facebook page for more information about this Facebook and Instagram contest! :)

juliesxline event

InvestSmart by Securities Commission Malaysia, Taylor’s Lakeside Campus

investsmart games

No, read on, this isn’t as boring and dry as it sounds, trust me! smirk I was at the very informative InvestSmart event at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus the other day. InvestSmart is an initiative by the official Securities Commission Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Sekuriti) which has a goal of making you an informed and confident investor.

investsmart prizes

The way they approach this is with a good dose of fun and education embedded in the aforementioned fun bits. The InvestSmart initiative aims to:

  1. Encourage you to take control of your finances
  2. Enable you to exercise judgement and discretion in making investment decisions
  3. Raise awareness on the role of the SC and their agendas

khairy jamaluddin

…and to that end, they appointed a lot of interesting speakers to talk about investment and how to manage your finances. There was a speech by the Guest of Honour, YB Khairy Jamaluddin who came to the stage wearing a very dapper outfit, with matching pink shoelaces and socks. I don’t think I can rock pink as well as he can!

investsmart app

He was also there to launch the InvestSmart app which you can find on Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

investsmart speakers

There was also a panel discussion themed “Take Control of your Life and Finances: Anything and Everything is Possible” where the attendees can talk and get feedback from the speakers, who come from a diverse field with one thing in common – they’re all successful young Malaysian entrepreneurs.

The four (4) speakers are:

  1. Hidayah Hassan, Creative Director and Founder of Cipela
  2. Hugh Koh, Co-founder and Creative Director of Pestle and Mortar
  3. Shanker Joyrama, Founder & CEO of Orion Social Media
  4. Adrian Yap, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Freeform, Founder of Urbanscapes Arts Festival

investsmart panel

I thought that would make for an interesting morning so I went bright and early at 7 am to catch the panel speakers in action. Not only was the auditorium (it was a lecture hall in Taylor’s University) packed, there was a lot of interaction between the crowd and the speakers too.

discount code

Also, the speakers came with gifts in the form of discount codes for their stores, where relevant! :)

investsmart booths

There was also an interactive games and exhibition area where you can win:

  1. ASUS Transformer Book T100
  2. GoPro Hero 3
  3. Crumpler Sling Bag
  4. RM 1,000 PRS vouchers

soccer me

You just need to get four (4) stamps from the 4 interactive games booths and drop your completed slip into the box for a lucky draw win. I decided to give it a go and did all the booths.

Interactive Games Booth #1 – Soccer

soccer booth

Each game booth comes with a question booth so you need to get both correct in order to get the two stamps e.g. complete the task and answer all the questions about investing correctly. The first booth aims to educate you about goals (pun intended) and has a soccer setup on one end and the Q&A on the other.

You need to complete both to get the two stamps required to participate in the contest.

Interactive Games Booth #2 – Ping Pong

ping pong

This is a booth where you match the ping pong balls (which has answers to them) to the correct box. There are about 10 ping pong balls so you really need to know your stuff to get them all right, and yes, you need to sort every single one of the small bouncy balls to get a stamp.

I did everything right the first time, but then again I’m slightly older and have a couple of investments under my belt so I know all the answers already. Plus, I read the entire handbook while waiting for the program to start since I arrived 45 minutes early. ;)

Interactive Games Booth #3 – Basketball

basketball

I thought this was the most interesting booth, maybe coz I didn’t think my hand eye coordination was that great. I managed to score every single ball that I threw, despite the balls being of different sizes.

There are answers written on the basketballs and questions on the hoops. You need to search for the correct answer on the basketball and throw it into the hoops in sequence.

The game itself is about InvestSmart which I thought was great! This makes learning about investing and finances entertaining instead of just being a games booth.

Interactive Games Booth #4 – Red Light Scam Alert

scam booth

This is also an interesting interactive games booth where you are asked questions about potential scams. Answer it right, and you get a green light. Get it wrong, and the red light comes on and you have to start all over again!

The red light comes with a satisfying buzz too! I heard it go off several times, which was what attracted me to the booth in the first place.

basketball booth

I didn’t win the prizes but everyone who completes the four (4) tasks will get a complimentary USB drive, which was great since I collect these things.

usb drive

I thought the InvestSmart event was a fun and educational way to get people to be aware of their finances and learn more about investment opportunities at a young age so Taylor’s University is the perfect place to hold it. I didn’t know you could start investing in stocks at 18 years of age until that day!

lucky draw

Learn more about investing and finance management at InvestSmart. It has a lot of tools and tips for everyone, and you can always check for suspected scams here.

The Best Free Meal or Drink!

7eleven clerk

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil matches are going on right now, with up to four (4) matches each night, usually at 12 am, 3 am and 6 am. This sudden change in sleep routines can make a person very hungry, and it’s hard to get something to eat at this hour, especially if all you want is a snack and a drink.

free items umobile

I’m here to tell you that there’s a solution to that problem…and there is such a thing as a free lunch, or a free meal anyway. Umobile is offering a free Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml drink with every RM 30 top up and one Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour + Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml with a RM 50 top up!

umobile redeem free

I had an RM 50 top up that I just got and I drove to the local 7-Eleven during half time to grab a quick snack and drink. This is a fairly new promo so the night shift there wasn’t really sure about how to go about the redemption.

umobile 7eleven

Here’s how the redemption works:

  1. Get the items and bring it to the counter.
  2. Scan the items
  3. Pass your Umobile top up card over to the cashier
  4. They will scan it and it will offset the charges, making the items FREE

umobile 50

That’s all there is to it! :)

7eleven umobile

It’s a good thing my local 7-Eleven has complimentary hot water so you can cook the Mamee Express Cup on the premises and eat at the provided tables.

hot water

However, I was watching the Japan – Columbia match at home so I decided to quickly grab the instant noodles and isotonic drink and head on home.

7eleven tables

It’s soooo good to eat Mamee Express Cup instant noodles (which has a plastic fork included) and chase that down with a Revive isotonic drink in the middle of the night. All you need to do is to get a RM 30 or RM 50 Umobile top up and you can redeem the items at any 7-Eleven nationwide!

thebestfree

You can also top up your phone so you can chat about the matches with your friends – just keep the Umobile top up card so the barcode can be scanned to provide you with #TheBestFree snacks! It’s so convenient to redeem too, since there’s a 7-Eleven around every corner! This promo lasts till 31st August 2014 – surf over to the Umobile site for more information.

redeem mamee

I’m sitting here happily eating my Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour noodles while watching Japan get trashed by Columbia, all thanks to the good people at Umobile. I can have a free snack *while* I get a top up which I need anyway.

mamee noodles

The only bad thing in this equation (for Japan fans anyway) is what the friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven guy put best: “Alamak, Colombia masuk satu goal lagi!

Sony Xperia Z1™ waterproof review

sony xperia z1 waterproof

You might have heard about this new wonder device. It’s not just a phone, but a high quality digital camera! It has everything except the kitchen sink…which leads us to the next point. Xperia™ Z1 is not just water resistant, it’s waterproof! To illustrate that point, I have submerged it in 6 inches of running water in my (you guessed it) kitchen sink.

xperia z1 waterproof

It still works perfectly and I have sent a joke text to my better half asking her where my phone is. Haha! It’s actually waterproof up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. This is achieved by flaps covering the microSIM, microUSB port, microSD card slot. In a smart move by Sony, the headphones jack in the Z1 doesn’t have a flap you need to keep closed. It’s rated at IP 55 and IP58 which means it’s not just waterproof, it’s also dust resistant!

sony xperia z1

Yup, this beautiful smartphone has been called “an almost perfect balance of form and function” by Forbes Magazine. The Xperia Z1 has it all:

20.7 MP camera with BIONZ™ for mobile

xperia z1 camera

The Xperia Z1 is powered by a large 1/2.3” 20.7 MP Exmor RS™ mobile image sensor, Sony’s award winning G Lens (the same kind you’ll find in their conventional compact digicams) and their tried-and-true BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engine.

I bought the Sony Xperia S when it first came out and one of the things I noticed is that the night mode takes a huge toll on the processor, which causes the screen to lag. This doesn’t happen anymore – the Xperia Z1 has its own dedicated processor!

The Xperia Z1 takes awesome photos, and handles the tricky light-and-dark situations well with the HDR mode. It also has four major Social Camera Applications to deliver new experiences and there’s a widget which allows you to put that right on the screen by default.

info eye

Info-Eye™
This is a “visual search” feature that provides related information on landmarks and other items such as books, wine or even groceries simply by capturing them with the camera. It’s like Google and Wikipedia combined, except you don’t type in your search string but take a photo instead!

info eye search results
Info Eye search results using bar code…

info eye search
…and the Image results! It works perfectly!

Social Live
This broadcasts the shots that you take to Facebook and the best thing about it is that you’ll get your friend’s comments right on your camera screen! This is the best in-house app I’ve had the pleasure of using and I’ll write about this in more detail soon – you need to be at an awesome event like a concert or while traveling to get the full impact of what this can do and what it means! :)

Timeshift Burst
My favorite feature by far – the Xperia Z1 takes 61 images in 2 seconds – a second before and after pressing the shutter – so you can scroll back and forth to find the perfect image. This is for all those times you “missed a shot” coz you took out your smartphone too late, it’ll never happen again.

AR Effect
There’s also a range of overlays that automatically detects faces and people and creates pictures using augmented reality app. I’ll dedicate a post to the camera and video features of the device – there’s just too many awesome features to describe in a general review.

ar effect

The Xperia Z1 also can shoot full 1080p HD video with stereo sound!

(and you can take a still image while the video is recording too)

5” Full HD screen

The Xperia Z1 has the latest Sony BRAVIA™ technology optimized for mobile. The beautiful and rich 5” screen uses a Full HD TRILUMINOS™ display which results in vibrant and incredible viewing experience. It’s the best screen I’ve ever seen on a smartphone!

sony xperia z1 screen

You can try it out at any Sony Center and be blown away at the crisp text and wide palate of natural colors. The Z1 also includes X-Reality™ for mobile and ClearAudio+™ for optimized video viewing. These are technologies usually found in their high range LCD TVs!

Software and performance

The Xperia Z1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 Ghz quad-core CPU and 4G LTE. It’s the first consumer smartphone to come up with this latest and super fast quad-core processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 features a GPU and dual ISP for incredible graphics and 3D performance – you’ll notice this if you play Unreal Engine based games on Android.

xperia z1 screen

Sony has also made changes to the stock version of Android and there’s four toggles in the notifications drop down that’s set to sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, brightness and settings by default. Swiping to the right in the app drawer brings up a menu that allows you to sort apps and also uninstall apps – you no longer have to go to the exact page in Google Play to do that anymore.

The Xperia Z1 also has 4 shortcuts at the main phone screen to reflect Sony’s concept for this phone- WALKMAN™, Album, Movies and PlayStation® Mobile. Yup, it’s an MP3 player, camera, video recorder and gaming device all rolled into one portable smartphone!

It does all those tasks very well too – there is no lag or slowdown of any kind even with intensive widgets on the screen that pulls Facebook and other social media feeds, multiple tabs open on the default browser (Chrome) and it tackles the most graphically intense Unreal Engine games with ease.

The 3000mAh battery performs well too – I can easily use the Xperia Z1 for a full day without having to recharge. That’s largely due to the highly effective Battery STAMINA Mode which uses a lot of useful tricks to preserve battery life. It shuts off certain apps when you’re not actively using them (you can customize this so that your favorite apps will run all the time) and turns off functions you don’t need until you wake up your screen again.

Design and other features

The entire phone has a premium feel to it from the single piece of aluminium (which also acts as an antenna) surrounding the front and back tempered sheet glass. The Sony Xperia Z1 is a long rectangle shape with an impressive build quality.

xperia z1

The On/Off button is now located on the right hand side in the middle instead of top right. All the buttons are placed right and the headphone jack is the lone item on the top which is perfectly situated to prevent snagging or accidental pressing of buttons while listening to an audio book in MP3 (which is what I do more than listen to music).

The speakers produces surprisingly well-defined sound too.

The Xperia Z1 weighs 170 grams which might seem a tad on the heavy side for people not used to it but I’m loving mine – it’s a high quality digital camera, gaming device, and smartphone in a sleek package that gets double takes. It not only looks good, it feels good too – and the fact that it’s also waterproof and shock and dust resistant is just icing on the cake.

xperia z1 unboxing

The Sony Xperia Z1 retails for RM 2,399 and if you purchase it now, you’ll get three months of free unlimited music streaming from Akazoo, a preloaded social media music app. This is valid from October till December 2013. You can also download six (6) movies (offer valid till 31st December) via Xperia Privilege app, which is also preloaded into the device.

There’s a lot more to talk about but this is already way over 1,000 words so I’ll write more on the awesome 20.7 MP digital camera, 1080p Full HD video recording, nifty apps like Social Live and other apps. I’ll also do a special on underwater photography and my annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup. I also have the SmartWatch 2, which is a NFC/Bluetooth watch that can sync via NFC to get Facebook updates and allows you to control your phone remotely from your wrist.

smartwatch2

I love my new toy(s)! :D

Check out the Sony Xperia Z1 experience!

Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge @ Sunway Pyramid

slide out

I literally *slid* out feet first, like a baseball player sliding into the home plate. I wanted to get out of the obstacle house within 5 seconds so that I could win an instant RM 50 note and an adult ticket to Sunway Lagoon. I was at the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge at Sunway Pyramid and I really wanted to win!

rm50

I had analyzed how the previous people who attempted the challenge did on the LCD video screen outside. There’s a camera attached to the helmet of every person who went into the wet adventure tent and live footage was beamed to the TV.

drumstick extreme challenge

The rules are simple – get out within 5 seconds or less.

gearing up

I geared out in safety knee and elbow pads, donned a helmet with a small camera attached and got ready to dash into the tent. I had only seen one guy who managed to get out within the allocated 5 seconds…all the others took slightly longer.

safety gear

It was really dark inside – I had to take a second to orient myself but I knew the countdown wouldn’t start until I actually picked up the Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC.

I saw the “treasure chest” (which is actually an ice cream freezer) in front of me and rummaged around for the single drumstick inside. I looked back at the exit to plan a speedy exfil.

helmet

That was my mistake. The countdown started and I frantically swiped around, got the Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC and ran hellbent for leather.

run in

5 seconds….

I had planned to just muscle through all the obstacles – after all, I had enough safety gear on to push through the padded obstructions.

4 seconds…

That plan went south however, since I tripped on a wet patch. I had been warned that I’ll need a change of clothes since the theme of the challenge will involve water.

3 seconds…

I tried to get up quickly and was slimed with starch and powdered with several handfuls of flour.

2 seconds…

I managed to get up on one knee, with a slightly mashed Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC clutched tightly in my hand – the exit was in sight!

1 second…

…and flew through the exit feet first!

slimed

It turned out that I had clocked 6 seconds so I didn’t qualify for the RM 50 note. However, everyone who attempted the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge got an adult ticket to Sunway Lagoon and the new Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC – that’s a great consolation prize. :)

win

This challenge was held on a Sunday at Sunway Pyramid and there are still heaps of prizes to be won! There’s mini tablets and Sunway Lagoon Entrance Passes up for grabs each week in addition to the RM 30,000 cash grand prize with RM 10,000 and RM 3,000 for the first and second runner ups and RM 300 consolation prizes for 97 people! You just need to text:

DRUMSTICK ADVENTURE CODE POP CODE MyKad

contest

to 36300 the first time to register yourself. After that just send:

DRUMSTICK ADVENTURE CODE for the Grand Prize and
DRUMSTICK POP CODE for the Weekly Prizes.

rules

The Adventure Code is the alphanumeric code that can be found on Nestle Drumstick Ice Cream Freezer in various stores. The POP Code is the code you find under the top cover of your Nestle Drumstick. The campaign period for the contest ends at 10 November 2013 so submit your entries now! I have eaten quite a lot and submitted all the entries.

extrem choc drumstick

The new Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC is sinfully delicious too! There’s lots of chocolatey goodness inside that ice cream plus you’ll get a chance to win those nifty prizes while you enjoy the latest offering from Nestle Drumstick! Get more details at the Nestle Drumstick Facebook and the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge Website.

This is a paid advertorial by Nestle.

I’m wearing Hoya BlueControl lens!

Check it!

eye test

I bet you didn’t know I have problems with my eyesight. I have shortsightedness of -2.50 on my right eye with astigmatism of -1.25. No, I don’t wear spectacles. I’ve never done any form of vision correction surgery. I don’t wear contacts either. It has constantly been puzzling people how I can function visually.

aud hb

It’s coz I’m heavily left eye dominant and my left eye has close to perfect vision. However, I do experience a lot of eye fatigue and dry eyes especially since I’m in front of a notebook almost 16 hours a day! The worst thing is, I didn’t even realize the eye irritation and general fatigue until I started wearing my new ByWP frames with Hoya BlueControl lens.

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Eyes #1: Staring at your screen for too long will cause your eyes to water. Remember to blink!

I’ve already known about the -2.50 myopia and -1.25 astigmatism on my right eye. I just came up during an eye test when I was a kid and my mom forced me to wear specs when I was 12 years old. I didn’t want to coz they made me very dizzy so I stopped wearing them after less than 3 days.

Fast forward 19 years later (yes, I’m 31) and I decided to drop in to get my eyes checked. I’m a heavy user of digital media – I’m on computers most of the day! I decided that having BlueControl lens will help me in my eye troubles.

prescription lens

I was torn between the Reykjavik Eyes MR 12 (RM 1,100) which is a frame made out of a solid piece of titanium so is just a single piece and the ByWP BY11031MB (RM 1,280) which is handmade with stainless steel in Germany and uses a hinge instead of screws on the side and finally went with the latter after viewing it through one of their machines which photographs you with different lenses so you can choose what looks best.

frames camera

It came back in just a few days. The Hoya BlueControl lens actually has a bluish-purple coating on it that can be seen at an angle. I thought that was really cool. I have worn it for a week and I’m glad I finally went in to get my vision fixed. The Hoya BlueControl lens works very well if you’re a heavy user of digital media. I’m probably the one of the heaviest digital media users around!

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Eyes #2: Take regular breaks! Looking away from your screen at something green for 20 seconds every 20 minutes will make a *huge* difference.

BlueControl is actually an anti-reflection coating that reflects part of the harmful blue light emitted by flat screen displays, indoor energy savings lights and sunlight. I am exposed to either of the three during my 16 wakeful hours per day. Blue light is also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) light and comes from the blue end of the visible spectrum.

reykjavik eyes

It’s known as the strongest light as blue light passes through the cornea and crystalline lens directly into the retina. I have LCD and LED computer and television screens, smartphones, tablets and GPS devices. I didn’t realize how tired my eyes were before wearing the BlueControl lens. It’s one of those things that you realize in hindsight.

old team

It’s a “Hey! I’ve been missing out on all this comfort!” moment.

hoya bluecontrol

It not only neutralizes the harmful blue light from the digital media world we are in now but also reduces glare. I found out that wearing my ByWP frames with the Hoya BlueControl lens makes me *a lot* more comfortable. It requires a double affirmation technical grammatical error coz I feel wonderful now when I’m in front of the notebook.

ByWP-BY11031MB

It’s the small things that you notice – chatting in Whatsapp on your smartphone doesn’t fatigue or strain your eyes too much. Watching movies on the LCD screen doesn’t make your eyes dry. I found out that it actually helps regulate sleep too! I’m always up late and staring at the notebook and the excessive blue light can cause sleeplessness.

blue control

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Eyes #3: Keep your distance!

There really is something to this BlueControl lens. It’s like the movie Hackers where the main character Zero Cool wears shades to cut what he calls “razor burn” (more like CRT glare). This has actually come to effect with the LCD and LED screens of computers and smartphones today

rach vanda hb

Wearing my BlueControl lens makes me feel much more comfortable with none of the eye fatigue I have actually *gotten used to*.

bluecontrol

It’s the best RM 600 I spent! Those are for the ByWP frames, the BlueControl lens are kindly furnished by Hoya for review. You can’t change the digital media world that we’re in so maybe these lens would help you too. Get more tips & tricks on healthier eyes at the BlueControl website.

BISON Savanna Launch – Drive Beyond Borders

lion dance

Every good launch needs a lion dance.

Check out the awesome lion dance video above! I filmed that at the flagship showroom opening and official launch of BISON Savanna. I arrived quite early and caught sight of the lion dance troupe preparing to do their thing so I followed them into the garage.

bison lion dance

This is the new flagship showroom of BISON and the lion dance troupe was at the back – doing a private ceremonial dance before the event started.

ribbon cutting

BISON Savanna was officially launched at the Angka-Tan Motor Sdn Bhd flagship showroom at Jalan 225, Petaling Jaya on the 11th September 2013. The showroom itself is the first dedicated BISON showroom in Malaysia and has a layout of 12,000 square feet.

bison showroom

The BISON Savanna is quite an interesting pickup – it’s manufactured by the Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. – which is one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in China (which usually means the world as well). The China market for commercial vehicles is huge!

bison atm gift exchange

The collaboration between Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. and ATM brings the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer to Malaysia (ATM is a subsidiary of Warisan TC Holdings Berhad) and Angka-Tan Motor Sdn Bhd will be the sole distributor of their vehicles.

bison savanna launch

Official BISON Savanna unveiling in Malaysia!

drive beyond borders

The BISON Savanna in particular is a highly anticipated vehicle in the powerful pickup truck segment. It’s packed with well-known and proven components so don’t let the Made in China label fool you.

bison

There’s a robust ISF 2.8 diesel engine designed by Cummins Engine Co. Ltd (US) and manufactured by Foton Cummins, 5-speed manual GETRAG transmission, DANA USA rear axles and BorgWarner USA 4WD transfer case with a BOSCH common rail system fuel system inside the BISON Savanna.

foton bison engine

That’s an impressive list of proven and reliable systems.

bison savanna interior

I took a look under the hood and inside the car and there’s also anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), dual air bags, and electronic tire pressure monitoring system – the last of which is usually only available in premium brands.

ride

The pickup truck has changed a lot since the last several decades and has a lot of features you’ll expect in a car like air bags and EBD/ABS. I see a lot of people from Sarawak (where I come from) using pickups as a primary vehicle instead of a car. This is from the evolution of the pickup from bare bones practicality to luxury and comfort sedan-like interiors.

lion dance orange

There’s on-board audio entertainment systems with USB, AUX, CD player and 4 speakers, power windows, overhead lighting and storage and a sporty and adjustable three-spoke steering wheel like you’ll see in a car.

Bonus video: Watch the lion dance troupe pass an orange during the BISON Savanna launch!

bison savanna dual cab

I can see why a lot of people from my hometown uses pickups like this as a primary family vehicle. I would too, considering it has sedan features in a 4WD and double cab format with 210 mm of ground clearance!

bison savanna

Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd is less known here but they’re actually one of the most successful commercial vehicle brands in the largest market right now – China. They also got into an international joint venture last year that created Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd.

bison showroom opening

I really liked the BISON Savanna. The ISF 2.8 diesel engine is turbocharged and it’s very competitively priced at RM 71,888 for the 4×2 Double Cab and RM 79,888 for the 4×4 Double Cab variant (prices are OTR). The best news for people in East Malaysia is that since this is from ATM, there will be 27 designated locations nationwide under the Tan Chong Express Auto Service (TCEAS) network so you’ll have 24-hour break-down service.

Get more details!

Watching movies at home…with a pint of ice cream!

ice cream pint

Me and my girlfriend watch a lot of movies at home. It’s nice to be able to eat whatever you want instead of crappy concession stand food. We also eat a lot of ice cream so that has become a weekly tradition – snuggling up in bed with blankets and a pint of ice cream.

Bliss!

concession stand food

It also has a lot of practical upsides – we can pause the movie whenever we want to go to the toilet or keep an eye out on whatever’s cooking on the stove. Another common reason to pause a movie midway is to put the ice cream back in the freezer and take a different flavored pint out. Haha!

You just can’t do that in cinemas.

Of course, cinemas are great for big budget releases that you want to watch in IMAX but those are few and far in between. The last summer action flick we watched was Star Trek Into Darkness. We haven’t been to a theatre since!

escape

I speak of this coz there’s an awesome new entertainment portal out, aptly called ESCAPE. It not only offers the latest Hollywood movies but also a whole online library full of Korean, Hindi, Indonesian and local releases. I checked it out and it’s become our favorite way to enjoy movies at home – all from just RM 0.80 per hour!

rent iron man 3

Even blockbusters like Iron Man 3 (with a production budget of USD 200 million) is there for your viewing pleasure at any time for just RM 9.

That’s less than a movie ticket (for one) and you can enjoy it with as many people as you can.

the little nyonya

ESCAPE not only offers movies though – there’s TV series like The Little Nyonya, live events, live news and even concerts!

featured movies

The method of browsing is very intuitive too – it’s sorted by genre so you can find the movie that you like easily. There’s also comments (and related titles) on the bottom so you can see what the movie is all about before watching it.

movie chat

However, the *best* thing about ESCAPE is that you can view it across multiple platforms! There’s a lot of times when we couldn’t finish watching a movie coz one of us is sleepy. Now, you can start watching a movie on your home computer or laptop and continue the next day on your tablet or cell phone! The app is a free download to boot!

kl gangster exclusive

That’s right – ESCAPE is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android and MacOS! There’s none of that clicking-to-guess-where-we-left-off nonsense either – the Pause & Play feature automatically saves where you last paused your selected movie and you can continue watching the same movie seamlessly…even on *another* device!

Yup, that’s Pause & Play – now you never have to miss your favorite show or guess which scene you last watched!

featured

I find this to be absolutely perfect for my needs as we usually watch our movies late at night with thick blankets around us on the bed while eating ice cream. However, if you prefer watching it on a bigger screen, you can always use the HDMI or A/V output on your notebook to connect to a large screen LCD TV!

No long lines at the cinema. No one telling you you can’t eat the food you want while you watch a movie. You can wear whatever you want. The world of entertainment in your hands sounds right!

I think it’s an awesome trend – I can select whatever movie I want to watch from a massive online library and it automatically gets deducted from my Celcom account. Escape is exclusively for Celcom subscribers so check it out at www.ESCnow.com!

What is Project C? The Kia Cerato Malaysian launch!

cilantro

There was a lot of videos a while back where people guessed at what Project C is. I was thinking coffee or cilantro (the herb known as coriander). It’s quite an interesting shrub as all parts of the plant is edible. That’s innovation in nature!

project c

Interesting fact: 61,000 people visited the “What is Project C” website! 1 person won and walked away with a brand new Kia Cerato.

cerato launch malaysia

The Kia Cerato was just recently launched in Malaysia. It also shares some of the features – everything is innovative (was surprised at some of the nifty features of the car myself) except you can’t eat it. That’s what Project C is about. It’s the launch of the latest and greatest new car from Naza Kia Malaysia! A new benchmark for a sedan in Malaysia.

The Cerato was unveiled to the public with two variants – a 1.6 and 2.0 model (the latter comes with a sunroof and a 4.2-inch full-color TFT-LCD, amongst other features). Motor-driven power steering comes as standard with three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport with audio and hands-free functionality.

kia cerato

On the aesthetics side, the Kia Cerato looks really awesome – there’s a “Tiger Nose” radiator grill that makes the front looks very aggressive. The projection-type lenses and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) makes for optimal visibility and also adds to the “cool factor”. The Smart Welcoming Light feature senses when you’re near the car (from the Smart Key) and automatically lights it up with puddle lamps and pocket lights on the door handle!

There’s also Push Start ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a 4.3” touch screen TFT-LCD with rear camera display and a smooth 10-way power driver seat with memory functionality so you can adjust the seat to exactly the comfort settings that you want! :)

kia cerato features

Dual-zone auto air-conditioning with built in cluster ionizer, rear air vent, glove box cooling (so you can keep drinks and chocolate bars cool inside), front and rear parking assist system and an auto-defog capability that is automatically initiated when sensors detect misty conditions rounds up the standard package. That’s an awesome default package!

On the engineering side, the Kia Gamma 1.6 MPI D-CVVT engine produces 130 PS and 157 Nm of torque while the Kia 2.0 NuD-CVVT engine produces 161 PS and 194 Nm of torque, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sporty A/T knob. The fuel consumption of the Cerato on a combined cycle is just 14.7 km per liter with an environmentally friendly CO2 emission of 160g per kilometer!

I’ll show you two of the features that impressed me the most: A highly feature-packed sedan!

Air-ventilated driver’s seat

air con seats

Yup, I’m not kidding! The driver’s seat is actually ventilated so you won’t have your shirt sticking to your back on hot, sunny days. I find this a nice, innovative touch. It’s all about the little things that adds to comfort. Air-conditioned seats!

I figured the driver ought to have this since he/she is doing the hard work. ;)

Smart Welcoming Light

puddle lights

The Puddle Lamp is part of the Smart Welcoming Light feature. It automatically detects when you’re near the car via the Smart Key and activates the light. It’s not only a security feature but a practical one as well. Having the floor near your car well light and the door handle illuminated makes for a feature that’s not just innovative, but cool!

The Cerato has five-star ratings in safety for NHTSA safety tests in the United States and it was chosen as the Top Safety Picks of 2013 by IIHS.

kia cerato launch

This is truly an innovative car. The Kia Cerato 1.6 is priced (OTR) at RM 99,888 while the Cerato 2.0 goes for RM 118,888. That’s not only auspiciously priced, but very reasonable considering the features that it has. It also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty!

This is innovation!

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