Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Car prices

The hot news these few weeks has been the reduction in car prices due to the NAP. After the initial round of reductions, the government hinted that prices should be even lower.

Of course, this is all not so good news for those who just bought their wheels or those thinking of selling. In fact, I noticed a significant shrinking of car for sale ads in The Star Metro nowadays. I guess everyone is waiting for the dust to settle before deciding how to pitch their cars.

Lunch time yesterday, I went to the Toyota and Honda websites to see if they have posted up the new prices. Well, the answer is that they haven't, but one thing caught my eye. In the price list they also have prices for Labuan and Langkawi. Yes, those two tax free havens where you get cheap booze and smokes galore.

I was astounded to find out that a brand new Camry or Accord will set you back all of 80 to 85k in these two places.

And here we are, paying 85k to squeeze into a teeny City or Vios (no offence to owners of these cars, I think they're damn fine cars :) ) in all other parts of Malaysia.

Anyway, after taking out my calculators, I decided it is not worth it to change for at least the next four years. It just doesn''t make financial sense to keep upgrading something that depreciates all the time. Not to mention the fact that I'm way behind schedule in my savings and investment plans. As long as my current ride doesn't hit me with enormous repair bills (which my old Wira did), I guess I'll keep the car for as long as I can.

For those of you who are in the market for a new car, congratulations! When the dust settles in the next few months, you'll be spoilt for choice.

My recommendation of the current crop - Nissan Sentra. This one was selling for less than 100k pre-NAP, and with another 5% reduction, its the best value Japanese saloon at the moment. For not much more than a Vios or City (again, apologies to owners of these :) ), you get a 1.6 with plenty of space. Not bad.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Power of 4

I was tagged by my good pal Simon 3 weeks ago to do a meme, but I kept putting it off. Well, here goes :-

4 jobs you've had in your life

  • English teacher - teaching a bunch of fourth formers who still didn't know their verbs from their nouns. Only 1 girl in the class knew what I was on about
  • Cleaner - scrubbing 10 floors of stairways at my uni hostel during the holidays
  • Waiter at Chinese Restaurant - where I picked up "proper" Cantonese, ahem
  • Industrial Trainee - my first ever IT job, deploying programs on DEC mainframes
4 movies you could watch over and over
These are the ones I could count on to cheer me up every time :)
  • Before Sunrise - a sweet little love story
  • Working Girl - corny, but gets me every time!
  • Groundhog Day - probably Bill Murray's finest hour
  • Lost In Translation - the movie that made me fall in love with Scarlett
4 TV shows you love(d) to watch
  • CSI Miami - Horatio Caine is one cool dude
  • X Files - like Simon, only the first few seasons
  • Amazing Race
  • The Simpsons
4 places you've lived
  • rented room in Section 6, PJ - with an Indian family with a fierce dog
  • 1st floor dorm above a Chinese Restaurant in Portadown, Northern Ireland
  • rented room, SS2, PJ - a place that has everything within walking distance
  • rented room, Subang Jaya - back when SJ was still a quiet little town
4 places you've been to vacation to
  • Hong Kong - not as great as I thought, coz everything was so expensive
  • Singapore - one of my fav, its so easy to get around
  • Guang Xi, China - amazing scenery, and a world away from HK
  • Brunei - ermm, actually, there were nothing to see
4 places you would rather be
  • New Zealand - LOTR country, my dream home
  • Sibu - my hometown, where things are much simpler and there's good food everywhere
  • Kuching - where everything works and the council is doing its job!
  • Redang
4 of your favourite food
  • char koay teow - the one from Chow Yang SS2 (now Lim Mee Yoke)
  • bak kut teh
  • sushi
  • Teochew duck rice
4 websites you visit daily
  • The Edge Daily
  • All my friends' blogs (sorry have to cheat a bit, there's too many of you)
  • torrentspy
  • - always on the lookout for cheap tech gear, hehe
4 tagged

Monday, March 13, 2006

Doggy Shows For the year of the Dog

Whether by design or by coincidence, the local cinemas will be releasing two movies about dogs this year. Incidentally, both movies were released by Disney.

The first one is called "Shaggy Dog" starring Tim Allen and no doubt will be a hit among those who love cute fluffy dogs:

The second one is called "Eight Below" and is more of a tale of man's friendship with this most faithful and loyal of animals:-

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Good bye and God bless, FatAl .....

It started with some of the colleagues whispering to one another, "FatAl's back, FatAl's back". I quickly went to FatAl's cubicle.

He was in the room with the big boss. For more than half a year now FatAl has been sick. He only came into the office when he felt well enough, and that was rarely.

The last time I saw him in December, he was well enough to start using a walker instead of a wheelchair. But he didn't turn up at all in January and February.

Half an hour later a frantic MSN message popped up, "FatAl has resigned! Today's his last day!" I quickly ran over again. He was in the wheelchair again. When he turned around I saw how sick he was. He's now just skin and bones and his voice was a hoarse whisper. Tears were flowing freely among some of the staff who came to say their goodbyes. FatAl was one of the second-in-command at our office and half the office reported to him.

FatAl didn't really like talking about what was ailing him, so there were a lot of speculation about his condition. Finally, I found out from one of the senior staff.

FatAl is at the final stage of leukemia. He had suffered a relapse recently and it looks unlikely that he'll recover. He wants to spend whatever time he has left with his wife and two litttle daughters.

The rest of the afternoon the whole office was sombre. Most people left early for the day, the things that happened in the afternoon weighing heavily on their minds.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Customer Service (Mamak Style)

I rarely encounter good customer service in this good ol' country of ours, so it was a pleasant surprise to encounter good service at, of all places, the humble mamak stall.

Recently, I decided to try out the mamak stall I pass by every day on my way to work. Its one of those open air ones situated beside a car park.

After going there once, I was pleasantly surprised that the mamak guy memorised my order! On my second visit he repeated what I ordered the last time (coffee, 2 half boiled eggs, nasi lemak) and asked me whether I wanted the same. I think this guy must have hundreds of customers every day, so it was a great feeling to tell him to get me "the usual" on my second visit :)

In case you want to know, the mamak stall is located behind the Menara Getah Asli at Jalan Ampang.

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