31 October 2006

Honda City: 10,000 kms later ...

Someone emailed me and asked me some pretty detailed questions about my Honda City VTEC, so I thought I'd do this blog to coincide with the 10,000 km mark my City hit just recently.

So, you ask, what do you think about the City so far ??

You've got to read this and this blog to get some overview about my beloved car. From a Proton driving background, this car definately hits the right spots ...

So, let's do a 10,000 low down ...

Any problems so far ??
None. Pretty darn good. Except for the complicated alarm system, which could sometimes get me going nuts (it immobilises the car after 4 minutes, it complaints if you turn on the car but don't start after sometime, it goes nuts if u leave boot open for too long, etc.). But more secure is good.

How about the service from Honda?
The car came with a 20,000 40,000 km 0r 2 years (whichever comes first) free service package when I bought it.

And it's great. No hassle. Just drive it to your nearest Honda Authorised Service Center. Once they've verified you're still eligible for free service, it takes around 90 minutes or so to turnaround the car. And there's a free car wash thrown in for good effect too. And they play really funny movies in the service center I go to. So, I'm not complaining.

Fuel Economy?
Great. Averaging around 15 - 16 km/l, on a mixture of highway and urban driving. My normal drive to work is from Bandar Kinrara to Pusat Bandar Damansara. In case that sounded like Greek to some of you, what it means is - I have to drive 25 kms, mostly on a highway which will normally have long sections of slow moving urban crawl, at least 1 section of badly congested traffic where 2 kms takes 20 minutes to travel, and a few stretches where traffic flows freely. Now, multiply that by 2 (because I need to drive home) and then by 5 (because I work 5 days everyweek) ... and that's my driving week. This sort of drive will yield fuel consumption of around 15 - 16 km/l. Done 17 km/l before on pure highway driving.

On my RM65 worth of petrol, I'll get at least 12 days of travel. Yes, I've been keeping track ... ;)

Let's be honest, I am a 'normal' driver. I don't normally drive at speeds above 90 km/h on my work commute, simply because there isn't any reason to. I find that when you push the car (keep it revving above 3,000 rpm), then fuel economy goes south. This shouldn't surprise anyone - it's well known that going easy on the gas pedal will generally help improve fuel economy. So, if you drive reasonably, fuel economy is very good.

If you keep to just abour 2,000 rpm as consistently as you can, then you'll find your petrol ringgit streches more.

Don't feel anything out of ordinary. Car is very smooth. Even when idling, it really is just ... quiet and nice.

And no, I don't feel the gear change at all.

With the correct tire pressure, the car's suspension is decent. It's a bit on the harder side of things - that's the way it is, says my Honda service guy - which makes a sporty ride. But you'll know immediately when tire pressure needs to be adjusted - the bumpiness factor just increases dramatically. Imagine driving a motorboat head on into a 3 foot wave. Not nearly that dramatic, but you get the idea.

I think that covers the question most owners would have once they've owned a car for a bit. I'm all for practicality - thus this is a great fit for me. I would be having epileptic fits if I have to go through some of the Proton service or Toyota service I've heard of.

It's serving me well, and I hope it'll stay that way. I heard some rattling noise issues with only 1 other City owner (iDSI, lady owner), but I don't have the same issue, and others I know of have not reported the same, so I'm assuming she's unlucky.

The aircon is fine as well. One of the previous complaints (esp in the original City model) is about the power of the air conditioning system. I don't know if there's a problem in that one, but this 2006 Honda City VTEC, cool is not a problem. Take it from a man who hates the heat when driving.

I think my windscreen wiper might need to be replaced, but other than that, no worries at all. In all, a great car. Happy 10,000 km, Moz Mobile ....

*** Farewell, mozPod ***
Sold my iPod mini today ... I'm hoping the new owner will find as much joy as I have had ... It had accompanied me practically to at least 1 corner of the world, and it's a solid companion to have, especially on flights where you don't have personal entertainment consoles ... *tsk* ... I miss you ...

And I'll be looking forward to a iPod nano ... !!!

28 October 2006

The 3am post

Just a gaze away from my window is the Ayer Hitam forest reserve. Honestly, it's the reason why I bought this house. I wanted to get away from it all. I needed a quite place to retreat to at the end of my work day. I want to be removed from humans as best I can at least for a few hours every night.

I grew up in a squatter house along Jalan Puchong. Old timers would know the place as the '10 Shophouses' area. There used to be, well, 10 shophouses across Jalan Puchong from where I used to stay. That was in the early 80s.

Puchong itself started the transformation into the bustling suburb today when the tin mines stopped being profitable. This was in the mid 80s. Some of you would recall the Black Friday stock crash in New York. I was too young then to understand the full reasons behind the Black Friday crash, and too disinterested now to read up about it. But it affected my life in more ways than I could ever forsee.

My father lost his permanent employment. My mum was forced to work. I had to learn to cook, clean the house, etc. - basically, I became replacement mum. And still had to score decent marks in Add Maths ...

Let's not stray too far from the topic. Even before Black Friday, the tin mining industry, of which my dad was associated with, had been on the slowdown. Black Friday just totally killed whatever life there was in it.

Puchong's tin mines were closed. And filled. And housing estates were built over the former mining land. Kinrara Court really started it all off. Then there was Bandar Kinrara. Then Puchong Jaya. And before you know it, today, there are more housing estates in Puchong than I'd care to remember.

Jalan Puchong was widened 4 times during my stay in the old house. The 10 shops opposite became many more. People started to pour in. Traffic started to stream constantly along Jalan Puchong.

Today, I can't imagine how I could have slept in my old place. The traffic never stops. The noise never ends. You could hear the show offs who were having drinks in the restaurant 4 lanes across Jalan Puchong from my old house speaking loudly into their brick phones just so that the whole restaurant would know they have a brick phone. There was a time when mobile phones were muses of the rich.

When fires break out in the illegal factories in Kg. Michael Chen, also across Jalan Puchong, I could watch from my window and actually feel the heat on my cheeck.

I can't imagine how far removed I was from that world here in my home now. It's still just less than 10 minutes away by car, but it's a million miles removed from here, if you ask me.

It's quite a funny thing - you yearn for what you don't have.

I wanted peace and quiet when I was in my old place. I hated the noise of the old Protons with their half broken engines passing the house. I hate the drunk folks singing hokkien songs in the middle of the night. I hated the fumes of all those sand carrying lorries fueling the construction boom in Puchong.

Now I have peace. I have quiet. But I'm feeling lately that it's too peaceful and too quiet.

I'm not longing for the sounds of a billion cars driving past my house everyday. No, not that kind of thing ... it's just that I feel ... lonely ?

I think I need some help ...

27 October 2006

30 Things You Don't Know About Moz: #3

I have a closet full of .....

But I don't drink a lot. I don't even drink a bit. Some of these have been in here for years, and it's still not finished !!! It's just about opportunity ... I have access to duty free quite often.

These ones that I like better I keep in the closet. The ones that are either expensive or have more bling bling bottles I use as decoration. Yes, I'm a bit chinaman, so sue me.

I don't smoke. I don't really shop. So, I just buy some of these (and another item to be revealed later ...) when I have too much time in duty free ... in any case, you might notice I have a particular liking for Kahlua, Bailey's and Vodka.

And no, I don't drink the stuff in that Thirsty Hippo container - that's not part of the collection - it just happens to be there to keep the clothes from getting fungus attack.

26 October 2006

Are you ok ?

*puts on sad violin track* ...

Dear Panda-Under-The-Bed,

I miss you so ... by the time you read this post, I'm already missing you dearly ...

The sky is grey without you ....

The colors of the world pales in your absence ...

My heart is heavy, akin to having a boulder tied to it when I walk ...

I toss about in bed, unable to sleep with your image in my mind ...

Breakfast, lunch, dinner ... they no longer matter to me ... no food can nourish a longing heart ...

... *cuts off sad music* ...

It's obvious I don't have much to write about today ...

Just wondering what happened to the panda-under-the-bed, and it's brother, the panda-living-in-with-angeliu.

If you happen to read this post, please do leave a comment ... *tsk*

24 October 2006

Top Ten Excuses for Building a Palace without approvals

Ah ... Malaysian politics. Nothing like good old politics ... councillors building 'small' houses without getting approval.

Oh, sure, we're very certain the architect is at fault here. It's not the builder, it's the architect.

Sure, you've submitted plans that were NOT approved but you went ahead because it involved costs.

Why of course, you are going to resubmit them for approval after Raya. But AFTER you went ahead and built it anyway.

And still, they think reporters are wrong to report it, and wish for a quiet Raya. Are reporters supposed to write good things about you then, Mr Councillors ?

Hmm ... makes me wonder why do some houses get torn down for not having approved plans, and why some stay around. Maybe it's who the owner is ??

You may have noticed that I'm honking mad over this. There is no reason whatsoever the people who're supposed to be our 'leaders' are flouting the rules. And believe me, these are the same people who will enforce the rules against YOU if they see fit.

I mean, let's see what'll happen to me if I decide to extend my buildings without getting proper approval from MPSJ ...

And if the news is to be believed, the councillor even turned his back to an 'invitation' to meet the Sultan of Selangor. Now, that's rude in any language ...

So, what's your excuse Mr. Councillor? What's your excuse?

  • "No, it's not a palace. It's a chill out place for Mat Rempits ... "
  • Chicks dig palaces.
  • Reliably informed by his son that as councillor, he is above the law.
  • "Plans? I thought you need to submit glands?"
  • Hey, if you've got THAT much money to spend, will you wait for approval ?
  • "Look, wiseguy, I approve the plans here. *Ehem* ... I hereby approve my plans."
  • Did I mention chicks dig palaces?
  • Why are you all discussion trivial issues like this? Let's talk about somethign real, a pressing problem in society. Let's talk about Mat Rempits instead ...
  • When a man has THAT many cars to park, do you think he'll care about plan approvals?
  • Desperate to be featured on MTV's "Pimp My Palace"

23 October 2006

Scenes from Bangkok: Wat Phra Keow

One year ago, on this day, I discovered that my stay in Bangkok, City of Angels, will be coming to an end was made known to me.

For the uninitiated, I stayed in Bangkok for a little more than a year, while working on a large project. A perk and a curse of my job, really. My Bangkok is a series of entries I'm writing, recounting the Bangkok I know.

It'll be a tangible recount of my memories in Bangkok, lest I forget one day. You can never tell when you will need some help to recount your moments in life.

In this first post, I'll touch on one absolute must see attraction in Bangkok ... the Grand Palace Complex.

As usual, all photos can be viewed in a larger version by clicking on it.

Located in the Rattanakosin area of Bangkok (which really is a man made island), the Grand Palace Complex is a large ground on which the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keow) and numerous other buildings connected with the Royal Family.

The Grand Palace complex was first built by the first ruler of the Chakri dynasty in the late 1700s. The current Thai king is the 9th ruler in this dynasty. Over the years, the complex underwent quite a bit of change - each king added some new touches to the complex.

Being the center of a kingdom, the temple within the compounds, Wat Phra Keow houses the most important Buddha image in all of Thailand, and was formerly a royal chapel serving the Royal family.

Wat Phra Keow contains some stunning buildings, and much historical and cultural relics. Personally, I was captivated by the many statues and images from various Buddhist mythology and with Chinese influences.

Notice the picture above in the picture with the caption "Demons and Warriors" ? How do you tell the demon from the warrior ? Answer coming up shortly ...

There is so much history in the Grand Palace compound I can visit it no matter how many times I've been to Bangkok.

Admission fees apply (200 baht the last time I visited), and includes tickets to another palace and a museum within the Grand Palace compound.

Dress code applies - for men, proper shirts with sleeves; trousers that cover up to the ankle and proper shoes that cover the entire feet. For women, no sleeveless, no tubes, skirts are ok, but have to be reasonable lenght, and proper shoes again. You'll get barred from entry if you don't dress up. There's a place where you can rent clothes to rectify whatever shortcomings you may have, but seriously, the clothes there will challenge even the best fashion coordinators ...

Opens nearly every day of the year, the place is surrounded by opportunistic tuk tuk drivers. Don't believe anyone telling you the place is closed. Unless of course, the guards in there tells you that. Then you'd better believe it.

Best transportation option - taxi from wherever you are ... or by the river. Forget tuk tuks - they would probably want to take you all around Bangkok before sending you there.

Edit: Answer to the demon and warrior question - demons are barefoot, while warriors wear shoes.

16 October 2006

I'm so fugu-ed

This might be the last post I'm ever going to blog.

I've been fugu-ed.

I had so no idea how deadly this fugu thing can be man .... if I don't update in 24 hours' time, someone call my family and tell them I really, really, love 'em.

Love y'all folks who've been real hardy supporters of the blog.

Seriously, I had some pufferfish for my Japanese dinner. Felt that numbness in my lips for a bit. And the tongue too.

Take my word for it: it ain't all that good, the numbness aside. A cheaper way to achieve a similar affect would be to swallow and suck some ice cubes.

Edit: People, I'm ok lah ... no need send sms lah ... me alive ... no tetrodotoxin poison ... no paralyse .... ok ?

15 October 2006

Getting Sentimental ...

I've been feeling sentimental lately. Sometimes, music does that to you. Sometimes, it's meeting an old friend. And sometimes, it's just the weather.

It's been a confluence of all 3 this week.

Last Saturday, while channel surfing, I chanced upon a song that I had long forgotten. It was better forgotten then, something which was much more beneficial to me discarded from my memory. That was because this song reminded me of a time when my heart was shattered and broken. A time when I doubted my own ability to heal.

I obviously got over it, and I'm all fine now. Listening to the song evoked a sense of calm to this week's hectic pace. It didn't hurt anymore. It actually gave me quiet strength, knowing that I, like many, if not all other people, will go through lows.

Hehe ... so I actually put that song in a loop on my iPod and just kept listening to it for hours and hours and hours and hours.

Also met an old friend yesterday night. Reminded me of the lowest point in my career - she was a counterpart in a project I worked at in a previous job. Just a lot of bitter memories from that time. I still can't get that out of my mind - it was probably the biggest waste of time in my working life.

But if nothing at all, it taught me that failure is not the end of the road. I think I've rebounded pretty decently after that. I turned out ok, no?

And finally ... the weather ... the haze is back in Singapore. And I hate the haze. I hate Indons who burn the forests. I hate the officials in Indon who take bribes to close an eye to the burning. I hate the big plantations who get away with a mere slap on the wrist.

But back to the link between weather and my current wave of sentinmentality. The haze brought back memories of 1997 ... the year I left Australia. I have since been lucky - always overseas when the worst of the haze strikes. But not this year - I'm here in the region - with haze and all.



Guess what's I did in Singapore?

Clues: Vivocity, New Asia Bar, Attica, Cufflinks from Tiffany's, neckties and more shirts than I normally buy in a year !!!

13 October 2006

The haze haze song ...

Old Mat Indon had some land,
E-aye, E-aye, Oh,
And on his land he had much trees,
E-aye, E-aye, Oh,

And a chop chop here,
And a burn burn there,
Chop here burn there,
Everywhere haze haze ...

Old Mat Indon had some land,
E-aye, E-aye, Oh,
And on his land he had much trees,
E-aye, E-aye, Oh.

Dedicated to all my friends from across the Selat Melaka

11 October 2006

Obviously a filler post

Dear Readers,

This is a filler post. This means the Moz is out of idea, tired, stressed and still want to reach out and communicate with you.

Here's what's been happening to me lately, which shouldn't interest you unless you are my non-existant girlfriend, the taxman or my guardian angel, who's jurisdiction must only be within Malaysia :-

  • Haze is Singapore over the past few days have been, thankfully, nothing as bad as it is in KL. Lucky Singaporeans.
  • Work is getting extremely busy. Where is superman when you need him?
  • Why are Crumpler bags such a rage?
  • Is there a really good new place in Singapore to party over the weekend?
  • Would anyone be interested in a trip to Nepal or Tibet next year? Can't find a group of folks interested for the trip.
  • What do you do to heal a broken heart? Someone dear to me is going thru the trauma of separation.
  • It's quite obvious the posturing in our media by our dear gahmen, especially, when you're overseas and have more complete views and news from the rest of the world.
  • I'm obviously going to fall sick soon.

And you thought travelling overseas is a good thing ....

08 October 2006

Capitalizing on the haze

Kuala Lumpur: Despite the dismay and horror of many Malaysians at the annual haze from the forests fires in Indonesia, enterprising business people are taking steps to capitalize on the haze.

An enterprising photo stall owner, Mr Chiong Kaw Kaw, when met at his booth at Petaling Street, has been selling posters and postcards of the annual haze. He showed our reporters postcards of what he claims to be KLCC, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, and other prominent KL landmarks when shrouded in haze. The reporters were unable to verify his claims that the postcards indeed were of the landmarks during the haze season because the photos are totally grey. Mr Chiong, 36, from Cheras reported that sales have been brisk. The majority of postcards are sold to foreign tourists, who are said to be enjoying the sights of the haze. Posters are usually sold to local teenagers, who claim that the haze is helping them save money because they no longer need to buy ciggarettes.

The Sepang F1 grandprix organizers are also said to be mulling a move to reschedule the grandprix to the haze season. The organizers claim that the idea would be a great way to promote the haze, which is turning into a tourist attraction. They have even come up with the catchy phrase "Race in the Haze" to sell the race. If the FIA, the world governing body for the motorsport agrees to the move, the organizers said they will be distributing eye drops and face masks to the spectators during the entire race. Race drivers are said to be supportive of the move, which could create a spectacle for spectators. Expect crashes as visibility drops, and engine blow ups due to clogged air filters.

A few ingenious tour operators in Kuantan have also started to offer Haze season promotions. Encik Bulat bin Benjol, from Etika Jerebu Sdn. Bhd., a Kuantan based tour operator told reporters here that he had noticed an increase of inquiries from foreign tourists about the haze, "So, I decided to offer them tours to see and smell the unique annual phenomenon". For around RM3,000, his company will take tourists to haze affected areas to allow them to experience the uniquely South East Asian haze for 2 days. At the end of each day, to allow them to fully appreciate the experience, they will also get a full body traditional massage in the open air. "The haze particles in the air, when exposed to the skin, will clog up the pores, and cause inflammation. This is a unique way to darken the skin ... No need to tan, which could be damaging", claims En. Bulat. His company also offers 50% refunds to customers if the haze fails to materialize.

The Tourism Malaysia in New York is also agressively promoting the haze season as a mustn't miss attraction for Visit Malaysia Year 2007. An upsurge in enquiries have been made to the representative office and also to tour operators, indicating a high level of interest. Tour operators have been asking the government if it is possible to make a request to the Indonesian government to allow more open burning, and to also extend the haze period. This will create a longer, more severe haze, which should attract more visitors and will contribute immensely to the tourism and hospitality industry. Mr Hazicus Maximus, a tour operator specializing in South East Asian eco-tourism told reporters in his Manhattan office that many Americans who live in cities with good air quality are interested in experiencing choking haze and polluted air. His tour agency has also taken advantage of the situation by selling health insurance and air purification solutions to customers.

However, not everyone is happy with the haze. Cigarette companies have reported a drastic drop in sales coinciding with the haze. Industry analyst, Mr. Asapmanyak Malapetaka, told reporters that this is likely due to the fact that many smokers can now satisfy their craving simply by breathing in. The smoke from the haze, while not as high quality or concentrated as cigarette smoke, does contain the basic toxins found in cigarette smoke. Thus, smokers who aren't highly addicted could actually get their high from the haze. Mr. Asapmanyak, however, indicated that there is an upside - once the haze is over, many people who did not smoke before the haze, might start smoking, as a result of haze withdrawal.

- reported by Moz Monster.

06 October 2006

Hittin' the road

Will be Down Under next week, and then some.

No, not Australia. The Down Under that's a little more immediate. Down Under the causeway. Maybe I should call it Down Below instead.

So, I'll be Down Below. =)

Look forward to seeing some friends while there. It's been a while since I've stayed on Orchard Road. I usually find myself staying in the Marina area or around Bras Basah Road.

Shopping list, anyone? I'm only brining a very small bag, so please don't overload me with shoe requests ...

05 October 2006

30 Things You Don't Know About Moz: #2

The next factoid that you really don't wanna note down about Moz is that I was a stamp collector.

And a pretty serious one too. I had pen pals from all over the world - because I want the stamps. I just to search the garbage near my piano class looking for stamps.

Unfortunately, the explosion of email meant most of my pen pals stopped writing, and there was the small matter of college and university, which was the last time I was really active in collecting stamps.

Why stamps? Don't ask me. But if Maria Sharapova approves, I think I'm not doing too badly. Definately better than collecting debts, which is something I've been getting good at recently.

Some of the ones I'm able to show ...

A mint sheet commemorating the German reunification. I have the First Day Cover and complete set as well.

Chinese folklores retold in Taiwanese stamps.

First Day cover commemorating the Installation of DYMM SPB Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Azlan Shah in 1989.

Even when I was young, I had a thing for pretty woman. Well, maybe not.

Had a number of German pen pals, which meant I had plenty of German stamps too.

One of the set of 1920 Czechoslovakia stamps. Notice the lack of perforation.

I just wish that I had more time to maybe go through again all the stamps I have, and all the memories of my stamp collecting day. Ms Sharapova, if you're interested in exchanging stamps, please do get in touch with me.

Updated Note: Early stamps did not have perforations - the holes punched into the stamp sheet to ease the separation of individual stamps, thus they had to be cut out.

04 October 2006


Oh, you would feel the same way too if you had the kind of day I had.

Morning started really badly - had a bit of a standoff at work. Later, in an unrelated incident, I made someone cry - but I totally think I didn't do anything wrong. Girls can cry. What can I do? Then I lost my own concentration. Couldn't do much of any work. Such a total waste of a day. And it promised to be so full of potential - I started the day with the unusual breakfast of Maggi Mee. Somemore Assam flavor.

Why am I such a pain sometimes? And why are some people such a pain to me sometimes?


30 Things You Don't Know About Moz: #1

I'm starting a small, 30 part series, sharing with my 3, maybe 4 blog readers, little known facts about me. 30 is my age, and thus the number here. Someone thought it was remarkable, I let my 30th birthday pass without any fanfares ... but then, that's another unknown fact about me:- I feel very uncomfortable celebrating my birthday, because it's unnatural to me. But that someone's persuaded me to do something to mark my 30th year on this planet. So, this is my response - 30 things you don't know about Moz ...

#1: I am a mineral / crystal enthusiast

I collect minerals, more accurately, I collect crystals. But not seriously, and not at a large scale. I'm just a small time collector who likes quirky or hard to find crystals. And I won't spend top $$ ... it's something I enjoy, but it's not a hobby.

Just like to see how the raw form of these semi precious stones look like before they're processed and cut into the finished products that just costs arms and legs.

I like unusual speciments, and always look out for nice, small samples. Here's a few from my collection ...

Topaz, natural termination, from Afghanistan

Emerald, natural crystal form, non-gem quality, attached in matrix, origin unknown

Aquamarine Cluster, with some gem-quality crystals, large cluster in matrix, Afghanistan

01 October 2006

Spring Cleaning. Again.

Let's face it. Bachelors like me are supposed to be messy and dirty. My room is supposed to be a haven for lost books, magazines, letters, etc. It's hard to get any other single guys like me to respect me if my room's spick and span.

A few months ago, I would have been ashamed of myself - my room was really clean - tip top condition, not a bit of dust even in the hardest to reach corners. And more than anything else - I had a clean desk.

But a few months of travel, neglect and general business due to work straightened my problems. My room is now back at it's messiest. Moz Happy !!!! =)

But every once in a while, there is still uncontrollable urge to clean up. I don't know why. It's just like a gene in me suddenly activated and said "Hey, let's clean this mess !!!". And my brain and subsequently, body, just decided to play along. Don't have a clue why I'd do that.

So, clean up I did. My room's now a much cleaner place.

If I had a girlfriend, she'd be proud of me. If my mum came visiting, she'd be telling all my relatives at the coming Chinese New Year about it. I'm so ashamed. =(

One of these days, I'll find some medication / cocktail of liquor / hypnotherapist - I dunno ... someone or something that will finally help me break free from this ocassional urge to clean my room.

I'd like to hear from anyone who's a subject matter expert ... is this urge to clean up my room a diseases, disorder, syndrome or something I should seek medical help to address?