Friday, January 31, 2014

The Spendthrift's Tips to Spending for Value (Part 1)

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When one price for a commodity goes up, business vendors everywhere would jump on the excuse to raise their own prices unscrupulously. Food especially, which is an important aspect for single city folks who loves eating out. Single people has it the worst, because you don't have your family to cook for you if you're living out of your hometown, or your family abandoned you for some financial squabble and these poor single people depends on restaurants. Despite your status, this article is meant for people who loves to spend. I know certain people who's lethargic to spending, then this article is not for them. For people who loves to spend, sometimes they tend to over-spend, which is fine, because you make other people like me very happy. Spending keeps money moving around, and keeps various industry moving.

I used to spend like there's no tomorrow. In my early 20s, I paid my Maxis bills nearing to RM100 monthly - and smartphone wasn't even in yet that time. Then I joined a few gym memberships, one in particular is Fitness First. I paid RM180 monthly for the international passport, meaning I could use their gym centers located everywhere in the world outside Malaysia. How about perfumes, facial creams, magazines, movies, music and men's grooming products? Dinners for my friends? My biggest regret is spending close to RM500 on text messaging for a contest organised by 8TV with the grand prize being a serviced apartment. It was a wild, wild, wild spending spree that period of my life.

Unfortunately for a non-Muslim artiste like me, money doesn't come in at all from the local entertainment industry but always going out. That's why I've compiled a list of tips over the years with the hope it wlll help everyone, including non-artistes, to thrive in a world surviving on undemocratic business practices. Survival is the order of the day, and spending needs to be wiser. Whether you spend on me, or I spend on you, a democratic practise is always the best way to ascertain the value.

Spending should never be always dependent on the price. A lot of Malaysians are dependent on the price when they buy. Cheap and biased pricing often comes at the expense of value. A bad example I share here is when I purchase a 64GB pen drive off the street from a man at only RM20. It's really cheap than when you buy at retail which costs RM130. When I transfer my files into the pendrive, all my files went missing. See my point? Cheating and manipulating are the order of the day for the cheap-minded undemocrats. They're everywhere, and they're disgusting.

Why do Malaysians love cheap stuff? It comes down to our own distorted, undemocratic logic that cheap is value. Sometimes it is, but rarely always. When you invest on an experienced person, the higher the money the better - like when you hire an awards-recognised Acting Coach like myself to help you in your acting skills. Read about my PERSONAL COACHING's TOP TEN success stories here:
1) Coaching You to Success
2) Full Attendance
3) Fashion Students Showcase
4) Bigger Class
5) Taking Students on Roadshows
6) International Students
7) Student on Magazine Cover
8) Student Casting Session for Real Jobs
9) Students Photo Shoot
10) Students Performing for Event

For how to become a better ARTISTE tips:

My coaching package includes my teaching notes, casting appointments and a ready portfolio to give you a headstart. Because of the undemocratic way our entertainment industry functions, now everyone thinks they can be an artiste without any help in coaching, which is untrue. When it comes to consumer goods, it is the reverse. So we need to think more democratically for the flexibility in evaluating when it comes to spending money - Let us start with the first point.

1) Think Positive Democracy
When you have negative thoughts in planning to buy, the consequences are often bad. Negative people are usually undemocratic spenders and often comes with negative consequences. For example, when you spend too much on eating, it is because you have some negative thoughts about your friend or some issue you failed to resolve. You use food as a way to "forget". Soon you become overweight, and who to blame but yourself? So before buying anything, your thoughts need to be positive and democratic. Sometimes when you are positive minded, your head is cleared, and decided you don't really need to buy the stuff anyway - and save your money (and lose your weight). See how beneficial positive thinking can be?

2) Get a Second Stomach
This is what I often do. In the mornings when I wake up, I am too lazy to eat anything. Usually when I wake up from a deep spacey sleep, food is far from my mind. So I would get my plastic container which acts as my "second stomach". Cows do that, in fact cows have 3 stomachs to process their food intake. Why shouldn't you too? Usually I take in a lot of food at the cafeteria, but eats only half of it and sometimes even less - like a mouthful, and that's it. What do I do with the rest? I put it in my plastic containers for later consumption. The type of food I select are meant to last me through the day without any serious hunger pangs. Food to consider are: potatoes, chicken, rice or bananas.

3) Eat in one place, drink at another
This is a wonderful way to double the value of your lunch or dinner budget. Very rarely the places I eat have the best food and drinks in one place. I've scoured everywhere and write about them too, but none ever even comes close with the right combination of food and drinks to my liking. I would usually take-away the food, and drink at another place where the drinks are more to my liking. This way you spread your money around a little more - meaning more people stand to benefit from your purchase and at the same time get the food and drink that you like! Some restaurants I go have free wi-fi connection, so it is good way to save money in internet connection. Especially at Mamak restaurants with expensive cup of teh tarik, I would bring my 2 smart devices and use their free internet connection. See, double my internet usage in one expensive purchase.

4) Buy in-store house brands
I was surprised to see a 5kg cooking oil in Kedai Malaysia costs 5 times more than a Tesco in-house brand with the same weight. So why not buy from an in-house brand like Tesco? Most of the extra money in the price for other more well-known brands is used for advertising and feeding the endorsement fees to some local celebrities who thinks they're better than you and I. So why should I give my hard-earned money to them? Unless you love that celebrity, that's different. People in Malaysia rarely love their celebrities that much unless they're very young and dumb. But money to an abandoned non-Muslim artiste like myself is hard to come by and better use for value on product, rather than on that celebrity who is rich anyway. Other products you don't need to spend extra on are branded instant noodles, face creams and hair shampoo (so many local celebrities endorse them). Most of these product categories are highly inflated with their expensive prices to feed these celebrities' arrogant lifestyles. Be smart, buy in-store house brands is better.

5) Get containers instead of refrigeration
Do you know how much a refrigerator consumes electricity? The tariff on electricity is set to go up, so get rid of your refrigerator or resell it to get some money. Get plastic containers instead to store all your dry food. All my containers I got for free when I purchase a certain brand of milk powder or oats. Keep a look out for free containers that comes with, for they do come useful to store, say your unbranded dry noodles. Most of the time I get invited to dinners by admirers and I cannot finish the food. I would pretend by acting like some obnoxious unhappy patron of the restaurant, oops. I would usually ask for take-away or request it stored in my containers. Don't take advantage of your admirers, but if they do offer  to pay for dinners, take it....with a container of course.

6) Buy one for multi-function
If you buy one device, be sure you can use it for other functions. Use your imagination please. Especially gym memberships, where do one find time to go to the gym and hop around like some silly rabbit just to get attention of other members from the opposite or same sex? Please. If you really want to work out, why not walk to the LRT station and take the train. That way, you kill two birds with one stone - exercise and travelling to work. And on the way to the station, you can even flirt with some people walking the same way as you do and exchange telephone numbers right away. How about TV - should you waste money and buy a TV? Why not get an expensive tablet-PC hybrid and use it as your all-in-one entertainment centre? Like my Asus Transformer Prime, it can be a tablet or PC. It is portable and you can take it anywhere with you. Invest your money in one to get maximum value. Wash your clothes at dobby stores outside to save money on water and electricity bills. Or better use your hands to wash.

7) Transform throwables into usables
What do I do with all my socks with holes in them? I cut them up and turn them in dirty rags to wipe clean my table and cupoboards. What do I do with all the top covers of canned condensed milk I've collected? Use them as coasters for my guests when they come visit me for tea and coffee. The thing to remember is don't throw away stuff immediately. Keep them around and see what you can do with it later. When you buy a product, keep in mind that it can be taken apart, and each part can be used for different purposes - if you put your mind into it. Even your old clothes can be transformed into something new when you cut and sew them into new fashion pieces. During a flight, I would keep the toiletries given, especially the pouch. You can use it to keep your sunglasses for it has a hard exterior to prevent it from squashed when put inside your bag. So many throwables can be turned into something useful to save your money.

8) Buy Big
I cannot imagine reading on a 5-inch smartphone. Now, my 7.7-inch tablet is the minimum requirement for me in anything to be even considered as an acceptable smartphone. (and I never go out to buy a smartphone for the sake of appearing up-to-date with the latest) Yes, I use my tablet as a phone as well, going strong for 3 years now. There's a growing demand for phablets, so buy big. In groceries, it is always recommended to buy in big sizes, especially cooking oils and milk powders. For hybrid-PC, I look for the battery size. The bigger the more attractive to me, because it means longer time I can use it wherever I am. Any consumer goods that is big, is good. With my cup of teh tarik, I always wanted it extra extra sweet. Same with my food, I always ordered big. For lovers too, big is good. Something you can hold onto, and hang into for longer periods of enjoyment. Big is good. Small is for small-minded people.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Social Bigotry, Theft and Gangsterism at MPPJ Kelana Jaya Swimming Pool. If you think this is funny, something is seriously wrong with you. (Updated)

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The opposition media claimed that our rights as non-muslims are being taken away from us. At least for me, I'm simple. Don't take away my rights to lose weight to look healthy, so I can wear what I like and my rights to do the exercise I enjoy doing - that is swimming. Here's what happen. I need to maintain (and lose) my weight, so I created an exercise plan in which I went in the afternoons and evenings session for swimming at the MPPJ swimming pool at Kelana Jaya. Each session I swim for 45 minutes, then off to the showers. Then I'll be back again in the evening after my rest to continue my swimming regimen of another 45 minutes. Being there for some time already, I notice the lifeguards there having the easiest of time and job in the whole world. They don't have to do anything, pretty much sit at their asses and watch the swimmers.

In the evening session, I went in as usual to change, walked out to the pool area to place my bag securely on the seating area and quickly dip into the pool to start my regimen. Right after I got myself into the water, I heard something like someone calling me with a rude "Oi". This never happened before. So I turned quickly to see who the call was meant for and saw this overweight-sized lifeguard sitting at the iron rails forming the entry to the pool. He was using his hand gestures at me to order me to go over to him. I was already in the water that time. Notice the word I used "order", because he didn't come to where I was, tap on my shoulder gently and enquired. He was actually shouting like he's the fucking boss and I have to go to him.

I refused to bother such rude approach or listen to him, which is common rude behavior among those thinking they're "the authority",  so I stayed in the water calmly. But by then it seems there was some serious problem, for he himself now actually walked up to where I was (at the edge of the pool), ordered me to come up from the water like I'm some kind of arrested convict and demanded I go meet the other lifeguard sitting all the way at the top bench. The way he treated me is like I'm some stupid school kid, and he's the headmaster. I quickly got up from the water and headed straight for my bag so as to avoid any further confrontation that will waste my time and go home. But he doesn't want it to end and followed me right to my bag area! He then tried to grab and daringly pull my bag aside. I looked at him in the eye and pull my bag right back to me. I asked him what's the matter. You know what he said? He said my swimwear is too sexy, showing my pubic hair.

I know you may find this to be funny (because a lot of Malaysians are too lazy to stand up for themselves and quick to judge), but I wasn't out there showing anything to anybody. I have an exercise regiment I need to follow to lose weight. I explained to that overweight lifeguard that I went straight to the pool after changing into my swimwear and never parade around like some float for people to see. He saw me before in the afternoon sessions - I always go straight to the pool to swim. He then called his other collegue, a skinny dark-skinned guy, whom I know gives swimming lessons there. I looked at his colleague and asked him is this the way to treat a paying customer by shaming them of what they wear? I further explained to him that his colleague (the rude overweight one) didn't even come and request me to change into a pair of swimming shorts, but ordered me out from the pool right away in front of other swimmers, so as to make an example of me. People in Malaysia are easily scared when an example is made of and painted negatively but not me.

I further elaborated to the skinny lifeguard that if his colleague were to ask me to change to another swimwear, I would do so willingly, but he didn't. Instead he ordered me to come up from the pool and go to the other much older lifeguard (another overweight one, and how can they even be lifeguards in the first place? There are 4 of them on duty that time, only the overweight one got a problem with me) to show him what I wear - like I owe them what I wear and my life. I told him right away "you think I'm your coolie?" By then the overweight lifeguard was throwing accusations at me right at the pool area causing the other swimmers to start paying attention by saying I should be going to some gay clubs if I were to wear this type of skimpy swimwear that shows my pubic hair and even admitted that he was watching me early on in the afternoon session to catch me when I was there. I looked at his other skinny lifeguard colleague, and asked him is this the way a lifeguard is supposed to behave - targeting swimmers for any "wrongful behavior", throwing accusations at swimmers, grab their bags to search and make a scene in the public pool so everyone can see? The overweight lifeguard growled at me like he wanted a fight. I wasn't afraid at all. I was waiting to see what he's going to do next.

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UPDATE: The truth is this swimming pool is infamous for theft. I lost my wallet and bags before, and these lifeguards don't do anything about it. At the entrance, there were cases of snatch thefts. I remembered the time when I lost my wallet, I received a call from the thief himself! That was because I posted my handphone number in my worn-out wallet. The thief said he left my wallet (with my money gone, of course) at a nearby store room at the pool. Upon receiving this call, I have the funny suspicion that this thief might have some affiliation with these lifeguard, who knows? I'm not the first one being preyed on. Innocent swimmers are being shouted at, intimidated and talked down in very condesecending tone of voice - for even the littlest conduct of wearing a swimming trunk! I got another friend who hangs around the seating area before, and even that he's being reprimanded and ordered like some prison inmate! These lifeguards are unafraid to harrass swimmers because their jobs are not in jeopardy because the swimming pool facility is supported by the government municipal. With that incident, I began to be very aware of how to spend my money NOT on facilities that harassed swimmers because they think they're invincible due to government funding. Boycott is in order of this ridiculous place.

His skinny lifeguard colleague then took me to their mini-store, thinking I would rent their silly swimming shorts to replace my "pubic-hair revealing" swimwear. I continue rapping him that this is not the way to talk to paying customers. Already I felt the discomfort and uneasiness from the confrontation, and now I have to pay you to rent this used-before swimming shorts and continue swimming like nothing has happened? I know other scared, mousey Malaysians might do that - but sorry, not me. I turned to another direction in one swift move, walked away with the air of a free, dignified, democratic Malaysian, changed to my casual clothes and head to the front counter to complain. I know I'm not the first person being treated rudely before and there are other, better swimming pools than this. I've already paid my entrance fee and now I want a refund. Instead of giving me a refund, the front counter attendant responded to my complaint that next time, I need to wear a more appropriate swimwear. I told him quickly - there won't be a next time.

The truth is, complaining at the front counter is useless because they are all in the same gang of bigotry. We are not all democratic-minded Malaysians, too afraid to stand up for our own democratic freedom and very easily boxed into our unfounded fears when little, little hiccups like my very public confrontation occured. When this is allowed to happen, you cannot blame these criminals of democracy who enforces their dress codes and ways of thinking onto others. Since one group is forbidden to wear a skimpy swimwear, all other groups are forbidden too (they actually took the childish trouble to draw out the types of appropriate and not appropriate swimwear and print it on a large board by the pool.) I pointed my swimwear as appropriate since it was on the board section labelled as "appropriate", but that over-weight bastard said he saw my pubic hair, and to him he was the law.

I remembered being encountered before at the pool one sunny day by this lady and her friend - both of them wrapped up in some body latex swim suit with their bodies and heads all covered. They asked me politely when I was catching my breaths awhile at the edge of the pool after my laps "Sir, where is the pool for women?" I'm not surprised anymore with that question because apparently it was NOT obvious to her that this pool is meant for everyone, the almighty public of democratic Malaysians like you and I, regardless of your sex, race and religion. When someone asked me a polite question, I have the obligation to reply with a polite answer.

I told her she should try the children's pool.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Year of the Horse Chinese New Year Display 2014

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The Year of the Horse is upon us all. Being a Horse myself, I galloped around the the city in search of only the best window displays to be featured in my blog. My sharp horsey eyes enabled me to spot only 3 displays so far that best exemplifies the spirit of the great horse.

The first display you see comes from British India. As usual, the display embodies all the classical elements from a bygone era of colonial charms. But for this season more attuned to the Oriental fare - a table decorated with a lovely Bonsai tree, a Ming dynasty-like vase and traditional Chinese teapot and cups. In the background, hanging wooden frames to give the illusion of a palace door or a private divider for you to change your clothes, preferably with the British India-kind. Finally, the far left is where the colorful array of lanterns to tease a more festive cheer to come.

The second display is from Isetan. I love the simplicity of only one mighty element, that is the wooden caricature of the Horse. The rest is simply clean and clutter-free, to further enhance the sign of the Horse. At the same time, if you take a second look at this display you might even feel the strategic hero of the Horse from the ancient Greek mythology of Achilles with his Trojan horse. Strength is the main idea here, and it plays out so powerfully admist the all-black background.

The third is also from Isetan, but with a different message. The adorable cartoon-like horse caricature is smaller than the previous one to imply that this is the younger kind, perhaps a child. This display is meant to be fun and playful, which appeals to a lot of kiddies and those young at heart. The background is all red, further bringing a fun and playful prosperity a lot of Chinese people who are accustomed to. Who knows the sign of a Horse can have such multi-dimensional and diverse meaning coming from these 2 distinctly different window displays, from strength to playful? 

Finally, at the place which shares the same initials as yours truly, KLCC. The main star of this extravagant set piece at the main concourse area is the Golden Horse. It is seen with two of his legs high up in the air, which signifies vitality. The platform in which the Golden Horse is standing is meant to be a scroll to bring the greatest news of the year for everyone - the mighty Horse is here to bring the greatest fortune and health. In the scroll is a painting of the misty mountains and streams to bring calm and peace even to the Golden Horse in pursuit of ever greater rewards, fame and fortune. 

Pre-Hari Raya KLCC Window Display
 Dome Cafe Review
La Fleur Review
Stuff Magazine 9th Anniversary Party
Myanmar Art Review
Smartphones Unveiling Event
Fire-y Dragon Displays
Christmas 2011 Display
PC Fair Review KLCC
Student Art Fair
MaSIF Fashion Review
Spring/Summer Display Review
Fashion Show Review
Fashion Sales Preview Party
Launch Event - Pikom ICT Capsquare

The Appeal of Survivor Reality Show and How to Win the 1 Million Dollars

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Way, way before The Hunger Games movie franchise, many people forgot that the Survivor show was one of the earliest reality TV show that captures the imagination of audiences around the world. The appeal of Survivor is it's all real people fighting for the million dollar prize in exotic locations. I simply love, love, love the locations. Beautiful beaches. Cloudy highlands. Thundering waterfalls. Deep blue sea. In the backdrop of these amazing locations, you have 18 contestants from all walks of life. Some are tall, muscular and handsome young men and women. Some are middle-aged but with diverse backgrounds. When the show first premiered, I was still in my early 20s, and often dream to participate in this show. Come on, it's just like camping in the outback with your friends right and have fun playing the challenges right?

Unfortunately, I don't think it is that simple. Behind the facade, this show successfully shows the ugly side of humanity. Normal folks, that looks just like your father, mother, sister, brother or girlfriend could suddenly turn their backs and become the most evil, bitchy, emotional, angry primal human being, if that term even qualifies in Survivor. They're all a bunch of animals finding ways to outwit, outplay, outlast each other to the end. This show, in my opinion, is so much better than the movie Hunger Games because it is real. It showcases human nature, some at its best, and some at its worst. Unfortunately, good doesn't always triumphs over evil.

Watching this shows enable many audiences to draw life lessons that all of us can apply in our daily lives. For one, I am totally against the survivor mentality. I believe in the real world, the survivor mentality produces no winners. I am a strong advocate instead, for the thriving mentality. But before we can thrive, we should all learn how the other side of the spectrum works. And this is what this entry is about. The appeal of Survivor is it means different things to different people - but the lessons are quite universal. Lessons can be learned in these 3 broad categories: 1) Tackling challenges 2) Social Game 3) Mental Game

This is after all Survivor. If you wish to audition for this show with the dream of winning the one million dollars, be sure you are a suitable fit. First and foremost, you must be physically capable. Good at mental and puzzle games. Able to start a fire. Fish and hunt for food. Eat all kinds of yucky stuff. Able to stay hungry for long periods of time (in Survivor's case, at least for 39 days) And one most surpising of all - speak well. Yes, you're going to be on television! You need to say something to the camera so the audience would understand you. We would come back soon to this important point.

Now, I am watching the Survivor set in Gabon, Africa. I love the tagline for Gabon: Earth's Last Eden. The location is truly breathtaking, with the patterned geographical landscape and the animal kingdom residing in this paradise. How I wish I was there in real life. This is the appeal of Survivor, it transports its viewers to these beautiful locations, almost similar in theme with a James Bond movie, one particularly like Gabon. I love Gabon, because in the past seasons, Survivor was mostly set at sandy beaches or some exotic islands, which to me gets a bit boring. Come on, I'm from Southeast Asia, and an island boy myself. I get islands and beaches. Somewhere like Gabon was an extremely pleasant change.

Tackling challenges is one of the show's creative aspects. Each episode has 2 main challenges, one for Reward and the other for Immunity. Early on in the game, it's extremely important to win these challenges for the sake of boosting your team's morale and spirit. Depending on how the contestants are divided into the 2 groups, it's always good to be in a team of tall, strong, athletic young-ish people (say in their late 20s, early 30s or 40s). Always keep an eye on which team appears to be stronger, and gravitate towards that group. But if you are strong, strappy and tall yourself, you might want to be in a group on the weaker side, so as to make yourself indispensable for tackling challenges. It's all very clear cut how to win challenges early on in the game, that is to be with a stronger team of players.

But in the social game, things are more fluid. If you're in a group of team that constantly loses the challenges, the social game often heats up.  That's because you will go to Tribal Council to meet Jeff Probst, and vote someone one. Below are some anecdotes to apply:
1) Don't allow physical impressions to affect your motivation
It is easier said than done. When you are losing, your group motivation is down. You don't want to be the only cheerleader of the group, like in Gabon, the oldest member of the red team were voted off for being too positive.
2) Don't stay in your own world
Depending on your personality, it is much safer to remain open to other team members. Try to understand other people's state of mind, instead of being too full of yourself.
3) Create alliances
It's a numbers game during the elimination at Tribal Council. You need trustworthy players to be with you to the final three. But in a show like Survivor, alliances do break. A semblance of an alliance is critical, in making you look more powerful than you actually are. Be the silent leader of the alliance if you can. A follower has its advantages too, but most often they don't win the million dollars.
4) Run your emotions, don't let it run you
Emotions an get high and ugly in Survivor. If you are unable to control your emotions, you would become a bully or a strong personality that people finds threatening. A fine example was in another past season, when Colton openly downgrades Christina because she is Asian and weak. But Colton's high emotional state makes him come down with appendititis that pulls him off from the game. Good riddance.
5) Don't look like you're giving up
In Gabon, GC could not take the hunger and his team mates voted him out. Being too quiet or too loud can make you a potential candidate to be voted off.
6) Read between the lines
People often say one thing but means the other in Survivor. You need to be able to decipher what the other person is saying and compares it with his/her actions and facial expression.
7) Make yourself useful
In the camp, you don't want to appear to be lazing around while your other team mates are gathering wood or starting fire. Help as much as you could without seeming overly dominant.
8) Keep your Immunity Idol to youself
The Idol would keep you safe from being voted off. So don't give it away to anyone else. You are playing this game for yourself.
9) Don't think too far ahead
You may have formed your alliances early in the game. But things changed. Merge always happen, or some unexpected twists in the game might turned your alliance against you.
10) Never underestimate anyone
I personally know how that feels like being underestimated. The greatest weakness usually reveals itself on the person doing the underestimating. Like the Gabon season, Suzie was never known to be a strong player, but ended up at the top 3.
For the Survivor: Gabon season, I feel it has the most diverse background group of players. I feel a connection especially to the underdogs, in the Fang group which consisted mostly non-Caucasians. They lost challenge after challenges, giving the other group Kota so many rewards, which serves them at great advantage for replenishing their energy for their next challenge.  The Kota group has the most abled-bodied men and women, but I found 2 that stands out the most - Corrine and Randy. Corrine gives the image as this bitchy fighter and Randy thinks he knows all about strategy. Truly dislikable, like Colton. I feel if they are on television, they should know how to present themselves to the audience, but they choose to follow their emotions (some with racist sentiments and bigotry), which in the end cause their own detriment.

I truly feel for Bob, the second oldest Survivor player, when he read his letters from home. He reminds me so much like a little boy, in an older man's body. I feel he is a very kind person, and the other likeable player is Sugar. She's a pin-up model everybody perceived as this ditzy girl, but she turns out to be quite smart when she found the Immunity Idol. She''s good at following and reading clues, compared to Bob, the macho attorney. Everybody thinks guy in suits would be better at solving puzzles than a pin-up model right? Wrong! Then you have Ken, this skinny guy that looks a lot like a friend of mine, who at first look would be undermined by anyone stronger. But he is extremely brainy and observant, having found clue for the idol, but was snatched by Charlie, another skinny brainy, who has a crush for Marcus - one of those tall, muscular hunks that everybody looked up to as leader, but was voted out - thanks to Ken's mastermind. In the end, Bob won the million dollars!

I have the most imaginative idea. What if the context of Survivor reality show is used to elect our next Prime Minister? Instead of the common folks like us having to suffer this survival mentality life, let our future elected leaders be put to the test of fire, like in a Survivor show. We can send all 12 candidates that was elected in our last general election, then put them through challenges. The main prize being crowned the top position of our country, that is the position of Prime Minister. We make them starve, lose precious sleep , hunt for food, bitch against each other, then finally vote each other out until they vote for the next Prime Minister. I trust the sole Survivor of our own Malaysian version would truly make a great Prime Minister that would govern our country with tested courage, fairness to people lower than them and a deep understanding of true democracy.

For GAME apps and FILM review:
* Tank Hero
Temple Run vs Subway Surfers vs Minion Rush
Angry Birds Space (close to 10,000 hits)
Angry Birds: Red's Mighty Feathers
Skyfall movie review
Pacific Rim and Lone Ranger
In the Mood for Love vs Belle Du Jour

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tank Hero Game Review - The Best Free Strategy Game

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I absolutely am crazy with this game. What is this game about? For starters, it's about how you move the tanker which represents you and how u destroy other tankers. This game is produced by the Clapfoot company. There are 3 worlds you can select to play in. There are no specific names for these worlds, but you notice the difference on the grounds these tanks attack each other. The first world is conrete ground. The second is wooden floor. The third is green grass. In each of the world is further categorized into 3 styles of combat: Campaign, Survival and Time Trial. And inside each of the style section is a total of 40 levels.

You'll start off the level 1 which is extremely easy to begin with. But as you progress higher, it becomes tougher, and sometimes feel like almost impossible to defeat the other tankers. This game is pretty difficult because you are the only tanker against probably over 13 other tankers, or perhaps even more. The first impression I got when I reached Level 40 is just how impossible I were to destroy all the other tankers.

And that's where the real fun begins. I have to practically coordinate my fingers and eye to see which tanker is coming at which end. The layout is pretty amazing, and full of maze-like roads where the tanker can move or disappear into a teleporter zone and appear at anothe end of the maze simultaneously. You'll soon get familiarised with which tank colour produces what sort of firepower. I am especially afraid of the red tankers that could throw a cannon over the maze and hit you directly where your tank is located. So I've learned  to be constantly on the move and avoid the firing range from the other tankers.

I noticed some of th other green tankers are quite dumb in that they stood still when I fired my cannons at them. Sometimes the fire can bounce off the wall of th maze and hit your target, which can be a good or bad thing, depending how you use it. Often times when I am stuck in a position, I would frantically fire at the walls to indirectly hit these enemy tankers.

e more challenging part of the game is you only get 3 hearts, meaning your life. When I was playing this game, I was too immersed to even notice how many hearts I have left, because all I know is I need to kill the other tankers fast, and sometimes you need to wait for the perfect timing to strike. Another difficult part is how when the tankers appeared to surround me all at once when the level starts, and I need to be on guard from the very beginning to either get out from the deadlock or the tight firing range of my enemies.

Clapfoot also produced another version titled Tank Hero: Laser Wars which is also exciting and fascinating. This space-ship setting version allows you play as a single or double players. It starts off with 3 braod sections titled Easy, Normal and Hard. In  each section contains 3 worlds: Moon, Mars and Rune. This latest version has better world feel to it compares to the first. The Moon world is entirely on the spacship, with sections of laser dividing compartments. The Mars world is more like a base-camp station, with its dirty and used walls and machineries. The Rune world has more stone and bejewelled stone walls and compartments,.

I feel this game is best experienced using a 7-inch device because you need to move your hands A LOT! Not too sure about anything 10-inch or the 12.2 inch devices, because then you would get tired holding your device while trying to concentrate on the game. But at some levels, I could not see the entire floor or the battle ground, so perhaps a bigger screen device would be better. For bigger screen devices, you could play by placing your device on the table. Somehow I feel the excitement is more fulfilling holding your device while playing the game. I coud be wrong, for having 2 hands to control the movement of your tanks may be better than using only 1 hand.

Tips for playing this game:
1) Be ready to "die" repeatedly
2) Know your enemy's firepower and type
3) Large numbers does not mean you can never win
4) Always be on the move and never stand still
5) Shoot non-stop

For GAME apps and FILM review:
Temple Run vs Subway Surfers vs Minion Rush
Angry Birds Space (close to 10,000 hits)
Angry Birds: Red's Mighty Feathers
Skyfall movie review
Pacific Rim and Lone Ranger
In the Mood for Love vs Belle Du Jour

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shopping for Electronic Gadget as a Way to Shorten Your Learning Curve

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It's the month of new beginnings this January. I loved being single in the city, because I get to buy things to celebrate myself. Last year, I didn't buy any new stuff at all to commemorate the new year, so I don't feel guilty splurging a bit this year for my ahem, new image. I don't buy things blindly, most of the time it's out from a need or necessity. Especially IT gadgets, very rarely I go out to get one for I am no tech expert and gadgets go out of date so fast. I got my Acèr Aspire One netbook almost 5 years ago! Imagine that, how time flies. It's really time to change to a new one since my old Acer netbook has been extremely slow to start up, even slower to open to webpages. Usually, products choose me. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity has cauģht my eye for its dazzling full HD display. I loved the idea of a keyboard that attaçhes to the tablet. Really functionable, by having a netbook and tablet in one. The gold metallic back makes this brand of hybrid PC tablet even more attractive.

Waiting for the right moment
I held off my purchase for about a month, mainly for waiting the results of a contest I participated with the hopes of winning. In addition, there was the PC fair, so it was worth waiting to see if prices did fall. For both of the anticipation, only the price fall worked out a bit. I did not win anything from the Plaza Low Yat's Dining Passport lucky draw. I actually attended the drawing ceremony, and came home with the goodies bag instead. The ceremony was held at the Selangor suite in Federal Hotel. Unfortunately, no food was served. I thought if I win even the third prize, I could use the shopping voucher to get the Asus Transformer Infinity.

The GM of Plaza Low Yat was performing a sort of open group talk, which I did not participate. To me, I feel he was promoting the food outlets and dining restaurants around the area, so I just held my tongue and listen. Somehow I knew it is pointless to talk much since the anticipation of the day is the lucky draw and not to give out information about my eating habits. Hurriedly after the lucky draw ceremony, I went to the Asus retail shop at Plaza Low Yat and bought the Asus Transformer Pad.

Enjoying the Feeling of Something New
I loved the feel of unwrapping the plastic covers, because it feels brand new. I happened to be quite prickly, and decided to change to another box because the plastic cover wasn't tight enough which gives me the feeling that it has been opened before. The smell of plastic is sensational, for it makes me feel like a little boy opening his birthday present, except this time I bought the present for myself. I need to cherish the feeling for I don't get new presents such as this everyday.

Enjoying the moment by moment of opening the new plastic cover is only momentarily, for what comes next is learning how to use the product. I have to be really careful and delicate for this is all new to me. The joys of seeing the plastic slip away always fascinates me. Especially the plastic covering the tablet part itself actually sticks together forming a pouch-like protection.

The tŕicky thing to learn is how to lodge the tablet into the keypad. The dock doesn't seem to open when I pull up, which I have to be delicate and not exert too much pressure. I have to go back to the retailer and enquire. But soon I learned that I only need to slip the tablet into the dock of the keyboard, and flip it up easily. But before I do that, I need to put on a screen protector.

The dock requires a real hard push up apparently. I 'll handle this later when I get home. I am so sensitive to new gadgets whenever it's new I'm so afraid it might break when I sneeze. Firstly,I have to get my screen protector on. Looking at how the piece of screen protector is placed onto the screen by the salesperson just give me chills,I just hope no scratches are made whenever the salesperson are blowing dust particles off from the screen or cleaning the screen so vigorously. I got the screen protector for free, the one with smudge proof. I had a bad experience with this type of screen protector before on my Samsung Tab 7.7, for it makes my screen looked dull, until I changed to the clear screen protector. But for the Asus tablet, it seems to be no problem so far.

I took my tablet first to a Mamak restaurant with wi-fi connection to charge, for it needs a good 8-hour charging. Things look great on the screen for now I could actually type for my blog (this one) without the painful wait for my netbook to start like in the past. The interesting thing to note is the keyboard, which I need to get some used to, especially when I need to type a symbol, the right Shift key is smaller size than the left. I often make a mistake here and there during typing for symbols.

Technical Familiarity
Before I purchase this model, I asked the salesperson if I could connect to a bluetooth mouse. It can be done, but the words would not appear at the column I wanted to when I used the bluetooth mouse. In the end, I have to stick to the touch pad in the middle. The keyboard can be tricky to use, but soon I got the hang of it. If I don't lodge the tablet tightly and correctly into the dock, the screen keyboard would appear instead. Here's where the instruction manual is useful. I love to read, you see, therefore it's no problem for me to go through the bits and pieces of information. In fact, it's important to READ because if you simply just used the product blindly, you might get emotional about something for nothing. And that might hurt your gadget.

I bought this model at RM1199, the same time as when the PC Fair was being held at Mid Valley Exhibition Hall. But I did not purchase it there, but at Plaza Low Yat instead, for I actually hated the crowds there. The interesting thing is the price, for I was really hoping it would go down, from the first price that was introduced which was RM1299. On Friday, the price stands at RM1199 at the PC Fair, so I headed back to Plaza Low Yat to check if the price is the same. I almost got a heart attack, when I come back on Sunday to learn that the price has fallen to RM999 for the PC Fair! I got a bit angry about the price, for I could have saved RM200 if I were to buy it at the PC Fair. But when I interrogated the salesperson, he clarified that the RM999 price is for those with a special discount voucher. Since then, all the models for this brand were sold out. To get this discount voucher, you would have to log into the PC Fair facebook, print out a receipt and queue at the opening counter. Sounds like too much trouble? But another salesperson I enquired said the price was only dropped on the last day of the fair. So who to trust?

Investigate Thoroughly
That's the thing about purchasing electronic gadgets - the price always drop, and you're left to question discomfortly the value of your purchase. It's a love-hate sort of relationship I have with buying gadgets. I need them but not too much. But when I purchase one, there are other things to buy as well, one in particular is the casing. Since this is not just a tablet, I need a special casing that covers the tablet and keyboard as well. I thought I would buy the casing together at the Asus retail shop at Plaza Low Yat, since the salesperson claimed there's no where else selling the Asus casing type. I refused to believe that's true.

As it turns out, I was right - in the PC Fair I did found a shop who actually did sell the Asus type of casing which includes the tablet and keyboard in one! And the salesperson was very calm and helpful to me. The only downside is it could make my tablet PC bulky. Since using it for 3 days now, I rarely detach my tablet from the keyboard. The keyboard actually supplies power juice to the tablet, which gives me a total of 16 hours of usage as claimed. But of course, I never use it for such long hours.

Learning Your Own Usage Habits
But after having this model, I began to use it for long long hours. It also made me see my own using habits, and what surrounds my usage. Gadgets to me are very sensitive products, and I intends to keep it clean from smudges or dust. Being in a Mamak restaurant to use their internet wi-fi makes it even more challenging, because of the oily food. I love shrimps, and the problem with eating it is peeling of the shells and unwanted skins. It left my fingers totally oily and tainted with gravy! Even after washing my hands, I still feel the oil - that speaks how strong the ghee oil used in the cooking. So be aware where and how you use your laptops in public places. When the waiter comes to serve me my drinks especially, I need to direct his hand placement to another side of the table, so it is not near my electronic gadget, specifically my Asus Transformer Pad. I cannot imagine the horror of him spilling anything liquid on the keyboard.

After out for the whole day, I begin to start a ritual of actually cleaning and spots and taints on my laptop. If you look carefully, there are plenty! Especially the back of the gold metallic of my Asus Transformer Pad, I have to really wipe it clean so it continues to shine. Remember to eat the other way from your laptop, for I had an awful cough from the food, and sneezes out some bits of food. I'm quite paranoid that those bits of food might get stuck inside the keyboard, yuck! So cleaning your laptop from top to bottom is essential to make it look shiny new, especially if it's champagne gold like my Asus Transformer Pad.

For more tips on how to be a smarter SHOPPER, click below:
Instant Coffee Review
Tips to Better Touchscreen Care
The Buyer's Psychology
Money-Saving Tips
How to be a Smart Shopper (Grocery Goods)
Tips for Buying Shoes (Sneakers)
Instant Noodles (Mee Goreng) Review
The Perfectionist Shopper
Shopping Tips for Electronic Gadgets
Music Player Review
Taking Care of Your Umbrella
Tips for Buying the Best Diary
The Best Tablet