Thursday, July 26, 2007

The right stuff.

Sorry, I couldn't resist the NKOTB title.

Read this in The Star today:
SHAH ALAM: A government plan to teach consumerism in primary and secondary schools will ensure a wiser new generation of consumers.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and Education Ministry were in talks to make this possible.

It will not be a new subject but will be inserted into the present curriculum with the aim of producing a generation of wise consumers.

“We want students to be exposed to consumerism from an early stage,” he told reporters after launching Malaysia Consumers Day at the Malawati Stadium here yesterday.

As to what they would be taught, he said it would include how to act as a consumer group and individual consumers, compare prices, recognise reasonable prices and quality products, as well as consumer rights.

“When consumers act as a group by networking with consumer groups and associations, we can have a stronger consumer movement in the country,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Najib said that awareness on consumerism needed to be enhanced to allow consumers to play a more active and effective role as an important force that shaped the country’s socio-economy.

When consumers come together, they can become a greater force as a pressure group against ruthless traders who set cutthroat prices and profiteer,” he added.

Najib said consumers were the biggest group of people who could influence or be influenced by decisions made by the Government, more so those by traders.

“The Government is aware that there are some instances where consumer groups are not being managed well. But we recognise that consumers are the basis to any economic activity,” he said.

He urged traders to include aspects of consumerism as important elements in their companies’ business policies and strategies.

For this purpose, the Government will support self-regulation initiatives for the benefit of consumers. This will also directly benefit traders because what is good for consumers is also good for business.

“This will also realise our aim to reduce bureaucracy, which will reduce the cost of doing business,” he said.

Najib also told traders, especially retailers, to be environment-friendly by switching to paper bags instead of using plastic ones

Well, slap me on the butt and call me your ho'!

I did not know that I had rights as a consumer in Malaysia. I mean, I know I had rights but I'm sure most of us know that when you say that word in Malaysia, you should also signal with your index and middle fingers that it should be in inverted commas.

Intrigued, I googled it and came up with myGovernment, the Malaysia Government's official portal and searched for 'consumer rights'. It had this to say:

Malaysian consumers have rights that are protected through various laws and regulations. These rights can be exercised through the Consumer Association Malaysia which is a non-governmental consumers' organization, which defends the rights and interest s of consumers.

Consumers' rights concerning food, housing, health care, sanitation, public transport, education, public policy, human rights and the environment amongst others can be brought up to the association.

Compare this with:

Australian governments share the statutory responsibility for consumer protection. The Australian Government has the primary policy setting role, while the State and Territory governments make and enforce the majority of consumer legislation.

The Australian Government agencies that look after consumer protection are the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The consumer protection divisions of the Treasury also provide consumer policy advice to the Australian Government.

The ACCC operates within the framework of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and works with other national and international agencies to promote consumer protection, mainly at the national corporation level.

All of the ACCC’s regional offices undertake enforcement work, usually where a practice may have Australia-wide implications or a complaint relates to a national campaign.

ASIC is responsible for consumer protection in financial services and enforces consumer protection under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

Enquiries and complaints about financial service providers should be referred directly to ASIC.

The Treasury's consumer affairs division gives the Australian Government consumer protection policy advice within the provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

The Treasury hosts and maintains the (the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs) web site.

I know that it is unfair to compare the consumer policies of different countries but I am just trying to highlight an important point here.

I'm all for the DPM raising awareness but what about enforcement? Why is the group that defends the rights of consumers non-governmental? Isn't that more red tape?

When he said that the consumers can "become a greater force as a pressure group against ruthless traders who set cutthroat prices and profiteer”, does that mean that the government expects the consumers to gang-up and take the law into their own hands? It sure sounds like it because from my understanding through reading the mission statements of these associations (FOMCA & CASSA), they do not have the power to uphold or enforce the law. They're like security guards, not the police.

Awareness is one thing but it all boils down to enforcement doesn't it? No warning that the government will take swift action on those practices that violate the safety and protection of consumers' rights? I reckon the prosecution of offenders would serve as a more effective tool in raising the awareness of consumers don't you?

Oh, and the link for the Consumer Association Malaysia in myGovernment doesn't work. SHOCK! HORROR!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WTF #4

I was browsing cyberspace for accommodation in Japan and came across the Dotonbori Hotel.

I'm not very fussy about Japanese Hotels because they're usually quite clean. The only things that matter to me is the size of the room and if there's a tv included. I've seen some rooms so small that it's called a closet in some countries.

So, they have a twin room with a pillar...

Here's the description:

Due to the building structure of the hotel,there is a pillar between the beds! We offer you this reasonable price to make up for the pillar. Perfect for businessmen who have to travel with your boss, or for couples who are quarrelling. Of course, it’s also for those who are attracted to the low price.

They also have a 'semi double room'...

Here's the marketing pitch...

Ideal for the active couple. Reasonal price.Both of you will feel comfortable in this room.

I like a hotel with a sense of humour. Now, let's see if they think it's funny when I check out with their tv set.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I heart sneakers.

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It was an eventful weekend!

I joined forces with another Sneaker Freaker forum member to set up one of the 10 tables available at Sydney’s inaugural sneaker swap meet at the Stussy store.

I’ve met 2 old acquantainces from high school on the forum. One of them from close to 2 decades back when I was in Sri Cempaka KL and another from my high school days in Sydney 13 years ago.

When I first joined the forum about 4 years ago, all we had was an online username. We were just a bunch of guys hanging out on the forum chatting away about sneakers and shit until bits and pieces of information inevitably got posted which revealed our identity and along the way, the mutual friends that we've had.

Talk about a small world...even in cyber space.

It was also great to meet a lot of the newer members and also to put faces to usernames for some of the regulars of the forum.

Throughout the day, the appreciation for sneakers instantly broke the ice and there was much to talk about, even to strangers.

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The turn-out was awesome considering it was a chilly Sunday. Most came around to look at the amazing collection of sneakers we had on display but a few came by just to chill and chat.

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We had a couple of custom tee shirt stands which had some original and amazing designs and even a setup which sold vinyl toys and shoe laces to complement the sneakers.

I sold a pair of my favourite Jordans. The Air Jordan 2 "Carmelo Anthony" colourway.

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Ritchie always knows how to strike a pose and make a statement. He’s a talented designer whose store has made a few t-shirts in collaboration with some of the most recognisable streetwear brands on the planet. The prototype jeans that he was working on last year were really something. Too bad it didn't make it to production. Here he is showing off his new tatts that he got from his recent trip to Bali. He designed it himself too.

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There were loads of rare and hot sneakers pounding the floor. We were checking out people’s feet most of the time. Even the ladies got into the action.

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Free booze all day plus the Red Bull girls came through a few times with more free refreshments. What more can one ask for?

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We capped off the night with a nice Italian dinner with some of the crew from the day.

All in all a fantastic day to remember.

[pictures courtesy of Iori@Sneaker Freaker]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you pass the salt?

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is willing to review policies or regulations deemed to be hindering the distribution of equity in the most sustainable, competitive and meaningful way.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, however, said Malaysian maintained its position that the New Economic Policy (NEP) was not a cost to doing business.

“Perhaps the most difficult question we must address is to improve equity without sacrificing competitiveness. Many have come to regard Malaysia’s affirmative action policies, widely described as the NEP, as a cost to doing business.

“But many fail to appreciate the spirit behind the policy, and this is crucial in understanding Malaysia,” he said yesterday.

Abdullah said the objective to dissociate race from occupation or social standing was crucial in ensuring long-term unity for the country – given its legacy and racial structure.

“Racial-based riots raged in neighbouring countries while Malaysia was spared the experience. The expansion of an educated and multi-ethnic middle class, thanks to affirmative action policies, has mitigated the risk of mass unrest.

“But great disparities in income and social mobility still exist between ethnic groups. Whereas this may just be another issue in other countries, ethnic-based disparity strikes at the heart of national unity for Malaysia,” said Abdullah in his keynote address at a high-level dialogue with foreign investors and international business leaders.

The Prime Minister spoke at the two-day “Business Roundtable with the Government of Malaysia.” This dialogue allowed the business leaders to engage policy makers on the on-going reform process and to discuss key economic issues.

“In this 50th year of our independence, we see an improving economy and the fruits of our structural changes. The renewed interest in Malaysia is the product of this 50-year legacy as well as recent national efforts at refining our approaches,” he said.

Source: The Star

With statements like that, I hope they had great food on the buffet table cos' it looks like nothing was achieved.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Flaminglambo has needs!!!

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The blurb...

At present day a lot of people work in environments that are subject to intense magnetic fields. Aerospace industry, research labs, telecommunications and medical imaging are just a few examples of fields that are found under the considerable magnetic influence. Scientists, technicians, engineers and other specialists all need a reliable timepiece that would be well protected from magnetic influences and provide accurate timekeeping. Rolex developed its Oyster Perpetual Milgauss with these people in mind.

The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss bears a French name that implies that the timepiece with an inner 'Faraday cage' case will resist a magnetic flux density of one thousand gauss. The year 2007 marked a new step in evolution of the model. The first model of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss appeared back in the 1950s, having brought technological progress to focus. The movement of the watch reliably protected by the magnetic shied has been developed to provide exceptional performance even when found under the influence of strong magnetic fields.

In 2007 the Rolex vintage Milgauss celebrated its 50th anniversary. As one could have expected, prices for the extremely rare vintage models available through auction sales are amazingly high. Taking these facts into account, no wonder Rolex has decided to update its legendary Oyster model offering an advantage of anti-magnetic protection. Rolex fans will surely be pleased by the updated model's perfect execution and reasonable price- that is £3,210.

The distinctively orange sweep-seconds hand is designed to remind a lightning-bolt. The black dial features white and orange applied hour markers. The Arabic minute numerals are also in orange. The dial is covered by a green-tinted sapphire crystal that adds a slight trace of stylishness to the dial. The watch goes on a rigorous stainless steel Oyster bracelet.

Ooooh yeaaa! I’ve fallen in love with the Milgauss. It’s not as flashy as the Explorers but it does have that vintage look with the seconds hand providing a flamboyant flair. It’s humble enough to blend in with a tee shirt and jeans and stylish enough to compliment a suit. More importantly, the watch resists a magnetic flux density of one thousand gauss!!!

Ok, ok. I haven't the slightest idea what that last sentence means but it has scientific terms in it so it has to be cool.

Anyway, compared with the Explorers, the Milgauss doesn’t scream, “Look at me, I’m a wannabe diver or an underwater cave explorer” because let’s face it, how many people you know buy Explorers to go deep sea diving?

Now, the question is, where am I going to get the dough for it? It’s the middle of winter, which means man-whoring myself on a street corner is going to be tough considering the multiple layers of clothes doesn’t exactly show off the assets like He-Man or Tarzan. Furthermore, we all know what happens to the ‘package’ when it’s cold.

Anyone need a pimp?

Saturday, July 07, 2007


So, they say that today’s supposed to be a lucky day. I don’t know about that but it’s certainly extra busy for restaurants, clubs and pubs cos’ we couldn’t get a reservation for dinner at our local restaurant and that’s never happened before. We went to another place and it was packed the whole night.

If this is bad, I wonder how it’s like next year when it’s 080808? All around Asia, people will probably have to queue to get into casinos because 1) the number ‘8’, whose Chinese name rhymes with the words for prosperity and wealth, is considered particularly auspicious and 2) Asians love to gamble.

The powerful significance of the number even influenced the Beijing Olympics to open next year at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008. I’m sure they spared no expense in winning that particular Olympic bid just so they could have a pretty sequence of the number 8 for the opening ceremony.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Flaminglambo x The Simpsons.

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Create your own Simpson's character at

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


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We went to our very first ultrasound last week and the experience was truly magical. Seeing our baby move and twitch is just an amazing feeling. I can't really describe it but let me just say that this would be the closest I've been to actually shedding tears of joy. I was smiling from ear to ear while my wife got all teary and giggly. I could instantly see the bond between mother and child now that she's seen a part of us growing inside her. Every move it made, my heart just melted with it. It was truly one of the most awesome moments of my life and I will always cherish it.

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There was this cute little guy crawling around the waiting room who was very responsive to us. We had a blast playing with him. I can't wait till I have my own but I'm still dreading being in the delivery room. I hear of people actually filming the whole birth but I've told my wife that I don't want to be in clear view of where the action is because I get real queasy with the sight of blood, the smell of iron from blood and stuff like that.

I know, I'm a wuss.

I've also told her if she insists, she might run the risk of 1) me fainting and/or vomiting in the delivery room and stealing the thunder from our first born or 2) me turning gay because I'll never look at a woman's vagina the same again.

My wife's boss actually plans to play the tape of his daughter's birth on her 18th birthday party to humiliate her. Now, that idea is gold but when the joke died down, I thought to myself, 'Errr, wouldn't the boys go, 'Nice fanny Mrs. xxxx'?'

I cracked up laughing again. I've got to get myself invited for that party. The first prize of Australia's Funniest Home Video is so mine if I can get that footage.

Righto. Kukuciao or no kukuciao. That is the question. Stay tuned!
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