Thursday, October 28, 2010

English 101

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
 

My advice is to give up!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teenhood 101

When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny, cute, little baby in your arms will someday grow up to be a teenager. Oh sure, we all expect it to happen, but seriously, are any of us fully prepared for the teen years?

One of the first things you notice as your child morphs into a teenager is sleep. They do it all the time. I swear some days my teen sits at the breakfast table, eyes fully open, shoveling food in his mouth and all the while he’s totally asleep. Turns out teens need lots and lots of sleep. Which isn’t the problem.
But waking them up? That’s the problem. Seriously. I’d rather wake up a bear two days before hibernation ends than wake up a teenager in the morning.

Waking a teen is dangerous. It requires you to go into the teen’s native habitat (his room) and tell him to stop sleeping. Really. Once you’ve tried this, I swear to you, the bear thing looks better and better.  Anyway, through extensive personal research and at great risk to life and limb, I have come up with a way to awaken a typical teenager without having my head ripped off.

First, understand that the teenager’s bedroom must be approached with extreme caution. The teenage species has laid many traps to deter waking. These traps include piles of clothing, shoes and textbooks on the floor.
Once you have approached the teenager and gotten through the hidden traps, you should stop and assess the situation before proceeding further. If there are animals in the room (other than the teen), use treats and/or your best happy voice to lure the animals from the bed.

Congratulations! Now the teenager is defenseless, except for his smart mouth.
At this point, you will need to locate the teen. Like many of his species, the teen will be wrapped in a cocoon of blankets with pillows stacked on his head. Due to the mess associated with their habitat, finding the teen in all the piles can be difficult.  However, if you simply locate the cords to his ear buds and carefully follow them, you will discover the teen’s head. Note: If you locate his iPod, you are on the wrong end. Just follow the cords the opposite direction.

Now that you have located the elusive teen, you can wake his butt up. My favorite way to do so is the “let the sunshine in” method. By simply opening all the shutters and turning on the lights, the room is flooded with intense light that even the most buried teen cannot bear.  If they yell or scream, “it’s too bright” you can be certain the method worked and that they are awake.

Once the teen is awake, his primitive response system will send him into “fight or flight mode” which means he will curl up into a tiny ball, pull all the blankets over his head, stack some pillows on top and ignore you (some teens will also whimper and cry; don’t fall for this, it’s just a ploy to let them sleep for 5 more minutes).  At this point in the teen wake up process it is critical that you do not leave the room. To do so will enable the teen to sleep even longer, ensuring the teen misses his 0 period class.
Your only choice now is to scream “get your butt out of bed now” and then steal his iPod.  Really. That whole bear thing is looking better, isn’t it?

Now there are other methods, such as allowing the teen to set his alarm clock. In my personal experience, this method doesn’t work well. Once the teen hits the snooze button, he will immediately fall back into a deep sleep. I also know of parents who have tried increasingly desperate methods such as allowing siblings to jump on the bed, playing a bugle or pouring water on the teen, but I don’t support those methods. Frankly, the siblings could lose an eye, I don’t play the bugle and the water just gets the mattress all wet and makes the teen even more smart-mouthed than usual.

Of course, once you wake up the bear, you could send him into the teen’s room. That could work.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Proton Exora: The Cool Fat Kid With An Attitude

The Proton Exora was one of the nations most anticipated  model from the national car maker Proton. Right from day one, when the project was in the drawing board, Proton’s latest baby was expected to perform a very large task for its maker. It not only had the distinction of being the nation’s 1st localized MPV, something that the Kia derived Ria and Citra models were never going to achieve since they were essentially re-badged versions of the Korean version with a few bits of local content to make it affordable for the Malaysian buyers. 

The Exora had a lot riding in it for Proton as well. Battered by Perodua for large parts of 2009 , the Exora was expected to help Proton gain back the position it once held as the undisputed market leader in the Malaysian auto industry.

With the Saga BLM and Persona taking the fight to Perodua’s Myvi and Viva, the highly anticipated Exora was certainly going to be the manufacturers wingman of sorts to help it claw back and attempt to be Malaysia’s top automaker once again. The mammoth task that was expected of it became even harder when Perodua announced the production of the Alza, which was basically an elongated version of the Myvi variant.

Proton also had a point to prove to the general public’s perception of the company’s once iconic image. Years of shoddy build quality, botched and rubbish OEM equipment as well as dated designs sent Proton on a downward spiral throughout the early parts of the new millennium.

With the market now boasting the likes of Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Kia with their attractively priced cars, Proton was pushed into a corner and starting with the Saga BLM and Persona have decided on an all almighty fightback. Hence, it was fitting  that the Exora was going to be the new Gold standard in which all future Proton cars were going to be judged on.

The Exora, with all the weight on its shoulders, certainly does not flatter to deceive. It cuts it close in certain key areas, but in all is a very passionate and genuine attempt by the management and engineers of Proton in coming up with something that could have been truly brilliant. The equipment level, the spacious design, the attention to detail, the Euro Ncap safety ratings and the brilliant handling are just some of the aspects Proton has championed on this time.

With all the hype over the Exora finally reaching calming levels, Proton finally was able to finally let me have the H-line edition for a week’s worth of thrashing around.

Ride & Handling
For a vehicle this size, the  ride quality was rather good.  The one thing Proton’s engineers tend to get right almost all the time is that oh-so-sweet handling. Its great to know that all the input by Lotus has not gone to waste and I am brave enough to say that Proton makes among the best handling cars in Asia, one that is easily comparable to other powerhouses like Honda and Nissan.

The steering feels absolutely solid and has a nice balance of heft and assistance, which is also very linear and consistent, regardless of the load in question.

Another positive feature is the tight and crisp turning circle of the Exora. This is mainly due to the compactness of the engine, which means the front wheels of the Exora can be turned so much that anyone can execute a neat turn in any tight spot.

Interior
The flexibility of the cabin is also a trump card for the Exora. The 2nd and 3rd row seats can be folded down individually to offer various kinds of combinations to carry passengers, luggage or over-sized merchandise. The best feature was indeed the the simplicity of the of the mechanism that operates the 2nd row of seats. All it takes is a mere 2 or so seconds to fold and move it.
Best of all is the ease of doing it. It was basically a 1 hand 1 lever mechanism. The last row of seats are also equally easy to operate. You pull 2 straps and a lever and hey presto the seats are down or up. When fully folded, you can see the sheer size of the the Exora’s carnivorous body. The seats fold flat on the floor and thus offer great access and ease to load and unload odd-sized or heavy objects.

All three rows are comfortable, and a large sized person can easily fit into the third row comfortably. When seated in the rear, I found it quite comfortable and spacious with my knees barely touching the second row. Another point to consider is that the third row is quite wide and its not an overstatement to say that two large persons are actually able to fit without rubbing shoulders. On the negative side, there are no ISOFIX points for the seats and there was only a lap belt for the middle seat in the second row instead of a full 3-point system.

The air conditioning in the Exora, like all other Protons, was superb, thanks  mainly to the inclusion of two blowers, one for the front and the other for the rear rows. There are air conditioning vents for all 3 rows, with the vents for the 2nd and 3rd row located above the windows.

The Proton Exora H-Line comes with cruise control, a roof mounted LCD screen and a DVD player. The DVD player is a separate roof-mounted unit which is not integrated with the in-car entertainment system. It allows you to stream the audio from the DVD to the head unit installed up front via FM transmission or alternatively, the kids /passengers at the back can actually plug in headphones to the DVD player via the two 3.5mm headphone jacks.
Compared to the M-Line version, the H- Line edition Exora has slightly different trim on the outside. There is chrome for the grille and rear, as well as blacked out B and C pillars using black stickers. It’s good to know that the Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming functionality of the 2-DIN head unit has been retained in the M-Line.

Another interesting feature were the leather seats in the H-Line version which has a combination of materials. The leather seats are also pretty adequate if not average looking. The engineers have incorporated a type of  suede-like material at the sides of the leather seats, which they say was intentionally left there so that the leather would be allowed to expand and contract in a certain way under the hot Malaysian climate and thus reduce the chances of them cracking. This, in my opinion, was an act of pure genius and hats off to the Proton engineer / interior designer who came up with the idea.





                                                                                                                   Extras
The Exora also comes equipped with a Body Control Module that was supplied by Continental Siemens AG. Some of the interesting features I found while driving were the battery saver for room lamps, luggage and key ring illumination. These automatically turn off after 30 seconds to ensure battery life is maintained, should for any reason they are left switched on for an extended period of time. The Exora also has follow-me-home headlamps, which stay on for a short period of time to help illuminate the driver’s path for a short period after parking. There is a door opened indicator on the instrument panel that indicates exactly which door, bonnet or rear hatch is not securely fastened. If that eludes you, there is also a door opened warning beep when you exceed 7km/h.

The signal indicator stalk was something quite interesting.  You just have to tap the indicator stalk  for the signal to flash 3 times, to indicate a quick lane change, which means you don’t need to fully engage the indicator stalk to turn on and reach for it again to deactivate it. The dim-in and dim-out feature for the cabin adds a slight touch of luxury to the Exora . The cabin lamps turn off automatically after you lock the car, staying on for 30 seconds and then takes 3 seconds to fade out. When unlocking the car, the cabin light fades-in in 4 seconds.
Front and rear wiper washer drip wiping is perhaps the feature i thought was so Un-Proton-ish. The wipers automatically remove excess water when you operate the front washer, it will wipe 4 times and then pause for around 5 or so seconds and then wipe one more time, to remove all the excess water effectively. This is because some of the washer liquid from the top of the windscreen will slowly drip down after the initial wiping, so the last wipe completely removes the washer water.  This is a rather neat trick that not many cars  I know have.

The doors will also lock automatically once you reach 20km/h but its long been a feature in most cars today and I am glad Proton did not forget that. The doors will also unlock automatically once you remove the key from the key barrel. If you perform any sudden braking at speeds of at least 96 ++km/h, the hazard lights will flash automatically.

Engine
I have deliberately left the engine review at the end because that probably is the Exora’s biggest flaw. The engine on the Exora has got to be the biggest disappointment in this otherwise decent package by Proton. The one dimensional 1.6 Campro CPS engine that powers the Exora as well as the Waja, Gen 2, and Satria Neo kicks out a decent 125hp with a respectable 150Nm of torque.

While seemingly sufficient in a normal passenger car, the same engine on a “fat” MPV means the performance is critically affected. Proton of course couldn’t do much about this since the CPS is the only engine series it now makes. The aging Perdana’s Japanese sourced 2.0L V6′s were too old and suffered from poor fuel consumption while outsourcing the engines from a different partner would have sent costs up, which would have meant a higher retail price for the Exora. A joint-venture project with a “certain” German automaker would have at least temporarily offset the problem but unfortunately it never did take off.

Another crucial point the people considering to utilize the Exora as a full 7-seater is its fuel consumption. After covering over 400km’s of city driving, highway  cruises, hill climbs and coastal runs on the Exora, the Auto returned a figure of 11.2L/100km on average driving speeds (90km/h – 110km/h). The worst figure indicated by the trip computer was 16.2 L/100km when pushed hard with a full load along the back roads of the PD-Alor Gajah coastal route. My Mazda Lantis does the exact route with a rate of 9.7L/ 100km/h while a another trial in a rival MPV with an 1.8 engine got me around 14.8L / 100km. 

The 1.6L engine does require some high revving, hence the slightly high fuel burn rate, but you also take into account the characteristics of the CAMPRO CPS engine as well as the sheer weight of the Exora. On the bright side, with the 55L tank, I estimate a that a range of 550-600 km could be attained on a full tank.

Verdict
The Exora is almost certainly never going to win any standing start races, or fuel economy runs or hill-climbs. An excellent vehicle mated to a very 1 dimensional powerplant  and with a slightly unbalanced gear ratio is  never going to win many fans in any market. Proton does thou, somehow manage to pull it off thanks to its attention to other details that bring it up to mark against its other rivals. Boasting a very affordable price tag for a ton of features that comes as standard on the H-Line , the Exora certainly has to be in my opinion the best Proton yet. If you have the urge to get an MPV in the near future, I'd suggest you hold onto your horses till Proton releases its turbocharged version of the CPS engine, hopefully by the end of this year or early next year.

The Exora will always be the last kid that arrives at the party, but when it arrives it tends to be the main attraction of the party since it probably ferried half the crowd there along with all the items for the party. With a price tag of just over RM 75,000.00, Proton just may have among the best budget MPV’s for the road today. Lets all hope the guys from Quality Control are in tune with Proton’s new vision on building quality national cars for the new decade

Pros : Maxed out with features, looks good, does the job adequately, Best value for money MPV in the market now.
Cons : Doesn’t have a turbo, build quality still not perfect, did i mention it needs a turbo?

Will The Real Proton Please Stand Up!

Proton manufactured close to 120,000 vehicles this year but only a dismal 20% of it was built for the export market. In the lightning pace of the automotive industry today, it is a small wonder why Proton is finding it hard to keep up overseas and increasingly in Malaysia as well. Product life cycles from other automakers are getting ever shorter to the extent that it feels as though carmakers are introducing a new model line-up virtually every year.
Compare this to Proton, whom only unveil on average 1 new model or model variant a year with great fanfare during the Merdeka period. This replacement rate simply won’t do for consumers who have grown accustomed to seeing fresh models in the forecourts of its competitors.

Saga LaunchIn fact, many of Proton’s own Middle Eastern distributors lamented the same when they gave up the business. While Toyota, Honda and the rest were springing models left and right, Proton’s languid pace with its boring facelifts and average replacement models fail to hold the buyers’ interest whom for now are prepared to stick with them thanks to the government’s absurd tax rate on non-Malaysian makes and not to mention its Pro-Proton NAP policies which Proton certainly had a hand in its implementation.
The dire situation of this slowdown is because Proton cannot afford to have it any faster. Not when its rate of returns is so low.Then there is the matter of price. In Malaysia, Proton prices are kept comparatively lower to foreign manufacturers through protectionism. This, unfortunately, is an advantage the company cannot count on in foreign markets.The Savvy, for instance, starts at RM 44,000  in the UK, which is one of the few markets that Proton exports its cars to. For that kind of money in the UK ,you can actually get a much better Kia Picanto and still be left wit a change of RM 12,000 to blow. Or if 1 decided to push it, they can even opt for the basic VW Polo which certainly is almost 4 times the car that the Savvy is.

With manufacturers pushing well into seven-figure production territory, Proton’s 108,405 does it no favours at all. Unable to generate the kind of volumes that any mass-market manufacturer needs to be viable, Proton cannot hope to match the scale  that its competitors compete on
sagaTo have Proton address its dismal exports with urgency is to have it treat a symptom and not the problem. Exports are poor because the fundamentals of the company are poor. Its product replacement cycles are far too long for today’s market and it simply doesn’t have the kind of numbers to be able to match the  prices the Koreans offer.
Before Proton can hope to get its exports up to where it needs to be, it will need to solve these problems first. And it is very unlikely that it will be able to do it alone. There may have been a time when it once was flushed with cash but this is no longer the case. A fiercely competitive market at home has made sure of that. All this thanks to the geniuses in Toyota and Honda whom came up with the City and the Vios and which has taken Proton and its substandard cars to the clothesline and hung them to dry.

The Campro CPSNo, to do this Proton will need a partner that can help shoulder the exorbitant costs of keeping up with the rest of the pack or to give it access to technology that’s already been developed. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel each and every time.
The Volkswagen tie-up seemed its best bet at the time but it chose to rebuff the protracted flirtations. Now, Volkswagen is busy with its own marriage to Porsche. And the rest of the big players in the world are also busy licking their own wounds.
Fresh from the economic crisis, Proton will have fewer healthy partners to choose from and it is itself no longer the jewel it once was. But the situation remains unchanged, then as now.
Without outside assistance, exports will be the least of Proton’s concerns.

My Date With The Alza



The Perodua Alza was indeed the most anticipated car in 2009 for the Malaysian public and to an extent was even more over rated in its publicity than its rival from Proton which was the Exora. With so much riding on it, we decided to give the Alza a run for its money and we have to admit the Alza ticks almost all the boxes. Yes,almost all but not ALL. With its sibling, the Perodua Myvi still topping sales charts month after month, much was expected of this car or what they call as, Car 1 moment, MPV the next.
For some weird reason as Perodua puts it, the Myvi is turning out to be a cult car among Malaysians. Its only a matter of time before everyother car we see on the road turns out to be a Myvi. Perodua wisely used the same platform for their newest baby and are certain to have created another winner in the making based on strong interest even before 1st model rolled off the production line.
So we decided to take it out on spin and see what the “epic” Perodua Alza is all about. For starters, almost 90% of the design is based from the Myvi and when you see it in person it might actually strike you as just another Myvi but with a bigger booth. The similiarites just doesnt end there thou as the rest of the cabin also has borrowed large chunks of the Myvi for its interior design. The car does look very pretty in very Malaysian sense thou judging by the amount of looks we got when we took this car out for a proper spin around town and the coastal roads of Morib and Tanjung Karang.

The Alza we sampled is an SXi, which means it’s the Premium spec manual transmission variant priced at RM61,000 OTR. What you get over the Standard model includes ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, dual airbags, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, leather wrapped steering with audio controls, driver seat height adjuster, fog lamps, rear spoiler, higher grade seat fabric and a silver trimmed cabin. That certainly is a lot of added equipment for an extra RM5,000.



The Alza is powered by the 3SZ-VE 1.5-litre engine which is the same cast iron block that powers the Toyota Avanza 1.5 and Rush. The unit on the Perodua is reported to produce close to 103 hp with 136 nm’s of torque on tap for the driver. This figure is only slightly lower than that of the Avanza’s suggesting Perodua might have re-tuned to the engine for marginally better economy. The test unit we got was equipped with a 5 speed manual transmission but the auto box is expected to be the more appealing and preferred option among the buyers.
Performance
The engine was surprisingly rev happy and since it was a manual, the Alza peeled away from traffic lights during standing starts amazingly fast. In fact many of the Wira’s and Waja’s we encountered while waiting in traffic seemed like small dots on the rear view mirrors (for a few seconds). Shame the manual box wasn’t a willing partner in this pursuit thou. The gears felt very sticky and rubbery to an extent and not to mention required abit of  extra effort  especially when shifting down from Gear 2 to Gear 1. The compactness or tightness of the gearbox also meant that we were constantly shifting to 5th instead of 3rd and is something that Perodua might want to look at in the later models. Nevertheless the Alza scores alot of points for being able to sustain its pace with minimal effort as well being rev happy. This means you’d be more than happy to floor the throttle at the expense of the fuel economy but be rewarded with a rather powerful surge from the 1.5litre 4pot engine. The engine does get a tad noisy after 3500 rpm’s which in the Alza should translate to about 105km/h at 5th gear.
Throw in the another 3 passengers in the back seat and the performance starts to dip. A lot more effort is required to move the machine but it does manage to rake up the miles once its on the go. The key factor here being momentum. Overtaking is not much of problem as well as the manual transmission copes rather well in 3rd and 4th and would rarely require you to drop to a gear lower than that.
But if you throw in another 2 or 3 passengers in the back and choose to utilize it as a people carrier, that is when your problems might start to suffice. While the car manages to still respectably peel away from standing starts, you will find your right foot going deeper and deeper in order to get moving. This means fuel economy will be rather average but for most mpv owners this isn’t too much of a problem since it is compensated with the extra weight carried.

Handling


The driving experience in the Alza is also rather pleasant. The ride is prettydecent and the suspension soaks up bumps rather well. Grip during cornering and high speed cornering is rather good for a fact and the car seems very stable as well during cornering. Body roll is at a minimum but we suspect the rear passengers especially those in the 3rd row might have a bit more complaints regarding the ride comfort but we figure the Alza will be more frequently used as 5 passenger car so this may have been an area Perodua might have chosen to ignore so it could keep the ride firm and car like. The 15inch wheels look good and are perhaps the best compromise between price and handling ability but we feel 16 or 17 inch wheels would be a much better option for more grip on the road.

Space

Space wise, the Alza feels much smaller than the Exora inside, and should be about the size of a Grand Livina. Like most Perodua’s the car is rather skinny meaning the 3 passengers in the back would have to cramp up slightly in order to fit. The head room thou is pretty high and should be more than adequate for the average Malaysian. Stepping into the Alza is rather easy. The doors open rather widely  and the height is just perfect which means 1 does not have to “climb into the car.
Access to the third row is trickier. The Alza lacks a tumble fold system for the second row, which means you’ll need to fold down the seat back and pull the base which is a two-step operation that’s less convenient. Once that’s done, the opening is small and those who are less nimble might have slight difficulties entering.

When put side by side to the Grand Livina, the Alza seems to measure almost the same. The Exora thou is certainly both longer and wider than the Alza suggesting a more comfortable enviroment for 7 seated adults. The key factor here being that the Exora and Grand Livina being fully fledged MPV’s while the Perodua is more of an elongated car.

Having fully foldable seats also meant you can easily configure the mpv to any sort of set up to ferry your goods. This makes shopping fun as you could get abit more creative with your purchases and not have to worry about shipping fees.When on 7 seater mode thou, the rear space is absolutely limited. At most you could get away with a few backpacks stacked vertically.

The 1 thing we liked about the ALZA was its numerous cubby holes, cup holders and rather pleasant looking dashboard. The only shame was the rather plain and cheap looking air cond controls. The audio system is bluetooth compatible and has a USB slot as well which we think is a rather novel touch. The standard OEM speakers looked up for the job but had a slight buzz when playing tracks with a lot of bass in it.



CONCLUSION
As an MPV, it’s far from perfect. But to its credit, Perodua doesn’t call the Alza a full-sized MPV, preferring the “5+2″ occasional seven seater status. And if viewed as a bigger Myvi with much better legroom, a huge boot and two “emergency seats” the Alza becomes a brilliant proposition. We can see how popular the Myvi is with Malaysians, and if given more of the same with the abovementioned benefits at a small premium, there’s no reason why the Alza won’t be a runaway success. As a bonus, the Alza has adequate performance and is entirely decent to drive.

The Kancil's Curtain call

15 years ago, a car for the Malaysian masses was created. A small compact car that was aimed at 1st time buyers,or the lower income group as well as for career upstarts who needed a small nippy car that was both fuel efficient and compact to be zipped around town. The car that built a company and moved a nation. What am I speaking about? Well, its the PERODUA KANCIL. The car that made Perodua, PERODUA.

As I witnessed the final rollout of the 722 223rd Kancil to be rolled out of the company’s vast assembly plant in Rawang, the sense of nostalgia was evident upon the hierachy of the upper management,the workers,the suppliers and from us the media representatives. That the Kancil was a rousing succes was not the primary issue, the fact was, this is the car, 2nd only to our very own Proton Saga which is a Malaysian Dream by it self in the 80′s, to have moved so many Malaysians of every age group,gender,race and income.

Youths would fondly remember this car as the main reason they have their licensces. Urbanites were awed with the small zappy characteristics of this car as they zipped in and out the traffic jams that plague our cities. Housewives would know the extent of being able to park in the tightest of spots as they make a run to the market or a beeline to the sale at the notoriusly packed and shopping unfriendly shopping districts of Malaysia. Village folk appreciated the Kancil for its no nonsense styling and for the simple fact that it gave them a proper reason to upgrade from their kapchai’s to a proper 4 wheeled runabout and I could just go on rambling about this because 1 thing for sure, this 4 wheeled compact was the only car at that point of time to have basically played a part in many a Malaysian’s life.

From the time you use to sit with your big sedans on the road and watch in horror as the Kancil nipped past you in heavy traffic and found a way out of the jam, the times you thought there was an empty slot in the car park only to your frustration to find a neatly parked sly looking Kancil sitting there harmlessly, neatly hidden by plain view from the towering twin cab on the right and the equally menacing Japanese family car on the left.
For many of us, the end of the production of this model from Perodua brought a deep sense of nostalgia. At the assembly plant, there was an eerie silence as the Managing Director announced the end of its production. There were some workers who seemed like they had indeed lost a family member.

Sadness and nostalgia aside, the Kancil was indeed due for replacement. In a world littered by technological acronyms like VVTI,VTEC,DURATEC,SOHC, Fuel- Injection and many more, the Kancil for one, was certainly lost in the sea of its more fuel efficient and good looking rivals. Despite having launched the Viva to replace the good ol Mousedeer sometime back, the sales volume remained highly impressive for the Kancil.
Fast forward to the present thou and the bankers induced global financial crisis seems to have whetted the Malaysian appetite for small cars.

The name of the game now was Fuel Economy and despite being a small car with a small engine, the fuel savings offered by a new generation Vios and City were suddenly a more attractive option. Not like the Malaysian car buyers needed another reason to plonk their savings on a Japanese car thou. The Little Kancil with its modest old tech engine with its carburetor engine had indeed reached the end of a cycle.

The Perodua Kancil, or Nippa in the UK and the Daihatsu Ceria in Indonesia rolled out for its final appearance in front of a packed assembly plant and despite being surrounded by the vast amount of machinery and people present, it held its own for its final public appearance.

Perodua Kancil. The Car That Built a Company and Moved a Nation

The Sad Sad Saab Story

As we all know , the Saab brand which is owned by GM has been on the chopping board for the good part of this whole year. It seems the financial fiasco of 2009 has been the final nail in the coffin for this Swedish manufacturer of aeroplanes and automotive masterpieces. The Saab brand has a love hate relationship with many car enthusiasts out there. From its quirky looks to its insane turbocharged engines, the Saab brand has made many instrumental innovations in the creation of the everyday cars we see on the road this days. The Saab division has attracted many suitors but GM seems to pretty much want to shut it down despite multiple offers from both Spyker and Koenigsegg as well Geely from China.

The Saab automobile operation was started as sub operation of an airplane company in the late 1940s. SAAB actually stands for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, or Swedish Aircraft Co. Despite having no experience designing cars, its talented aeronautical engineers decided to build a car their way . This was basically transformed into a lightweight, rigid, aerodynamic and ergonomic automobile.

Being Swedish, they were also very practical and the cars were pretty well engineered and planned

“Form follows function” has long been the mantra at Saab, along with safety and intelligent design. Saab’s early cars had lightweight, high-revving two-stroke engines coupled to a neutral chassis that allowed the cars to be flung around the rally circuits of Europe with great success.

Being front-wheel-drive, which was a rarity in those early days, they were also perfectly suited to winter driving conditions and won themselves a cult following in the Balkan countries as well as in the northern states of the US. They looked just a little strange compared to your average car, and they were certainly configured differently, but it was these differences that made people appreciate them.

n the 1970s, Saab unveiled their Combi-Coupe body design which has become the single most identifiable Saab shape. This versatile hatchback gave Saabs a sleek, sporting profile, and the folding rear seats opened up a cavernous luggage area

Later that same decade, Saab pioneered turbocharging for the everyday car. Whilst a few manufacturers had experimented with turbos before this, Saab was one of the first to get the formula right and make it available in what was essentially a Swedish family car . This was the day the world saw the Saab 99 Turbo.

Turbocharged engines became a common feature of the Saab lineup and remain so today. The Saab 900 Turbo was sold from 1979 to 1993 and is still considered by enthusiasts to be the “Saabiest” Saab ever made. It combined a luxurious, well-appointed interior with cutting-edge turbo technology and the Combi Coupe’s trademark load capacity. It really was a car that you could take to Home Depot in the morning and then give a good thrashing to on the racetrack in the afternoon.

The 1980s also saw the birth of the Saab Convertible, an icon conceived when Saab USA’s legendary chief, the late Robert J Sinclair, was forced by his bosses in Sweden to take a quantity of unpopular two-door Saab 900s to sell in the U.S. Bob agreed to take the vehicles so long as he could name his desired specification, which included power windows and other modern amenities of the time, and no roof.

Bob commissioned a prototype from the American Sunroof Co. (for a mere $30,000), and this vehicle was an immediate showstopper. When the vehicle was finally released for sale in 1986, dealers didn’t have books big enough to contain the orders they received. Such stories are common in history books about Saab. The little company that could. Saab enthusiasts refer to this as the Spirit of Saab.

The 1990s saw the beginning of the GM era for Saab. General Motors owned a 50 percent share of Saab through this decade, buying the remaining 50 percent share in 2000. Saab had some fantastic vehicles in this period, but GM never saw the value of what they had in Saab.

They never really invested in the company to build on what was a cult following with enormous goodwill.

When GM announced in early 2009 that it planned to sell Saab, the enthusiast community was abuzz. Finally, it seemed Saab might get a chance to spread its wings once again.GM was reported to have 27 interested buyers for the company early in the year and despite detailed negotiations with several of them, the right deal has failed to materialize.

If there is no last-minute miracle in the next few days, Sweden will lose a large portion of its industrial base, many enthusiasts around the world will lose their favorite mar

que and the generic car company overlords with their everyday transportation appliances will have won another battle in the war of automotive mediocrity.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Farking a Break-Up UP

After the last box of tissues is emptied, the tears have dried up, and the remaining pint of ice cream inhaled, you wonder: Now what? You're still not over the breakup, but you're finally ready to move on.
Everyone's heard the rule: Getting over the relationship takes half as long as the relationship itself. But sometimes you don't have months -- or even years -- to muddle through the getting-over process. Here are the top 5 ways to speed up the healing process:

Toss the Evidence

Whether it's a designer watch or one of those box rings your ex found, your first order of business is to discard every little item that he/she ever gave you.

Photos, letters, sweet post-its that say "I love you" -- all of this must be trashed. And that also goes for items you have hidden away. Even if no one else knows what's in your arsenal of romantic keepsakes, you'll know you're holding on to the past and it will take that you much longer to get over the breakup.

Don't Discuss It, Ever!

We've all been around people who can't stop talking about their exes. But don't be surprised to find out that more you talk about them, the harder it will to be to move on. The same goes for other people bringing up the topic. If someone asks how your ex is, refrain from ranting and politely tell them you haven't spoken in a while.

List Their Flaws

When we're in love, it's not uncommon to gloss over each other's flaws and inadequacies for the sake of keeping the peace. Of course, once you're out of the union, all bets are off. You're fully entitled to list of all their annoying qualities that drove you crazy. If they snored at night, ate with their mouths open, were rude to your friends, or laughed like a hyena, make sure you write everything down. The longer the list, the shorter your post-breakup recovery.

Be More Selective

There are two schools of thought: some people believe that the best way to get over someone is to get out and circulate, while others will tell you that dating too soon is a bad idea. The truth is if you go out and start dating every person who asks you, you're bound to end up on some disastrous dates and your ex will seem so much better in comparison.

If you don't date at all, you'll risk sitting around and wallowing in a sea of boredom and despair. The key is to be very selective about your dates and only go out with singles who inspire you or, at the very least, won't send you running back into the arms of your ex.

Make Up for Lost Time

Even the best relationships require compromise, which is why you should make the first month out of the relationship all about YOU! Make a list of all the things you postponed or avoided doing because your ex hated it. Whether it's going to see a foreign film, watching ESPN, or planning a night out with your best buds, this is a great opportunity to get back in touch with those parts of your personality you may have left by the wayside.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

IF Love Is A Game...I Jus Got an Ass Fark...

F**K Love. Harsh yet that’s reality… Love is a language spoken by everyone, but understood only by a heart. Love … a mystical 4 letter word that has the same effect a certain 4 lettered vulgar word has….in my opinion, love… well…love for our parents differs from that of the love that we have for our friends, the opposite sex, the same sex, an animal or basically for anything that is rather important in our lives….

The current generation thou, upon hearing the word love are automatically connected to feelings for the opposite sex, and flash images of the opposite sex in various cute and cheeky poses. Well as a base I shall start from here (I do have a life partner now thou, it’s just that I don’t know whether we are in love) …Love is the equivalent what I would say… hmm… BREAKFAST…. And by that I do mean a real healthy breakfast… Imagine waking up in the morning, the 1st thing that we feel is hunger... not even the musky smell of our body odor or the darn smell that is basically emitted from our mouths the moment we go Aaahhhh… can affect that… That feeling of hunger we feel 1st thing in the morning is what I define my version of love as…my day every day for this past few months has been getting up to the voice of the love of my life. That good morning wish, 1st thing in the day, basically shapes up how my day will be… well that’s basically what every couple in love tends to say.

Back to what I was saying, so why breakfast, why not lunch or dinner or even tea snacks. Well for 1, lunch n dinner is usually associated with many choices of food, of which many are really unhealthy. We can’t be unhealthy in love cant we. Breakfast thou, has always been associated with healthy food, and I shall use that to start the pot rolling. I would say love for my parents is like eating Corn Flakes and love for my special sum one as the equivalent of Honey Stars or Koko Crunch. Why you might ask? As we head to the kitchen all scrubbed and smelling full of perfumed talc and hair cream (grooming here I shall compare to passion), the 1st thing we see is 1 very important member of the family. MUM or maybe both of em parents might be there to. Corn Flakes as we all know are basically rather plain. We have to add in the milk, the sugar, the fruits than heavy heartedly sink our spoon in it and lift up a spoonful of that wet brown flakes. What more do we need to use to compare our parents to. Many of us now in the present generation hardly appreciate what our parents do for us. Their lectures, annoyed reactions, grievances and constant advices are certainly no music to the ears, but deep down in our hearts we do love them. It’s just that we don’t actually feel and see it because all that goodness is completely blanketed by the plainness of our love for them.

Honey Stars, that crispy yellow star shaped cereal. Sweet and pleasant smelling its nature, tastes great too. A small helping of it and you might be on your knees asking for more. It’s tasty at first, but as we increase the helpings, bitterness sweeps in. Too much sweetness is a cause for diabetics and with that many other health fiascos.For many of us guys, well that just about describes how we sweet talk and stoop as low as possible too win the heart of the girl whom we thrive for. A man in love is a fool, a famous French philosopher once said. That tends to be true many a time thou. Most importantly thou, it remains unexplained why love for the opposite sex is so deep and sensual that many of us at times take our lives or become depressed and suffer mental disorders when we fail in it. Come to think of it, why does this feeling of dejectedness due to our failure in a relationship drive us to doing things beyond the point of sanity? It’s a question that will remain unanswered because this matter runs so deep and feelings are so subjective it is basically a black hole where many an assumption can made and yet no one particular solution can be pinpointed as the best remedy.

Do we commit suicide when our parents pass away and leave us with a mountain of debts? Do we spend hours on the phone with our mom jus because she scolded us for something? Do we buy our dads presents because he is upset with us? Why do we not sacrifice our lives for our parents who risked heaven and hell to give us a proper upbringing?

A girl who we have been in a relationship for well over a year with says she can’t stand you, and after you fail trying to persuade her, what tempts you jump of a cliff. Our parents openly admit they can’t stand us, yet we continue to drive them up the wall. None of us commit suicide because our mum or dad dies. But there many of us who are supposedly more mature and ripe and who have failed in love, with a person we barely knew long enough, a total stranger with no blood connection that have suddenly lost or fell out of love with us, being lovable individuals only days or even minutes ago. Moving on is so hard and painful to us, that like a tempting mistress we tend to get rid of our problems the easy way. Even if it means bringing your stupidity to the lowest of all levels.

I don’t actually know where I am getting with this but all I can say is love is like heaven, but it can hurt like hell. Love is sophisticated for the rugged, love is simple to those introverts yet so challenging to the extrovert. Love is well.. so undefined.



Winner, Academic Level, MMU DramaFest 2007
2nd Runners Up Overall Category MMU DramaFest 2007

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

FIne Fine Fine....

It has been eons since i last blogged...and i reli mean eons...sigh....even the last time i blogged i had friggin power failure and my pc almost kantoi...newayz as usual wen Rachel starts to blog ..than all hell breaks loose. I dunno why but whenever she Blogs i actually feel like to doin the same...hmm....... mus be because of her wakakaka attitude laa...hehe

KK....lame as it may sound i wanna go do some maths and b4 i i forget i wud like to wish Good Luck 2 all of u ppl who like me think that STATISTICS is a Bitch...

Adieu...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Its True...

You Are 16 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.