A bit surprised to see the above post on my Facebook news feed today. I thought they are very competitive in their pricing, with sharp nice pictures of their food on display everywhere to attract customers’ attention, and the food is okay too, so didn’t think they will close so soon after a year. Presumably they really want to move to another place. Or maybe the rental at De Garden is too high for them and they do not want to commit themselves renewing the contract? I feel that they probably need a bigger place that can accommodate more customers during their peak hours. Considering that they are doing value set lunches at such competitive prices I believe they need to be able to push more sets out when it matters to make up for the lower margin. I think it is difficult to make up for it via their more premium dishes, which are probably still too pricy for the Ipoh folks. Anyway I could be wrong. It could just be the location or some other reasons. But I would like to see it reopen in Ipoh again, like they say on their post.
It has been a while this 100 yen shop has closed shop in De Garden. Business has probably been hit by the presence of Mr DIY. And there are also Daiso, the RM5 plus GST shop that opens wherever there is AEON.
But just noticed that a new franchise is going to set up shop in its place in De Garden, opening before the end of the year. It’s called Inside Scoop, an ice cream franchise that seems to be quite popular in KL, judging by the number of its shops in KL. Often franchises don’t end well in Ipoh, especially so if they are not located in a shopping mall. Tutti Fruitti, that sells frozen yogurt, has closed all its shops in Ipoh bar one in Ipoh Parade. Will Inside Scoop be able to capture the imagination of the hard-to-please Ipoh folks, and last the distance? My gut feeling is it is going to be very very difficult. We’ll see.
I normally buy lemons from wet market, they are often cheaper than buying from supermarket. Especially AEON supermarket. Some would argue that the quality of those sold in AEON is better. Maybe, after all they are not exactly the same, from different countries too.
But lately we found that the blueberries sold in AEON are considerably more expensive, even with the same packaging and all!
This one is sold for RM9 in wet market, compared to RM11 in AEON supermarket. I think a new batch of blueberries put on the shelf of AEON will be priced at RM11, until the quality deteriorates then only they give out discounts. In that sense it is still better to buy such perishable items from the wet market than the supermarket as they are better at handling such items, price and quality wise, by small business owners. And I believe there is less wastage too because small business owners are more in control of the fruits, compared to say employees in the supermarket. They will try to sell them off before the fruits turn bad, or they might just consume themselves!
I am so going to flame Digi for allowing services like Viu, which is a video content provider, to appear so easily on customer’s bill. To start with, I did not knowingly subscribe to Viu, which I had no idea what it is about until I checked my monthly bill. Because the amount I need to pay for my “all you can eat” type postpaid plan should be the same every month, so I was alarmed why I needed to pay slightly more end of last month. Then I found this item called “Viu subscription” under my Mobile Services section on my bill. I went to my Digi app, but could not locate this subscription. Phoned up Digi customer helpline today and I was kept in a loop after I chose English language. For some reasons the call just wouldn’t progress past this step to get to a customer representative. So went back to my Digi app, and tried Live Chat instead. Waited over 15 mins for an agent, but then I was told that she cannot unsubscribe me from the Viu subscription. I was told I can email email@example.com or call this number 03-22422991 to unsubscribe. So I asked if she can bar third party services from ever getting subscribed to my mobile phone account in future and she said she can’t do that. Digi has become such a pimp hooking up customers to whores but is unable to stop billing customers even if they don’t want any whore in future ever again. Digi is very brave. Please continue to upset more customers. It will sure backfire on them. I still have no idea how I got this Viu subscription. Perhaps it is one of those SMS sent out by Digi with a link which I might have accidentally clicked on. But still I do not believe customers should so easily be hooked to such a monthly subscription, and it is on auto-renewal basis every month too whether or not you use the Viu service! I’ve emailed Viu using the email address I have been given by Digi above. Will see if they will refund me my RM5. Digi seems to disclaim any responsibility even though I actually settled the bill with Digi, not Viu. This is such a scam. Happened before in the UK with similar services stealthily billed to customers without them knowing how it happened, e.g. free trial of services for one month when customers take up a new contract with the mobile phone service providers but are then charged every month after the free trial period etc. But that was ten, fifteeen years ago. There really is no excuse. Digi is basically trying to scam its subscribers by partnering with such services and then put on teflon shoulder and put the blame back on subscribers for not being careful enough. Will update again tomorrow if I hear more from Viu. I need to know how to unsubscribe Viu quickly so I won’t be charged RM5 every month by Digi, and whether I can get a refund for last month’s subscription which I did not use!
Turns out that if you manage to speak to a Digi customer representative on the phone, they can unsubscribe you from the Viu service, and they can do a refund on the monthly charge too! This is so different from the answers I was given by the Live Chat agent. There seems to be a serious gap in what the Live Chat agent can do compared to a customer rep on the phone. Think I will give Live Chat a miss from now on. And lastly remember to watch out for your Digi bill!
Update 8/9/2017: Received a text message today telling me that the Viu subscription has been renewed! This is despite me having made complaints to both Digi and Viu. You see, once Viu sneaked into your bill, and on auto-renewal, it seems very difficult to get it removed! Now I have to make a call to Digi, again, to get them to take this subscription off my next bill. This is so bloody annoying!
Just saw a sponsored post on my Facebook news feed about Classic Dining 玲瓏軒, a fairly new restaurant, having just updated their food menu. If you haven’t heard of Classic Dining, it is a new Chinese restaurant that is located in Fair Park, close to General Hospital (Permaisuri Bainun), in a new row of shop that has just been completed last year.
The facade of the restaurant is completely different from the rest of the shops, as you can see in the photo above (nicked from their Facebook page, uploaded by a customer), so it is very difficult to miss it if you are looking out for it. It is very impressive, if I’m honest with you. Just to give you an idea, a nice, big LED signboard can cost you in excess of ten thousand Ringgit. And this facade is three storeys high.. But most importantly, it is nicely done, to make it look like a Chinese restaurant from the olden days, but with a modern feel obviously.
And then they carry this through all the way to the rest of the restaurant (photos nicked from their FB page again, as my own photos couldn’t do it justice).
All these took 15 months to complete, before they open for business 5 months ago. A great deal of money, effort, and time have been put in, whichever way you look at it.
But interestingly, despite the superb settings and ambience, the restaurant is criticised for delivering only very average food, and which are commonly available at local eatery, like 大炒 I guess. Basically the Ipoh folks are not willing to pay a premium for average food, regardless of however classy your premise is. Service vice can be a bit of a hit and miss, because of high turnover of staff and high demand, at least initially, with limited tables. But customers can be a lot more forgiving if the price is right and the food is up to their expectation. Like I said before in my other posts, Ipoh folks are a very picky bunch. They are, generally, not quite willing to pay a premium for food, just because you have a nice setting. They will probably still compare this restaurant with the likes of Yum Yum, 孖寶 and even 大炒, rather than Dragon-i 龍的傳人 when it comes to Chinese food. I was just thinking why Dragon-i is always full of customers. Obviously many Ipoh folks can afford paying such money for Chinese food. And in fact they are quite willing to spend on food, perhaps not all the time, but once in a while and according to occasions. You think eating seafood is cheap? But I guess people are limited by the number of choices there are for Chinese food in a shopping mall. And what Dragon-i is offering is much different from other Chinese restaurants in Ipoh.
So back to Classic Dining, I think it needs to be more than just a concept dining outlet, where customers only go for the novelty, in their settings in this case. Novelty wears off quickly. To survive in Ipoh, they need repeat customers, naturally the local Ipoh folks. And to please the locals, they need to back the superb settings with good food, or food that is different from their “competitors”. They have just updated their menu. We shall see if that works out better. Having spent so much money on this restaurant, I am sure the owner will want to make their business work, i.e. profitable.
This is the best cling film I have used by a long shot. Not necessarily the best film itself, but as a whole package. It comes with a small sticky patch next to the cutter. So every time after I tear cut the cling film, the starting bit of the rest of the cling film will stick to the sticky patch. Hence the cling film won’t roll back into the box, making it much easier for me when I next want to use the cling film again. It’s brilliant. So simple, just adding a sticky patch, but it works, that’s what matters!
Brought my daughter to Tutti Frutti in Medan Gopeng today because she kept pestering us to bring her there, claiming that we haven’t brought her there to eat yogurt for ages already. But when we were finally there this afternoon, the Tutti Frutti shop is no longer in business. What a disappointment for my daughter. This means that there is probably only one Tutti Frutti left in Ipoh, in Ipoh Parede. There used to be one in De Garden and one in Station 18 too. They have since packed up, in that order. You see, franchise businesses are not guaranteed to do well. And Ipoh is, in particular, a tough nut to crack.
Howard Lee, an elected state assemblyman for Pasir Pinji Perak, is in a bit of a pickle lately. He is accused of being unpatriotic to Malaysia for having applied for U.K. citizenship, but which was unsuccessful, 15 years ago. The attack began by a blogger called Lee Sian See, but which was then picked up by The Star here:
Howard denied having acquired U.K. citizenship on his Facebook. But what is damaging is when the correspondence between him and his local MP, Charles Clarke, at Norwich at the time and forum discussions in 2007 about his failed application to naturalise surfaced. It is damaging in the sense that he did try to become U.K. citizen when he was young, having just turned 18 or so, in 2002. And he was upset the application was rejected a year or so later because the U.K. Home Office claimed that they did not receive his passport. He appealed, because without a passport to show, his status to remain in the U.K. is thrown into question, let alone applying for citizenship! So he had to come back to Malaysia to get a new passport before he is allowed to enter the U.K. again. When he was in Malaysia, he went to the British High Comm to apply for a settlement visa, equivalent to Indefinite Leave to Remain, as a spouse of his British wife. Mind you this settlement visa is not U.K. citizenship. I believe he re-entered U.K. and reunited with his British wife after having been granted the settlement visa subsequently.
A few years later in 2010, he ran for local council election in Norwich, as a Liberal Democrat, but which he lost narrowly to a Labour candidate. He could run for local council election because Malaysia is one of Commonwealth countries. And as a commonwealth citizen Malaysian can vote in the U.K.’s general election too!
Another few years later, he came back to Malaysia and ran for a state seat in Pasir Pinji Perak with Democratic Action Party (DAP) in Malaysia’s 13th general election in 2013. That was the year I moved back to Malaysia and I voted for him. Nothing suggests to me that he’s not fit as a state assemblyman in Malaysia, having spent many years living in the U.K. In fact I think he’s more qualified than many, with track record running for public service in the U.K., with good command of Bahasa Malaysia, and above all else he seems to me a person with a good heart, from the work he has done so far.
So whoever playing this patriotism to the country issue is basically just trying to make a meal of out of it now that the 14th general election is looming. It is not as though he applied for U.K. citizenship after he was elected in Malaysia. So in no part was he lying to the voters nor when he swore an oath when he took office after he was elected. We the voters, and I am, living within his constituency, will decide who we think best represent us at the state level, on local issues in the coming election. Unless there is proof that he is also a U.K. citizen then he, by Malaysian law, cannot also be a Malaysian and hence cannot run for public office. Until then, the detractors can make all the noise they like, he will remain our representative. And I believe a fine and committed man like Howard Lee will be elected for another term, and continue to serve his fellow Malaysians. We shall see who has the last laugh LOL
iMiirage, touted as the world’s first ambience dining restaurant (according to their website iMiirage.com), has closed on the 31st March 2017. Whether it is closed for good or is just merely relocating, as they claim on their website, is not clear. One would have thought that if they are relocating, they should be able to provide more details on where they are moving to. Like Marianis, they gave notice to their patrons where they were relocating to before they closed the one at De Garden. And there were rumours where they were relocating to too even before they put up the notice. Because as a business you want continuity, to keep your existing customers, and the staff who are working for you too. Otherwise you’ll essentially be starting your business from scratch, almost, all over again.
Anyway it’s not my business and the owner, apparently same owner as the “mighty” Nam Heong, might have other ideas, for example to cut the loss first whilst finding a more suitable location for the business. Or he might be more keen to just end the business, hence not really thinking much about its subsequent reincarnation. It does seem to me that the latter is more likelier the case.
It is a shame, really. The restaurant was opened with great fanfare about a year and a half ago. It does provide a fairly unique dining experience, with fancy scenery like underwater, skyline of Hong Kong etc. Perhaps Ipoh is too small a market for such fine dining experience. And it’s expensive, by Ipoh standard. Whether their food is up to standard is debatable, perhaps not consistent or good enough for people to want to pay top dollar dining there. Last but not least, the location. I’ve written a piece on Nam Heong, where iMiirage was located. The location of that SOHO area is a complete non-starter for retail business in my opinion. It’s very inconvenient to get to, much worse than De Garden. And now that there are more shop lots built there, finding parking space will be a big issue. Lack of planning is so common in Malaysia. Or maybe it was deliberate for SOHO’s case, as developers are mostly only interested in maximing their profit. Building a multi-storey car park costs money. Anyway I think the location is still the killer.
Okay we shall see if iMiirage will be resurrected somewhere else. If you know any news about it I’ll be interested to know.
Bloody hell, following my move to cut energy consumption by getting my daughter to sleep in the same room as us, in essence reducing the number of air cond running at night from two to one, this is what I got:
In terms of kWh, the reduction was only 27kWh, compared to last month’s reading! WTF, I was certainly expecting a lot more than that! Basically getting into all this hassle of moving my daughter to sleep with us only save us a meagre RM15 a month!
Okay we accept that we are not using the latest inverter air cond, which can cut down on energy usage over regular air cond by (up to?) 50%, in our master bedroom. And the air cond in my daughter’s room is more energy efficient than the air cond in our room. But still this is so bloody demoralising. So much so that we checked the TNB rates per KWh, just in case. But they haven’t risen over the past few months! So we have asked the air cond service guy to come service our air cond today, to ensure that our air cond is not running sub-optimally. We’ll see how the energy usage is like next month. In fact, to think about it, I can check the meter reading tomorrow to see if there’s any improvement, considering that on average we are using about 30kWh a day based on this latest bill. Will keep you lot up to date.