It’s official, MAPS to open on 26th June 2017!

So it’s official this time, that Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) is opening on the 26th June 2017. Despite all the rumours that they can’t make its opening in June, we now have an official date to look forward to, finally. For those who have bought an annual pass, you are advised to get your photo ID done on your first visit to MAPS. The annual pass will be valid from their opening date (not on the date of your first visit, remember!) for a year. Those who have bought a day pass during their promotional period will have their day pass valid for three months from their opening date. If you haven’t bought any yet, you can purchase a day pass from their ticketing website at https://ticketing.mapsperak.com/.

Hope this theme park is going to bring many many tourists to Ipoh, projected to be one million a year! And that it will help boost the economic activities in Ipoh, which has been dire in my opinion for the past 2 years!

Have to really cut energy use at home

Just received my TNB electricity bill. Price has gone up, again! Used to be around RM200-300. This month has gone up to RM440! Unbelievable, the most expensive electricity bill (for residential use) I have received, yet. I know we switch on two air cond at night, everyday. But apart from that we have not been doing anything too differently. Must be to do with the hot weather lately. I wasn’t aware that there was a price hike from TNB, or was there?! Whatever it is, we are moving my daugher to our bedroom, so that we only need to power on one air cond at night. It’s just too bloody expensive to keep two air cond running everyday at this rate. And we probably need to take shelter in places with air cond more often, it is so bloody hot lately, especially in the afternoon! It is going to be this hot for how much longer??

Interesting insight into Lost World of Tambun

Spoke to a friend who is working in Lost World of Tambun today. Whilst it is not hard to figure out that a theme park like Lost World is a lot quieter on off peak days like school days, I was shocked when my friend told me that on a busy day there can be 12,000 visitors visiting Lost World in a day! Yes, twelve thousand! Initially I thought I heard it wrong. But nope, she then gave out further figures on their not so busy weekends that they can still draw in five to six thousand visitors. On school days (weekdays) the number of visitors is a lot smaller, in the hundreds. The variance is SO huge! 

So they open from 10am to 11pm. This means that on average there’ll be like a thousand visitors clocking in every hour on a busy day. Most probably quite a lot more at a certain time like in the morning when everyone wants to come in early for a day of fun!
Mind boggling stuff. I haven’t been to Lost World before. I guess when I do decide to go there, I’ll most certainly want to avoid their peak days! Now I understand the business case for letting out properties as homestay near Lost World.

The  Bagel Kitchen has closed shop

The other day, probably a week ago I went to the Bagel Kitchen wanted to buy bagels for my wife. But it was closed. At the time I wasn’t sure whether it was closed for good or just for a day. It was a Sunday, so I suspected that they might be closing for good, as Sunday is a normally a good day for business.

Went past again today and saw a “To Rent” sign hanging outside their fence. It is a nice looking place, nicely renovated, and facing the main road. But I guess the Ipoh folks are not so hot on Bagels. Anyway it is going to be a tough year this year so it might not be such a bad idea to cut the loss.

MAPS to open its doors by June

Just when I heard rumours that MAPS is facing problem with British partners ditching the project and lack of funding to continue the project, this news about them opening in June appears. I’m eager to see if they can meet this June deadline this time. I’m not overly hopeful, having been disappointed by their postponement, twice. You see, this piece of news is not in sync with posts from their official Facebook site. MAPS did not officially mention on their Facebook that they will open in June, despite countless angry queries from ticket/pass holders asking them about its opening date. The current Menteri Besar Zambry was right to press for an answer about the opening date. But will it be enough with a statement like that?

Apparently the project is part owned by ex-MB’s son. And he is currently trying to flock a mountain, with minerals I guess, to help continue the project. So sounds like funding is still an issue. And the British partners have pulled out, so it will be interesting to see if they can run it well even if they can open its door in June. What do you think?

Master Jump and BlueBlue Playland

Following  up on my previous post about a new Trampoline Park opening in Ipoh, here are further details I found on Facebook about the new facility:

Location – The Trampoline Park is located in the MBC building (see image below)  in Gunung Rapat. It is behind OldTown cafe, which is facing the main road Jalan Gopeng (or Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah as it is known as nowadays).

 The building itself looks mostly empty, with many vacant lots. The Trampoline Park is located on the third floor, together with badminton courts and a children soft play called BlueBlue Playland.

The Trampoline Park, called Master Jump, looks like this, with basketball rings, soft foam pool, and rock climbing wall to add variety to it. Nothing extraordinary, looks like one my friend showed me in KL, with no air-conditioning too. They however have a massive ceiling fan, like those you can find in some food courts in Ipoh.

The pricing for playing in Master Jump is as follows. Note that the rate is per hour. Can’t tell if it is expensive or not, but the socks certainly are, at RM10 a pair! And all customers have to fill in “Declaration & Waiver Form”, which essentially means that you will bear all the risk of playing in the Trampoline Park. Like I said in my previous post, you better make sure you know what you are signing your kids up for and that your kids are not going to do anything silly there without supervision. And check with the staff there to see if they know what to do in case there is an emergency, whether it be to do with first aid or evacuation procedure.

Located next to Master Jump is BlueBlue Playland, which should be more suitable for my daughter. It has a big climb frame like one in Cheeky Tots (probably bigger, I couldn’t tell because I haven’t been there before) too, but with an ocean theme. One thing that concerns me is this soft play does not seem to be air-conditioned (no air cond ducts and all). Will it be enough with just another massive ceiling fan to cool the place down? It is located on the third floor, directly under the roof, and I think it will be like an oven on a hot afternoon! Fan assisted oven LOL I really haven’t been to a soft play that is not air-conditioned in Malaysia. I would really like to know what parents think about such soft play. The children will be sweaty and smelly very quickly. And when there are tens of such sweaty and smelly children running amok in the playland, I’m not sure if I want to be around for long even if I manage to keep myself cool in the fan assisted oven 🙂

Moving on to the pricing. I’m surprised that they are going to charge newborn for going into the softplay too. I have a son a few months old. He can’t sit upright yet, can’t really crawl, only just started to flex his fingers to grip things. I’ll be very interested to see if they provide any baby toys suitable for newborn to justify charging such fee! Apart from that, they are also charging quite a lot more than other soft plays in Ipoh, notably Cheeky Tots. This makes BlueBlue Playland the most expensive softplay now. At RM28, it is RM6.50 more expensive than Cheeky Tots on weekends, and RM12 dearer on a Friday! As for accompanying adults, additional adult is charged at RM10 during peak days! This is insane. It invariably discourages parents with one child from spending time together as a family unit in BlueBlue Playland. And the socks! RM7 for a pair of socks! Utter despair. On the bright side, they allow OKU (with OKU pass) to play for free in their playland from Monday to Thursday. Even on peak day, it is only RM5 for the OKU. 

I was initially rather excited by the new soft play in town, but was put off by the pricing, not to mention the oven bit. What do you think?

Trampoline park in Ipoh

I first get to know about trampoline park (I didn’t even know at the time it is called a trampoline park!) when my friend showed me photos of such premise, possibly located in KL. It looks fun, kids can bounce up and down, and side way too! A fun way for kids to do some exercise. I wasn’t interested at the time, as my daughter was still very young, about 5 years old perhaps.

Heard that there is going to be a trampoline park in Ipoh soon too! So I try to check it out and see where it is. No information available as far as I know, but get to read up more about trampoline park though. It is growing in popularity in the US, with an estimated five to six parks opening every month. But the injuries as a result from playing on trampolines shot up too! 

More evidence trampoline parks are dangerous places for kid

A few important points to note are:

  1. Parents should not be complacent and think that the staff working in the park will supervise or ensure your child’s safety while playing there.
  2. Parents need to be aware of the risks of playing in the park, but the staff also need to be trained to know some first aid knowledge, with procedures on how to handle the situation in case there is an emergency. Cases of broken arm, broken back, and even broken neck have occurred before in these parks!
  3. Discourage your child from doing silly stunts like somersault and all without proper supervision.
  4. Don’t let your child jump together with others on the same trampoline.
  5. Keep your child away from bigger kids.

Does make me think twice before I decide to bring my daughter to a trampoline park, if there is one in Ipoh..

Updated 2/2/2017:

There is indeed a new trampoline park in Ipoh, it is called Master Jump. See my next post on this new trampoline park.

How much sleep do kids need?

My daughter is in her primary 1 this year. We put her to bed around 8pm. But she needs to wake up by 6:15am the latest, to allow her time to get changed, eat breakfast and brush teeth. Then she needs to be at school by 7:15am. We live quite close by to the school, so we can afford to leave the house at around 7am. Her school finishes at 2:30pm and she can arrive home before 3pm. This means that she only has at most 5 hours at home to do whatever she needs to get done. Lunch and supper will take between 1-2 hours, considering how quickly my daughter eats. Then she still has much home work to do, given by her school teachers! Now I understand why children has no time to do anything during school days! But having said that, some parents, in fact many in Malaysia, still manage to squeeze in tuition for their beloved. This almost certainly eats into their sleep time. According to the NHS, primary school children between the age of 7-12 years old need between 10 hours 30 minutes to 9 hours 15 minutes of sleep a day. So my daughter is actually still 15 minutes short of the recommended number of hours of sleep! Little wonders why children easily fall sick here. Most children are sleep deprived, and they lack physical exercise, as home work and tuition is given higher priority instead. It is a pity that children need to live this kind of life nowadays when they should be given more time to goof around at this young age.. 

McDonald’s Ipoh City Centre closing in November

McDonald's Ipoh City Centre
McDonald’s Ipoh City Centre
Actually I first heard about this outlet, located opposite of Super Kinta (now UTC), closing last year, from someone who owns McDonald’s in Ipoh. I was taken aback by the news at the time, considering that it was the first McDonald’s in Ipoh, somewhat iconic, and probably meant a lot to many who used to hang out there after school since the late 80’s. I remember asking for donations around that area for my school. And it was a luxury to be able to afford eating in McDonald’s. Not so much happy memories, but they are memories of my past nevertheless..

So they are finally closing up shop next month. And it is the second McDonald’s to close shop after the one in AEON Kinta City last July. Again they are in favour of 24 hours drive-thru model, more profitable. Especially for this outlet since this part of town is not as busy as it used to be. So it’s good bye to this McDonald’s outlet then.

When you are not on the corporate ladder anymore

It’s been over three years now since I stopped climbing the corporate ladder. To be honest I really don’t miss working in a big corporate environment. The pressure to perform just gets more and more intense as you are more and more senior in the company. And I am not one who will always try to seek opportunity to be visible infront of senior management. Hence life gets depressing during appraisal when boss then tries to play down your contribution, because visibility infront of senior management is important in order to justify a glowing review of performance.

Now that I run my business, whilst there is a whole new dimension of stress that comes with it, at least the peer pressure and expectation from bosses are off for me. I need to worry about money (cash flow) a lot more, but at least I do not need to appear like I am intentionally stepping on others to climb up the corporate ladder. That is one aspect I do not like, as I prefer relationship with my colleagues to be less competitive in nature. And I stop worrying about how much I earn (salary) compare to my peers nowadays, because I have taken a very different path. I owe the bank a lot of money (corporate debt) with a business, and income (profit) is a lot more variable when compared to a fixed salary job. But in a way I think I am happier because I don’t need to get stressed out as much going to work with some insufferable colleagues always looking to impress.

Okay I also need to throw in more time running a business, and it can be exhausting too, so I am heading for a rest now. Goodnight!