Best creamy yogurt in Malaysia

Thick creamy yogurt
Thick creamy yogurt

We have been used to yogurt in the UK, thick and creamy, and spoilt with choices on the flavours available. But in Malaysia, at the time when we moved back, the choices of yogurt were very limited, and they didn’t taste anywhere as good as those available in the UK. At one point we have even thought about starting our own yogurt business in Malaysia LOL. But obviously it’s easier said than done and we have no experience in the food manufacturing industry. Anyway we have since found this brand of yogurt to be as good if not better than those we enjoyed back in the UK. It’s called Dairy Farmers. Very pleased with the yogurt. Give it a try. We have not looked back since. We used to buy Yoplait, but have since dished it. But mind you it is on the expensive side, about RM21 a tub (600g).

Updated 31/1/2016: Just found out that you can buy one at Jaya Grocer Ipoh Parade for “only” RM18. The cheapest we can find so far in Ipoh.

Jaya Grocer is opening on 30th January

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Jaya Grocer

Jaya Grocer is about to open in a couple of days time on the 30th January 2016. Hurrah! Have to go find out what range of items they stock there one day. At the moment all supermarkets are full of people stocking up for Chinese New Year, so definitely won’t be going there on their opening day.

Updated 31/1/2016:
And so we went on the second day, on a Sunday :) It was difficult to find a parking space in Ipoh Parade. Anyway it is a well lit well arranged supermarket, probably typical of Jaya Grocer. But not overly impressed with the range of products on the shelves. Bought ourselves some vegetarian sausages and burgers, and yam which is apparently very cheap at RM6.50 a kilo.

Jaya Grocer
Jaya Grocer

Buying our own house in Ipoh

Just placed a small deposit for a new house. Looks like we are finally getting on the proper ladder in Ipoh. Well, in about two years time actually because the house will only be ready by end of 2017 LOL. Considering how much property value has shot up in the recent 5-10 years, I thought we might never be able to buy anything decent in the short term, i.e. in areas we are interested in yet we can afford.

Shared swimming pool

We are quite pleased with the housing concept that we are buying into. It is like a town house concept, not so different from the house we have lived in in the UK. But these houses are more standalone, as residents don’t need to share the house, e.g. with one resident on the ground floor and another occupying the floors upstairs. And this has additional facilities like a swimming pool, shared amongst residents living in the gated and guarded area. The lot that we are buying shares a communal garden too, with residents between two rows of houses.

Communal garden

It is a good concept, as it can help forge community ties, which is increasingly lacking in modern society. Of course this is based on assumption that other residents are good going people, which I hope they are, as otherwise they wouldn’t be interested in such housing concept in the first place would they?

We are getting a corner lot so we’ll have some land on the side. Not sure what we are going to do with the space yet, but perhaps can grow some herbs and vegetables. We’ll definitely need to keep the grass in check. I do love a nice patch of grass in my garden. But I found that it is bloody difficult to keep the weeds out, especially when we have weeds growing wild in our neighbours’ house! Hopefully it is not the case at the new place.

Looking forward to the new house. Immediate concern now however is to get loan approval from banks to finance our house…’doh!

Entrance into Springfields Residence

Selling our little car

Finally got ourselves a buyer for our little car, after placing an ad on mudah.com.my for almost 2 weeks. Yesterday the buyer came paid a deposit of RM1,000 for our car. Now need go to Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalanraya (JPJ) to get my car a Puspakom inspection certificate, so the buyer can be certain that the car he is buying is a legal one, and get the necessary forms required for transfer of car ownership.

Once that is done, not forgetting money changing hands for the car, our little car will no longer be ours. Despite it having given us quite a few headaches before, think we will remember the car for a long time. It is after all our first car since we moved back from England. Our daughter still loves to sit in the little car even after we have bought a new car, our bimmer. Stark difference in quality in so many ways yet our daughter is indifferent to them all. Hope the new buyer will take good care of our little car though.

Updated 03/01/2016:
Some complications occurred which perhaps sellers should take note. Before sending your car to Puspakom for inspection, remove the glass tinting stickers first. Basically you will fail the inspection if there is any tinting sticker on the windscreen. Visibility needs to be above 70%. Without any sticker visibility is only around 75% already. So why there are still shops installing tinting for cars? Because JPJ has another set of benchmark which will allow certain level of tinting to be used on the road. So whatever numbers you see on the warranty card for your tinting is irrelevant when you send to Puspakom. It will cost you another RM31.80 for a retest. People really should complain about this double benchmarks which is illogical and a waste of motorists’ money.

Puspakom Inspection ResultWith tinting front windscreen was only 48% visibility. Windows of front passengers failed too, below 50%.

Jaya Grocer opening in Ipoh Parade

Jaya Grocer
Found out that Jaya Grocer is opening a shop in Ipoh Parade. Hurrah! Delighted because there are food products that we like but cannot be found in AEON or Tesco in Ipoh. There used to be a Cold Storage where Jaya Grocer is going to be, in the old wing, basement of Ipoh Parade. But it has packed up many years ago. Think Giant has tried their luck there too to no avail. Presumably because Ipoh Parade is not convenient for shoppers like housewives, to get there in the first place, or to unload their shopping. And parking is relatively expensive nowadays at Ipoh Parade, compared to old times. Competition is getting more fierce, from new AEON and Tesco outlets, offering free to cheaper parking.

Nevertheless I hope Jaya Grocer can survive, so we don’t have to buy some of our food products, mainly imported, only when we are in KL or Penang :) This cause is worth supporting LOL.

http://www.ipoh.parade.com.my/directory.php

Chatime De Garden moving to AEON Big Falim

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Chatime De Garden

Saw the above notice when on my way to change my wife’s and my mobile phone plans at DiGi De Garden. Not going to miss it since I seldom drink their expensive milk tea anyway. Heard that their first Chatime in Ipoh, located at Greentown, opposite Subway, has closed too. So all the Chatime outlets in Ipoh can now only be found in shopping malls. Milk tea or drinks business is more profitable in shopping malls then I guess?

Ben’s Burger has closed shop in Ipoh Parade

Haven’t eaten at Ben’s Burger before. It was very visible from the road and located next to one of the main entrances to Ipoh Parade (opposite of Sam Tet secondary school).

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Drove past it about a week ago, and it looked rather dim from the outside. Suspected that it is no longer in business. Happened to be in Ipoh Parade yesterday. Took the effort to walk over there just to confirm (there is actually no entrance to Ben’s Burger from Ipoh Parade). Saw a few Snow Mountain workers outside. They were there to take an extractor fan away.

So Ben’s Burger is indeed closed. Tables, chairs and other bits and pieces are still there. From what I heard, it was closed about a month ago. Ben and Lynette however is still in business, located on ground floor, inside Ipoh Parade. BTW both of them belong to the same company, The Secret Garden (TSG) group. The take up of vacated lot in Ipoh Parade seems rather quick, as there is already a banner outside Ben’s Burger indicating an ice cream shop, it seems, is going to take up the space. Better than any of the AEON it seems.

Public Bank SecureSign device how-to

Finally got our SecureSign device from Public Bank for online business e-banking. Looks similar to HSBC’s security token:
SecureSign PBB
However the way it is used is very different from HSBC’s. There are two stages in carrying out an online transaction. The logic behind is there may be more than one person who can access the business bank account (logging into the account does not require the SecureSign device). But not all of them have the authority to carry out online transactions. So the first stage involves creating transactions, e.g. to pay for utility bills. Subsequently, the person with SecureSign device will approve these transactions, presumably one by one (haven’t tried this out yet).

In the first stage, I made payment in a similar way to how I was accustomed to. But when I was expecting to key in a secure code from the SecureSign device before I confirm a transaction, I managed to confirm without one. But the transaction was then put under “Pending” status.

In the second stage, I needed to click on the “Transaction Approval” tab to proceed:
Transaction_Approval_PBB
On the left hand column, there were “Maker Transaction Status” and “Authorizer Transaction Status”. I could view pending transaction under “Maker Transaction Status” or “Authorizer Transaction Status”. To authorise transactions, I needed to click on “Authorizer Transaction Status”, followed by “Approve/Reject Transaction”. There I was required to search for the transaction to approve, which in my case was just one pending. Here came the unintuitive bit, after clicking on the transaction that I wanted to approve. I was required to key in the secure code. The secure code was to be generated from the SecureSign device. However it wasn’t entirely clear from the Quick Guide that came with the SecureSign device how it could be generated:
SecureSign Quick Guide

First, I keyed in the PIN number into the SecureSign device when prompted. Then I pressed the “1” or “Sign” button on the device, before keying in the first set of data. This first set of data was actually the first line of numbers on-screen in red. After keying in the numbers followed by “OK” on the device, I keyed in the second line of numbers in red (it was the amount figure, but remember to omit the decimal dot) followed by “OK”. Then only the secure code appeared, which I entered on-screen to approve the transaction.

Now do you understand how the SecureSign device facilitates online business transactions for Public Bank?

Updated on 4/12/2015:
Just found out today that if your pending transaction is not authorised within 7 days, the transaction will vanish by itself. Yes, vanish, because it will not show up anywhere, even if you try to search for it. It is not rejected nor deleted. It will disappear from you, or even the Public Bank staff. Initially I thought I can just keep creating transactions, let them stay pending, until I authorise them at a later date closer to actual payment due date for my bills. The reason I did that because Public Bank do not allow transactions to executed on a future date. Absolutely rubbish. Maybank can do that. And how difficult can it be to keep a record of expired (pending) transactions, so that I don’t have to dig out transaction details again to make the payment. Basically their commercial online payment system is just not very well thought out to me. It is appropriate to describe it as rubbish.

Updated on 1/2/2016:
If you damage the device, it will cost you RM50 (plus GST) to replace. Don’t put it in your pocket, especially if your jeans is tight, like mine, with lots of things inside too, as mine cracked. Replacement does not take long, I got mine replaced in 2-3 days time.

TGV cinema tickets discount with Maybank cards

It is one of those things after having a child. We very rarely go to cinema. The last time we went we were given free tickets to watch Mission Impossible as a BMW white card member. Didn’t have to buy tickets. Few days ago we went to TGV Station 18 to watch 007 Spectre to only then realised that it is much cheaper to buy tickets using Maybank cards! (In fact we went to queue at the pop corn counter to buy tickets, not knowing there are separate ticket counters!) A ticket that costs RM15 or RM17 (standard or preferred seats) will become only RM10 with Maybank card (see details here). And every Thursday buy 1 free 1. Massive savings! I have a bank account with Maybank but has been dormant for many years, and I have been paying RM10 every year. So went to Maybank Greentown to activate my account today, and converted my yellow ATM card to a Maybank debit card, for RM12 one off charge, and activated my Maybank2u online bank account too. The card will come in handy for our next movie, Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 2 hehe.

Such cheap credit available in the UK

Before I came back to Malaysia, I was clever to raise some cheap capital in the UK to start my business in Malaysia, via personal loans and credit cards. Particularly from credit cards. At the time, the best deals were offering 0% balance transfer for 2 years. I only needed to pay the one off handling fee and that would become the interest to pay over the two-year period.

When the two-year period was up, somehow I was able to roll the debt to other credit cards. Deals were not as good anymore as I was only able to take advantage of promotions given to me by my existing credit cards having moved back to Malaysia. And this goes on for almost three years now. Lately I even managed to transfer cash into my current accounts, again 0% interest for a period of time with a low enough handling fee! It is so much easier to get credits from UK credit cards, almost beyond belief, when I can’t even get a credit card yet in Malaysia.

Problem with record low interest rate in the UK is a lot of the consumer spending nowadays is fueled by such easy credits from credit cards. And credit card companies are making it so easy for us to roll debt around. All we need to do is fulfill 0% interest minimum payment to service the debt, which is normally a small sum relative to wages in the UK.

The U.S. has been threatening to raise interest rate for many months now. And the UK is monitoring the situation too. But I seriously doubt they will raise it anytime soon. The implication on consumer spending is going to be huge, and it is going to hit the banks as bad debt rises.

Good news for me, as I can still keep myself afloat as a result. Otherwise with the weak Ringgit, I would need to take a massive hit if I were to repay the credit card debt by early next year! And raising capital in Malaysia is so much harder and more expensive. Double whammy!