Category Archives: Wisdom

Bubble tea plastic waste from bad to worse!

Bubble tea is making a come back. So many bubble tea shops popping up even in a sleeping town like Ipoh. I suppose the nation do like milk tea, whether it is the traditional teh tarik or the trendy milk tea with various new ingredients added to it.

But one thing I notice that is getting from bad to worse is the plastic used for bubble tea. I have enquired with a bubble milk tea supplier before about serving the drink in our shop. I wasn’t already very impressed with the use plastic cups, and the sealed plastic lid, for the drink at the time. That was a couple of years ago. The supplier told us that it is actually very energy efficient using this type of plastic cups, which is made of Polypropylene (PP), also known as PP cups. It does not take much oil or hydrocarbon to make one as it is targeted for single use anyway, not for recycling. Energy efficient in the sense that you don’t need to wash, since it is single use, unlike mugs or cups which requires energy from labour workers to wash them after use. These are the cups still being used by bubble tea chains like Chatime and Tealive. The cups are a bit soft or flimsy to hold on to, especially when the cup is full, but not a problem, people have been drinking from this kind of cups with no issue.

PP plastic cup
PP plastic cup with plastic lid and straw.

Here comes the latest trend, bubble tea is becoming more upmarket. So not only that new ingredients are introduced to the drink itself, with thick brown sugar, cheese, and what not. The drink needs to look the part too! People like to take photos of bubble tea they drink and post them on social media! So the drinks are now placed in a firmer, sturdier type of plastic, called PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic, because people like to seen holding a more elegant cup of drink.

PET plastic cup
PET plastic cup.

People can recycle this kind of plastic cups. But let’s be honest, that’s not what these customers of bubble tea do. They will just chuck the cups away as soon as they finish the drinks. So we have this drive by franchises like McDonald’s and Starbucks, and government initiatives, to discourage and/or to ban use of straws. Then we have this bunch of opportunists driving the latest craze with yet more plastic waste. I am aware that not all such trendy bubble milk tea chain or shops use PET plastic cups. But consumers need to be more aware of this plastic issues. I would suggest them to bring their own cup! For example Starbucks give discount to customers who bring their own mugs. Don’t see why these bubble tea shops can’t offer an equivalent initiative!

http://www.starbucks.com.my/responsibility/environment/recycling

Raising money for medical operation

This is an interesting topic. At least I find it worth discussing. Friend’s daughter need money for an operation overseas. A sizeable amount of money is needed, as it is an organ transplant operation, which the government hospital in Malaysia hasn’t got a lot of experience doing, hence the overseas option instead. And the operation is slightly more difficult than the a more routine operation involving organ donor’s from the exact same blood group.

Anyway the point is although the money required is quite significant, it is however in my view not beyond the reach of the family, or at least if their extended families are included. Instead they have approached a charity organisation and plea for donations to fund the operation. I guess the operation itself is a lot of money. On top of that the family needs to support themselves on other expenses going overseas, together, for the operation. The lost income from the parents together with day to day expenses whilst overseas is a double whammy and can easily cripple the finance of even a middle class family.

It’s a tough call, still. I probably would have tried to raise the money myself, by borrowing money from families and friends first, then maybe even from banks, before moving on to ask for donations. You see, asking for donations, on one hand can potentially help raise the target amount quite quickly. But on the other, it seems like an easy way out. I mean if generosity of people is so easy to come by, then there will be no business case for a medical insurance company. Every time when one needs money for medical purpose, people then respond positively to a donation drive. It is an ideal solution. But somehow I don’t feel comfortable about taking money from others if I feel that I have not exhausted my options. I don’t suppose I want to see my friend be burdened by a back breaking kind of debt, and be unduly stressed financially, on top of the worries that come with his daughter’s operation. But I guess I am one of those who are not very good at receiving (well not that I am very good at giving either). Hmm…

To feel part of the community

Having lived in the U.K. for over 15 years, I must say that I didn’t feel like I am associating myself to the British community quite as much as where I was brought up, which is Malaysia. Could it be because the U.K. is so well developed, and everything is much more well run that I feel it is more difficult for me to think of anything I can contribute to the community? You see there is much flaws in Malaysia, lots more things I can think of that can help improve the community, having lived overseas before, and seen the different ways things are done elsewhere. I believe this is also one of the reasons I have chosen to move back to Malaysia. On top of the tiny little fact that all my families live in Malaysia ­čÖé And that I am also probably influenced by my dad who has spent many years of his life contributing to the society, albeit more towards the Chinese community.

Having moved back to Malaysia for close to 5 years now, looking back I have not been contributing much to the community in Ipoh either. It is a bit of a shame really. But life in Malaysia is a lot busier than living in the U.K. And I’m tied up massively by my business, not to mention my young children which we have added a second one after moving back to Malaysia. I am a lot more aware of what’s going on now that we live in Malaysia. The education system, the business environment, the government services, the national politics etc etc. There is much room for improvements on many things, which the Brits will say the same thing about their country. But believe me, we have a much bigger beast to deal with.

I hope my business improves this year so that I can have a bit more time to do something more to the community now that my children are getting bigger.

Pakatan Harapan to take over Johor?

Rumour has it that if Johor is going to fall in the next General Election (GE14), together with Penang and Selangor, the finance of the government is going to take a big hit. You see, Selangor, Johor and Penang are the three most prosperous states in Malaysia. Barisan Nasional (BN) has lost the crown jewel in Selangor to the opposition alliance. If Johor, an UMNO stronghold, is felled too, the implication is such that Sabah and Sarawak may be swayed to join the opposition alliance as well. Then the opposition alliance may stand a chance to form a new government, for the first time in history. But is it doable in the first place?

Just had a look at the composition of the existing state assembly of Johor. There are 56 seats. BN current controls 38 seats. Pakatan Harapan (PH) controls 14 seats. Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) controls 4 seats. A simple majority requires 29 seats. So PH needs to wrestle 15 seats from the current incumbent, and that is assuming that they can hold their existing seats. That is a big ask if you were to ask me. We know Muhyiddin has some presence in Johor, and Mahathir is plotting to bring Najib down. And the well respected Johor Royal Family and Najib’s administration are not the best of friends. But will the Johoreans, particularly the Malays, be keen to vote for PH? And we haven’t even factored in the disruption brought on by PAS since they are not part of the line-up of the opposition alliance. This means that potentially there will be many three corner fights in GE14, and this will most likely benefit BN. So how is PH going to win over Johor in the next GE? It is just silly talks if I’m being honest..

Foam pit can be a hazard too at trampoline park!

Came across this news on Facebook today about a Chinese woman who got injured at a trampoline park in China. The video captured showed the woman did a somersault into a foam pit. 

http://www.chinapress.com.my/?p=928372

I can’t tell what went wrong, perhaps she should have landed in a seated position. With a foam pit as a cushion I would have thought it shouldn’t be much of a problem even if one lands too awkwardly. But the woman broke the T12 vertebra as a result.

Then I googled to see if I can find more information about this news and found the following reported in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/14/trampoline-park-injuries-trigger-hundreds-of-ambulance-call-outs

Another woman did a jump into the foam pit and fractured her T12 vertebra. Different kind of jump, but both into the foam pit and got injured. So looks like it can be hazardous too even when you jump into something that is supposed to provide you protection. I wonder if the park owners could have done more to minimise such injuries, or that equipment suppliers should move on to use other material as cushion or something. Because the foam pit does give people the false impression that it is safe to do any silly jumps into it. And there lies the main problem I believe.

Our own little car in Ipoh

For the past few weeks we have been relying on our mums’ cars to get around. We tried our best to work around the time at which they need to use the car. Our mums need to use the car for going to the wet market in the morning. And they need car to send their grand children to kindergarten or tuition centres. So often we have to plan our day to allow us to come home on time. Life is difficult without a car in Malaysia as public transport is hopeless here. And it is very hot here. Not only do we need a car. We would like to have a car with good air cond too, which one of mums’ does not have.

Also both cars do not have CD player. So we have not been able to play our daughter’s nursery rhyme CDs whilst driving our daughter around. Can’t really blame her for not feeling very keen to go out with us. And that she keeps reminding us every now and then, “no Malaysia, no Malaysia”.

So it is such a big difference it makes when we bought our own car, albeit just a small and second hand car. A 1.3 litre Myvi, made in Malaysia. We just feel like our “basic” need is satisfied. It has good air cond, a CD player, in good condition and a joy to drive. In fact we are more than satisfied. We are happy. We can do our own things without worrying about the time. And we can get more things done in a day. No need to move the car seat in and out from our mums’ cars everyday. This is in spite of a certain disapproval from some of our family members on why we have chosen to buy such a small car. It does feel like the car you drive in Malaysia will give out a certain signal about your social standing in the community. But whatever, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think of me.

The 11th hour

Like my friend asked, “When did a documentary last make you cry?”. I certainly could not remember when, if it ever did happen to me. The nature has been for too long far too underrated. To put it in figures, according to David Suzuki, it will cost the world approximately $35 trillion dollars a year to replace what nature does for us for free! Hence it is baffling when we talk about economy, growth, and whatnot, the wonders of nature are not included in the equation. It is as though humans are above everything else in nature, and that we have the rights to take it for granted. Makes me very sad. It really does not matter to me if human eventually extincts. The Earth will survive, so as other life forms, albeit simpler ones. We just don’t deserve to live if we do not change the way we think and live, so as to maintain the Earth at a condition suitable for human to live. Keep living irresponsibly, and keep coming up with theories to justify your existence above everything else.

Very quiet Christmas this year!

Oracle Reading, by Bobonacus

It’s been very unlike Christmas this year in the UK. There isn’t much festive mood, no Christmas tunes heard in shopping malls, and considering that we are less than one month away from Christmas, this is not looking good. Perhaps people are finally feeling the wrath of the recession. However having said that, the house prices continue to rise again this month. Confusing.Winter this year has been very mild as well, except today, when it went down to -2 degree celcius in the early morning. Had to scrap ice off the windscreen of my company car. Hate driving in winter. Anyway looks like we are not going to get a white Christmas this year. In any case, we will not be spending Christmas in the UK. Why do I care…

Groceries packaging

The other day we bought some ready-meals and some groceries. In just one day our bin was filled with an entire plastic bag of rubbish, almost all from packaging, it’s unreal. Most of the time we cook from fresh produce, so it really hit home to see so much waste coming from our everyday consumption of food. My friend is right to point out that nowadays people are so involved in working like a slave to earn a “good” living that they haven’t realised that a lot of what they earn are use to pay for things and services we don’t really need. Let’s face it, apart of the basic human needs of food and shelter, the rest are one of those things that are just good to have, not really necessary. In order to appear attractive, clean and convenient, some companies have a separate department that focus on how to package and market their products. Everything is so value driven that it now gets to a point where it is ridiculous, because the world is becoming so efficient by the year that a lot of the so called “values” are created to merely keep people employed. People thus have to work harder and harder to pay for others to do simple things that they could have done themselves in the old days and luxury items that we hardly ever need! The world has certainly seen a lot of progress, technology wise, standard of living, with better healthcare etc. But our way of life, particularly the Western way of life, is in need of serious comtemplation.

Such volatile stock market

The stock market took another tumble despite the latest bank rescue plan announced by the UK government, and a coordinated 0.5% interest rate cut across the world, involving Americas, UK and European Union. Never have I seen these countries working together at the same time. Just goes on to tell you the scale of the financial problem we are now facing. Property bubble, subprime problem, inflation, bank liquidity problem, now leading to increasing unemployment. The economy is definitely heading for the worse. Has it turned the corner? Apparently not yet, as goverments are still coming up with rescue packages to try and help various sectors – property, bank, insurer, manufacturing etc.Few days ago I thought the banking sector might have already reached the bottom. We started moving into the stock market, acquiring bank shares. That was before the US finally approved the $700 billion rescue plan to buy up toxic debts. Yet that did little to stabilise the market. Today’s announcement from the UK to part-nationalise banks I feel is welcoming, as it should help strengthen the banks, bring some sanity back to how bank should be remunerated, and get the bank to operate more sensibly. Unfortunately, investors are still uncertain and the stock market continue to slide.To be honest, I still feel the banking shares are unbelievably low. If people have cash to spare, it is at this kind of turmoil that you start investing in the stock market, to maximise the return on the meagre sum of money we have got. Often people will question about the timing. Yes, we don’t know how low the market can go, and people always want to catch the absolute bottom. But can we always get the “best” deal?