Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Something’s Brewing has closed shop

Something’s Brewing opposite Festival Walk
Saw on Facebook that this cafe has packed up shop after Chinese New Year, and the owner is trying to sell off various things in the shop, if not the business itself. Was initially interested in the coffee machine and the deep freezers. But I don’t suppose these are absolute necessities for our business at the moment so I would rather keep our cash. In difficult times like this cash is king. In fact I am thinking of raising some working capital for our business. But need to get our second year financial account audited and filed first. Without at least two years financial history the banks won’t look at our application.

Back to Something’s Brewing. It is a cafe that serves various types of tea, e.g. fruit tea. I haven’t been there before, but it is similar to the one in De Garden, Tea & Tattle. In fact Tea & Tattle is a result of a business partnership break up in Something’s Brewing some time ago. I’m not sure if I enjoy drinking such tea, as I’m more the traditional black tea with milk type of drinker. It is hard to tell whether Something’s Brewing would survive if there is not a Tea & Tattle that tries to compete for the same pie. It is a niche market, which is fine. But it does look like the market is so small that it can’t sustain both cafes. We’ll see if Tea & Tattle can survive in the long run. They do have a unique offering, I think, but customer base takes a long time to build. Unlike coffee drinking which is heavily marketed around the world, fruit tea is relatively unknown here. If you haven’t a big marketing budget then you can only build your market up organically. And you need to prepare yourself for competition. And that is not just from potentially new tea drinking cafes… It is a tough business. It really baffles me why so many entrepreneurs still try to get into the cafe business.

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

Choy Kee egg tarts

Having tasted egg tarts from all around Ipoh like Nam Heong (old town), Hong Kee (along the road to UTC or Super Kinta) etc, think I much prefer the egg tarts from Choy Kee located in Kampung Simee.
Choy Kee bakery
You can also buy the egg tarts in Kampung Simee wet market in the morning, before the bakery shop opens at 11pm. Or at other shops as listed above I guess. The pastry is fluffy but crisp, and the egg is just about firm enough like eating soft boiled egg, easily “melt” in your mouth. Best enjoy when it is still warm, just freshly baked. Yummy.
Choy Kee egg tart

A cheap Hoegaarden

Having touched on beer drinking in one of my earlier posts, I’m now curious how much a bottle of Hoegaarden actually costs in a supermarket. Here you go, 5 bottles of Hoegaarden, with a free glass, retailing at RM69.95 at Tesco.

Hoegaarden
Works out that it’s just under RM14 a bottle. Whereas at Marianis, during happy hour, it’s just RM12.80++. So it’s about the same price drinking at home or at Marianis! All the more reason to drink there before they move to Greentown!;)

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.

Weekend trip to Zurich

On the way up Mt Titlis

Went to Zurich for a weekend two weeks ago. Mainly because W won a pair of flight tickets to Zurich through her company’s lucky draw. Very lucky. Would have loved to stay longer, but I have run out of annual leaves. Such a beautiful country. I have been to Switzerland in summer. Love it. Been to Switzerland in winter, also love it, although not particularly a good time for sight-seeing or taking photos. This time it was autumn, love it too. Still plenty of sunshine, and the view from the top of Mt Titlis was just amazing! It must be a lovely place to live in. Full of outdoor activities all seasons, good transportation system and centrally located in Europe. The Swiss are so blessed!

Cycling in London

I’ve spent the past week commuting to London for a training course. Compared to 10 years ago when I first started living in London, there’s probably 1000% increased in the number of cyclists cycling in London during peak hours. Incredible, considering that London still has the same old narrow roads, with virtually no dedicated cycle lanes. What has improved is probably the traffic load, with the congestion charging scheme having been in place for a number of years now. And of course the public awareness on green issues, and drivers’ attitude to cyclists. I think it does help when some MPs even cycle to work themselves.For me it’s quite pleasing to see as cyclists somehow seem to be able to enliven up a city, making it a bit more friendly. This is what I like most about European cities. People can get to everywhere without having to always go on a car. Plenty of walkways, cycle lanes, parks, good network of public transport etc. Would people like to see cars in the city? I doubt it. I hope less and less people drive in the city, as then there will be more chance that cycle lanes will be built in this old world city.

Time

Life is rather busy lately. Not overwhelming, yet, but it happened to me a few times that I need to consciously stop myself from playing a movie that I have been thinking of watching for quite some time. 2 hours is not a long time, but often I find that I’d rather read a few more news articles on-line, update my blog, or watch a “short” while of TV programmes. There just seems to be a lot less time to spare these days, compared to when I was younger. But I have to admit that this is considerably better than if I were to be in Malaysia. Time is going to be even more scarce for me there, as I will have to allocate time to spend with my family. Social affairs among friends, colleagues and acquaintances are going to happen more frequently in Malaysia too. I’m sure a lot of people enjoy being with friends and family, but I find that this is quite suffocating some times. Getting together with people every now and then is fine. But going out almost every other day is just too much for me. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bit anti-social. But I certainly like to keep some time for myself, to relax, to reflect etc. I’m glad that I’m a guy, as at least I’m not expected to maintain a close relationship with male friends. I find that girls are definitely more demanding than guys when it comes to friendship. Anyway I can just see that life is going to be even tougher when there are kids around, ‘doh!

Little thoughts

Nothing gives me more pleasures than planning my holiday. As my workload has eased off this week, I can spend my leisure hours planning my summer trip to Scotland. It is all very exciting as I have long wanted to do some walks at the highlands.I can’t wait for the summer to come. There are so many places that I want to visit in the UK. I will probably get to take my first steam train in the UK. I am over the moon about it as I always like to experience how it was like living back in time. It always seems more romantic in those days when people lived a more idyllic lifestyle and there were less stress and buzz. The pace was slower and people lived a simpler life too. I think the world was a better place in those days although I know that there will be some who disagree. But at least we did not have climate change, terrorists, oil shortage etc. True that healthcare was not as advanced and poverty was more rampant, but I think these are lesser of the evils.

RTM1, RTM2 and Malaysia

I’ve known this German guy through project collaboration for about a year. But only yesterday did I get to know that he has worked in Malaysia for two and a half years back in 2002, at Angkasapuri, to train Malaysians on broadcast related work. What I found even more interesting is that he also knew about the recent election results. Impressive, through The Star online. And he has fond memories about working in Malaysia, and life in general, including his three kids. This is good to know, even though expats normally get very good remuneration working overseas.What he saw was a stable, prosperous country with a lot of natural resources and do not suffer from natural disasters. To a certain extent we have to be thankful to whoever who has made Malaysia the country we now have. When compared to other Southeast Asia countries, which he has the priviledge of visiting, Malaysia is definitely right up there. So from an “outsiders” point of view, he was baffled by the election results, and couldn’t quite grasp what the ruling government has done wrong. But what he did see was the attitude of the people working for RTM1 and RTM2. He was surprised to see how poor the quality of the programmes produced by these state-owned organisations. Whether they lack incentives or lack imaginations I don’t know, but they are not news anymore in Malaysia. Everybody knows they are poorly run, and nobody watches these channels. Well, not strictly, I know my dad still tunes in to watch the Mandarin news programme every evening. My German friend also saw people sleeping in the office 🙂 What a shame. I have a friend who used to work as a consultant for government projects, and I think he still has plenty of stories to share. Anyway I look at BBC programmes and I can see many passionate people who enjoy their work, and they keep producing world-class quality programmes. BBC is non-commercial too, so why the huge difference.When asked whether my German friend will consider living in Malaysia again, the answer is he certainly wouldn’t rule that option out. But hopefully by then he will see an even better country.