Archive | September, 2011

Reduce the Extreme Taxation on Alcohol in Malaysia

Budget 2012 is coming soon and there are rumours that Alcohol tax may be INCREASED! – short version – sign this petition now!

Reduce the Extreme Prices for Alcohol in Malaysia

Alcon Malaysia

For too long, responsible consumers of alcohol beverages in Malaysia have been subject to one of the highest prices on the planet for drinks, whether on-trade or off-trade. Although we contribute billions to the economy every year (On beer – $5.6 billion spent; $1 billion taxed in 2010 alone. Excluding liquor, wine, etc), there is no consultation on pricing with us, the stakeholders.

Currently, the high prices consumers face causes them to burn holes in their pockets, even for casual and irregular drinkers. Taxes should be reduced, or at the worst, maintained until Malaysia becomes a high-income nation in 2020. Any increase in tax is not justifiable.

Reasons:

1. We already pay huge duties and taxes on every glass that we drink. It’s unjustified and very expensive at the moment compared to any other country in the region. We already have the second highest duty on beer in the world, after Norway. But Norway has higher income of 8-9 times compared with Malaysia. Which means Malaysians probably pay the most for beer in the world.

2. The per-capita income for Malaysians is still so low and yet we still need to pay for premium prices for normal drinks. Eg: Local beer at a bar costs between $10 – $20, and imported beer $15 – $30. In most countries, beer and soft drinks are about the same price-wise. Even tourists and expats complain of the prices here.

3. High prices cause Malaysians to drink cheap and dangerous backyard brews and compounded hard liquors (CHL) like samsu, because they have been priced-out of the market for normal, safe alcohol. Many local producers don’t have any safety standards or quality checks. These cause various liver-related illnesses.

4. High prices also lead people to substitute alcohol for drugs. Drugs like ecstasy, aramin and such are widely available. Because of expensive alcohol, these drugs provide intoxication at very much better value-for-money.

5. Smuggling and related illegal activities are very high in Malaysia due to the high taxes. Legitimate importers lose out. Also smuggled products are often fake or expired.

6. Outlets must price their drinks more reasonably. Putting a mark-up of 200-300% is not acceptable. All around the world, bars don’t do that. This only happens here. A mark-up of 50-100% should be the maximum. Outlets need to go into the drinks industry as a long-term business, and not look at it as short-term gain. This ‘quick-buck’ and hit-and-run attitude is hurting consumers more.

7. The government should consider giving out legal brewing licenses to serious investors so that they can monitor the industry, rather then just stopping brewing licenses to limit the capacity. Eg: Many foreigners are tempted to invest in and open microbreweries in Malaysia but because of the restriction of license, many have turned to neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. We miss out legitimate and tourist-attracting businesses to our neighbours, and instead give backyard-industries licenses to produce CHLs.

8. The government needs to do studies on the impact of the prices. By increasing the duty, many F&B outlets that survive on volume will be greatly effected as less people will drink. It could also affect the taxation derived. Even worse, some outlets will be forced to shut down. That will further reduce the employment in the market.

9. The huge majority of Malaysians are responsible and social drinkers. According to the WHO, Malaysians consume very little overall, coming in at number 167 worldwide. However, any concern about the effects of becoming an alcoholic should be addressed via education, not more taxes. Eg: If motorcyclists are killed on the road, you don’t solve the problem by banning motorcycles.

THUS, we Malaysians call upon the government, importers, distributors and F&B outlets to attend to the unsustainable situation Malaysian consumers face, and make sincere and effective efforts to price alcohol beverages at a lot more reasonable levels, in accordance with the public’s per-capita income. Comparative studies need to be done by the authorities before any further action is taken on alcohol pricing.

So sign the petition NOW!

Reduce the Extreme Prices for Alcohol in Malaysia

You can also join the cause on Facebook here:

Alcohol-Consumer-Rights Group Malaysia

PS: Catch the live interview with Alcon reps on BFM (89.9) tonight at about 6.30pm with Deep and Ben Ng. Yea!

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Continue Reading · 2 Comments · Alcoholic Frolic, Serious Issues

Them Old Raving Days

How I remember these mad moves, and how I envied Leeroy from The Prodigy back in the day with his mad moves, which I believe to be the precursor to the Melbourne Shuffle. Also envied his job, which was ‘Rave Dancer’.

Yeh…this what what he did for a living, went to raves, sucked on a babies dummy and did rave dancing!

This takes me back, I vividly remember ravin’ to this track when I was about 15 – it was a monster back then.

The Prodigy and Altern 8 just took it to another level, this video one really captures the underground rave feeling (yah I used to hit up all the gypsy raves in unused warehouses and even went to one in a disused Church!).

This was released in 1994, I started raving in about 1993 and hit my real top level rave in Leicester (Die Hard) on my 16th birthday in 1994. This my my raving era!

Altern 8 – E-vapor-8 & Altern 8 Activ-8 still two of the most MASSIVE rave tunes ever, gives me goosebumps listening to it again.

Fucking LEGENDARY.

Another class – Ratpack – Searchin’ For My Rizla..watch those blim burns in your nylon adidas track pants…I was sitting in the corner….

More classic rave – SL2 – Way in my brain – loved this one.

Along with SL2 – On a Ragga Trip..

Those were the days, raving till the sun came up…memories.

After that it kinda shifted into Happy Hardcore for a while, Cheesy Quavers we called it…manic stuff. If you don’t know what it sounds like, it sounds like you need to neck a lot of speed to understand it:

I drifted off into the world of Drum and Bass – which is where I am still am, with a good dose of Dubstep of course. BTW love the meld between DnB and Dubstep too, check this track out – Modestep – Sunlight.

This video really captures the scene well too and the tune has a wicked oldskool feel, I LOVE Chase & Status – wish I was in London right now cos they are playing at O2 (Brixton Academy) on October 14th..

If there’s any movie that really captures the feeling from that era – it’s Human Traffic – I can watch it over and over again. Which reminds me I haven’t watched it for a good while.

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Continue Reading · 1 Comment · Music

Off To Singapore I Went

It’s been a busy couple of weekends, especially for my car – it probably did 1000km or more for both of the last two weekends. With the previous weekend being a long 5-6 hour drive to the jetty for Lang Tengah and back again and the past weekend being a much faster 3 hour drive to Singapore and back.

It was a multi-purpose trip, in part to do some paperwork stuff and in part to get a food processor of awesome.

Singapore is an interesting place, I was never very fond of it really – a lot of people always ask me why I didn’t choose to live there instead of Malaysia. You can earn more there, there’s less crime, better shopping, more pork, cheap booze and so on.

But for me it’s to regimented, the people are too samey, there’s no good dirty back alley street food. I realise now that you can really enjoy Singapore when you have more to spend, the good found is on the upper end of the scale, the best shopping is in the branded zone and the booze is cheap(er) but still the better stuff is costly.

So if you’re earning plenty of SGD there, it’s probably a pretty decent place to live (if you enjoy shopping, booze and good quality food). However you if you like the country-side, driving out of town, driving up to Genting or anything similar – forget it.

Singapore is just a large city, that’s all. There’s shopping malls, well dressed people and of course MRT stations everywhere.

Singapore

We had a good time there tho, we didn’t do much shopping really (or well our shopping was very focused – Food Processor, G-Shock watches from Bencoolen and booze from Mei-d-ya in Liang Plaza). We also had an extensive list of food to eat from our friends (a LOT were Ramen).

And of course a trip to Singapore isn’t complete without a night roaming around the riverside and a few pints at Brewerkz.

Singapore Riverside

We were there at Liang Plaza anyway to eat Tampopo (some famous Black Pig Shabu Ramen – delicious) – so it was perfect to have a stroll after that.

There’s nothing quite like the Riverside in Malaysia, I think Straits Quay in Penang is trying to get that kind of vibe – but the last time I went it was still pretty empty to it didn’t have that buzz yet.

In a way it reminds me of Changkat too with the endless stretch of restaurants and bars, Changkat is sorely missing a microbrewery though and places selling foreign beer on tap! As a side note, Hooters was doing amazingly well and has a massive space now!

Riverside Clarke Quay Singapore

It was a good night out, had a few beers and some hot wings at Brewerkz before heading back to our decidely dodgy Hotel 81 on Lorong 18 (yes it was full of whore houses).

We even spotted Street Performer Willie on the bridge entertaining a large audience.

Street Performer Willie in Singapore

There were youths lining the bridge walls too with bottles of vodka and mixers, I guess open bottle/public drinking laws haven’t hit Singapore yet.

I have to admit I had a very enjoyable trip and I’ll probably be heading back down to sample more Singaporean delights (and buy back more Kilkenny draught in a can) sooner than expected!

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Continue Reading · 4 Comments · Singapore, Trips & Travel

The Chinese Moby…Oh Wait What?

I got this caricature done at the Kronenbourg 1664 media appreciation night a while back (great night that it was).

But really, do you think it looks anything like me?

Caricature of Me

Honestly I think it looks like a Chinese version of Moby. I’m not sure if the artist had drawn anyone without slanty eyes before.

On another note…oh if only I were that skinny I wouldn’t need to diet!

Thoughts?

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Continue Reading · 6 Comments · General Nonsense

Win Exclusive Invites To Arthur’s Day 2011 With Taio Cruz – Sept 23rd @ Speed City KL

Arthur’s Day is ALWAYS awesome and the best part? It’s coming again real soon!

I’m sure EVERYONE remembers – Arthur’s Day In Malaysia With Black Eyed Peas At Sunway Lagoon!

That was back in 2009, what’s better than loads of Guinness and some banging music? Nothing is better than that I tell you! I even got to meet the Black Eyed Peas – what an experience.

Me and BEP

We had a crazy time there getting our Guinness on and dancing like nutcases, it was a brilliant night. You may recognise some super femes bloggers in the below picture.. Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · 14 Comments · Advertorial

Volkswagen Das Auto Show – Bukit Jalil – Malaysia 2011

The big buzz this past weekend (especially in the automotive world) was about the VW Das Auto Show at Bukit Jalil stadium, we really knew very little about it when we were invited. There’s not many things that can get me up so early in the morning – but cars are one of them!

We headed over to Bukit Jalil early in the morning to be confronted with this rather impressive structure erected in the carpark.

VW Das Auto Show

It was pretty packed when we stepped in with the crowd excited to see the show, there were plenty of familiar faces there. Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · 2 Comments · Advertorial, Cars/Motorsport

Finally Back To Scuba Diving – Pulau Lang Tengah

Man it’s been a long, long, long, long, long, LONG time since I’ve gotten to use this SCUBA Diving category tag! In fact there’s only a measly 3 posts in there, this will be the 4th. I started diving way back in 2004 and ended soon thereafter in 2005 – not so much by choice but by circumstance. Diving is an extremely social pass-time and due to the safety concerns it’s important to go with people you trust and are comfortable with.

I didn’t really have a group to go with back then (diving kaki) so I stopped for a while – recently everyone has gotten back into it (like Terence and KY) and a few more have gotten certified (like Myhorng and Moobs).

Anyway the story goes something like this, everyone was starting to dive again and I wanted to get into it and Kim was interested in getting certified to round up our group to 6 strong. A spot came up a couple of weeks back to study under Edvin Eng the incredible Fishman – so Kim jumped at the chance and I tagged along to do a refresher course as I haven’t dived for almost exactly 6 years (Since Redang – September 2005).

We did the confined water and refresher stuff at the ex-Syabas pool in PJ state at the same row as A&W – I remembered most things and I could always look through the PADI course-ware to refresh my memory. Diving is more practical than theory anyway so actually getting in the pool and practicing was more important.

2 weeks after that it was time to head to the island for the open water dives and leisure diving for the rest of us (Me, Terence & Moobs) – we went to Lang Tengah which is rather near Redang (the jetty is just opposite).

Pulau Lang Tengah

It’s a beautiful place with clear waters and a nice beach, not that we really paid any attention to that. It’s not really a holiday spot though unless you are into diving, it’s a classic diving spot – nothing to do at night, lousy food and just about bearable accommodation.

But I got what I went for, to wet my bones and I had no bad experiences! Any underwater pics are taken by my bro Terence.

ShaolinTiger Underwater

The dives were good, we saw a leopard shark on our second boat dive! The corals were ok, not great condition and due to it being near the end of the season there were a lot of particles in the water – but the main reason was to get Kim certified before the 2012 season starts. And well that’s done – she’s a fully qualified PADI diver now! So congrats to her 😀

Kim the Diver!

And yes I can photobomb her even underwater..LOL. After the dives were over, there really wasn’t much to do – due to the food situation this is what we had for dinner.

Beer Dinner

It was good! After ‘dinner’ we proceeded to terrorise all the other students on the island who had just passed their diving certs with the mask of death.

Eugene Getting The Mask

We also rocked out a bit of karoake, some light night drafts and then passed out. It’s pretty tiring diving, up early carrying tanks, swimming around all day etc..

The drive there and back was a bit tiring, but totally worth it. I’ve got the bug again, I foresee some purchases, upgrades and further trips coming soon..

Anyway if you want to learn to dive (especially about breathing – which is the most critical part) or check out some awesome trips do check out Ocean Xplorer:

https://www.oceanxplorer.com.my/main/

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Continue Reading · 8 Comments · Malaysia, SCUBA Diving, Trips & Travel

Eat Properly – Drop The Sugar (Fructose) & Stop Diabetes/Obesity

Jamie’s One Young World Speech, 2nd September 2011

Join the Food Revolution Community and sign the petition. Changes have to be made, if not people are going to be dying at 50, as a human race we are getting more and more unhealthy instead of the other way round.

Jamie Oliver’s TED award speech.

The kids don’t know what potatoes are? Doesn’t that scare you?

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

This is terrifying, it does get very technical in the middle section (biochemistry hallo!) – but it’s an excellent talk on why you should avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup at ALL costs. Please learn to read labels, start to look at what’s in your food.

Avoid junk food, and most of all avoid Low Fat Food because it’s all replaced with sugar – which ends up as fat. What we all need to do is eat more fibre!

I’m starting out my path on the Slow Carb diet as championed in the Four Hour Body book by Tim Ferriss. It’s going to be tough but I have a considerable amount of weight to shift to reach my ideal weight (around 30kg) and I’m not getting any younger – the weight will kill me in the end and in the meantime it’ll damage my body (liver/joints/back etc).

I’m not sure if I’ll document anything about my diet on my blog..but I guess I’ll mention it from time to time.

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Continue Reading · 6 Comments · Serious Issues

Say NO To Shark Fin Soup

The realities of sharks fin soup are not pleasant. Stop ordering it, stop eating it, stop making it seem ok – because it’s not.

Not only is it cruel but it’s seriously threatening some species of shark with extinction. If you are having a wedding, please make sure there is no shark fin course, having tried it before I have to agree with Gordon – it is absolutely tasteless. I much prefer fish maw.

https://www.sharktrust.org/

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Continue Reading · 13 Comments · Serious Issues