Daylight Robbery

I was reading the papers recently and the last bidding exercise for the COEs of car prices are at a sky-high rate of $60,000 for cars less than 1600 CC. Cars above 1600 CC are going at $42,000 and the rates are expected to climb all the way till Chinese New Year next year !

At the rate they are going, my dream Honda hatchback will easily set me back a grand $80,000 while it is only running on a 1400 CC engine while my ultra-dream Cooper S or BMW 3 Coupe can easily set me back a whopping quarter million ! As a form of comparison, my 2nd brother’s car which he bought for $55,000 five years ago now costs a whopping $75,000 ! The latter price used to be the cost of a continental brand 1400CC car !

It’s daylight robbery for the automobile sector but people are still buying cars ! Where do all these people get such money to make such big-ass investments like these ?

Tell me what are the chances that the COEs will ever drop to lower levels ? NEVER.

Ask me what are the chances that I’ll buy a car in the future ? NEVER.

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Such gross prices just to gain that notch in personal convenience, I’d rather go public all my life.

 

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Southern Ridges

Marang Trail

Today, we made our way out of Harborfront MRT station, determined to find the route to Henderson Waves. The time weather was fair when we started out our journey from Marang Trail but little did we know that the entire hiking experience would end up enriching us with plenty of lessons along the way and that includes, bringing your own shades / cap when you are hiking in a rain forest! I was all prepared; I brought along my Japanese cap, sunblock lotion, mineral water, sunshades and packed beef black-pepper lunch but my dearest Muzzy over there didn’t bring his own cap, water, shades, sunblock, insect repellent or even towel to prepare himsel for the journey!

Seriously, guys suck at packing and preparing things beforehand don’t they?

😛

Thank God I had the generosity to donate to the donation drive which was giving away Milo packets with any amount of donation. I didn’t have coins thus I donated $2 – oh my Lord, since when does Milo cost that much? Stop poking fun at my $2 Milo packet Muzzy. If it wasn’t for my quick-thinking, you would have been dehydrated by the time you reached Henderson Waves.

Anyway, after hours of trekking, we called it a day at Alkaff Mansion.

Total time spent taking in the scenic views of nature’s flora and fauna: 5 hours.

Southern Ridges Map

Mind you, we took five hours to complete the bottom section of the map above and that runs from the Start (blue line) to the Alkaff Mansion which is on the tip of the Hilltop Walk (brown line)! That is barely 4km and we took that long! Why? Because the view at Henderson Waves is breath-taking, we spent close to two hours just lying on the wooden platform 36 metres above the ground, soaking in the evening sun and watching the sea nearby glittering the seconds away like a million jewels sparkling in the sea. Standing so high up on top of Mount Faber, you smell the air so crisp, fresh and unpolluted that you can’t fathom how were you able to live in such a derelict neighbourhood many metres below with the constant air pollution from machines piercing through the valves in our lungs.

Who knew nature could be this beautiful?

All Praises to Our Higher Order.

I can’t wait to finish conquering the Southern Ridges but please Muzzy, come well-prepared or I will tell saas and sassoor.

 

Waiting for the World to Change

Today is Day #8 that I am still down with the flu and sore throat and I would like to complain. Sometimes I feel as though I am waiting for the world to change. Like there are times that I sit down and wait for things to happen. I hate that feeling for waiting but at the same time I love the leisurely feeling of taking life slowly at my own pace, at my own sweet time. I fear the feeling of redundancy will creep by real soon and I think I should get my ass kicking on finding a proper job. Sitting down here and thinking of ways to get the degree won’t get me anywhere. I can’t possibly just sit and think, I have to start doing something.

Prepare to see the real me up and running next week. She is over whatever that has happened over the weekend. She has signed and sealed her past in the history books and she feels that she is now ready to face up to the world on her own in every aspect, whether educational, emotional or work-related.

She has been gone for a sabbatical for way too long and its time she gets up and takes on the world by storm.

God please please please give me the strength and encouragement.

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I am going to apply for a job at ACRES, at least then I know I get to do something that I will love and at the same time, help the environment and animals.

Speaking of helping the environment, if I were to really want to play a huge role to save the environment, I think I may have to stop dreaming of buying that BMW 335i or Mini Cooper S JCW. Why? They eat up petrol and that eats up fossil fuel which takes a million years to recover. I think I will have to set my car standards lower, I am thinking hybrid.

So I googled and here are the possible hybrid cars I can choose from.

Toyota Prius

It’s a gasoline-electric car and has a gas mileage of 44 miles per gallon. Rumor has it that it is pretty stable and is worth the money. I said “are” but actually, there aren’t much in the automobile industry for me to choose from in Singapore. Singapore is not that pro-environment eh?

=.=

The Price
The biggest disadvantage of hybrid cars is definitely the price! For instance, the 2008 Toyota Camry costs about $19,000, while the hybrid version costs almost $25,000. That is approximately a $6,000 difference, which is a lot of money. Another example is the 2008 Honda Civic with a base price of $15,000, while the Civic Hybrid is costs $7,000 more. On average, the hybrid version of a car costs between $2,000 and $4,000 more than the non- hybrid version.
Dangerous in Accidents
Although the electric engine gives you more mileage and helps you save gas, it can be also dangerous in a collision. Most hybrid cars use metal hydride batteries and the high voltage that they store can be really unsafe when the wires are exposed, thus there is a chance the driver will get electrocuted when involved in an accident.
The Battery
As mentioned above, the batteries in hybrid cars can kill theoretically. There are some other issues with the battery. Hybrid car manufacturers include warranties to cover the batteries for 80,000-100,000 miles. The carmakers also say the car’s battery will last forever. But what if something unforeseen happens and the car’s batteries are not under warranty anymore? Unfortunately batteries cost a fortune! The other problem with the batteries is that it needs to be recharged at least every second week. So, if you go to vacation you might need to find a “car-sitter” to take care of your car. Some hybrid car owners also report problems with the battery in cold weather.
Performance
No offense, but most hybrid cars are slow! They have slower acceleration and a lower top-speed than conventional counterparts. If you are in need for speed, hybrid cars won’t satisfy your needs! Hybrid cars will make you drive slow, which is actually not a bad thing!

However, the website that I am quoting the above disadvantages also gives the advantages of having a hybrid car.
 
Designed for Bumper-to-Bumper Traffic
 You know how frustrating can it be when stuck in traffic. Some people they are only losing time while in rush hour, but they are also losing money! Hybrid cars are literary designed for rush hour. When you are driving a hybrid car less than 25 miles per hour the engine shuts off automatically. Ok, you still might get late to your job or your date, but at least, you will know you are not wasting gas!

The Tax Rebates

Believe it or not, if you purchase a hybrid car the government will provide you tax incentives. The tax relief may range from couple hundred dollars up to about $3,500. Hybrid cars with a higher MPG have a bigger tax relief than hybrid cars with an average mileage. Also note, that most of the tax incentives expire after 2010.

Protects Our Planet

Hybrid cars use an adjunct electric motor they give you a higher mileage, thus emit less harmful pollutants. We all know that carbon-dioxide is the primary cause for global warming. Since hybrid vehicles burn less gasoline, they emit fewer toxic materials that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Hybrid cars could save you from getting sunburn in the middle of the winter.

Never Forget Your Feelings

If you always wanted to be a role model, here is the opportunity you should capture. You are protecting the planet and making it better for us and our children. Driving a hybrid vehicle will make you feel good and proud.

 

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Quoted from: http://best-plus-hybrid-car.blogspot.com/

Notice the disadvantages and advantages are equal? Four a piece for each side they are arguing and that doesn’t give me much to consider. Maybe I should get a car (still considering either a BMW or MINI and nothing else) and have a red-plate instead of the normal black plate. That will limit my car usage to after 7pm on weekdays, after 3pm on Saturdays and all day on Sundays. Or better still, just continue commuting! Singapore is not exactly in dire need of a car for each household isn’t she?

(SIGH SIGH SIGH)

If humanity has been considerate to the environment since the era of technology began, I wouldn’t be at this stage of wanting a car yet feeling remorseful about destroying the environment, would I? I shall relegate the dream of owning a Beemer to that of the die-cast model that I have now. At least this way, I know I am not contributing to the greenhouse gases and the depletion of the Ozone layer.

😉

Tales From A Rusty Driver

Driving is Thrilling!

(Credits to: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/28/59948935_a91e6e451d.jpg )

Let me relate to you a real-life tale of a rusty driver who had her first drive in as many months to send her dearest Mummy and Daddy to acupuncture this evening.

“Honey, your brother requests that you drive us to the acupuncture today.”

It’s just a simple and clear cut statement isn’t it? But for her, it is a bad, bad request from the parents and if she was given a choice, she would rather pay their cab fare to and from the acupuncture. Reason being, she hasn’t driven in as many months, the last time she was driving was probably in January ’09 and she feels uber, uber rusty just imagining the many months she hasn’t touched the steering wheel or move the gears. Her main worry is that she has lost her finese in driving and that will make her be stereotyped as a typical female driver who hogs the fast lane, sits absurdly close to the steering wheels, parks horribly slow, changes lanes at the eleventh hour and brakes suddenly.

Oh yes, she loathes to be categorised as one of those as she believes she is born with better driving skills than an average female driver on the Singapore roads.

She can drive to a speed limit of 180 and enjoy the fast dash of air through her pixie haircut, she can park into a vertical lot within 25 seconds and doesn’t need to move out of the lot to straighten the car, she can filter in and out of lanes marvellously, she can outrun another Japanese badge and overtake him too that she is on par with Felipe Massa (Hee :D, I am a fan of his) and she rattles the brands and makes of cars the way a typical girl rattles of Chanel and Dior bags during the Summer Sale.

The only problem with her is that she breaks into a cold sweat when she drives her parents in her any of her brothers’ cars as their lives are all in her hands and sometimes she can’t trust her good-driving habits enough as she has the male-hormones on overdrive when she floors the accelerator.

But anyway, for once when she turned on the engine, she actually forgets her footwork for the accelerator and brake pads. Yes, both brothers drive Automatic transmission cars but she somehow really felt lost trying to maneuverher legs between the two pads. Ironic isn’t it? She drove at an uber slow pace as she got out of the carkpark lot and heaved a ginormous sigh of relief when her Mummy told her to drive slowly and not  rush despite being late for her acupuncture appointment. The acupuncture place was a mere 5 traffic lights away from my place thus it wasn’t that bad after all. When she arrived at the place, she dropped off her parents as the parking lots were full and decided to find an empty parking somewhere in the vicinity nearby so that she can park decently without ramming into another car nearby. However, as I drove into the carpark of the acupuncture place, I reached a dead end and for the first time ever since I passed my license on January 30th, 2008 that I had to do the three-point turn in a dead end road which was filled with motorcycles in their designated lots.

For those who don’t know what is a three-point turn, check here:

After surviving through the three-point ordeal, she came to a conclusion and admits aloud in the car (alone) that her driving skills are pretty lousy and she needs to brush them up so she decided not to park the car and sit through her parents’ acupuncture. Instead, she decides to drive out of the carpark and brush up on her skills that she acquired when she was in her driving school days. So during the period of an hour, she practised her U-turns, filter-lanes, lane-changing, parking (vertical & horizontal), overtaking a slower vehicle, blindspots, correct procedures of switching lanes and when she was satisfied, she did the same routine on a different road and managed to perfect her driving skills to a perfect “P”. When she decided to park her car somewhere near the acupuncture place, she turned off the engine and reminisce the good ‘ol times she has when she was still a Learner Driver and thereafter, a Probational Driver.

Driving has brought so much joy into her life and also a greater sense of independence knowing for a fact that she is in control of her own wheel (her own life), and she should take charge of it herself instead of having someone to do it for her. She is pretty thankful she had X as the one who spurred and fuelled her driving hobby but that wasn’t an easy task knowing for a fact that she never got the blessing from him to take this Class 3 (Manual & Automatic) transmission license. When it came down to the crunch time, she decided to dump him and one of the reasons was because if he can’t trust her to take his “wonderful Bimmer” out for a ride without him getting into a cold sweat, she never will be able to control her own life.

In Memory: BMW E36 320i in Black

 

 

The Strut Bar - For Stability during Fast Cornering

The 18-Inch Rims & SO2 Bridgestone Tyres

He was a superb car despite going through seven different owners and there were the rare few times I brought him home to park in my apartment’s carpark lot and he spent just as much time in the workshop as he did in the open roads as he was getting pretty old. He was a ’92 built car thus it was expected. But despite the many downs and driving such a powerful car when I barely passed my driver’s license, I loved ever single second of it.

But most of all, he was the main reason why I switched from loving the Japanese to worshipping the Bavarians.

That undying love for all automobiles with a German badge will never change, it will still live on despite the demise of the relationship that I had with the owner of the lovely car pictured above. I hope the Black Beauty is still in good hands and working just fine now, he was the best ride that I ever had in my tiny and yet-to-be-weathered-by-raging-storms life.

And yes, the real-life tale that I have just related to you was that of my own experience.

Got to go catch some sleep, I have badminton bright and early tomorrow ad will be heading to Ikea for some window-shopping. Toodles world! Have a fantastic and wonderful Wednesday ahead!

😀

 

A Ford, A Dose of Reality

In the movie Gran Turino, Clint Eastwood’s character Walt Kowalski’s has his beloved Gran Turino being stolen by his neighbor who happens to be pressurized into it from his cousin’s Hmong gang. The Gran Turino looked somewhat like this one below save for the fact that it was in majestic green:

 

 

Gran Turino

 

The movie was indeed one of the most unexpectedly superb movies that I ever watched this year. I know I should be able to expect that out of a multiple Academy Award winning Producer / Director. But really, I honestly think this is one of the best movies I’ve watched this year. I can’t say it’s the best in ’09 since ’09 still isn’t over but yes, this movie definitely sits right up there in my list of movies which left more than a lasting impression in me.

One of the reasons why the movie is that good is the movie plot and storyline feels real and has that added “depth” to it. I’ve sat through many movies to tell the difference between a movie with & without the “depth” factor. Racism exists, it still does even in this extremely modernized world and the stereotypes being addressed in the movie just emphasizes deeply on how stereotypical everyone tend to be. 

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There are two scences which left the deepest impact on me.

One is the part when Thao’s family house is gunned down by the Hmong gang-bangers which leads to the rape of Thao’s sister, Sue. That particular scene left me with numerous thoughts on how gangs still exist in this highly-educated world; and how the ones who suffer are always the families, and the women. Sue virtually in the most tragic of scenes really looked emotionally gone, physically robbed, and totally shattered. The image of her crying upon reaching home hit me the hardest, as rape isn’t a nice thing for anyone to go through. I know (and am still disappointed yet helpless to know) this is still rampant in the world, and I know I can’t understand how these women / girls feel, but I really see the hardcore emotions of a rape victim through the spectacular acting of Sue by Ahney Her.

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The other scene which left a lasting impression in me is the scene where Walt was at the vicinity of the Hmong gang (towards the end) and he was on borrowed time taking out his cigarette for one last time, gesturing the gun shot with his fingers, and being shot with a battery of bullets even when he was intending to just take out his lighter to light his cigarette.

That scene shocked me as I didnt expect to know that Walt came to the Hmong gang’s house without a single weapon and only intended to sacrifice his life for the better of Thao and his family. That scene was gut-wrenching, it was painful sitting through it. It brought me to tears.

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I’d rate Gran Turino 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Guns, bullets and weaponry is now the only answer everyone seem to be looking for.

Whatever happened to peace, truces, agreements between two parties? Why does bloodshed seem to be the only answer to everything when the ones shedding blood aren’t always the ones fighting for the cause? They always are the innocent victims.

They are the kids, the women, the helpless and the disadvantaged.

Why?

Doesn’t it hurt them when they see young innocent kids with a bright future to be the leaders of tomorrow, lie helplessly from gunshots and bullet wounds?

Doesn’t it bring them tears when they see a woman writhing in pain as she has lost her baby, her future, her everything when she sees her own children go through the bloodshed and never come back? It was already tough enough for her to go through childbirth (known to be one of the medical’s most painful procedures ever) and, see her own flesh and blood slip through her bloodied fingers?

Don’t they have feelings?

Or are they just too blurred by their own selfish causes for their radical ideas of humanity to be aware of all those?

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It’s a sad, tragic world out there, and I don’t think I will want to be a Mother if my kids are to see more destruction than what my eyes can bear to see now.

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(I still believe in peace, however bleak a peaceful ideology of the world may be.)