Author Archives: The Malaysian Idle

About The Malaysian Idle

I stay calm and keep writing

Shaves2u: Review and Experience with an online shave plan

Being bald on the top downwards on my head, I have got to shave at least twice a week. If I leave my hair (or whatever’s left) to grow too rapidly, it can be quite unsightly, with a rim of hair on the bottom of my head near my neck and that can be quite a hassle to shave it off myself unless I spend RM15 at the barbershop to get it done nicely.

I had been using Gillette all my life spending about RM100 every 2 months on blades alone and another RM20 for shaving foam. Since the blades need to be changed constantly (blunt blades are extremely dangerous for shaving, trust me), I only use a blade for 2 shaves and replace a new one.

It is not so much the money spent but more on the quality of the shave. Therefore I decided to get out of my Gillette comfort zone and shop around for other options. But all the blades sold in the shops out there like Tesco, Guardian etc are all the same. Glamourous saloons are way off my budget, not to mention also the hassle of getting there, parking etc.

One day I saw a Shaves2u ad on my facebook page and out of curiosity I clicked on the link and was immediately taken to a nice looking website promoting a shave plan. They have a shave plan where they will send you shaving cartridges based on a duration you choose (monthly, 2 monthly etc) and even have a survey where you answer a few questions based on your shaving habits and they craft a shave plan for you. They also have a one off gift set for RM85 where you get a shave handle, a set of cartridges, shaving cream and after shave cream. I decided to get the gift set and test out their products.

After one shave, I was sold. I loved the razor handle so much that I got another one under their shave plan which cost me RM6.50 for the starter kit (but you need to commit to at least one delivery of cartridges) consisting of a razor handle, a set of cartridges and a tube of shaving cream. I subscribed for the 3-month plan, which means every 3 months they will send me a set of cartridges, a tube of shaving cream and a tube of post shaving cream, all for RM67.00, which is very reasonable for me, judging by the quality of the products. The products you choose are fully customizable depending on your needs and your beard growth rate.

The cartridges I got were the 5 blade ones (there are 3, 5 and 6 blade cartridges) and the shaving experience was phenomenal.The blades were of good quality and being a 5-blade cartridge, shaving was smoother and cleaner. The shaving cream by Arko, smelt pleasant and so is the after shave cream which is excellent to reduce the burning sensation after a shave. My shaves are smooth and accidental wounds on my head and face is almost close to zero (bear in mind you need to focus when you shave). The blade and handle is easy to clean and made of stainless steel, rust is not an issue.

To find out more, please click here


Apple Macbook Staingate Issue

I happened to be one of the unlucky bunch who managed to ruin my Macbook Pro Retina screen with a simple wipe down because of a little stain. It happened so fast and in no time I ended up with an ugly blotch of what looked like an oil stain on my entire screen. The thing is I was scared of trying other methods to clean because of the fear of making it worse and I may end up ruining my screen entirely.

I bear with this issue for a good 6 years without even calling up the Apple store to check whether it was a product defect or completely my fault. I kept thinking of the latter so I did not even bother calling (dumb decision because Apple offered a product defect warranty for Macbooks purchased 5 years ago or less). Apparently after some researching on the Internet, this silly stain is known as Staingate and it was because of the defect of the anti-glare coating on the screen which I found out later was actually a Apple’s problem.

I decided to called Apple up recently because the screen on my Macbook was becoming an eyesore and not displaying properly. The product defect warranty was already gone, soit was no good crying over spilt milk. Replacing a 13-inch Macbook Pro Retina screen will set me back approximately RM2000.00. I made an appointment to get the screen replaced since I need to use my Macbook for work.

While waiting for my appointment day, I had this crazy thought. Why don’t I go all out to attempt to clean the screen myself since I am going to replace the screen anyway. So there is no problem if I ruin the screen completely this time. I did further research and majority of people with success stories used baby wipes or Listerine. I got a bottle of Listerine (Original Flavor) and tried but to no avail. The stains were still there. I then tried using baby wipes and after the first few wipes, the screen looked almost irreparable. I just continued wiping vigorously and realized that the stains had disappeared a little. Finally after a good 20 minutes of wiping with about 15 sheets of baby wipes the screen on my Macbook was crystal clear. My Macbook Pro Retina looked almost brand new again. Up until now, I am not missing the so called anti-glare coating since I work indoors most of the time.

Disclaimer: Please only try this for you guys who are facing the same issue and have lost the warrantly and planning to replace your screen. Prior to doing anything, please call your Apple store and check to see if you are entitled for a product defect warranty.

Pureen Baby Wipes which I got from AA Pharmacy

Donutes Coffee & Cake Baking

Tonight we decided to drop into Puchong for a date and after numerous u-turns (Roads here can be quite complicated if you are not used to it) we ended up in Donutes Coffee. According to their website, this is a coffee chain from Taiwan that began very humbly in Kaohsiung and expanded to become one of Taiwan’s very popular brand of cafes. Donutes arrived in Malaysia back in 2013 and have been going strong ever since.

There is no doubt that Donutes is a very attractive coffee place. It is extremely spacious, so there is a decent amount of privacy for us to enjoy our drinks. We ordered a few things – 2 large iced milk teas (Taiwan is famous for those), a milk tiramisu, a peach cake, a Napolean cake and a pineapple pastry, and it all came to about RM44.00 (20% discount on the cakes). Price is quite reasonable too. I love the milk tea since it is not too sweet. The cakes and pastries are all not overly sweet too which is a comfort for me since I am a diabetic. Everything is well and thoughtfully packaged. The peach cake had little slivers of peach set into a very light and soft sponge and is an absolute pleasure to bite into. The Napolean cake and the tiramisu is not too rich and went very well with the ice milk tea. The pineapple pastry was also surprisingly good too. 

You need to order at the counter and pay upfront. On your receipt will be a number and once your number is called through a microphone, you go and collect your order. Seating is free and there are books for you to browse through as you are having your drinks. For sitting options, there is the usual cafe tables and chairs and cozy armchairs (unfortunately all were taken).

By the time we finished our drinks and cakes, an hour had already passed. Time to head home and hit the sack. We will definitely be coming back to try the other items on the menu.

Donutes Puchong Jaya
No 7, Jalan Kenari 6,
Bandar Puchong Jaya.
Tel: +603 5880 7038

New office, new job and the usual

Today is a historic day as it is my first day starting my job as a civil servant in the energy industry. In my whole career lifespan, I had always been in the private sector. My last job was in the dimension stone industry working as a so called Senior Business Development Manager (it’s a mouthful so I decided to call it SBDM for short) was not so fulfilling, partly because of a commitment issue by the directors and shareholders, but that is a blog post for another day.

My new office is gorgeous to say the least. It is not a skyscraper by any means but a cozy 7 floored building with a rooftop garden, rain catchment tanks and solar panels. It comes equipped with the standard facilities like clean bathrooms (this is a must for me, if it is not clean it is not a proper bathroom), meeting rooms, pantries, dining hall and a little theater for seminars, not movies I was told during the orientation tour, although I prefer the latter. The building itself is shaped just like a diamond, with the lowest floor being the smallest and the highest floor being the largest in floor space, hence the dining room, boardroom, top executive officers and theater is on the top floor. I will be writing another post on the building later.

The office space setup is conservative, unlike modern offices which has a so-called open concept where everyone is sitting together. I was given a private cubicle, partitioned almost like a small room with one open end and equipped with a bookshelf, closet, store cupboard, L-shaped desk, 3 chairs (all from Diethelm I think; I don’t want to bang my head under my desk just to check out its brand), a PC and a telephone. Personally, I never believed in open concept offices. For one, I will never be able to focus on work and second, I don’t fancy people poking around my things.

While waiting for IT to setup my email and login credentials, I started making friends all around. They are all wonderful people and ever ready willing to help. My superiors are kind to me too and I really appreciate that very much. I am still trying to get use to the new environment since I had been out of work for almost a year. But all in all I feel that I am able to get use to it.

I am pleasantly surprised as I studied my new surroundings. From the external, most of us (I won’t say all) tend to judge the efficiency, language proficiency and honesty of civil servants based on a few viral videos on social media. In actual fact our government departments have one of the most efficient filing systems I had ever seen. There are almost zero cases of missing documents and everything is in their proper places. Processes implemented are meticulous to say the least and there are clear signs on “zero gift policy” from outsiders. All of them can speak and write  quite well too. The organization has a vision and a mission, of which are being regarded with pride and perseverance.

I am posted to the Strategic Publications Unit under the Strategic Planning and Communications Department. I have zero publication experience, so I have to learn as I go along. I am sure I will be able to get all the help and guidance from my new colleagues.

I will take a deep breath and welcome my new beginning with an open mind.


I am Stoned Looking at Stones

Back in 2014, my friend HF called me sounding desperate. One of his right hand men in one of his businesses, dabbling in dimension stone (the ones you see on feature walls and kitchen and bathroom counter tops) left unexpectedly and HF asked for my help to take his place for the time being as a Business Operations Manager (BS Manager in short) and later as Senior Business Development Manager (SBDM). He told me convincingly this will be a platform for me to grow in my career and the stone business is very interesting and all that BS. Since I was idling (pun intended) at the time, I decided to give it a go since I had nothing to lose and much to gain (which proved vice versa later). Without knowing anything about the stone industry, I foolishly jumped in and in and in.. I was to shadow my boss and learn from him as much and as soon as I can.

I learnt a lot along the way in the stoned industry (typo on purpose). The government regulations are very strict in nature. Licenses and approvals are a must and me being the BS Manager, is my duty to make sure all of these are in place. I also traveled about 4 hours to and fro every other week to the stone quarry doing all kinds of things from operations to management. There is also the government departments that need to be dealt with. It was a one-man show with me being the only person running it. My designation on my name card says “Senior Business Development Manager”. I felt that my paycheck does not match the designation. However, I do understand this company that I am working for is a small struggling company, so I did not bitch much about my paycheck just yet. My intention was to grow with the company. There was a problem though. The company wasn’t growing at all.

I felt that there was a lack of commitment from the management to the shareholders and vice versa. There was no proper report structure so naturally the existing shareholders are jittery about additional funding. Once a reporting structure was established, the shareholders harp on the past where no report was given. So the funding never came. The bitter truth finally set in. The funding is never going to come from the existing shareholders. I realized this guys are entrepreneurs. They do not have the financial stamina to be in the stone industry. They are looking to make quick money and this is never going to happen in the stone industry.

So the management decided to look for external funding. Again it became my job to come up with forecast spreadsheets (which turned out to be spreadshit later) to entice new investors to put some money in the company but again this was a futile attempt because everyone I met in this stoned industry are a bunch of cunning and unrefined  personalities who only think about making the highest profits possible without the slightest care to preserve their integrity or their credibility and for that matter, the goodwill of the people around them.

What about my boss? He is an aspiring stone industrialist and he knows all the processes from quarry to ready built. Just like from farm to table. I admire his enthusiasm. He is typically a field guy, so staying in the comforts of the office is a big no. He can drive for hours and not get tired. He can feel every piece of stone slabs for cracks and fissures. He can talk for hours at end on technology to repair stone cracks. He had great ideas and dreams but without money, these ideas will just be idle talk. In 2018, when his enthusiasm burnt out and so did my paycheck, I decided it was time to leave.

What do I think about the stoned industry? It is not for me. I can’t be feeling every stone slab to see if they are smooth or not or to deal with people who think they can outsmart me. It is just too tiring. I must be getting old I guess.

Lesson learnt: In the stoned industry, you need to be a billionaire to be a millionaire.