• Category Archives Boleh Land
  • And They Wonder Why?

    I came across this article in today’s newspaper:


    This came as absolutely no surprise to me.  I am European and I am definitely overweight myself.  When I came to Malaysia first time in the late 90’s I was stunned by the beautiful woman here, but I have noticed that it has gone downhill very quick since then.  A few month back I was spending a few nights at a resort in Port Dickson, and it struck me during breakfast – I reckon there was about 100 people at the breakfast and I reckon about half of these were woman.  With the exception of one girl (around 7-8 years old) every single woman at that breakfast buffet was overweight and I guess about half of them severely obese (including all of the kids with the before mentioned exception).

    I shot the photo of the article above in today’s newspaper.  Now, let me zoom out a bit:


    And there you have it.  I am overweight because I don’t exercise enough and happen to love good food.  Malaysians are obese because they have taken up American junk food like I have never seen anywhere else.  Kuala Lumpur, and everywhere else in Malaysia, is packed with McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut and a bunch of local rip offs that definitely does not improve the situation (in fact as written elsewhere, one of these, the Secret Recipe, is downright dangerous).

    It is scary and it has over the past 10 years turned Malaysia fat!  Oh – and for the record – Malaysians usually get really defensive when criticized, but before you go ballistic on me do yourself a favor   Next time you walk on the street pay attention to kids.  Count the first 10 kids you see and let me know right here how many of those were overweight.

  • KK Again

    About five month ago I wrote about the staff at the so-called KK Convenience Stores in Kuala Lumpur.  Back then it was a clear-cut case of the staff (one guy in particular) directly cheating the customers.  I wrote about this on my blog (original article is here: http://larsrants.blogspot.com/2012/07/most-inconvenient-convenience-store-or.html) and I posted an inquiry on their web-site (which in turn generated an email to enquiry@kkgroup.my with a copy to me).  In said inquiry I did provide the KK group with my mobile number and my email address, but needless to say I never heard anything in return.

    Since the previous incidence I have generally avoided all the KK shops in the area and instead used the alternatives (which are plenty).  Today unfortunately I got caught in some rain and decided to pop in for some ciggies.  And would you guess it – the exact same guy who have previously cheated the customers was still working there.

    This time he didn’t really try to cheat (and I gave him exact change, so he didn’t really have a chance), but he did complain loudly that the banknote I gave him was slightly torn in one corner and insisted that I gave him another one.  I explained to him that as a customer I really wasn’t in the mood to argue with the staff, but when he kept arguing I pulled out my phone and snapped a pic of this sign prominently displayed right next to the cash registry:

    This sign in itself is quite interesting.  First of all – and this might be news to KK – customers always share all experiences with friends – good OR bad, but the ones that are remembered are the bad ones and the ones people bother to blog about are also the bad ones.

    Second is the number of their so-called careline.  For readers not familiar with Malaysian phone numbers, that is a mobile number.

    Thirdly is their Facebook page.  If I check that I get this:

    I guess they printed those signs before they actually bothered to check if the Facebook page was available.

    Last is their web-site URL.  The resulting page looks like this in my browser:

    Anyway – the mobile number somewhat surprisingly did work and I got to talk to someone who called herself “Trudy”.  Trudy said that she could easily remember I made that complaint 5 month back and that they already replied on Facebook.  This is actually quite impressive.  Trudy remembered a complaint that was made 5 month earlier and she posted the reply on an non-existent Facebook page.  No wonder she expected the same level of clairvoyance from me and naturally I should have expected that a blog post and an email would be replied on Facebook.

    No, all jokes aside, this is a serious matter.  It is serious because KK obviously do not take complaints very serious.  It is serious because KK obviously don’t have any problem whatsoever keeping staff around that cheat the customers.

  • Sepang International Circuit is a Joke!

    Sepang International Circuit is located about 60 km from downtown Kuala Lumpur.  It was built in the late 90’s and each year it is hosting some pretty spectacular races, the most prestigious being the Formula 1 and the MotoGP.

    I have only ever attended the Formula 1 once and there’s a number of reasons for that.  The most important reason is that I am too stingy.  The good grand stand tickets are probably around US$ 400-500 a piece and the shitty ones perhaps $ 200 or so.  If watching the race is important (which to me it is) then the absolute best seats would be the grass hill at the back of the track, but that means being exposed to weather and that in Sepang means one of two – either getting soaked or getting baked (there is no in between – it is one of those!).  So – quite frankly – I watch this one on TV.

    MotoGP (and the A1 when that was still on) is another matter.  The tickets are reasonable and more important – numbered seats are not used.  This means that you basically get access to whereever you want on the grand stand for less than US$ 50.

    There is a limit to how much one can complain when the tickets are priced that reasonable, but still – this is a circuit that is hosting prestigious international events and quite frankly the place is a joke.

    The joke starts about 1 km from the track.  For some bizarre reason (and this has been the case at least the last 3-4 years) no cars or buses are allowed to drive up to the track.  We always arrange a bus to go to the track and the closest we can get is the point marked “A” on the following map:

    As you can see, Google estimate that walk to be 1.1 km.  Now, look at that map.  Assuming you have grand stand tickets that is at least another km walk to get to the grand stand.  More than 2 km walk in 40 degrees (and those degrees are the Celsius kind).  It should be stressed here that the road leading up to the track entrance is a 4 lane highway, so it would be absolutely no problem letting at least buses take that road and drop people of right outside the entrance.  But no – in their wisdom (or serious lack thereof), the race organizers block of that 4 lane highway so only motorcycles and pedestrians are allowed in.  With the result that I have had to jump for my life at least a couple of times, because of some idiot on a bike thinking it’s fun to go 100 mph on that empty road.

    Before you find a seat you better buy some food.  I should mention here that they do check your bags before they let you in and you’re not allowed to bring any outside food or drinks.  Unfortunately whatever food is available inside the track is a scandal – no less.  This year we decided to buy a hot dog after the first race (that is the first race out of the 3 scheduled ones – about 1.30 pm or thereabouts).  We didn’t decide on the hot dog because it was attractive but because it was the shortest queue – only about half an hour.  This is what a RM 15 (that is US$5!) Hot Dog – Sepang style – looks like:

    It is not that I don’t like ketchup – they were out of it.  They were out of everything else too – except sausages and bread (and whatever that white stuff was).  Whoever sold that – ahem – thing – should price himself lucky that I wasn’t the one queuing because I would have punched them in the face.  This is quite simply robbery – nothing less.

    After the first race and after I threw the above – ahem – thing – out the rain started.  This is a good time to repeat that we had grand stand tickets and while they are not that expensive for the MotoGP they are the most expensive ones there is.  Also I should repeat that during MotoGP you can pretty much sit where you like, while during F1 they use numbered seats.  Personally I like the view from the back side grand stand (watching the back half of the circuit but without the pit lane in the way).  This is what happened at that covered grand stand when it started to rain (and by Malaysian standard it wasn’t heavy rain – more sort of a drizzle):

    To the other side:

    I’d say I would have been pretty pissed had I bought one of those seats during an F1 race (and those seats for that event would probably be around US$300 a piece).

    The day did offer some great racing albeit short (last two races red flagged half way because of rain) and all that was remaining was the 2 km walk through the rain to find our bus.

  • Not my proudest moment

    Tiger (that’s a brewery) got a new promotion thingy going on in KL.  Apparently they hired some tall white girls and dressed them up in some German looking costumes  and then they send them around the bars and snap Polaroid (I kid you not – no digital stuff here!) photos of people posing with the girls.

    Anyway – I had my picture done with – I think her name was Alina (or perhaps it was Alyona) and a bloke I just met at the bar.

    All good and well so far.  I had a long chat with the girl – about he r dreams and plans in life.  Apparently she was engaged to be married with some Malay chat (and if you should happen to read this – all the best on that) and all in all it was a merry evening in my favorite watering hole.

    That is – until I saw the picture the guy next to me got:

    Now – someone aught to teach that girl to use the zoom on her damn camera.  That is not the most flattering picture of me.  I wasn’t picking my nose – it was only itchy – seriously!

    It’ll be a while until I forgive Tiger for this one!


  • Fighting Graft

    Came across this in yesterday’s news.

    The question here really is: Does that mean the government can be punished if their employees take bribes?  I mean, the argument presented in the article works well there too.  Police Chief punished if a traffic cop takes a bribe.  I am positive that would indeed motivate.

  • Customers? Well, Fuck ‘Em

    I wrote yesterday about the incredibly inconvenient convenience stores of Kuala Lumpur.  Today, when out for lunch, I saw another good example.  This time it was the local 7-Eleven receiving new stock:

    There is plenty of space to park a little to the side, so that potential customers doesn’t have to squeeze by the truck (the door is behind – very close behind), but no way the staff would be that considerate – screw the customers – they are obviously not very important.

  • Most Inconvenient Convenience Store (or: Fraud in Broad Daylight)

    A few years back there was a few 7-Elevens around in KL and some typical Chinese “convenience stores” but not much else.  For some bizarre and completely incomprehensible reason, 4 or 5 years ago, new ones started popping up everywhere.  I would guess I currently have at least 15 of them within 5 minutes walking distance.

    They all have one thing in common: they are all inconvenient.  A common trait seems to be that they are staffed with complete morons and the managers are appointed from the least moronic of these.  The staff is without exception rude, slow, lazy and the shop managers wouldn’t dream of ordering new stock before they have run out of the old one – with the result they are constantly out of the most popular items (but got plenty of whatever crap nobody want to buy).

    However annoying these shops are in general, a few month ago a new one opened about 50 meters from where I stay and this one appears to have taken the “inconvenient” part to a whole new level.

    I don’t even know exactly where to begin.  On the surface they are exactly like the rest of the shops, and yet – they appear to have somehow managed to find staff that are even more clueless than the usual stock.  A few weeks ago I entered the shop and they were playing music so loud the staff couldn’t hear what I was asking them.  Instead of taking that as a clue to turn down the volume, instead the staff tried to make me shout my order.  The only thing I shouted was asking them to turn down the volume, but the staff shouted back that the manager had told them to play at this level.  Needless to say I gave up and walked to the nearby 7-Eleven (which at least don’t play music at nightclub levels – that one only stinks like a sewer).

    Another thing I noticed in this shop was that they always gave wrong returns, but up until yesterday I never really thought about it.  Out of general habit I always make an estimate in my head and if the amount requested is more than a few Ringgit of my estimate I know something is wrong.

    Yesterday is the first time I figured out the staff’s approach.  Notice the following receipt:

    The first 3 items on this receipt was from the previous customer.  In other words – the staff punch in the items and have the cash registry show the sub-total, then they let that sub-total carry over to the next customer.  If it works – presumably they pocket the money from both transactions – if not they just apologize and alter it (if the owners ever read this check the security tapes – the exact time is on the receipt above).

    Immediately following the above example I was talking to a French couple who just left the shop – and they had been cheated in exactly the same way several times.  I have also seen people be short changed – and as mentioned – I have experienced it myself a number of times (only – yesterday is the first time I kept the false receipt).

    If this had happened once or twice over a long period, it could possibly be considered an honest mistake, but not so – let me stress that this happens often and consistently.  It is absolutely amazing that a scam such as this can run for as long as it has run already.  The before mentioned French couple had contacted KK several times through their web-site with no obvious results.

    I will send a link to this blog entry to KK and see if they get back to me.  If they do I will add their comments here – if they don’t (which is more likely) I will mention that too.

    Update July 10, 2012:

    I did send them an inquiry through the web-site.  Apparently it just generates an email of which I received a copy and the other copy went to: enquiry@kkgroup.my. Needless to say that now, after 1 week, I have not heard anything back and by now it’s probably too late to check the security cameras anyway.

  • Just Can’t be Bothered (read: Make it Someone Else’s Problem)

    From the Malaysian news:

    The fun part is when the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister (that has got to be the most bizarre title in history – do they have a Brown Technology Minister too) say:

    “Chin said it was not difficult for petroleum companies like Shell and Petronas to install charging stations into their existing branches around the country”

    Hmmm, I guess he is somewhat correct, it wouln’t be difficult to do that.  There is however a few problems clearly illustrating that Chin hasn’t got a freaking clue about the things for which he is the Minister.  First of all – charging electrical cars isn’t really the core business for petroleum companies (the clue is in the bloody name).  Most important though is the fact charging isn’t exactly instant.  I am not sure how fast you can charge a car, but I reckon it’ll take 4-8 hours at least.  According to this link:

    Some types of batteries such as Lithium-titanateLiFePO4 and even certain NiMH variants can be charged almost to their full capacity in 10–20 minutes. Fast charging requires very high currents often derived from a three-phase power supply.) .

    I guess it’ll be just about impossible to buy petrol from those petrol stations, since there will be cars parked just about everywhere.