Eid 2011

This Hari Raya (Eid) I drove home in our brand new Perodua Alza. Since we departed one day after the balik kampung rush, traffic was smooth sailing all the way from KL. Plus driving with automatic transmission made it so much less tiring.

The first 2 days were spent at my in laws' place in Tanah Merah. The day before Raya only we drove home to my home town in Pasir Mas.

First thing first, gotta pay one's zakat (tithe). This year's sum is RM7.00 per person so altogether it's RM35.00 for me to pay for 5 person (instead of 4 last year). Yes I always wait until the last day before Raya.

Buka puasa or break of fast today was a little feast with all my favorite food like ayam percik, onde-onde and sugar cane drink. It's nice to be able eat together with all my grandma, uncles, aunts and cousins again. It's not often we can do that. Sometimes only once a year if we're lucky.

Eid morning my family and I went to the local town mosque to pray as usual. This year I didn't see any familiar faces like my old friends from school.

Then we went to the local cemetery to read prayers to our dear departed, especially my late great grandparents, as usual.

Back home we get to eat all the delicious food prepared by the women of the house. This year my yearly duty of cooking the satay has been taken over by my cousins. I have retired from this service permanently.

Then it is time for merry-making, giving out money to our kids, parent and basically everybody who is still unemployed. This is not compulsory in Islam but more of a Malay tradition.

Unlike last year, this year I am well-prepared and actually have money to give away to everybody. So everybody got one including my grandma and parent. It's not much but as always it's the thought that counts. Alhamdulillah.

 Our Raya clothes theme for this year is cream which is coincidentally the same color as our curtains. It was yellow initially but we can't find one that is not ugly. This is my family portrait for Raya. Yes, little Hana Alisha there is a new addition to the family album. Salam Eid and have a great Hari Raya to everyone!

HTC Wildfire

I have been an iPhone using for the past 4 years or so. Starting from the 1st generation iPhone to iPhone 3G and finally the 3GS. Lately my 3GS was having problems with the touchscreen when it decided to fail on me. Sometimes the screen will type by itself. Most of the time I can't type anything on the right or left side.

So I went to Low Yat Plaza meaning to get the screen fixed. That will cost me about RM150 (if I'm lucky). Bear in mind that it was only 2 weeks ago I got the home button replaced for RM80. That was the 2nd time too. Suddenly I thought instead of fixing the phone again for the umpteenth time, why don't I just swap the damn thing for a new one?

That's when I decided to throw caution to the wind and bought this HTC Wildfire Android phone. I actually only had a few phone in mind (and my budget), this one, the Samsung Galaxy Ace or a Blackberry. Sony Ericsson makes good phones too but the Xperia Mini is simply out of the question. In the end I decided to go with the Wildfire.

First impression I find this Android phone is not as intuitive or easy to use as the iPhone. I mean if a kindergarten kid can take just a day to master the iPhone, this Android phone will take a college graduate another whole day to fully utilize. The overall interface is quite okay but the transition and touch could feel rather sluggish at times. Physically, the Wildfire is smaller than the iPhone (obviously) and it felt lighter and fits more comfortably in my palm. The optical tracker button makes it convenient for you to scroll through items on the screen but used to take pictures can make them a little bit blurry since you need to actually press the button.

This entry-level smartphone from HTC comes with a small 3.2" QVGA screen with capacitive touch screen (thank God), Android 2.2 "Froyo" and a bunch of other standard specs like WiFi, Bluetooth, 5 mega-pixel camera with flash and HTC Sense. The onboard ROM is only 512MB but you can get up to 32GB of extra space with an external micro SD card. Application wise, the Android market got almost everything the App Store offers with a few exceptions like Instagram and similar iOS specific apps. Pictures and videos taken with this camera looks just okay, nothing spectacular but generally acceptable. The camera flash would come handy when you need to use a flashlight.

The Wildfire is available in the local market from RM600 to RM700 depending on where you bought them. This little smartphone is definitely no iPhone but at least its new and fully working unlike my old iPhone. Of course I can always save up and wait till I can afford a new iPhone but I really need to use a smartphone right now so this HTC Wildfire would do for now. Yes I have to admit that I have been an ardent fan of anything Apple before but that doesn't mean I won't pick another smartphone brand. I have always had a soft spot for Android since its inception years ago so now that I had the chance to use it, it didn't take me long to choose it over say Blackberry or Windows Phone 7. Now how do you root an Android phone?

Car 2

When your old Proton car power window started to act up that can only mean one thing: time to get a new car.

Which I did, yesterday. Actually after changing jobs earlier this month, I've been coming home late a few times. Which means my entire family will also be late as well since there's nobody to pick them up at the nursery and from work and they had to wait for me to get back. There's only so many time you can depend on your office mate to give you a lift home. Sometimes, your friends would want to go elsewhere too and we don't really want to be a burden to anybody.

Furthermore, being a salesman now I guess I would be travelling more, you know, plying my trade. When that happens, how my wife supposed to get to work? Take a bus? So we thought it's time that we get a second car.

We had only one car in mind, the Perodua Alza. And it has to be automatic so that my wife can drive with ease. All my life I've been driving exclusively Proton cars, starting with my Mom's old Saga and then our first car the Proton Savvy. It is fitting that our second car comes from Perodua. At least the power window should last more than 5 years.

Being in the auto finance business has its advantages. My wife wasted no time calling his favourite car salesman and within a week, we got our car loan approved. From Maybank some more. And we didn't even had to pay any deposit, it's 100% loan. Let's say the price of this car is 60K (Alza Premium model) but you need to pay 10% down payment which is 6K. So the salesman applied for a 70K (Alza Advanced model)loan which the bank would approve only 60K so in the end we got 100% loan, get it?

2 weeks later I went to pick up our brand new car in Pandan Indah. I would highly recommend the salesman En Syed Ahmad. Very friendly, fast and efficient. You can reach him at 017 3130078. He can get you a very good deal for any Perodua cars for every budget.

In my opinion, the 1.5 liter Perodua Alza is the right car for my family. Being a 7-seater, it would fit my 5 family members just right. The price is not to expensive and quality wise, it is comparable to similar cars in its category. The front seat is large and roomy and you can easily adjust the middle seat to fit the passenger. The 3rd row however could be rather narrow depending on the mercy of the passenger in the middle row. Once you fold all the back seats, the back of the Alza can be quite spacious. Can fit an IKEA wardrobe ar two there.

Apart from the classy auto gear stick in the front panel, this baby also comes with SRS Airbag, CD player with USB input and Bluetooth control and also a conveniently place foot brake at the driver side. We chose solid white because it's slightly cheaper and we don't like pearl white and we're tired of the color black.

Actually I didn't get to drive this new car much yet. My wife would be driving it to work everyday and I will still be driving the old faithful Savvy. My wife is not too fond of driving the Savvy because it's manual so the auto transmission is God send. She practiced for weeks to be able to drive a stick again but with the Alza, all she needed was 2 hours of practice. Despite all the happiness and delight of getting a new car, I will have to work double hard to pay for this. And since some of my income will come from my commissions, I better work extra hard, like for real this time.

Okay being in time for Hari Raya is just one lucky coincidence :)