Reposted on another blog

And this happened to one of my friends.

So, what happened was, he/she (hereafter “he”) invested with some company and was promised returns within a certain duration. When the returns didn’t come in, he made noise and was told that there would be a delay. Obviously (in this story), the delay was never ending and he tried to contact the persons-in-charge but to no avail. As a last resort, he made a police report.

Well, many months later, he was shocked to receive a Letter of Demand (hereafter “LOD”) from the lawyers representing the organization that he has:

  1. acted in a manner that is threatening and embarrassing to their client
  2. defamed their client
  3. trespassed their client’s compounds
  4. extorted money from their client

The first thing that came to my mind was… some major leading organization!!!

I thought my friend had invested in some “investments” and that since they have since gathered every now and then at some hidden corners, they have effectively acted in a threatening manner that is also embarrassing to the organization. It was also reported that the organization has misrepresented the bonds and so it sounded like defamation. At the same time, some of them may have gathered at the organization’s headquarters which is also considered trespassing.

Last but not least, their demand for compensation is akin to extortion. I mean… they invested money knowing the risks… how can they ask back for money down the drain right? Isn’t that extortion? How can the investors do that? It’s investment risk wat!

So, which organization is it?

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And so it is…

Personal December 21st, 2008

The big day today! Woohoo! Besides Rinaz’s wedding, it’s also the day that I finally move all my stuffs to the warehouse! Yes, after dragging my feet for 2 whole months, I have finally moved all my stuffs to the warehouse storage. Actually, the truth is that, it’s almost 200 bucks to store these stuffs per month, and it’s rather silly to just move them in early and waste monthly fees on it.

Well, now I have a $200 overhead every month, which effective brings my monthly earnings into deficit levels. Hmm, perhaps I should start a sale and sell off my wines and alcohols at cheap, low prices… to the tunes of $10 for a bottle of Absolut Vodka and perhaps $5 for a Gordon Bleu. Oh well.

And yes, we watched Yes Man after Rinaz’s wedding today. It was a rather impromptu decision because I just realised that 18th December had just passed and that Yes Man is showing in cinemas now. Thanks to DK’s HP laptop, and his Internet connection, I became the “counter girl” and we got 8 people to join us for the movie. Yuhui could have joined us for the movie, not for the fact that only second row seats are left, and that the next movie started at 12:20am.

We settled for the later show in the end because we didn’t want to risk breaking our necks.

The show is actually quite funny; then again, so are most of movies with Jim Carrey in it.

*spoiler alert*

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No smoking here!

Singapore December 13th, 2008

Singapore has just rolled out a list of more places where smoking will be banned. This reminded me of a whole list of places where the banned is rather… redundant. Prior to this, smoking was also banned at places such as the bus stop and designated areas at coffee shops. Now, all these are good effort to stub out second hand smoke, but I think the bans were seriously flawed.

Banning smoking in areas not designated as smoking areas in coffee shop – I never quite understood the purpose of this because the designated smoking area is just next to the non-smoking area. I am not sure, but I think the law makers do realise that smoke gets into the air and when the wind comes, the smoke just gets blown into the non-smoking area. So… what’s the purpose of the non-smoking area again?

Bus stops – banning smoking here is really ridiculous because the smokers will just stand just outside the bus stop and start smoking. There was once someone I knew told a smoker to put off his light and pointed at the “No Smoking” sign. The smoker just responded that he’s not under the bus stop and continued smoking away. Hmm…

Now, I just wonder who’s going to monitor “5 meters away from the entrances and exits of buildings”; or are we going to see more yellow boxes?

Not allowed to light up here

SINGAPORE started rolling out smoking bans in public places in 1970. In the last 38 years, the bans have grown to include:

  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Lifts
  • Amusement centres
  • Hospitals, nursing homes
  • Air-conditioned buildings
  • Non-air-conditioned workplaces
  • Markets
  • Underground and multi-storey carparks
  • Lift and hotel lobbies
  • Buses and taxis
  • Banks
  • Queues
  • Indoor sports arenas like bowling alleys, gymnasiums and fitness centres
  • Stadiums
  • Swimming pools
  • Bus interchanges
  • Playgrounds and exercise areas
  • Anywhere within five metres from the entrances and exits to buildings
  • Coffee shops and non-airconditioned food outlets*
  • Entertainment outlets*

    (*Except for designated smoking areas)

    Smokers who infringe on the smoking ban can be fined a maximum of $1,000. Operators who fail to advise their patrons against lighting up can be fined a maximum of $2,000.

  • Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime+News/Story/STIStory_313843.html?sunwMethod=GET

    Article extracted on 12th December 2008

    It’s been quite a while…

    Rants December 10th, 2008

    … since I last blogged about something sensible.

    And something sensible means… something about my life. Well, it had been all work and no play since a few months back because I got really tied down work all the research stuffs going on in my life – and also scheming on how I can get out of NTU to join its rival. It’s been a long while since I last wrote about anything personal, so here it goes.

    *blank*

    Yeah. Pretty much that. I had been marking exam papers, and it’s not something that I should write about. I had been working with overseas institutions on research and it’s not something that I should write about too. I had been attending events like Soy Joy’s and Fleishman Hillard’s and it’s something that I am supposed to write about. Then again, I got so bogged down in the last 2 weeks that it’s probably post-mortem already (yes, post-mortem on the post-mortem) that I will probably wait some more so that it becomes a memoir instead of being an old and stale story.

    But most importantly… I am on the move again. Yes. I have until this Saturday to move out, and I was planning to return to my parents’ place. However, even before I stepped into the house, my mum and I argued over SMS – yes, SMS, again. So, I guess the move back won’t materialise at all. That is one thing, but the prospect of having to find somewhere nowhere to stay… erm…

    Yup, so that’s really the frantic of the week. I know MacDonalds’ is my friend, but I am not sure if he’ll mind me dawning at the 24 hours restaurant for weeks. Not to mention the smell of unbrushed teeth in the morning, coupled with an aura of bad breath and dangled hair like a lion’s mane. Yes, I am officially homeless. Leading a nomadic life is one thing – at least nomads have somewhere to live in. Me? I’m pretty much on my own.

    Rental prices are going down, but still ridiculously high at some places. Cheaper ones are usually located in some ulu place that requires the change of 2 feeder buses, 1 LRT and 2 changes of MRT trains before I can get to school. Now, that doesn’t sound too appealing a task to do in the morning. Yet, I still remember the times when unemployment rates in Singapore was on the rise, and the government preached to its people – “don’t be fussy, take any job that is available”.

    Well, I bet no one in the government ever know what it’s like to travel from one end of Singapore to the other end by 8am amidst crowded trains and buses. Save for the recent increase in frequency of buses and trains during peak hours, most of the government officials up there probably think that space is aplenty in the train cabin during peak hours. Which reminds me that… SMRT wanted to remove more seats so that more people can stand?

    Hello?! Don’t the management people understand what “personal space” is all about? Come on, do they really expect people to squeeze some more? It’s already disgusting enough to have someone breath down my ear; and now they want bodies packed “back-to-back”? Calling the trains sardine cans is definitely not appropriate cos’ the sardines probably have more space than the people in the train!

    However, there must be something that I have to admit. The cockroaches are fast disappearing from buses – especially those on board SMRT 171. Thankfully, the buses are getting cleaner and also progressively replaced by the new SMB buses (I think it stands for SMRT Buses, not Social Media Breakfast). I admit that there is now more standing space in the newer buses compared to the older ones, but at least the so-called standing spaces are really meant for wheelchair users. Perhaps that might have been a smart way for commuters to accept having lesser seats, but at least the buses are fitted with watcha-call-that-thingie that allows wheelchair users to wheel up the buses.

    Hmm… seems like what started off as aimless writing resulting in something after all – more rants. Perhaps it’s just my favourite past time. Oh well, time to grab dinner I guess. Sigh. Bumming time again.

    Day 3 marks the end of the Chevrolet driveaway. It had been a fun 2 days so far and I am beginning to miss the fun already. Alice and myself had initially wanted to catch the morning sun, but I guess after 5 glasses of beer, that was close to impossible. We were just thankful that we didn’t get to miss the breakfast as well.

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    Just before we drive off, we had wanted to take a group photo… but! There was a banner at the entrance of the resort and it was WRONG BRANDING! So, we went into the lobby to have our group photo taken. Too bad I didn’t have any photos of it because we were all apparently in a rush of sorts. But…

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    I do have a picture of the MC giving short instructions on the way back to Singapore. =)

    We had lunch at Sea View Seafood Village, which was pretty good food, save for the crab, which was a tough case to crack. Literally.

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    From here, we were given last words and instructions before everyone proceed individually for the remaining of their journey. The view outside the restaurant was quite good though. Heh.

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    Anyway, it turned out that the journey back was just as an eye-opener. Clarence showed what the car could do when he rammed it up to 170km/h! 170! Any of the cars that I used to drive would have taken off been reduced to a royal rumble!

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    Evidence of it here. Heh. 170!!! Can you believe it?

    Anyway, since it was a long way drive – 250km of it to be exact, I took some photos that I thought is worth sharing. =)

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    Something about the pictures. That yellow coloured Aveo5… kept staying ahead of us. I am almost convinced that it’s not usually the car that can’t perform, but it’s the driver. She’s one helluva driver man. And oh, the bikee, he’s none other than our advance party throughout the trip – making sure that we are not lost. Kudos to him too.

    As for the road signs, the 110km/j is probably something you will never get to see in Singapore and the wind thingie sign… no idea what that’s for. Haha… my best guest: strong winds ahead; beware of drifting. Heh.

    Definitely looking forward to Chevrolet’s next driveaway 2009… and hoping that we’d still be invited. =)

    The original plan was for the teams to race it out at Sepang with their Chevys until the last man survive and emerge as the winner of the Chevrolet Driveaway. Nay, of course this is not entirely true. The real plan was actually for everyone to participate in the Sepang F1 race where the karts can go up to 80km/h on a real replica of the Sepang race track.

    Just that no one is going to lay their hands on the 80km/h version.

    Instead, everyone will be assigned a go-kart that can go up to 25km/h to compete 5 rounds on a replica of the Sepang tracks. The 10 best go-karters will then get together to compete for the first to cross the line. And the prize for this?

    A $1 million dollar cash as the carrot.

    A $60 limited edition cash card from Pioneer.

    Well, they definitely don’t want to promote speeding as a way of life and the token is merely… a token of appreciation for risking our lives and limbs to make the race spectacular for the rest of the Chevy audience.

    Following the race, we were supposed to be back by 4:30pm for a telematch. That, didn’t happen because everyone was late and dead beat by the time we returned to the hotel. At least that gave us enough time to prepare for the pirate themed dinner. Heh heh.

    8:30am: We gathered to prepare for the trip to the race track. At first, we thought it was some small go-kart place. But when we started the drive, we realised it wasn’t to the small, teeny, wheeny go-kart track just outside the hotel. It was the one just next to the Sepang race track just next to the real one near KLIA!

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    However, before we set off, one of the Chevys had a punctured tired. I am not sure, but I thought that’s a GM staff helping to change the tire. Heh. If it were my car that broke down, I will be terribly lost at what to do. Speaking of which, I had been looking at cars recently, and one of the cars that I saw came with only a tire repair kit – enough to last me to the mechanics. Hmm… now, if it were in Malaysia, over a weekend, I think I am going to have a big problem getting the repair kit to last long enough.

    Then again, to be fair, it was the parallel import version that came with a repair kit.

    Anyway, to keep with the schedule, we proceed to the Sepang Tracks which was really near KLIA… and VERY FAR from Port Dickson.

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    Moving as a convoy gives a very nice feeling… that we won’t get lost (or at least if we do, then we are ALL lost). There’s no longer that mad race for time like how it was like in Day 1. I may be a competitive person, but having to compete every single day is not my cup of tea. Heh.

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    Soon, we hit the highways again…

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    And the long, windy, hilly road…

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    Across many, many plantations…

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    Before we see a familiar sign…

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    And finally… Sepang Circuit! Woohoo!

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    10:30am: Before we do any serious racing, all of us have to sign to give our lives away should anything happen. Heh. Then again, my life is hardly worth a single cent and I readily signed it. Even though it’s just the go-kart version, every driver was given strict instructions on the dos and don’ts on the race track. We were supposed to drive carefully and not as if our lives depending on the winnings.

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    Each kart had a timer which gets turned on the moment we cross the starting line, and our lap times are recording onto the microcomputer on the kart. This explains why the last person won’t be disadvantaged when doing a time lap and is last in the line.

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    Everything looked like the real thing, minus the pit stop. There was also an ambulance on standby just in case anyone gets into serious trouble.

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    And the race begins! It’s kinda fun being an F1 photographer – because given the wrong settings, it is almost impossible to get a good picture. Even though they are travelling only at 25kmh, it seemed very much faster. I think it’s probably because I was very near to the tracks itself.

    There were altogether about 5 races from which the top 10 were gathered for a first-to-cross-the-line race. I made it to the top 10 and was the only girl to be in it! Haha… that in itself is actually quite intimidating because I had to race against 9 other guys! Not to mention the pressure to do well… even though it’s just a mock race.

    I started off first for the first 3 lapse but my kart went turtle was out of control at one of the bends and turned 360 degrees. Thankfully, 2 karts came from behind and knocked my kart back into position. Running 3rd, I cut bends like there was no tomorrow… and contrary to believes, I did make use of the brakes. Actually, I drifted a fair bit when cutting bends and corners and used my weight to counter the “G-force”. Heh. Eventually, the 2nd person lost control of his kart and I came in second overall.

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    Heh. An F1 moment. =P

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    Finally, we got together for a photo taking session in front of the Sepang Circuit wordings. It’s quite a nice feeling to be able to gather together for an enjoyable time of interaction; even though it was all done under the hot sun!

    12:30pm: It was time for lunch and all of us proceeded to the nearly city in KL for a quick lunch. I have totally no idea where we went, but it was so full of traffic lights! In fact, there was a traffic junction at almost every 100m! Oh well.

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    The shopping mall was modern and seemed rather crowded – given the quiet streets outside. I went to Carrefour in an attempt to get more stuffs for the pirate dress up tonight. But didn’t get much. In fact, I got a free plastic bag… because the security insisted on bagging up my camera so that I won’t be able to take any photos while in the hypermart.

    Oh well.

    And oh, if it seems like there was lack of photos here, my camera was at low-battery level and I was afraid that I won’t be able to get more photos for the telematch (which was eventually cancelled). In the end, I didn’t get to do much at the shopping mall.

    Lunch was free and easy again and I had some Briyani. Hmm… nothing compared to the ones from Hyderabad. Heh.

    4:30pm: By the time we reached the hotel, it was already past the time for the telematch. I think everyone was tired and so it was cancelled. For me, I pigged in the room while Alice was eyeing at the setting sun. Yes… picture time.

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    We did manage to get some pretty good shots of the setting sun, which I must say, is really nice and romantic. Port Dickson is probably a good getaway for couples who want a nice and romantic weekend amidst a busy schedule back in Singapore.

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    And for photography buffs, your imagination is the limit. Kekeke… Nice right? *shameless*

    7:30pm: We eventually started dressing for the dinner. Actually, we didn’t really dress much. What we did was just to put on white long sleeve shirts and jeans and hoped that we looked pirate-y enough. Heh. Alice then came up with this idea to use the table towels to wrap our heads with it. Oh well. Didn’t look quite nice, so I am not going to put it up. Heh heh.

    But I thought Clarence did quite a good job dressing up as a pirate. Heard that the costume cost him $60 or something. Heh… handsome pirate right?

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    Heh. Yeah, so Clarence was the Pirate Head while Alice and myself were the kah-kiahs. =P

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    The dinner was very well-attended with everyone dressing up as a pirate or someone that seemed to resemble a pirate. Apparently, there was news that guys who didn’t come in a pirate costume will be subjected to a stun equivalent to walking on the plank.

    And walked the plank they did.

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    I am going to post a picture so small that you won’t be able to recognise them and subject them to public ridicule. But yes, those we failed to come dressed like a pirate ended up having to dress like ladies to accompany the pirates. Haha. Ok lah, I think everyone took it with a pinch of salt. However, a prize was given to one of the “ladies”… not for the best dressed lady, but for the one who has the most armpit hair! Aikes!

    Prizes were also given out for various other stuffs… like the first person to down 2 glasses of draft beer, the teams that won the treasure hunt, as well as other games that were held during the race and the dinner. It was quite fun and everyone was pretty sporty… especially the 3 guys who accepted the “punishment” of not coming dressed like a pirate! Haha…

    And oh, it was also 2 persons’ birthday too! And as they came out, we didn’t know if the birthday cake would have been ready. Luckily, as they were speaking, the cake came out from the kitchen. Heh. Talk about being fresh from the oven!

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    So nice right? Too bad my birthday was too early.

    Soon after, it was time for everyone to go back. Club 212 (beer drinking session in room 212) continued as they bought 1 entire crate of beer. I think it’s going to be a late night for everyone tonight.

     

    As for the

    Didn’t sleep the night before so that I could finish up all my work and not having to worry as Alice and myself prepared to go for a 3-day long event organized by General Motors. Simply Jean was invited to join in this drive-away to Port Dickson to experience for ourselves not just the performance of the car, but the fun that all Chevrolet owners love.

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    We arrived at GM ODC along Benoi Road early in the morning along with Clarence from EartH9. It was… EMPTY! Actually… we realised that we were too early. We were supposed to be switch over to a Chevrolet sedan which will see us through from Singapore to Malacca to Port Dickson and back. Just as we thought that it’s just going to be a drive-stay-drive (back) trip, it was a fun-laced event organized by GM and RoadVentures.

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    First thing first, we had to dress up our car according to the pirates theme of the driveaway! I am not particularly a good dresser, but what I didn’t expect was that Clarence brought every single thing that was needed! Haha… never expected him to be such an enthusiastic person (oops!). While we decorated our car with pirate stuffs (no, not pirated DVDs and CDs – those are meant to be left at home) it was quite obvious who the winners would be, Heh. And oh, even though the theme was supposed to be “Pirates of Chevrolet”, we thought – for a short moment – that it was “Santa of Chevrolet”…

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    Yeah… we were all happily pasting decals all over the place. And oh, the secret to doing it correctly is to actually use soap water and spraying it onto the target location before pasting the car decal on it. With the soap, it is still possible to move the decal while it is in place.

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    And with all family-friendly outings, there were children – many in fact… happily running around while their parents watched on.

    7:00am: We had a short briefing and were given tulips (road directions) from which we are supposed to find our way to the next destination. Making use of our odometers and distance markers along the North-South Highway, we were supposed to reach our first destination – Shalala Coffee. For a Friday morning, the causeway was quite crowded. The officers must be wondering on the sudden influx of Chevys. And oh, our Shell car decal came lose and flew to the Chevy behind us. Thankfully it got caught onto their bumper instead. Oops!

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    While going through the customs, our car was stopped for a boot check. Analysing the situation, we deduced that all cars with a male were stopped for the check, as well as getting their fingerprints. Hmm… must be a new way of catching Mas Selamat. You can find your face but not your fingerprints. Then again, I don’t think he’ll be stupid enough to escape through the immigration systems.

    After we cleared the customs, we were on our way to Shalala Coffee. Trust me, we almost thought we were on the wrong track because none of the earlier cars were in sight! Thinking that we must have been really slow… the accelerator was floored. From 90, we went up to 100, 110, 120 and eventually 150! Goodness! And we didn’t feel like we were moving that fast! The Chevrolet Optra was unbelievably stable compared to some other 1.6L sedans where the steering wheel starts shaking the moment the car hits 120.

    And the best part was… there was still no sight of other Chevrolets in front! Goodness! They must be flooring at least 150 to disappear that fast after the customs!

    10:18am: We were given the next set of tulips from Shalala Coffee and headed off to Malacca. We were given about 2 and 1/2 hours and were supposed to look for answers for a set of clues given to us. Think Amazing Race. Heh. At first glance, we thought we got most of the answers, but proceeded to the destination just to be sure.

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    Did I mention that we saw cute little friendly kittens? =)

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    Now, when we arrived there, I think we just got more confused! Haha… “Don’t leave home without it” is clearly “American Express”, but we ended up thinking that it’s “Ang’s Pharmacy”. Perhaps we had been thinking too much.

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    We spent over an hour walking up and down the street, not knowing exactly what we were supposed to look for. As time passed,  more and more teams started showing up and everyone kept hush about what their answers were. There was a picture that Clarence kept thinking contained an answer to one of the clues. Heh. I’m not going to say anything about that. =P

    12:17pm: We were on time! We managed to do as good as we could with just 30 seconds left to our 2.5 hours time limit! Following which, we would have gotten 10 marks penalty for every 15 minutes late. Heh. Slowly, all the teams begin to stream in – but considering that we left rather late, we were quite sure that a handful of them probably had some points deducted. Kekekeke…

    Lunch was Paranakan food at Oh Sayang (or was it Oei Sayang?). However, instead of taking pictures of the food, we ended up taking photos of a small girl from another team. Heh. She’s really cute – don’t you think so? =)

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    2:00pm: We left after lunch to continue on our quest for part 2 of the treasure hunt. We were closely tailgated by other teams and even when we tried to shake them off, it was to no avail. In fact, we thought we saw as many as 4 teams (each in their Chevys) following so closely that they beat the red light! Wah… hiong ah

    We were supposed to find some flowers and animals but there were a few clues that were very confusing… like “flag of Bangladesh if it is white”. We were like… DUH?! It turned out that we were supposed to take a photo of a white lily. And oh, there was also supposed to be a zoo, and we were supposed to look for an ostrich… but all we found was…

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    And

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    The first one is big but not real while the second one is real but a tad too small. Oh well… I am not sure if anyone managed to find the ostrich, but well, we tried out best. We were also advised not to spend too much time here and we left soon so as not to get any penalty.

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    The next and perhaps the final stop was at the range – where sharp shooters pit against each other. Well, I am no sharp shooter, but I was assigned to be the shooter for this round.

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    Yeah… that’s me. The post is not bad hor? =P

    We managed to get 5 out of 10 shots this round… meaning, we got 50 points! Yeah! And the rush to the hotel is now on. Apparently, we have about 40 minutes lead. Shucks! Should have hunted for the ostrich instead. Oh well…

    4:45pm: Yeah! We were the first to the hotel! And we were overtaken by a Skyline who happened to be one of the team organizers. Talk about driving safely! Heh. Wait till they see my skills at the Sepang Race Tracks tomorrow! Muahahaha…

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    The Guoman Hotels @ Port Dickson was a very nice place. The rooms were big and came with an extra balcony. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get one will the sea/pool view.

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    We rested for a while before joining the rest of the Chevy teams for dinner. Dinner was buffet styled free n’ easy and we spoke to some of the GM staff on the event. We thought that it was a very good chance for Chevy owners to get together. We also found out that each member in each team probably just paid for the accommodation and everything else was heavy subsidised by GM. Apparently, this is the 3rd driveaway in running. Heh. I hope they will drive to somewhere in one of the highlands next year. =P Not too sure if it’s going to be good for the engines though. Hmm…

    This driveaway also let me know more about Chevrolet cars. I would have thought that it’s a little unfortunate that Chevy took over the Korean plants… which created the impression that Chevy cars are Daewoo cars. The drive up changed my impression of Chevy cars – at least for the Optra, which seems like a sturdy car. In fact, it took a little bit of getting used to when I first drove it out of GM ODC in the morning because I was expecting it to be a rather light car. Haha…

    The light controls are on the left hand side of the car – which is different from Japanese cars, which are usually on the right. The automatic transmission gear shifter also has some safety features which requires the driver to press the shifter in before changing to the reverse gear. Admittedly, I accidently engaged the reverse gear while I was driving my car along the road. I think I was trying to change from “S” to “D” but guess I pushed too hard. So, kudos for Chevy on this too.

    The Optra probably came in at least 2 other models – the sedan and the hatchback, of which the latter is probably replaced by the Optra Estate, which is pretty much like a station wagon. Quite a nice experience, I must say.

    Ok… that’s all for Day 1. Do watch out for Day 2 as we prepare to kick some action at the Sepang F1 Race Track!

    More photos will be made available at http://photos.simplyjean.com =)