Damn, I Hate Cats! They Are So Evil!

WARNING: Cat lovers, walk away right now…you may not like this post. You have been warned!

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(Cats are evil indeed – something in the their eyes when they stare at you when you trying to chase it away from your home. Image source: http://www.debate.org)

One of the joy of moving a new house many years ago was the chance to do up a garden.

It was a joy because we used to stay in apartments which does not enough space for a garden (I mean a proper garden where we can dig in and plant things). So when I had the chance to buy a house of my own, I had great ideas on what I wanted to do with my garden, starting with beautiful carpet grass.

And when my dad retired and looking for a hobby to spend his time at home, he took up gardening. And he was good at it too – a mango tree at the front, several types of flowering plants and he would spend hours running through the carpet grass to look for weeds. At one point, carpet grass was clean and trimmed and was wonderful to walk on.

And then evil descended at my neighbourhood…

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Prepping in Malaysia: Water Rations 2

Read these first:-

prepping.

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(Some of the quick steps taken the State Government when the state faced with serious water contamination and people’s anger over the matter got worse on daily basis. Image source: YB Hannah Yeoh)

Couple months ago (and the month before as well), a good number of households (including yours truly) in the good state of Selangor was hit by prolonged water supply disruption. The culprit was water contamination – earlier from a source in Selangor (which the state government took swift actions) and later from sources from other states.

The disruption of water supply created havoc to our daily routine and we had to be on our toes when the SYABAS water tanker comes to the residential area. Thankfully to the quick work by the hard working people at SYABAS and other agencies related to water supply, the taps was running high again by afternoon of Deepavali and remained uninterrupted since then.

Inconvenience to the end users no doubt but then again, it is a wake call for the authorities & the state government to take notice and make plans for the future.

NST reported this at the start of the water supply crisis:-

Centre for Environment, Technology and Development chairman Gurmit Singh describes the water management system in the country as “fragmented”. “We are in this situation because we have badly managed our surface water resources. On top of that, we have the dichotomy between the federal and state governments.

“Most state governments have failed to protect and maintain their water catchment areas. This compromises and adversely affects our reservoirs and water supply. We rely on surface water, but much of it is being wasted through badly maintained and burst pipes.”

But, he says Malaysia has not reached the stage where it needs to resort to underground water sources. Gurmit calls for more efficient irrigation practices, as this will mean more water for consumers. He also suggests that industries be supplied with raw, not treated water. “They do not need high-quality water because they mainly use it for cooling purposes.”

(Source)

water-catchment-nst-2007

(This was back in 2007 – do we have enough water catchment area protected and enforced in 2016 and beyond? The fact the water treatment closed down more often than usual due to water pollution seems to suggest that we are lacking the means to protect our natural resources. Image source: Google)

The Semenyih water treatment plant was shut down for numerous times this year despite the abundance supply of raw water (unlike 2 years, we were struggling to get raw water due to prolong hot season). Thus far, contamination of raw water have blamed and it had come to a point where the state government even began to get suspicious – is someone sabotaging the state government with the water issue?

Well, whether the suspicion turns out to be true or not, at the end of the day, it boils down to enforcement, enforcement and enforcement. Water contamination will not go away in the near future but addressing them before it gets worse and forces the shutdown of the water treatment systems is the key step here and it had to be done so consistently.

Back home, we had been prepping for water shortage and water rations way before 2014 when the level of water in the dams was dangerously low. What have changed in the years thereafter is information channels and the community coming together to assist each other in time of crisis.

The residents at my residential area belongs to the resident association who in turn created a group chat room. So one get the news of water disruption, this valuable information is quickly shared among the rest of the residents. Often it takes couple of hours from the time the water treatment plant shuts down and to the time the taps at home goes dry.

So if one gets the information as early as possible, there is more than enough time to quickly save up water. That means the house water tank to be full to top as well as the 3 huge water buckets (one is kept at the porch for ease of filling up water from SYABAS water tankers). Then there is several smaller buckets and in addition to that several containers of clean water for drinking & cooking.

And as an additional measure, couple of cartons of 1.5 liter drinking bottles also kept in the “doomsday store room” – 12 bottles cost less than RM10 per carton (which is a good deal). The trick is to buy them upfront & store before the news gets leaked on the water disruption and there is a mad rush to buy drinking water.

At one point, I even had to drive out to places where there is not water disruption to buy drinking water as the ones near my house had fully sold out (including those expense ones).

And we have been keeping sharp eyes on water leaks to ensure that in time of crisis and when water becomes precious, we don’t have hidden leaks that reduces our water storage. And in the past, major leaks had come from broken water tank and in the end, we had to make a whole water tank replacement (after several attempts to patch the holes in the old water tank). That replacement cost us almost RM1000 but it was worth it in the long run.

Keeping the water at the water tank aside, we set priority on which of the water containers we will use first so that when the water authorities sends their water tankers, we can get ready the empty containers and pots to be replenished fast.

And there is a good reason for that. The water tankers do not come at scheduled time and sometimes by the time they passes by the road in front of the house, the water level in the tanker is very low (they will send another tanker full of water later but we won’t know when). There were once the water tanker came in the early mornings when it was raining heavily and everyone was fast asleep – at times, timing just sucks.

And big containers are not feasible to use when the water tankers come because it does not fit the hose of the tanker and when it is full, it will be difficult to carry them. So we empty the smaller containers into the bigger containers as and when the level of water comes down. We then arrange these smaller containers, buckets and pots nearer to the main door so that we don’t have to search for them later when the water tanker comes.

And everyone in the family chips on the effort of collecting the water from water tankers and this includes the kids who can carry the smaller containers. And like a well oiled machine, we keep doing it until the big containers are full and thereafter the smaller containers as well (thanks to the SYABAS guys who wait patiently for the residents to get their supply of water)

In addition to the off-beat water tanker timing, we also did not forget about the natural source of water – the rainwater which we can use for dish washing and for the toilets. Thankfully it rains often in the evenings so there is no lack of opportunities.

There is no high tech rainwater harvesting system in place yet but a rough, low tech system consisting of simple buckets and roof gutters does the job just effectively. But a proper rainwater harvesting system is still in the pipeline in the future.

In end, a good mix of quick information, plenty of upfront storage of water to last the whole family for couple of days, prioritizing the usage of water and ensuring ways to replenish the supply of water kept us in the “cool” until the water contamination issue resolved and the supply is back to normal.

There are many people in this country still don’t have access to clean water for their daily use so it is important we manage the water resources effectively and conserve water as much as possible. Our water resources already under tremendous constraint to meet the ever growing population and industrial needs, so faster we act, the better we can manage in the future.

The Dreadful & Inactive Persatuan

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(The familiar facade of almost every Persatuan in residential areas in this country.  But setting this up and running it on a regular basis is not easy. Image source: TheStar)

I guess it is high time I stop apologizing for not doing up my blog post and I did consider ending the good old days of blogging for once and for all. But then again, I might come in here occasionally to pen down my thoughts and latest happenings.

Seriously I have been busy spending more time for myself – playing games on my smartphone (what else?), spending more precious time with my kids (I love it when my kid sits on me and ask me to read her a story) and whenever possible for that extra hour of sleep and exercise. There have been another development this year and that is quickly turning into my pet project as well – my involvement with the Resident’s Association (RA) or in Bahasa Malaysia, known as “Persatuan Penduduk“.

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On A Critical & Tense Tour of Duty, Again

tour of duty

(Another tour of duty – caught this shot with my phone on the way for an overseas trip. Somehow I had the dread thoughts of MH370 but all ended well when nothing out of the ordinary happened and we landed safely)

Firstly sorry for missing out on the regular posts for past 2 weeks. You see, it is the time of the year when I clean up my drawers in the office, prepare the monthly budget for my wife, hunt for new clothes / shoes and prepare myself for a painful good-byes to my kids (my precious ones in an eerie Gollum voice).

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Prepping in Malaysia: Stocking Up Enough Water Rations

water

(Prepping includes stocking up enough water. More people means higher water consumption and coupled with a longer run of the dry season causes a dangerous level at the water catchment areas. Image source: TheStar)

Here are some snippets on the on-going water ration that you may have or may not have read.

Reality of Things

At first comes the disbelief and outrage of the whole idea of water rationing (understandably from those who need a constant supply of water for business) – after all, we never had water ration in the past before and it is a fact that Malaysia stacks at the middle of the tropics and is no stranger to heavy rain in the evenings makes water rationing almost an alien concept :-

Malaysians reacted with a mixture of disbelief and outrage over the announcement that even more water cuts would be headed their way beginning this Friday. Having been forced to change their lifestyles to weather the water crisis, residents and business owners alike were demanding that the authorities figure out a way to improve the situation fast.

(Source)

This year, water rationing has become a harsh reality and I am sure in the coming years, water rations would be a yearly event. And despite the disbelief & outrage that one may make on the water rations, this is reality and there is nothing anyone could do if we do not want to deplete the water so quickly. Water ration in the Klang Valley started with Phase 1 back in February 2014, subsequently Phases 2 & 3 was initiated and we have now come to Phase 4 which started last week and already there are talks of Phase 5 water rationing:-

Phase four of water rationing in the Klang Valley begins on Friday but talks on phase five are already taking place as water reserves at dams in Selangor continue to drop below critical levels. Insiders say if the water levels decrease and rain does not fall over the water catchments areas, rationing could continue until the end of the year.

(Source)

And for the record, even the wettest town in the country is facing the same problem and this should indicate the chaos in the climate system in the last few years:-

Water rationing in the country’s wettest town, Taiping, begins today and will last two weeks. Public utilities, infrastructure, energy and water committee chairman Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin said the water rationing will affect 23,719 households in Taiping as well as several areas in Kamunting.

“Although there was heavy rainfall near the Air Kuning dam area over the weekend, we will still go ahead with rationing to control and maintain a healthy level of water supply in the district,” he said. He said this is the first time water rationing is being carried out in the state.

(Source)

It may get worse in the coming years. Water has always been one of the key priority at home when it comes prepping and readiness for unexpected long term water disruption. Now we are faced with actual water rations with some saying will last until July this year (or worse December), it was interesting to see what worked and what did not and what can be improved.

Rainwater harvesting system

Before I go further, for your information, there is no rainwater harvesting system in place yet. It is not that I have not given it’s due thought on this – no doubt, rainwater harvesting system will cut down the usage of treated water used for car washing, toilet and general cleaning and will save up on the water bills.

One big problem is finding enough space for the rain water harvesting system. It is not a small piece that one can just plug and play. Presently there is only limited space on my porch and the only I could expand it is if I renovate the whole place (one day I will) by shifting the pillars to the side and tile up the whole area. For the time being, there is no time or budget for that.

But having said that, I wonder why there has not been a greater call for rain water harvesting system to be part of the standard facility for all new housing areas. House price is already at an insane level – a couple of more thousand does not make any much difference. This rain water harvesting system remains an illusive item to most of us and it is not because of the price or lack of suppliers in the country but rather it is due to a lack of the space.

I did try to set up a very rudimentary rainwater harvesting system – a simple pail set at where the rain water falls from the roof and the water then stored in a water drum that can be sealed and used for toilets. But this cannot be done all the time especially when sometimes there is a serious lack of rain and if it rains, it is not enough to fill up the pail.

Realigning water usage

Obviously with water rations in place with 2 days with water and 2 days without water, we had to change our lifestyle rather drastically.

The first one to be thrown out of the window was my weekly car wash. I also have decided not to visit the road side car wash – it is still good water down the drain (I wonder why road side care wash centers are not banned in time of water crisis).

On the days when we don’t get water, we still use the washing machine for washing clothes as normal BUT not for the whole washing process. My wife hand pre-washes the clothes first using less water (assuming) and then put these clothes into the washing machine on SPIN mode which spins the clothes but does not use water. There’s less work for my wife too.

Long showers have been cut short too. These days we take enough to keep ourselves clean. This however does not apply for the kids – they still have to take a proper shower. Same goes for cooking at home (which also means dish washing).

On the days when we don’t get water, we don’t cook. We opt to eat outside. However the negative side of this is that we have to spend more money to buy food from outside. Yes, we save water in a way but in the long run, it is not cost effective. Money that could be used for water bills ends up many fold over on outside food and drinks.

And last week, when the kitchen cabinet contractors finally came to start work on my new kitchen cabinet (yes, finally!), we had to schedule their work time with the day when we get the water. Thankfully the workers’ boss understood the situation and rescheduled the work schedule for us.

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(Selling like hot cakes – plastic water storage. Image source: theStar)

Extra storage

The other aspect of water ration is water storage. With less water used on days when the water is rationed by realigning the use of treated water, there is an added comfort if you have that extra storage of water lying some where in the house, just in case the water ration is extended for another day or two. Water storage is very high on our priority list.

In addition to the house water tank located on the roof, we had to ensure that we had stored enough water for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and for use of toilet and this must be enough to last the whole household for at least 2 days or more. From the onset, as part of my prepping readiness, I had ensured that storage for drinking water is addressed first. We can go on without bathing for days but we cannot do the same when it comes to drinking water.

The 2 large 15 liters water containers was more than enough to sustain us for the 2 days (despite the water disruption and the warm weather making us to drink more water). Based on my calculation, it should last us for at least a week. And to be on the safe side, for my daughter’s use, we also bought 2 boxes of 1.5 liter drinking water bottles.

Each box has about 1.5 liter 12 bottles – so in total we had about 66 liters of drinking water which is sufficient to meet the daily recommended water intake per person for 1 week. In addition to this, we had filled up 4 pots of raw tap water that can be easily boiled for drinking. That adds another 40 liters of drinking water. So drinking water was not a major problem.

For bath and toilet, we had bought 3 huge water containers (about 80 liters each) at about RM70 each (price jacked due to the water crisis, no doubt) and this is filled to the brim when we had water and kept this stored water unused until the house tank water goes dry.

Moving forward

Then the question that begs to be answered is whether with Phase 1, 2, 3 & 4 water rations in place, does it really saves up water? If you ask me, it does not – it seems like we still use the same amount water on an average basis. Dirty clothes still need to be washed. We still need to take shower and use the toilet.

We may not cook at home but since we buy food from the outside, the restaurant still uses water. But this is something for the authorities to consider in the long run. As individual preppers, what is more important is storage and managing usage for greater sustainability.

This makes an interesting case study for prepping in Malaysia in the coming years and may inspire non-believers, those who had thought good things are here forever to be a prepper. Water rations could just be start of things to come. With more changes to the global climate, things will change and some will change drastically. At the end, it will fall on how ready we are to meet these changes.

Snippets 07 March 2014

Perhaps I should reword the title as “Random Ramblings 07 March 2014”.

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(Well the “baby” do not sleep with us but it does not matter since she keeps us awake the same and causes us to have shorter and shorter time to get a good night sleep. Image source: http://blogs.babycenter.com/)

I had a great idea for a post for this week. In fact I had more than one great idea for the week. So I want you to believe so but it was not the case. The truth is I was so caught up with work that I have not given a thought for a theme for the post for this week. But I had plenty of random ramblings of the things that I have seen and done in the past one week and things I will be seeing and doing in the coming weeks.

Here’s some of it:-

1. It has been some weeks since I (and my wife) had a real good night sleep. Forget the weekdays – we are getting less than 5 hours of sleep on daily basis. Still remember this? And it is scientifically proven too.

Well, our daughter is back to her routine of actively playing until is way after midnight and only calm down to sleep when the clock hits one in the morning. We have tried to tune her routines to a more normal hours but we failed miserably. That leaves me especially rather burned down when I am in the office and had to face serious decision making. I would just look a bit zombie by then. On the weekends, the agenda is pre-set with so many activities which leaves us little time to sleep (but we still manages to steal time for short naps but it is not enough to pay back proper the lost sleep). And this week we are traveling and there is a big function set for the weekend (read on below). So it will be another week without an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

2. Speaking of traveling and having a function for the weekend, it is actually for the other Big Boss. Similar to this. Frankly speaking I hate elaborate temple functions and if possible I rather give this function a slip (of course it won’t be me alone but the whole family. I know my son hates it too) but since it is tradition and something that is spearheaded by my wife and her parents, that is not possible.

On the good side is we will be staying in a proper hotel (with secured parking, thank God and air-conditioner) this time around and not as usual cramped up spot in my in-law’s house and thus it should not be so taxing as compared to last time we travel up north and there were not enough space to accommodate us all (me and my son had to sleep in another house) and mosquitoes had good time making kamikaze attacks on us.

3. Speaking about kamikaze, encountering with pesky motorcyclists who cut in and out of traffic without any indicators (in fact I curse all morons who cut in and out of the traffic without any indicators), riding without any lights & helmet and ride on the wrong side of the road and endangering other road users is nothing new. Often missing close calls, I often hope that couple meters upfront, they are lying under the huge tires of a big truck and one less idiot would be on the road.

But last night, the motorcyclist that I saw probably took the center stage of the morons on the road. I was driving on the slower lane of the highway when this idiot cut in from the left (without any indicators whatsoever) and I immediately saw that his back lights were not working and he had a dark jacket on. So much so of presenting himself to be more visible on the road. As I tailing him from the back and getting ready to over take him, I noticed something rather disturbing. his back wheel was actually wobbling and this idiot was not even riding slow and he did not stick to the slow lane. Obviously keeping his bike in top shape was the last thing in his must do list. He was still cutting in and out of the lanes. I just wonder how stupid some people can be when it comes to them using their vehicles.

4. Due to the call to conserve water and water rations in some parts of the city, we have made a point to make sure all of our water containers & pots & bottles are full all the time. I have also decided not to do my weekly washing of the car. And even the last time I did it, I used the least water possible – I just wet the towel and cleaned the layer of the dust on the car body. But then again, even if I do my usual washing, I am dead sure that I use far less water than those guys at the “snow” car wash (and the car would be cleaner too). I wonder if things get from bad to worse, will the Government ban these road side car wash centers? They do use plenty of the treated water for the car wash – water that can be used for drinking. I just wonder about it.

5. Remember when I said that Symbian is finally dead? My “old” Nokia N8 was passed on to my wife and her experience with a smartphone has been a good one. Now as she is familiar with ins and outs of using a smartphone, she want to move on with Phase 2 of using a smartphone. If budget forbids, we might be shopping for the replacement phone soon. Yes, it will be another Android 4.2 powered smartphone (mine already moved to Android 4.3) but since it is for my wife who does not need much “computing power”, with a lower specifications for a low cost. That is if we have leftovers after we have spent on the kitchen cabinet.

6. Yes, the once I was “proud of” kitchen cabinet is long overdue for a replacement – no thanks to the termites and a bit of misuse. It’s time to hunt for fresh quotations and visit forums and gauge which one will be affordable and which contractor to engage. There is of course the issue of budget and sticking to them even though there will be plenty of temptations to add things here and there. Hopefully we can get this done in the next 1-2 months.

P.s. Anwar Ibrahim have been found guilty of sodomy and be rest assured that it will change the landscape of the politics in this country. After all, he was the one who brought PAS & DAP into a stronger alliance. But who knows, on the other hand, it could be a blessing in disguise – BN have been using Anwar as an excuse to demonize Pakatan and with Anwar out of the picture (either in prison for the next 5 years or busy with his appeals), BN will less things to demonize them. Further with Anwar not in the running for the MB seat, Khalid will be able to be in a stronger position to hold on to his MB seat and keep up his good work. His work and lack of corruption in his administration has been a plus factor in the voters electing Pakatan to run the state again. We don’t see a reason for change now.

Have a good weekend…

Prepping in Malaysia Part 4

Now that the GE13 has ended and Pakatan had settled the issue of the Menteri Besar in Selangor rather peacefully (thank God!), probably it is a best time to go back to our daily routine and one of it would be on prepping.

Read these first:-

canned food

(The canned food in the storeroom. Having enough food and clean drinking water for the family draws the highest priority on my prepping list but of course looking for storage place without it is left on the open is fast becoming an issue – I blame this on housing developers not having basement as a standard house designs in this country. It’s time to be highly creative with storage)

The world did not end last year but it was not the end of prepping as we moved over to 2013. We still had sporadic water disruptions although it was not that bad at my residential area – the water supply resumes the same day although some of my colleagues still had water disruption for days. We have yet to hit the big one on natural disasters including solar storms and global wide pandemic. On the other side of the coin, the recent general elections went rather peaceful and things soon got into a routine just a few days after it had ended although politicians are keeping the fire up the wrong issues for their own political reasons (appointment of the “once banned, once running fugitive” Hindraf’s Waytha as a Deputy Minister and uninspiring Cabinet Ministers however could be good reason to be concerned). So the panic purchase of essential goods before the elections did not happen although I did see more people with extra rice bags in their shopping carts this time around.

There have not been that many changes to my own level of prepping at home other than rearranging some of the storage and cleaning out some of drawers to keep more things.

We now have at least two 10 kg bags of rice on “standby” – when we use one up and pour the load into a separate rice container (which holds about 15 kg of rice), this bag is quickly replaced with a new bag. We had stocked up more on salt, sugar & cooking oil (even since the local store ran out of sugar one day) – all that we use in our daily cooking and always in demand. Storage of the canned food now includes bottles of sauce for spaghetti (my wife nowadays cook them for dinner). I have also added couple bottles of honey – which will come handy if we run out of sugar and of course does not have any expiry date. Air-tight containers (recycled from long titbits containers) are a good way to store spices and other small items – containers are easily stacked up. Instant noodles remains one of the more essential items in the store-room and have a drawer on its own and we now 00include dry noodle packets – it’s cheaper and flexible enough when it comes to cooking them. We stick to the principle of “storing what we eat and eat what we store” – this is to ensure stored food does not expire and we always the “latest” food stored.

One key thing that has improved greatly compared to last year is the understanding among family members on the need for prepping – so they all help out whenever they can when it comes to prepping. Prepping is no longer “sounds Greek”. No more weird looks when I talk about prepping. Family members do their own sundry shopping and whenever possible, now adds to the number of items in the “prepping” storeroom. This of course puts more strain on the available space so we had to be more creative in storing. Despite the rearranging things in the storeroom, squeezing every little bit of space, it is clear that we are running out of storage fast – the renovation of my kitchen (we hoped to get plenty of storage space once done) had to be kept on hold as we have not finalised the contractor, design & the budget.

And when it comes to storage, we also have non-food items to content with – spare batteries, candles, water filters, toiletries, garbage bags and washing items. My son’s room had the space and with a large cabinet in one corner with some old clothes and non essential items taking up precious space, it was time for another round of house-keeping. We threw away 1-2 bags of old DVDs from my collection and at least 3 large bags of old clothes (this one will go into the neighbourhood recycle bin) – we had cleared enough space to store our bathroom essentials – packages of soap bars, tooth pastes, tooth brushes, shaving blades, etc. At another corner, washing essentials – floor cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, tiles cleaners – all kept in place with proper ventilation and far from reach of children. And just like anyone running a storeroom anywhere in the world, inventory checking is a must and we often do that before month end and before we prepare the next month’s shopping list. It also gives us the chance to check on the expiry dates, condition of the items in the storeroom, rotate or use them accordingly and work out the quantity in the storeroom.

Next on the item is drinking water. There is still no rainwater harvesting system in place but this year (thanks to the water leaking into the bedroom), we managed to fix the leaks up at the roof and the water tanks. We can now be assured that we will always have at least full water tank in place should the water supply disrupted without notice. The two 15 litres containers for drinking water remains unchanged – I thought of adding another container but space in the kitchen is at a premium. So I decided to maintain the large raw water drum in the storeroom with a planned replenish cycle of 6 months. There are no plans to add any new water drums / containers until perhaps after my kitchen have gone through the overdue renovation (I already can imagine one corner to stack up with water containers – actively used for drinking and cooking).

When it comes to prepping, one cannot run away from the concept of bug-out-bag or as some would call – “mobile prepping”. I thought I have a reasonable bug-out-bag which I bring along when I go out to work or on long distant journey. My version of the bug-out-bug is not extensive although I want it to be – most of the items are stored in the house instead of the bag. But the more I think about it and as more prepping is done at home, it is clear that my bug-out-bag still has a long way to go before it is considered a bug-out-bag is sufficient enough to sustain for the next 72 hours. So I decided to re-designate it as more of a “get-home” bag (with key things – food, water, utility knife and clothes) than a proper 72 hours bug-out-bag. Work on a proper bug-out-bag have to take a back seat for the time being although I have the right bag for it (tucked away somewhere).

There is still outstanding work to be done namely on improvement of safety and trying to grow own vegetables in our small garden to minimise costs. We tried it before with chillies and tomatoes but the vegetables that we grew did not do well after attacked by pests. We still have 7 months to go before end of the year, so there’s still time to get things done. Perhaps with a mini greenhouse for the plants. For those who have not think about prepping, there is always time and opportunity to start this. We should have “always be ready” mindset so that when the tough gets going, we should always have Plan B lying around somewhere.

To be continued and happy prepping…

Double Ts: Tints & Termites

Talk about getting “syiok” on the left but getting whacked on the right!

optimized-graph

(When under the sun, the amount of sun-rays allowed into the car can make a big difference between a car and an oven. Image source: http://blog.ooyyo.com)

I got my new car more than a week ago (the post on that coming up soon – review on the car is half done but let me tell you upfront that there have a new found respect for Proton – damn, what I am saying!) but it is almost the same time, I got to know that my kitchen cabinet been creeping with hunger termites. It is truly time to be in a dilemma.

Tint

When one gets a new car, there are couples of things that one would to change or add on – new music player, perhaps new rims, state of the art alarm system (definitely) and in a tropical country like Malaysia, a good tint.

When I got my very first car many years ago, I did not opt to tint the car. I was naive and did not really understand the benefit of tinting the car. Tints back then was expensive and not all was so reliable (they tend to fade after several years) and there was the problem of contravening JPJ guidelines. As a result of this, my car interior was like an oven whenever left on the outside; so much so, cracks appeared in the interior plastics. Driving was so uncomfortable even though the air conditioning was at its peak but the interior remained hot and sweaty.

So, when I decided to change car this year, getting a good tint for the car was high on my list and it was not on solar tint alone but security tint as well. Proton was providing “SafeTint” for free but there was no further detail on this brand other than it was part of Proton’s own products and some said that it was not so reliable. Checking with the sales person at Proton indicated that “SafeTint” was neither a solar nor security tint – it was just to add color and make the car look nice.

Given the number of cars being broken into these days, I rather have security tint than solar ones. As I checked further, there were certain brands that provided 2-in-1 tints – both security and solar in one neat package. One of them was Cool World’s RhinePro XD3 which retailed for RM980 (complete package and before any discounts). There was another tint package that was recommended by the Proton sales person but that was going for RM2,000 (and that too, after discounts).

So, further checking with Cool World and further negotiations, I got RhinePro XD5 (6 mil thickness 2 in 1 security & solar tint) for the side windows and premium solar tint for the front & back (I understand that JPJ does not allow security tint for the front & back), sun visor and regn number etching a total RM1,100 (after discounts). The whole deal also comes with RM500 worth 5 years free insurance and a 15 years warranty. It looked good on paper but what about workmanship itself?

Tint maybe branded and made from exotic materials but poor workmanship can really mess up things. I lost count of the many cars I have seen running around with tint full of bubbles, scars and out of place installations? So, the price was good and past reviews on the tint shop on the internet seems to be in positive.

Thankfully, the workmanship at the shop that I went to was as good as it was claimed and I did not have to wait for the tint work to be completed (within 1 hour, my car was done) but I guess going to the tint shop very early helped in my matter. Early to the shop when there was less cars and more of the staff available to work on one car at the same time. Final verdict – the tint was the right move and I managed to get a good deal for a quality tint although I should have chosen a lighter color for the security tint. It is quite dark now causing the guards at my residential area security checkpoint wondering who is driving the car late at night.

(Similar baits now resting in my kitchen cabinets, feeding the unsuspecting termites towards the destruction of their colony – so evil of me, ha ha. Image source: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com)

Termites

Several months, my mother noted a small patch of termites in the kitchen cabinet and so after a spray of termite poison, that problem was resolved fast. That is until, couple weeks ago, the termites made a comeback in a more destructive manner. The kitchen was still in good condition but we know that we needed to act fast.

I, perhaps panicked with of losing the “not really cheap” kitchen cabinet for good, decided to do 3 things that I should never have done, at least according to professional pest control company that I engaged later:-

1. Spray more insect poison onto the termites’ patches
2. Clear away the “mud”
3. Wash the kitchen cabinet

I understand later that by me doing these things could have driven termites into the wall where it will be more difficult to kill later or into the ground. Couple of days later, we still had termites in the kitchen cabinet, so we had to call the “real” professionals in. The pest control staff came over to the house on the weekend and started to check all over the place on the extent of the damage. The good news was the termite problem was constrained to the kitchen cabinet and there was no other “leakages” elsewhere in the house. The bad news was it was going to cost me (big time) to resolve the termite problem and it is going to take about at least 3 months to kill off the “colony” (if we opt for the long term solution which costlier of the 3 options available).

The cheaper option of simply spraying insecticide of ruled out for obvious reasons – we did not know where the colony way. Besides, insecticide in the kitchen is only posing danger to us – this is where our food was cooked. Of course, 3 months is a long way to go and I wondered for how long the kitchen cabinet will last.

The better solution is to place baits in the path of the termites that will then eat some of the bait and passed the remaining baits to others (ultimately to the Queen herself). But although this will be very, very effective, it is not going to be a quick solution. The pest control staff said that they will come over every 3 weeks to check on the bait and extent of growth. But a complete wipe out of the termites from the house will all depends on the size of the colony and there are any other colonies lurking nearby.

Only time will tell on whether the home would be termite-free and whether I will still have the kitchen cabinet standing at the end of the 3 months.

Beauty of Reading: Build Your Own Library

I love reading books since I was still small. My grandmother often say that all it needs to keep me busy is a book. As an adult, I guess one of the “wisest” things that I have done in my life related to reading & books is to buy a proper book cabinet and set my own library.

reading

(My latest collection of books – the one in green cost RM8.50 each whilst the Mammoth Book is RM19.90 – a far cry from Dan Brown’s latest thriller costing RM40)

I like reading (my wife have started to pick up reading, with a pace of 1-2 pages per day but reading a book still sounds “Greek” to my son) and over the years, I have been collecting books but without a proper shelf or cabinet, the books were simply lying all over the place.

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