Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Extension of LRT lines - is bigger ever better?

New additions - longer lines now available.


I hate nostalgia.

I also hate taking the bus.

Back in 1998, I got the opportunity to ride the newly launched Putra line...for free! I was still in college and was easily mesmerized and surprised at how advanced KL was compared to back home. I was so proud of then PM Tun Mahathir, besides both of us shared almost the same birthday - he also built the KLCC and turned Malaysia into one of the most advanced country in its infrastructure. Malaysia was way ahead of its Southeast Asian counterparts that time, even though the country was still recovering from the Asian economic crisis of 1997.

Spanking new seats and elevators
Young and naive person like myself back then was steadfast to stay in KL after college to fulfill our dreams - mainly because of the LRT, being such a modern and convenient way to get into the city! Of course being free, I rode the train everyday, feeling like I can go anywhere in an instant and maybe even achieve my dreams in an instant too. Forward back to present day 18 years later, and now the remaining lines are finally complete. Of course, now, nothing is free. The poor remains poor - made poorer still when the elimination of the monthly RM100 pass which has literally taken a toll on active commuters like myself. Commuters are now treated like vehicles, paying tolls for using the LRT highway at each stop. These new line extension are merely an illusion of progress made to soften the harsh reality that commuters actually have to pay more.

But is it worth it?


Huge carpark
General Overview
For the urban poor, our money is limited. Therefore, it's vital we get a general overview of the entire line so we can determine which stations can best meet our needs - whatever it may be. For me personally, I am looking for a stop that can fulfill me from day to night, like my clothes. But I am still open to other options, if there's any. When the train went beyond the Kelana Jaya station, it was exciting to see a new view. It used to be the last stop - and our journey has ended. It was simpler back then, because we don't have the gnawing curiosity of what's beyond. But now, it's different.

Open air view
What's beyond is a sprawling plain of condominiums, business centres and new developments still in the making. I noticed plenty of empty building lots still advertising for occupancy. The newer condominiums situated nearby Ara Damansara station still have that less-than-vibrant atmosphere. There's even a large sign of the mall, stangely named Evolve. I wonder if it's advertising for the LRT putra new line extensions - like our transport system has evolved. The Ara Damansara station has a rounded womb like roof that resembles curiously like a woman's cunt. And in the train goes like the penis railing on a daily penetration.


The Womb
The Womb and The Shogun
There's basically 2 main types of station roof top design. Of course, I've already told you about the womb-like rooftop, but from afar it looks like a spaceship. But there's a second type of station design, with an interesting architecture that resembles a Japanese Shogun warrior armour for its silhouette. To make things simple. let's call these 2 station designs - The Womb and Shogun.

The Womb not meant for stops
I noticed the The Womb-like station are sort of reserved for the more upscale areas with sprawling high-end condominiums and malls. I suspect it must be perceived as more modern due to its ovular shape with cleaner lines. Where else for the Shogun-like station rooftops, it can be seen more at the lower-class residential and business areas. But personally, I prefer the Shogun because it has an open air without any enclosure like The Womb. These type of stations are situated higher above the ground and bigger in its size. That means one has to walk a bit more to come down from the station.

The Shogun
I made a simple conclusion so everyone who's taking this new line for the first time can be informed at which stop would be best for you. Basically, this new line serves a purpose to boost the economic activities at these 5 stations: Ara Damansara, Subang Jaya, Wawasan, USJ 7 and SS15. These stations are the more attractive stops being it's situated quite nearby to the malls. Below is the list:

1) Ara Damansara - Evolve
2) Subang Jaya - Aeon Big
3) SS15 or Subang Jaya - Subang Parade
4) Wawasan - The 19 USJ
5) USJ7 - The Summit

If you enjoy shopping for fashion, there's a little known HM shop at Evolve mall. If you're looking to buy groceries, then Aeon Big is for you. The other malls are basically a combination of shops and leisure spots. The other stations are situated at residential areas, with some very rich neighborhood.


Nothing is ever what it seems to be...
I was surprised to know how nearby Subang Jaya was to Kelana Jaya being a frequent train commuter. It was just on its next stop! I remembered before this new line extension, I have to stop at KL Sentral and transit to the Komuter line - the waiting period was exhaustingly long. Maybe that's why it gave the impression that it's faraway. it costs RM3.30 to stop from Wangsa Maju. But now, it's just a few stops nearby. I managed to catch a glimpse of how closely spaced the many rows of shoplots - perhaps I may even get a quick lunch later. I did get a quick lunch at Restoren Yee Fatt - a very rubbery wan ton mee for RM5.50 (small). I didn't order any drinks, but saved that for a teh tarik at Nasi Kandar shop opposite.

The reason I stopped at the SS15 station is because of the signage pointing out the nearby malls, mainly Subang Parade. After I got down to the station and had my lunch, I tried to look for Subang Parade - and it was nowhere to be found! I asked one college student, and he confirmed to me that it's quite a distance to walk to. When I got back into the train and heads back to Gombak, I discovered that Subang Parade is right behind a giant mosque that the train passed. I tried to gauge the distance, but it seems to be nearer to stop at SS15 than the Subang Jaya station. Again, you must never trust the signages. It's always better that you try it out yourself and see if you can take the walk. The distance may seem nearer when you're in a moving train than when you're actually on ground....

Free rides in 1998
In conclusion, the new LRT line extension merely offer options for the non-vehicle commuter. It may seem that you're nearer to a shopping mall, but experience it yourself when you're on the ground - it may be very different than what you expect. The more you get to see all these business centres, the more you realize how lonely and quiet business has actually gone down.  The trend now for commercial development is mixed residential and business - but how many of us can actually afford such lifestyle? Is bigger always better? Or maybe we should each take only what is enough and not get too much what we cannot handle.

For my commentaries on CURRENT ISSUES:
Perhambaan Rakyat Malaysia di bawah Ilusi Kebesaran Bangsa dan Agama (BM)
Humiliation Culture that targets on Chinese
The Power of Joyful vs Joyless
The Violent Nature of Malaysian Society
Zaman Gemilang Ma-Lu-Gua
Why a Chinese person should eat at Chinese restaurant
The Great Malaysian Tragedy
5 Foibles Committed by Political Leaders
Street Protests
The Age of Haters
The Over Emphasis of Hardware over Software
How My "Friend" Make Plus-sized Looks Bad
City Folks' Sitting Culture (BM)
How to Identify Monsters Anywhere
Habits of Local Talent (BM)
Lessons learned from "Friends"
Malaysian "Mega-Structures" Hits and Misses




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CREDENTIALS:
* BMW Film Awards Best Actor
* Jury Duty
Worldwide Photo Exhibit
Endorsement Value
World Cup KFC commercial
Controversial but Most-Watched Episode
The Golden Shorts Fame





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Best Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Show for Men



We haven't even conclude the summer season for this year, and now already the major labels are releasing their collections for next year. Indeed, fashion needs to stay ahead of the curve to create demand from buyers and set the trends. I'm already wearing next year's Issey Miyake thawb-like oversized coat. What else have I miseed?As I watched these shows, I notice that men's runway shows are really conventional and slow to change. The most you can expect are the fabrics, but a mass majority of the more luxurious brands would add more texture or details to its coats to enhance its collection versus the lesser luxury brand where the cut is more pronounced. Personally for me, the winning collection for 2017 spring/summer must have a clear man in mind.

(click on links to view the runway shows)



1) Gucci



Next spring/summer Gucci men are not afraid of colors. Fancy a bright yellow raincoat? Or a baby blue shirt with your favourite childhood story characters emblazoned on it? The Gucci man is simply more daring, colorful, whimsical and unafraid to stand out in the crowd. There are definitely some Chinese-inspired looks from the Ming Dynasty in a few of its night pyjamas for men - like the string buttons and angular silk shirt. Flowers and storybook characters like goose and snake are definitely in. So are raincoats! Why is it going to be a rainy or stormy summer/spring next year? I'll definitely be putting one on. Gucci weather forecasts say so. From day to night, it's luxury all the way. This Gucci man must be living in a mansion.

2) Dirk Bikkembergs



Athleisure wear for men is really going to be big next year. Elastic pants, swimming trunks and sports shoes (gold and bright red) are making a comeback. Jackets with orchid flowery motifs adds that feminine side to a sporty man without screaming too much. It's so easy to get the Dirk Bikkembergs man - he enjoys white color to start of his day, then swims in the afternoon and at night he would be out and about in some club in town, dressed in his cool jacket and skinny pants. I thought it was going to be the Olympics next year since a large pool was at the centre stage. But check out Fendi runway show too to see the similarity - another pool as the centrepiece.

3) Cerruti



Unlike other runway shows where the models strut on the stage quickly - for this one, all the models stood on their various designated podiums like some kind of museum exhibit. Watching this show can test your patience a bit but it also forces you to look at each piece closely - and realise it's actually very basic. Another label worth checking out is Maison Margiela where the basics are redefined, or rather deconstructed in a way that's more relaxing. The Cerruti man is the most conventional of the modern man and nothing shouts at all. You can wear the clothes to the office or at home, or even visit your aunt. Everything is quite basic, prim and proper. Heck, you can even copy any of the looks exhibited from your existing wardrobe and pretends it's a Cerruti. Cool.....

In conclusion, next spring/summer would be a predictable weather forecast for men. If you're expecting luxury to fall like the rain, Gucci is for you. But if you want to work for it until your body aches while displaying your swimming chops, then Dirk Bikkembergs. For the most conventional of us, Cerruti can bring you no mistake. In general, the flower motifs are slowly creeping into men's wardrobe and oversize is the next luxury!


For more articles about FASHION/ART, click below:
African Arabian Adventure - Law-rence of Arabia
Fast Fashion Labels (For Men) Review
Summer Window Display 2016
Fashion as a Tool that Unlocks the Subconscious
Seed Bag for Men Review
Best Fall Winter Fashion Show 2016 (Women)
Jetsetter's Fashionable Guide
HM Fashion Review (Coats Special)
The Ultimate 7 Point Guide to Winning Project Runway
Messenger Bags Special
Tips for Buying Shoes (Sneakers)
Stuff Magazine 9th Anniversary Party
Myanmar Art Review
Student Art Fair





THANK YOU! If you enjoy my blog, kindly click "Join this site" button on the left side of this page AND 

*Click Like on my Official Facebook

*For enquiry about my coaching and requests to write and feature your product/services here in my blog, kindly click Email

CREDENTIALS:
* BMW Film Awards Best Actor
* Jury Duty
Worldwide Photo Exhibit
Endorsement Value
World Cup KFC commercial
Controversial but Most-Watched Episode
The Golden Shorts Fame



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fast Fashion Labels (For Men) Review: Comparison among H&M, Zara and Topman



Let me be clear: I'm not advocating mindless consumption through this article.

Rather, I'm advocating extreme caution and careful consideration before you purchase. I know I did. I was never a clothes horse. In fact, I dislike shopping for clothes! There are simply too many things I calculate for consideration before even buying a piece. Yes, I'm that anal and hyper paranoid. Honestly, being an urban poor - these considerations are super vital so my purchase does not go to waste or worst, sent for the Salvation Army or orphanages later. Or be the receiving end of the aid from Salvation Army, yikes!

Due to these harsh economic times, with no job but cost of living keeps escalating - fashion seem to be the only viable option of escapism. Fashion pieces, to me, are meant to be kept. Not just wear once and throw into storage. With the rise of fast fashion powerhouses like Zara, HM and Topman - a vulnerable and unconsious shopper might get himself sucked into a spellbinding shopping vortex that would chalk up considerable debt if one is not careful or conscious. Apologies to Padini and Uniqlo - you are left out from the comparison review because your clothing range are simply too ordinary to be qualified as fashion? Hopefully, this article would guide you in your shopping spree since now it's the time to splurge for everything's on sale! And perhaps even prevent you from buying anything foolish and wasteful.

Similar shopping bag design as Philosophy
- but the free magazine is a must takeaway!
Topman
Among the fast fashion labels - Topman can be considered as the top of the price range. Hence, the brand name itself suits its price tag. Just a T-shirt alone can cost a whopping RM100 and above. What the heck? A simple T-shirt with no design or embellishment of any kind? But the T-shirts are incredibly comfortable to wear since it's made from breathable cotton. Casual wear is uniform across its range, same as its office wear. There's nothing to shout about in terms of its design. I was looking for extreme graphics on its T-shirts and jackets, but the most extreme I saw so far was the flower details behind a jacket (items on sale only) and some bamboo and leave motif which were very light and doesn't stand out that much. During shopping, one must always remember that what looks great on a model or mannequin does NOT mean it will look good on YOU! That's because the model or mannequin is tall and slim unlike us! That's why I always go for jackets or coats because it covers my limitations. Until recently, my body got some nice shoulders that I shop for tank tops. So our perception must be align with reality.

The shopping bag from Topman is made from hard cardboard material with a simple Topman name across the white background. It's shopping bag that reminded me of Philosophy's which is now nowhere to be seen. I value better shopping bag designs so I can carry them around with pride. I have to give credit to Padini for the better shopping bag design - have you seen their latest golden Hari Raya shopping bag? So eye-catching.


Great shoe range
Zara
For price range, Zara comes in second highest in the fast fashion category. It also has the widest network of franchise stores. I noticed they also have a wide selection of coats, shoes, ties and jackets. Do watch out for the upcoming winter's season of jacket for it's certainly graphic with stiched-in logos! These are simply too good and expensive for purchase. But if one has the money, why not? It's a rare gem of a jacket but not for an ordinary folk who reisdes in hot weather! Unless you work in an air-conditioned office all day long. But who wants to work in an office, anyway? Yuck!

Jackets and coats - similar with HM but
higher prices
For their sales period, the ones on sale are just plain colours like red, blue and grey without any striking graphic embellishments. Fortunately, I was in love with their footwear range - especially those fancy ones in gold and red (but I did not purchase that one). One needs to be careful of the shoe size for it's completely different size from my sneakers size! Not one size fits all, it seems. I find their T-shirts range are made from a heavier side cotton material. But the graphics on it were more beautiful than Topman. Maybe that's why the heavier material to absorb the graphic colors?

For their shopping bag, it's the dullest one I've ever seen - just a plain grey plastic bag without any handles. Also, stay away from their busiest store like the one at Pavilion for it's pure chaos there! Try their lesser traffic stores to get some peace of mind during their sales period. You also need the space to figure out your purchase and try which size fits you. Like me for example, I went to their Pavillion outlet for the first time, and tried on their shoes. The salesperson just dumped the various shoe sizes at me and went off to serve other customers. Once I tried them on and got my size, I decided not to purchase the shoes from that outlet because everything was so chaotic and disorganised! What if I bought a used shoe there?


Deals, not Sales
HM
If you're looking for the lowest price range in the fast fashion category, this is for you. T-shirts start from RM39.90, which is lower than Topman and Zara! During their Deals season (they don't call it "Sales"), I spotted a striking neon pink tank top at only RM10 at their Quills outlet! It was the last piece on the rack and I quickly snapped it up right before the guy next to me manage to. If you have a rare taste for one-of-the-kind fashionable items (they do carry them but on rare occasions only), you have to move fast for they can be gone in an instant. But they also have the widest chain of stores - so when it comes to their Deals period, if one has the time, one simply must visit all their stores for each may promise an item unlike the other stores. Their tank tops for men have the widest range in terms of color and design (and also cheaper) compares to Zara or Topman which are very limited and more expensive. I think it has to do with the country where it was made from, which is Bangladesh that hires extremely cheap labor - compares to Spain for Zara and Turkey for Topman. For more info, watch the documentary "The True Cost".

MISS: Pasar malam basket case?
Accessories wise, they do have its ups and downs so I would try not to buy their accessories due to some taste issues. They are actually selling those pasar malam baskets made to look like handbags (yuck!) worn by my old aunties. The first batch of their weekend bags collection for men looked great with its leather material. But their second batch, it was made from black sack cloth - which is the poorest material imaginable! Also watch out for the zippers for it can derail after much use. For jackets and coats, their price range is the most competitive and actually shares many similar designs with Topman. Of course, Topman's trench coat is more expensive (RM359) even though the material and design were exactly the same as HM (RM199)!

HIT: Weekend bag at RM99!
For their shopping bag, it's the most recognisable and most seen anywhere! Right in your face brand name in blood red just screams glamor - at everyday prices? Wait, this brand seems more in line with Tesco or Carrefour. But honestly, HM knows branding well and immediately captures the shoppers lonesome addiction for something cheap and fashionable. That's arguable considering some of my Penang friends label HM as too "high class" and beyond their price range. What? Well, I know I'm poor, but I do not want to dress like one.

In conclusion, if you love shoes - go for Zara. If you care for easy and breezy material on your T-shirt, Topman is for you. But if you're someone on the budget but still wants to look "in" then HM. Since this is the sales season, one must be quick and fast to grab the one-of-a-kind garment one likes. If you leave the sales period to prolong too long before you go, you might get the leftovers. I'm talking about fashion pieces, NOT those ordinary T-shirts, pants or shorts. Those you can take your time and procrastinate in your purchase. But not many men are able to identify which are the fashionable pieces - so most would just take their sweet time. But for those with a discerning eye, be swift or this sales period would leave you empty handed.

At least an empty hand with your money unspent, that's still good.

For more articles about FASHION/ART, click below:
Summer Window Display 2016
Fashion as a Tool that Unlocks the Subconscious
Seed Bag for Men Review
Best Fall Winter Fashion Show 2016 (Women)
Jetsetter's Fashionable Guide
HM Fashion Review (Coats Special)
The Ultimate 7 Point Guide to Winning Project Runway
Messenger Bags Special
Tips for Buying Shoes (Sneakers)
Stuff Magazine 9th Anniversary Party
Myanmar Art Review
Student Art Fair





THANK YOU! If you enjoy my blog, kindly click "Join this site" button on the left side of this page AND 

*Click Like on my Official Facebook

*For enquiry about my coaching and requests to write and feature your product/services here in my blog, kindly click Email

CREDENTIALS:
* BMW Film Awards Best Actor
* Jury Duty
Worldwide Photo Exhibit
Endorsement Value
World Cup KFC commercial
Controversial but Most-Watched Episode
The Golden Shorts Fame





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Window Display 2016 - Signs of Change for the Poorer



This year proves to be most difficult year for everyone. With prices taken a flight, it gets even more vital for our imagination to take flight too. If you're a newly poor urbanite, the money you're going to spend for clothes take even more precedence and calculated consideration. If you're poor, you don't want to dress poorly. Let your imagination take flight by pondering and looking at these rich window displays to help guide your next precious fashion purchase or perhaps even not buying anything.

By far, the best window display to let your imagination take flight. All the richness captured in those postcard canvass paintings - with such colors to commemorate summertime. Escapism is the theme for this summer for Dolce and Gabbana.


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Looks like Louis Vuitton is leaving Earth. And going to outer space. The window display for summer is really unusual. Earth no longer looks habitable (since cost of living went up and salaries stagnate). Or perhaps its a way to inform the rest of us urban poor that prices for their luxury goods are beyond our grasps? Indeed, their prices are astronomically high.


Now, only luxury retail stores survive in this increasing cost of living and the other mom-and-pops shops and retailers at the lower price range either suffers or went bust. The destruction of the BB Plaza was meant to make way for the upcoming MRT rail in Bukit Bintang. Witness the glorious destruction. It's a legitimate window display by itself.



The most literal translation for summer can be seen at Fahrenheit - with balloons mock-ups of a giraffe. There aere other animals like zebras and monkeys - but this concourse piece reeks with childish imagination that doesn't suit adults with a discerning taste. Except that adult comes with children. Perhaps now adults spends less and the exception being their children, the parents would spend slightly more? Hence, the children is the more profitable target. Parents are dressing up less for the sake of keeping their children happy.





Hari Raya coincides with this year's summer theme. All around you see green or yellow. Pavillion centre piece clings to its wide staircase space to imbue the celebratory feeling of Hari Raya with its glittery gate. But the elements are not that much different with its nature theme.




KLCC too is playing safe with its tradtional house for the centre piece. Seems like nobody is trying anything new this year and simplying recycling what's the same. Perhaps KLCC is limiting its budget this year for a more austere display? The props seen were exactly the same as last year's. Yet, if you take a good look at the type of retailers in KLCC - most have changed its location. Nothing new or exciting for this year's summer theme. Most are just rehashing some old ideas or remaining the same theme and colour scheme that doesn't shout anything new or noteworthy.

Again, I am haunted by the closure signs and divider tapes seen littering across business premises that went bust around KL today. The mere square lines are identical to the square shaped traditional houses. What's meant to be traditional and celebratory can be a haunting reminder that nothing lasts forever.




Have we become too engrossed in attaining the developed nation status that we forsake quality of life for the everyday folks? Are we more concerned about collecting luxurious labels rather than the ability to sustain a good quality of life that does not focus on capitalism and greed?



For more articles about FASHION/ART, click below:
Fashion as a Tool that Unlocks the Subconscious
Seed Bag for Men Review
Best Fall Winter Fashion Show 2016 (Women)
Jetsetter's Fashionable Guide
HM Fashion Review (Coats Special)
The Ultimate 7 Point Guide to Winning Project Runway
Messenger Bags Special
Tips for Buying Shoes (Sneakers)
Stuff Magazine 9th Anniversary Party
Myanmar Art Review
Student Art Fair