Thursday, 25 September 2014

Proton launches new Iriz hatchback: RM42k - RM63k

‎Hello from Proton City! I am here with members of the media, covering the official launch of the hotly-anticipated Proton Iriz hatchback. 

Most of you have probably read about the specs and details on the many Malaysian motoring websites, but here's a recap of the headlines: Available with 1.3 and 1.6 engines, the Proton Iriz goes head-to-head with the ever-popular Perodua Myvi, while craftily undercutting other B-segment rivals such as the Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta, and Kia Rio. Available with up to 6 (!) airbags, the 5-star ANCAP rated Iriz puts safety in the forefront, offering class-leading safety at a price point that's hard to beat. 

Across the board, the standard safety features are tremendous to say the least. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), traction control (TCS), and hill-hold assist (HHA) are the headliners, along with ISOFIX mounts for child seats, adjustable seatbelt height fixtures (a feature some more expensive competitors lack), and electronic brake assistance (which helps to increase braking force during emergency situations). 

Now for the properly interesting stuff. The top-of-the-range 1.6 Premium gets all the goodies, and the exterior reflects that. It gets a two-tone bodykit, daytime LED running lights, 15" alloy wheels with a design exclusive to the Premium, and a large rear spoiler to round things up. Inside, the Premium gets leather on the seats, doors, steering wheel and gear lever, as well as a touchscreen multimedia system featuring GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, and reversing camera.

Finally, a real contender to take on the Myvi. "A car built by Malaysians, for Malaysians," said Proton Chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed

The price and respective specifications are as follow:

Friday, 5 September 2014

"How... seditious."

Let's start with selfies. Yes, selfies. Photographs taken by insanely self-absorbed people who believe that the world genuinely wants to see their faces, and not much else. Often, these narcissists wi‎ll feature more recognisable things in their selfies to make themselves seem more interesting. Famous artwork, popular tourist attractions, celebrities... basically anything under the sun. 

Political figures have not been immune from this widespread disease. President Obama of the United States, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and President Jokowi‎ of Indonesia are among many who have taken to photographing themselves and circulating these photos on social media platforms, in an attempt to seem relevant. To woo the hearts and minds of younger voters by making them believe that their politicians aren't as out of touch as some may seem.

And our politicians are no exception.

Malaysian MPs and ministers are becoming quite well-known for their selfies, some more than others. Periodically, social media sites are set ablaze with photographs of politicians doing... political things. They show to the world that yes, they do indeed work, for the sake of the people (and that it's important that the people are harassed with photographs of them doing this work, as if it isn't part of their job description). It seems clear now, more than ever, that our politicians are desperate to seem more relevant to the increasingly IT-savvy voters out and about, as we're seeing more and more of these selfies as the days go by.

Ah, relevance. 

One must wonder then, how a government so keen to remain in touch with its voters, can stand steadfast behind a law that can only be described as a floppy disk in an era of 1TB thumbdrives, or dial-up internet in a world of high-speed broadband. I am referring to the Sedition Act of course, in case you're particularly thick. Here's a law that's akin to gangster-style intimidation, in a country that "promotes healthy dialogue between the people and their representatives, for a more progressive Malaysia." Uh huh.

It's like an iPhone app that launches a catapult. Or a brass chastity belt on Pick a bloody era, damnit. 

Clearly, our Government is suffering from a serious case of Foot-In-Mouth Disease, which has caused a bout of Hypocriticitis to boot. These men and women with decades of experience in the political arena under their belt, are somehow clueless on how to treat this outbreak. Maybe I, of little age and equally little political experience, can shed some light on the situation:

Ammend the act. Let the Sedition Act apply only to the Monarchy, as it should. Rebrand it, if you must (did I hear "Harmony Act?"). In any case, the Sedition Act cannot be left as-is. Ministers, MPs, senators and the like are nothing more than servants to the people who elected them. And so they should be, as we are, open to criticism, however harsh or unconstructive. Because this is a democracy. And that's that.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

One Plane. Two Countries. Three weeks.

When Najib took office in 2009, one of his first PR campaigns was the 1Malaysia slogan. It’s 2014, and we are still being bombarded by 1Malaysia products and services that kind-of sort-of serve the public, in the roundabout fashion that is so typical of local politics. Year after year, government expenditure to service the aforementioned products rise, especially ‘Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia,’ or ‘BR1M.’ I do not moonlight as an expert in sociology, and so my opinion is not based on data. But from what I see, hear, and feel on the ground, as a proud Malaysian, is that racial tensions are as flared as they’ve ever been, and that the 1Malaysia campaign and all its correlated by-products haven’t really helped.

Then, three weeks ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared not long after takeoff at the Kuala Lumpur International airport, headed for Beijing, China. The Boeing 777-200 vanished into the inky blackness of the night, taking with it 239 passengers, and 12 crew members. Malaysia was thrust into unwanted limelight, and forced to deal with a crisis never before seen in history. Some members of government rose to the occasion, while others sat in corners, making a nuisance of themselves in the international arena. Naturally, some chaos ensued.

In my lifetime, we as a nation have never had to face such an incredible situation. And never have I stood opposing our nations’ critics.

The Chinese government and the Chinese people have been very vocal about how the Malaysian authorities have been handling the situation. On multiple occasions, they have hurled items at our representatives, demanding they be told information we do not have. To put it plainly: I wonder what they’re smoking, because I wouldn’t mind some of it.

Even someone as vocal and critical as I am forced to wonder what it is that the Chinese expect of our government. Maybe they wanted us to take a page out of CNN’s book, by declaring leads and then retracting them due to lack of credibility. We have watched for X days now, as international news networks clutch at straws to fill the information vacuum. We have heard the unlikely, the unfathomable, the insane, and the preposterous. And I am proud to say that none of the above came from the mouth of a Malaysian official.

Weird that, huh?

My grandmother is convinced that the Chinese are merely opportunists, vocalizing the sentiments they cannot express toward their own oppressive government. Although her theory holds water, and many of her friends agree with her, I am convinced that the issue at hand is due to the Chinese convoluted idea that the Government is almighty. More often than not, the Chinese government can eradicate whatever issues may face their people with one swift movement of a pen. Such is the belief of the Chinese people. And so they stand, outside our embassy in Beijing, asking us to return the plane that we have misplaced. Because obviously, we hid it.

Keep praying with your little red book, my friends. Mao isn’t going to save you this time.

To the twenty six nations that are assisting us in the search for MH370, my gratitude lies at your feet. To the families, friends, and loved ones of those aboard MH370, I would like to extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. I pray every day that the plane be found, but until then, I hope you all can find peace, and closure. I leave you with a poem, recited to me by a friend long before your loved ones departed, which has been playing on my mind since:

God looked around his garden, And He found an empty place.
He then looked down upon this earth, And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you, And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never, Get well on earth again.
He saw that the road was getting rough, And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids, And whispered “Please be thine.”
It broke our hearts to lose you, But you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you, That day that God called you home.