Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2007

I was at the MotoGP event on Sunday! Chuen Kor drove the Transit all the way to KL with me, King, Dad, and Uncle Seng while Uncle Cheong and Yew went in his Myvi. We set off at 0600 and stopped at the Kampar marketplace for breakfast, then met up with Uncle Eddy at his Taman Mayang home. Uncle Eddy hadn't had breakfast so we had a second round, dim sum breakfast at King Crab Seafood Restaurant, the food was quite good, and comes in generous portions too! After that, we set off for Sepang.

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The entrance, packed as usual.

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Uncle Cheong & Yew with a Kawasaki ZX14. There are 2 versions to this bike; one is the chain-driven sports model in this pic, while the other is a driveshaft-driven GT model with more journey equipment and storage cases. I couldn't get a good shot of that one as the pretty model is standing there and everybody else is clamoring over there :p

It was already 1100 when we arrived, and some of the races have already started, so we didn't waste much time at the stalls this time :)

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Inside the main grandstand.

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RM999! So cheap!! Very tempting! I didn't notice the price until I got back and looked at the pics. I'm guessing these are lawnmover engine powered models, with no proper transmission, still, it'll be loads of fun to ride!

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Cute kid riding a minibike. Even bikes this small have disc brakes nowadays, guess you can't call em kids' toys anymore.

Apart from the many manufacturers showcasing their latest models, there are quite a few interesting rides belonging to spectators who've come to witness the race;

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See the sidemounted carburetor? It looks darn badass, but I'm not sure it will be good for the bike in the rain :p There was one point when I considered naked air filters for my GT750 for that racy sound and look, but opted against it for reliability's sake and fitted a custom stainless steel intake box to it in the end.

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A late model Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa! The fastest ever stock standard production bike in history! My favorite, this used to be my dreambike back when I was really, really into bikes :)
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I didn't notice it at first, but then Yew pointed it out to me: Leather fuel tank covers, now this is very cool! Looks pretty purposeful and well-made to me, so I'm guessing it's OEM stuff. No ugly scratches and petrol stains on the fuel tank for this mean monster :)

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The BMW M6 Coupe safety car, I've liked it a lot since I first saw it at last year's MotoGP :)

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Before the 250cc race starts.

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Notice the bike's front cowling? I find the holes interesting, I wonder if the holes serve any purpose and if they actually increase drag... Brake fluid cooling, perhaps, but wouldn't it be more efficient to install cooling ducts directed to the brake fluid reservoir itself instead? The engineers must have reasons layman like me don't understand :p

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The 250cc class champion, he sure had a spectacular run!

After the 250cc race ends, comes the turn for the most anticipated race of the day, the 800cc class! My camera's 10x zoom proved inadequate for good shots of the pits from the stand, but I managed to snap a few decent shots :p

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Valentino Rossi's Yamaha being prepared, like the new race livery.

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Another 2 similar Yamahas, I like the simple yet striking yellow & black combination.

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Confidence is when you leave your bike hanging without wheels, just like that, while the other teams are all moving out to the starting line, 7 minutes before the race starts...

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Nicky Hayden, another favorite; his battle with Rossi at Sepang last year was an intense one, they fought from start to finish, keeping everyone on their toes!!

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And the man himself, Valentino Rossi!!! Too bad my panning skills have deteriorated significantly this year, my one best shot of him wasn't even near decent.... :(

Alas, the 800cc race was pretty boring this year, Valentino Rossi started 6th and climbed up to 5th, remaining at that position throughout the race, and Nicky Hayden got beached towards the end, what a disappointment !

As the 800cc race ended, most of the spectators rushed off for a glimpse of the podium ceremony, while others leave, not interested in the local races, which is a shame, really. I guess most just aren't interested in grassroots racing, which is understandable, due to the lower standards and lack of excitement, but they'll be missing out on a few stars that stand out.

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Uncle Eddy's son, Keat, racing on the green Kawasaki in the 150cc race. He isn't riding his orange Ducati this year; this Kawasaki is a loan from a Chia Motors (Uncle Eddy's motor shop) customer who is sponsoring him :)

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Keat zooming past on the 150cc Kawasaki...

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...and here he is again! This time on a larger bike, 600cc, I think, in the next category race. Keat's pretty good; he'd pulled away by more than 50 meters by half of the first lap, and he's more than half a lap ahead from his competitors by the end of the race!!! I think being a circuit veteran helps, that, and the fact that he had pretty much warmed himself up in the previous category race, coolness :) Yea, needless to say, he won, of course, by far!

We watched the last Kawasaki and production bikes race before leaving. I managed to take another shot of the M6 Coupe with it's M5 brother during the race:
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I would have liked it better if the M5 was behind the M6, allowing me clear shots of the M6 instead, oh well :p


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From front left; a camera-shy King running away, Uncle Eddy, Uncle Eddy's son Weng, Uncle Seng, Dad, & Chuen Kor.

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The mostly deserted grandstand... not many stayed behind for the local races.

Yew drove back to his dormitory at Nilai by himself after the race. The rest of us had bak kut teh dinner at Subang Jaya, as per Uncle Eddy's recommendation. The service was good, and Uncle Eddy seemed to worry if we were famished, since he ordered so much food!!!
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The food for only 7 of us..

After dinner, we dropped King at his rented home, and sent Uncle Eddy home before heading back to Ipoh.

Oh, yea, Monday evening was a rainy one, and I released the snake I caught earlier into the bushes near the back of a rarely-used road. Hope the snake does ok, I doubt it'll ever get to bite anyone there, hehe :p

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Q Steer by Takara Tomy

You have large toy cars, small toy cars, and then they are teeeeeny-tiny toy cars. Yen came over to see the snake this afternoon, and brought along her Q Steers. We played around with the cars a while, then I couldn't resist to take some pics, since it's all so cute :p

The Q Steers:
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From left: my Mazdaspeed RX-8, Yen's AE86 Trueno & KPGC10 Skyline GT-R, and the Subaru 360 Ying got me for my birthday :)

This cars are really small; 2.5cm wide, 3.5cm long and about 3cm tall, and they're operated via remote controls with 4 selectable frequencies!

The cars and a typical remote:
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Each car has 2 operational frequencies, A & B, or C & D, selectable with a switch under the car!

Gymkhana!
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There are also many other models to choose from, those interested can check
Takara Tomy's website out. The cars are sold in most shopping malls or novelty item kiosks :) It'll make a great gift or time-waster :p

Creepy crawly

I saw something long, dark and slimy crawling along the kitchen floor just now. I thought it was a venomous centipede and was gonna swat it flat. I turned on the lights for a better view and it turned out to be, this:
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Yep, a snake, and a darn tiny one too; measuring about 15cm long and about as thick as a Pocky stick, minus the chocolate / strawberry layer :P

I captured the snake with a broom and dustpan, intending to throw it into the backstreet, since it's pretty much harmless at best, but later decided to keep it for a little while more, just so that my Sis can have a look at it tomorrow. I called for King to get a container for the snake, and he came back with one of those 20kg fragrant rice plastic bags! Yea right, the kind of plastic bag you buy your rice in, real nice, as if I just caught a python :(

Yen said a little raw meat will do, if I'm to feed the snake. Feed, yes, because I might be keeping it as a pet. We'll see :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mr Lim's funeral

I'm back. And I wasn't even near to a tear. I was surprisingly calm, guess I'm not such a sissy after all. I even managed to smile when I met Madam Cheung, glad I managed to do that; the last thing she needs now is everybody going up to her all emo and teary. My hands were shaking and I couldn't light the incense, Madam Cheung helped me.

I looked at Mr Lim one last time, and he is still like I've always remembered him; looking kindly, and about 10 years younger than he really is, those cheerful laugh lines still etched on his face, only darker. I was told by Mr Lim's son that his father was as fine as ever, and did not suffer from any illness before his death, he has high blood pressure, but that's all. He fainted one day, slipped into a coma and never woke up again. Somehow I feel glad he went this way, although it's a bit cruel he didn't get to have his last words, but at least he went without much pain. I'm truly glad of this.

I also got to meet some of my teachers again; Madam Li Rong Hua the kind and always helpful secretary, Miss Lai, my form 1 class teacher who'd always been stern with me, and called me "Mr Blur", because I always seem to be unaware of what's happenning in class, but she is ultimately caring, she even jokingly fussed that I did not notice her, even when she had been calling my name since I walked out after looking at Mr Lim. Then there's Mrs Ng, who while isn't a very reasonable English teacher sometimes, was quite fond of chatting with us, making classes lively. Then there's Ms Chong, my Chemistry teacher who was so frustrated at me for always not doing my homework or bringing the wrong books to class, that she always sends me to stand outside the lab during classes, until she gave up doing that to me too; I was a lost case, hopeless. This also the teacher who cared so much for the class that she hid herself, crying when she's too worried about us not getting through the GCE exams. Then there was Mr Wong & Sam, my form 2 and form 5 class teachers, respectively, who were fun people. I also saw Wu Li Hua my form 3 teacher and a few others. Looking back to when I first met most of them nearly 10 years ago, they've changed so much, yet remained so much unchanged at the same time, it's paradoxically funny. There's this sense of distant familiarity with them.

Mr Lim's funeral procession is a great one, no doubt; Scouts, Red Crescent, Brass Band, teachers from Poi Lam and other schools, friends & family, they're all there.

I did not send Mr Lim on his last journey all the way to the cremation centre; I left after the coffin was closed and paying my last respects, but that's enough for me. I am glad that he went without much pain and sorrow, that he was happy and still had things to look forward to when he went off. He will never make it for the vacation with his family in conjunction with Madam Cheung's retirement, but he'll always be there in their hearts. And heart is where the love will always be. I'm hoping I could at least say this to him, once more, personally. He'll know. 再见,林老师。

In memory of Mr Lim

I'm at lost, I can't think, I can do nothing but write it out. Mr Lim, my Mandarin teacher who had taught me so much, pampered me so much, and changed my life so much, is gone, dead. He was 76. I didn't know that. He used to be principal at a secondary school at Kuala Kangsar. I didn't know that too. I wouldn't have known if my father hadn't read the papers and told me. How could I? All this years, after having no more lessons with him, when he was living and breathing less than 5 kilometers away from my office, I hadn't visited him much. I only go about once a year, mostly end of the year, when I'll visit him with calendars for the next year and fruits. Just fucking once a year, when he is just so near. Same thing happened last year, I visited towards the end of the year, and he was out, so I climbed in and left the calendars and fruits at his doorstep. Did I even tried visiting again, or called to tell I dropped by? NO! I did not, I took it for granted he'll know it's me; that boy, that kid who skipped standard 6 from a malay school and jumped straight into a chinese secondary school, knowing bollocks about mandarin and chinese, also this the kid who taught him how to use his first cellphone, a red Nokia 3210, but never quite called his teacher to say hi. Till this day the kid remembers his home phone number like his own, but never called. This was the kid he patiently taught during tuition classes, even if he keeps falling asleep in class. This was the kid he gave ang paus to, even if the kid visited months away from Chinese New Year. The kid who would climb over the school gates at 9 in the morning, then take a bus to his home and learn Mandarin instead of playing Uno at school. This kid he treated like his own son, this kid he shared stories of his own sons with. And all that kid ever did was visit him once a year. Yes, I'M THAT KID. Mr Lim would cut me fruits as refreshment when I keep falling asleep in class, or make me tea, he would also shelter me to the car even if it's only drizzling so little it'll take ages to fill a teacup. 6 years it has been since I stopped taking lessons from Mr Lim, and it this 6 years I visited him only 6 times. During the last few weeks I've been thinking of visiting him, but then I thought I'd wait again, just until the new calendars arrive. The calendars were put on order yesterday, might get it next week, so I thought I'd visit him next week, but then he passed away yesterday morning. Why do I always have to procrastinate?? I only last saw him at San Poh Poh Restaurant 3 months back, when I bumped into him and my ex-principal, Madam Cheung; his wife. He still seemed so cheerful and healthy then, like he has always been, and it seemed like he'll still be around for years to come. And now he's gone. If I've only visited earlier, I could have at least spoke to him once more. I can only wonder if he even briefly remembers me before going off. If yes, what would it be? Would he at least have a hint that I think highly of him? That I take him as a fatherly figure too, even though I already have excellent parents? That I'm always talking about him to Yen, to my family, to my friends, even if I rarely visit him? So much that people can already remember the details of him when I've only mentioned "my Mandarin teacher", as he is known to my friends? I don't know, guess I never will, there are too many "if"s. Life is too short for so many ifs. I was ok when Uncle Foo's father, Uncle Tong, who I always chat with in the evenings if I see him around the apartment, died, it was sudden too, one Wednesday evening I was teaching him how to use the handphone Uncle Foo got him, and Friday I hear he's in a coma. Thought I'd visit him on Monday after work, and there I was at his funeral on Tuesday morning. Visited a cancer-stricken Aunt May Fong on 1st January 2006 at Cheras, promising to see her again in a few weeks, and a few weeks later I arrive to burn her incense. Visited Grandaunt at the hospital with Yen one evening, thinking I'd visit her again with my family when they get back from KL, and the next evening I spent watching 2007 new year fireworks, sitting 20 feet away from her coffin. At least I could still joke about watching fireworks by the coffin then. But now, with news of Mr Lim gone, I couldn't get myself together, I seriously couldn't. I'm in shock. He is, to me, much more than just a teacher, he's like a father figure to me, a mentor, a friend. I'll be at his funeral in 8 hours' time, and I'll try not to cry and make myself look stupid there, I seriously hope I don't, I already did just now. Life is too sudden, too short for "IF"s, cherish your loved ones, cliche, I know, and even though I'm consciously aware of this, I've just been hit smack dab in the face with a painful reminder that things we take for granted will one day be gone, without warning, and all you'll be left with is permanent regret. That's all, typing this down has helped calm me down, I don't know why, I just feel like I should.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My first outstation trip with friends in years

Yes, so it is, I can't really remember the last time I went on a trip with my friends, it's probably back in 2003 with Yi Keat, Torkhang and Dexter, back when we were off to Singapore to have fun, and take the GCE exams while at it :p Then there was National Service in 2004; it was nothing less than a long, fun, and meaningful trip to me (trust me, NS IS FUN when you can bring luncheon meat and keep your electronic gadgets around). Btw, this is gonna be one long post, so if you're planning to read thru it all I suggest you grab a mug of nice warm Milo and a pillow, just in case.

Dorkiness, ugliness and un-popularity aside, I DO get invited to trips with friends ok, it's just that numerous factors made the trip not happen for me. Flashback to the yumcha session 2 Friday nights ago, and I was called to join a short trip again; I wasn't really up for what had initially sounded like a 2-day shopping spree, but Yen wanted to go badly, so before I could say "I-DUN-WANNNN!!!!", I was on the 1930 bus to KL the next Friday with Yen, Poh, Ivan, Ying, Wendy and Shen. Sauw Leng was supposed to go, but didn't, in the end :(

These guys are yumcha creatures, I tell you, they yumcha a few times everyweek or so, rain or shine, and the first thing I heard after dropping our stuff at Ying's place a little past midnight was "YUMCHA!!!!!!" *faint* So yumcha we went, Poh got a new toothbrush from 7-11 at 0200 in the morning, after tea, and it was nearly 0300 when we all finally had our baths and called it a day.

Right, so after me, Poh and Ivan woke up at 0700, Saturday morning, took baths, watched Ranma 1/2, and waited for what seemed like another day for the girls to get ready, we were off to KLCC after breakfast at SS2.

We visited Aquaria KLCC, and got lucky; it was feeding time, and we got to see interesting stuff we would have otherwise missed:
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Rays and mini sharks latching to the edge of the wall for food! Who would have thought? We got splashed quite a lot, but it's really interesting to see all the fishes swarming around and latching to the side of the pool, waiting to be fed, I've never seen anything quite like this :)

So, at Aquaria and other oceanariums, you'll see fishies, tourists...
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really boh liao tourists, like this bunch :p,

the random reptile..., a large toad, this measuring 5 inches wide 7 inches long, and about 5 inches tall too
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and..
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MONKEYS???!!! The last time I checked, monkeys lived in zoos...!


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Me, Yen, Wendy, Shen, Poh, with Ying and Ivan up front!

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Growing up? Whatever that means...

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I can't believe that Yen and the gang will pay RM28 for this pic, when we could have did it so much better ourselves, but I guess it's the moment that counts :p

The rest of the day was spent running thru LRT, Putra and KTM stations and taking cabs to places. Me, Ivan and Ying got ripped off by a stupiak Perdana V6 "Premier" Cab after having lunch at RakuZen; 30 bucks from Hartamas to KL Sentral, and the first thing the driver did was do a U-turn and take a long route, claiming traffic was a crawl on the shorter way! The only thing "premier" bout it was the cheap perforated leather seats ok. Damn, I bet even the driver's shoes has better leather in the soles, and I think I know where the money came from; clueless people like us! Darned stupid of us to take the cab too, the rest of the gang just paid 7 bucks for the same trip in a normal cab, and Poh said traffic was OK on the shorter route, GAHHHH! Oh well, let that be a lesson to us, not that I'll be taking the public transport much too, I normally drive, it's just different this time, and it was raining that day, so we just jumped into any cab that will take us.

We nearly emptied our wallets at Sungei Wang Plaza on clothes and food, seriously, but there wasn't much moolah in our wallets to begin with :p

The next highlight of the trip was visiting Eye On Malaysia. The gondola was rented by our dear tourism ministry for Visit Malaysia Year 2007, and the initial plan was to have it on until the end of this year, after which it shall be disassembled, which explains why the stalls, speakers and toilet around there feels so makeshift. This is also the reason why we wanted to visit it badly, it's like now or never, though I doubt the ministry will take it down, being the moneymaker it is.

I didn't know Yen was afraid of heights, not until she started crying when we were at the top, anyway, silly girl :p
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All it took was a few more minutes for her to get used to the feeling, and a camwhoring session, and she's all smiles again:
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100 bucks for a whole carriage, not pricey at all, considering the ride lasted 20+ minutes, pretty worth it if you ask me, and it's got cabin lights and air-con :)
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The bunch of us at the bottom, after the ride.

After a long commute back to Ying's place, some rest, a bath, and the clock pointing somewhere around 0130, it's yumcha again! On my suggestion, this time :p. The waiter at the mamak stall impressed us; he managed to remember most, if not all, of the stuff we ordered the previous night!

We spent Sunday morning walking around Mid Valley and did a little shopping, but that's all. We headed back to Ying's place at about 1500 to get ready for the journey home; this involves lugging our bags, sleeping bags, and junk food from Ying's home to the LRT station, where we held on to em' in the LRTs from Taman Paramount to Pudu bus station, hogging floor space. Sounds fun? Try it yourself.

Our bus was scheduled to leave for Ipoh at 1730, but I sensed something amiss when Ying noted that the sign for the Ipoh bus wasn't displayed at the counter even when it's already 1710. That's when I discovered that the bus had changed pick-up location and will be departing from Jalan Duta! Lugging our stuff, we were hurried all the way and got on another bus to Jalan Duta, and barely made it on time! Damn kan cheong, and it wasn't even worth the excitement, as the bus left about half an hour late, at 1755, in the end, so we tortured our hearts and wasted adrenalin for nothing :p

I don't enjoy shopping much, but I say, I'll regret it if I didn't go along, it's just so much fun to go places and do stuff with friends you can get along so well with, especially when you haven't got to see each other much lately!

Ying made a video compilation with our old and new pics too! So here it is:

Just ignore the grammar mistakes, hehe, it doesn't matter :p

That's all for now! Thanks to my friends for a great time! I enjoyed the trip immensely :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cars

Ever watched the Pixar animation, CARS, before? Love those cute expressive car characters? Heck, who doesn't, you have to be effin' gay not to. I was bored at the office today, looking for interesting posts at kurtlow.com when I saw this. Your very own CARS characters!!

So, anyway, today's equation: too much time at work and class + photoshop =
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Ladies and gentlemen, girls, boys, & whatever-else-exists-inbetween, I now introduce you to XAN (lame name, I know)!

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....TRAN (yea, lame name too, I know..) !

And...
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..MUL MUL, pronounced "mau" as in "multiply", cause my sis always calls it so!!!

Took me less than an hour to do all 3 pics, it's pretty easy! Try it out yourself! I'll probably do a few more when I have nicer car pics :) This is fun!

Monday, October 1, 2007

RX-7 model kits

These just arrived this afternoon:
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Aoshima 1/24 1989 Mazda FC3S RX-7 Turbo II

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Aoshima 1/24 too. 2005 RE AMEMIYA Greddy D1 7 drift car, a 2002 Mazda FD3S RX-7 in essence!

I couldn't find this 2 kits in Ipoh, nor do I have the opportunity to snoop around stores in KL, so I ordered these from a Japanese online store. Delivery by EMS is pretty quick as they sent the items out on 27th September, Thursday; and it's already arrived today; it's just been 4 days from delivery to arrival!

I'm not going to start on these yet; have to complete my
Honda Today first, and I'm yet to build Yen's Alpine A110, but it's good to know I have projects lined up just for those long holidays or boring weekends, mostly the latter :)

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