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Sunday Fun with Jazz

September 15, 2015 12 Comments

While I’m pretty active with badminton and futsal, I’ve also taken mountain biking as another weekend hobby not too long ago. There’s something about peddling like mad around the lush green trees in the rain forest that sooth the mind.

packing up my mountain bike in Honda Jazz
packing up my mountain bike in Honda Jazz

We started in the morning by packing my old trusted mountain bike in the Jazz.

While the car may look pretty diminutive from the outside, it has some pretty neat trick up its sleeve. For one, the rear seats can be arranged in several configurations according to your need.

I folded it down into utility mode and threw my mountain bike in with ease. In fact, it’ll take 2 full size mountain bikes without breaking a sweat.

loving the bluetooth enable in-car entertainment system
loving the bluetooth enable in-car entertainment system

first pit stop - lemang stalls by Karak Highway (before Genting exit)
Lemang stalls by Karak Highway (before Genting exit)

Along the way before we reach Janda Baik, there stopped by the lemang stalls by Karak Highway just a short distance before Genting Highland exit  (GPS: 3.325877,101.748323).

For RM 14 we got ourselves a whole tube of lemang and a container of serunding. Add a couple cans of cold soft drinks and you got yourself a pretty awesome brunch.

a bit of Mountain Biking at Janda Baik
a bit of Mountain Biking at Janda Baik

We got to Janda Baik, I unload the bike, affixed the front wheel, and spent some of time cycling around the trail a bit. Nothing beats the fresh air up in the hill if you’re sweating.

"Refresh Mode" - best for a bit of in-car snoozing
“Refresh Mode” – best for a bit of in-car snoozing

After cycling, the “refresh mode” came into play – by removing the headrest and fold the front seat all the way down, you can actually “join” it to the rear seat to form a sort of “Business Class” horizontal bed for a bit of snooze fest. Why wouldn’t anyone thought of this earlier?

Sekinchan paddy field, it's 2015, year of selfie?
Sekinchan paddy field, it’s 2015, year of selfie?

After resting for a while – we decided to drop by Sekinchan for a while. Because, why not? Some 120 km later, we reached Sekinchan, a place so tranquil and serene it almost seem impossible that it is actually within the state of Selangor, just an hour or so’s drive from the bustling PJ, or Bandar Utama. I always love the vast expanse of flat land and the seabreeze.

The 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine with CVT gearbox proved to be pretty frugal in fuel consumption. With around RM50 spent on fuel, I am impressed with the area that we have covered for the day.

We spent about half an hour or so recharging our souls by the paddy field before continuing our final leg of the journey.

this car would look good at our new crib
this car would look good at our new crib

Another 50 km or so later, we reached KEN Rimba, our future new crib (still under renovation), and I think the Jazz sure look pretty good here, don’t you think?

For more information on Honda Jazz and other models, head to Withdreams.com.my

Slightly over a decade ago, I bought my very first car, a used 1987 Honda Accord for US $1,700. That was equivalent to about 3 months worth of working part time for 20 hours per week on campus.

honda accord, 1987
my faithful 1987 Honda Accord

I bought the car at  Wichita, Kansas while visiting a friend and drove it all the way to St. Cloud, Minnesota. A journey of about 1,100 km that took about 12 hours.

With the same car, I drove alone from Minnesota to Washington DC to celebrate the Millenium New Year with a couple of friends. This time it was over 2000 km and 2 days driving (including sleep, eat, pee, etc), each way.

It was the type of stunt crazy college students do, but also a testament of the endurance the car.

honda civic type-R FD2
Honda Civic Type-R FD2 for Merdeka Millenium Race

The picture above is the Honda Civic Type-R FD2, a bit of a far cry from my old 1987 Honda Accord but with the same engineering philosophy and a healthy dose of racing spirit behind it. This is the car Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) use to compete in the famed Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race (MME), one of the toughest racing event in Asia.

This year, the grueling 12-hour endurance race will be held on 5-8th August at Sepang International Circuit. This competition is about strategy, speed, stamina, team work, and of course, durability of the machine. Honda captures the experience from events like this to continuously improve on their offerings.

Honda MME results

HMRT came up with 2nd place in class A (production car with engine exceeding 2000 cc) last year.

So, you might ask. Yah, and what’s this gotta do with me, especially since most of us aren’t exactly race car drivers. Well, there is a challenge Honda Malaysia cooked up.

Honda Racing Ultimate Challenge

Again, with all contests, the most important thing is the prizes, so lets get that out of the way:

  • Grand Prize – 2 x Apple Macbook per team
  • 2nd Prize – 2x iPhone 3GS per team
  • 3rd Prize – 2x iPod Touch per team
  • Consolation Prize – 28 Alpinestar Racing merchandise

The mechanics of the contest is also actually very fun, especially if you’re into racing and  go-karting.

  1. To join, simply head to honda.com.my, register, answer 5 questions on the contest page and complete a slogan.
  2. Shortlisted participants get to choose a friend to form a team for Go-Kart Endurance Race on 7th August. 20 teams with most laps completed move to the final round
  3. Final race – 7th August 11pm to 8th August 12pm. The race will be revealed on MME Race Day, and winners announced on same day too.

It’s that simple, so are you up for the challenge? I think I’m gonna have to go do a few rounds of practice on the Go-Kart track.

The following research on ASIMO is engaged by Honda Advanced Technology

Honda is generally associated as a company that produces cars and motorcycles. In a departure to traditional wheeled vehicles, Honda also pursuit in researching more radical mobility technology. The result is ASIMO, Honda’s Advanced Mobility Technology.

The concept behind Honda’s robot R&D was to create a viable mobility technology that allows robot to live with and help human kind. With two-legged walking capability, the robot would be free from purpose built roads and be able to maneuver with human. This includes circumventing objects, going up and down stairs, and walking on uneven roads. The ultimate objective is, of course, to allow the robot to live in a human home and not confined to purpose built environments.

Contrary to popular misconception, ASIMO is not a reference to popular science fiction writer and the inventor of the Three Laws of Robotics, Issac Asimov, but an acronym for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility”

Asimo's History
the whole lineup, from experimental models to the new ASIMO

The first version of ASIMO was unveiled in 2000 following a slew of experimental models developed by Honda started from the 1986. The first seven models (E0 to E6) were basically just walking legs, three other humanoid robots with upper limbs were developed from 1993 to 1997 before ASIMO was launched. Almost a quarter century of dedicated development.

The current version of ASIMO, first unveiled in 2005, has seen numerous improvement over the previous version. The robot can walk at a leisure speed of 2.7 km/hour, and for the first time, run at 6 km/hour. ASIMO can also do what most other things human is capable of, this includes recognizing people’s face and interact with them via its head-mounted camera, maneuver around obstructions, as well as dance in tune with music.

By being programmed and operated wirelessly, ASIMO can perform a number of tasks including fetching coffee, walking hand-in-hand with a human, and even conducting a symphony ochestra.

ASIMO runs on Lithium Ion battery with a continuous operating time of 40 minutes to 1 hour. The robot will automatically identify and walk to the closest charging station when its remaining battery level falls below a certain level. This ensures that there isn’t any human intervention needed to recharge the robot.

Honda’s commitment to continue development of ASIMO and its advanced mobility technology will only mean that the robot will one day take an active role in fulfilling serious functions in society. It may serve as another set of eyes, ears, hands, and legs for all kinds of people in need.

Hopefully soon enough, we will all have an ASIMO or equivalent serving as the helper at home instead of having to hire foreign maids like we do now.

For more information, you can visit Honda Advanced Technology

Toyota MR2, MK1, SW20, and MR-S

I finally went to the Toyota MR2 teh tarik session for the first time. Had to miss the last one as I went back to Penang for a friend’s wedding. I’m most likely not able to remember all the new names, but there’s always the next round.

There were close to 10 cars that came to the Shell station at TTDI on the friday night. Among the over half dozen MR2 SW20s, there were 2 MR-S, including Alan’s ride with execellent body kit and really awesome paintjob, and a really sweet looking MK1. The guys were friendly and a few of us are newcomers, including soon-to-be MR2 owners.

After spending some time talking with each other at Shell TTDI, we moved over to Dataran Prima for a drink. There were more sports cars there, including Mazda RX-7 & RX-8, several Mitsubishi Evos, Nissan Skylines, Honda S2000, Subaru Imprezas, and even a Nissan Silvia. I think I should remember to bring my camera the next time around.

Toyota MR2 SW20
a bunch of MR2 owners mingling around

Toyota MR2
my car with the mismatching front bumper color smacked right in the middle

Toyota MR2, MK1, SW20, and MR-S
MK1 right next to the newer MR-S

My Rides

November 18, 2005 8 Comments

As a first post, let me introduce my current and previous rides.

89 Honda Accord

My 1989 Honda Accord, never failed me. I had once took the old horse to an almost 5,000 KM road trip in a week’s time.

1994 Ford Probe

Bought the 1994 Ford Probe (with the 2.0 Mazda MX6 engine) after I banged the 89 Accord. It was in pretty bad condition and I sold it less than a year later after I got the Dodge Stealth RT/TT.

1996 Dodge Stealth RT/TT

The 1996 Dodge Stealth RT/TT is still the best ride I had. It is actually a second generation Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 in disguise. Outside of US, the car is known as the Mitsubishi GTO. With 3.0 twin turbo engine (6G72) that churns out 320 horsepower, it was truely a joy ride while it lasted. I had to sell the car after losing my job in the Cincinnati.

1993 Honda Accord

The last car I drove in US before coming back to Malaysia was the 1993 Honda Accord that I bought for US $2000. I did some work on the car, changed spark plugs and the wires, and a thermostat. Sold the car for the exact amount of money I bought it for before coming back to Malaysia.

my current ride, Toyota MR2 SW20

My current ride, a Toyota MR2 SW20 with 3S-GTE . Needs a paint job..