Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Private Retirement Scheme PRS Income Tax Relief

As you would have heard, you can get up to RM3000 tax relief from 2012 up to 10 years for the amount you save in the Private Retirement Scheme. In other words save on your income tax payment, e.g which is ~27% tax that you'd avoid paying for your RM3k income which equals to a huge return on investment. Alas PRS is not capital guranteed unline EPF. Here's a link to the fund managers and their current offering (as of date blog published)
CIMB Principal & Details
Hwang Investment Mgmt
Public Mutual
RHB - nothing much yet

UPDATE: Please read PRS Update

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Buying Baby Stuff

Usually when we plan to buy things, sometimes frequently over some months or even years, we consciously make note of the price, and choose out shops that offer a good value, price or deal. When you have a child, you come to the realization that you will be buying some additional things on a frequent basis, and probably consider your nearest or favourite hypermarket as your solution and destination.

If you're lucky enough you'll come across shops or friends who bring in the realization, that on a normal day (meaning no sale), odds are that your daily baby items are in reality cheaper at Baby Stores versus the hypermarkets. Yes it is pretty hard to believe but that's the truth.

My friendly started me off, be indicating that there are several baby shops in Kepala Batas / Bertam that have prices that are alot cheaper then other places. Yup we drove all the way there and it was cheaper. Interesting. But that was too far. So what's the main purpose of this blog?

1. To indicate locations of baby stores that you'd want to go survey and decide for yourself which are cheaper.Things that we usually buy are diapers (lampin pakai buang), interestingly we used to call them pampers, but few people still use that brand, too expensive maybe. Also where to buy milk powder (from Frisco, Nestle, Dutch Lady, Enfagrow, all the basic to fancy stuff) and Nestle's baby cereal- Cerelac. There are other things that you'll be buying including Rusks (Heinz's Farley's, Milna)

2. To share some indication of pricing of the goods.

Shops to buy Baby Stuff (items mentioned above). 1. Choo Choo Train. There are two shops that I know of. Both seems to have the same prices. I've done some comparison in Bukit Minyak, Sungai Rambai and Bukit Mertajam and have found on average this shop's prices are the most reasonable.

The first shop is located at Bukit Minyak. Turn into the road where the new Carrefour is (previously another shopping outlet) and its in the row of shoplots facing Carrefour. You can also refer to the map on their website. Parking is decent. Choices and variety at both the branches are pretty comprehensive for diapers, milk, bottles (including Tommy Tippee, Medela), baby swing (Endoi) and little bit of baby clothes.

The 2nd shop is located in Bandar Perda. From Kapitan Nasi Kandar, you can see the shop across the road, however the sign board is faded so look closely. Or coming from Bandar Perda main entrance (where TNB and JPN are on your left upon entering) take the first right. You'll pass Bank Rakyat on your right go straight, and then take the next right into the row of shoplots, which is opposite Kapitan Nasi Kandar and Qasar Hadramawt Nasi Arab . Click here for a map.

Another plus point about this shops is on average I find them (workers / shopkeepers) pretty friendly and rather well informed about baby stuff. This is important, as you want people to give you honest USEFUL and correct information when shopping for stuff for your baby. But as usual, go google and also ask an expert to verify.

2. Now that we're in Bandar Perda, there is another shop of important mention, a baby clothes shop, where there's a good selection of baby clothes starting from RM3 (or RM6 per pair). I found the material pretty good and comfortable. This are non branded, good for daily / house wear. Understand that this shop has a factory so they offer it cheap (or maybe last seasons - but does it matter?). It is located in the shop row behind Maybank, click here for location.

3.Hock Lee Trading. This shop is located near Bukit Mertajam (BM). It is more of grocery store that sells Baby Milk Powder for a decent price. Its located on a 1way street, so you'd need to 'circle around to get there. Otherwise, on the junction (by the court) instead on turning left to Summit at the fork, turn right and then left before Alka Ria and go straight. Then turn left, go straight then run right, then left then park. The walk to Hock Lee. Click here for map.

4. There are around 2 shops in Sungai Rambai area. I found the prices average at best.

5. For those staying in Bertam, there's plenty of baby shops nearby, all competitively priced.

6. On the island, I would say Sg Ara is your best bet.

I was going share a price list as well of how much is baby stuff, especially those that you'd buy often, but slow internet and somehow the formating of this entry seems messed up since my paragraph is all continuous looks like a mess.

Looking for baby shops near your area, unfortunately I can't blog about all the shops, one coz that would be a really long blog, I wouldn't know all the shops, and my internet connection sometimes frustrates me to much. So what to do? Ask your friends in your area where the shops are, OR, check out links like which indicates its retailers so hopefully their prices are good.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Porch Swing Chair Endoi


Yes relaxation is very important in life. Finding activities that offer such to us varies among individuals, family and location. One of my favourite relaxation is sitting by this swing. I'm not sure exactly what to call it, I guess the most common name for it is endoi rotan. Which means a rattan swing. Might also be called a wicker porch swing. I'm not even sure if the main frame is built from rattan or bamboo (buluh). 

Anyway, having an endoi sure is a fine addition to your household relaxation options. The easiest way to get started is to buy a set from furniture shops. Which have the metal base and a rattan endoi attached to it. With this you wouldn't have to look for places to hang it as the base is usually a circular base - well balanced on your floor. Only thing if you plan to put it outdoors, the base could rust under rain and mess up your tiles / flooring. When our endoi from the furniture shop started rutting and 'mereput', we decided to look for a new one. And this time the plan was to hang it (outdoors) as well. We looked at the furniture shops and came to realize that even though the wicker rattan swings were so nicely designed, it was quite expensive. 

So started looking at rattan shops. In Penang, and probably around Malaysia, if you drive around you'll notice shops selling only rattan furniture. Most of this are located in quite warn down shops (a dying art) and then there are some ala boutiques. Well probably the prices will also differ accordingly. 

So here's the rattan endoi we went for. Its  lasted us well over 1 year now in rain and shine but don't expect too much since it is made of rattan. 

As you can see, one of the key changes we made is to 'hang' it instead of using the metal base outdoors. Obviously you need to pre-plan and 'renovate' your house accordingly to create such an option and place to hook and hang your swing.
From the above picture you can see the mechanism to create the 'hook'. Tip - when you are doing your house grill, gate or awning, ask the contractor to help add this type of wall plugs in places you think you'll be hanging your swing or other heavy stuff. This is not the normal wall-plug where you just drill a small hole, hammer in a plastic or wooden wall plug and screw in. If you look closely this has the nut screwed in to the reversed bolt which was something like 'riveted' into the wall / ceiling's column. Not sure what this is called, probably you can get it at the hardware store if you plan to do it yourself. Remember that you'll need identify structures that will be able to support your expected weight. The spring looking hooks I got from my old swing which had rut.

The metal chain is available at any hardware (HW) store. I couldn't figure out what's the weight or Newton rating that it can support though, so just 'tried' and risked it. If you're more hardworking you can spray the chain to match your preferred color, but not sure what's the best material to use, as a otherwise it'll flake.

So there you have it a nice swing in your porch or patio. Ok going back to where to buy. My recommendation is if you want something value for money go hunting for rattan decor shops, the old school type. If you want it quick and easy, just get it at the furniture shop. Here's some links to rattan shops around Penang and Mainland.

Rattan shop near Summit BM : there are two shops here. Summit BM will be on your right and slightly in front ~500meters you will see 2 shops 50meters apart on your left. I find the 2nd shop after summit to be more reasonably priced and friendly. Try finding parking at the parking lot right next to Summit, or drive slightly further you should see an open parking area on your left (by now you would have passed the 2 rotan shops).

Chulia Street : Coming from Jetty, once you cross the Kapitan Keling Mosque junction, drive on straight and you'll see a 7-Eleven on your right. You should see one rattan shop on your right. There used to be another one further down on your left, not sure if still open.

Bayan Baru Roundabout - There is a shop at the Bayan Baru round-about, Rattan de-Cor or something is the name. This one is a little more high end then the old school shops above. Its in the same row of shop houses as the clinic and Teratak Spa.

Giant Bayan Baru - After you park, right before you enter the Giant Hypermarket building, there is a stall selling rattan items. They didn't have the endoi last I checked though.

There are also 'mobile' bamboo / rattan furniture shops, and as the name implies they move around from places to places. I've seen / heard of them being around Sg Ara and Farlim, Penang. Probably try asking the hawkers around that area and they might know.

Among the many other furniture you can get from Rattan shops are rocking chairs, baby eating high chairs and some nice chair and table sets that won't cost you too much.


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