Monday, June 30, 2008

What Happens When You Don't Have A Thesaurus

I'm sitting at my table, checking my email while keeping an eye on my five-year-old who is wrenching the life out of his PS2's joystick.  He insists on calling it a remote...well, whatever.

This particular game he's playing is both entertaining and horrifying me. 
The warthogs trying to flatten a panda are entertaining. 
The lines scrolling across the screen at the beginning of every episode horrify me.

Long ago, in a time of ancient timeless time....

(Huh?)

Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose skills are the stuff of legend...

(OMG.)

Haven't the game writers heard of a thesaurus???? 
Now I'm not only worried about the violence level...I'm worried about the dearth of creative vocabulary on offer!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

What Are Luxuries?

Some more info I got during my surfing...

It's amazing how many of us take objects & services for granted (and some even dare to call it a NECESSITY!). The list below is of LUXURIES which, according to the dictionary means

–noun
1.a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity: Gold cufflinks were a luxury not allowed for in his budget.
2.free or habitual indulgence in or enjoyment of comforts and pleasures in addition to those necessary for a reasonable standard of well-being: a life of luxury on the French Riviera.
3.a means of ministering to such indulgence or enjoyment: This travel plan gives you the luxury of choosing which countries you can visit.
4.a pleasure out of the ordinary allowed to oneself: the luxury of an extra piece of the cake.
5.a foolish or worthless form of self-indulgence: the luxury of self-pity.
6.Archaic. lust; lasciviousness; lechery.
–adjective
7. of, pertaining to, or affording luxury: a luxury hotel.

The Luxuries List
  1. Alcohol (drowning your sorrows is not a necessity!)
  2. Beeper/Mobile Phone(s) (do you know there's a cute Nokia phone available for RM120?)
  3. Techie accessories (e.g. leather case for the PDA, phone, camera etc)
  4. Cable TV (Astro...)
  5. Club Dues (country club, gym etc.)
  6. Magazine Subscriptions
  7. Internet Service
  8. Smoking
  9. Impulse Shopping
  10. Eating Out
  11. Long Distance Calls
  12. Babysitters
  13. Branded baby or toddler paraphernalia (how long can the kid wear the Guess t-shirt anyway?)
  14. Landscaper/Gardener
  15. Regular facials and massages
  16. Junk food (e.g. crisps, cola, chocolate, peanuts)
  17. Manicures and pedicures
  18. Branded name facial products
  19. Branded name coffee, tea, donuts
Dee Westman has a succinct way of noting down what her needs are:

Food

Breakfast: Cereal (not bacon and eggs!)
Lunch: a sandwich (not a meal at a restaurant)
Supper: meat, vegetables and starch being either rice or potato (not a meal at a restaurant)

Clothes and shoes to wear (forget the name brands)

Shelter : A warm bed to sleep in. A roof over your head and a car to get to work.

Fuel Price Rise Begins Lifestyle Change

Didn't join in the mad hustle for fuel two days ago. Wouldn't have made it before midnight anyway. The crowds were unbelievable.

So yesterday I went to the fuel station. Filled the tank up and for 43 litres, I had to pay about RM117. Wowch...
Before I would have had to pay only RM85 (plus minus). 43 litres would only last me about a week and a half.

But this has been coming for a long time... The Malaysian government couldn't have maintained the subsidies forever.
So what does it mean for an ordinary civil servant like me?

Less of everything I want and moderate amounts of everything I need.

I surfed the net for strategies on achieving the above and here are some pointers I found:

a) Buy less books. You can download thousands of free ebooks from :
and most online ebook sellers offer free ebooks (google and find out for yourself.)

b) Read at the library. Newspapers, magazines aaaaaaand books.

c) Eat out less. Try bringing sandwiches from home and make use of the pantry at the office. A friend of mine brings Nescafe sachets and only asks for hot water at the coffeeshops (though this takes nerve!)

d) Carpool. If you cannot do this every day, why not try it twice a week?

e) Cut your Astro packages. It's humanly impossible to watch all the channels all the time, anyway.

f) Shop only during sales (and only for NECESSARY stuff). You won't die if you don't buy that pashmina shawl.

g) Cut down on bank fees. Not all banks charge savings account fees and you don't need all your credit cards. One credit card is quite sufficient (and if it isn't, you should know that it's a danger signal)

h) Downsize. Thinking of buying that double storey bungalow? Maybe a smaller house or apartment would be better. Always grabbing a latte at Starbucks? What's wrong with the coffee at home or the kopitiam? Dreaming of a New Zealand holiday? Why not go to Kundasang and stay at Kinabalu Pine Resort? Beautiful place, by the way...

i) Make extra cash. Yes, it means extra work...DUH. But it would really help, especially if you're not willing to give up a lot of stuff.

I think if I do only half of the above, I'd still be able to save a lot of money.