Neopets Talk: ‘Better Than You’ challenge

I have always wanted to participate in a ‘Better Than You’ challenge but it seemed out of reach because for the many games around, I’m not a good gamer. It’s supposedly a kid’s game but some games are just very difficult.

This week’s challenge however had me tried countless times. I guess I want a nice trophy appearing on my User Lookup so I gave it a go. It took me around an hour or so to reach the goal. The challenge was to score more than 750 points.

I was super happy when I finally got it and maybe I’ll participate again.

Better Than You 1

Better Than You 2

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I want to watch KnB Last Game :(

When there was an announcement regarding the screening of ‘Kuroko’s Basketball The Last Game’ in Malaysia and Singapore, I was really excited. I was hoping I could catch this movie over the weekends in Miri.

Last night, I found out that it is screening in only 3 GSC cinemas in West Malaysia.

That kinda sucks.

黒子のバスケLAST GAMEの映画を見たい!DVD買うかな。

Review: Rock Garden KB

Yesterday I had lunch at Rock Garden because they recently started the lunch buffet for only $5 per person. To me, this is very good value for money, especially for lunch. I know other places around town charges $5.50 or $6 so this is by far the cheapest I had encountered.

For $5, I didn’t expect much to be honest. If a plate of chicken rice is around $4, then I’d assumed $5 means free drinks and some cakes or fruits.  Yesterday, Rock Garden served plain rice, vermicelli (fried mee hoon), curry chicken, sweet and sour fish, bitter gourd (sayur peria) and eggs as meal, followed by 2 kind of cakes and 2 kind of drinks. It isn’t a lot of selection but definitely cheaper than buying ala carte from menus.

The manager came and asked for my opinions on the lunch buffet and I suggested labeling the drink. Yesterday they served blueberry and orange drinks and I took a cup of the blueberry drink, unknowingly for what the flavour was because I assumed it to be sarsi. Then today, my friend had lunch at Rock Garden and she told me all the food and drinks were labelled. I think it’s good that they label the menu so diners know what to expect. There’s nothing wrong in not labeling either.

Will I have my lunch at Rock Garden again? Why not. Simple dishes for only $5 is affordable to many people.

Neopets Talk: My Altador Cup XI loot

I played AC11 intensely that I managed to score 10,039 prize points. I thought I used up all the prize points last year but it was the Staff Tournament prize points that I used up. So today, I managed to ‘buy’ items that’s worth millions!

To be honest, I only wanted the ‘Shenkuu Altador Cup Armour’ and the rest are most likely up for trades. I bought the Tyrannia, Haunted Woods and Kiko Lake cup armours to match with their jersey. The stamp is the most worth item I think.
Neopets Altador Cup XI Loot

Dear donUT Scarves, stealing is damn wrong.

Before I post my opinion, I’d love if you could read what my friend had posted at her Facebook and share the post at your account.

Basically, Donut Scarves just stole a design from a Japanese artist by the name Shinji Tsuchimochi (Instagram link here) and NEVER CREDIT him.

Okay, I understand. Originality is dead. Everyone copy each other, fine. BUT, there is a fine line between taking an artist’s materials for personal use and for business purposes.

Shinji’s artworks are posted on Behance where all of his artworks are protected by Creative Commons License, specifically the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). In other words, his artworks are not meant for commercialization at all.

Clearly, Donut Scarves violated this rule by commercializing Shinji’s work. It’s bad enough that they didn’t bother to give credit but making money, potentially thousands out of it?

If we turned in our essay for turn-it-in for plagiarism check in university, we can definitely use our EYES to see that the illustration is similar. This is the design that was being STOLEN from Shinji:

donut scarves plagiarism cheat copycat Japanese artwork      shinji tsuchimochi ORIGINAL Japanese artwork

Picturesque Japan plagiarized version versus the original artwork titled ‘Zojoji’ at IG and at Behance 

What is clever for Donut Scarves is that they Photoshop a sakura tree onto Shinji’s original design and zoomed in the original artwork to make it less obvious. Also, they blurred Shinij’s artwork so Donut’s looked like it was painted in water colour. If you click on each individual link and compared it side by side, the drawing is the exact same copy. Unfortunately, Donut Scarves heavily edited the original picture to make it look like their’s. What doesn’t change is the positioning of the temple, Tokyo Tower, people, birds, clouds and sky. I am not an artist myself but anyone can see the immediate resemblance on first glance! If Donut Scarves were to draw the exact same picture based on Shinji’s original artwork, it wouldn’t look the same. The strokes, the colour, the shapes, the whole canvas really. Since they claimed to have drawn this design in 1 month, I’d expect a totally different style of art.

Donut Scarves could have hire an artist or an illustrator and draw something that looks similar or gain inspiration from the pictures to have their own ‘picturesque Japan’. This is no brainer. But nope, they choosed to take another artist’ work, make profit out of it when they are not supposed to, and failing to give credits. Shinji took about 3 years to publish an artbook and donut scarves took literally a few clicks to steal people’s work.

Feel free to comment or share this post if you agree with me that the company had stolen artwork at their disposal.

On another note, Donut Scarves IG is notoriously known for blocking followers who talks the slightest negative about their product. There are users who had posted on their own IG page, criticizing the lack of quality of their scarves and tagged Donut Scarves onto the pictures, only to have found out that their username had been blocked. In addition, any negative comments on Donut Scarves IG will be deleted as soon as possible so they could continue to milk your money.

In the time where social media is so rampant, people are free to talk about anything, including criticizing a brand. There are people who give constructive criticism in hopes that the brand will be better. If Donut Scarves cannot take in constructive criticisms, then why do they continue to be arrogant? Your  customers want the best for your brand and you silence them off. Know your mistakes and improve, not continue to make mistakes.

Update 1 (2017 May 2nd, 3:13pm GMT +8) Shinji posted at his own FB page in Japanese expressing his thanks to the person who informed him that his work was used for commercialization.

Translation:  It seemed that my illustrations were used for commercial purposes without permission. It’s sad that the painting (illustration) is the one I drew by myself. I am thankful that someone had brought up this matter to me. Thank you.

Update 2 (2017 May 2nd, 7:02pm GMT +8) Donut Scarves issued a statement at around 5:30pm local time. You, the wiser reader, be the judge.

Update 3 (2017 May 2nd, 9:02pm GMT +8) I did mentioned above that Donut Scarves will delete negative comments, right? Here’s my proof of screenshots. If you have nothing to be afraid of, why hide the truth? The fourth picture is meant to show that the deleted comment was originally in between two other usernames. You be the judge. Click to view screenshots.

Update 4 (2017 May 4th, 8:30pm GMT +8) I still stand firm to what I had mentioned about Donut Scarves delete any negative comments. At the same announcement post, many of the negative comments were deleted in order to hide the truth. I screenshot the below pictures 2 days ago. The last picture is a screenshot that I took today, and is a proof that the user who had pointed out the truth on Donut Scarves copying designs was blocked by the company. Read all the comments below and compare to the announcement post here. You will definitely noticed all the deleted comments at their IG post.

It’s unfortunate that Donut Scarves will continue to do what they are “best”. This post is to spread awareness to you readers. Whether you would continue to support this brand (especially Malaysians because you want to support local businesses) or not is your own prerogative, your call. You decide. I am only a citizen and I can do this much to shed light about this matter. Thank you for helping me spread awareness by any means of communication if you did and God bless.

Trying to be a Minimalist

As the title goes, I am trying to be a Minimalist.

There is no clear-cut definition to become a Minimalist. It doesn’t mean throwing away everything you own or having nothing hanging on the walls or walls MUST be painted white, and the list goes on.

For years, I have been decluttering my room. I am blessed to have a roof over my head for almost 2 decades now and when I first moved into the present house, I remembered my bedroom was like a warehouse. There were about 6 to 8 boxes of STUFF. I spent a considerable amount of time (years) discarding stuff from my room and hesitating if I should throw them away or keep it just in case I needed it. It doesn’t help that when I returned from Japan after a year, I brought back 12 boxes more. The reason that it took me this long to “clean” is because I kept on bringing and introducing new items to my room the moment I have space. Perhaps growing up poor meant that whenever I have the opportunity to buy the things I wanted, I will buy as I may loose that chance of buying.

While I am still feeling unsatisfied with how much clutter my room has, it had definitely been better. I am at this stage where if I want to buy things for my room, I would need to visualize where this item is going to my room. If I can’t find a place for it, then I know that item would just become the next clutter. Temptations to buy doesn’t always disappear and there are times where I just buy for the sake of buying. I had read Kondo Marie’s book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” to come to understand that in the process of decluttering, you keep things that make you happy. How I wished I knew this back then.

Lately, I have been watching videos on YouTube on the concept of ‘Minimalism’, house tours, decluttering makeup and just videos of reducing waste that it got me inspired to become a Minimalist. I think another turning point for me to become as such has to do with the number of wants I would love but also realizing that there are opportunity costs with what I do with money. I have taken money for granted far too long to realize that I really want isn’t many materials, but more experiences. I mean, of course, you can’t skimp on everything for sake of financial savings because that wouldn’t be too realistic.

The present mission is, of course, to apply the ‘KonMari’ method of reducing more clutter and ultimately, a room without boxes.

“I Believe in You (Je crois en toi)” – Il Divo & Celine Dion

My song pick for the week is this song sung by Il Divo and Celine Dion, titled “I Believe in You (Je crois en toi)”. The 1st part of the song is sung in English, and the 2nd half in French.

You wouldn’t believe me if I said this song was released in 2006, would you?

I think that good music is timeless and you’ll remember them as a classic song. I have a lot of ‘classic’ songs that I think people should take a listen to and I hope you enjoy listening to this.

“I Believe In You (Je Crois En Toi)”

Lonely
The path you have chosen
A restless road
No turning back
One day you
Will find your light again
Don’t you know
Don’t let go
Be strong

Follow you heart
Let you love lead through the darkness
Back to a place you once knew
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you

Follow your dreams
Be yourself, an angel of kindness
There’s nothing that you can not do
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you.

Tout seul
Tu t’en iras tout seul
Coeur ouvert
A L’univers
Poursuis ta quete
Sans regarder derriere
N’attends pas
Que le jour
Se leve

Suis ton etoile
Va jusqu’ou ton reve t’emporte
Un jour tu le toucheras
Si tu crois si tu crois si tu crois
En toi
Suis la lumiere
N’eteins pas la flamme que tu portes
Au fonds de toi souviens-toi
Que je crois que je crois que je crois
Que je crois
En toi

Someday I’ll find you
Someday you’ll find me too
And when I hold you close
I’ll know that is true

Follow your heart
Let you love lead through the darkness
Back to a place you once knew
I believe, I believe, I believe in you

Follow your dreams
Be yourself, an angel of kindness
There’s nothing that you can not do
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you.

Should you visit the farmer’s market (‘tamu’) or the supermarket when buying fruits and vegetables?

Last Sunday when I was dragged to become a ‘driver’ early morning, I reluctantly woke up and did the errand. Passing by me as I drove to do my errand was the early morning market, or we call it ‘tamu’ locally. These market operates very early around 7 in the morning and ends by noon, at least the one in KB does. I have been wanting to visit the local tamu and I guess last Sunday was the opportunity to do so.

I think of the ‘tamu’ as our farmers’ market. In other countries, the farmers’ market is the place where you can buy and support local vendors. Similarly, a lot of vendors are selling their produce of fruits and vegetables here. I was in for a shock when I noticed the differences between the ‘tamu’ and the supermarket that I frequent.

If you have been buying your groceries from the supermarket (like I do, guilty as charged!), perhaps a visit to the ‘tamu’ would change your perspective of things? Here’s what I think after I visited the market:

  1. Some produce is cheaper here.

Never underestimate the prices sold at the tamu. As I was a first timer, I walked around the vicinity and survey the prices of the things I wanted to buy. Almost everyone sells at the same price. 1 kilogramme of tomatoes for $2, red onions at $1 per kilo, 3 cucumbers for $1 and so on. I bought half a kilo of tomatoes for $1 and there were about 5 tomatoes. I think the same 5 tomatoes in the supermarket would cost me more than a dollar. And the best part? Next point!

  1. Free to choose which produce you want.

I get to choose which tomatoes I wanted. I have the tendency of choosing the ‘prettier’ ones over the ones that have dents or spot. I know, it’s a bad habit. Maybe I just want my tomatoes to be visually pleasing. A lot of produce in the market are yours to choose so you could always choose the not rotten or ugly ones out, or the bigger fruits over the smaller ones. A lot of the fruits and vegetables in supermarkets are prepacked so you don’t have the option to choose them freely.

  1. Competitive market.

Almost every vendor have the same selling price point so you’re not losing out. 1 notable feature is when they advertised in the open air such as “1 kilo $1!” It’s a way to attract you to see what they are selling and I also think it’s the charm of visiting this place. I mean, you won’t hear people calling out their prices in the open, right? With the exception of an auction place maybe.

The other 2 minor points would be the freshness and the variety of the fruits and vegetables. I think there is more variety in the market than the supermarket in a way that you have more options to buy from these vendors. For example, 2 vendors may sell the exact same onion at the exact same price and you may choose to buy 1 kilo from vendor A and another from vendor B. Furthermore, the freshness of the fruits and vegetables between the vendors aren’t very apparent, unless if you know how to tell the differences between a fresh one and the not so fresh vegetable. From my observation, every vendor seemed to be selling at the same quality.

Of course, not every fruits or vegetable can be found in ‘tamu’, so to speak. I didn’t see any vendors selling lemons, avocados, strawberries and only 1 vendor was selling grapes. These fruits are imported and I don’t think it’s worth for the vendors to sell these at the market. So while these ‘premium’ ingredients aren’t sold in the local ‘tamu’, a lot of the common fruits and vegetables are being sold, such as long beans (sayur kacang), leafy vegetables (sayur sawi, sayur kangkung, etc).

So the next time you want to buy your fruits or vegetables, how about stop by your local farmers’ market and compare the different prices and qualities the open market has to offer? A lot of these vendors are run by individuals with family members to feed and not run by mega corporations. By buying from them, you help the families directly. Personally, I feel good that my money spent in these markets are helping the families in their living.