Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The boys and their toys

I did not have many toys when I was growing up. Life in the 70s and perhaps 80s; we were not flushed with monies - not that we are in the new millennium anyway.

I am not talking the legos or the train toys. That I had enjoyed during the 60s, when our family was a young family and there were only four of us.

My only toys during my teen years would be a RM30 small radio that I bought in 1979 in Kota Bharu. Life was mundane then. Not much music at boarding school when music was my only form of entertainment at home then (there was no telly at home). So after SRP, bapak gave me RM50 to buy myself one.

So I went to KB with a friend, Rashid Mohd Nor, to buy myself one.

I used to listen to BBC and the likes, especially when the national radio resorted to Quranic reading for at least 40 days after the Sultan of Kelantan (the King of Malaysia) passed away. To do this, one had to near the lighting rod cable on the side of the hostel.

Tune to SW and you will get all kind of radio network, including the BBC.

But life got better in the 80s when I started earning my own money in the form of scholarship. Aah, then I was flushed with money. To be honest, people complained about the pittance allowance, but I have a fat bank account then that I would fly home every summer.

I was a prudent person.

So I bought my first toy.
Bought in Melbourne in 1983 for a few hundred Australian dollars. I don't recall the exact price now. 

It served me for at least a decade until the mid 90s,  think. I am not sure what happened after that to be honest. However, it is still with us, and I would like to believe that it is in working condition.

I am hoping, but I have no incentive to test it or to send it for service.

Analogue camera has no more life in them in this digital era. I am not sure if anyone is still using them. Anyone?
Except for a flash, this is all that I have. No big zoom lenses for the me.

Back then, OM10 was the most expensive toys I had ever had. But as I have told you before, I thought that the scholarship allowance was ample enough for me, or perhaps I was ever a prudent person, so I could afford one then, even though many would bitch about the amount.

But the big lenses eluded me then (and even now). Too expensive for me, to be honest. I am not sure I am willing to fork out RM7000 for my dream lense.

And too heavy for me to carry them around.

A 3.1 MP Kodak camera that we bought in the early days of digital camera
Life in the new millennium is a stark contrast to what I had experienced growing up. Alhamdulillah, I think my boys get to enjoy a bit more than what I had enjoyed back then. It is of course not something we could - or should - compare. This is a different era.

Recently, I upgraded my Nikon D90 with the D7100. Don't get me wrong, I love the D90; it has served me well for nearly 5 years. But burglars stole our loved one recently and since we were covered by insurance, I thought might as well we upgrade it to the next level.
I need a more powerful lens now, now that I have this
Obviously, the boys are enjoying this excellent camera more than me. They seems to be better skills in photography, especially Akmal, even though both were untrained. I would like for them to attend some form of formal courses on photography to fine tune their skills.
The toys that my boys bought. Sound Blaster and graphic cards, all computer stuff.

They are of course so much into computers, and would buy stuff to upgrade their computers on line. To me they are at a stage where they could, or may be should, enjoy what interest them the most.

Which come to the following subject matter.

That night I got a phone call requesting our presence at Desa Park City. I have no clue where that is honestly, or even knew of its existence. I had to Google it.

That morning we were there early, and I found that this place is well kept and quite funky to  be honest. I am sure it is place that I can't afford, even if I pour in it all my life savings. Hahaha. I am told that even terrace house would cost over RM2 million.

But I was there with Akmal for something else.

We were invited for the BMW Performance Day with Ingress Auto. It is FOC, so why not. Arif could not make it; he has to sit for his simulator test which is more important than to learn the intrinsic of performance driving with the ultimate driving machine.

Arif has no need for that. He is already driving US$70 million flying machine! Only people like me has the need to drive the ultimate driving machine on the ground.

It is such a beautiful morning as seen in the pic below, taken by BMW at the event.

But let me qualify first by saying that we don't own a BMW. I drive a more mundane Toyota and Arif a Ford. And I have an 18-year-old Ford that I drive to office, now that Akmal is commuting to college using mine. This is the car I would drive for meeting in Shah Alam and even for playing golf in Seremban. I don't really care; it gets me to where I want to go.

Now that we have made that clear, I guess I can reveal the picture with fearing that I could be misconstrued as showing off and bragging. Bragging is normally reserved for facebook. After all  FB stands for "For Bragging", so says my entry a couple of years ago, in this blog.


And I can't be bragging for something I did not own!

Even though it was not done at Sepang, it is free, so why complain. At Sepang, one can attend  a day's event at RM1500. In the subsequent session, one can even drive at the SIC.

Like Schumacher.

It is still early on a Saturday.

Food galore. This place is chic.

This is free, and we were given one car and two modules to complete. A 328i with 245 hp and 350 Nm torque. It is supposed to go from 0 to 100 in 6.1 second. A most powerful car with exhilarating ride to boot, and it now falls on someone with a P license!

That's Akmal of course.

Akmal waiting for his turn. He was in Car No 5
We were taught many things we did not know, most of which we can absorb and implement in our mundane day by day driving. Like the proper seating arrangement, all the gadgetary available in a car. But I was taught 30 years ago by an Australian instructor on how to handle the steering wheel and how my hand position should be when cornering.

This new technique advocated by BMW sounds blasphemous to me. Hahaha.
He is in a red 328, similar to the car in front of him.  This car is fabulous. Had never driven one quite like it before.
The event is hosted by Ingress Auto in Damansara
I can tell you the excitement we had. We were told to floor the pedal. We were told to brake until (if we could) break the pad. We were told to swerve very hard. In other words, we would never do this sort of things with our own car (unless we absolutely have to), but we did all of that within the 1 hour odd we were inside the car.

I was sceptical before - I would not want to treat it that way, but upon seeing everybody else doing it, we had to play our part.
Akmal slaloming passed the cones in a zig zag fashion to test the driving skill. The white tent is where we started
We did not manage to break the brake pads or disc with our brake slamming action. We were offered the car if we can do just that - FOC, according to BMW driving instructor Kenneth.

Next time maybe. Otherwise we will be abandoning whatever we were driving to get there that morning and return home in the ultimate driving machine in the afternoon.. 328i is such an exhilarating ride, all BMWs are. I am extremely impressed. Personally I don't get that from Merc or some other luxury brand, irrespective of what others tried to preach to me.

And now back to our mundane life and mundane cars.

Enough excitement to last us a lifetime!
Akmal with BMW 328i after the training

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