Friday, May 14, 2021

Farewell Mutiara Hotel Johor Bahru

I was quite dishearten when I heard the hotel will be closing permanently on 1 June 2021. This is another long list of hotels in JB which has been affected by the ongoing pandemic and cause it to shuts its door. I decided to pay homage to my favorite hotel in JB by commemorate some of my experience staying here.

The hotel first opened in 1982, initially called Holiday Inn and then Crown Plaza in 1982 before change to its current name in 2000.

Even though the hotel is almost 40 years old, it is still well maintained. The lobby also  has a few shops selling watches, jewellery and clothes. 

It is a good base to explore Holiday Plaza and KSL City Mall as both are within walking distance from the hotel. 

In order to attract people during the long year pandemic, the room rate has been reduced to RM128. The room is very spacious and comfortable. Even with the reduced rate, the service and the quality of the room are not compromised, unlike certain hotels which I had stayed during this period.

Lucky for me, I always have the city view while staying here. Those who stay on the other side of the hotel will have a railroad view. My last stay here was 6 March 2021.

It is sad to see such a wonderful hotel and its people will have to go. It will remain open to the public until 23 May 2021. Just wish I am allowed for another interstate travel during the current Movement Control Order 3.0 so I can have a last stay here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dango A10 Pull Pocket Adapter

In order to allows  A10 Adapt wallet to have extra cards carrying capacity, one of the option available is the A10 Pull Pocket Adapter. This is one of the advantage of the Dango A10 Adapt wallet as there are a few accessories (sold separately) which can be attached to its rail and at the same time its application can be customized according to the user's need.

The A10 Pull Pocket Adapter (USD 35) comes in a few leather finishes but I opt for their water resistant, non-leather DTEX material. It still keep the slim profile and can holds up to 3 cards. It weights only 17g.

It has a pull tab which will slide the cards up vertically. I have my own concern on the durability of the pull tab as it don't seems to be made of durable material. I would love to see an opening at the bottom of the adapter so there is another option to slide the cards out by finger in case the pull tab broken off in the long run.

As the rail of the A10 Adapt wallet might cause some wear to the edge of the card, it is best to keep cards you try to keep intact in this pull pocket. The pull pocket does not offer any RFID protection. It is better to keep the cards which require RFID protection inside the A10 Adapt wallet chassis

The sliding plate of the adapter is made of polycarbonate and seems to be incorporated to the pull pocket by a strong adhesive. The addition of this slightly thicker sliding plate will reduce the number of notes able to be stored inside the A10 Adapt wallet cavity.

Now, fully attached to the A10 Adapt wallet, it still maintain the slim profile of the overall wallet. It can now carry a total of 7 cards in this configuration, an extra 2 cards from the original A10 Adapt wallet.

With the A10 Pull Pocket, it will be a tight fit to carry notes. Ideally, 2-3 notes will be the best without causing much resistance when sliding the adapter. I also found out the A10 Adapt wallet can accommodate a few coins in the cavity.

Overall, I quite satisfy with the Pull Pocket Adapter as it gives extra cards carrying capacity to the A10 Adapt wallet I currently using now. The wallet still look sleek and elegant with it on.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Trayvax Original 2.0 Wallet

I came across another metal minimalist wallet with the name Trayvax which market itself as a multifunctional tactical wallet.

I tried to purchased the wallet from Trayvax directly but they do not shipped to Malaysia. They directed me to a list of their authorized dealers. After going through the list of the authorized dealers, I decided to purchased it from Mukama Oy which is based in Helsinki, Finland. The shipment was quick from their warehouse in Talinn, Estonia and delivered by DHL.

After going through the different choices of wallets available, I opted for the Original 2.0 wallet. Prized at USD 34.99 or 28.15 Euro, the Original 2.0 is the cheapest metal minimalist wallet I had purchased by far.

The packaging is pretty simple. The wallet is put inside a durable sealable plastic packaging. Interestingly, it also mentioned who built this particular wallet. In this case, it was built by Mary.

The package comes in the wallet itself, a welcoming note and an instruction manual.  Scan the QR code, it will bring you to a YouTube video from the founder himself giving his appreciation on the purchase as well as introduction/vision of the company.

The construction of the wallet is pretty simple. It is made up by a piece of aircraft grade aluminum and a piece of stainless steel held together by MIL-SPEC paracord.

The aluminum piece came with various colors; black, grey, blue, pink and G10. The one I got here is OD green.

From the physical appearance, this wallet already look tactical and can withstand a lot of abuse. Everything is sourced and made in USA. All Trayvax wallets comes with 65 year heirloom warranty. With this kind of warranty and my current age, this wallet will last long enough to be hand down to my son and my grand children. 

The original 2.0 can accommodate a maximum of 15 cards and 5 bill. Since the cards are sandwiched between the 2 metal plates, the cards will be RFID protected. It also has a pry bar and bottle opener in way of the money/pocket clip.

To use the wallet is straight forward by adjusting (loosening or tightening) the paracord from the clasp opening to the knotted tail to accommodate the number of cards to be fitted in. One also have the option to change the paracord to their own liking.

The wallet also can accommodate 1 extra card at the front such as commuter or access card which require frequent scanning.

The money clip on this wallet is probably the best I come across so far. The clip did not protrude so much to cause some discomfort while inside the pocket. It is almost flush with the paracord and clasp opening.

Folding the cash twice would be the most ideal way to store cash at the money clip. However, I notice the edge of the cash will be caught by the edge opening of the stainless steel while trying to retrieving it.

The best way in my opinion would be folding the cash into thirds. However, it will cause the cash to bulge at the sides and affect the overall aesthetic when carrying the wallet.

Time to give the bottle opener a try. It will take some time to get use to but it will still perform according to what it is suppose to do. I definitely see myself carrying this wallet to duty free destinations when taking a flight as I will not be able to carry my trusty Swiss Army Knife without any check in luggage as this wallet is TSA approved.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Experience With Sarawak Mandatory Quarantine Order

Sarawak has again impose a mandatory quarantine order for those coming in from outside its border since 1 October 2020. Before this, Sarawak also have the same policy for about a month starting from August 2020. This time it is the longest run and into the 6th month of such policy at the time of writing.

With no end in sight of such policy, I have to make my trip home this time to settle a few personal things. When we landed at Sibu Airport, our eHealth Declaration Form will checked. After that, we will be gathered at a waiting area and handed a form to be filled by the Health Ministry. There is nothing much about the form, as we just need to fill up our name, IC number, home address and phone number. The purpose for this task is for the Ministry of Health to segregate us according to the designated quarantine center as some of us will be placed in Sibu, Sarikei and Betong, depending on our final destination.

Tips: Make sure you have a pen readily available

Wristband will also be provided at this stage and one must wear it immediately. After submitting the form, your name will be called up and you will be informed on the quarantine center you will be heading to. 

Sarawakian do not need to fork out any money to cover the expenses of the quarantine. However, outsider will be charged RM150 per day to cover the quarantine cost. My heart skipped a beat when I am designated to Sarawak Hotel as my quarantine center while the other group (mostly non-Sarawakian) is designated to Premier Hotel. This is because Sarawak Hotel is a budget hotel whereas Premier Hotel is a 3 star hotel.

After the segregation process, we proceed for immigration clearance and exit the airport terminal building. In my personal opinion, this would be the greatest opportunity for those who want to escape the quarantine order as the airport areas are quite open and one could just walk to the car park without been apprehended.

There will be buses lining out at the waiting area. The bus will have the name of the quarantine center where it will be heading. 

I arrived at my designated quarantine center, Sarawak Hotel. As the lobby area of this hotel is small, we were briefed on the rules instead inside the bus. Here are some of the rules:

  1. We are not allowed to leave our room for any reason
  2. During our stay here, there will be no room service and laundry
  3. Food will be delivered to our room 3 times a day
  4. Family members or friends can bring in food or items to us. Just mention your room number and it will be delivered by the duty personnel. Same goes for food delivery service such as Food Panda or Grab Food.
  5. Alcoholic drink is strictly prohibited
Tip: Get ready a copy of your IC as it will be required at the hotel lobby registration

There are chairs lining up outside the room door. This is where all the food will be placed. Breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm and dinner at 5pm. 1500ml of drinking water will be delivered everyday during lunch time.

The room I got is pretty small. This is where I will be holed up for the next 14 days. 2 pieces of towel and 2 bar of soap are provided. There are also enough supply of coffee sachets to last your entire stay here. Also available in the room is a kettle, toothbrush, toothpaste and razor.

  1. Bring your own bed sheet or pillow case if you are concerned on the cleanliness of the given sheet
  2. Bring your own shampoo
  3. Bring your own portable water purifier (I bring along my Grayl Ultralight)
  4. Bring some books and laptop for your own entertainment
  5. Bring your own Mifi Modem for reliable internet connection

There is a CRT TV here which is pretty much useless as the reception is bad. I bring my own form of entertainment though.

I am pretty horrified with the room I am assigned in. Wall paints are peeling off and mold can be seen on the ceiling. Water is even leaking when it rains. This place is unfit to be a quarantine hotel as the room condition itself can create another health hazard to the occupant. 

I notice Sarawakian are placed in this hotel whereas those who paid for the quarantine expenses are placed in a better hotel (Premier Hotel). I find this discriminating and I wouldn't mind to pay the extra if I been given the option.

My home is just 2km away from the town. So near yet so far for me. I won't be mentally be the same again after completing my quarantine period here as the condition is really bad.

There seems to be an opportunity for an escape plan here. I could walk on top of this roof and jump over to the emergency ladder on the opposite building to escape.

The food here is quite alright. Fruits (mostly apple and orange) are served during lunch and dinner time. Boiled egg is available everyday for breakfast.  As the time of writing, I am entering my 4th day.

Swab test will be conducted on the 2nd and 10th day of our stay here. If we were tested negative, we will probably be released on the 15th day.

I wonder how long Sarawak government intend to keep this quarantine policy as it is counter productive and in some way affect the State economy (although not so apparent). I also hope the SDMC actually conduct audits and inspection on the quarantine hotel to ensure its suitability as one. 

On the positive side, the related personnel from the airport, medical staffs and the one manning the quarantine center have been professional so far. It is just a matter to make the living condition more bearable.