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The people of KL

The eight species of gym rats
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The eight species of gym rats

Illustration: Sio Yean   1. The Pumbaa After a nice, strenuous session at the gym, the Pumbaa is most commonly seen trotting happily towards the nearest source of Mega Macs and teh tariks. Scientists have hypothesised that this species is only motivated to work out so that it’s allowed to eat more. Find it chanting food-related terms while lifting weights. 2. The Olaf One of the rarest phenomenal wonders of the animal world, the overly optimistic Olaf only turns up at the gym at certain fleeting moments in the year, only to gradually melt away into a no-show. Usually seen in January, the appearance of an Olaf is believed to be caused by an excess of Christmas puddings. It may also show up at the gym randomly due to impending high school reunions. Its only form of exercise: writing a list of New Year resolutions. 3. The Coach Cinderella’s pumpkin is more qualified to be a coach than the Coach at the gym. You don’t need to hunt for this particular species. The Coach will hunt you down. Not a certified coach, The Coach is basically a regular gym goer who just has to air its views on what it is you’re doing wrong. How to deal: Bring ear plugs, or get a personal trainer. 4. The Pepé Le Pew The Pepé Le Pew drinks gallons of water and sweats gallons of it too. After bench presses, chest presses, leg curls and quad extensions, cue the Pepé Le Pew marking its territory by leaving sweat marks and a musky scent all over the machines. Worse still, it refuses to wipe down the e

The six species of buffet wildlife
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The six species of buffet wildlife

1. The Rudolph The Rudolph is always taking food ‘for everyone else’. It likes to keep an eye on the rarer food items, retrieve entire trays of elusive grilled chicken wings, and then lug the feast back to its table. The Rudolph is also pretty adept when it comes to hiding unfinished food. 2. The Father Christmas Every buffet restaurant lives in fear of the Father Christmas which can (and will) eat them straight out of 12 days of Christmas. Owing to its mega metabolism and seemingly unlimited stomach space, it can be identified by its signature nest of empty plates and giant pile of prawn shells. It produces satisfied burps as well. 3. The Ghost of Christmas Past The Ghost of Christmas Past has repented of its gluttonous ways. Scientists are intrigued; the way it lets others have the last chicken wing, strolls calmly among food displays without grabbing everything impulsively, and its general temperament of notable self-control. Bravo. 4. The Scrooge The Scrooge has spent the last week fasting so that it may have extra stomach space at the buffet. A true professional, it’s only found at the most expensive sections of the buffet line (oyster bar, sashimi and steak sections) so as to make the most of the buffet price. If all else fails, the Scrooge eschews carbs and lifts salmon slices off the sushi. 5. The Kevin McCallister Much like its namesake, the Kevin McCallister is always experimenting with weird combinations (wasabi and Christmas puddings, hot chocolate oyster

The six species of mamak critters
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The six species of mamak critters

1. The Clubber Pre-Clubbers throng here for greasy sustenance before hitting the clubs. Post-Clubbers crawl here for greasy sustenance before hitting the bed. Either way, this breed is the easiest to spot as it’s usually overdressed for the mamak. Stumbling in high heels to the washroom? Check. Jabbering drunkenly? Check. Sitting there clutching head in hands? Score. 2. The Cub This extremely helpless young member of the pack has no say in this matter. When the moon is full and high in the sky, hungry adults will tow the helpless Cub along with them to hunt for some cheese naan and Maggi goreng. While some younglings are able to doze off during loud football matches, most can be appeased with ‘Angry Birds’. 3. The Dragon Follow (or rather, avoid) their scent. We already have sufficient mosquito fogging services from the local authorities. We don’t need strawberry-peach-mint scented fog from the Dragons enshrouding our roti tisu tower. These dragons breathe no fire, but depend on smoking hoses, pipes and vaporisers to create smoke. Also, they’ve yet to learn how to read wind directions. 4. The Boss The highly competent Boss is one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of late. This remarkable species is able to memorise all 35 convoluted (‘Milo ais, tak mau ais, tambah Milo, kurang susu, boss!’) orders without an iPad, and better yet, delivers them like a pro. Standing ovations all around. 5. The Sports Fan Usually clad in bright glossy coats of red, wh

The seven species of plane wildlife
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The seven species of plane wildlife

1. The Nomad The Nomad is a species normally spotted on budget flights. This species sports a shaggy coat of dreadlocks, a musky scent (as a result of limited shower opportunities on the road), giant backpacks, a surfboard or two, touristy singlets from Bali, and as the finishing touch, a pair of beat up old flip-flops. 2. The Recliner The Recliner needs its sleep, and needs it now. Specialising in the element of surprise, the Recliner catches you unawares by reclining its seat at full speed without any prior warning. We hope your kneecaps are insured. 3. The Inspector Gadget The Inspector Gadget is a man of the future. Once the plane is safely airborne and the seatbelt lights are off, this particular species squawks into action. It eschews all in-flight entertainment and instead meticulously sets up a personal work zone with a collection of shiny tablets, complicated spreadsheets and gleaming bits of technology. And you’re not allowed to go to the washroom because its laptop is all set up. A subspecies is the rather weak-of-hearing VIP, a species that insists on posting one last status update for its adoring fans or replying another urgent email, while the poor air stewardess politely reminds it to turn off all electronic devices for the tenth time. The entire plane sighs in unison. 4. The Child The Child will always be there, on its very first plane ride, completely terrified by roaring engines and bad plane food, and yowling till touchdown (worse still, playing game

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The eight species of clubbers in KL

The eight species of clubbers in KL

Illustration: Sio Yean 1. The Dancing Queen It’s Friday night, the lights are low, and the Dancing Queen is out in full force. Sequined bandage dress, Louboutin-inspired heels, deodorant – check, check and check. Three shots down, the Dancing Queen is here for one thing – to dance. Stay out of the way as she (or her posse) speedily slinks towards the dance podium. If there’s no podium, then she’ll be gyrating by the wall. 2. The Datuk The Datuk lives the high life. They may or may not be a datuk, but from what common behaviourists could observe, the Datuk is not here to party, it’s here to spend. Usually found lounging with their #squad at the most exclusive table in the place (also known as the land of champagne and honey), they can be viewed at Providence. 3. The Kayu Painfully awkward, the Kayu is usually seen blinking in a panicked manner and using suction-like pads on its fingers to stick to walls. This notable ability also allows it to hold on to phones so as to avoid any form of interaction. Like a fish out of water, this introverted species basically does not belong in a club. Pass them orange juice and guide them out to fresh air and safety. 4. The Kaki Botol The Kaki Botol is another species that’s common across all clubs. Usually in denial of their alcohol tolerance levels, the Kaki Botol is a species that’s most often spotted on the sidewalk. Sometimes you can also find them face down in a dark corner of the club. We only pity the friend that is assigned

The six species of office wildlife in KL
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The six species of office wildlife in KL

1. The Sloth Perpetually stuck to its ergonomic chair, the Sloth is there when you leave the office and when you arrive again the next morning, in the exact same position when you tried waving goodbye to it yesterday. Either they have huge projects to work on, or they are just taking advantage of the internet connection. 2. The Dung Beetle In every ecosystem, scientists have discovered that there must be one character that disturbs the peace on the savannah. The Dung Beetle specialises in stirring droppings and spreading drama, causing death and destruction in its wake. You know why you didn’t get your raise last month? Now you know. 3. The Suck-up The Suck-up is one genus who has adapted perfectly to the harsh corporate landscape. What the Suck-up lacks in defence mechanisms and back bone, it makes up for with slimy skin (to extract itself from sticky situations) and a super smooth tongue (to ingratiate itself with the alpha of the pack). 4. The Peacock The Peacock makes you wonder why they are still in the corporate sludge (possibly because we provide good contrast). With an impeccable wardrobe and perfect hair (or shave), this unbelievably attractive species has curiously never repeated any of its outfits, providing some calming relief to our parched eyeballs. 5. The Sheriff The Sheriff is always painfully on time, follows office rules to a T and only has fun when the boss demands it. Even if you’re only thinking of sneaking a Mars bar at your desk, you can be sure the

The seven species of neighbours in KL
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The seven species of neighbours in KL

Illustration: Sio Yean 1. The Maggot The Maggot is an aggressively mutant stink bug which deposits household waste wherever it pleases, stinking up corridors and attracting mini versions of itself. This inconsiderate nightmare is also likely to try out its sound system at two in the morning and renovate its home to the point of destructing yours. 2. The Exhibitionist Most commonly found in the southern areas of Bangsar, the Exhibitionist is supremely confident in its skin. They usually congregate in pairs and their behaviour in public is usually not suitable for minors. A milder variety of the Exhibitionist is usually of the wrinkly middle-aged (male) variety that walks around without a shirt. 3. The Anti-social One of the more common species is the Anti-social, usually lurking away in condominiums and cars with tinted windows. Although you have been neighbours for (gasp!) ten years, you can’t exactly remember his name, or even what he does for a living. We suggest you at least get his name so you know who to yell for in an emergency. 4. The Kepoh The Kepoh has acute night vision and flexible necks, all the better to crane over the pagar and spy your every move. With their incredible memory and excellent sensory awareness, nothing in the community gets past them. Researchers have recommended them for community-based crime prevention programmes. 5. The Kakak The Kakak is literally your neighbour’s maid, whom you see and interact with more than you do your neighbour

The eight species of retail assistants in KL
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The eight species of retail assistants in KL

1. The Suck-up So achingly polite it’s fake, the Suck-up is motivated by commission and will say and do anything to get a sale, including saying you look good in that dress even though it makes you look like a bulging potato sack. 2. The Clueless Ambling along store aisles, the Clueless doesn’t know anything about the product. Oftentimes, they lie and make up facts in the hope that you don’t know anything either. They will also nod along to your questioning statements, and you may never find out whether that cardigan is 100 percent cashmere or not. 3. The Too Good to be True The Too Good to be True is knowledgeable, helpful and blessed with common sense. It knows when you need help and when you want to be left alone. Before you know it, you’ll be handing over your credit card willingly. To elevate the pleasant experience, it even throws in free samples! This species is going places, mark our words. 4. The Once-overThe Once-over seems out to sabotage its parent company. Identically well-dressed, these snooty types give you the chillingly uniform up and down stare the moment your filthy flipflops cross the threshold of their luxurious cave. What, wear shorts cannot buy LV ah? 5. The GreeterThe Greeter is a chirpy little thing. Hopping around in flocks, your mere appearance in the store brings about a chorus of ‘Welcome to ______!’ Once is fine, but when Greeters repeat the greeting every time you bump into one, it can get slightly unnerving. We still prefer the Greeter over

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Food battles

Korean instant noodles
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Korean instant noodles

Nongshim, RM4.90 Noodles Nongshim’s noodles were somewhat thicker than its compatriots. They also absorbed the soup quickly, becoming soggy in the process. Add-ons The most generous of them all, Nongshim comes with large squares of thick kombu and slices of dehydrated fish cake. Taste Nongshim’s spicy beef cup noodles are the stuff of legends, but this seafood version turned out to be a thin, briny broth. Too much seafood, not enough spice. Verdict We like Nongshim’s generous additions of kombu, but the slightly soggy noodles and too tame broth tilted the odds. Paldo, RM5.50 Noodles Paldo’s noodles were relatively thin, bearing close resemblance to Maggi noodles in thickness. Add-ons Paldo’s add-ons were scarce – bits of mushroom and scallions were scattered loosely in the cup. Taste Paldo’s strongly salted soup base could use a bit more heat in the spice department. Compensate with your own red chilli pepper flakes. Verdict Paldo could’ve been a close contender for the House Cup, but a few points were shaved off for its thin noodles. Yeul, RM4.90 Noodles Yeul has superior noodles with good chew, just the right thickness, and were springy from the beginning to the end of the meal. Add-ons Somewhat similar to Paldo’s offerings of spring onions and dehydrated mushrooms. Taste Yeul’s opaque soup base is richer, more flavourful, and most importantly, lives up to its spicy label. Nice pedas kick there. Verdict Winner! With bouncy noodles and spicy soup

Cultured milk drinks
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Cultured milk drinks

Calci-Yum, RM4.34 for a pack of five, 110ml each Packaging Calci-Yum’s foray into cultured milk drinks comes in a tall, curvy, yellow 110ml bottle with ‘Art Attack’-like splashes of blue. Straws come in a separate pack. Appearance The calcium-boosting Calci-Yum is a pure shade of white with the slightest hint of separation of water and milk. Texture Watery and slightly diluted. Flavour  Calci-Yum had a fruity and syrupy aftertaste that should not appear in a conversation about milky drinks. Verdict Calci-Yum might contain calcium for strong bones, but it’s definitely not yum. Vitagen, RM4.99 for a pack of five, 125ml each Packaging The iconic Vitagen is the usual fat bottle (suspiciously similar to Yakult bottles in Japan) with an easy grip design and sealed with gold foil. Appearance The original-flavoured Vitagen is an off-white hue. The drink also seems to have a slightly thicker consistency than the others. Texture Pekat. Flavour  Vitagen delivered an overwhelming punch of sourness, while also being very sweet. This was almost an assault on our taste buds. Verdict We’ll have to stick to apple green Vitagen from now. Yakult Ace, RM4.30 for a pack of five, 80ml each Packaging We like the mini adjustable straw that comes attached to each individual bottle of 80ml Yakult Ace. There’s even an illustrated straw removal guide. Appearance Compared to its counterparts, Yakult sports a distinctly creamy yellow tint. Texture Smooth and light. Flavour Yaku

Dates
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Dates

Yusuf Taiyoob, RM11.99 PackagingYusuf Taiyoob’s Safia range of Tunisian dates comes in a box printed with designs of the desert, complete with illustrations of date palms. Very educational. Plus, there’s a large ‘window’ in the centre of the box, allowing consumers to take a good peek at the dates before deciding on the purchase.  AppearanceAfter the unboxing ceremony, we noticed that the smallish dark brown dates (all attached to their branches) had patches of sticky dried juice on it. TextureYusuf Taiyoob’s dates were comparatively juicier, with an easy bite. TasteThe raisin-looking Yusuf Taiyoob had a very strong sweet taste. It gave some of us a sugar high. VerdictIt’s a close battle, but sorry, Yusuf Taiyoob, we like the whispering (and we understand that dates are naturally very high in sugar), but a sugar high isn’t a good state to be in after a day of fasting. Eat this for sahur instead. Sunsweet, RM12.99 PackagingWhile Sunsweet’s box has a smaller ‘window’ which restricted the view of our dates, the overall design (travellers on camels, rays of sun, a silhouette of the desert) evokes ‘Arabian Nights’ and the upcoming Raya celebrations. Very festive. We approve. Also, a tagline proclaims that we’ll be purchasing a box of ‘Smart Dates, natural with branches’. Intriguing. AppearanceSunsweet’s dates were visibly larger and while the skin was more wrinkled, the dates did have a lighter colour. One blind taster commented on its ‘squidgy’ appearance. TextureSu

Instant Japanese beef curry
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Instant Japanese beef curry

House, RM7.31 Packaging This packet of instant Japanese curry rice (also known as ‘kare raisu’) is a sunny yellow with whimsical illustrations of garlic and coriander. Appearance House’s curry comes in a rather yellowish shade of brown, with sizeable beef slices. Scent An assault on the senses; there was a distinct smell of cinnamon and assorted roasted spices in this curry. Flavours There was a very subtle spicy hint, but it was the sweetness that got a bit curried away and seemed slightly artificial after a few bites. Verdict We like the packaging and sizeable additions of protein, but we think curries should retain a certain degree of spiciness. Hachi, RM7.31 Packaging We don’t care much for Hachi’s modern packaging with lots of swirly green and black designs, but we like the helpful illustrated cooking instructions. Apparently this is a boil-in-the-bag Japanese curry. Appearance Hachi’s curry is a rich caramel-brown, with small cubes of soft carrots and even smaller (peppercorn-sized) bits that turned out to be ground beef. Scent In comparison to House, Hachi had a richer, meatier scent that was pleasantly appetising. Flavours The spices in this curry are well-balanced, with a pleasant sweet note that went well with the spicy, beefy flavours of the curry. We wished we had more rice to mop it up. Verdict Hachi is a deserving winner in this battle of the kare raisu due to its robust flavours and fragrant beefiness. Find these instant Japanese beef cu

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Klangers

#14
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#14

'Yoghurt got more culture than you.'

#13: Pokémon Go edition
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#13: Pokémon Go edition

'We have a Rattata infestation.'

#12
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#12

'We have a teh tarik crisis.'

#11
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#11

'Can someone turn off the sun?'

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