Unending growth

If you think back to the economic bubble, it was largely based on this idea that economic growth should continue at a double-digit pace forever.

Harry Eyres wrote a column in The Financial Times (England’s uniquely orange newspaper) that had this callout.

I completely agree. Let’s get real.


Loss of innocence

This beautiful tree is in a park not far from the oldest part of my town. It’s probably as old as the oldest buildings.

What a great tree to climb!

Alas, such is not to be. Notice the fence surrounding the base? My guess as to why — liability issues. The city can’t be bothered with the cost of a lawsuit from some parent whose kid climbs the tree, falls down, breaks his leg and sues.

I miss the old days, when you could turn around without having to consider legal implications.


The car to rule them all

(In Malaysia, anyhow.)

The Perodua Myvi is the most popular car in Malaysia. It seems that every third car is a Myvi. And for good reason — a 2009 study by J.D. Power & Associates saw the MyVi ranked highest for its initial quality in terms of new-vehicle ownership in the compact car segment. (Thanks for that fact, Wikipedia.)

Not fast. Not big. But I like it. I want one. Great fuel economy, easy to park and very versatile. (Fold the rear seats down and you can haul a lot of stuff).

It’s a rebadged Daihatsu Sirion, but assembled in Malaysia. This “supermini” segment of cars (as they call them in the UK) is largely absent from the American market. The new Ford Fiesta is starting to change that, hopefully. And the wonderful Honda Fit (Jazz in the rest of the world) is an excellent member of this class.


Cool Asian cars

I saw some really cool cars in Kuala Lumpur.

This Honda Odyssey (different model than in America*) is about 5 years old. Very cool. It’s a tiny bit taller than an Accord and yet has 3 rows of seats.

Toyota Wish is a similar model. Slightly taller and way less cool.

* Wikipedia has some good info on this model. Be sure to scroll down the page till you hit “JDM “.


Ads everywhere

As we rode light rail trains around Kuala Lumpur, I noticed that ads were on the ceilings of the train cars. It seemed that companies rent ad space on entire trains. The outsides and insides of a train are completely wrapped in advertising for one company. Sometimes ads even cover parts of windows.

In this case, the company had something to do with preventing computer viruses.

I briefly raise these questions: How much advertising is too much? What if these ads help the train fare to be lower? And are the ads even effective? (I will answer that one — I’d guess that train users see them once and then the ads become invisible.)


Not the best export

Sometimes it’s embarrassing to be an American.

If the only music that came overseas from America was Air Supply, I might try for different citizenship.

Update from my brother (who knows far more about these things than I do)… Air Supply are from Australia — not America. However, it was certainly their popularity in America (a million years ago) that drove them to the level of fame they achieved.


There are other ways of thinking

One thing I love about travel is that it forces you to see that other people think differently than where you come from.

Since Malaysia is predominately a Muslim country, their sympathies lie on the Palestinian side of the conflicts in Israel. In America, it’s the other way around.

It was healthy for me to reflect on how Malaysians are concerned for families whose lives have been upset or ruined by conflicts in Israel. And to share some of their concern.


Not adventurous enough

I didn’t try the ice cream toast. However, I did try the white coffee. Superb.

Old Town White Coffee is a restaurant chain in Malaysia. The atmosphere is retro — and yet polished. For those of you in North America, it might fall into what I call fast-slow food (more expensive and tasty than fast food — but cheaper — think Chipotle or Qdoba).

Old Town is successful enough that there are 171 outlets across Malaysia and Singapore. Starbucks doesn’t have that many — though in Malaysia’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, it seems like there is one in every mall.

And just to quench your curiosity, Ice Cream Toast (Single) converts to about US $1. For that little, I should have tried it.


Retro trend

Some occasional late nights find me surfing a few style sites that feature images like I’ve shown here. Every one of the images shows something that originated before 1975. Some may be updated (as in the watch bands), but their roots go way back.

So what’s old is cool again.

This can be a good thing. Some designs are worthy of repeating. (Some are not.) Some old designs function well and others do not…

  • The motorcycle looks very cool but is quite loud — and would be very uncomfortable after only a short trip.
  • The watches are all analog. People have thankfully discovered that analog dials are easier to read at a glance than a digital display.
  • Film cameras? Let’s just say I’m never going back to that. However, I won’t sell my old Canon on eBay. (What I could sell it for would not be worth the coolness value of the object. But where is it? In a closet. I can’t really justify keeping it.)

(Tomorrow — back to the regularly scheduled programming — more observations from my Asia trip.)