Sunday, February 28, 2010

John Terry's Chelsea is beaten at home after Wayne Bridge gives him the cold shoulder

As expected. This came after Fabio Capello said on Friday that Terry will never wear England's captain armband while he is in charge:

"But from here to the World Cup he will not be the captain. And not while I'm England manager. I asked always the captain to set an example for young children and fans. I told him [that]. I spoke with him and was very happy because he understood everything. I hope this is the end of these stories. But I didn't ever consider taking him out [of the squad]."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Will Wayne Bridge shake John Terry's hand?

[Source: Yahoo! Eurosport]

Tonight (Malaysian time), everyone will be glued to their television sets to see how Wayne Bridge reacts to the presence of his former team mate and bestfriend, John Terry. Their respective teams will assemble in the Stamford Bridge tunnel as Manchester City take on the Blues in their London stadium.

Let there be no doubt that the left-back will be pressured to shake his former friend's hand and the soccer world is waiting to see if he will or not.

I wouldn't blame him for not shaking Terry's hand and this should not be held against him. It is a personal matter and most of the general public is in support of Bridge, who is seen as the victim in this whole sordid affair.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Audi / BMW Ad War Continues in the U.S. - Is that the best BMW can do?

As you all might well know, Audi and BMW have been at war with each other in the states, coming up with innovative ads to bash each others' cars.

It started with advertisement ads :

The conflict first began when BMW released an ad for its new 3-series and congratulated Audi for winning the South African car of the Year award, signing off with "From the winner of the world car of the year award 2006". Audi replied with an ad of their own proclaiming that the "world car of the year award" was great and all, but they've won at LeMans for six consecutive years. Subaru made it a three-way fight and jumped in with an ad proclaiming, "Well done to Audi and BMW for winning the beauty contest. From the winner of the 2006 International Engine of the Year". [Source - Curious Read?)

Followed by billboards
in Los Angeles, California:

Source - Autoblog

Things came to a head recently with Audi escalating tensions by releasing video commercials in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the first commercial, Audi targets the Ferrari California, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz C-class and BMW 3-series. Their answer: the S4, Q5, A5 and the R8 V10. Additionally, the advertisement goes on to say that Audi is growing at a faster rate than BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The next commercial's theme is that "There Is No Room For Second Place." The brand cites three recent Car And Driver comparisons where the S4, A6 and Q5 dominated competition from BMW [Source - Autospies]

So how did BMW reply?

Arriving in U.S. mailboxes was a deal from BMW aimed directly at Audi owners. It is a $1,500 USD credit that can be combined with any BMW promotion that is currently on offer. Potential customers will also get free servicing - "Leave those Audi maintenance bills behind," and "Try on a new 3-Series, recently named to Car and Driver's 10 Best list for an unmatched 19th year in a row." [Sources - Autospies and Ausmotive]

Pretty weak I reckon - something you'd expect GM to do (capitalizing on Toyota's recall woes) but not a prestige marque! And whats a $1500 credit to Americans who own luxury cars?

Not being biased here (owning an Audi and all) but BMW's marketing gurus need to go back to the drawing board.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Zerotohundred Fairlady Club Putrajaya Photoshoot (November 2009)

I took part in the ZTH Fairlady Club photoshoot in Putrajaya that was held in November of last year. It was well organized and well supported, with a very large turnout of club members. We even had a couple of boys from the ZTH RX8 Club who were disciplined enough to wake up early on a weekend!

We convoyed from the rendezvous point in TTDI to Putrajaya around 10 am. Prior to leaving, we had breakfast at a local shop. It was indeed, a beautiful day.

Here are videos of the convoy in action (videos are courtesy of fellow 350Z owner, James). Needless to say, the roads that day were filled with the beautiful sounds of aftermarket 350Z exhausts. Everyone displayed great convoy discipline and we responsibly enjoyed ourselves on the highways. You might be able to spot me in one of the vids :)

I took this at the bridge heading into Cyberjaya, right before someone had a duel with a Mat Salleh in a Nissan S15 haha! You know who you are! Our last stop was at Cyberjaya Old Town Coffee for lunch. And so the day officially ended. Most of us hit the highways and headed back to Sunway.

The last Zeds I saw before reaching home were Z-Ice and another white Fairlady right as they were getting off at Section 16 / Phileo Damansara exit and a Z32 along Sprint Highway, just after Bukit Kiara Golf Club.

All in all, a great day! One for the photo albums.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My friend's BMW 135i track car (modded)

As mentioned in yesterday's entry, a mate of mine in Melbourne tends to change his cars every twelve months or so and after getting the X5M, the guy is looking to offload his track day car, a 2008 BMW 135i M Sport (manual).

The car has only done 9,000 kms! I'd buy it if I was still living down under.

The 135i has been modded with the following:
  • RR catless downpipes
  • AA Processor & Intercooler
  • KW Clubsport coilovers
  • BMW short shifter
  • Drexler LSD I 3.46 final ratio
  • BBS RS-GT rims
  • Dunlop R-compound 
  • Forge DV
  • AP Racing 6 piston front calipers with 365mm rotors
  • Goodridge brake lines
  • Hawk HT-10 pads
  • SouthernBM custom radiator
  • Evolution Racewerks dry carbon wide body

I've driven the car and it goes like stink plus stops reasonably well with that setup. Manual 135is have awful 1st and 2nd gear ratios plus spongy suspension but the mods have rectified these shortcomings. Managed some good times at Sandown racetrack in Melbourne in late 2008.

Lap 1 - 1:31.9
Lap 2 - 1:29.9
Lap 3 - 1:31.1
Lap 4 - 1:30.0
Lap 5 - 1:29.9
Lap 6 - 1:30.2

Loving the BBS RS-GT rims

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My personal take on the new Volkswagen Polo GTI

The Official Line
"The Volkswagen Polo GTI weighs in at a mere 1,184kg meaning 0-100km/h times of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 229km/h.

The new 2010 Polo GTI packs the same 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine with turbo- and supercharging as the Seat Ibiza Cupra with an estimated output of 180 horsepower and a hefty 250Nm or 184 lb-ft of torque, available from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm.

The sporty engine is mated to a compact seven-speed DSG (twin clutch) transmission that in turn drives the front wheels. The new Polo GTI is also fitted with Volkswagen’s XDS electronic cross-axle traction control differential system – as found on the Volkswagen Golf GTI – for improved traction and handling. ESC is also standard".

In Reality
Now according to APR's website:

Current 1.8T Polo GTI with chip / engine remap - 152kw 328nm
New 1.4 Twincharge with chip / engine remap - 151kw 317nm

Since the new Polo GTI is available with DSG, I expect the car to be way faster.

Furthermore, with DSG + XDS, the new car might be able to overcome the limitations of modding the current Polo GTI — torque steer and power understeer, but I guess it all depends on how much torque the new DSG box can handle.

Fast, small, easy to park, great looking - whats not to love? Just needs bigger wheels and a tad lowered. Huffs would make this VeeDub look super aggressive and mean. Definitely getting this when it arrives on our shores (unless the Scirocco R comes in early - which it probably will).

Now wheres the steering wheel controls, Volkswagen?

My friend's BMW X5M in Melbourne

Went back to Melbourne a month ago and met up with a good friend of mine who loves cars so much that he changes rides every 12 months... I'll put up an in-depth review of the car at a later date. In the meantime, enjoy the pics we took.

Took it for a spin and it was awesome to drive!

The M Division have done it again

Old (E53 in Estoril) and new (E70 in Monte Carlo) - the X5M on Clarendon Street, South Melbourne

Oh and the lucky sod is getting this in a couple of months... Exact same spec but naturally the steering wheel will be mounted on the right. Damn you man! I heart the Spyder!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nismo LM-GT4 19" rims for the 350Z?

I've always been a fan of Nismo's LM-GT4 rims.

A set of these lovely rims are available for purchase but there is a catch - the set comes in bronze... I personally prefer them in silver but I guess I could always respray the rims (which would mean losing the original Nismo sticker and what not).

Anyway, this pic shows a Silver 350Z with bronze LM-GT4 rims. Ahhhhh! Decisions decisions.

Here is one with silver LM-GT4s (looks better in my book)

If only we could get Volk Racing GTS (Black Painted) rims ...

Negaraku to be played if Lotus Racing wins a race

I actually had a chat with Nasaruddin about this the other day.

In the event that Lotus Racing were to win a race, the Malaysian national anthem will be played, which would just be so cool!

This makes for an interesting clash of wheels at both Sepang and the year end race in Singapore. Lotus Racing team members, and the home crowd, will be super motivated to go all out for those races as they will be performing at a venue that is either on Malaysian soil or just a stone throw away from tanah air tercinta.

Malaysians might debate and speculate as to the reasons behind Malaysian involvement in Lotus Racing but hey, whats done is done, so why dont we throw our full support behind the team rather than continue to nitpick.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The importance of racial harmony

While having Saturday brunch at the Lotus family restaurant on Jalan Gasing (PJ), I was flipping through the Star newspaper and came across Petronas' annual Chinese New Year full page advert.

It showed a well built Chinese gentleman and his daughter, holding hands. The man was coming home from work and was clearly strong because over his left shoulder, he was carrying a large ratan basket containing tiffin pots and other miscellaneous items. The main gist of the advert was that you will always see your father as the unbreakable rock in your life but our roles will be reversed as he ages and there will come a time, when he will have to lean on you. This was a very touching advert and showed the unbreakable bond between father and daughter.

The advert also made me think just how similar all the races are in this country of ours. We are all "fathers and daughters". We want nothing but the best for our children. Here I was, a Malay, eating delicious Indian food while looking at an advert meant to celebrate a major Chinese festival. This was a "feel good" moment for me.

Another thing we must take away from this advert is that racial harmony is something to be cherished and maintained. Malaysian way of life would not be possible without the presence of all the mixed races. Just like the bond between a parent and a child, the links between all Malaysian races are unbreakable and during times of hardship, we must learn to lean on each other.

I all my Chinese readers, happy new year and Gong Xi Fa Cai. Drive safe everyone and take care.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just got my 350Z detailed a month back...

And it turned out a treat!

Thanks to Darren Chang from Autodetailer - who is the "man" when it comes to detailing in Malaysia - hands down! And whenever he lovingly details a car, Darren always takes his signature pics.

Enjoy them - I sure did :)

Who says all 350Zs in Malaysia are restricted by speedcuts...

Then again, they aren't Australian track spec models :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some Japanese eye candy

Some personal favorites...

Lessons to have a better work life – exercise and sleep balance

I received this in my work e-mail a couple months back but definitely worth a read for those of us who sacrifice our sleeping time for work and the gym. A really good article but scary if you work out a lot and sleep for only 6 hours (or less).

SAP India CEO Ranjan Das Dies After Gym Workout

Ranjan Das, CEO and MD of SAP Indian subcontinent died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Wednesday. One of the youngest CEOs, he was 42.

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India

A month ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. Ranjan, just 42 years of age, was the CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India . He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra's Carter Road . Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India . However, it was even more disastrous for runners amongst us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner ( in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away ), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age.

Was it the stress?

A couple of you called me asking about the reasons. While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. So I doubted if the cause was stress.

The Real Reason

However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program 'Boss' Day Out':

Here he himself admits that he would love to get more sleep ( and that he was not proud of his ability to manage without sleep, contrary to what others extolled ).

The Evidence

Last week, I was working with a well-known cardiologist on the subject of ‘Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep’. While I cannot share the video nor the slides because of confidentiality reasons, I have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some Excerpts:

• Short sleep duration ( <5 or 5-6 hours ) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009. As you know, high BP kills.

• Young people ( 25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006.

• Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999.

• Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!

• Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Paper published in 2004.

• Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Paper published in 2006.

Ideal Sleep

For lack of space, I cannot explain here the ideal sleep architecture. But in brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM ( Rapid Eye Movement ) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type.

For you to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess ( lack of non-REM sleep ), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down ( I’ve been there, done that ).

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.

If you want to know if you are getting adequate sleep, take Epworth Sleepiness Test.

Interpretation: Score of 0-9 is considered normal while 10 and above abnormal. Many a times, I have clocked 21 out the maximum possible 24, the only saving grace being the last situation, since I don’t like to drive ( maybe, I should ask my driver to answer that line ).

In conclusion:

Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising ( marathoning! ), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In my opinion, that killed him.
If you are not getting enough sleep ( 7 hours ), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress.

I always took pride in my ability to work 50 hours at a stretch whenever the situation warranted. But I was so spooked after seeing the scientific evidence last week that since Saturday night, I ensure I do not even set the alarm clock under 7 hours. Now, that is a nice excuse to get some more sleep.

Unfortunately, Ranjan Das is not alone when it comes to missing sleep. Many of us are doing exactly the same, perhaps out of ignorance. Please forward this mail/article to as many of your colleagues/friends as possible, especially those who might be short-changing their sleep. If we can save even one young life because of this email, I would be the happiest person on earth.