Thursday, October 23, 2014

Consumer Behavior: Why I Buy What I Buy

Today I went to Cold Storage Subang Parade to buy foodstuff. I chose Cold Storage over Jaya Grocer at Empire because I know it has more Halloween items on sale. And I was right! There were the jumbo-sized bags of candies, eyeball chocolate balls and even boxes of Peeps, so cute. I didn't buy anything Halloween-themed but it was nice to look at. (I also chose Subang Parade over Empire because there's an MPH in SP. You hear that, Piglet?)

I first looked at the cheese section and searched for Cheddar cheese, 250g. There were so many different types of cheese in different sizes and textures and flavors (even the Pepper Jack that is on my must-try list, normally hard to find, came in three different brands!). I settled for a RM18 chunk of mild cheddar, walked further down and saw a block of processed cheese going for 30-40% less than the mild cheddar chunk. Of course I took the cheaper one. If I had extra to spare, I'd go for the premium one.

Then I went to look for milk. Since the recipe only called for 250ml of milk, I grabbed a 300ml carton and prayed that the macaroni and cheese would be extra creamy because of the additional 50ml.

Next up, I had to grab a bag of macaroni. This was a bit tough because there wasn't that big of a range for me to choose from. I mean, there was organic spaghetti and colorful pastas, but macaroni only came in a few brands. In the end, it was a toss up between San Remo macaroni or Kimball's, and I went with Kimball because once you boil pasta, nobody can tell if it's the cheaper brand or San Remo. Sorry, San Remo. Maybe when I have a bigger disposable income, okay?

Then, I needed a can of soup. My family argues that condensed soup is not the same as canned soup but I think it's the same, because soup in a can IS soup in a can, therefore it is condensed! I just took Campbells' because there was only one brand of canned soup available.

Finally I took a glance at the clearance shelves (I LOVE the clearance shelves at Cold Storage) and grabbed two cans of alphabet pasta in tomato sauce for RM2 each (from RM6 each).

Me at Aeon.

When I go out of country, what I really want to do is go to a supermarket/minimart/grocery store and look at the items that they sell there. So fascinating to see the items that you use at home being used elsewhere, packaged and sold in a different manner. I especially love exploring the 7-11s of different countries. Thailand's offers cheap items all around with prices unheard of in Malaysia (RM1 for Pocky crazy!!) while Singapore's is full of yummy-looking quick fixes like beef jerky and chocolate bars in unique flavors. I didn't get to visit a 7-11 while in Nepal, Philippines, or Indonesia, though.

If I go out of state, I also enjoy spending time in the grocery stores or minimarts. Sometimes, the brand of biscuits you get in Port Dickson cannot be found in Klang, but most of the brands you get in Klang, you'll be able to find in PD. Very interesting. I think it has to do with the strength of the company's distribution system.

My life's ambition is to be a mystery shopper in supermarkets or to do research on the mass market brands that people buy.

So, if you asked me, what would I do for a Klondike bar? I'd say, market research. I'd do market research.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Easy Bible Reading in 4 Ways

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path"*

"The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand."**

Some of you may have problems consistently reading the Bible every day. I know I do! It's a personal battle for me to find a portion of scripture to consistently read and soak up in. Today I thought I'd share with you some bible reading formats that I regularly use, besides the "one chapter a day" way. Please share if you have other methods! I would like to try them.

1. One Proverb a day 
- There are 31 chapters of Proverbs a day and you can take one based on the day's date. I find this a great way to really align oneself to the ways of the wise. HEHE. No matter what reading plan I'm on, I always try to read one chapter of Proverbs every day.
- Supplement with another chapter from another book.

2. Visualizing Psalms
- I read somewhere that a parent got their kid to read the book of Psalms together. Every psalm that they read, the child drew that psalm out. That was a perfect way of getting familiar with the psalms, besides helping you to remember which psalm talks about what!
- Highlight or write down verses that stood out to you, and what it means to you. Go a step further: write a prayer based on that verse.

3. 1 Samuel -> 2 Samuel -> 1 Kings -> 2 Kings
- I only share this because I've gone through this chronology of books twice now, and it really helps you to get familiar with a portion of the bible's history (David's life, the building of the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, the kings that caused Israel to fall, the Israelites themselves).
- You start off with the life of prophet Samuel, who, in his lifetime, will see the Israelites ask for a king. Then he is given the task by God, of finding the king. Then you get the history of all the kings in 1 and 2 Kings!
- Go about 3 or 5 chapters a day, then summarize your day's reading in a short paragraph. Highlight or rewrite verses that stood out to you. This will help you to have a rough outline of the book, besides being your own personal bible study.

4. Go Eat Pop Corn 
- Galatians -> Ephesians -> Philippians -> Colossians are all letters written by the apostle Paul to different churches in different places (Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse), each touching on a different theme.
- I absolutely love reading these letters. They contain a bit of wisdom, a bit of advise, and a bit of personal message from Paul himself to the churches.
- Each book is less than 6 chapters long, and very readable. Do the same - read one chapter a day, highlight a verse, pray based on that verse. Go one step further: Before your reading, ask God what He wants you to learn from the chapter you're about to read.

Okay of course I've read more than these 10 books listed above, but these are the most familiar to me at the moment. If I think of any more methods I'll be sure to share them :)

* -Ps. 119:105
**-Ps. 119:130

What I Learnt This Week

1. I went for my first church leader's retreat last week. (Awmagat I cannot believe I said that haha) Although I wasn't prepared to expect, I left with a renewed desire to see God's kingdom come in any and every area of my life. You know, sometimes, it may feel like it's the same message I've been hearing for the past 8 years, but there is always something for the spirit to take in.

2. You cannot be right all of the time.

3. I'm so thankful for this new season. Difficult start, but a start, all the same.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Where we stayed in Singapore: Rendezvous Hotel Singapore (Suite)

In March 2014, I went to Singapore for work and it was fun. Yes. Singapore can be very fun! You just need to know where to go! We put up at Rendezvous Hotel Singapore, which is located in the Bras Basah district, also known as the hub of arts, history and culture in Singapore.

Side note: I love Bras Basah. National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, 8Q@SAM, the Bras Basah MRT (one of the most unique architectures), and everything within walking distance...what a dream! No wonder Singapore Night Festival makes this precinct its base each year! 

Just a little bit about the hotel: It used to be Grand Rendezvous Hotel or something, then Far East bought them over. A little refurbishment and a little rebranding and RHS came about! The lobby area is small and you'll have a hard time orientating yourself, since the main entrance...isn't really it's main entrance.

Once you're in, there's a nice vibe to the place that greets you. Sorta like a cool bar kind of feel.

There were three of us in our group, so they put us in a Suite :D

We had a king sized bed (I think, I don't know, it was huuuuge and so comfy) and a rollaway bed/couch that served as a third bed. That one was a bit tough and bony :( but still ok. The entrance is on the right of this image (that door there) and the toilet is just beyond the screen.

Here's the toilet. It came with French Connection toiletries, a bathtub and a view. See the domed structure in the view? That's the National Museum of Singapore! So beautiful, you could even see bits of its lawn through the window.

My only grouse is that they didn't reflect the toiletries to the number of people staying in the suite, on top of having to wait almost the whole day for it.

So. much. comfy. 

My favourite hotel meal of the day is breakfast. Regular patrons head to Straits Cafe on the ground floor. If you have Club benefits, you go to the lounge for breakfast. There were western and eastern options but nothing to shout about. The view of the outside from this circular area was very pleasing, though. It faced the main road of Bras Basah. 

If I had to rate this stay, 3/5. I've seen reviews of the suite in other blogs and those seem more up to date than ours. But it was still a nice stay, comfortable and convenient, especially if you're on an arts-and-history-filled itinerary! Maybe one day I'll share a walking trail of Bras Basah :)