Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Expensive Gym Memberships, Mazda 3, NAZA Sportivo version cars and memories of driving a van

How about enrolling yourself in a gym like Fitness First or Celebrity Fitness? It costs a bomb in fees every month and you get to rub shoulders with other pretentious people who usually go to these places to be seen instead of really working out. The people waste money on enrolling themselves in expensive gyms yet only use the shower, changing room and the juice bar instead of pummelling their bodies on the funny exercise contraptions. Some of them even live in apartments with gym facilities yet choose to be seen with other sweaty people. They already pay for the facilities in their apartment, yet pay more for facilities elsewhere. Some of them are not fat, but choose these places as excuses to meet people or to feel good about themselves but flaunting their skinny bodies to those who just enrolled and are really fat. Imagine how the fat newbie feels? I on the other hand refuse to pay any sort of money to keep in shape. Maybe that is the reason I am a fat pudgy man. But I do know the real secret of losing weight; and the secret is don’t eat anything for weeks, or months. For example, look at the starving Ethiopians, with skin and bones and flesh all wasting away. Their secret to looking absolutely fabulously thin is basically not eating and has nothing to do with going to any gym. So if you intend to be slim, just do what the Ethiopians do, don’t eat. However, I think I prefer bread, eggs and cheese instead of swallowing sand.

Joining an upscale gym isn’t the way to be healthy or not fat. It is just a way of showing other people that you have a healthy lifestyle or telling people that you can afford paying ridiculous amounts of money for a lifestyle that one does not actually practice. It’s like those people who are smart, or in this case stupid enough to buy huge 4x4 vehicles yet never spend a minute offroad. These are those who will buy Ford Rangers and never carry anything with it. These are those people who buy Toyota Hilux and bolt on 22inch rims and tires and make the nice purpose built 4x4 have no actual purpose at all except look ‘bling’. Why buy a 4x4 like a CRV when it can never go off road or even go on picnics, mountain biking, white water rafting or hiking like what the advertisements on these kinds of vehicles suggest? What is the point of buying something if you do not use it for the purpose it was built for? You might as well as buy a Ferrari 430 and let your 89 year old grandmother drive it for her weekly trip to play Bingo somewhere. It’s like asking Jean Luc Picard to use the U.S.S. Enterprise’s phasers to carve a block of wood into a cube instead of using them to knock out a Borg cube that’s attacking Earth. Then again, resistance is futile, people who think they’re all about a certain lifestyle would be conned over and over again into buying large 4x4s and use it to drive into their reserved parking lots somewhere in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

A practical car for Kuala Lumpur would be something comfortable yet reasonably sized for city traffic. So the other day I went to the NAZA showroom to help a few family members pick up a reasonably priced car for them. I chose to go to NAZA because they were Mazda dealers and had the Mazda 3 (pic on the right) on display. Currently, the Mazda 3 1.6 auto Sedan is on offer at RM99,500.00 or thereabouts. At this price, it is the best car under RM100,000.00 to own in Malaysia based on the criteria of price, looks, quality and rarity.

For the price of slightly lower than RM100k, you get a very sporty looking car, great Japanese build quality and technology as well as the rarity factor due to all straightlaced, normal individuals conforming and buying Toyota Vios’, Honda Civics and Citys, various Kia vehicles and those crude Toyota Avanzas. The Mazda has a great driving position of which everything falls into easy reach and place; with tactile knobs and turn signals. The tactile feel of the knobs and switches was actually better than the tactile feel of its bigger brother the Mazda 6, which is actually one reason why anyone should buy a newer designed car compared to a bigger, but slightly older car. It feels so much sportier than its competitor, the Honda Civic. It is of course not as huge as the Civic but I think the Civic is too huge to be actually called a Civic. It should be called the Accord. Compared to the 4th Generation Civic, it’s a Honda Legend. The size is actually why owning a Mazda 3 is actually more viable than owning a Civic in Kuala Lumpur. All the Mazda 3 needs in its standard 1.6 litre form are larger rims. The stock 15in are too small for the car and it looks dumpy. It needs rims from the 2.0, which are 17inches in diameter. The materials used in the Mazda 3 are of better quality than your average Korean or Malaysian car. In fact, I’d rate it close to its European cousin, the Ford Focus in build quality as well as its handling. But being Japanese, I would suppose the cost of maintaining it won’t be as high as owning a Ford. I also have to mention that the Mazda is a CBU or fully imported unit from Japan as a plus point. This is currently my favourite small sized family saloon (circa 1.6-2.0 category) made available locally because of the points stated above.

While we are on NAZA, do not buy any NAZA Sportivo version of the 206 Bestari. Its carbon fibre look panelling interior looks like it came from the world’s worst plastic manufacturer. The carbon look plastic feels cheap and its carbon weave pattern is absolutely horrendous. Even a person with a spray can would be able to paint carbon weave better than the plastic manufacturer who did that panelling. Even a baboon at the local zoo if given a paintbrush and the colour black and grey will be able to get the carbon look right. This was so wrong I cringed. The 206 is French, meaning that while the carbon panelling was like duck food, the plastics in the whole car also felt like brittle plastic containers sold in the 1970s. the 206 looks good, but after the interior of the Mazda 3, its doorhandles felt like wafer biscuits instead of sturdy plastics. It felt like the cream cracker that you hold in your hand and if you use a bit more force would flake and crumble in your hands.

Do not also buy the NAZA Sutera Sportivo just because it has the same el-cheapo plastic panelling and MOMO equipped steering, gear knob and pedals. The driving position is awful. It you were ever the owner or either a Catering firm or a Nasi Ayam stall owner who once owned a Nissan C20 Vanette and wanted to relive the ‘good ol’ days’ where you had toiled hard, please go ahead and buy this car. It has a driving position which is exactly like a Van, a commercial one at that. That says it all.

So if you want to buy a car and feel good about it and be different from the other regular people. Buy a Mazda 3, don’t waste your money on stupid 4X4s or expensive gyms.


Anonymous said...

Going to gym is one of my favorite time.. For I am able to relax and away from stress. I just enjoy my time and at the same time keeping my self physically fit.
With regards to Mazda 3 - the car looks good. There had been lots of improvements and upgrades done on its parts like its mazda radiator hose - giving its nice performance and handling. The car has an excellent design and style making it attractive inside and out.

Rigval Reza said...

Going to a gym is alright if they are not squeezing all your hard earned money from you.

Rigval Reza said...

or....if you're serious in keeping fit and not just joining a large cool looking gym for the heck of it