Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Starting my own kedai bundle maybe?

My wife (to be) recently suggested something to me that to be honest has crossed my mind several times. And that is why not I start my own bundle or used clothing store. Hmm…I actually had a ‘kedai bundle’ before but I have to say it didn’t do all that well.

My first shop was about 500 square feet in Sungai Petani, Kedah. It’s in a shopping mall call SP Plaza. The mall is still there. My shop was called Seconds Bundle. I would say that it was a really nice looking store. Bright colored walls (orang to be exact) and nice layout. Had the store for about a year. That time I was working in a factory in Penang and though perhaps having a shop in my hometown with my dad looking after it would be a good idea. What a bad idea it turned out to be.

Business initially was okay. But having to pay rent of RM700/ month, almost all my profit went into the rent. Thank God it was my dad taking care of the shop, otherwise I’d be paying salaries as well. There was little left after every month. After a year, I would say that I barely break even. There were tones of goods and equipment left. Most of the clothing leftovers are not able to be sold. They were either given away or turned into rags.

Anyway…coming back to my wife’s suggestion. Perhaps now I am more matured and perhaps I can plan and execute better if I do decide to open a kedai bundle. Perhaps I should use this opportunity to talk myself through and see where I end up with this longing idea of owning my own shop again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My second hand Doc Marts

This is the pair of Doc Marts that I am currently wearing everyday to work. Its actually a used pair. Kasut bundle kononnya. Got is used in Penang at Lorong Kulit. Lorong Kulit is a flea market in Penang island. Used to be my favorite haunt. Its the one place that you can find almost everything you need. From fruit stalls to stolen birth certs...its all there! Its located behind the old Penang football stadium near Sungai Pinang road.

I paid like RM40 for it if not mistaken. Fake? I don't think so. Stolen goods? Definitely I think. When I got the pair, it was all done up again. Polished, stuffed with news papers etc. The initial open price was RM80. F**k it. Where got people sell stolen shoes for that much. Anyway, it was obvious that they guy was in a hurry, so offered him RM40, he quickly took it. I slipped it into my daypack and shot off. Happy indeed. I am putting into good use. Wearing it everyday. Really comfy this pair of shoes. I cannot imagine how much it would cost new. A couple hundred ringgits I reckon.

Check out the soles. I would say they have at least 80% life still to go. The design quite casual yet good enough for work wear.

At least it goes okay with my monkey suit. Oh yeah...that's another thing I will share later. Even my daily monkey suit that I am wearing now are all used / recycle clothing. For fraction the price that I pay...I still dress up like a monkey...just like everyone else in the office!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A hobby or a lifestyle

My lovely partner once asked me whether my fascination with used clothing a hobby or a lifestyle. Pak Abu recently commented that it may be a fetish.

Am not sure about being fetish, but its definitely both a hobby and a lifestyle for me. I practically live my life on all things used if I can help it. My furniture are used, by clothing are used, my adventure gear are bought used...except maybe for my climbing harness. I have never owned a new car even!

Its not really an environment issue thingy. I guess its because this thing called baju bundle is like a treasure trove. Each time I decide to go shopping for bundle, I can't help but ask myself what interesting thing will I find today? A rare shirt? A branded shoe? A backpack perhaps? Or maybe the pair of cycling tights that can fit me! What will it be?

But of course I don't go shopping for bundle everyday. If that is the case, then Pak Abu is right to label me as a fetish. I go occasionally, just when I feel like it and when I have the extra cash I suppose.

Lifestyle because it is part of me. Many of my close friends know me as the Apek Bundle. This crazy Chinese guy who is nuts over used recycled clothing. I take it with a pinch of laughter and truth is I accept it rather proudly! I am proud of my collection and I am proud to be able to tell people that I owned a pair of vintage Big E Levi's jeans which I only paid RM50 for! best still, its real!

How far does it effect my life? Well, the only off the shelf (new) pair of shirt that I ever got in the past few years came only during Chinese New Year. Someone will usually buy me one. Perhaps its the 'all things must be new' mentality or perhaps its just to piss me off.

Now that I am working in an formal office environment, I have no choice but to put on a monkey suit. Long sleeves, khakis or slacks, proper shoes etc. #*ck! hate it. I even have to have a coat on standby! I had to basically revamp my wardrobe. Most of the old clothes had to be packed away to make way for this new generation of clothing. But I am not complaining, I still go out and do my same old bundle shopping...every piece of it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

All baju bundle on a trip to Jeram Perlus

It was a Sunday an my waterfall addict friend invited me to hike into the jungles of Hulu Langat to look for Jeram Perlus. It's suppose to be a really pristine waterfall. I have to agree that it really is. Anyway...this entry is not about the trip or the Perlus waterfall. Its more about what I wore and brought with me on the trip.

I had on me 100% used items on me for the trip. Except perhaps for my socks and my undies I suppose. Here is a picture of me halfway through the trek.

The orange shirt is actually my work shirt. Its actually one of them Uniqlo (Japanese brand) quick dry shirt. I love them totally. Try getting a similar product brand new as compare to just RM10 from bundle. Coolest thing. The pants I wore is still the FSS pants like in the previous entry. It really surprised me that pants. Really comfortable to wear, easy for me to move and really tough. The only downside is perhaps it gets a bit hot inside!

Also had my jungle boots on. Bought them from a bundle stall in Chow Kit a few months back. Did not have the chance to break them in until this trip. The soles pattern are rather similar to those of brands like Altama and Wellco but the only marking on the soles are 'RO Search'.

No brands indicated but one hell of a dam good pair of jungle boots I would say. I paid RM60 for them if I remember correctly. Good ankle support, good grip on muddy surfaces. The soles are a bit hard for the feet but I guess for the protection and sturdiness they provide, I think its worth to suffer a bit. My mates on the trip slipped and fell countless times and I didn't. Not once!

The only thing that went wrong on the trek I would say is the pair of socks I had on me. They are cheap as and naturally the fibers are rather spaced. I had plenty of leech bites during this trip. The leeches made it through the fibers of the socks. But heck, for a waterfall of such magnificence and beauty, the tiring trek and leeches is all worth it!

Oh...even my backpack is a second hand pack. I will write another time on that special pack. That pack is a beauty and I think it deserves to have a post of its own :)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

What I wore today...

I was up early today morning. Me and some mates are helping out with a group of children who is going into Kota Damansara Komuniti Park for a short walk. Organized by some mates in MNS, I thought swell...why not help out.

I actually decided early yesterday evening what I was wearing and bringing. of course there will be the usual backpack loaded with all the basic essentials like First Aid Kit, knife, another knife and a parang. Drinking water and of course my trusty hat. The pack was a Wilderness Equipment pack. Bought while I was back in Perth. Nice pack, sewn proudly Australian and design a bit old but fits comfortably still.

It was John who commented on the pants I was wearing. Its actually a green cargo pants. I was a bit apprehensive about wearing it in the beginning as I thought it would look too much like a sekolah menengah boys pants or even like a military guy. In actual fact, its actually an American firefighter's pants. Its made up of some material called Aramid. Well the labels said 98% Aramid and 2% carbon core. Made by a company called Terry Manufacturing in Alabama, USA. Have a look below:

Perhaps the inside label explains the reason why the pant's button has the letters F.S.S engraved on it, Forest Service Specification. Perhaps...

Its one of those old style looking pants that your dad may have owned but once you look closer you'd realize there's much more to it. The pant's cutting is good. Its easy enough to move around with. But it hot! Its not thick but perhaps the Aramid material is like an insulation. I remember buying this pants from a bundle stall at the Pasar Malam nearby. Paid like RM30 for it. A bit pricey I think but at that time, its unique enough for spending. not going into the washer yet. Am heading out to Ulu Yam tomorrow morning for a hike up to Jeram Perlus (a waterfall) with Jan, John and not sure who else. Should be a good hike. I remember seeing a few cool bundle shops along the way last time. Maybe I will have time to stop and do a bit of shopping :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Am selling off my Osprey Ariel 75...sob...sob...

I decided that I ought to post something about one of my packs that will be sold very soon. Its an Osprey Ariel 75 which was bought in the US for my lady about 3 years ago. Osprey pack is one of the most popular pack in US I think. Some of its designs won awards and its one of the popular brands used by many of the contestants on Amazing Race.

Anyway, I paid close to USD$250 back then for this pack. Its a lot of money I think and now I am letting it go for close just RM350. That's like less than USD100 I think. The pack was used once by my lady and have been kept in the cupboard since. Sad but true. Not because she decided to stop going out to the bush but because I bought her other packs that she fancied more. Anyway, it is one of the better Osprey models made specially for women specific. Though its women specific, normally they will do fine for Asian men as well cause Asian men tend to have smaller body frames.

Don't believe me? Read this well written thread backpacks by a Malaysian guy who is a self professed gear geek. I know him personally and I tell you, he knows his stuff.

I am going to post the pack on and will try to get in posted on Gunung online as well. Both are local Malaysian websites.

Why the sudden move to sell? Well, rather than keeping it to rot in the closet, perhaps its best that the pack changes master. Hopefully it will see more daylight and adventures. Something that it is meant to do in the first place. Feel sad but seriously...there are just too many packs. Cloths I can keep coz I would be able to wear them one day, sooner or later but not with packs. It has got to b used, otherwise it will rot away.

So...while I sit and consider this move of selling this beautiful pack is the right thing to do, I sincerely do hope someone buys it up before I change my mind. Yike!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What to wear for this weekend hike?

Two of my friends coincidentally emailed and called me up today about trips this coming weekend. Nothing to do with baju bundle but to join them on outdoor trip. Jan invited me to a waterfall in Ulu Langat while John asked if I am free to head to Kota Damansara for a hike. Well, naturally I said yes to both :)

Okay...the plan is to see what baju bundle I will be wearing this time. I have already made up my mind that I'd be wearing for the first time my jungle boots. Yeah...never thought I'd buy an army type jungle bots but according to a friend called Pak Abu, its the best shoes for the Malaysian bush. So the jungle boots it is. Will wear them to try to break them in. And YES, it is a pair from bundle :) Of course laa...what else. Brand new, looks like an American production, paid RM65 for it. Good bargain I suppose. I have a feeling the seller got the pair of boots from a supplier either in Port Klang or up north in Perlis. These are the two most common places for bundle shoes or kasut bundle. I'll put up the pics tomorrow.

There a few well known brands of jungle boot makers. While many still worship Hitec's renown Magnums, I feel that there are a few other brands that deserves mentioning as well. Among them are the Altama and Wellco. I have come across these brands in bundle but the problem is most of them are lined with Goretex. I know how much Malaysians outdoor kaki like Goretex but through experience, they just don't work in the Malaysian climate. There's a host of reasons for this but the humidity and the heat are the major setbacks for Goretex lined boots. Anyway, kalau dah beli kasut bundle Goretex, pakai ajelah

Okay...I am waaay to sleepy to continue. Gotta go and sleep and dream...perhaps I will dream a nice baju bundle.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Auscam daypack from my backpack collection!

Oh...this is one of my daypacks that I carry often. Its an Auscam daypack. Got it from Perth when I was posted there back in 2006. Another item to my backpack collection! The pack is simple, no frills like any well made Australian army pack. Before going to Australia, I did some homework over ebay Australia on their military packs. No chance of buying them online as anything to do with outdoor gear in Australia is so expensive.

I got mine from a swap mart in Perth. The Karrinyup (not sure if that's the right spelling though) swap mart in Perth. Happens every Sunday mornings. the place. Got so many good used stuff there. Though some of them are stolen goods for sure. Got this pack cheap tough. I remember paying like AUS$20 for it. I consider that a bargain! The pack is almost in perfect condition except for the previous owner's name being written on the back. I used a permanent marker to just scribble stuff over it!

Back to this pack. It's small. I would say its about 15 or 20 liters max. Material is the hardy Australian canvas type. Good stuff really. It is fantastically durable. One main zippered compartment, top loading. It has an internal sleeve for foam padding but I have to say the padding doesn't do much help.

Check out the shoulder harness system. See how they are attached to the main pack using feed through buckles? I reckon the shoulder straps are interchangeable with other pack designs. Making the shoulder straps adaptable to other units of pack. There is a strap that also acts as a waist belt but I suppose it ain't much help for a pack this size.

Even the shape and contour of the shoulder straps are different from each other. I believe they are meant for either right of left due to the padding and our body contour. I left it as it is since I got it.

Oh...oh...check out the inside markings of the pack. I suppose 97 indicates the year the pack was made but the SOS part is anybody's guess. My guess is that the numbers above the SOS refers to some special code that the army personal can use in case of life threatening situations. Perhaps if you are an Aussie you can let me know :)

The pack also comes with a drain hole at the bottom. I think this is a necessary feature. Otherwise your spilt water in the pack is just gonna spoil everything.

The pack has gone out with me on some of the team building programs I run, definitely some short treks as well. A bit too small for longer treks. Overall, it exceeds my expectations and now I am currently looking forward to getting a larger Auscam...who has one to trade?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Door curtain from used clothing

This is one of my favorite bundle used house hold item. Not a common item one would find in a bundle shop. Comes from Japan bundles only I believe. The characters on most of the designs are not Chinese as well (not that I write or read Chinese though :).

Donno what its called but I just called it the door curtain. If you know the its real name, perhaps you can share it with me? Friends tell me that it is very common to find this curtain in Japanese shops and restaurants. She even told me that some Japanese restaurants in K.L also do have them on their premises, especially into the kitchen. Am a friend of Japanese food but not a big fan of paying that big amount they charge for it.

This curtain can be found only in certain bundle stores. I got my collection mostly from some of the 'pasar malam' sellers in Penang and Kedah. This item comes through the curtain bundle. no hope of finding them in the clothing bundle. No hope at all. You'll have to find a bundle shop that sells some household items like curtains, bed sheets etc.

These curtains I have three types. Their differences is basically the length. Some are really short, like the one below.

However, the most commons ones are like the one in the picture above. They are about....5 or 6 feet I guess. I have a few of these, some in my hometown, some already hanging on the door and some still remains in the bag, haven't washed since they were bought!

Yikes!!...I wonder what things going around in the bag. The longest is about 2 feet off the ground. Found a few of these but the designs are not the coolest I would say.

My favorite would be the one below. Nice eh? The colors, the picture and the intense 'warrior' feel that it projects (to me) is unique. god knows what the wordings are. Have not a clue. Just hope its nothing bad.

Why do I like them? Well...for a start, the designs are cool. They also give sort of like privacy to the rooms at home. When you walk past rooms, rather than seeing the mess that's in there,. the door curtains 'hides' them away, giving me a (false???) sense of peacefulness and orderly! Anyway...most of my friends that have been to my place commented that they are cool. it is. I wonder how much it costs to buy them new off the streets of Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan. Must costs an arm. Well...all I can say is bundle....bundle...bundle!!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My backpack collection

This my my backpack collection!I have close to 20 pieces of backpacks. All outdoor brands. All original. None of them are fakes (thank God!). Below is a picture of my ‘collection’ being stacked in the store room. It’s the messiest room in the whole house but hey…it’s my den.

Many people say to me “Why on earth do you own so many packs?”. What?? A backpack collection?”. Well, in reply I normally ask them why they keep changing hand phones or handbags or even their wardrobe for that matter. Same reason applies to me and my backpack collection. I like the designs, I appreciate the comfort and the functions that comes with it. Of course the brands as well.

Someone recently asked me to propose him a backpack for a mountain trip. There are many reasons why people go out to buy a backpack. Some buy it coz they look cool and rugged while others buy them because they are going on a trip. So…what is my advice?

Start by asking yourself what you plan to use the pack for. Different pack designs suits different uses. Today’s product range will offer something for everything, from trips to college classes to adventure racing and mountaineering.

Okay…which backpack to choose? I will describe MY personal understanding and preference to you and let you decide. Go to any outdoor gear shop and they will probably tell you otherwise. Perhaps my opinion is wrong but what the heck…this is my blog:)

I would conclude the world of backpacks into 3 schools of thoughts. One is the ‘bells whistles’ and the other ‘work horse’. The third one is the ‘Copycat’ group which is rather interesting actually.

The ‘bells and whistles’ (B&W) packs I think rules the market today. The makers and designers from this school of thought believe in meeting the user’s every need and demand of functions and extras. B&W packs usually come will all kinds of frills. You will find tonnes of zippers, pockets, straps and gadgets for everything under the sun. There will be zippered pocket for your MP3 player, a meshing pocket for your Nalgene bottle, a lid that can be used as a waist pouch, a kangaroo pouch on the front of your pack for ‘necessary items’, detachable shoulder and lumbar straps…you name it! In my opinion, these packs are great for the gadget conscious and users that prefer accessibility. I have a few of these packs. I would say most of the American brand packs are from the B&W category. What’s the downside? Well, the more gadgets you have, the higher you run the risk of the pack failing on you. There’s just more things to fail basically. And if you are like me…you’d probably never remember where things were kept as there’s so many pockets and pouches!

The ‘work horse’ (WH) category of packs interests quite a niche market I would say. WH packs are simple. No frills and extra gadgets for you. This is your typical work horse pack. It is build to withstand constant use (some say abuse as well) and are less likely to fail (well, that is what the makers claim). The Kiwis, OZs and some Brits brands makes some of the best WH packs around. Can’t blame them as they are either surrounded by very harsh conditions environment or they often venture too far out of their own territory. So…obviously they need WH packs. I identify WH packs by their simple and lean design. WHs are usually single loading (top load) and with minimal pockets and zippers. Some of the NZ and OZ made packs use really tough materials, heavier but definitely lasts. Built to last and unlikely to fail on you. Again, this is what the manufacturers claim but my experience tells me there’s a certain truth to it. The downside is that they are normally heavier, doesn’t look as flash as B&W packs and is definitely more expensive! And I have not seen many of these WH packs sold in Malaysia.

The ‘Copycat’ makers typically copies designs from well established brands and incorporate them into their own products. I mean, put aside intellectual rights and such BS but some of the products from this school of thought is pretty good actually. You my not get the same or better quality but you will definitely be able to afford it. There’s at least one company from our neighbor country down south that has managed to do this quite well. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about trying out their product but after buying one of their messenger bags, I am impressed. I would say that the design is good, material not bad and value for money? Definitely.

So…which pack is for you?

p.s...actually I have more than packs than the above pics..back at my parents place...yikes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My used clothing buying impulse today!

Oh…oh…oh…today on the way back from work, I decided to make a detour to a kedai bundle around Bukit Bintang area. No need to mention the name of the shop yet. Will wait till someone asks  It’s the beginning of the month, and like everyone else I got my pay. Well, actually it’s the first pay slip I have gotten for a few months since I have been most doing freelance work.

So…did I find anything interesting? You bet! There were more items hanging, possibly to target the early month spenders and you can see that they are fresh from the ‘compressed’ bundle as the clothes were mostly crumpled. Clothes that are fresh out of the bale are usually very crumpled because of the compacting process in making them. Other clothes that have been hanging for quite some time are usually quite straight and looks ironed (of course their not).

Anyway…my my…there’s so many new stuff. Jeans, shirts etc. But I told myself I have only 30 minutes to spend shopping there as it was getting late and riding a bike home in the dark is not the safest road practices in K.L.

I was honestly very quick. Took a glance at everything and decided to head for the used shorts, or half pants. ‘Seluar pendek’ (bukan seluar dalam yaaa!) corner laa babe. Ah…glorious. New items, probably from an American bale, good sizes (I am rather large) and good brands too. They had good brands. They had REI, Patagonia, Billabong, Stussy, American Athletics, Russells, Nike etc. The list is endless.

Of course I bought some. Why not. At RM15 a piece they are a bargain (I think). I know…I know…you can get cheaper than that from bundle clothing. But I was very happy with the items, they are in good conditions and quality that I like. Quick dry, microfibres…sewn-in belts and nice sizes. So…4 pieces in total…

Am a happy man today.