Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
Some things aren't as simple as what they seem to be. That's just one of the things one can learn from toys that transform from one thing to another, like this Road Bot toy. Unlike the Transformers, these characters didn't come with biography or history so the owner is free to imagine if the character is "good" or "bad". This is my second Road Bot. I enjoyed my Land Cruiser Road Bot and decided to buy another car model.
Lucky for me, this car in not included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). Because of the new tax law, excise tax on automobiles have increased. While the TRAIN is seemingly "good", since it taxes those who earn more and exempt more people from taxes, things aren't are simple as they seem.
Even before the TRAIN was implemented, minimum wage earners are already exempted from personal income tax. They will not have a bigger take-home pay upon the implementation of the TRAIN. The TRAIN included an increase in excise tax on petroleum products and introduced a tax a sugar-sweetened beverages. This will affect the minimum wage earners, making their expenses higher. Without an increase in the take-home pay, TRAIN is "bad" for around 2 million minimum-wage-earning Filipinos.
I belong to those whose take-home pay increased due to the TRAIN. That means, I have more money to buy toys and buy I did. I also bought this online so I don't know if proper taxes will be remitted to the government. A lot of online sellers locally are tax evaders. If they don't issue receipts approved by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, they probably are tax evaders. Maybe the TRAIN should have addressed tax evasion on online selling, too.
One thing I like about this Lancer Road Bot that the Land Cruiser Road Bot didn't have is the car interior. I can force-fit an 1:18 scale action doll inside and make it look like she/he is driving.
I don't like the proportion of the arms to the torso in the robot form. The arms looks skinny and they are flimsy when holding a pose.
What better characters can we pair with robots having deceptive appearances than a couple of spies? Here, Agent 13 and Black Widow are on a secret rendezvous with their new weapons, the Roadbots.
In the past few months, I've been in my Black Widow mode while dealing with people who doesn't care about people who have been adversely affected by the changes implemented by the government. They don't care if some people are getting killed as long as they are safe. They don't care if some people will suffer more as long as they have more take-home pay. Just they wait.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
In the spirit of pursuing close economic and political ties with China, while downplaying the territorial dispute between our countries, let's talk about a doll I purchased online directly sourced from that country. There was a time when this doll was priced at around US$3 but now, the lowest price I saw for this doll is US$5. While I think that the US$5 price is still reasonable, I don't think I'll be buying another one any time soon. I do feel lucky to have got it at a lower price but at the back of my mind, I feel there is something wrong and I can't figure out what it is at the moment.
The doll came in a nondescript box with shipping labels. Judging from the labels, the item was shipped from China to a Lazada office before it was sent to me. As with most Lazada items, this was paid with cash on delivery so there is lower risk for the buyer. Inside the box, the item was wrapped in what seemed like Chinese newspaper (or it could be some Chinese government publication for propaganda purposes for all I know). This wrapper reminded me of the
good old days.
The last time I bought something wrapped in newspaper was when we were poor. As a kid, I used to buy dried fish (daing or tuyo) at the suking tindahan. (See, I didn't italicize Filipino words. Deal with it.) Four small pieces are enough for a family of four. The very salty taste of the fish can be balanced with heaps of steamed rice. Dip the fish in vinegar and it's a feast. When we buy dried fish these days, we can no longer buy per piece. We have to buy it per pack, in plastic, mind you! We're rich now.
Feeling rich and #feelingblessed, I opened the package for my new doll. It's so white, like the rich people of the Philippines! Ok, I'm not the rich yet. I have a natural tan. I'm closer in color to your average Fashionista Ken, below.
At first glance, the male China doll looks like a copy of the Ken Fashionista, except for the head. The head looks familiar, though, making me think it might be copied from another doll. I'm not a doll-know-it-all so I can't say for sure. I'm getting a Prince Charming vibe but I searched for Prince Charming dolls and they were different. I like the face sculpt but the face paint is too bland for me. This is a good candidate for a repaint but I'm uninspired to paint these days. Go ask the world if you wanna know why.
The neck articulation is similar to the older Ken dolls with rotation only (no bending at the neck) although the neck joint is different. The hook is attached to the torso on this doll. I'd like to think that Mattel copied this idea for their new dolls and modified it a bit (using a hemispherical surface instead of a flat surface where the hook protrudes from). China is an expert in making things cheap (in more than one sense) and Mattel can learn (or has learned) a thing or two from Chinese manufacturers/designers.
It is easier to make this doll slip into (now dated) slim fit pants because you can adjust the foot. The feet on this doll has better articulation than your playline Ken doll but it doesn't necessarily mean it is better. I've read a review that the peg that holds the foot in place breaks easily (like how easily the hand broke on one of my Chinese dolls). I'm very careful when taking the shoes off this doll as the foot might get stuck on the shoe.
The hands on this doll is similar to the Harley Davidson Ken doll. It looks more relaxed than the Fashionista hands. Like the feet, the hands feel like they can be easily pulled from the arm breaking the peg. I won't risk ruining his hands just for the sake of certainty.
Speaking of how easy it is to break this doll, another joint that can easily be broken is the hip joint. I have tried to pry the legs off the hips of both Ken and Barbie dolls and it's tough. Doing that to this doll feels effortless in comparison. The arms and legs on this doll feels more like soft vinyl and not hard plastic making it more prone to staining.
This made me think. Why are these toys, intended for the Chinese market, not designed for tough play like those designed for Western market? Are the kids in the West more violent in playing with their toys? Am I being a Robin Padilla in asking that question? Or maybe I'm not being Robin Padilla enough for accommodating something foreign and lowering my expectations.
This toy is cheap and some may argue that you get what you pay for. Does that mean if I paid US$10 for this same toy instead of what I actually paid (US$3 total including shipping), the toy will magically be sturdier? This item is being sold are different prices ranging up to US$16.
Instead of a sense of happiness with a peace of mind, this toys leaves me with a lot of questions. This toy is just a little reflection of how things have been changing. Whether this change is good or bad, only time will tell. But if you're the type of person who thinks that change is good, go change your face.