Instalment plan for hockey sticks? Yes, there is

“The better the stick, the better your performance!”

That was a joke Allan Netto cracked when asked about Grays Hockey Southeast Asia’s decision to implement interest-free instalment plans for products worth RM250 and above.

He was referring to the Grays GR 8000 Probow hockey stick which retails at RM990 and comes with a stick case.

“Not many can afford to pay RM990 or more for a hockey stick, so we have partnered with a third party – Hoolah – to introduce an instalment scheme,” said Netto, who is attached with Kuckreja & Co, the country’s oldest sports wholesale retailer

“The Grays GR 8000 Probow stick is not even our most expensive. That would be the KN 10 Probow Extreme which retails for RM1,400.

“Many of our customers and friends have asked if they could pay over two or three months and that is why we came out with this scheme.

“Many have lost some form of income or their jobs because of Covid-19. So, we want to make it possible for our customers to buy our products.”

Asked what happens if a player breaks or damages the hockey stick before completing payment, Netto said: “We offer a maximum one-month manufacturer defect warranty. That is on a case-to-case basis as some may misuse the sticks.”

Netto, who used to be a sports journalist, said he hoped the instalment scheme would encourage more people to buy Grays products.

Separately, today is the 109th day of the Movement Control Order (MCO), and this is the fourth edition of the weekly MCO Diaries. It is also the United States’ Independence Day.

Here’s what has happened in the past week.

COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO SURGE WORLDWIDE

Over 11 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded around the world, resulting in half a million deaths.

USA is the worst hit as data from John Hopkins University revealed at least 51,842 new cases were reported yesterday – the third straight day with over 50,000 cases.

Malaysians, however, are embracing the road to recovery with only five new cases reported yesterday and 81 active cases. There have been no deaths for 19 consecutive days as the toll remains at 121.

PITIFUL PARADE

I’ve not been to Subang Parade since watching ‘The Call of the Wild’ at the end of February or early March. I was there on Monday seeking some Liverpool merchandise from Al-Ikhsan. However, some of its staff, who were busy packing up, said the outlet has closed for good.

Even Carl’s Jr was still closed for dine-ins – but available for delivery.

The place was not as vibrant as I remember it, especially as MPH bookstore has also moved out. Some escalators were not working, and several toilet stalls were ‘under repair’.

The only good thing about walking in Southeast Asia’s longest mall (back when it opened in 1988) was that I chalked up over 7,000 steps for the day!

LIN DAN RETIRES

Badminton superstar Lin Dan announced his retirement on social media today, marking the end of his illustrious career.

The 36-year-old two-time Olympic champion said his physical capabilities and injuries won’t let him fight with his teammates anymore.

BADMINTON BLUES

My ‘gang’ wanted to play badminton yesterday. The club ‘president-cum-treasurer’ Nadia Mahmud was surprised to learn our usual outlet charges RM112 for two-hour sessions on Fridays. We have opted to continue playing on Sundays where a two-hour booking only costs RM30!

A friend, Gary Mark Nagan, said he also paid RM112 before MCO, but that was for two courts – meaning it was only RM56 per court for two hours.

I know badminton halls are struggling, but doubling prices is not the way to go.

NOTTING HILL

After watching several Meg Ryan movies earlier in the MCO, it was time for Julia Roberts’ Notting Hill which Astro showed (for the umpteenth time) last night at 9.05pm and also this morning at 10.50.

I remember going to watch it with my future wife, and late best friend Sritharan Gopalan Kutty, in 1999.

Sri, or ‘Indian’ as I called him – he, in turn, called me ‘Serani’ – sadly passed away a few years ago. I remember we laughed like crazy at the scene below – simply because Sri was not a fan of yoghurt.

Sri was also a big Liverpool fan who missed the Reds comeback in the 2005 Champions League final as he was driving back from the old Malay Mail office in Bangsar. He was convinced he could make it home in time for the start of the second half but stopped to have a chat with a colleague.

By the time he got into his car to drive back to Subang Jaya, he had missed all three of Liverpool’s second-half goals against AC Milan which tied the game.

He turned the air blue when he gave me a call, lamenting his bad luck … but was placated as he watched the Reds win the cup on penalties.

It’s a pity Sri is not around to witness Liverpool lifting the Premier League crown.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

GOLDEN OLDIES

Bob Dylan became the first artist to reach the Top 40 with a new album in each decade from the 1960s to the 2020s with the release of his 39th studio album – Rough and Rowdy Ways.

He also set two official chart records – oldest artist to score a No 1 album of new original material (79 years and one month), as well as the oldest male solo artist to land a No 1 on the official albums chart.

Other ‘oldies’ to release new material are Neil Young (Homegrown), Willie Nelson (First Rose of Spring) and the late John Prine (I Remember Everything).

Prine’s song debuted at the top of the Rock Digital Song Sales chart last month, making it the highest-charting single of the late legend’s career.

SHE

Plenty to choose from this week but I’ve opted for Elvis Costello’s version of She which was on the Notting Hill soundtrack. Beautiful.

https://youtu.be/CWoJsiy26gc

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