17 Jun

AirAsia, morning shines

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Sunlight shines at early morning, 6.45am.

Arrived at 6.40am in the morning, beautiful sunrise on the left, and two AirAsia planes were resting on the right waiting to serve again. Took out my Samsung Note 5 to take a few quick snap before the ground crew came to ask the other passengers not to stop there. Yeah, many were snapping photos of the beautiful sunrise and plane, but most took the other plane as below. Stunning sunrise right behind, but not so easy to capture using phone camera. Still better than no photo… 😀

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Very hardworking planes. AirAsia.

26 May

Review of the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens for Nikon

A customer sent this lens for trade in few days ago, and I am excited when I saw the box!

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens for Nikon (Compatible with Sigma USB Dock) (Sigma Malaysia)

Yes, the lens is now officially my property…until I put it up for sale that is.

Here’s some of the views of the lens on my Nikon D4.

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120-300mm 1:2.8 DG

DG stands for digital, which means its design is optimised for digital camera sensor. Filter diameter is 105mm, which is huge! Yes, Sigma made a 105mm UV filter for it, and it comes with the lens from the original owner.

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Lots of buttons on the lens. Focus (AF/MF), Focus distance setting (Full, 10m ~ infinity, minimum ~ 10m), OS (ON or OFF), Custom (not sure what is it yet).

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The lens is heavy…really heavy I must say. However, after trying out the Canon EF 800mm F/5.6 lens just few days before, this lens weight seems much more manageable. Yes, it is still heavy though, especially when mounted on an already heavy Nikon D4 body.

This lens comes with a tripod collar, and a big tripod shoe, which means you should really use it on tripod or monopod.

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Even with Nikon D4, the lens is still able to balance well on the tripod collar.

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The lens comes with a strap eyelet, which is a blessing I must say. Put a strap over it and you can now lug the whole setup by the lens not the camera body. This makes holding it much easier.

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The lens does seems a bit boring in focal length especially after I just tested out the Canon EF 800mm few days before. No, this lens is definitely not for bird shooting, as it is way too short. The power of this lens is its f/2.8 aperture, which render really nice bokeh and makes your subject stands out really well. Move a little and you can change the background colour of your subject easily.

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The lens is sharp. Yes, really sharp and has no back or front focus issue. Below is the 100% crop of the above shot. You can count the eyelash of the rabbit!

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Since this lens is the new ART design, you ca use the Sigma USB dock to calibrate front or back focus issue if any. This being the SPORTS model also means that it is the premium one.

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Even for indoor shots, this lens is able to render the background nicely. The good thing being a zoom lens is that you can conveniently adjust the zoom ring to frame your subject the way you want, without having to walk forward or backward. 120mm to 300mm seems like a good range!

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Kids were having fun outdoor with the rabbit and insects…and I have my fun too!

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Lastly, my lovely wife join the party too!

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Conclusion

This is definitely a great and fun lens to have! I shall have more fun in the coming few days!

20 May

My new toy, Nikon D4

Upgraded the Nikon D3s that I owned since Feb 2012 to Nikon D4 last week. There were some problems with the Nikon D3s that pushed me to the disposal of it. First is the shutter problem. The shutter will get jam every now and then. You have to press the shutter 2nd time to “rewind” it. No big deal but felt irritating some time. 2nd problem is that one of the CF slot has a broken pin when I was using the SD-CF adapter last time. This will have corrupted RAW file when I use that slot. Since D3s has two CF slots, so again no big deal but mainly just emotional.

The buyer of my D3s knew about the problems of the camera, so he offered me a price which I think is reasonable, and I decided to move on.

No, this isn’t a brand new D4, but one with shutter count near to 60k. Since Nikon D4 shutter can last over 300k, I have no worry. The slightly irritating part is the rubber grip that got expanded. Changing all the rubbers on the D4 body costs slightly less than RM500. I don’t feel like spending that money at the moment.

Below are some test shots that I got from the D4. Initial impression is that autofocus is very accurate and sharp. One of the main reason why I want to upgrade is because of the AUTO shutter speed in Auto ISO setting in the camera. Yes, you let the camera choose the ISO automatically, and choose the lowest shutter speed based on the focal length of your lens. Eg. If you are using 200mm focal length, the D4 will set its shutter speed to 1/200s minimal. When you zoom down to 28mm, it will automatically set the minimum shutter speed to 1/30s. In D3s, you need to set the minimum shutter speed in the menu, if you set 1/200s but shooting at 50mm focal length, you are basically shooting at too high shutter speed and wasted a few stops and forcing the camera to set at higher than needed ISO. I hope this makes sense to whoever that is reading… 🙂

Nikon could have updated this small feature via firmware in the D3s, but they didn’t. Too bad…

Here’s some shots…
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Full frame view

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100% crop

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Full frame view

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100% crop

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Full frame view (click to enlarge to 100%)

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Full frame view

 

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100% crop

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14 May

ShaShinKi Family Charity Fun Run

Today, 14th May 2016, Saturday, we, ShaShinKi family is having the charity fun run at Pulai Springs Golf Resort!

We saw the charity fun run a month ago, and decided to have all of our office members participating the event. The day fall on the normal working Saturday in our office, so we decided to take a day off and let everybody joining the fun run!

We invited their family members to join us as well (sponsored by ShaShinKi), but they were too shy…

My family of 4 joined the category C 5km run, while the others join the 10km run individual category B. Participation fee of category B is RM600K per person, and Category C family group is RM150 per family. Of course, all paid by ShaShinKi.

All proceeds from the charity fun run go to supporting Pu Sze Chinese Primary School.

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12 May

Lydia’s Birthday 2016

Yesterday was Lydia’s birthday. I did a little ShaShinKi logo for her and shout to the world…

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I then tried few header background and finally mod one myself the following…

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This is the special day webstore…

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This is the original ShaShinKi webstore…

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Happy birthday, my dear! May God continue His blessing on you and give you good health, peace and love!

5 May

Interview by SITEC on ShaShinKi.com / Dr Koh (Aiming for Success: ShaShinKi)

As the top 10 finalist of Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant (TopECM) 2016, SITEC has interviewed us for on our experience and story. We are glad to be featured in their website.

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Aiming for Success: ShaShinKi

April 29, 2016 11:40 am Published by Leave your thoughts

A passion for photography can be stoked or snuffed by something as simple, yet integral, as being able to find the right gear.

SITEC speaks to Dr Koh Kho King, founder of Malaysia’s first online store for cameras and photography accessories, on his e-store and emerging as a finalist in the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards 2016.

ShaShinKi, which means ‘camera’ in Japanese, was started while I was still pursuing my PhD in Japan.
Photography has been my passion since 2000, and I started Malaysia’s 1st online photography community a year later.

 

Dr. Koh Kho King

Founder , ShaShinKi

When Dr Koh started out, it was a small scale operation, and he dealt mainly through email and forums in small amounts. However, towards December 2005, he decided to switch to using a website to showcase the products that he would be able to get from Japan for his customers and friends, and in December 2005, ShaShinKi was born.

However, 2005 was a time when e-commerce was still very much a youngling in Malaysia, and Dr Koh noted that this had caused the site difficulties in attracting customers.

Many were scared of buying things online, or paying before touching the physical goods. We started by telling our potential customers about our connection with PhotoMalaysia.com, as well my reputation in the photography community in Malaysia.

Dr. Koh Kho King

However, people started gaining confidence in their services, and through word-of-mouth endorsements from their friends, ShaShinKi was able to close online deals for orders larger than RM 50,000 – and for customers that they haven’t even met!

When I started ShaShinKi, it was not about the money, but rather the passion in photography and the excitement of getting hard-to-find photographic accessories from Japan to my photographer friends in Malaysia – Dr. Koh

Another challenge then, according to Dr Koh, was the design and features of the website itself.

He shared that now there’s a plethora of e-commerce software that are readily available at very affordable prices – a luxury that they did not have back then, and he relied on “OSCommerce”, an open-source software.

 

A lot of the customisation was done manually on their own. Although it was hard in the beginning, they now benefit from having full control and knowledge of the software, and can perform modifications easily according to their needs.

Though ShaShinKi had less than 50 SKUs when they started in December 2005, the number quickly grew to more than 300 SKUs in 2006. However, things started to slow down for ShaShinKi, due to the misconception that cameras should not be bought online. It did not help that ShaShinKi was the only e-commerce player dealing with cameras.

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Competition started to show itself in the form of several other camera and accessory stores in 2008. When their competitors started pushing out more SKUs than they did, ShaShinKi stepped up to the challenge, and decided to source for more brands and products.

Now, they have over 19,000 active SKUs in their inventory. Dr Koh thanks the competition for motivating them to work harder, offering more to customers as they had no space limitation to work around.
Also, customers can contact ShaShinKi, and even Dr Koh, through the numbers published on their site, for help with either their order, or even if they need advice with photography.
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We are not here just to sell cameras. We are here to provide solutions to our customers. From time to time, we also get customers emailing to thank us for our services and how we managed to get things that they couldn’t find elsewhere, this is the most satisfying moment in our work.

-Dr. Koh

Dr Koh opines that the Malaysian e-commerce industry is still in its infancy, albeit with a huge potential and with lots of room for all players to grow, and that the e-commerce volume in Malaysia only caters to around 3% of the total retail sales in year 2015, whereby Singapore is already surpassing 7%.Comparatively, other developed countries’ percentages stand at around 15%. A lot of successful e-commerce merchants in Malaysia are new young entrepreneurs, instead of those already with successful physical stores or chain store businesses.

Dr Koh thinks that many may mistakenly think that business will come automatically right after setting up an online store.They cannot be further from the truth.

He noted that young entrepreneurs often spend their time studying customer needs and designing their website with personal touches, working tirelessly to promote their websites. Some of the tools they utilise include social media, organic reach optimisation, and others.

A lot of time and effort goes to make one’s e-commerce business success, not unlike running a physical store.

Dr Koh had also professed excitement at hearing about the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards, as there was finally recognition for e-commerce businesses in Malaysia.

I didn’t think about winning, as there are many other bigger e-commerce merchants in Malaysia in different industries, but I did keep high hopes about being able to make it to the top 10, as we are quite influential and popular in our own industry of photography.

– Dr. Koh

Dr Koh and his team’s trip from Johor to Kuala Lumpur for the awards night were not in vain as they emerged as a finalist in the competition, going home with RM 1,000 cash, a trophy, a cert and other goodies.

Dr. Koh also urged all e-commerce merchants to participate in the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards next year, so as to gain more connections with the players in the industry and get more exposure to the world.

We are honoured to be recognised as being among the top 10 e-commerce merchants in Malaysia for the year of 2016. Such a recognition will give us extra exposure and lend confidence to new customers who have not tried our services before. Dr. Koh


Original article at:

Aiming for Success: ShaShinKi

19 Apr

How to Tell A Genuine or Fake Billingham Bag?

Got an used Billingham bag today. I am curious to find out if the bad is genuine or not…hence got some info online.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.387277767962931.97134.222958251061551&type=3

Shock absorbing foams – genuine Billingham bags use closed-cell foam to protect your valuable equipment. Each piece of foam is precise-cut to ensure consistent quality and to provide protection against knocks, as well as insulation against heat and cold. Because these are closed-cell foams they won’t soak up or retain moisture; they even have positive buoyancy – so an empty Billingham bag will float!

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Stitching – the very first Billingham bag was hand-stitched using an awl, needles, thread and beeswax. Although sewing machines are used these days, traditional hand-sitching is still being used when machine can’t cope with the thickness of material or the complexity of the construction. All overlapping seams are tiled, sewing needle sizes are kept as small as possible, and just to be sure that the holes they make won’t let water in, Billingham use thread that contains cotton: this swells when it gets wet, effectively sealing the hole.

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Zips – conventional zip fasteners are not really strong enough for everyday use in a camera bag; so Billingham uses 8mm zips, where the coil teeth are woven into the supporting tape, rather than sewn in the usual way. 528565_387278181296223_351902988_n

Removable padded inserts – genuine Billingham removable padded inserts have perfectly rounded corners to ensure that your valuable gear are well-protected against shock and moisture.

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Brass studs – brass studs used on all Billingham bags are hand-finished to a carefully shaped profile so that it will not scratch delicate surface such as wooden tabletop, car bonnet or another Billingham bag. You won’t find any sharp corners or rough edges on them – and that means they are less likely to wear their way through the leather and canvas.

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Fabrics – Billingham bags are different – not just for the sake of appearance, but as a result of the careful consideration Billingham gives to the bag’s function and performance. Billingham uses fabrics that are tough, robust, and are designed yo keep your equipment safe under worst conditions. Whether you choose canvas or FibreNyte, the waterproof layer is built-in and will not need re-proofing. 535216_387339751290066_819770881_n

Leather – Billingham use only the best, top-graiin leather in their bags. The process used to treat the hides is designed to bring out the richness of the natural grain and is in no way intended to hide marks or healed scars which appear naturally. 539873_387363451287696_2067631187_n

SuperFlex removable partitions – the Billingham SuperFlex partition is at the heart of the bag’s camera protection. When the bag moves, the SuperFlex inserts will adjust with that movement, making it more comfortable to work with. SuperFlex is constructed using a smooth, non-abrasive anti-fray material which covers non-absorbent closed-cell foam.

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Shoulder straps and brass fittings – to ensure maximum performance from the shoulder straps, Billingham has pioneered the use of spun-polyester – this is a military specification material, similar to that used as parachute webbing on the Space Shuttle. Spun-polyester stays flat, wears extremely well, does not absorb water as quickly as cotton and will not rot. All brass fittings are either cast or machined from solid brass. Brass is chosen for several reasons: the most obvious is it will not rust. As time passes, brass may tarnish and develop a patina, which acts as a protective layer, preventing deterioration. Unlike plated metal which can develop rust spots that eat into the material. Billingham brass fittings are hand-finished, so you won’t find any sharp or rough corners on them.

 

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11 Apr

Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant 2016

ShaShinKi is proud to participate in the Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant 2016 organised by SITEC!

The gala dinner winner announcement was held at Empire Hotel, Subang on 9th April 2016 (Sat), my wife and I attended the dinner. We drove from JB to Subang for the event. We were not being disappointed. We were in the top 10 finalist of Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant 2016. Though we didn’t get to win the Grand, 1st or 2nd price, but we are still proud and happy to be among the TOP 10 e-Commerce merchants in Malaysia.

Thank you for the vote, thank you for the support!

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22 Mar

ShaShinKi as Malaysia Top e-Commerce Merchant?

Today was an exciting day! We got an email last night from SITEC that ShaShinKi has been shortlisted to become Malaysia’s top E-Commerce merchant! Hahaaa…yeah…shortlisted and not yet the top…but you can make us the top!

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So, today we sent out a newsletter to our customers (over 40k subscribers), inviting them to vote for us as well as entering the voting contest that stands a chance to win the fabolous price from SITEC!

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Why are we the Top e-Commerce Merchant in Malaysia?

  1. We are the first online camera shop in Malaysia since Dec 2005.
  2. We have over 19,000 SKU online!
  3. We have over 100,000 shipped orders!
  4. We have over 60,000 registered customers!
  5. Our products price range from below RM1 to above RM50k! Anything you want about photography you can find in our store, or we will look out for you!
  6. Our website (shashinki.com) was built in house by ourselves! Proudly Made in Malaysia! Various features in our website to give the best shopping experience to our customers!
  7. We are a 100% Malaysian owned company!
  8. We interact with our customers actively via WhatsApp (+0167625586, +60167627788, +60167736586 ), Facebook, Emails…etc.
  9. We do not sell camera, we provide solutions to your photography needs!

Why Vote?

To show your support to us, and to stand a chance in winning a 4D3N Bali Wild Dolphin Tour for 2!

Vote for ShaShinKi as Malaysia TOP e-Commerce Merchant!

1. Go to: https://poll.fbapp.io/sitectopecm2016
2. Select ShaShinKi banner

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3. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click “Submit”
4. Share / post voting page on your timeline with a hashtag

â€Ș#‎SITECTopECM2016‬
â€Ș#‎shashinki‬

5. Like SITEC fb page at:
https://www.facebook.com/sitecmy/

That’s it! Good luck in winning!


About SITEC

Selangor Information Technology and E-commerce Council (SITEC)

The Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) was established by the Selangor State Government, under the secretariat of Invest Selangor to develop Selangor as the regional trading hub for e-commerce, and to uplift the startup ecosystem. The SITEC Council is chaired by Selangor State Exco in charge of investments, Dato’ Teng Chang Khim.

2 Jan

Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 Lens vs Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens vs Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens vs Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

I am going to take group photos tonight for my church, few hundred people. I don’t expect everybody to be sharp and clear in the frame, but at least I shall get a better lens to shoot as good as I can.

Saw the Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 lens in my dry cabinet, so I thought of using it. Manual focus is not going to be a problem, since I am going to pre-focus and shoot from a tripod. I would expect the prime lens to deliver better result than the superzoom Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens.

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No, not going to experiment tonight, so I do a pre-test first.

Shoot using my Nikon D3s, Mirror lock up mode (to minimize mirror bounce vibration), handheld shot. Both using F/5.6.

Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 Lens

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Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens

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As you can see from the above, surprisingly the 28-300mm lens is able to produce sharper and higher contrast image! I actually did a few extra shots, and the results are consistent. Either my AIS 28mm is a lemon, or technology has advanced so much that even a superzoom of today is already better than the best prime from the old days!

You bet I am going to use the 28-300mm tonight. 🙂

Update at 6.07pm

Ok, I decided to go take two other lenses and compare with the 28-300mm lens.

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  1. Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens
  2. Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens

nikon-24-70mmAt 24mm, full frame

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Zoom to 28mm, to compare with 28-300mm lens.

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Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

tamron24-70mm-24at 24mm, full frame

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at 24mm, 100% crop

tamron24-70mm-28Zoom to 28mm, full frame

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Conclusions

I noticed that the shots from Tamron lens seems to be over exposed, shot at F/5.6, 1/80s, while the Nikon 24-70mm is at F/5.6, 1/100s. Both on Aperture priority.

In terms of sharpness, I don’t see any difference. The Tamron photos seems softer due to overexposure, but after corrected both to similar exposure in Corel Paint Shop Pro, I couldn’t see any difference in sharpness. In fact, when comparing to 28-300mm lens, I couldn’t see difference in sharpness as well.

Quite possibly due to the limitation of my D3s 12MP sensor resolution that couldn’t differentiate the quality of those lenses…or my unscientific test (which is how I shoot in real life).

I decided to take the more versatile 28-300mm lens for tonight shots, and it is going to be the lens for my D3s in future. 🙂

25 Dec

Emmanuel’s Birthday 2015

Today’s is Christmas Day, and is also the birthday of my beloved son, Emmanuel Koh!

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Bought this Secret Recipe cake, Choco Cheese Berries, RM88. Very nice, but Emmanuel doesn’t like cake, so he just blow and cut.
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He can’t wait to blow the candles, see his expression above, is actually having his mother holding his head… 😀
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Now cake cutting… 🙂

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The present I bought for him. Power Ranger robot. He seems happy and enjoying the toy! Glad that he likes it.

Happy Birthday Emmanuel! May God bless you, give you good health, wisdom and guide you throughout your life!