Today’s long entry will be entirely dedicated to my Sony MZ-R91 MiniDisc Player that has served me well for the past 4 years.

When I first saw a friend using a MiniDisc player, I thought it was cool. Something small and light and I can record audio from a variety of sources. At that time, a good MD player that can also record costs up to S$499. A 80min MiniDisc would cost S$3.90. I could not afford this luxury item being a student at that time and I would never ask my parents for money unless it was for something educational like books. So the thought of getting one gradually faded.

When I finished my GCE ‘O’ levels. I had about 6 months of free time till my next level of education starts. During that period, I started working part time at many places. I received my job assignments from a local job agency. Another friend had introduced me there. I was still a Malaysian at that time, holding a Student Pass which allows me to stay in Singapore for education. It turned out that foreign students are allowed to work only during vacation. I happily took up my first job, as a general worker at a cigarette factory located in Yishun area for 3 days.

What a sight it was. Cigarettes are produced and packed so fast, I think we produce enough a minute to kill a person. There were huge machines everywhere. The cigarette sticks flow smoothly though a semi-transparent pipe from the second floor. I could smell the herbs wherever I go (except the canteen). I liked the smell of those herbs actually. But not the smell of them on fire. The machines would pack them into small boxes with 24 sticks in it. Boxes which fail to be packed properly would be dropped into a tray at the back. That’s when we salvage whatever that can be recycled. Sticks that are still physically ok are fed back into the stream. Defective boxes where thrown.

The boxes that are packed nicely would be passed through a buffer drum, then to the packing machine that packs those 24 stick boxes into larger cartons. If the cardboard for those larger cartons run out, I would have to refill them. When it runs out, the packing machine stops. The incoming flow of 24 stick boxes will be fed into the drum which rotates to store more. It works like the name I gave suggests, a buffer.

My second assignment was at Philips factory down at Toa Payoh. There was a bunch of us part timers and the majority consists of delinquents. I managed to “survive”. Everyday would be a frustrating day when one of them would pick on me for no reason. Even though I put in 100% effort to avoid him. Everyday I would look forward to lunch time where I meet up with 2 pretty female friends who were also assigned to the customer service department from the same job agency.

My task at Philips factory was to assemble a demo kit from cardboard and pingpong balls. Yes! Pingpong balls! Hahaha. The kit, consists of a cylindrical tube made from transparent plastic cardboard. It was supposed to be fixed onto the speakers of Philips latest HiFi system I suppose. The ping pong balls would be inside those cylinders and I assume they were used to demonstrate the power of the bass of their new system. One of my task was to bend the box of the demo kits from cardboards. Darn, I can still remember how it felt. I had to do it for a few days till my fingers blistered and ached.

My work there lasted for about a month. I was paid S$50 a day. Soon, at the end of 2 weeks, I had enough to buy an MD player. I had already set my eyes on the MZ-R91 and so I bought it without much hesitation.

Today, my MD player still looks as new as it was. Just that it has lots of problems [:(]. The battery cover was loose and it gets unlatched easily. The result, it broke one day. The buttons on the player began to screw up one day. The stop button would increase the volume and the play button would pause. Now, all of them no longer work. I could only operate it using the forward button on my remote. The only buttons working fine on the remote are forward, back, volume + and -. Stop button no longer work and I had to stop the machine by opening the player, watch the MD disc pop out and then close it. Also, the unit cannot record anymore. Instead, it renders any MD disc that I try to record songs onto, useless.

3 options are available to me. 1, send it to Sony for repairs. Estimated cost would be $100. 2, buy an MP3 player. Good thing is I no longer need to record. But there would be a limit to the number of songs stored. With an MD player, I can just switch discs. 3, get a Pocket PC. Could do lots of stuff with a PDA. I could read news or manga scans with them during my 1 hour bus ride to work or home. But it’s a little bulky and heavy. If I use it entirely to just listen to music, it won’t outlast an MP3 or MD player.

What do you think? I might just send it for repairs…

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