ALOR SETAR - For those collecting McDonald's Happy Meal toys and Coca-Cola cans, Lee Choon Chiek is the role model.
Lee, 51, and his son Lee Jian Wen, 20, from Pumpong here are avid collectors of these merchandise.
"I started collecting my first Coke bottle in 1977 when I was in form four," said Lee.
"From then on, I've collected all kinds of Coca-Cola cans and bottles which have been in the market over the years, including memorabilia, souvenirs and merchandises," he said.
"I can proudly say that I have a complete set spanning more than 30 years."
Among his prized possessions is the Ghostbusters Australian Limited Edition Coca-Cola can - released to promote the 1989 movie.
"People would line up to get the can. I got mine from a collector and have not opened it until today - and never will because inside it is not Coca-Cola but a 'Green Ghost', actual green smoke which will come out once you open the can," he said.
Besides that, he also collects McDonald's Happy Meal toys and other memorabilia related to the fast-food chain.
He started collecting these in 1984.
"The first ever Happy Meal boxes were blue, then they came in yellow, and finally the current red. Most people discard the boxes and drinking cups after using them but I keep them. They are priceless, like special books for collectors," he said.
A check with the McDonald's Collectibles revealed that a cardboard Barbie Happy Meal year 1994 owned by Lee is worth more than US$100 (S$40.94) today.
"I go to great lengths to add to my Coca-Cola and McDonald's collections, including going to the fast-food outlet every week to get the latest Happy Meal toys. I used to eat the burgers but now I give them to my wife and son.
"Because of Muslim sentiments, McDonald's Malaysia Happy Meal toys are never in a complete set. For example, when the Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel couple's set came out in 2000, it did not have the Space Millennium Wedding couple. I had to brave floods in Thailand to get the complete international set," said Lee.
"I also have every badge worn by the staff since the day McDonald's came to Malaysia," he said, adding that he would like to open a McDonald's toy museum in Pumpong if the company allowed him to.
"I estimate that there are about 50,000 collectible items in my possession now."