May 19, 2010

what to look out when buying an apartment/condo

I have always wanted to write a short guide about buying apartments/properties, but have the reservation to do it. The main reason is, there have been many good guides out there written by savvy professionals who are more experienced than I can ever be (I know nuts about buying/selling properties), and they probably are gonna laugh at my ass for writing craps that they know best. But today, I decided to say ‘fuck them’, and write it anyway, because I have nothing to do at work today. So here you go.

Water pressure.
When you want to buy an apartment/condo, make it a habit to check the water pressure. Water pressure is fucking important. I’ve seen places with water pressure lower than my own piss and it is basically impossible to use a shower at all, especially those with a water heater… unless you get one with a built in pressure pump. Bathing and washing with low water pressure is just the saddest thing ever and you have to make sure you don’t pay for that.

Balcony / main entrance is in a direct line
I think this has to do with fengshui in a scientific aspect, I don’t know. When the balcony is directly opposite the main entrance, it will give an easier path for the air to pass, thus will give the place an ‘airy’ feel and in turn, better ventilation. I’ve been to apartments/condos with poor ventilation, and boy do they stink and musty. And for some weird reason if the apartment/condo you’re looking at does not have a balcony, don’t buy it.

Waste disposal system
Many modern apartments/condos do not come with a garbage chute like what we have in the old days. The tenant will have to dispose the trash at the dump located somewhere out of the apartment compound, which causes the elevator to stink like hell after a period of time. Quite contrary to popular belief that this is the ‘modern way’ to dispose trash, trust me, it is not. The reason for that is cost. It costs more to construct garbage chutes, and also to widen the road for garbage truck access. So to minimize cost and maximize profit, most greedy developers opt for this ‘bring out your own trash’ solution. Not a good idea. If possible, find an apartment/condo with garbage chutes. It is more convenient, and you won’t get to smell other people’s trash in the elevator everyday.

The number of elevators
Enough elevators for your block, that is. I’ve been to an apartment with 2 elevators, but fuckloads of floors and tenants. I had to wait longer than the wait for a public bus just to haul my ass up to the desired floor. And I also hate to smell some assholes or old people with strong BO in the elevator, and the fucking elevator would keep stopping at every goddamn floor just because the block does not have enough elevators. I’d blame this on greedy developers. Make a rough calculation. How many floors and units versus the number of elevators – you’d get the rough idea how many people are going to use the elevator during the peak hour spike.

Proximity of places of worship
I’m going to be honest here – if there’s a mosque, Chinese or Indian temple, church nearby, there’s a high chance that you’re not going to live a peaceful life there. Mosques will wake you up. I lived next to a mosque before, but I had no problem with that because I needed to wake up early and it kinda helped me – but I can’t imagine if I were to have an infant who needs an ample amount of sleep then. It would be catastrophic. Chinese/Indian temple – when they have celebrations like July hungry ghost festival or Thaipusam, you’d get the effect of a hundred mosques combined. And also, you’d get all these incense fumes etc. Church – you’d get assholes parking haphazardly around because they wanted to be with their god and they do it every Sunday just to make sure your weekend is fucked. Ergo, places of worship = troubles. So, in my opinion, it is best that a residential area/building has at least a 2km buffer from ANY place-of-worship. If you believe in god, then you must also believe that his wide-area-network extends beyond that measly 2 – 3km. (he covers the whole planet goddamnit!)

Proximity of a vacant land
A vacant land next to your apartment building is like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt. Why? You don’t fucking know what are they going to do with that piece of land. If someday someone decides to build a fucking highway through it, there goes your property value. Or a water treatment plant to stink up the air quality (my father in law learnt this lesson before). Or another bigger condo with not enough parking space that causes its tenants to double park the fuck up the entire street. Or even, a place of worship! Your happiness level will be summarized in a 2 syllable word : HAILAT. Look out for those.

Proximity of a school
If you want to have a good life, you should avoid living near a school like a plague. For one, the school buses are going to fuck the air quality up real bad. Secondly, the parents are going to fuck up the traffic, really really bad. Thirdly, the school children are going to fuck up the neighborhood (vandalism, gangsterism, mat-rempitism, etc). If you want to live near a school, make sure the apartment has a helipad and provides free helicopter service to bypass the fucked up traffic with a helicopter – otherwise, it’s not worth considering.

******

That’s about it, the important ones. I’m sure there are many more, which you can read them off the net. But these, are stuff that none of those people are going to tell you. You’ll have to thank me for that.

Related post –
what to look out when buying an apartment/condo – part 2
what to look out when buying an apartment/condo – part 3

michaelooi  | thoughts  | 10 Comments
May 17, 2010

“Ip Man 2″ (2010)

So, who do you beat after the Japanese? Kind of predictable, don’t you think? It’s the goddamn yong gwai chi (also known as contemporary ‘sei gwailow‘ or ‘a fucking white guy’). The Chinese is always pissed at everyone. Figuratively speaking, if anyone who isn’t Chinese comes to live with them, they’d go apeshit to beat the crap out of that person, citing on the grounds of their Chinese pride and self-esteem (yes, I have to agree, we do get a bit racist sometimes for the sake of entertainment).

To me, “Ip Man 2″ is no different from some of the already existing popular kungfu themes out there. You know, to rise and fight against the corrupted influence of ‘outsiders’ (foreigners). So it’s either the Japanese or Westerners (funny, little has ever shown about the Mongols). Jet Li actually did the Japs and gweilo in 1 flick – “Fearless” – and predictably, garnered heaps of praise from many critics. It kind of gets dull after you’ve watched a few hundreds of the same theme.

Anyway, in “Ip Man 2″, it’s east meets west, and the glorified-but-humble kungfu master whoops the cocky + behemoth Western guy’s ass and upholds the Chinese dignity. The only different thing about the theme in this sequel is, they actually got someone quite wimpy to be the main sei gwailow antagonist (who is as tough as a hypermart check-out guy. They should have fucking gotten ‘The Rock’ to do it! You should check out the size of the brute Jet Li beat in “Fearless”!) and the uncanny resemblance to Rocky 3 theme (you know, antagonist kills hero’s friend, then hero takes on the antagonist. Like how Balboa avenges for Apollo Creed after he got killed by the badass Mr. T). Hell, even the way they lifted him up during the victory was similar!

Another thing I didn’t like about “Ip Man 2″ was the use of wire during the sparring session between the Chinese kungfu masters. I felt that it totally adulterated the whole flick. Generally, I have no problem with wire-kungfu, but they’ve got to know how to separate the fantasy shit versus the real stuff, you know? This is almost like watching the biopic of Ray Charles, and then suddenly he takes out his sunglasses and a thick red laser beam starts to shoot out of his eyes to obliterate an evil roach creeping around his piano. It boggles the mind and makes the whole experience strange.

It was just an ok flick for me. Nothing to shout about. 5/10 (yes, I think the first one fared better).

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 14 Comments
May 12, 2010

mud balls

Recently, there has been a spate of events to promote ‘save the environment’ by various organizations in Penang. Company X, being a known media whore, has been quite active in these environmental activities. Amongst the chic-est thing to do nowadays (that I noticed) is – throwing mud balls.

I don’t really know how these things work but according to some vague facts, these balls could make our rivers clean again or something like that. So, if you have a really sad looking filthy ass river, just dump some of these balls into it, and it will be cleaner. More mud balls = cleaner water. At least that’s what most people perceive anyway.

That actually got me thinking – if the mud balls are so effective as claimed, then why don’t they just focus on mass producing these mud balls and dump them by the truckloads into all the rivers? Why save the mud balls just so that these people can play a part to throw them into rivers? What’s the rationale behind all these acts? What’s holding them back from mass balling these rivers back into their former glory?

One answer: media/attention whore. I think these balls are nothing more than pure bollocks. Maybe they are good enough to clean your koi fish pond for a limited time… I don’t know. But I don’t think it is able to restore a river that looks something like the picture on the left. Might even make it worse, I reckon. As you can see in the picture, there’s already a limited flow of water in the river. Balling it with mud balls some more will probably cause more sediment to deposit… and before you know it, it will become a dirt road instead of a river… no shit (ever wonder where does the ‘mud’ in the mud ball goes?). The only way that’s able to make the river clean again, is to go to the root of it – get rid of the main causes that made the river polluted in the first place. As simple as that. Mud balling isn’t going to help. (try to mud ball a bucket of used engine oil, see what happens…)

Well, the only thing that can be of help is probably the psychological relief that it brings. Makes one feel good for doing something – albeit imaginary – for the environment. But we can exploit even more value off the mud balls in my opinion. Instead of balling them into the river, I’d say we should fling them at our bosses. Maybe make them line up in tandem, and have them all blindfolded and we all take our best shot at them with mud balls! Might not clean up a lot of filth but it sure is fun, probably going to psyche us up a little, converting the energy into some productivity… and who knows, the productivity spike might lead up to some effort to do the real work to clean up a river…

michaelooi  | thoughts  | 8 Comments
May 10, 2010

remembering a friend

I saw someone on the street today who reminded me of a childhood friend called Ah Foot. Memories of him then wafted into my mind.

Ah Foot’s mom and mine were old friends from their youth, and that was how I came to know him (I’ve never really known his real name though, he was only known as ‘Ah Foot’ to me). I remember Ah Foot and his mom would frequently visit us at our home, and the ladies would have their deep talk (I was too young to understand), while Ah Foot and I would jump/run around like idiots. His mom would sometimes talk until she gets real emotional with tears, but like I said, I was too young to understand.

But all of that stopped after some time, when we grew a little big older. Ah Foot and his mom stopped visiting, and we became distant of each other. Ah Foot’s mom would still occasionally meet my mom at the marketplace somewhere (without ‘Ah Foot’) though, and as usual, would get emotional when she talks. She seemed like a very sad woman to me then (that was how I perceived her as a kid).

I only learned very much later that Ah Foot’s mom was always sad because she was a victim of domestic violence. Ah Foot’s dad was a total scumbag, a wanton philanderer and a habitual wife beater. Because Ah Foot’s mom was an Indian (yes, Ah Foot’s a half Indian biologically, but he was raised a 100% Chinese), she was also subjected to ill treatment from her racist mother-in-law. Yes, she had to contend with the 2 front of assholes at home. ‘Sad’ would be an understatement. She turned to my mom because she had no one to turn to.

Then it got worse. When Ah Foot was old enough to reason (about 8 – 9 years of age), the scumbag of a father of his started to brainwash him into despising his own mother – which he began to hate. His father told him that his mom was a prostitute (which she indeed was, way when she was young, due to some sad circumstances), aggravating the hatred even further. That was how Ah Foot’s mom got to the verge of almost killing herself. She had to face hell from 3 fronts – her scumbag husband, her MIL and her very own son. She only had 1 other younger son to cling on to, which luckily didn’t share the same rancor towards his mom like Ah Foot.

But that all changed one day when Ah Foot was 15 – 16 years old, he went to his mom to apologize for all the hatred he had given her. That bizarre turn of event came as a shock to his mom but she forgave him nevertheless. He was basically a changed person for only one day, and on the next day, he got run over by a school bus. It was as if he knew his time was up and he went around to apologize for his mistakes.

The mom, despite all the shit she had endured from Ah Foot, would still remember Ah Foot as a repented person and a good son when asked. Sad story, but true.

michaelooi  | flashbacks  | 7 Comments
May 7, 2010

I’m so fucking tired of this shit 2

See the box below? It is one of the many I receive from India every day. People there are sending me stuff to ask if their family goat is going to have a good labor this fiscal year.

Yes, that is my old skool K750i phone. Proud to be an old man. Anyway, it is there for you to get an idea how big the box is.

Now, inside the box, is an envelope, no bigger than my phone – as per the picture below.

Inside the envelope, is a piece of thermal pad for notebook processors, measuring about 18mm x 18mm – as per the picture below.

I receive a few hundred boxes like this every month. Boxes that are 700% or more too big for its insignificant content. And sometimes, an even bigger box containing these small boxes, all wrapped up with 7 – 8 layers of those plastic shrink wraps (and the amount of fuel used to transport them). Can you imagine how big the shit gets?

Well, isn’t it refreshing for you people to know (especially the tree huggers) – that for every ream of paper you recycle or refrain from using, some asshole somewhere is doing something like this to reverse your conservation effort by a few folds?

For me, I’m just being fucking tired of this shit. You know, to receive something like this, and then to return it back without doing anything because it’s not what I wanted/supposed to work on.

michaelooi  | rantings  | 6 Comments