Oct 20, 2012

0 Holding ..or Hoarding Power

Aaaah..dramatic use of words when trying to push a sale through.

Holding Power, nothing but a showy announcement of wealth. Property agents love spouting these words to intimidate potential buyers into resigning to the fact that prices ARE going to be this expensive.

I don't allow pride to overcome sense.  So these words, to me, are a crude way of getting the message across. If you have holding power, then by all means keep the property and walk away. The last thing I want to know is if anyone has "hoarding power".

What does it mean to me really, the ordinary layperson outside the realm of property business. It is only a seller who can pay for maintenance, loan interest and utility bills for years until he gets a buyer to sign at a price he wants. They risk lower gains after putting in so much to upkeep the place, but optimistic greed tells them there will be that jackpot buyer coming along soon. It doesn't look like a good move investment-wise but I could be wrong.

So, are sellers with holding power really just people hoard what they can't sell. They hoard out of pride.

But then again, perhaps the property isn't on loan and the seller is earning good rental money...I'll keep an open mind.

Otherwise, it only tells me that the seller can ill afford to sell it lower because he wouldn't be able to settle the debt he has with the bank, but who is big enough to admit that...

I was keen on purchasing a unit in Villa Damansara once. It was a two-storey corner unit with an unkempt garden and windows dressed in old curtains which tore at the slightest pull. The upstairs was dingy and it was obvious that it had seen better days when it was in the company of fresh air. The ceiling was stained with brown spots evident that water had sipped through.

The asking price was an eye-rolling RM750k. For that amount, we could consider buying a new property elsewhere. But since the seller had "hoarding power", we did not initiate negotiations. He had been hoarding this property for almost a year. 

We went home satisfied with letting it go.

Two days later, the agent called offering a discount of RM100k. I was hardly excited but she rattled on like it was the best deal anyone could get.

My feelings bordered on irritation by the end of the conversation because I could have ended up paying RM100k more if I was the fool who believed that the worth of the home is in the location and the design.

No, the worth of a home, to me, has always been about the people we live with and the beautiful memories we build together. It can be a cheap apartment somewhere but it would be priceless for the wonderful moments that colour its history. I'm looking for a place to make a home, not for a house to shelter my ego.

Oct 10, 2012

0 My Melaka Moments - Day 2 (The Melaka River Cruise)

The Melaka River Cruise - a charming idea that flourished under a brilliant tourism plan. Just RM10 for a 45-minute ride along the majestic dark greenish water that is Melaka River.

"I'm waking up at 7am..."
  The look of  horror on my husband's face was just humorous.

This is me. I like seizing the cool morning air. The afternoon sun to me is "bleh"  time for anything. Humidity saps enthusiasm and makes walking a strenuous affair. Truth be told, I find it hard to even sit under such conditions. I question my Malaysian-ness at times. I should be used to the weather since I've only lived here all my life. I am outraged by my own outrageousness! 

I've been on the Melaka River Cruise twice, both times in the morning. I have heard that it's beautiful at night with many lights adorning the sidewalk of the river. This makes me really excited about the prospect of another trip down.

Life jackets above
The cruise begins with little or no introduction from the boatman. I was lulled into belief that this was just a ride up and down for us to see the surroundings. Not so. A pre-recorded commentary is played during the ride back. It gives a brief explanation of the the history of each place we pass along the river.

All was quiet and attentive until we saw some monitor lizards resting on a ledge, clearly, having made the river their home.

Curious onlookers - that's what we were. The boatman was kind enough to slow and reverse the boat a little so we could get a better look. Some of us were off our seats with ooohs and aahs of wonderment. I was busy snapping photos. Funny how these creature captured our interest easily. I wonder what the boatman thinks..maybe - "sigh..these lizards should have been included in the pre-recorded commentary"

Monitor lizards
As we got off the boat at the end of the cruise, we were quickly surrounded by opportunistic photographers who wanted us to purchase nicely framed snapshots which they took of us, without our permission mind you, at the start of the cruise.

It's all a very nice idea, tourism-wise, but too expensive to be worth a buy. I would bring my own camera. There are no extra charges for bringing one on board anyway.

A cruise for the romantic couple

Lovely riverside graffiti - A Melaka Arts project

 Lots of beautiful bridges

Pirate Park...arRRrr
Patriotic village house at Kampung Morten
(A roof painted with the Malaysian flag)

Oct 7, 2012

0 My Melaka Moments - Day 1

Melaka, Malacca, the historical city enamours my heart with a yearning to explore. It didn't matter that I had been there more than once, twice, thrice. Each with different experiences colouring my life's journey.

I was in Melaka again just a couple of weeks ago. This time, with my in-laws but still feel that there is so much to see and experience.

There are a few things I really love doing in Melaka. One is to take a ride up Menara Taming Sari, the revolving gyro tower that lifts us 80 metres above ground for a panoramic view of Melaka's heritage zone. The scenery is breathtaking.

I am both serene and excited sitting way up in the sky..sometimes it just gets to me that I find it hard to sit still. I would get up, unashamedly start snapping photos on my little neon pink digital camera. Mom-in-law's (mom) used to this quirky side of mine having been the subject of my focus for hundreds of photos. She's such a natural in front of the camera.

Menara Taming Sari (Tickets are RM5 for a Malaysian adult)

Majestic Melaka 80metres above

After the amazing experience on the Taming Sari, we were brought down to earth ..literally.

We took a ride on the beca (trishaw) - it's something I look forward to and enjoy. There's nothing like observing people and buildings from the chair of a slow moving bicycle, al fresco fashion with some wind on our hair. There is also no harm supporting people who make an honest living.

The other noble reason - I just didn't want mom to have to walk so far. It is a holiday, after all.

Colourful becas

My ride costs RM15

The Samudera Maritime Museum (Flor de la Mar) is another great place to visit. I find the structure unique, designed in the replica of a Portuguese ship. Erkkk! I am easily impressed.

I would go early in the morning when it's less humid. The afternoon sun can be punishing. Bus loads of tourists did not help - it was very "stuffy" inside the ship that day. Not peachy!

Samudera Maritime Museum (RM3 per entry, Malaysian adult)
Inside the ship

Next, we took a short walk along the scenic path of the Melaka River - Ten thousand steps, on average, to complete the whole stretch..but my journey begins from the Samudera Museum and ends at Jonker Walk, to which I'm sheepish to admit, is way off the 10k target! That's as far as I trudge because then my thoughts meander towards shopping and glorious local food. It's always easy for me to stray from the planned path - Jonker Walk is a so alive with activity and tourists...

The sights and scenes one encounters along the Melaka River is a gem of a visual experience. The water wheel, the beautiful riverside Casa del Rio Hotel, colourful boats cruising along, the monitor lizards that have made the river their home, rows of old buildings painted with culture-themed graffiti..

Water wheel (Kincir Air Kesultanan Melayu Melaka)
Christ Church at Melaka Dutch Square

Melaka River - view from bridge crossing to Jonker Walk
Jonker Walk is, of course, well known for it's street shops. We made our way there in the evening because that's when the roadside stalls set up shop. This only happens on weekends.

I can buy a bag in Jonker Walk for a much cheaper price than the stalls I find in Kuala Lumpur's large shopping malls ~ I speak from experience of a bag with the same design!

Antiques, souvenirs and street food are aplenty. It's no surprise I can spend an entire day here!

Jonker Walk is guarded by a Water Dragon

The strong man of Jonker Walk

The two-day trip to Melaka inspires the spirit of travel in me.

They say traveling opens minds - but this is only true if one travels with an open heart, not an open wallet.

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