Friday, February 16, 2007

4-Day Weekend Ahoy!

Today is Friday, the last day of work before the Chinese New Year holidays, and I'm sitting here in my office busily pretending to be busy. I tried to get some actual work done, really....but my mind just kept wandering to things such as dried pork meat, orange kums and little red packets containing moolah.

The holiday mood has struck, and I know I'm not the only one afflicted by it. Admit it, you're just as guilty as I am *points finger*.

Another 10 more hours till the end of the working day, then it's straight on over to Velvet to celebrate CNY Eve's Eve. I can't wait for Sunday.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Gong Xi Gong Xi

"On this Chinese New Yearrrrr....We all go to Ikeaaaaa...
Bring home new furnitureeeee....Celebrate togetherrRrRrRR!"

Ever since Ikea ran that annoyingly catchy jingly a few years back, I can't seem to hear the Gong Xi Gong Xi song without suddenly having the urge to stock up on sofa sets and caftans. Curse those marketers!

Anyway, annoying jingles aside, Chinese New Year has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year. There's just something magical about receiving little packets of money while chugging down obscene amounts of fizzy orange drinks and stuffing your face with huge slabs of dried pork meat.

Tong tong tong chiang

I'm also a sucker for lion dances, but this wasn't always the case though. I used to be terrified of them when I was a wee lad, and the sight of a dancing lion was enough to make me wet my pants (almost).

I blame this case of childhood lionophobia on one particularly silly pair of lion-dancers many many years ago, who thought that it'd be a good idea to actually APPROACH little children while waving a plastic lion head erratically about. Such dumb asses, if they tried that with the children nowadays they'd probably get a swift kick right in their nuts by little Nike-sneakered feet.

Yee suk, sam suk, tai ku cheong bla bla bla

Chinese New Year is also a time where you get to meet up with distant relatives and engage in terribly stimulating conversations. These conversations usually entail you being surrounded by long lost relatives while they barrage you with comments such as.....

" put on weight already ahh!"

"Got girlfriend/boyfriend ah?"

"So when are you getting married horr? *wink wink nudge nudge*"

... before plonking down in front of a TV showing Fong Sai Yuk II.

Captivating stuff.

Get them off the screen!!!

Chinese new year also has its bad points, and by bad points, I mean the endless stream of music videos featuring tacky Chinese new year remixes, and little children with even tackier make-up.

For those of you non-Chinese people who may be wondering what I'm jabbering on about, picture this - a music video set in some Taman Titiwangsa lookalike place, little Chinese girls with make-up which would put a Geisha to shame, crap camera angles and a tackily remixed Chinese new year song. Sounds like a recipe for disaster ain't it.

I tell you, if I ever see another lip-syncing 10 year old girl with blood-red lipstick trying to act cute, I'm gonna put a boot through the TV screen.

But really, I'm just nitpicking

In spite of its little niggling faults, CNY has and always will be a great season of family bonding, friendship building, and waistline busting. So it is with this that I want to wish all my readers (sounds like I have so many readers when I put it that way right?...ha ha) a very happy Chinese New Year!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Setia Alam

Love At First Sight

I recently bought another house but unlike the previous one, this one is not for renting out as I intend to move in once it's completed. The house is in this new development by SP Setia called Setia Alam and it's located in Shah Alam.

I know, Shah Alam sounds friggin far right? Well, those were my thoughts initially, but after taking a drive there via the newly opened NKVE link which was built by SP Setia, I could begin to picture myself staying there. Via the highway, it only takes around 8 minutes from the Setia Alam toll to the Tropicana/Damansara toll. Bloody good if you asked me, it takes wayyy longer than that if I were to set off from Subang Jaya.

The Setia Alam development is also a huge one, comprising over 4,000 acres (one of the largest in the Klang Valley) to be developed over a period of 15 years. Now it is only the 3rd year into the development, so there's many more years of expansion and capital appreciation to come.

So Green Ahhhh

I was scouting around for a few months now for a suitable piece of property to buy, but most developments just didn't catch my fancy. When I went to Setia Alam however, I was really bowled over by its garden concept, with many green lungs and water features scattered throughout the development. The houses were nicely spaced out, the roads were really wide, every street was lined with a walkway, and they incorporated the increasingly popular 'green street concept' where there are no visible wirings or cables, and all the drains are covered.

Plus, the houses were very competitively priced. Especially when you think of what the same amount of money (RM270K) will get you in Subang Jaya/Petaling Jaya (not much!). Also, whereas Subang Jaya/Petaling Jaya are matured townships where the rate of capital appreciation has already plateaued, Setia Alam is still a very new development with many years of strong capital growth ahead of it. A gain of 20-30% upon completion, plus a year-on-year gain of at least 6% for the next 5 years is not too far-fetched.

What about my trusty old house?

It will be sad to leave my current house which has served me so well for almost 15 years. I initially thought of renting it out, but seeing how low the rental yields were in my area (approximately 2.5% net...arghhh!!!), I thought it'd be a wiser decision to sell it off, use some of the money to fully pay off my Setia Alam mortgage, and use the balance to invest in another property.

Anyway, those are just some of the plans. End 2008 is still a good 2 years away, and a lot of things could have changed by then. We'll see when the time comes :)