Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A walk in the park in May

Spent the day walking at Labrador Park with a female friend. I think she likes me, I doubt if any chick sees a sign which says "WW2 Gun Emplacements and war ruins" will say "Wow! Lets check it out." But she did.

Labrador Park is a tranquil, secluded, and forgotten part of this island where there is still a lot of tropical rainforest trees and old disused military forts and bunkers.

Few tourist know of this area and seldom come here. There is no fee to get in the park. And to be fair there is not much to do - except enjoy nature - its not Disneyland thank God.

But if you like nature walking and just a cool chill out zone - far away from the maddening crowd- Labrador Park is for you. There are also some beautiful butterflies in the area- a black/white butterfly and the extremely gorgeous "Jezebel" butterfly.

Its also next to the sea- and you can do some fishing if you want.

After a few hours of walking we stopped off at the main bar which is overlooking the area and had some drinks.

I was quietly enjoying the sheer beauty of the area and the moment when my female friend got a bit upset that I was "zoning out". I wasn't closing my eyes. I was just taking it all in... sometimes (I feel) pple don't have to cloud the airspace with blabber and mindless chitchat. Why can't they just sitback and enjoy the moment?

Doesn't seem to appeal to my friend though. She said- why don't you just read a book or something? I told her I wasn't ignoring her but that didn't seem to please her.

At dinner she gave me this long story about whilst I zoned out - she was thinking about how her female work colleagues' stories - they told her that marriage was totally overrated, men are all pigs, and that having kids was hell - which inspired her to say "I'm 30+ but I'm so glad I'm not married."

Err... I wanted to say something. But it would have been too acidic, so I said nothing.

I don't want to lead her on, but can't we just be friends?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dead N@gg@r Storage

So one of my Uni friends, SO, calls me up - and says he has a friend who has some chairs and a table that she's looking to store somewhere blah blah. After 5 mins, I say... yeah, sure I got a store room and can hold the stuff. SO goes- "Whoa Nelly. I didn't ask u. But is that ok?" (Duh, then why did u just talk about it for 5 mins)

I go- ya, sure no problem. Besides I don't have a working TV. Yeah, we're that shit poor now thanks to mum's brilliant investment decisions.

His friend, a member of his Bible Study, calls me up the next day and says- she has a TV and a table and some chairs that she wants to keep at my place. And how long can she keep it there... Ah... 6 months? I say. No, she asks- longer? I say, 8 months? Done she says. Umm... I didn't know we were bargaining. I'm not getting any cash out of this so why the 3rd degree??

Later I see this truck come wheedling into my place.

WTF??? Its NOT just one table set- there are several pub tables and a dozen high stool chairs and a dozen empty wine crates- and to top it off a huge ugly monster TV. Not one of the nifty plasma or LCD ones - but one of the fucking monstrousity TVs from the late 1980s that uses a pathetic projector inside. The fracking thing weighs a ton. Hell no, 10 tons!!!! I don't think it even works. To be precise, 200kg+ (400lb?). Then she drops the clanger- put it upstairs and looks at me in a curious "get going" way.

This isn't someone's house furniture! Its the shit from a Karaoke bar.

I don't often get angry. But this really takes the cake. This total stranger comes waltzing out of nowhere and expects me to take her furniture, obviously from a bar, for 8 months or more and she's treating me like an idiot.

Not to mention the fact that it was bloody dangerous trying to haul up the dinosaur TV up the flight of stairs into my apartment. I live near the top floor and its like 12 flights of stairs.

The house movers she hired were also not impressed that she failed to tell them that there was no service lift.

I looked in stupefied horror - but she instead that "I had promised to store her furniture" and demanded that I hold to my end of the bargain.

We actually gave it a try but the fracking TV was so heavy we couldn't even get it pass three steps.

When she got pissed and demanded that we try harder. I think the mover or me told her - "You do it". And she tried and failed to even move it one mm.

I called SO about it - and he apologized for getting me involved.

I lugged up the stuff- but the crazy b1tch and her friend promptly started shoving the junk in bedroom. I locked the door and looked her straight in the eye. Please move the stuff in the STOREROOM. Does she even know the difference between a storeroom and a bedroom? Is she dumb or just an ahole. Maybe she's both.

She gave me an apologetic look and complied. Maybe she's just dumb.

She also doesn't know how to stack stuff properly and half of the stuff fell over in the storeroom. I grimaced and went in and packed them properly inside. After 20 minutes, everything was nicely packed in and I felt quite pleased with myself.

(Frankly, she ought to have sold all the junk at a garage sale- it would have fetched her $400. But dearie wanted to save some cash. So he hired a removal truck ($200) to dump it at my place whilst she works out a plan to sell it.) I've got a feeling she doesn't really realize that the POS tv is just junk and noone in their right mind will want to buy it. She may have bought it for $10,000 back in 1988 but its worth about $200 now at best.)

At 9pm when I went out for dinner I saw her friend standing beside the dinosaur TV waiting for her people to help move it. The original movers had taken the money and gotten out of Dodge. I don't blame them.

Sometimes Chinese people can be so thickheaded.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Lord of the Rings

Just rewatched the extended version of Fellowship of the Rings- the first part of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Its still amazing to watch. The film, script, the plot, the music soundtrack, and the special efforts were totally first rate. 

The extended version also shows Boromir in a better perspective. Won't give away any spoilers. But I liked how he encouraged Frodo after they were in Lothorien.

"Your burden is heavy. Don't make it heavier by carrying the memory of the dead." Or something to that effect.

But my favourite line in the film is Gandalf's encouragement to Frodo. Paraphased - like so

"Its not up to men to decide the fate that befalls them. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that was given to us."

(Just an add-on, the Lord of the Ring book written by Tolkien done in the 1950s was great too and worth a read. Tolkien is excellent in his imagery and created the classic Middle Earth world out of his own imagination. I was sadden that Jackson did not include Tolkien's Gollum's "poignant regret" scene in Return of the King. It was a very powerfully sad scene which would imho have been easily translated over to the big scene.)


Went out to the beach with a female companion today. I figured there was nothing to help the negotiation process with the house. I tried contacting my mom for some idea on what price she wanted to sell the place for- but she was very evasive and didn't want to answer my questions. Except to say that the offers were too low.

I'd say the offers are reasonable - given the market situation. Of course I'd like to hold onto the properties and sell them for a mega sum but mum totally screwed up all the finances and we got a fucking big debt. Of course, somehow its my fault. Ya go figure.

I decided to cool off and take a break. I met with my friend and told her the problem and she was very sympathetic and told me to pray about it. And take a step back, will ya?

I said ok. Its really out of my hands. I can't convince the old woman to change her mind. She's as stubborn as a brick.

Anyhow, whilst I'm suntanning. the phone rings and the agents says his buyer has raised the bid by an extra 5%. Hmm and I didn't even say anything. Then some other agent calls up and says his buyer heard about the sale and wants to offer a higher price. Says a Govt Minister likes the security of the place and wants to get it. 

Geez, where did all these people come from all of a sudden??

Anyhow, its good news. and getting better. Maybe, by next week like Lazarus- we're out of the red and back into the black.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The offer

Well some good news first. I just got an offer for the old big family house; if mum accepts it I can pay off all her gambling debts and the money she owes to the bank - and still come out ahead. Question is whether my mum has the moral courage to accept it. Accepting it also means accepting that she screwed up big time and lost all that money. Postponing the sale helps her stay in that fantasy world of hers - where God will send an angel down to give her a golden cheque that will help her to pay all her debts and get off scot-free.

Something else-I must say that all this has been a big learning curve for me. People here don't ever come out and say what they mean- so I must seems like the odd-ball around here.

I made a mistake the other day. The managing agent came by and asked me to sign a document stipulating the percentage he would receive out of the sale. Fair enough. Then I blabbed and told him I'd give him the normal rate if he sold the property but even if he wasn't directly involved, I'd still give him 1% of the sale price. He said he would be happy with 1/2 a percent (ie a sum of about $10,000)- but like some dumb hero I insisted "No, I'd give you 1%  ($20000)." I told him I wanted to impress upon him the importance of getting a good sale on the property. And I was willing to pay him that money to achieve that goal. He's suppose to help me coordinate the buyers and to negotiate on my behalf on any bidders. I had already resolved to give him 1%. But he did say he'd be happy with 1/2.

Looking back at it now. I should have taken his document and told him I needed sometime to think about. And also asked him what he wanted. He would have said 1/2 % and I would think about it - ask around to see what the convention was - then told him the answer the next day.

ANyhow, in my haste I gave up $10000 for not much in return. I probably impressed him more with my stupidity than generosity. But I think he did get my drift- that I was willing to reward agents who work hard on my behalf and get the job done well. 

The lesson for the day is to put some distant between you and the negotiating process and decision making.  Quick decisions are rarely made in good judgement.

Next week the agents will be hassling me for a decision. I'll try to keep cool about it and tell them the truth. The info has been relayed to the old girl and she hasn't made up her mind about it. They will be probing for weakness in our armor - the only thing to say - not a concern to them. But try not to sound too defensive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Road reserve setback

Got back a reply from the government road department that has reserved 1/3 of my mum's investment property to widen the road.

They still insist that the road widening is to benefit the larger community. I told them its ridiculous to claim that - wider community implies "school", "community center", "hospital", "army base" etc.

Not a "richer neighbors house" -and  at my mum's expense- and claims its for the "greater good"! 

As mentioned in my earlier blog. The govt decided to reserve nearly half of my mum's land to widen the only road that leads to a bigger private property. If anything should happen to the house - like we tear it down or it burns down accidentally- the govt has the right to acquire that part of our land to expand the damn road.

FFS!!!! Why the fuck is she has a such sucker for fucked schemes???

So far my polly (local politician) hasn't called me up - although he has contacted the road department to inquire about the situation. 

The best way to deal with these govt depts is to write letters - and send them via registered post- so they don't go "lost". Its cheap only 2 bucks.

Trying to talk with them or phone them is a total waste of time. Once they put down the phone- the whole matter is forgotten cos there' no bloody record of it.

At least they have to respond to the letters and everything is black and white and recorded for prosperity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

9b Repairs

The semi-indoor pond in the big house developed a problem. Apparently, the tenant (might have) used the pumps when the pond was dry. So one of the pumps burnt out. I called in a pond expert and he quoted me $500 to replace the pump and install. Groan, another big chunk of cash.

$500????!!! Its hardly been used for two years!!

I need that like I need a kick in my head. 

I asked him whether the pump could be fixed- but he says that submersible pumps once the mechanism inside has burnt out - can't be fixed. I think the brand is a Grund-fos? Probably German. There was a lot of gunk in the water and I couldn't make it out. Got to take a better look at it tomorrow when I go there. It looks like this type.

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Fortunately, the tenant - who probably realized she burnt it out by accident- told me its ok and she doesn't need the use of the pond. So we'll leave it dry for the moment. I also didn't want to press her to fix it- nor did I accuse her of burning it out. I think in like 1 years time I'll replace it when I get the cash.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Deadwood Season 1

Just watched the entire season 1 of Deadwood- an HBO series. Its a bit like Pulp Fiction meets Bonanza or The Lone Ranger Show.

I like watching historical drama - I appreciate how they spoke to the past. It was colorful and full of life. Some other shows I've watched are - Topsy Turvy: making of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice 1997 series - starring Collin Firth. Nowadays our speech thens to be more functional and dry.

However, the characters of Deadwood swearing would make a demon blush.

But its in character with the whole atmosphere of the show.

The acting and scripts are also very good. Its a very riveting show- but it could do with sub-titles, I found it a little hard to discern what the actors were saying with their thick mid-American accents.

Funny though, after watching the series, I started talking like them and filling my speech with a fuller more flowery vocabulary, less the swearing of course.

Its 4am here, shouldn't be blogging. But I can't think of much else to write about this week. More of the same sh1t.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Repairing 9B

Another hot and sticky day here in Singapore. Its so hot that you can feel the sweat trickling, nay running, down into the crack of your bum.

Trying my best to keep cool in this heat.

The workers have finished the painting and minor repairs of the big house. I tried to bargain with the contractor on some of the work done. He really should be charging me 20% less. But I feel bad for the fellahs. They really put effort into getting the place looking good. It was good work. And I don't want to "diddle" off their pay. So I'm going ahead and paying the boss the full amount which is generous of me cos I'm really running on fumes - having to pay for fracking 6m mortgage.

I'm glad that they couldn't do the flooring though. Because of the setback, they couldn't do it in time. So I got another a Malay worker I met earlier to do the floor and it saved me $1000. He didn't sand back the entire surface- but that was totally unnecessary anyhow.

I liked him because he had a very cheerful can do disposition.

I also found that if you carefully sanded back the scratch areas on the parka wooden floorboards- following the grain of the wood etc., then applied varnish onto those spots, they literally disappear. You can't see them unless you look up close- like eyeball to floor. :)

However, if its on massive areas, then you have no choice but to varnish the entire area. A little bit of sanding will help. But once the varnish is placed on the entire area and given a machine polish- the place looks great.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dire Straits

(This is part of a series of blogs I did on another site. I'm transferring them here slowly because they contain journal entries which are important to me)


Oh well. Interest rates have gone up and I can't seem to find buyers for the family's two properties. All the buyers offer me "Bend Over" deals. Any offer I agree to, gets changed for a lower price the next day.

Tried to talk to mum about it but its just a waste of time. She refuses to answer my questions and slams the phone down afterawhile. Its hard for her to accept that she screwed up, seems to be easier for her to live in her own little faux-Christian fantasy world where God will rescue you after you set yourself on fire, jump off a bridge in your car for the 777th time. It didn't work before but let's try again and again and again.... ad infinity.

Trying now to sell one of my apartments in Melbourne to help pay for her mortgages. Seems like a bad idea, huh? But I should get a good price for it and I don't think I'll be going back. Problem is that it will take some time to carry forward a sale. Meanwhile, whose going to meet the cash shortfall?

I asked SP my best friend and mentor here to help out for a little while. All he said was "I wish you well". Then I had to endure a 2 hour lecture on how "I fucked up". It was one big "I TOLD YA SO". At the end of it, I couldn't take it anymore. I got up shook his hand and said thanks but I gotta go.

Seems no one wants to help when you're down in the shits. The son of my father's best friend AKL sold my mother the shite investment property that has the road reserve on it. It was a fucked deal and he fucking knew it.

The relatives and family friends I seek help - all tell me to take a hike - then tell me how screwed up my position is. I find myself in a team of super heros all called Captain Obvious. Seems the whole goddamn town knows I'm knee deep in shite.

Meanwhile, my mom is blaming me for her problems saying I gave her a "bad curse" by forewarning her of the consequences.

Wow, her level of delusion is really staggering.

Why can't she act like an adult and take responsibility for her actions? I suspect most of the Aquaris "flower power" generation are like that. Its the grandparent's fault, its the government's fault, its the fault of big business, its the fault of society, its the fault of the kids... everyone except themselves.

Time to take sing Kumbaya I guess? What is this wet dreamy fake christian or new age philosophy she is clinging too?

Everyone screws up. Just wish they'd own up to it and stop lying.

God knows how I'm going to pull out of this one. ...

(Currently listening to Concrete Blonde's Joey)