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A short trip back to the UK

Am still in the U.K., on a coach to the airport. Already spent a week in the U.K. It’s time to fly back home. Reflecting on this rather sudden trip, it is such a mad decision. The story is as such. My flat in the U.K. was in a mess. To do with water leaks, and also the tenant did not take care of the flat and left it in a very bad state. If I were to let the “professionals” in to fix the flat and to redecorate it, it will be too expensive for us. For instance clearing bulky items like white goods and furniture and the mess in the backyard I was quoted £750! And then I’ll still have to replace most of the white goods, repaint the whole flat etc. Easily that would be another £1,500. And the issue is, that may not be all, because after all I have not seen it myself the state of my flat yet.

Hence I decided to fly there myself to restore the flat so it can be back on the rental market again. I estimated that I can do that within about a week, with some help from a friend, mainly to help remove the heavy items. And I could only afford to spend a week away in the U.K. anyway due to various commitments. But how wrong was I, having grossly underestimated the amount of work required in the flat! When I arrived at the flat, it was looking better than I envisaged. The mold was not as bad I thought, and the flat was fairly dry, presumably because the builder Tim who was tasked by the management to repair the ceiling had done us a favour having aired the flat quite extensively. Well he needed the flat to be quite dry to do some plastering anyway. But where the damage was to do with leaks from the gutter over the years, Tim received no instruction from the management to do a good job.

To be continued.

To feel part of the community

Having lived in the U.K. for over 15 years, I must say that I didn’t feel like I am associating myself to the British community quite as much as where I was brought up, which is Malaysia. Could it be because the U.K. is so well developed, and everything is much more well run that I feel it is more difficult for me to think of anything I can contribute to the community? You see there is much flaws in Malaysia, lots more things I can think of that can help improve the community, having lived overseas before, and seen the different ways things are done elsewhere. I believe this is also one of the reasons I have chosen to move back to Malaysia. On top of the tiny little fact that all my families live in Malaysia 🙂 And that I am also probably influenced by my dad who has spent many years of his life contributing to the society, albeit more towards the Chinese community.

Having moved back to Malaysia for close to 5 years now, looking back I have not been contributing much to the community in Ipoh either. It is a bit of a shame really. But life in Malaysia is a lot busier than living in the U.K. And I’m tied up massively by my business, not to mention my young children which we have added a second one after moving back to Malaysia. I am a lot more aware of what’s going on now that we live in Malaysia. The education system, the business environment, the government services, the national politics etc etc. There is much room for improvements on many things, which the Brits will say the same thing about their country. But believe me, we have a much bigger beast to deal with.

I hope my business improves this year so that I can have a bit more time to do something more to the community now that my children are getting bigger.

Energy consumption stays the same with just one air cond!?

Bloody hell, following my move to cut energy consumption by getting my daughter to sleep in the same room as us, in essence reducing the number of air cond running at night from two to one, this is what I got:


In terms of kWh, the reduction was only 27kWh, compared to last month’s reading! WTF, I was certainly expecting a lot more than that! Basically getting into all this hassle of moving my daughter to sleep with us only save us a meagre RM15 a month!

Okay we accept that we are not using the latest inverter air cond, which can cut down on energy usage over regular air cond by (up to?) 50%, in our master bedroom. And the air cond in my daughter’s room is more energy efficient than the air cond in our room. But still this is so bloody demoralising. So much so that we checked the TNB rates per KWh, just in case. But they haven’t risen over the past few months! So we have asked the air cond service guy to come service our air cond today, to ensure that our air cond is not running sub-optimally. We’ll see how the energy usage is like next month. In fact, to think about it, I can check the meter reading tomorrow to see if there’s any improvement, considering that on average we are using about 30kWh a day based on this latest bill. Will keep you lot up to date.

Have to really cut energy use at home

Just received my TNB electricity bill. Price has gone up, again! Used to be around RM200-300. This month has gone up to RM440! Unbelievable, the most expensive electricity bill (for residential use) I have received, yet. I know we switch on two air cond at night, everyday. But apart from that we have not been doing anything too differently. Must be to do with the hot weather lately. I wasn’t aware that there was a price hike from TNB, or was there?! Whatever it is, we are moving my daugher to our bedroom, so that we only need to power on one air cond at night. It’s just too bloody expensive to keep two air cond running everyday at this rate. And we probably need to take shelter in places with air cond more often, it is so bloody hot lately, especially in the afternoon! It is going to be this hot for how much longer??

Buying our own house in Ipoh

Just placed a small deposit for a new house. Looks like we are finally getting on the proper ladder in Ipoh. Well, in about two years time actually because the house will only be ready by end of 2017 LOL. Considering how much property value has shot up in the recent 5-10 years, I thought we might never be able to buy anything decent in the short term, i.e. in areas we are interested in yet we can afford.

Shared swimming pool

We are quite pleased with the housing concept that we are buying into. It is like a town house concept, not so different from the house we have lived in in the UK. But these houses are more standalone, as residents don’t need to share the house, e.g. with one resident on the ground floor and another occupying the floors upstairs. And this has additional facilities like a swimming pool, shared amongst residents living in the gated and guarded area. The lot that we are buying shares a communal garden too, with residents between two rows of houses.

Communal garden

It is a good concept, as it can help forge community ties, which is increasingly lacking in modern society. Of course this is based on assumption that other residents are good going people, which I hope they are, as otherwise they wouldn’t be interested in such housing concept in the first place would they?

We are getting a corner lot so we’ll have some land on the side. Not sure what we are going to do with the space yet, but perhaps can grow some herbs and vegetables. We’ll definitely need to keep the grass in check. I do love a nice patch of grass in my garden. But I found that it is bloody difficult to keep the weeds out, especially when we have weeds growing wild in our neighbours’ house! Hopefully it is not the case at the new place.

Looking forward to the new house. Immediate concern now however is to get loan approval from banks to finance our house…’doh!

Entrance into Springfields Residence

Shipments from the UK arriving tomorrow

Three months. Three months after we shipped our belongings from the UK that they are finally going to turn up on our door step tomorrow. When we chose to use Anglo Pacific, we were unaware that our belongings would be shipped to Singapore first. They arrived at Singapore on the 2nd May. And it wasn’t until last Thursday that they arrived at KL. Why it took so long I have no idea. Our commercial freight were shipped later, almost about a month’s later. But arrived at Ipoh two weeks ago. Incredible. W is rather excited that our stuff are finally going to be here tomorrow. I on the other hand just hope that all 86 boxes of them are going to appear in my living room unscathed.

Avoid Berkshire Appliances for repair work

Okay think I’ve given Berkshire Appliances enough time to get back to me to explain why he stood me up yesterday. I left voice mail, called couple of times, both his mobile as well as the landline number on his website. Nope, he didn’t bother. I’m not going to bother and post this negative review of the service I received too. To be fair he sounded like he’s quite competent when I phoned him up. But it is of no use if you are not reliable and waste customers’ time. Not everyone can afford to sit at home and wait for you to turn up to do a job. I had to wake up real early in the morning so I could get off work early to make the appointment. It would have been nice he phoned and be apologetic about his absence, for whatever reason. But nope, absolutely nothing from him since. All these talks of economic recession and unemployment, don’t seem to affect these repairmen. With attitude like this I really don’t mind him going out of work.

DAP’s rally at SS2

Looking at the crowds, the support given to Ms Fong Po Kuan, and the speech given by her, slowly and clearly in Cantonese and English to reach all audience, I got a bit emotional. Malaysia really need someone like her, and we Malaysians should be thankful for having such a passionate fellow Malaysian who is willing to get her sleeves up and do the dirty work for the citizens.Election is today, Malaysia time…

Year of Rat

Helped my dad to clean and tidy the house this morning. It is Chinese New Year tomorrow. I think it is a tradition to clean the house, wear new clothes to welcome the new year. While we were tidying and storing stuff into what used to be a dog hut, my dad found a rat hiding in a paper box which is carrying a fire extinguisher. Dad then used a large plastic bag, wrapped the whole box in it, waited for the rat to emerge from the box and then killed it using a wooden stick. Actually not quite, my dad has to also step on it once to finally finish it off. I feel bad, although I did suggest my dad to let the rat go. In fact I’m the one to pass my dad the wooden stick when I was asked to find one! Guess my dad still has too much authority over me.I remember saying to myself that “Ratatouille” is one of the best animation movies around after watching it on my flight back to Malaysia. And I think Disney movies are great, which I haven’t really appreciated until now, as they have the magical power to make people, especially kids, love and appreciate animals, due to the animations that make animals look so cute and adorable. However here I am ended up helping my dad killed one of these little animals. Shame on me.To make matter worse, I found out later on in the afternoon that it’s the year of Rat this coming year. What a bizarre experience, to have killed a rat on the eve of year of Rat. Damn, I really don’t like what that has just happened today!

Home sick

After a week of rather intense skiing, I’m glad that I’m back home again. Just feel very tired after all the travelling and skiing. In fact we went into a deep coma of more than 12 hours yersterday! Every now and then during our trip, I was worried my flat might be broken into, missed the Robin bird that comes visit our flat for food (just found out that the Robin has found himself a partner already, hurray!), wanted to find out if our fish are doing okay, and we even missed our soft-toy dogs! 🙂 Think I start to understand why my mum misses her home so much after just a couple of days away from home. Particularly when you have living things in your house. As our friend has commented before, keeping pet fish is one of the most involving hobbies. In a way, unlike cats or dogs, you can’t really send the whole tank of fish to your friend’s house when you are away. If you are away for more than a few weeks, you will need somebody to come change the water in the tank. Because of this tank of fish, we have asked our friend to come house-sit before! Anyway I’m quite glad we have a place we can call home.Last but not the least, Happy New Year to everyone!