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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby Xin's 2 front teeth

Baby Xin has grown 2 front teeth since September at around 8 months old. I think she is my earliest baby to sprout teeth.
At this age, Baby Xin also has another talent. She can crawl to the tv cabinet and grab the DVDs inside, pull them out and toss them all over the floor. That will occupy her for a long time, if I allow her to do it. I think I need a tv cabinet lock.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting Started in Property Investments Seminar

Sara and I spent an amazing day at this seminar, held at the UEM academy in PJ. Although I have attended such seminars before, we still learnt a lot from the 2 gurus, Michael Tan and Dr Peter Yee.
One of the important lessons I learnt from Peter Yee is to have a support group. Meeting with like-minded friends once a month, and sharing and mapping your goals out during the monthly meetings will help. Dr Yee himself had the support of his close friends who are property enthusiasts like himself, and they all managed to make good progress along the way. That is because if you don't have a group with whom you could discuss, and which would prod you along the way, it was very easy to slacken and forget about your property goals while you are caught in your daily job.
Another important lesson I learnt from Michael Tan is "What's your number?" which is the amount of lump sum money (pension fund) that one must have at retirement in order to comfortably live out the rest of the years. While he admitted the calculation method did not originate from him but from an insurance company, he still stressed on the importance of realizing the big figure that we need at retirement. He showed us how this principle can be applied using rental properties as the desired income vehicle, and how to work backwards to know how much is the value of the property to be invested now.
Let me illustrate the formulas here:
Pension fund = (Desired monthly income) X (Passing on Age - Retirement Age) X 12 months
Example: Let's say you need RM10k a month to live a comfortable life post-retirement.
This person retires at 55 and projects that he will live till 80.
So his pension fund at retirement is 10k X (80-55) X 12 months = RM3 million
In order to have this pension fund through properties, what is the property value that he must buy now to get this monthly rental income? Assuming this person is able to get rental yield of 8% per annum and there is no capital appreciation of the property.
Property value = (Desired income) X 12 / (0.08)
which is 10k X 12 /0.08 = RM1.5 million
In other words, if this person buys a property worth RM1.5M now which he can rent out at RM10,000 per month, this person has already set up the rental cash flow that he needs.
This is really a very simplistic rule, however the lesson learnt here is valuable nonetheless.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Internet application for SD Tiara

I applied for Streamyx internet broadband via the reseller at the SD Tiara apartment about 2 weeks ago. Last Saturday, the reseller informed me that they were unable to get into the application system for me because I have another telephone line pending. I was quite surprised, and when I dialled the 100 line, I was told that I still had a pending application in Cyberjaya.
I went to TM point on 3 separate occasions to settle the problem. The first time was on Monday lunch time to cancel the Cyberjaya telephone application. The 2nd time was on Thursday to try to apply for a new telephone line for SD Tiara because the reseller still couldn't get into the system, but there was such a long queue I gave up.
This morning (Friday) I arrived TM point early to be one of the first ones to get into the outlet which opens daily at 8.30am. There was already a queue formed outside the door.
When I got in and waited for my turn, I was told that the problem with Streamyx was there was no port again at SD Tiara, and same old story, they did not know how long we had to wait. So Unifi was introduced again, but this time no more free installation and unlimited downloads. Installation fees were RM200, to be billed in 5 monthly installments. And no more the good service that I experienced at the Domain (installation within 3 working days), now I was told I have to wait until Nov 15 before installation. I asked them why and they replied, "It's because of the high demand."
TM's philosophy, I think, is when you have good business, it's ok to sacrifice customer service. My tenant said he is getting used to the Malaysian culture of slow service.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Final Race for 2010

At work, I am faced with the toughest challenge ever. Already behind our sales target for the year, our team is asked to not only deliver this quarter's target but also to catch up to some extent on the previous 9 months' shortfall. And yet I feel upbeat and positive about things.
That is because my boss, had forced me to run a business review with the team. I didn't want to hold the review at first because I thought it was a waste of time, the team would be better out in the field getting more sales instead of wasting 2 days at the office. However, the meeting proved to be very fruitful for us. We reviewed what we have been through so far, what had worked and what had not. Also, we emphasized the importance of still going the distance even if the task ahead seems so futile. Because if we throw in the towel now, we don't have a chance. But if we try, we still might hit something somewhere, even though we know we are far from our original target.
At the closing, my boss said something which really touched me. She said it to our team, who has taken a beating all year round due to poor sales performance. She said it despite the fact that we will not hit our original budget. She said, "Team, if you can show growth that is better than last year and give this all your might and do not give up, you can hold our chin up. And I will stand proud with all of you."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Furnishings at SD Tiara Apartment

Continuing from my previous updates on SD Tiara, here are the pictures of the kitchen. The kitchen cabinet was put in years ago when we first got the keys to the apartment.
This time we only updated the wall shelf and the rod with hangers.
The previous tenant also left behind a water filter, so I just replaced the inner cartridge.

The master bedroom

The middle bedroom

The 3rd bedroom

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Scam Alert

This time, even an advertisement for renting out rooms at my apartment has attracted a scam response. Here it goes:

I am a citizen of United States America,staying at Richmond,Virginia,staying at 1410 OAKHURST LANE APT#1 RICHMOND,VA 23224 and i want rent this apartment because am coming dawn to Malaysia for International Conference and which is going to take me 6Month do let know know the total package of the apartment and make sure you calculate it in USD$ and get back to me soon as possible so that i can make the payment via ECASH COMPANY here in USA that will deliver the money to your door step in Malaysia means ATM CASH CARD that you can use to withdraw the money in any bank in Malaysia using ATM MACHINE..and do get back to me with the attachment of the apartment to review. Nice Doing Business with you. Mrs Michele.

The best part is when I advertised, I specified it is for males only.
What kind of international conference will last for 6 months?
Again, I blocked the email as scam and deleted the email.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Egg Puppet

Here is the post of a very proud mom. This may be the easiest thing to do but I am amazed at Wei's creativity.

This is an egg puppet that Wei made for a school project. I helped to break the egg by making a hole at the tip (and cooking it afterwards, of course).
J helped him do the cutting and and sticking. The other stuff like the tie and umbrella are entirely Wei's idea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sales and Growth

This year at work, the sales number required is very challenging.
That is to the point that sometimes I feel that I'm faced with an insurmountable task ahead.
However today I learnt 2 important lessons from my work:
1. If you can't get to the sales target, at least show credibility to the performance by showing growth over last year.
2. Even if the future looks bleak, at least do not give up even now itself.
If everyone has a defeatist attitude, he or she will give up, and the prophecy of failure becomes a reality. That is why no matter what, I must keep a positive mindset.
I am thankful for the many things in life that are going well, and I take this little setback as making me stronger to progress. I will not give up and I will rally the team to do this as well.

Photo copyright: Haruki, Scotland, Oct 2009; to use please post a comment & acknowledge source.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Replacement of Room Door Lock

While I was busy at work today, the tenant of the master room at The Domain called. He had accidentally left his room keys inside the room, and then locked the door. He asked if I could come and rescue him with a spare key.
And today of all days, I really cannot leave the house even after work, as I have to look after the kids while J is doing the finishing touches to the SD apartment. So I asked the tenant to go to the hardware store downstairs for help, see if they can do a lock replacement. He managed to do it and luckily the store was not closed yet.
Now, the question is, who should bear the costs of the new lock and replacement? The tenant has not asked me yet, but I will collect the spare keys from him one of these days and he might ask. Any of you experienced landlords out there can give your opinion?

Photo from Phoenix Locksmiths

Monday, October 11, 2010

CIMB duplicate bank-in slip for Domain management office

On 1st Oct, I went to one of the CIMB branches and made a cash deposit over the counter for the Domain management account - Laketown. It is for the payment of service charge of the Domain. Fully intending to keep the bank-in slip and fax it over to the management as proof of payment, I lost it the next day. No matter where I looked I couldn't find it.
So I called the Domain management office anyway, to let them know that I have made a cash deposit, the amount and the date, but I had lost the slip. However they insisted that they could not issue a receipt to me just like that, I still need to fax or email the bank-in slip. They told me to get another copy from the branch.
With no other choice, I went to the bank 5 days later, to inform them that I need a duplicate copy of the cash deposit transaction. To my pleasant surprise, the CIMB staff and manager there was very helpful. In less than 15 minutes, I was given a duplicate slip. Very easy and no trouble at all.
There is good customer service in our Malaysian banks, after all....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Updates on SD Tiara

The past 2 weeks had been a whirlwind of activities for both work and also fixing the apartment. There were just so many things to do, with one problem popping up after another. Finally today, the apartment is more or less settled, and the first tenant has moved into the master bedroom. Here are some pictures of the work.The living room completed, during the day and night (curtains installed).

The handymen installing a new fan with light, replacing the old flourescent lamp. It can get hot in the dining area without a fan.

The Dining area with a glimpse of the kitchen.

Coming soon in Part 2, the bedrooms ;-)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wall Colour at SD Tiara

Actually we chose a color called Spiney Green from Nippon Paint, but to save cost we use KCC (paint from Korea). Since KCC didn't have that colour, I then asked Faizul and company to change the colour to blue instead. And this colour, even J and I have never seen before, hehehe. We just entrusted it to Faizul to choose a colour representing "biru terang" (bright blue), white for the grill, and for the doors and skirting - mahogany.
Here's the result. This is KCC Littleton. No feature walls, Anie, only plain blue.

What do you think?