Thursday, June 27, 2013

My New Apartment

I moved to my friend’s place yesterday. After all, it was a blind marriage with the place as I couldn’t have a chance to see it in advance. It was because of the trust I have in this friend of mine and the places I had seen were all unspeakably horrible. And this place is certainly an incredible improvement over the Neil Road studio apartment where I had stayed over four years.
For this moving, I must deeply thank another friend of mine for his deploying his car and muscles to move my stuff here. Now, I must think what pieces of furniture I need. I definitely need a desk and a chair for my work. I probably need a sofa and a table to allow me to feel relaxed. And do I need a bed? I know it would be better to have one while I also think that I don’t want to have anything bulky and/or heavy. Is a futon set available here? And bookshelves. At Neil Road, I had three sized about 200 x 80 x 30 cm for my books, magazines, CDs and VDVs. This time I had to dismantle them. All those are still in carton boxes.
Given the amount of energy required for my packing, dismantling work and actual moving, I hesitate to get new shelves because I know I won’t live at this new place forever. When I have to move out again, my thinking goes to how much work must be done. And, without shelves, the boxes would be there, occupying the space where a bed should be. I even think that how it could be possible for me to accumulate this much. A stupid question, I know. I want my books, CDs and VDVs to be with me because they are part of my history. Is the answer to get my own permanent place?
And I learned from the person who showed me the units in Kelantan that the police had raided the building to bust all hookers there. It was a wise decision not to rent a place there.
The company, called Genevieve Management also known as Phil Leasing and which has yet another name, returned the deposit to me but I believe it cheated me on the utility bills, which showed a total amount that was twice more than usual. And the guy who did the inspection of the place was very inept, unable to answer any of my questions. All he was able to do was to say “Ask the office.” I forever remember this management company.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Apartment Search

Last Tuesday, I received an “ATTENTION TO ALL TENANTS” e-mail notice from the management company for this unit, dated May 21 (the previous day), that said, “… this premise… has been sold by the Owner and we were given till 30th June 2013 to vacate. Any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.”
I received the same notice in the letter form, I think, two days later.
I quickly started searching the internet for available and affordable apartments. Reluctantly and feeling resigned, I had renewed the contract only a month before.
I found that two apartments of different sizes in a single building were appearing in several web pages. And because the building is located nearby (10-minute walk), I decided to visit there on Saturday. To reach there from the main road, I had to climb up a road behind an old commercial complex. When I was entering the premises, I was stopped by a security guard. Security was tight probably to prevent unwelcome visitors from the complex, which I believe is a den of vice activities.
On Monday, I contacted an agent whose name I found in one of the web pages and arranged a viewing the following day. A few hours before the appointed time, she notified me that those apartments would be available only in July. So we called it off.
Also on Monday, I contacted another agent to enquire about two apartments. I don’t know why but he suggested a different one in Telok Blangah, and anyway I decided to see it that night. Two agents came to show me the place. As soon as I entered the apartment, I found a Buddhist altar which showed every feature of THAT religious sect. The place was so large for me even one of the rooms would be locked to store the belongings of the owner of an old age, who, to join her family, would leave Singapore for Indonesia, which is her country. I asked the agents what they would do about the altar and they said it would be stored in the room to be locked. But I knew my answer would be a big resounding No. I do not want to live with anything related to the sect, even hidden from my view. I didn’t give the agents an immediate answer. I gave my official No a few days later.
On Tuesday, I found a small apartment with no agent involved. That was very near Lavender MRT station. I went to see the place. It was too small even for me. And the dark and smelly building and those guys, who were half naked or had bloodied eyes, repulsed me. It looked like a jail house.
On Thursday, the management company here sent me some photos of one of the places under their management (Bugis/Little India), which I had requested when they sent me the “ATTENSION TO ALL TENANTS” letter.
The afternoon of the same day, I went there and the sales person was waiting for me. The neighborhood was not very clean. I thought that was something I should accept, given my budget. As a few units on the 4th floor were under renovation work and with lots of junk, it was not easy for me to see what layouts they had exactly. The sales person was someone whom I could talk to easily. I said, “You are making my life upside down,” complaining about her company. She answered, “It’s not me, but the office…” And I mentioned a police action last year to arrest a few prostitutes here. Tired to continue to look for a new place, I decided to take one of the units she had showed me. And when we were leaving the building, she said, “Here too,” meaning that there were prostitutes doing business there.
I replied, “I’m not gonna look for anything, but if I noticed anything funny, I will report it to the police (again).”
Though I reserved a unit in the building, I thought it over because I had doubt about it because of hookers. And the following day (yesterday), I sent her a message telling her that I had changed my mind and would not stay in that unit under such an environment. Her response was immediate. She told me when we met again she “got worried a bit (because I mentioned the arrest of last year)” and suggested that I see other places she herself knew.
Yesterday afternoon, she picked me up to see two places and on our way told me that 5thand 6th floors of that Bugis/Little India building were occupied prostitutes from China.
The first one in Lavender was located in a shop house and as soon as I saw it, I sensed it had been used to be used as a hooker’s house. I didn’t like it.
She then brought me to Aljunied for another unit. For this unit, another woman joined me who kept saying on our way there, “It’s a nice clean place. You’ll like it. Like a hotel room.” Yes, it was clean, but what hotel room was she talking about? A TV set, a wardrobe and a bed completely occupied the room. And the shower and toilet were shared with other tenants. Some hotel room indeed.
And then… When the rent was to be raised last month, one of my friends had told me that I should take his place in the Bishan/Marymount area. But it was not possible for me to move there then because it could be available only in the second half of June, a gap of a month. After the letter, I had contacted him again asking if he was still willing to rent his place to me.
Over much beer and shochu again and again, I wondered if I could find a better deal than the one he offered me. I don’t think I can and, barring an unexpected accident, I will move into his place.