Mummy’s birthday!

A little late with this post as I’ve been running around lately. Nevertheless, it was 5th November, mum’s birthday! Happy birthday again mummy!

As usual, we had a simple dinner that night itself at our favourite restaurant in Sri Petaling  – Restoran Makanan Laut Soon Fatt. This place serves its food fast, big portioned and it’s delicious. Price wise, very reasonable indeed.  We had the sambal belacan kangkung (water spinach), pineapple pork ribs, spicy & sour banana leaf tilapia and the deep fried egg-fused cuttlefish. The whole meal cost less than RM100.

Once we’re done with the dinner, we headed straight home to do the cake cutting and our family photo (very simple and casual ones). We had the fruit and cream sponge butter cake. Adrian suggested we have a slightly different pose this round. The ‘dabbing’. It is pretty funny to see all of us doing that – but it turned out well and serve a good memory.

Mum had a surprise gift from us and Adrian did the wrapping and the deco. Wasn’t that shabby too. Look at the stick figures. Complete with initials. Since mum and dad go for morning walks, we decided to get her a nice Adidas Cloudfoam Galaxy 3 trainers.  We hope she liked it.

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Just want to say that my mum hold a very special place in my life and we are equally happy and grateful to have celebrated another birthday with her. We love you, mum!

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Thor: Ragnarok with my bosses

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This is a hilarious show. To be honest, we weren’t expecting to have so many jokes (regular & slightly dirty ones too) in a Marvel movie. There’s one with Dr.Banner (Mark Ruffalo) which is my favourite. I’ll share it at the end of the post later.

The show is about 2 1/2 hours long but didn’t feel like it as there were enough going-on along the plot to keep it entertaining throughout. The movie warmed up quickly from the get-go where Thor fights Surtur (giant fire demon), his legion of demons and also his fire dragon. I think this is the best way to start any superhero based movie because this is what we… want… to… see!

The intensity subsides a little when Thor and Loki found Odin who then told them about an impending apocalypse in the form of Hela (Asgardian goddess of death). Another Marvel character made his appearance here. Watch to find out who it is. The moment Hela is brought to Asgard, the kill count increases and the theme gets a little darker. But to me, she is an amazing villain and they made the headgear look so cool! For a dark character, Hela did make a few jokes here and there while delivering her pre-Ragnarok executions throughout the movie.

The real fun starts when Thor is thrown into a barren world called Sakaar. This place pretty reminds me of all those space-themed movies especially Fifth Element and Star Wars – to a certain degree. It has that epic yet well-designed surroundings and interesting inhabitants. Sometimes, with the colourful settings, it does feel a little like Candy Crush too. And this where they introduced us the alcoholic Valkyrie, the Grandmaster, Korg and the much-beloved Hulk.

I have to say the gladiatorial fight between Thor and Hulk is one of the best after Iron Man’s Hulkbuster scene. But I do notice that they rendered the Hulk differently from time to time, especially during his more mellow look. Not that it matters but a little inconsistent. And he is funnier when transformed back to Dr.Banner. The Valkyrie backstory is one of the coolest and I thought they would play that Hela battle scene a little longer. Adrian loved the pegasuses…

Once the group got back to Asgard, things get messy and as usual, the heroes battle hordes of baddies and finally the big baddie herself. As mentioned, there are few funny scenes here and there but the one that stuck out most for me is the scene where they were mentioning about forming a team call Revengers and how they wanted revenge. Then when Dr.Banner was asked the same, he said – ‘err, actually I’ve not decided yet’. The scene is almost spontaneous and so close to an NG shot. Hilarious.

The flow of the story is pretty neat and tidy. Not shifting here and there too much. The introduction of Hela’s Fenris Wolf felt a little rush though. Probably not too important a character here, hence the quick resurrection scene and a minute’s fight with the Hulk. In the end, everything is settled and Thor regained his rightful place on the throne and the movie ends with a post-credit scene #1 when their spaceship was stopped in the middle of space by a gigantic space vessel. My guess it’s this guy –

thanos1We loved the movie and thought the Thor franchise is getting better and ready to rival the others if it keeps going like this. Sometimes, it would be good to inject more humour in these kinds of shows rather than just plain fighting with serious undertones all the way. Let’s see if DC is any better with the upcoming Justice League. Ciao!

Understand your housing loan repayment scheme… it’s not as straight forward as it seems

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Most if not all house buyers will require financing to buy their dream homes. While there appears to be stiff competition among banks for market share and interest rates may be kept low, house buyers are ultimately at the mercy of banks when it comes to the detailed terms and conditions of the housing loan. (Banks in this context refers to commercial banks, Islamic banks and other financial institutions).

Unfair legal fees

When a borrower takes a housing loan, the borrower is required to execute a loan and other related agreements. This entails the borrower having to pay legal fees, the amount of which varies, depending on the loan amount – the higher the loan amount, the higher the legal fees although the complicity and level of work do not necessarily commensurate directly with the loan amount.

Although it is the borrower paying the loan lawyers’ fees, the said loan lawyer is actually acting for and on behalf of the bank. As such, the loan lawyer is not in the best position to advise the borrower if there are clauses in the loan agreement which are not in the best interest of the borrower.

In addition, in the event of any dispute between the borrower and the bank, the borrower cannot ask the loan lawyer for advice as the loan lawyer is acting for the banks.

If this is the case, then is it “fair or equitable” for the borrower to pay such legal fees when it is clear that the lawyer is actually acting for the banks? Obviously not. Hence, the bank should absorb the legal fees as the lawyers are clearly there to act for the bank and protect its interest.

Exorbitant fees for simple letters

The banking sector in Malaysia is a very tightly regulated industry. Any fees that banks intend to charge must be approved by Bank Negara. It is disheartening to note that borrowers continue to be charged exorbitant fees which seem to have the explicit blessings and consent of Bank Negara. Instances of borrowers being charged unreasonable fees for copies of redemption statement, EPF statement letter etc are common.

Allocation of monthly repayment to principal and interest

This is a story about three friends who took a housing loan (HL) of RM500,000 ten years ago. They were offered the same HL interest rate of 4.2% (base lending rate of 6.60% less 2.40%) but took different loan tenures as follows:

Albert took a 20-year HL. Eric took a 25-year HL and Jamie took a 30-year HL.

After servicing their monthly loan instalments diligently for the past 10 years, they decided to fully settle their housing loan using a combination of their EPF monies and own savings. When they asked for a redemption statement to find out what was the principal sum outstanding, they received a shock of their lives.

Albert, Eric and Jamie were under the impression as they had served 50%, 40% and 33.3% of the loan tenure, their principal sum outstanding would be RM250,000, RM300,0000 and RM333,333 respectively.

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So, when their respective redemption statement showed that Albert, Eric and Jamie still owed respectively RM301,654, RM359,415 and RM396,652, they got a big shock.

So, why did they still owe so much more than what they had thought? The answer lies in the allocation of the monthly instalment towards covering the principal sum and interest charged by the bank.

In an equitable world, the monthly instalments would be allocated on a “straight line basis” to cover the principle and interest charged. Thus, a borrower who served 10 out of a 20-year HL would only owe 50% of the original loan amount.

However, the reality is that the borrower still owes 60.3% of the original loan amount.

The typical borrower will always be “penalised” for settling his loan before the maturity date. Even in the penultimate year of the original loan tenure, the actual amount outstanding is still higher than the theoretical amount, which should be the amount outstanding had the allocation of monthly instalments been done on a straight line basis.

Is it fair and equitable?

Most borrowers do not know or even understand how this allocation is calculated. Is such an allocation “fair and equitable” to the borrower? Under such circumstances, are borrowers supposed to accept that the bank’s own generated computer system has calculated the interest correctly and allocated the payments in the correct manner?

To the borrower, they have paid 10 out of a 20-year loan, he should only owe balance 50% and not 60.3%. Is this manner of allocation not just another unjust way for the bank to generate higher profits after all the bank did receive the payments on time and in full every month. It is the dream of every borrower to be debt-free as soon as possible and it is not fair to the borrower to be penalised in such a manner when he wants to settle his loan early.

That said, borrowers have no choice but to accept the calculation of the bank as correct and final. If the borrower were to reject and not pay the required sum, the loan will not be considered as repaid in full. The borrower could even be blacklisted and even have his property auctioned off by the bank to recover the remaining sum outstanding if the borrower refuses to pay up.

It would be more transparent and equitable if the monthly payments made by the borrower are allocated in a “straight line basis” to interest and principal equally over the

tenure of the housing loan. Short of that, borrowers are at the mercy of banks.

Some banks operate like a “cartel” and standardise their fees to be charged to customers. One wonders whether such unfair practices are condoned by the regulators like Bank Negara.

It is also interesting to note that banks are exempted by the Malaysia Competition Commission allowing banks to agree and collude on unfair fees, penalties and practices to be charged to borrowers.

Unnecessary expenses

Loan agreement “printing charges” – sold between RM150 and RM350. The banks’ solicitors need to purchase a standard loan agreement from the bank (via soft copy) and adds the borrowers’ details in order to complete the loan agreement. The banks charge the lawyer and the lawyer charges the borrowers.

Standard loan agreements are now downloaded from the bank’s website or from the soft copy. The bank no longer needs to print them and should not charge for such documents. Alas, this has been continuing till to date.

Lopsided terms and conditions

Lopsided terms and “add-on” products are aplenty if the borrower wants to identify with them. It would be good practice to remove or qualify the banks’ arbitrary powers.

Conclusion

The National House Buyers Association (HBA) had on Sept 4, 2014 made representation to the Finance Ministry (MOF), Bank Negara. Housing and Local Government Ministry in the presence of Association of Banks Malaysia and Islamic Banks of Malaysia in the form of slides presentation on some observations and unethical practices of some banks.

HBA is looking to work closely with MOF, Bank Negar and all related stakeholders to level the playing field for housing loan borrowers in the long-term interest of the banking industry. We had proposed to set up a working committee to resolve all unfair practices. MOF and Bank Negara have a legitimate interest in the final shape of the banking industry into operating a principled and towards a “customer friendly arena”.


Article picked from http://www.penangproperytalk.com

Source: StarProperty.my

Nieyko the birthday girl!

It’s another year and another birthday surprise for our birthday girl, Nieyko! This round, we did a little more where we reserved a nice little room in HK Hot Pot @ Bangsar 香港热锅 (special thanks to Jean for getting us a place). It was a steamboat cum karaoke dinner party with the Avidians last Monday 16th October 2017.

As usual, the surprise effect wasn’t that convincing and most of the guys were late and Stephanie (our new support) has to slow her down while we prepared the room an wait for the rest to arrive. Well, can’t say Steph didn’t pull it off but that’s as much she can do. When they came in, only 4 of us is in the room! Hahaha…

Nevertheless, the rest came and finally we started the steamboat dinner immediately. The food was awesome as we know it (we came here once before) and those who like to sing got off to an early start while we waited for the rest of the food to arrive.

As you can see, the birthday girl is happy and the cake (also thanks to Jean) is absolutely marvellous. Macadamia & cheese if I remember correctly? It’ll be on my order list for sure. There is also enough liquor to satisfy all of us..

12924482_492796990915700_9209471990642873412_nI guess we were the noisiest bunch in the shop and lucky for us, it was in a well-insulated room. For those who are not familiar with this place, it is located at Lot 9 & 10, Level 2, Telawi Square, no.39 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They now occupy the ground floor too. The restaurant opens at 4:00pm and closes at midnight. But we went past all the way till 1:30am that night.

We really hoped Nieyko enjoyed the dinner and the not-so-surprise party.

Well, the surprised didn’t end there. Since my darling wife was still in the US during that week, we got her to get us a ladies handbag as a gift for the birthday girl.  And today, while she was leisurely working in the office, we surprised her again with the gift! Hah. Nothing really fancy but a nice solid little Michael Kors Selma Stud Satchel Medium Black.  And of course, something from NuSkin is always nice!!

So, another year, we pulled it off and she is definitely looking forward to her next one. We just want to wish her all the best in everything she does and stay happy and healthy always!  Stay cool and crazy as always!


Hong Kong Hot Pot @ Bangsar 香港热锅

https://www.facebook.com/Hong-Kong-HotPot-%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E7%83%AD%E9%94%85-484963568365709/

Another unfortunate incident

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Yesterday was supposed to be a productive morning where a buyer from the North came down to KL for viewing. Not having units from my own listing, I got a few co-agents’ contacts earlier and looked for co-broke. However, not sure if the market is really good or they just don’t feel like co-broking, only one decided to respond to my request.

Since it was Tuesday when we had the conversation and Wednesday was a public holiday (Deepavali), we left the conversation with a confirmation of viewing on Thursday morning at 10:30am. He even asked me for a co-broke letter and my business card to make sure I’m no dodgy agents lurking. I’m more than happy to provide these.

Come Wednesday evening, I sent another Whatsapp message (normally to track the conversation and as evidence leading to viewings) to remind him of the appointment. Noticed the message was read and I did not think much about it later.

I was up early Thursday morning and headed out to the condominium which was 20 minutes away from my place. I reached the place early and went about my breakfast while waiting for the co-agent and my buyer.

Sent out a message at 9:00am reminding him the appointment and noticed that he was last online at 1:20am. I thought he lives nearby and will only make his way to read messages later. At 9:30am, he was still offline and I’m beginning to feel a little uneasy.  I called but couldn’t get through. The phone was switched off. I called again around 15minutes later and the same thing. I knew something is not right.

Finally, at 10:10am, he finally called and told me he totally forgot about the viewing and based on his tone, he was actually trying to accuse me of not confirming the viewing on Tuesday and it’s too late now to arrange with the owners. He said I should write something ‘confirmed viewing on Thursday 10:30am’ in the message to make it clear. Like what??!! Seriously?? After all the reminders??

I told him it’s fine and I would look for others to cover this bulls****. I was very disappointed indeed and in such a short time, I don’t know how to pull this off. The buyer called and I had to walk up to him and told him that I couldn’t get any units for him to view that morning but asked if anything in the afternoon would do. Luckily, and I was lucky for most of the time with buyers and tenants, I was given a second chance.

Immediately I went around sourcing for other agents and finally got 1. Well better than nothing. We went ahead with the viewing and believe it or not, I was told the earlier co-agent was a crafty and dodgy agent around that area and a similar incident happened to him as well. Not sure about the dodgy agent’s motives but heck, I’ll just stay away from these unheard or sleazy agencies from now on.

Lesson learnt. Estate agents like us should really be hardworking and kept looking for quality and personal listing whenever possible. This is where you gain control of situations. When needed to co-broke, make sure it’s with a respectable agent/agency to ensure a good outcome.

Happy hunting guys!

Special mention to Oscar for helping me out. Cool bro!