the fresco apartment

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

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We are 2 days away from one of Malaysia’s biggest annual celebrations, the Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This is the day where most of our Malay and Muslim friends travel back to their hometowns and gather with their families to celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan and the start of the Eid.

Normally, they will host open houses for relatives and guests to feast on offerings such as curry, spiced rice, various type of meats (halal) and other local favourite delicacies. This is the time where everyone is looking forward to meeting their distant relatives or even friends they’ve not met for some time.  Some would even take the opportunity to tie the knot on this auspicious day.

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The colours green, blue, red and yellow usually dominates the settings for most.  There will be some firecrackers going on somewhere and if you’re lucky enough, you can catch some of those villagers playing with home made bamboo firecrackers (very dangerous but effectively efficient).

Generally, the Malays in Malaysia are a friendly lot and they would be the first to offer food and accommodation to their guests when it’s relevant. Malaysians celebrate the Hari Raya Aidilfitri this Sunday, 25th June 2017 which ends on Tuesday, 27th June 2017. Respect and act kindly to our Muslim friends of their tradition and culture, and you shall be treated likewise. For as long as I can remember, they stand by this proverb – HATI GAJAH SAMA DILAPAH, HATI KUMAN SAMA DICECAH. (Ask your Malay friends if you want to know the meaning) (“,)

Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎‎ ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr], “festival of breaking of the fast”) is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.

Eid al-Fitr has a particular Salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two Rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying “Allāhu Akbar”, literally “God is great”), three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah and three of them just before Ruku’ in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka’ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard فرض (obligatory), Mustahabb مستحب (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob مندوب (preferable).

Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat and fitra before offering the Eid prayers.

The Fresco and Avid team wish all our Malay and Muslim friends, a happy and joyous Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2017!


Definition of Eid al-Fitr taken from Wikipedia.

We have a new king!

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24th April 2017 marks the day when us Malaysians will have a new king (Agong we call it). Sultan Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V was chosen as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the 243rd (special) Conference of Rulers held at Istana Negara on the 14th October 2016. Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah was selected as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the same period.

The Fresco and Avid Estates team would like to take this opportunity to wish the new king – happy installation and may you bring forward the deserved peace & harmony to this wonderful land.

Happy holiday to everyone not working or studying tomorrow! (”,)

Earth Day everyone!

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22nd April is Earth Day guys. Do your part for the Earth tomorrow. We will not be talking about global warming issues here but as an individual, there are things we can do to be part of this event.

These are probably some of the things we can do:

  1. Use less electricity at home
  2. Don’t use your car whenever possible
  3. Save water. Look around if there are ways to save more.
  4. Recycle your waste. Dispose of them accordingly. Those plastics and polystyrene are the main culprits.
  5. Change your light bulbs to those compact fluorescent light bulbs. They save more energy. while you’re at it, turn off the lights when not using it.
  6. Do not smoke in the open air. Better still, stop smoking!

The above are only some of the ways to reduce the negative effects of our actions. But there are so much more we can do to make sure the Earth last longer. Let’s do it for our loved ones. For our future.

Happy Easter to my fellow friends and clients

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It’s Easter Day tomorrow. The Fresco & Avid Estates team would like to wish everyone celebrating this cute and fun day, a Happy Easter Sunday!

Well, most of us know what Easter Day is all about, but what about the eggs? How are they associated with Easter day?

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter or springtime celebration. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus resurrected. In addition, one ancient tradition was the staining of Easter eggs with the colour red “in memory of the blood of Christ, shed as at that time of his crucifixion.” This custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia, and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This Christian use of eggs may have been influenced by practices in “pre-dynastic period in Egypt, as well as amid the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete”.

There you go. All cleared about the eggs. Heh. Not that we celebrate it here massively, but probably good to know.


Quote courtesy of Wikipedia *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg

A Guide to Malaysia Home Loan Refinancing

There are still many of us who do not entirely understand this. What is home loan refinancing? Reasons for refinancing. Considerations.  What are the impacts? We hope the following infographic is useful and able to provide some guidelines on home loan refinancing. Let’s go.

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Infographic source: iMoney.my

You’ll Market Better and Be More Persuasive Knowing These 10 Brain Facts

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If you throw a frog into boiling water, it’ll jump straight out. However, if it’s placed in cold water and the temperature gradually increased, it’ll be found dead without any attempt to escape. We’ve all experienced that subtle death.

Neuromarketing takes advantage of that vast blind-spot beyond our conscious awareness; leveraging psychological phenomenons in subtle ways to lead us into certain decisions.

Here are 10 subtle neuromarketing strategies to start leveraging:

1. Give me one reason.

The classic “Xerox copy” study by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer demonstrates the power of simply giving an explanation. The set-up was a student attempting to cut in line for the copier.

In the first scenario, she asked “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Sixty percent allowed her to cut-in line. In the second scenario, she asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” Compliance shot up to 94 percent with the addition of a reason.

The third scenario was the most surprising: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” The rate was almost the same at 93 percent, even with a redundant and ridiculous explanation.

Our brains love answers; such is our love for crosswords and brainteasers. EEG recordings show a burst of neural activity whenever we have an “A-ha” or eureka moment, and on a lesser scale, when we’re given answers and reasons.

Compliance comes with satisfying that neurological and intellectual hunger for solutions. The most engaging speeches don’t simply convey information, but offer resolutions. The most effective products don’t address problems, they solve them.

2. The whole world in your hands.

Allan Pease gives a fascinating Ted Talk on how hand gestures completely change the public perception of a person’s presentation.

Repeating the same script, the only thing that changes is hand gestures and positioning: palms showing, palms hidden, and using the index finger. The speech delivered with palms showing was remembered 40 percent more people, and the speaker was described as likable and friendly. Palms hidden was described as authoritative. Using the index finger elicited the most negative response and least retention.

Pease explains that the presentation of our palms is historically a sign of peace, that we have nothing to hide. Hidden palms subconsciously reflected protectiveness, dominance or power. Just picture Hitler’s salute.

When giving presentations, being intentional about showing your palms will elicit a better response.

3. Paradox of choice.

From salad dressings to computers and vehicles, we’re flooded with options. Most people celebrate that, but if you’re looking to make a sale, you’re better off giving fewer choices.

Only 3 percent of shoppers made purchases when presented with 24 different varieties of jam as opposed to 30% percent when six varieties were offered. Similar results  were found when an employer offered 50 different mutual funds versus five.

More options produce paralysis. The mental processing required to assess and make a decision goes into overload. Avoid decision paralysis by narrowing your options down to three. In sales, increase your conversion rate by offering fewer options.

4. Loss aversion.

The effort to save $100 is much greater than the effort to gain it. That’s because our emotional reaction to loss is twice as intense as our joy in gain.

Put into practice, a group of teachers were given $4,000 upfront, but told they’d have to return the money if their students didn’t show academic improvement. Another group was promised $8,000 — twice as much — but only after student’s grades came in. The higher grades came from the teachers working not to lose their $4,000.

Savvy marketers always address what the customer stands to lose if they don’t purchase, not just what they gain. Productivity and goal-setting experts also use loss aversion, encouraging placing money on the line to increase motivation.

5. Color, smell and sound.

In many supermarkets, you’ll find the florist and bakery located by the entrance and checkout, along with walls of impeccably stacked candy and chip packets. The smells and colors are a sensory overload, releasing endorphins and a state of pleasure that results in more purchases.

Colors trigger emotional and physical responses: Park rangers will plant bright colors to deter loitering. Waitresses who wear red receive more tips. Hospitals use white to bring a calming effect. Restaurants use yellow to perk moods and stimulate hunger.

Low tempo music will cause shoppers to move slower and purchase more. Classical music has been linked with increased sales in wine stores and restaurants. Pleasant music played while you’re placed on hold keeps callers on the line longer.

Logic and reason can easily be overwhelmed by our senses. A simple shopping list is great advice from your spouse for many reasons, one of which being a great tool for breaking through these subtle influences.

6. The scarcity principle.

Advertise “for a limited time only” and, suddenly, there’s a spike in sales. Airlines often advertise “three seats remaining” to prompt you into making a purchase. When options are scarce, what’s available becomes much more attractive.

Psychologists refer to it as a “temporary shrunken world,” causing our perceptions and decisions to change. The love at first sight on The Bachelor is lucky to get a second glance on a regular night out.

When we have a strong need for something, we’re prone to falling into a “shrunken world” and making irrational decisions. Having that awareness is key to breaking out of it.

7. The power of stories.

We say blood is thicker than water, but face embarrassment when our love for a football team can eclipse our own child. Dr. Paul Zak’s study showed just that.

He monitored the release of the love molecule oxytocin while asking subjects questions related to products and significant people. Products evoked a stronger response over loved ones when they were framed within a story, e.g. the watch that belonged to your grandfather who went to war.

FMRI analysis show that when our brains engage in a story, it behaves more like a participant than a spectator. A story is the bridge between getting and keeping someone’s attention.

8. “You.” Yes, you.

Copywriters are very intentional with the use of “you.” Although the goal is to reach millions, the method is to sound like you’re reaching one person.

Moving from general to personal breaks down the psychological “fundamental attribution error.” It’s our cognitive bias, we have one lens in which we judge other people, and another lens for ourselves; you’ll be furious seeing someone texting and driving, but find justification for your own crimes.

A generalized message will be interpreted through the critical judgmental lens, but a personal message is met with the sympathetic lens. Making someone feel as if they’re the only person in the room isn’t just good social intelligence, but very effective communication.

9. The contrast effect.

A company listed their bread maker for $275 and barely made any sales. They later doubled sales not by reducing the price, but by placing a similar bread maker for $429 right beside it. That $275 bread maker suddenly became a bargain.

A clever salesperson will offer the highest priced product straight off the bat. A $129 tie doesn’t seem much after you’ve spent over a thousand dollars on a suit. An initial price that’s sky-high becomes an anchor for comparison and makes everything else look reasonably priced.

It works beyond business. You could tell your partner you’re pregnant, followed by the dint you just put on the car. Our brain processes information relationally but these comparisons can be warped and unprofitable. It’s helpful to think in isolation also.

10. Mirroring and mimicry.

Increased success in negotiations may be as simple as crossing your legs at the same time your prospect does. Imitating another person’s posture, mannerisms and even tone of voice creates rapport. It happens unintentionally, but can be leveraged intentionally. Whenever we’re comfortable with another person, we naturally become in-synch. When they take a drink, you take a drink.

Italian scientist Giacomo Rizzolati affirmed this with his neurological discovery of “mirror neurons.” When we see someone scratch their nose, the same physical neurons that fired for their action sparks up in our own brain, as if we did the same thing. Evolutionists explain that it allows for empathy and bonding, a survival mechanism that can now be leveraged to build rapport and make people more inclined to accepting proposals.

Of course, it’s a fine line between mirroring and mockery. It has to begin with a genuine interest in the other person. Dressing in a similar fashion to your colleagues, and finding out the dress code for the upcoming conference is a good place to start.


Article contributed by THAI NGUYEN | Writer & Editor: TheUtopianLife.com
Image courtesy of http://www.theplaidzebra.com and Jessica Beuker