Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ecogreen Cafe, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

CS took me to this place a few weeks back. His company had had events there previously and he said the food was quite good (though pricey). The Ecogreen Cafe is located at the Bakti building in Taman Tun (http://ecogreen.com.my/outlets/ecogreen-organic-restaurant-bakti/). Quiet and serene. I was so excited to see the No MSG, No transfat, No this and No that sign. I love (though not necessarily can afford) organic food!

CS had the Oat Curry Chicken with rice


I wanted to be adventurous and the picture of the lui cha on the poster looked so good. Never tried lui cha before, so thought it might a be a good place to start :) It didn't look much, but after going through half of it, I was full! What's more, my jaw was tired of all that chewing. The stuff put in was really healthy! It's an acquired taste with the mint and basil paste though. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. Next time, 2 people can share this :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tubing Cutter

Look what CS found - a tubing cutter! What in the world is a tubing cutter, I hear you ask?
If you're like us...always having to rely on contractors to cut our curtain rods...you'll love this. It's a simple DIY tool that can cut tubes (duh!)
Just slide the rod in between the cutter. Tighten the jaw by screwing it down, then twist twist twist.
Voila, your tube is cut!

Note to self: Either this is a fantastic find or we (read CS) are just suckers for cool-looking gizmos!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

After Renovation Cleaning

CS and I had constantly been cleaning up after the contractors. It all seemed a bit redundant - to clean and then to have another contractor come to dirty it up. O'well. We kept on at it anyway *clean* *clean* *clean*

After all the contractors were finally done. We looked at the place - all 960 sf of it, and decided that... 

w.e.d.i.d.n.o.t.w.a.n.t.t.o.c.l.e.a.n.a.n.y.m.o.r.e 

We decided that we'd give ourselves a treat and hire professional cleaners who did "post renovation cleaning". I suddenly remembered a friend of ours had a cleaning service company and used to provide these house cleaning services. I'd seen his blog before. 

Found it. 

Oh! Precisely what we were looking for!!! This is what I'm talking about. Since everything was new in the unit, we wanted to make sure the cleaners we hired were of good calibre.

I proceeded to call Oliver of Vision Mission Cleaning. (Incidentally, Oliver is a fellow DUMC-ian ;)) He came back with a date which we agreed with. We then waited excitedly for the unit to be cleaned so that we could move in!

The day finally arrived. They reached our place at about 1.45pm. Oliver himself with 4 ladies. Dressed neatly in their uniforms. Oliver instructed them what to do and off they went. Throughout the 5 hours there were there, their attitude was exemplary. Courteous, polite, smiling, responsive to anything we told them. At the end Oliver asked us to check thoroughly to see if we were happy with everything. If not, let him know so that they can rectify. Top-notch-world-class service! We were SO happy with their work!

Here're some pictures to show :)
 

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

 After

This is the 17th floor mind you!

Cleaning more windows

Cleaning the wall tiles

Cleaning the lights

They mopped the floors 4 times! When they left, it was so squeaky clean. CS and I looked at each other in disbelief - to be able to walk in the unit barefeet!!! We were estatic!!!

Here's his contact. You can mention that you got his number from Shelley :)

He does say on his website though, that they "ain't hourly maids. They are professional"
This will give you a heads up with regards to their fees - as to what you should not expect.


Oliver Ho
Mobile: +6012 376 5497

Thank you, Oliver &; team for the G-R-E-A-T and W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L gift! *wink*

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Borrowing money from banks at zero interest rate?


Got this article from http://www.iproperty.com.my - written by Milan Doshi. Food for thought.

Effect of Inflation on Bank Loans
Borrowing money from banks at zero interest rate? Milan Doshi shows you how Posted Date: May 14, 2010
By: Milan Doshi
Effect of Inflation on Bank Loans
Borrowing money from banks at zero interest rate? Milan Doshi shows you how
If you were to ask any person from our parents’ generation, the common advice they would give is:
  1. Don’t borrow any money
and
  1. If you really need to borrow, borrow as little as possible and return it back as soon as possible
Their reasoning is that having a peaceful sleep at night is extremely important. If you were to owe anyone any money, there is this deep-rooted fear that someone might knock on your front door in the middle of the night demanding that they be repaid on the spot.
I am not too sure but perhaps it could partially be due to movies. In many movies, there are scenes where the greedy landlord and his henchmen come knocking on the poor farmer’s door demanding that they be repaid on the spot. When the poor farmer is unable to do so, the landlord then forcefully takes over what few possessions the farmer has and kicks the poor farmer and his family out of the house.
There is no way we can fully appreciate what our parents might have gone through in their generation which shaped their beliefs. Many of them would have lived through the Second World War, the OPEC oil crisis, racial riots, etc. In those days, being able to have 3 decent meals a day was a luxury, something that we today take for granted.
Leveraging on bank borrowings
As a result of this misplaced fear, many of our parents have completely missed out on the power of leverage by using bank borrowings for property investments. In fact, I recall the day my father bought a double-storey house in Singapore in 1973 for S$120,000 which was a big sum in those days. He had taken a 25-year loan and one of his life’s goal was to look forward to the day the property loan is fully settled and the house finally becomes his. The loan was finally settled in 1998 and my father sold off the house for around S$1 million a few years later and moved into a condominium as both my parents had trouble climbing stairs.
Another reason why their generation didn’t like to take up big bank loans for property purchases is that the amount that has to be repaid back over long periods is close to double the original loan amount. They prefer to work hard, save money for a few years and then take a small loan to save on bank interest costs. Unfortunately, their well-meaning advice given while we are growing up makes many people afraid to take on big loans. Hopefully, this article changes your perspective on this issue.
Are bank loans making you poorer? 
Let’s take the example of a loan for RM1 million at a fixed interest rate of 5% per annum for 25 years. The yearly installment works out to RM70,952 per year or RM5,913 per month. Multiply by 25 years and the amount works out to a staggering RM1,773,800! Imagine borrowing RM1 million but having to pay RM1.773 million back i.e. the principal amount of RM1 million plus interest costs of RM773,800. As a result, many people would rather avoid borrowing money and hence miss out on property investments. Their logic would be “Why take unnecessary risks to make the banks richer and yourself poorer”?
Unfortunately, these people are looking at things from the wrong angle. They don’t realize that the money returned back while in absolute terms is totalling RM1.773 million, its value after taking inflation into account is completely different. You are not paying RM1.773 million today, but RM70,952 per year spread over the next 25 years. The purchasing power of RM70,952 today and its value 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years is vastly different.
For readers who are not mathematically-inclined, let me first explain the effects of inflation in an easy manner. Let’s assume RM1,000 today can buy you 1,000 lollipops. If inflation is running at 4% per annum, the value of
                                                    1,000 lollipops
RM1,000 one year from now  = -----------------------
                                                      1 + Inflation Rate
                                                  1,000 lollipops
                                              = ------------------------
                                                      1 + 4% (or 1.04)
                                              = 961.5 lollipops
Hence RM1,000 one year from now can only purchase 961.5 lollipops. Therefore, the value of RM1,000 one year later is the equivalent of RM961.5 in today’s value if inflation is 4% per annum.
                                                       Value of RM1,000 one year from now
RM1,000 two years from now  = -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      1 + Inflation Rate
                                                         961.5 lollipops
                                                = -------------------------
                                                        1 + 4% (or 1.04)
                                                                    1,000 lollipops
                                              or   ------------------------------------
                                                        (1 + Inflation Rate)2  or 1.042
                                              = 924.5 lollipops
Therefore, RM1,000 two years later is only worth RM924.5 in today’s ringgit.
The formula to compute the Present Value of Future Dollars is:
                                                                                    Future Amount
Present Value of Amount nth years from now =  ----------------------------
                                                                                (1 + Inflation Rate)n
Let’s compute the Future Value of RM70,952 per year over the next 25 years assuming the inflation is 4% per annum:
Year                Amount (RM) in Present Value
   1                     70,952 / (1 + 4%)1 = 68,223
   2                     70,952 / (1 + 4%)2 = 65,600
   3                     70,952 / (1 + 4%)3 = 63,077
Calculate until Year 25 and add up all the various Present Values gives the answer of RM1,108,425. What this means is that while we will be paying in absolute terms a total of RM1.773 million, the actual value after inflation at 4% per annum is only RM1.108 million. Suddenly borrowing money doesn’t look so scary.
In fact, it will start to make even more sense. Study the table below for the Present Value of a loan of RM1 million for 25 years at interest rates of 4% and 5% for various inflation rates:

Notice that if your bank interest rate is 4% (or 5%) and your inflation rate is 4% (or 5%), the Present Value of the Total Installment paid over 25 years will be equal to your bank loan of RM1 million. The bank interest cost and inflation cancels each other out. It’s equivalent to borrowing money at zero interest rate!
Inflation cancels out bank interest cost
If your personal inflation rate is above the bank interest rate, you actually end up paying less back. For example, if the bank interest rate is 4% (which is the current rate of BLR – 1.8% for residential properties) and your inflation is 5%, you actually end up paying back RM902,181 for a loan of RM1 million. Unbelievable, but it’s true.
Malaysia’s official inflation rate is around 3% per annum. Unfortunately this is not what most of us experience on an annual basis especially in recent years. Most families’ inflation rate will hover between 5% – 10% per annum depending on the parents’ (around 4-6% pa) and their children’s (around 6-10% pa) lifestyles. The inflation rate for children is usually higher than their parents due to their different consumption pattern and spending habits. This higher inflation rate actually works in your favor as the bank interest cost is only 4% per annum (i.e. BLR – 1.8%), far below your family’s average inflation rate.
In property investments, inflation not only works by pushing up asset values. It also reduces your borrowing costs when inflation is taken into account! This is another powerful reason why you must invest in good investment properties and borrow as much as possible provided the yields are higher than your borrowing costs. Then sit back, relax and let inflation work its magic on both sides of your Net Worth.
If you have any comments on this article or questions, please email to me at http://achievers88@yahoo.com. I would highly recommend that you sign up at our moderated getrichbook egroups at:

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/getrichbook/
It's free for all my book readers and readers of this article. Only relevant emails pertaining to finance, property and stock investments will be approved for broadcast.

Article Contributed by
Milan Doshi
Financial Trainer and Best Selling Author of
“How You Can Become a Multi-Millionaire Real Estate Investor!”
For more information, visit www.milandoshi.com

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sponge Brush

The internet just has so many resources! I am indeed a googaholic! I was searching for a video on how to patch holes in the wall (or something like that), and while I was watching it, I saw the guy using a "sponge brush". I haven't really seen one before. But I thought it might intrigue the husband. I sent him the link. Whaddya know, that very evening, we were owners of a sponge brush - TWO to be exact! We got them from Home-Fix at the Waterfront, Desa Parkcity. I don't think you would be able to get this at your resident chinese hardware shop ... I think they'd scoff at it ... "What? Why do you need this? Just take a paintbrush or sponge-lah!"
The 3 different sizes available at Home-Fix
The 3 different prices for the 3 different sizes :)

CS loved it! He managed to use it to paint perfect-straight-line borders between the coloured wall and the white wall. Very suitable for melancholic personalities! :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Drill Dust Collector

I came across this wonderful inexpensive gadget the other day! No, I don't do the drilling, CS does - and a wonderful job he does. The other day in the office, a few workers came to add on plug points. Oh boy, what a mess they made. My colleague and I got talking and she says that her FIL never lets contractors drill without using a drill pouch. "What's that?" I asked. She briefly told me but couldn't tell me much more. I then referred to the wonderful world of google to find out what it was.

Oh wow!!! What a find!!!

CS had been drilling our walls to put up curtain rods, and there was just one more wall to do. I forwarded this to him and that evening itself, he did this in 30 seconds (tops!) and we used this. All I can say is...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

No more messiness when drilling! We won't ever need to fear drilling over clean stuff anymore. This little drill dust collector works like magic!

Try it!!!

Here's how it looks like
And THIS is where the dust rightfully goes to! View the tutorial below to get a better idea!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yi Yan Porridge Restaurant

We saw a cafe close down recently near our home. In its place, Restoran Yi Yan took over the shop lot. It sells porridge mainly, but there is also pan mee available. It's located at Jalan Medan Putra 1, Kepong.
It was our 3rd wedding anniversary that night and we ended up at this place. Not exactly the best place to celebrate an anniversary but it had to be here, because I was not well and had to eat porridge! Hrmph. 
The porridge was quite palatable. The meat came in chunks. I would have preferred it more mince-y though. On a whole, a good shop to have in the neighbourhood ... for sick people who need "sick food" like porridge, or for those who like porridge :)
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