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Uniquely Singapore Enbloc Fever (Part 2)

If this is the first time you're seeing this title, please refer to the prequel: Uniquely Singapore Enbloc Fever Part 1.

Here is what happened after that (I could probably make a movie out of it). If you have seen The Worst Week Of My Life (British TV comedy series), you will understand what I’m talking about, because this IS the worst week of MY life, till date.

5 July 2007, Thursday

So I tried to reason with that agent of mine that, since the contract has stated that either party has to provide a written 30-day notice in the event of early termination of the contract, she can't possibly fault me for this because it was HER who has neglected her responsibility as a real estate agent. And who is the one breaching the contract now? It's her who is not giving a 1-month notice! She can well keep my deposit as the rental of my final month, and shove her gangster attitude up where the sun doesn't shine.

I texted her. No reply. And I thought no news was good news.


9 July 2007, Monday

I spent the weekend in Malaysia, where my earthling parents live.

Came back today, I got an annoying text message from the agent Balerina (be my guest and laugh till you drop dead, I just can't imagine what kind of a stupid human being would pick a name like that?!).

Here is our text conversation:

Balerina [hahahaha, sorry I just can't help but laugh]: "latest update, juz bank in yr rental. Company hv stubborn rules n system. Deposit wil b refunded 2u as per contract. Thank you. From: Balerina"
Me: "how can you guarantee that?"
Balerina [hahahaha, sorry I still can't help it]: "All stated in contract very clearly. "
(yes, contract also said that you should give a month’s notice, and Enbloc notice CANNOT be just a month’s notice either!)

I thought: fine and well, let's give you bloody human another chance to live. I planned to go to the bank during my lunch hour and pay it in. On my way to the bank, I got a call from my flatmate telling me that the owner came over the weekend (when I was away), with a policeman, and kicked up a big fuss about us living there! We now know that the agent is not the designated agent, but just an opportunist going around Singapore looking for En-bloc-ed properties, rent them cheap, and sublet each room out at high prices to non-Singaporeans who are not aware of the situation. What's worse, she has not been paying her rent to the owner!

So now we are the ones being accused of living in the house, illegally; and there was an eviction note on the main door! We were ordered to leave the flat within the next week, 15 days sooner than the 1-month notice!!! I am so not paying in my 'rent', all she (Balerina, hahaha!) will get is an angry text from me.


10 July 2007, Tuesday

Flatmate texted me with the news that the power has been cut off due to a long overdue S$900++ electricity bill, and Balerina has put the blame on every tenant: “PUB is cut because of over usage amt not settled n is due to those ppl who is not working full time job being a nosy parker, staying at home whole day." (As this is copied word-for-word from her text message, I can't fully understand what she meant, and I have no intention in interpreting her Singlish!)

I had enough of all these. I went back to the flat, packed as much as I can in the remaining evening sunlight and headed over to a kind colleague’s place for the night.


11 July 2007, Wednesday
Two other colleagues (non-Singaporeans) had offered to let me stay at their apartment whilst looking for a 2-month short-term room. I did wonder if they really are human, hmmmm... they may have come from a neighbouring planet to Eris.


12 July 2007, Thursday
I went back to the flat to get more things packed, but the eviction note was gone, and electricity back on. Not sure why but I had a feeling that 'Balerina' tore the note off because she is so the type who thinks she can do anything her way.

13 July 2007, Friday
I was rushing in for a meeting, the owner called and shouted in my ears: “I want to see your work permit! I want to know if you are legal in Singapore because you are staying (do note that these Asians do not know the difference between ‘stay’ and ‘live’) in my house! I want you to talk to the policeman!”

[I had a feeling the police officer with her then did not even think there was a need to talk to me, because he never came to the phone]

I tried reasoning with her and telling her that I have planned to move out before the date she gave us, and rest assure I will give her the keys. She seemed a little calmer than before and agreed to a time for the key-passing event.

Why are Singaporeans so unreasonable? They tend to think that shouting and talking loudly give them a better position. If she had just put it nicely, I would have done the same thing, in much shorter time.

Friday night: another text message from the owner 'reminding' me to hand in the keys, as if me the non-Singaporean is an idiot.

14 July 2007, Saturday
Another 3 trips between my old flat Le Chateau (I realised that Singaporeans love to make use of French in their building and street names, yet are never able to pronounce them properly) and my office, trying to get the remaining bit of the moving done. But manually handling the move (to save money), without a mover is hell. Lifting all that heavy things down the walk-up flat is definitely not an enviable activity. To make it worse, I just had a surgery in late April and I’ve been instructed to avoid lifting heavy objects for at least 3 months.

Just did the first round back to the office, and it’s time to rush to view of a short-term room (it's really hard to find short term, no agent or landlord would entertain you when you are not helping them make money. I tried mentioning my misery of being unreasonably treated such as short notice given on the enbloc issue, but no one gave a damn). It is one of the least impressive rooms I’ve ever seen: run down, metal spring bed with a thin, old mattress, and there's not even a desk! But beggars can’t be choosers; because it is one of the cheapest, and they accept short-term let.

It is a room within a family flat, so I can foresee a lot of inconvenience. Renting a room from a family in Singapore is a sad scene, unless you are bloody lucky to get some nice people to be your landlord. When my uncle came to study in Singapore years ago, he did the same thing. He was not allowed to cook, and had to eat alone in his room, along with many other "don't"s. Now I am told that they ‘allow’ me to use the washing machine once a week, and do light cooking such as preparing instant noodle. How generous! But like I said before, beggars can’t be choosers. And I am looking forward to the day I left this miserable country in 2 months’ time. That’s what keeps me going.

2nd round of moving. Failed.
On my way back from the room to the office, I planned to do more moving but I forgot the keys to the flat. Typical!

3rd round of moving.
Don’t forget this is a very, very hot country, up to 33C in the afternoon. Try carrying 3 to 4 bags weighing about 10kg each, walking in that hot sun for half an hour, a few times back and forth. By the time I finished moving all the bags and stored them in a cabinet in my office (So that I only need to move once more when I finally moved in to the short-term room in August).

After a talk with all the flatmates, no one wanted to meet the owner, thanks to her 'fascinating' persona. We decided to just leave the keys on the counter, and hopefully she can find it before the bulldozer hits her.

A “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” moment. Let’s see what next week has in store for me. I’ve got my towel ready.

Or rather... a “The Hitchhiker's Guide to Singapore”?


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