Things I’d learnt buying my first apartment

January 3, 2018 5:00 PM

I own a home!
(source: xkcd)

This past September I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime: perpetual debt! You laugh but 30 years is a hella long time to be owing money, is it not? And this is AFTER you’ve managed to save up the requisite 20-30% deposit (possibly even higher for apartments in some markets because banks are currently wary of a property bubble with apartments), which was near impossible in my case if it weren’t for my generous parents and uncle.

The house hunting was the easy part. Organising the loan and going through the purchasing process were not.

In no particular order, this is what I had learnt:

  • Getting a pre-approval from your lender of choice to get an idea of how much you can borrow is essential, but it is really just a rough guide and has no bearing on what the bank will actually lend you. The hard part comes when you want to actually apply for the loan. This is when you need to bare your financial soul to the bank: your savings, your credit card debts, your living expenses, your existing financial obligations. EVERYTHING. You will feel your privacy being thoroughly violated.

    I thought that going through the bank where most of my money is parked would make the process easier. I was wrong. My advice: use a mortgage broker.

  • When buying an apartment, factor in at least a quarter of the annual body corporate fees and associated council rates and water charges plus the transfer of land title. And also the cost of a conveyancing agent. All of which added to close to $8000 for me. This is money that you need to have aside from the deposit, on the day of the settlement.

  • There are no stupid questions when it comes to this large amount of money. Ask them at every opportunity and don’t be afraid to harass the real estate agent, your bank and the convenyancing agent. Be polite of course, but ask immediately if something does not make sense or look right.

    Ask the agent how much the body corporate fees are, and how long the property has been on the market (if you hadn’t already looked it up online via sites like That will give you a sense of how much you should bargain. Don’t bother asking how many other people are looking at the property if not obvious on the inspection days – they will always not answer the question directly anyway.

    Ask the bank about ALL the fees and your obligation to them so you have a clear picture of what you are signing your life away to.

    Ask the conveyancing agent about all the important milestones/dates in the purchasing process. The good ones will tell you all this from the start.

  • The conveyancing agent is meant to be your go-between yourself and your bank, the seller’s bank, and the relevant government authorities. They are meant to do all the talking and you just have to make sure that your funds is available on the day of settlement. “Meant to” anyway because in my experience, I was asked by the agent to clarify things between my bank and themselves. This added unnecessary stress because I was not expecting it. My advice: expect that this WILL happen.

  • If you had a dodgy seller like I did, you might not be able to inspect the property until very close to the settlement date. If you were not moving out of a rental property and thus not adhering to a tight schedule, always insist on a re-cleaning and repairs of defects if things are not to your liking. I didn’t have such an opportunity and so was forced to accept the less than satisfactory level of cleanliness and a defective stove top which cut off the power to the apartment twice. Luckily for me, that was the extent of the issues.

  • Don’t expect to be able to do or change everything in your new home immediately. Just enjoy the fact that you now own a piece of land / hole in the sky.

  • Living within your means really take a lot of stress out of the mortgage payments. If you did your research right, you may even pay less than what you have been paying in rent.

The mortgage process ain't easy but not insurmountable if you do your homework
This is not necessarily true but if you do your own homework and have financial discipline, it’s not as scary

Fun for all ages

July 13, 2017 10:15 PM

There’s this really moronic article in the news today and this is the headline:

New study reveals most people stop clubbing at 31 and at 37 it is considered ‘tragic’ |

The sneering tone of the article rubs me the wrong way: “there was nothing worse than seeing people out nightclubbing when they are well past their prime.” Though it does get one thing right – spending time at home watching TV or having dinner parties with close friends and family is indeed very comforting and usually costs less. But that does not preclude you from also clubbing occasionally if you want to. I’m 42 going on 43 and I go out almost every weekend because I have the time and energy, and I can afford it.

Of course, this is not for everyone but you don’t see me telling these other people that they are lame for being at home. If they are happy, who am I to judge? Likewise, clubbing is fun to me and I’m happy doing it. You know that saying, “you don’t stop having fun when you get old, you get old when you stop having fun?” Yeah let me illustrate with this photo.

Granny clubber
Is this 70-year-old deep house fanatic the UK’s oldest clubber?
“My husband thinks I’m an idiot – but I love it”
Hahahaha! And I love this woman’s attitude!

(source: The Tab)

And here’s an awesome couple.

Elderly clubbers at Fabric night club
The elderly couple who went clubbing at Fabric until 5am (!!!)
(source: BBC)

From the article that accompanied this photo:

“Club culture often is portrayed in a bad light by press focusing on the wrong things, forgetting how important it is for people to dance, lose themselves and enjoy real togetherness,” he continues.

“It brings people together from different social layers in society.

“Sometimes I hear people saying they feel too old to go out and it’s sad, you are never too old in my opinion.”

Yes, yes, yes.

You may not like clubbing and that’s cool but we like it, and some of us like it very much. So you do you, and we do us.

In 30 years time, if I’m so lucky I’d still be doing this …

Party hard, party safe and don’t be a creep. PLUR and all that. 😀

Me at Ms Collins

The Last Ooi In The Village

April 15, 2017 3:03 PM

My parents serving tea on their wedding day
My parents serving tea to my father’s parents on their wedding day

To understand this story of mine, there are three things to know. First, in East Asian societies where Confucianism informs the way of life like China, Japan and Korea, carrying on the family name is viewed with utmost importance and the responsibility always fall on the sons of the family. Second, it is a widely-held belief that mistakes and burden accumulated by a past generation can have an effect on the current one, ie. karmic retribution.

Chinese views on sin – Wikipedia

Third, my paternal grandfather was my great-grandfather’s first son (from the second wife; he had three), my father was his eldest son, and I am my father’s eldest son; hence I’m also the number one grandson with the family name. My younger brother is the only other grandson with the family name. So yeah, no pressure at all.

My parents on their wedding day
My parents on their wedding day

With all that out of the way, I can carry on telling this story. So for the longest time now, family and relatives have always been trying to fix my “problem” of being unmarried and childless. I know my mother especially yearned for grandchildren of her own, if what her siblings tell me are true. And then the problem slowly morphed from being solely mine to being predestined.

My mother relayed her thoughts of karmic retribution to me a year back. She said that perhaps there had been some problems or issues in the family a few generations back and that is why myself and my brother are unmarried and childless, and why the Ooi name might stop with me and him in our family. Sounds plausible if you believe in that kind of thing. Or perhaps the idea of carrying on the family name is gradually becoming outdated.

The name “Ooi” is indeed a rare one that originated from the Hokkien people who settled down in Penang in the colonial days. But since then, I think they have been prolific breeders. Just google it and see. At last count, there are about 300,000 results for “Marcus Ooi” alone. So yeah the name won’t die out just because me and my brother are not producing heirs to the throne.

Anyway so my mother has now changed tack and is no longer encouraging marriage so that I can produce more Oois in the world. She said to me, “You know I don’t even care about not having any grandchildren anymore. I just don’t want you to die alone.” The woman if nothing else, is very blunt.

I said to her, “Don’t worry mom, when I’m old there will be robots who will service me in that department.” I know what you are thinking about how my mother reacted and you will be right. To which I answered, “What? The robot will check if I’m alive every hour … amongst other ‘things’.” :mrgreen:

Me as a toddler
Look at that face and all that procreation and name propagation potential

“Why are you not on Tinder?”

November 6, 2016 3:33 PM

I'm single and I'm ok with that
And I’m ok with that.

I feel like I’m rehashing myself because I’ve written about this at least twice before, and very eloquently too I might add. Seriously they are really well written. Go read them. 😀

Why aren’t you asking her out?
Saying I’m single as I grow older

But ain’t nobody got time for that so Imma just gonna write about it again. I will even put in 10% more effort to make it slightly different. You are welcomed.

The impetus for this post is me being asked the question:

You are single right? Why are you not on Tinder?

This is a variation of the concern that some people in relationships have for a singleton like me, because according to them being single can’t possibly be good. The implication of the question is that I should be doing something to change that and I should use all the tools and apps available to us now in the Internet age. That I should have no excuses to be single and that I’m single because I’m not making any effort.

So why am I not on Tinder? I last dated seriously about 10 years ago. I can’t explain why I lost interest in the whole process. For a while I thought that I might be asexual but no, every time that I step outside confirms that I’m not. I’m attracted to women and I like looking at women.

And I still have a healthy sex drive. So much so that I’ve paid for sex even though it’s much better when there’s an emotional connection. The empty and unsatisfied feeling after tells me that I was not going to get it from a woman who is paid to be with me. And just to emphasise the healthy sex drive thing, I’ve paid for it more than once even though I know sex is better with a girlfriend than not. And no, the “girlfriend experience” may mimic the real thing but it is still not the real thing.

Despite the lack of physical intimacy though, I’m happy in life. I wake up every morning thinking how lucky it is to be alive and to have the people that I have in my life. I take pleasure from the simple things in life: a delicious meal that I made myself, my mother calling me to ask me about that same meal, the sun shining on my face on a cold day, my friends thinking and telling me that I’m awesome, a delicious alcoholic beverage or ten, and my memories and thoughts about having shared 15 years of my life with Snoop. And one of many things that the Internet is super great for …

A puppy sleeing on its back on a couch
Pictures of sleeping puppies! What … you thought that I was gonna say porn? Ok yeah, porn too.

Perhaps the above explain why I have not placed much priority into finding someone to date. And I’m sure this goes for others who are similar to me. We don’t need pity or concern when we choose to be single and to value our lives more than by who we are with and what other people think about our marital status. Life is fulfilling in so many other ways.

So until I’m lucky enough to stumble onto the person that I want and she wants me back …

Unlike these women, I am not too classy to watch porn. :)
“’Put the chicken in the fridge.’ This is not a sentence I had ever expected to hear from Christian, and only he can make it sound hot, really hot.”

I can take care of things myself. 😎

You read my text but you don’t reply. What’s up with that?

July 25, 2016 8:33 PM

Why are you not replying instantly?!
(source: pinterest)

There’s a reason that people text more these days than they would call. Texting allows you time to compose your response and because you don’t know if your recipient has read your message or not, you tended to cut them some slack. An immediate reply is usually not expected.

That was true until the advent of the typing bubble and the read receipt. These two things have combined to cause a lot of psychotic behaviour from otherwise sane people. Now you can see that they’ve read it and sometimes you can see that they are typing out a response but then they stop. Maddening? Yes! Logical? Nope.

Typing bubble disappears and you mad as hell

Things get complicated further when it comes to dating because some people still adhere to the stupid rule of waiting before replying or sending out that first text. So now, the artifical countdown starts as soon as the two blue ticks appear next to your message. A forlorn cry of “It’s been two days! Why haven’t they replied yet?!” morphs into an angry one of “I know they’ve read it! That bastard/bitch!”

Aziz Ansari feels all of our pain.

My thoughts about how to get out of the above neurotic behavioural cycle are as follows:

  • Don’t wait to text. Just text. A simple text after that first date is nice – “I had a great time. Hope to see you again.” As long as your texts do not outnumber theirs, you are not being too eager or desperate. You are being a decent human being making conversation and showing interest.
  • Don’t wait for the reply. If they don’t reply within a reasonable time frame (1-2 days max) then perhaps they are not that interested in making an effort and that’s ok. Move on. If they message back after a lengthy period without making plans to meet up next and the whole non-replying cycle continues, move on and this time for good.
  • Don’t play mind games. Treat them the way that you want to be treated yourself and if they don’t reciprocate that’s your sign to look elsewhere.

Feel like agonising about this somemore? Then read these:

The Dos and Don’ts of Texting Someone You Want to Date | Lifehacker

How long to wait before I reply back to her text message? – guyQ by AskMen

Dating Sucked Before Text Messages. Now It’s Even Worse. | Jezebel

*Post inspired by TCC

Snoop’s life in pictures

March 19, 2016 8:30 AM

Snoop the dog

My dog Snoop was put down this month (6-3-2016) after giving us 15 years of wonderful memories. Here’s a pictorial tribute to his life.

With Dillon the Alaskan Malamute when he was 4 (2004). Dillon would pass on the following year.

dill-n-snoop-on-floor.jpg dill-n-snoop-on-floor-2.jpg

He really liked to pose as Superman.

Snoop in a superman pose

Here you can see the beginning of a lump near his right paw that forced the amputation of his leg 5 months later (2006).


Him acting like he hasn’t just lost one of his legs (one month after it was amputated in 2007).

Snoop the dog – an update from Marcus Ooi on Vimeo.

He also loved hanging out with mom in the front yard because he can death-stare at the neighbour’s dog (2007). Don’t worry – he was tied to a post.


This clip of him eating rockmelon was pretty popular back in the day (2009).

Snoop eating rockmelon from Marcus Ooi on Vimeo.

He loved the sun so much that he got skin cancer near his groin (2013). Dayum son.

Snoop sun bathing

This couch was his favourite.

Snoop sleeping on his favourite couch

He loved protecting us.

Snoop. Guardian of the living room.

A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

Like all dogs, he loved chasing after balls (2015).

Throw it throw it throw it.

A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

And then he’d chew on it in this position (2014).

The downward dog.

A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

His final resting place is one of his favourite spots in the backyard.

Snoop's ashes being buried in the backyard

Snoop's plaque

Smiling and wagging your tail till the end,You didn't make it easy.But there's a time to be strong,And there's a…

Posted by Marcus Ooi on Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why aren’t you asking her out?

February 7, 2016 9:07 PM

(source: xkcd)

I’ve wrote about this before, about having to justify being single as I grow older. And three years after I wrote that, it’s only getting worse. Society just cannot understand why one would choose singledom over being attached to someone. At times, this attitude is downright hostile.

OMG, you are 40?! Don’t be so choosy. You are not getting any younger. What’s wrong with her? Why do you want to be alone? What’s the matter with you?

The fact that my parents and family are gently nudging me constantly is a given and I am ok with that. My parents’ generation grew up at a time when it’s highly frowned upon if you are not married by 30. Their worry comes from a good place. Mom actually said to me, “I don’t want you to die alone”. It’s ok mom, I won’t die alone – they’d find my body next to a fembot. The technology will exist when I’m 70 right? :mrgreen:

I kid. Relationships exist in many forms now and the traditional man-woman monogamy thing is not necessarily the most fulfilling one out there. Yes, someone still needs to procreate to keep our species going but I don’t think that’s a problem at the moment. I would think that people of my generation and even the one after mine would not care so much about having a partner to validate their existence but I would be wrong.

I would be out in mixed company of single people and people in various stages of a relationship, and without fail there is an expectation on me as a single male to be trying to hook up with one of the single females on the night. As a Chinese person, I used to get “oh she’s Chinese too, you two should hit it off”. Now it’s “oh she’s single, you should ask her out”. Hey friend, I just wanna enjoy my alcoholic beverage(s) in this loud and noisy environment looking at the various women walking around the place. No, I don’t want to ask all of them out and yes I can enjoy looking without wanting to buy the goods.

I’m more inclined to let things happen naturally, for the conversation to flow and the laughs to be shared effortlessly. And then maybe, I might ask her out. Or I might not. Don’t worry about my state of mind – it’s perfectly fine where it is. And yes, I like sex with women but it doesn’t mean that I need to plug every available hole that walks my way. Kthxbai.

Yes I'm single and you gotta be fucking awesome to change that