Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I’m writing this from Tokyo, where I’m laid over watching a steady afternoon rain shower while awaiting my transpacific flight to the US. For the first time, I’m flying into Seattle as the port of entry. Anything to avoid Los Angeles, an airport I truly deplore. The 7-hour flight up to Japan from Singapore was great. I had three seats to myself on a nicely outfitted Boeing 777-200, slept over half the flight, got fed twice, and watched some TV shows on the nice little personal widescreen LCD. It was even a touch screen, eliminating the need for the retractable-cord remote. Honestly, that was probably the nicest aircraft I’ve flown on… and it’s Delta. I’ve been quite impressed with their international service as I’ve flown with them the last couple of trips back to the US. The meals are not that great, but they’re okay. If they notched up the food quality a bit, flights on that particular aircraft would compare favorably with some of the best Asian carriers.

This is just a short visit home – a couple of weeks away from the stress and uncertainty of my life in KL as of late. Most this has arisen from having to move soon… my landlord sold the condo I’ve been living in, and the new owner is planning to live in it, not rent it out, so I’ve been looking at numerous places over the past few weeks, trying to find something acceptable, but without much luck until literally the day I flew out from KL. I found a nice unit at Perdana Emerald, a condo development just down the street from where I live now. So I’ll get to stay in Damansara Perdana, after all. Even though it’s being ridiculously overbuilt, as I mentioned previously, the fact of the matter is that it’s a very small enclave and there are, at the moment, only seven condo complexes from which to choose. Three of those are immediately bumped off the list for me for their units being either far too small (Ritze Perdana and its sequel, Ritze 2) or far too large (Armanee Terrace). So that left only four developments, and I wasn’t particularly keen on two of them, leaving only the place I currently live, and Emerald. I figure these must be pretty decent places to live, because neither of them have lots of available units for rent, unlike Metropolitan Square and the tragically misnamed Perdana Exclusive. (Seriously, there’s nothing exclusive about it at all… though it’s certainly an okay place, it is, in fact, the oldest and least impressive of all the developments in the township.)

The condo I found in Emerald is substantially larger than my current place. Still three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but this one is over 1,400 square feet and on the tenth floor overlooking Emerald’s excellent pool. I confirmed acceptance of this unit literally three hours before setting off for my flight down to Singapore. I’m not that happy about having to move, but I’m hugely relieved that I found a place. I hadn’t realized how stressful the looming homelessness was to me until I felt the weight of that stress lifted once I settled a new residence.

Another source of uncertainty lately has been my job. I won’t go into great detail here, but suffice it to say I’m looking for other challenges and opportunities, and one of those coincided with my time in Singapore yesterday. I timed my layover there to give me ample time to meet with someone from a company that is looking to expand into Malaysia. We’ll see how things progress – there’s no hurry to jump into something else, and I have a couple of other options in KL as well, so as things evolve, I will write about it here. Expect some changes, though.

Let’s see, what else… oh, car news. I’ve officially sold the Proton Tiara. I had been letting one of my good friends drive it for the past few months, but the road tax and insurance renewal was coming due, so I figured it was as good a time as any to sell it off. I listed it online and sold it within a day, for about RM1000 less than what I initially paid for it back in September 2008. What a great, cheap, crappy little car it was for me. In other car-related news, I had my first KL fender-bender (in my Kia) about three weeks ago. One of my friends and I were driving in a massive jam on a Saturday afternoon, heading to dim sum lunch (naturally), and in the stop-and-go traffic, we were stopped when a car slammed into us from behind. After taking a few seconds to ascertain what had actually happened (it’s amazing how easy it is to be confused and shaken when something like that happens so suddenly), I got out of my car, fully expecting to see my rear bumper in shambles or hanging off the car or something. I was stunned, though, to see that it was barely even scuffed! Now, the other guy’s car, a Perodua Myvi, was a big hot mess. The front was crumpled, the headlights were all wonky, and the radiator was busily disgorging its contents onto the road. Wow. The Myvi looks nice enough, and is indeed Malaysia’s most popular car for I think three years running now. However, if you want to play bumper cars on the highways of KL, this is not a good choice of car for you. When telling my friends in KL about the accident, exactly none of them were surprised that the Myvi fared so poorly in even a minor collision. Anyway, the other driver wanted to just pay for the damage rather than getting the police and insurance companies involved, so we exchanged information, and, still a bit rattled, my friend and I headed off for our lunch.

Fast-forward a week, and I took my car to my beloved mechanics and asked if they could refer me to a body shop to repair and paint the bumper. Even better, they just took care of it for me. I left my car with them and picked it up the next day, completely repaired. It was only RM280 for the bumper and RM30 for a new registration number plate (the “5” was broken). So I texted the guy who had hit me with the information, and within 15 minutes he had “banked in” the money to one of my friend’s bank account, and my friend just withdrew the cash and passed it to me. It was virtually effortless, and I’m so grateful that the guy who hit me turned out to be honest and efficient like that. That said, I hope I can go the rest of my time in Malaysia without any more accidents!

So that should get everyone up to date on the last month or so. I’m looking forward to some “down time” back in Colorado. It’ll be great to see my friends and family, and it will even be nice to have some relatively cooler weather for a change. We’ve gone nearly a week without any rain in KL and it’s been stupendously hot and sunny for days. It’s bad enough that locals, who virtually never discuss the weather, are doing just that. Okay, about an hour until my flight leaves… I think it’s about 8 or 9 hours to Seattle, but not sure. Will catch up later and post some pics!


Anonymous said...

err..can give me the name of the work shop where u got ur car repair meh?

barbmerchant said...

watch what you wish for...cooler temps here in Colorado! was unseasonably cool and wet while you were here!! Post more stuff...and a picture of the pool!

Chad M. said...

The name of the shop is Pusat Sime Tyres. Mr. Sim is the manager. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing such a great Blog Chad. I'm curious about a couple things you have not mentioned so far in the Blog. How are the mosquitos there and are there other nasty bugs to worry about? Pest problems in the City vs. the jungle when hiking etc? Do you have to wear DEET constantly or are they well controlled like the US? How bad is the humidity and does it vary greatly from day to day? Is it like the South of the US in summer where you take a shower and then 10 minutes later you're a sweaty mess? I'm from the SF area in Cali, so not too different than Colorado other than the lack of cold winters. Lastly, you have not seemed to comment on public transit much. If I moved there I would prefer to live near Sentral and use the monorail and light trains to get around. Is that possible there or do you really have to have a car? Thanks! -Jeff

Chad M. said...

Thanks for the nice comments. Mosquitos have never really been a problem for me, actually -- but that said, many of the condo complexes and various townships do carry out mosquito fogging (we just had it here today), so I'd say they're kept pretty much in check.

Random leeches are the only pest I've encountered when hiking, but I've only done it three or four times. I imagine for mosquito-prone people, you might want to have a supply of DEET-soaked wipes or spray handy.

The humidity is generally around 75-80%. I grew up in Alabama and would say it's actually worse there most of the time. There are days here, though... but in total honesty, the heat and humidity have never really been a bothersome issue for me.

If you live in the city center or near an LRT or monorail station, you can certainly get by without a car (I have friends who do), but KL is nothing like Singapore (in many ways), whose public transit system is just a thing of beauty. I wouldn't even consider owning a car if I lived in Singapore. You can actually set your watch by the buses there, whereas here in KL, you just languish on the bench, wondering if the thing will even show up at all. And if you spend more than 15-20 minutes walking around, you will definitely be a hot mess. Or you'll get rained on. :)

Rex Imperator said...

Hi Chad

Nice blog. I myself is looking to purchase a flat at either Emerald Perdana or Perdana View, where you previously stayed. The two units, which is a better choice? Based on pricing, Perdana View seems to be much cheaper than that of Emerald. From my research, Emerald has got more facilities like a putting green and all other things. Honestly the most i would utilise will be the pool. Incidentally which pool is bigger, Perdana View or Emerald Perdana?

Hope to hear from you. Can may also reply me via


Chad M. said...

Overall, Emerald is definitely nicer and more upscale than Perdana View. PV is cheaper, but the units are considerably smaller in general. (Most PV units are under 1,000 sq. ft.). Things to consider: Both developments are medium-density. Perdana View (blocks A & B) is 16 floors, with each floor having 10 units (this varies in a couple of instances because of the overall layout). Blocks C & D are very low density, with only four units per floor, and they're very large and much more expensive than the standard PV units.

Emerald has three blocks. Blocks 1 and 2 are condos, 16 floors of 6 units each (again, with a couple of floors varying). Units from the 11th floor down are standard, varying in size... seems to be 1,100-1,300 sq. ft. or so from what I can gather. All units from the 12th floor up are double-story duplex units (1,800-2,000+ sq. ft.), and are commensurately much costlier. Block 3 is serviced apartments, is built higher (23 floors), on commercial title land, is three years newer than the condos, and the units are smaller than those in blocks 1 and 2, usually under 1,000 sq. ft. I looked at one unit on the 19th floor there and the floor plan was great... just smaller. All facilities are shared by the condos and serviced apartments.

The unit I'm in at Emerald is a corner condo unit and I think it's in the 1,200-1,300 sq. ft. range. Maintenance fees are about RM300 per month, which is in line with the RM0.24/psf I've seen published.

Facilities here are considerably nicer than those at PV, although those are quite suitable as well. The pool area at Emerald is probably the best in D'sara Perdana. Metropolitan Square has nice pools, but the overall landscaping here is really quite nice. The pool is larger than PV's and has three different depths (1.2, 0.9, and 0.5 meters) -- the shallowest being a "fenced off" area for small children, which is nice as it largely keeps them out of the greater pool area.

Emerald also has indoor and outdoor gyms (not fancy, but neither is PV's), a really nice BBQ terrace area with three BBQs, each with its own area for you and your friends to hang out, a sauna, basketball court, driving range, putting green, and a kid's playground.

I really liked PV, but all the major jungle-destroying construction taking place at that end of D'sara Perdana really blunted my enjoyment in the final year. Of course, there's construction everywhere you look in this township. If you buy a condo at Emerald, be sure to get one with a pool view if possible. Block 3 is on the main street and the streetside units are facing expansion construction at Metro Square. The 'back side' of blocks 1 and 2 are less than 50 meters from the construction of Surian Residences, which is probably another year away from completion, after which it will completely obstruct the view from those units. Pool-facing units are definitely your best bet.

Finally, Emerald is closer to the business center of D'sara Perdana, so there's that for convenience. You can walk to the food stalls, shops, Jaya Grocer, etc. And yet it's still quiet here at night, at least from my unit. PV is a 1-km walk from the center, which is just far enough to make it bothersome.

Hope that helps... let me know if you have any other questions!

Chad M. said...

Oops, meant to put that Emerald is 16 floors of TEN units each, not six. Floors 1 and 2 have fewer units, but 3-16 each has ten units.

Chriskoh said...

Hi Chad, I came across your blog while googling around for comments on Emerald as I am thinking of buying a unit at Block 3. I was told that even though Blk 3 is on commercial title, the utility rates are the same as residential. Only the maintenance fee is higher. Any idea on this? Also, what's your comment on the management office? Are they helpful and responsible enough? Security wise? Thanks!

Chad M. said...

No idea about the difference in fees between Blocks 1-2, and Block 3. My TNB bill is usually very low, under RM40 per month, but I seldom run the air-con units. I had some friends who lived in Block 3 and had TNB bills of over RM300, but perhaps they were just super-wasteful, I don't know? Plus, there were three of them.

Security is typical. Not top-notch, and the occasional break-in occurs, but overall, the place seems to be really well-run. Management is fairly responsive and professional, at least by Malaysian standards. They do a fine job of keeping the maintenance current, landscaping nice, etc. I've been there nearly six months now and really have no complaints about the management at all.