Malaysia

7 Types of Landlords in Malaysia

Jenny and I have had our fair share of renting accommodation. Through our experience, we discovered that landlords’ methods of “work” might vary greatly. In fact, they vary so greatly that it is usually impossible for us to properly set up our expectations in advance. Additionally, as we’ve had “international experience” with renting, we could conclude that these stereotypical landlord types could easily be found in many places around the world. So here goes:

1. The MIA Landlord

You will never see or hear from this guy (or girl) once you move in and pay your deposit. In some situations, you might actually not see them ever at all, because they might have designated all their functions (up to the point of handing out of the keys) to a real estate agent, who handles the whole process. Needless to say, if something unexpected happens, if you might have any complaints, or if you just want to mention that you will be off for a week (just so they are aware), you will be met with silence. An interesting bi-feature of this type of landlord is that he/she tends to appear quickly if you happen to delay your rental payment, or if the next year’s contract needs to be negotiated.

2. The Not-Caring-At-All Landlord

You arrange to check a place. You go in, and you see that there is a 2cm-strong layer of dust, and all the brand-new furniture hasn’t even been unpacked. At your blank stare the agent responds with “the house hasn’t been occupied since it was bought a year ago, and the landlord hasn’t visited since then, either.” Needless to say, this type of landlord is usually a cousin (if not a sibling) of the MIA landlord.

3. The Over-Caring Landlord

Don’t get me wrong, caring for one’s rented property and for one’s tenants is an extremely important detail of good landlord-tenant relationships. However, visiting every couple of weeks to check if everything is OK, and calling every other day to get an update report on anything happening around the area where you are staying might be a bit overboard. You will soon come to realize that this type of landlord rarely cares as much about your welfare, as for if their place is in tact and if you won’t run away with all their furniture. Based on all the horrific stories I’ve heard about tenants stealing everything from light bulbs to auto gates, such type of behaviour might make sense in the Malaysian context.

4. The “Tiny Details” Landlord

You know that deposit you pay when you move in. Well, with this type of landlord you can be sure you will never, ever, get that deposit back. An almost invisible scratch on the table, a stain on the wall (not even caused by the tenant), an unevenness to the flooring (again, not tenant’s fault). No matter how small any of these problems might actually be, and no matter whose fault, this type of landlord will find a way to withhold your deposit to rectify the issue. At later time when you try to follow up and see the receipts for any rectifications that might have been done, this landlord quickly turns into the MIA landlord.

5. The “Wear and Tear” Landlord

You happily move in to your new place. Everything looks relatively fine, although you’ve already noticed (and mentioned to the landlord) that the air conditioner appears to make some noise from time to time. However, the landlord has assured you that it is in perfect condition. A month later, the air con starts leaking. You call the landlord to tell them and you are met with the passive-aggressive “wear and tear” response. According to the Malaysian landlord’s vocabulary “wear and tear” means that you’ve been using the item, and therefore it is your fault and you need to rectify the problem. You call the contractor, and when he comes (together with a solid bill), he tells you that the air conditioner hasn’t been cleaned for at least 3 years and that is the main cause of the leakage.

6. The “I Will Fix It for You” Landlord

This is arguably the best type of landlord of all the mentioned types, because they are pretty much the only ones that do help (at least somewhat). The reason for them to want to fix something on their own is obviously to cut their costs – in which there is nothing wrong, especially if they do know how to fix that something (think boiler, laundry machine). However, the problem is that as it is either them, or their friend/relative, who will be fixing the problem, it might take extremely long time for them to come by and do it. Additionally, they tend to use not necessarily the most suitable materials for the repair work and thus the item tends to get spoilt again after some time.

7. The Perfect Landlord

The perfect landlord signs a contract with you (did I mention that many landlords appear to like to skip this step?) in which there are clearly stated rights and liabilities of both parties. Once something beyond the tenant’s control goes awry, they help get it back on the right track in a timely manner. They come by once every 2-3 months just to check if everything is in order, and if the tenant has any withstanding complaints (with the building management, for instance), so that they could attend to them. We are sure there are such landlords, it is just that we have never had the fortune to encounter them up to now!

Have you had the chance to encounter any other interesting and unique types of landlords?

Best Air Purifier in Malaysia (and Singapore) – What I Chose and Why

*This is a guest blog post by Nyagoslav Zhekov, the loving husband of Jenny Zhekova.

Note! This blog post is solely for sharing purposes. We are not selling or endorsing any air purifiers! ūüôā

If you have been following this blog, you most probably know by now that my wife has been fighting with severe sinusitis for many years. As things she tried worked with moderate, short term success, I decided to try something new.

Air Pollution in Malaysia and Singapore

Air pollution in Malaysia and Singapore is a serious problem. If you have ever lived in any of these two countries, chances are that you have experienced the May-July severe haze Рa direct result of forest burning in Indonesia. But Indonesia is not the main problem. Overpopulation in certain areas, industrial activity, excessive usage of personal transportation means instead of public transport, are all add-up factors. States of emergency are not uncommon due to pollution levels rising above the Emergency level of 500 API/AQI/PSI.

Air Pollution Index

There have been times when surgical disposable masks¬†were not available in pharmacies.¬†The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia shares an interactive map of the hourly changes in air pollution levels in the country per area. Similar map is maintained by the National Environment Agency of Singapore. In fact, you could even download and install this¬†app that provides the same information via¬†phone updates. Of course, this wouldn’t really help resolve the issue. It could only make you more aware of the threats you are facing in your everyday life. And as different respiratory illnesses have been directly linked to air pollution, I suggest you act fast on getting a healthier life, without having to move up to some secluded mountain.

Buying Local vs. Buying from Amazon

Before starting to discuss the factors that you should take into account when purchasing an air purifier, I should mention that your biggest problem might very well be the undersupply of high-quality air cleaning systems in Malaysia and Singapore. If you try to do your own research, you will probably encounter a number of articles mentioning products that you will later on discover are not available in the local market. These articles are most frequently written by Americans, and as almost all of the best brands are American, there is certain logic into this fact. Unfortunately, if you are reading this article you most probably live in Malaysia/Singapore. What are your choices then?

1) Buy from Amazon.

2) Scrounge the local market and buy from a local supplier.

If you decide to go with option 1, you will discover that the variety is bigger, and the net price is much cheaper. However, you should take into consideration the following factors:

РWarranty is almost always limited to the country where the machine comes from (most frequently the US). If you get a defective product, you would either not be able to exchange it, or even if you are able to exchange it, you would need to bear the international shipment costs.

РChances are your product will be tailored to the 110 Volt electricity in the US, so  you would need to buy a voltage converter. These usually cannot be used long hours, and are in general not recommended for usage whenever they could be avoided. Sometimes they could be stated as a cause for warranty forfeiture.

– You will be getting your air purifier transported from overseas. Besides the obvious threat of it getting spoilt along the way, the transportation costs are also not to be neglected. A regular home purifier might weigh between 5 and 15 kg, which means that shipment might be in the range of US$150 (~MYR550 by today’s exchange rate) per unit.

– You will not be able to test your air purifier personally. Things such as noise level and design are much more difficult to be comprehended “on paper” than in front of one’s eyes.

Having taken into consideration the above factors, I personally decided to buy an air purifier from a local supplier. As mentioned above, the options are more limited, but many of the negatives a purchase of an Amazon purifier would come with are avoided.

What Are the Options?

There are just a handful of companies that sell air purifiers in Malaysia, and not all of them offer the highest quality products. For instance, Harvey Norman, which is one of the few suppliers¬†that are physically present outside Kuala Lumpur/Selangor, feature¬†a range of Sharp, Panasonic, and Hitachi air purifiers. When I went in person to the Citta Mall branch, I also found a DeLonghi air purifier there. Of these, only some of the Hitachi ones rely mostly on¬†HEPA filter technology for air purification (more about why this is of crucial importance below). Another option for the ones not living in the Kuala Lumpur area¬†would be Lazada, but while it features a wider range of products than Harvey Norman’s stores, the quality level is approximately¬†the same.

If you live in the Johor Bahru area, you might consider purchasing an air purifier from Singapore.

If you, however, do live in or around KL, you would have the following options for high quality air purifiers:

Alen Air Р3 types

Coway Р5 types (not available in Singapore)

BlueAir Р3 types (6 types in Singapore)

Honeywell Р3 types (4 types in Singapore)

Therefore, everything could be boiled down to a choice between these 14 models of home air cleaners.

What Factors You Should Consider

The number one factor, which I will not even write in detail about, but will just share some additional resources on, is the presence of a “True” HEPA filter and the reliance on this filter for air purification. You could read more specialized information about it here and here. All of the products mentioned above do feature such filters.

The second factor I looked into was the size of the filter and the airflow intake. While you might find different statements about what area certain air purifiers can cleanse, this is the one “empirical” factor that could be very telling. You could take a look at the motor of the air purifier. If it is bigger in size, the chances are the air inflow is larger, too.

The third directly-related-to-air-cleanliness factor I took into consideration was the tightness of the casing. If you actually take a look at some of the lower quality products I mentioned above, you would notice that there are holes in the casing, probably left for design purposes. If there are holes, it means at least some part of the collected dust and other air pollutants go back to the room air.

An obvious factor to consider is the cost of the device you would be purchasing. A top quality air purifier (the ones I strongly recommend you look for) would be in the range of MYR2,000, but the price could very well go up to MYR5,000+. It is important to remember that with air purifiers, the higher the net price of the product, the lower its long-term cost. Additionally, the more simplistic the technology, the lower the chances of technical glitches over a period of time. The cost of the filters, and their average lifespan is an added figure of the total long-term price of an air purifier.

There are a few less important factor for me personally, which I am sure might be of primary importance to others. For instance, the design of the air purifier. However, frequently certain design decision are made in expense of technological embetterment. The noise an air purifier produces could also be considered, especially if it is to be used in a bedroom. The electricity consumption is another factor, which could add up to the long-term usage cost.

Which One I Bought and Why

I bought a Honeywell HAP 18200 from House of Air Cleaners. It has the thickest filter of all, one of the largest (if not THE largest) airflow intakes, and a relatively long lifespan of the filters (1 to 5 years for the HEPA filter, depending on usage).

Honeywell HAP 18200 Front

Honeywell HAP 18200 Side

I understand it doesn’t cut it when it comes to design, as it might seem¬†a little bulky to some, but I am far from the idea that an air purifier’s main purpose is to improve the design of a room. Additionally, because of its very powerful motor, it scores lower at noise levels and power consumption, as compared to other similar range purifiers, but as I mentioned above, these are less important factors for me personally. The Honeywell air purifiers have a lot of endorsements from hospitals and independent physicians, and the brand is¬†among the highest regarded in the field of air purification.

At the same time, it is competitive price-wise. I was considering purchasing it from Singapore, where it is sold for SG$599 or SG$609 (~MYR1,600+), depending on the dealer, but I decided to go to House of Air Cleaners, where its “official” price was MYR1,959. My decision was based mostly on the fact¬†that the retail store is less than 15 minutes driving away from my home, and because I got a discounted rate of MYR1,850, as well as a carbon pre-filter as a free gift (worth MYR85 at the same store, but worth MYR120+ in Singapore). You could also purchase substitute filters from the same store – activated carbon pre-filter, and HEPA filter.

House of Air Cleaners’s retail showroom’s address is:¬†11, Jalan SS2/55, 47300 Petaling Jaya. The street is very heavily congested with parked vehicles on both sides, especially during business¬†hours. Additionally, there is pasar malam (local night market)¬†on Monday,¬†so it is generally recommended that you visit the store during their weekend working hours – Saturday from 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Other Products I Considered

There were a few other air purifiers I considered, or I would have considered in other circumstances.

The first one in this list was AlenAir Paralda. However, the price point is a bit high (MYR 3,188 after discount, MYR3,588 standard price, at the time of writing this article), so value-for-money-wise I consider it worse than my Honeywell device. The price of the same product in Singapore is SG$1,280 (~MYR3,450).

The second one was BlueAir 203 SmokeStop (MYR1,559). Having in mind that neither me, nor my wife smoke, one of its main features was useless to us. It is cheaper than Honeywell, but it covers smaller area and its general inflow capacity is much lower. You could find the same product in Singapore with SmokeStop filter, as well as without that filter. The price is SG$625 (MYR1,680) and SG$588 (~MYR1,570) respectively. You might consider going with the 450E SmokeStop model (MYR2,459 in Malaysia), although I do believe Honeywell 18200 is better.

A smaller, but powerful air purifier, which came close second in my choice list, was Coway Aires¬†(MYR2,100). The fact that Coway directly sell it in Malaysia (and not via a distributor or a third-party retailer) is an added advantage. I would have probably gone with it have I had smaller rooms to purify. It might be a good choice if you live in a suite apartment, for instance. Coway don’t have physical offices/stores in Singapore, though.

Final Words

Choosing an air purifier is a long-term investment that could have significant implications on your own and your family’s health. Do not take my word for granted as what suits one might not suit another, and do your own research. The good choices, specifically in Malaysia and Singapore, are limited, so it shouldn’t take you too long to sift through the available options.

Mr. Hubby is more Malaysianized than I thought!

Last week, I shared some phrases Mr. Hubby uses all the time in Malaysia. You can click here to read the post. Even though we’re in Bulgaria now, he still uses these phrases frequently. And, he is using more¬†Manglish¬†than I thought! Like, seriously?!

Today, I’m going to share with you 10 more phrases/words that Mr. Hubby loves using all the time, even when he’s in Bulgaria. I think the major reason why he likes using Manglish¬†phrases here in Bulgaria (as a weapon against his friends) is because his friends don’t know how to retaliate. By sharing this and the previous post, I hope Mr. Hubby’s friends can understand what is he talking about.¬†You can also have fun by attacking Mr. Hubby with these phrases/words. Haha, fun attack I mean. ūüėÄ

1. Ham sap
What it is: Ham sap (a Cantonese/Chinese dialect phrase that means perverted or dirty-minded)
What it means: Perverted or dirty-minded (we usually use it in a joking manner)
Where did he learn it: Definitely from me, especially when guys¬†checked on me when I’m wearing short pants or short skirt.
Sample sentence and what it means: Walao, that guy is super hamsap! (Yikes, that guy is very perverted!)

2. Bo jio
What it is: Bo (a Hokkien/Chinese dialect word for no) +  jio (a Hokkien/Chinese dialect word for ask)
What it means: You didn’t ask me to go with you. OR You didn’t invite me.
Where did he learn it: From my friends who constantly attack each other when one of them didn’t invite the others for some outings.
Sample sentence and what it means:¬†Walao, why you bo jio?¬†(Hey, why didn’t you invite me?)

3. Want to pengsan
What it is: Want + to + pengsan (a Malay word that means faint)
What it means: Literally, it means¬†I want to faint¬†but it doesn’t make sense because who chooses when to faint? It can be used as an indication of frustration or as an indication of being speechless or as an indication of the facepalm action. (Depending on different contexts)
Where did he learn it: From me, when someone annoys me (usually).
Sample sentence and what it means:¬†Seriously, I want to pengsan!¬†(Seriously, I’m speechless!)

4. Lao sai 
What it is: Lao sai (a Hokkien/Chinese dialect phrase for diarrhea)
What it means: Diarrhea
Where did he learn it: I have no idea! ūüėõ
Sample sentence and what it means:¬†Eeerr, don’t eat this, later you lao sai!¬†(Yikes, don’t eat this. Later you’ll get diarrhea!)

5. Pantang larang 
What it is: Pantang larang (a Malay phrase that means taboo/taboos)
What it means: Taboos
Where did he learn it: From me, as a metaphor when somebody does something I dislike, not necessarily a taboo.
Sample sentence and what it means: Eeerr, I very pantang larang to see people write like shit.¬†(Yikes, it is a taboo for me¬†when people don’t write properly.)

6.¬†Lai… (with draggy intonation)¬†
What it is: Lai (a Chinese word that means come)
What it means: Literally, it means come. It can also mean here you go or here it comes, especially when somebody is giving you something.
Where did he learn it: From a waitress in a cafe we frequently had our lunch at. Everytime when she was serving our food, the waitress would say “lai….”
Sample sentence and what it means: Lai… your coffee.¬†(Here comes your coffee. OR Here is your coffee.)

7. Sayang 
What it is: Sayang (In Malay, it can be used as a noun that means love or sweetheart. Alternatively, it can be used to describe love or affection.)
What it means: To show love, care, concern, affection etc. Sometimes, the word is used together with the action of a gentle pat.
Where did he learn it: From my friend who goes by the initials SS.
Sample sentence and what it means: You must always sayang Jenny, ok? (You must always show love/concern/affection to Jenny, okay?)

8.¬†Da bao (can be “da pao” or “ta pao”)
What it is: Da bao (a Chinese phrase that means takeaway)
What it means: To buy a takeaway meal. Occasionally, as a metaphor to give the meaning of “keeping all things and go away.”
Where did he learn it: From me, everytime I crave for my bubble tea.
Sample sentence and what it means: I’m lazy to eat out. Let’s da bao McD.¬†(I’m lazy to eat out. Let’s get a McDonald’s takeaway.)

9.¬†Don’t kacau me
What it¬†is:¬†Don’t + kacau¬†(a Malay word that means¬†disturb) + me
What it means:¬†Don’t disturb me. Sometimes it can mean “don’t make fun of me”.
Where did he learn it:¬†I have no idea. I don’t remember using this against him. Hmmmm…
Sample sentence and what it means:¬†I’m playing Warcraft, don’t kacau me please!¬†(I’m playing Warcraft. Please do not disturb me.)

10. Lao (+ the name of someone)
What it is: lao (a Chinese word that means old)
What it means: Old. However in this context, it doesn’t necessarily mean old. Usually the elders use this word together with the surname of their friends when they address each other. Nowadays, people from the¬†younger generation use this word together with their friend’s surname to show close friendship or solidarity. Chinese surnames are usually one syllable, so it goes like this¬†lao wang, lao chen, etc.¬†However, Mr. Hubby’s friends’ surnames are usually more than one syllable, he usually uses the word¬†lao¬†together with their first names instead.
Where did he learn it: From my BFF’s husband’s friend. My BFF’s initials are¬†CC. Hahaha…
Sample sentence and what it means:¬†Hello, lao migger!¬†(Hello, “old” Milen! – to show solidarity) ūüėÄ

I’m sure all these phrases or words are easily understood by my Malaysian friends but I’m sure my international friends will need some time to digest what is going on. Well, at least now you know what Mr. Hubby is talking about and you can use these phrases/words for future communication with him. Hahaha! ūüėÄ By the way, if you‚Äôre interested to know how exactly he learnt all these phrases/words, you might want to ask him directly! ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

Note: Some of these phrases/words may have more than one meaning. This list of phrases/words is solely based on the communication between Mr. Hubby and the author. 

If you have missed the first part, you can click here to read it!

Phrases that Mr. Hubby uses all the time in Malaysia!

Languages are just so fascinating. If you know or speak more than one language, I’m sure at some point of the time, you are tempted to mix different languages in one sentence. I am a lecturer, teaching mainly English language and communication-related subjects. My job is to teach and ensure people use language (specifically English) the correct way¬†for effective communication. But I have to admit, when I’m off from work, my proper English usage knock off from work too!

English is the main language of communication for both of¬†Mr. Hubby and I. I remember when I first met Mr. Hubby, I was drooling over his sexy and exotic accent whenever he spoke. But if you have spoken with with Mr. Hubby in the past months, I bet you must be thinking that I’m lying about his sexy accent. When we went to Beijing the last year, none of the tourists in the bus realized there was an¬†angmoh (Caucasian) seated at the far end. When people saw Mr. Hubby, they were in shock and said,¬†“How come he speaks exactly like a Malaysian? We didn’t even realize there’s an angmoh in this bus!”¬†Well, now I drool when he speaks Bulgarian.

So yes! After about 3 years of staying in Malaysia, I can say that Mr. Hubby is almost Malaysianized! If you don’t look at his handsome face, you are most probably going to think that you’re speaking with a Malaysian! Don’t you agree, my Malaysian friends?

In Malaysia, we speak so many different languages and dialects. But in this post, I’m going to share mostly about¬†Manglish.¬†For my international friends,¬†Manglish¬†is not the standard Malaysian English that we use in the formal context. I call it “the Malaysianized English”. Seriously, I don’t even know if it should be call “English” because it’s a mixture of so many different languages and dialects. You can search about¬†Manglish¬†on the Internet if you are interested.

I blame it on Mr. Hubby’s learning enthusiasm. He picks things up very quickly. Everything that goes in his ears, stays in his brain. And he usually uses it against me later. I’ll share with you some phrases Mr. Hubby uses all the time in Malaysia.

  1. There…zhe ge ren lo.. (pointing at me)
    What is it: There + zhe ge ren (Chinese phrase for this person) + lo (a particle as a complement to a sentence used widely by Malaysians)
    What it means: This person here
    Where did he learn it: From me, especially when I’m talking bad things about him with my friends, right in front of his face. He heard it so many times that in the end he understood that¬†zhe ge ren¬†(or “this person”) is him.
  2. Mati signal (when driving)
    What is it: Mati (Malay word for die) + signal
    What it means: Switch off your turn signal
    Where did he learn it: When he was taking his driving lessons in Malaysia. There was only one instructor who could teach the lessons in English. And he came home asking me what is mati.
  3. Cannot tahan
    What is it: Cannot + tahan (Malay word that can mean resist, tolerate, take it etc in different contexts)
    What it means: Cannot resist, cannot tolerate, cannot take it etc depending on the context
    Where did he learn it: From my mum and my sister.
  4. You go chi da bian lah
    What is it: You + go + chi da bian (Chinese phrase for eat shit) + lah (a particle as a complement to a sentence)
    What it means: Go eat shit (in a joking manner)
    Where did he learn it: From my BFF who goes by the initials CYW. Hahahaha…. I’ll tag her on Facebook (maybe).
  5. Siao ah you ? / Shen jing bing ah you?
    What is it: Siao (Hokkien/Chinese dialect word for crazy) OR Shen jing bing (Chinese phrase for crazy) + ah (a particle as a complement to a question) + you
    What it means: Are you crazy?
    Where did he learn it: From me, when I’m asking my friends if they are crazy (in a joking manner).
  6. Sien loh
    What is it: Sien (Hokkien/Chinese dialect word that can mean bored, frustrated, annoyed etc in different contexts) + loh (a particle as a complement to a sentence)
    What it means: It’s boring. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. All depending on the different contexts.
    Where did he learn it: From LINE chat, there’s a Moon sticker with this phrase! I think…
  7. Aiya, no need one
    What is it: Aiya (An interjection/expression word in Chinese for negativity) + no need + one (complement word)
    What it means: Well, there’s no need to…
    Where did he learn it: Erm….I have no idea. From me, I suppose?!
  8. Walao / Waliu
    What is it: Walao or waliu (An interjection/expression word in Chinese dialect?? to express either shock or surprise)
    What it means: Wow (to express surprise) or What the hell / WTF (to express shock in a very nice manner)
    Where did he learn it: From my BFF who goes by the initials AT. Hahahahahhaa……
  9. Me meh?
    What is it: Me + meh (complement word for question)
    What it means: Is it me? OR Does it have to be me? OR Do you think it’s me?
    Where did he learn it: I have no idea too. But he uses it a lot when I ask this question, “Did you just fart?!!?!?!?”
  10. Pi gu ren
    What is it: Pi gu (Chinese words that mean buttocks) + ren (Chinese word that means person)
    What it means: Butt person???
    Where did he learn it: I don’t know. But he calls me this all the time and he claims that it’s “cute” nickname. I believe he means it the nice way…hmmm…

This is how Mr. Hubby and I communicate, usually when there are no other people or when our friends speak¬†Manglish¬†too.¬†What do you think of Mr. Hubby’s¬†Manglish? Out of 100%, how many percent would you grade him? ūüėÄ

Update: There’s a second part! Click here¬†to read it.