Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Search for a New Home - Part 1


After 13 years of living in the same house - the longest ever, I got itchy again and started looking for another house.

Many factors are involved in making the move; some of which I could reveal here, but some are better left untold. What I could reveal here is that the present house is the longest duration I had ever stayed in my life. When we were kids, every five to 6 years, bapak would be transferred to another location, so we never got to stay at a location long enough.

Taiping 195x
Batu Gajah 196x 
Lenggong 1968-1972 (3 houses)
Taiping 1973 - 1978  (3 houses)
Kuala Kangsar 1979-1984 (3 houses)
Taiping 1984~

Same with my adulthood.

Taiping 1986-1987
Kerteh 1988-1992 (3 houses)
KL- 1992=1993
Melaka 1994
Johor Bahru 194-1995
KL 1995-1998 (2 houses)
Houston - 1998-1999
KL 2000~ (2 houses)

From here on, I would have to break it down to specific suburbs within Kuala Lumpur.

2000 Taman Kosas Ampang
2001 Hussein Onn

and we moved in into our present home in 2002.

Thirteen years have passed and now we are on the move again. This is basically the story of our search for a (new) home. This is for our own record, 20 years from now.

The Search was on

We have gotten used to Hussein Onn and the surrounding area. Nothing fancy or to shout about, it is not exactly a posh area of KUala Lumpur. Cheras is not known to be just that. But it is located to the South side of Kuala Lumpur, and with Arif frequenting the airport on a daily basis, it is not too bad a location for us as a family. He does not have to enter town. It is better than being located in Ampang, or Selayang on the Northern side of Kuala Lumpur.

The same goes for me. I work on the South side of KL too.

So we had chosen the right location to live as our lives evolve.

But more importantly, this is where Mak permanently lies. Mak's grave, that is. I just could not think of moving out of Cheras. I could consider location within 5-10 mins of Mak's grave, but I could never leave her alone in this area. 

So Shah Alam, Damansara, Ampang, Gombak are out of question. With that in mind, I scoured all of Cheras area. 

MRT is coming to Hussein Onn and Kajang; it is at our doorsteps. We could not go wrong to live here. It is not as expensive as PJ/Damansara and should have similar amenities, if not better. It may not have the The Curve, but I don't need the The Curve or even IKEA in my life.

We have everything that we need within 15-20 min drive. More importantly, it would be less than 15 mins to visit Mak anytime of the day. That's good incentive for us to stay in Cheras.

So we shortlisted these areas:

1. Hussein Onn
2. Sg Long and Surrounding

If we were to stay put in Hussein Onn, we are 2-3 mins away from Mak. If we decide to move to Sg Long, we could still be within 10-15 mins away from her. Either way it is a win-win situation. I would not feel so guilty in moving.

But I also knew I have 13 years of memories here in this house. Mak also frequently used to stay for weeks at my home, so we all do feel sad if we need to leave this house. The kids grew up in this house obviously, so I am sure they would be more sentimental than I would. But we have outgrown this house. We need more privacy and quieter place. We need more rooms and space, not just for guests, but for ourselves too. We need a family living hall - a place we can all lepak - and not worry having to tidy it up to in receive guests; we need an audio room. We need an expanse area for the eyes, rather than being blocked by houses on all four corners. As if one is living in a shoebox.

But we don't really need a very big garden that I would find difficult to maintain on my own. It would be nice though, but it is not a requirement.

But I have to admit. Nothing is ideal. We could not get all the specs we need within a single home. There would always be shortcoming. House is a bit too small, the road leading to the house runs through a run-down area, morning might be jammed up a bit etc. We might not even like the tiles used.

But I guess we can be fussy about what we want. And I guess I could decide to build my own. But I don't have the time or the strength to go through building my own home.

So the search is on.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Revisiting Twenty Year Old (Lost) Shares


Take care of everything that you own. Or else, somebody would enjoy it on your behalf.

In the 90s, I came to know through my uncle that his dad - my Tok Bab - owned a few acres of land in Kuala Kubu Baru. We were sure that the land is worth millions now.  Even if they are not, they would be worth a small fortune.

But with his demise, where would I even start?

Similarly, we know that my maternal grandma also owned a few acres of land in Lenggeng, but who am I to start digging about all these properties? After all, her children - my aunties and uncles - are still alive and they should be the one who would be interested to get their hands on their mother's properties. I am after all, just a grandchildren.

As of now, someone else would be enjoying them.

PETRONAS Shares Twenty years on.

It is with this in mind that I started to dig into my own affairs to ensure my children would not face such dilemma. That everything that I own are known to them and are documented, and they would not have to fight with anybody to enjoy the benefit of the father's labour.

When I was working for an oil company, I was given two lots of an subsidiary that was listed that particular year. It was probably circa 93/94, I don't remember the exact year, to be honest. But soon after, I resigned and moved South, living in JB but working in Singapore.

With the hectic work schedule, and pace, coupled with the long commute, I had no choice but concentrate on my work and forget about the trivial stuff. Then I moved back to KL and later on the family move to Houston.

I have not forgotten about the shares I own, but at RM2.50 a piece, and not seeing them move much, I would prefer to not even think about it. I might as well try to earn more money elsewhere than trying to create a fortune from the small number of shares that I have. I knew the broker firm that I had signed on has long cease operation, and being someone not in the financial industry, I have no clue where to even start.

The shares were in the back of mind. Important, but not critical to my life.

Until early 2015 when I went to an investment seminar at the behest of my partner. While having my tea with a broker, I told him that while I am inactive in shares,  I probably have a couple of thousand shares of Petronas, which I bought at the original price or at discounted staff price.

The broker told me that in Sept 2014, they were worth RM34.00, I am told. A whopping RM34.00 per share, but now it was worth RM16.00.

Really?  I was surprised, and excited. Now I am interested to retrieve my shares. I really am interested. It is worth half of what it was 3 months ago, but still a lot more than what I had paid for them.

Fortunately, the broker at MIB was kind enough to dig as to who took over the operations of my broking firm. A couple of phone calls and a visit to their HQ, the problem is solved. I was given a new account, with my shares intact.

Alhamdulillan, and in the meantime, it is now worth at least RM20.00. 

But what about all the dividends that were paid the past twenty years? I had not gotten any.  I no longer lived in my registered address. I was all over the place. There had been too many homes, and houses that I had lived in. They would not know where to get hold of me.

I had to contact the company that handles PETRONAS shares. Symphony was kind enough to dig into their own record from 1995. Even with today's MIS and all the wonderful software applications, not all have been updated into their database. Mind you, the early to mid-90s, it was just the beginning of computerization, and even then another company was handling this share. But did they did recover the info, and after 6 months, they were able to have a clear picture of my shares. Apparently I have only received the first three dividends, and by 2014, they had issued 51 cheques for dividend altogether.

Four of the 51 cheques.
So immediately they issued 4 current cheques (for year ending Dec 2014) this week (in July 2015). How much? I can assure you that I am thankful.

Most of these dividends have been sent to Unclaimed Monies Registrar, and I would have to request that these monies be re-paid to me. Dividend alone, I calculated, they have been worth twice the original worth of the shares. Not too much, I guess, but more than enough as far as I am concerned. I did not realize that I have such monies in the first place, and I am nearly there to retrieve all that are due to me.

The share price has dropped quiet a bit since the height of Sept 2014, due to the depressed oil price, but they are still 8-9 times of what I originally paid for them. I am hoping sooner or later it would be back at RM30 or more. Wishful thinking may be, but again, I am thankful to Allah. 

If I had been meticulous enough during those days monitoring the share market, I would have probably sold them, as the prices has not risen that much the first ten 10 year. I probably would have gained RM0.50 perhaps over issuance price.

But persevere, or in my case, I just lost interest in it, and revisiting them nearly 20 years later, I found my small fortune.

20 years after I left my service at the national oil corporation, I am still reaping of the good work done by the management, indirectly and directly. I am proud to be part of it and contributing in my own small way during my time.