Belgium, Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber, Travels

Second Home Speculation

Covid-19 has made travelling and holidaying in other countries quite an annoying and inconvenient matter. This in turn has led to a significant demand for real estates at the coastal region of Belgium. Well-to-do Belgians who face hindrances of enjoying their overseas homes, are now spending their surplus wealth in their own country.

From the perspective of local economies, this sort of purchasing trend is a good thing. It is probably an exciting and joyful time for some real estate agents, especially those dealing with coastal properties and holiday homes.

Yet, I cannot help but wonder whether this is a wise way to spend ones wealth. As an economist once said, you cannot turn bricks into bread when you are hungry. One has to remember that we are dealing with many uncertainties at the moment. Second homes, especially those near large bodies of water, are not ideal investments in the long run. We also have no idea what kind of influences and functions money will have a decade from now. Making large scale purchases, locking up ones wealth in costly assets seem like a game of pure speculation and gamble.

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Health, Travels

Not So Short Bike Ride

This afternoon, D suggested that we do a short bike ride along the river. With the spring-like weather we are currently experiencing, it would be really lovely said D. I really wanted to go to my familiar routes, which is the Gavers, but I gave in. One, I have no excuse not to. Two, I need to stop the persistent nagging.

As it turned out, our short bike ride was not that short. But heck, I got some thigh exercises out of it and saw things at places I have never been to before. We also came across our neighbours, and had a short chat with them, which was nice.

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Simplify, Travels

Thank You

I am able to say thank you in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, English, Malaysian (Indonesian), Dutch, French, and Tagalog.

Believe me, knowing how to say thank you and hello in various languages makes the world go round a bit smoother.

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Flashbacks, Health, Human Nature, Travels

Away From The Core

The last time my nuclear family of six were all together was 12 years ago in the US. We were there for my sister’s wedding reception. In 2017, my parents came for a visit, after their European river cruise. It was also the year which my sister and I were on the same continent. Same goes for my youngest brother, which I had at hugging distance three years ago. I have not seen my other younger brother and his family since 2015. And frankly, I have no issues with being apart from the core family…

You see, I left home at the age of 19 to attend upper secondary school. A level of education my home town, Lahad Datu, did not have at that time. By the time I left Malaysia for my university education in Michigan, I have already struggled through and have gotten immune to the pain of homesickness and being physically apart from my family for an undetermined length of time.

After some initial sufferings, you will start to reach out to other people and practices, form a new group, clan or habits; you will toughen up and simply carry on with life. That was how I dealt with it. That was how I survived the four major moves in my life, being torn further and further away from the core. Most people can survive separations. The fortunate few will even take root and flourish. I guess this is how world citizens are made?!

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Malaysia, Travels

Backup Home

I have been a permanent resident of Belgium for more than 10 years now. During these years, I have learned the culture, the language and have integrated myself nicely amongst its people. But even though I am very pleased with my current home and status, I am not prepared to relinquish my Malaysian citizenship just yet.

So at this moment, I have a backup country. A country I grew up in. A country I have spent half a lifetime knowing. A country where most my friends and relatives are. Most Malaysians are still kind and friendly people. And here and there on the island of Borneo or the Malayan Peninsula, one may still stumble upon tropical paradises.

There is no universal rule limiting us to only one home. Yeah to that!

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Belgium, Travels

Six Destinations

Yeah, I received the rail pass in the post today! The pass allows me to take 12 train rides for free in the next six months. I will need to determine six places which I wish to visit. And plan the route out carefully so that I will get the best out of my free train trips and my newly replaced bus card. Happy times. 🙂

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Belgium, Numbers, Travels

Train & Bus

As a legal resident of The Kingdom of Belgium, I am entitled to apply for a rail pass consisting of 12 free train rides. I love train rides! How can I say no to that?!

The online application was easy. All I need to do now is to wait for my rail pass to show up in the post in 10 days time. 🙂

While on the topic of public transportation, I must remember to exchange and replace my magnetic bus pass to the electronic version by end of this month. I have a balance of €6.40 on my old card. Must not forget…

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Flashbacks, Human Nature, Travels

Only Wonderful People

Post 911 travel measures were borderline unbearable, till I have to adapt to the current Covid-19 maatregelen. Damn, I cannot even go back to Malaysia anytime soon!

George W. Bush was a horrible US president, till we have the likes of the current idiot in the White House.

My heart breaks when people fell trees in the rainforest of Sabah, till I compare these to the wildfires in Australia and the persistent burning and deforestation of the Amazon.

I have limited to no influence in stopping terrorists, removing idiotic world leaders or reducing the number of stupid nasty people. But I do have the power to surround myself with good people. Life is short and we do not know when the next terrible things are going to jump out at us. No time to waste on maintaining idiotic friends and family.

From a while back, I have only allow wonderful people in my life. People who will pick fallen apples with you, so that we may feed the friendly donkeys together… 😉

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Flashbacks, Numbers, Travels

International Travels

Knowing that I will not be able to travel overseas in the next two years or so is rather depressing. So, I tried to look for some consolation in my photo albums. This led me to the question of how much these travels had cost me, which led me delving into my personal financial records.

The years in which D and I have crossed the oceans and continents were 2017, 2013, 2011, and 2010. I moved to Belgium in 2008. The annual expenditures of these years were completely off the charts. And most of the time, we did not even have to stay in hotels?! That can only mean that plane tickets are outrageously expensive!

International travels can cost me anything from €3000 to €6000 per year, where a big chunk of it goes to buying lousy economy class plane tickets. And do not get me started on all the planning, organizing and preparations! Nevertheless, the weeks of unique experiences, family, friends and memories do made up for the high price I have to pay for international travels. Still worth it…

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Flashbacks, Human Nature, Travels

Impulses

At age 19, I had to leave my home town and crossed the state in order to go to upper secondary school. A few years later, I crossed the South China Sea to attend college. In 1993, I crossed the Pacific Ocean for a university degree in the United States. After graduation, I returned home and worked as an administrator at a life insurance agency. After half a decade of insurance sales, claims and administration work, I decided to return to college for something else. So, I crossed the Pacific Ocean once again to attend college classes to become a graphic designer. This was the trajectory which I took for my education.

This past weekend, I was told that we need to fill our lives with the occasional impulses. I made a gentle remark saying that I have moved from Malaysia to the US, and then here to Belgium. I asked if those moves were impulsive enough. The dialogue came to a quick end…

As I have mentioned before, the first paragraph of this blog post only depicts the path I took in my quest for higher education. Ask me about the shit storms and epic tales I had to endure for my career and my overall well-being. Grandma lived till age 93. Mom is a healthy and alert 77 year old. So, if I am to have a relatively long life, I have to guess that my life story is far from being over.

Iceland? New Zealand? Finland? Who knows?!

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