The Jason Hahn Files: Let's Talk About En Bloc Fever...

"‘Are we really going to go en bloc, Warren?’ Saffy said, getting right down to brass tacks. ‘And it’s all so confusing. We keep getting these nasty anonymous letters from the people who want to sell, bitching about the people who don’t want to! I mean, what’s going on?’" 

With all the fuss about Justin Bieber’s engagement and England winning against Sweden, you might have missed the other big news event that’s currently making the rounds: the condo I live in with Saffy and Amanda may be going en bloc.

 It’s a possibility that fills us with existential dread.  

“They can’t make us move!” Saffy had moaned when the first newsletter arrived from our management office. “I don’t want to move! I hate moving!”

“Well, I don’t want to move either, but realistically, if the landlady sells, what can we do?” Amanda had pointed out. “And besides, we can’t live here for the rest of our lives.”

Saffy’s bosom had inflated like a life-jacket demonstration on a plane. “I don’t see what not! Lots of people die alone in their apartment and no one knows about it for years!”Amanda stared. 

“And that’s what you want to happen to you?”Saffy shrugged, her face the very image of bo chap. A few days later, she bumped into the estate manager Warren who has long fancied her from a distance.

“Yah, hello, Miss Saffy!” he said, immediately turning pink from the unaccustomed proximity to the object of his nocturnal desire. “Are we really going to go en bloc, Warren?” Saffy said, getting right down to brass tacks. 

“And it’s all so confusing. We keep getting these nasty anonymous letters from the people who want to sell, bitching about the people who don’t want to! I mean, what’s going on?”

“Aiyah, these people, they all very free lah. We’ve tried to put a stop to it. But, you know lah,” he added, the mole above his right eyebrow trembling, “when you’re talking about nearly $2 million per apartment, people can get very emotional!”

Saffy gave the matter some thought. Warren took the opportunity to let his eyes drop innocently, past her straining bosom and then back up.

“Well, I guess I would get emotional too,” Saffy said eventually, “if someone offered me 2 million bucks!”

“But is only on paper lah!” Warren said. “Even if we get the 80 per cent, we still have to find a developer willing to pay that much money. But to be honest, even if you get $2 million, where are you going to go? My HDB is almost a million dollars already, you know! You buy, must still do renovation work and there goes your profit margin! Right or not?” he declared to Saffy’s breasts. 

Meanwhile, the vote for en bloc is currently at the 75 per cent mark which apparently is throwing the real estate agent in charge of the process into a real frenzy.

When Amanda was paying our monthly rent to our landlady, Mrs Chen, she seized the opportunity to size up the situation.“So, are you voting for the sale, Mrs Chen?” she asked with as much disinterest as she could muster. 

Bedecked in fake Versace and Gucci, our landlady sniffed. “Chay! They’re only offering $1.7 million for the flat. Hardly worth my while! I bought it off your previous owner for one point one a year ago and if I sell it now, I have to pay the stamp duty! It makes no financial sense for me to sell!”

“We keep getting these letters from a group that’s desperate to sell!” Amanda said. “I know, and the real estate agent is always hounding me. I have blocked his phone number. Such a pest. Just like my ex-husband!”

A few days ago, Saffy came back from another conversation with Warren who had updated her on the situation with the apartment a few floors above us. “You know the one with that old man, Mr Wong?”

“The one in the wheelchair?” Amanda asked.“That’s the one. You know how he died four months ago, right?”Amanda was shocked. 

 “He did? Of what?”Saffy paused. “He was like 90! Of old age, of course!”

 “Oh.”“Anyway, apparently, his executors told Warren’s office that they are signing up for the en bloc!”

 “Oh crap!” Amanda said. “Why’d he have to go and die?”“He was 95!” Saffy said, giving in once again to her unvarnished love for fake news. “Still. It’s really selfish. He might have voted against it in his will!” 

 Amanda told her. Sharyn later said old Mr Wong must be kicking himself for dying so early. “Imagine hor, if he get 2 million. Wah, so shiok!”

 “He was 100 years old, Shaz,” Saffy said. “How was he ever going to spend 2 million bucks?”“Ay, you don’t anyhow say! Two million dollar can buy a lot of a-dult Pamper, you know!”

This story first appeared in 8 DAYS issue #1448 (July 19, 2018).

Seen on instagram

As Seen On Instagram