The ugliest hotel in Singapore

Built on the site of the former Midlink Plaza at 122 Middle Road, the Lian Beng-led consortium (Lian Beng Group, Centurion Properties, coffeeshop operator Chang Cheng Group and a vehicle controlled by K Box chain owner Jason Lee) acquired Midlink Plaza , which was a nine-storey strata office and retail building, through a collective sale in 2011, brokered by Credo Real Estate, now part of JLL. The building that now stands in its place is the new Mercure-branded 395 heritage inspired (?!?! – what is a heritage inspired room?!? Do they even know the history of Bugis area?) room hotels with some retail shops.

I happened to walk pass the bugis/middle road area and chanced upon this nearly completed building.

The picture on the left is the artist’s perspective (or rendering) and the picture on the right is the actual photo taken. And the problem is that it is not immediately apparent which is uglier… Just in case the above photo is too small, below is a bigger photo for your inspection.

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It looks like someone took a part each from three different drawings and put them together.

Of course, design is subjective and differing from people to people. Do let me know if you come across a uglier tourist-class hotel (new) that is uglier than this monstrosity.

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Quotes of the Day – Property Advice

From BT interview:

Quotes late property tycoon Ng Teng Fong, who told him: “If you want to be in property, don’t look further, just stay in Hong Kong and Singapore”.

Land supply is limited and assuming a stable government, population growth in both places will help the property market

The other thing he remembered is how Mr Ng regarded the “buy low, sell high” advice in the property market.

“He said, ‘an idiot also knows that, lah. Let me ask you, when you want to buy low, who’s going to sell it to you low? When you want to sell high, who’s going to buy it from you? . . . I tell you, buy high, sell higher! When the market is shooting up, there’s no such thing as high’.”

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It is all in the name

Just read that the club/bar located on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Ku De Ta, will have its name changed to Ce La Vi after some legal tussle with the trademark owner in Bali (the REAL Ku De Ta)

The new name is apparently abbreviated from the French phrase, “c’est la vie”, or “this is life”, Ce La Vi aims to become “the international titan of lifestyle and sophisticated hedonism”.

I can just imagine how the new name is going to be slaughtered by some locals and Chinese. *giggle*

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Same same but different?

Extracted this from a report that I found extremely disconcerting – mainly due to the similarity to Singapore. Especially those in BOLD.

“SEOUL – Lee Sang-Kuk delivers meat during the day and drives drunk businessmen home at night, but even with two jobs he and millions of other South Koreans are struggling against a tide of household debt.

Mr Lee’s situation is increasingly common in South Korea where total household borrowing hit a record 937.5 trillion won (US$882.7 billion) in September last year, equivalent to more than 70 per cent of the country’s 2011 GDP.

Laid off from his job in a media company in 2000, Mr Lee opened a restaurant with a bank loan using his home as collateral. Within two years the business had collapsed forcing him to apply for personal bankruptcy.

Mr Lee sold his house to clear the bank loan but then took out a high-interest loan from private lenders to fund the education of his son and daughter.

“Since then, life has been miserable,” said the 59-year-old who confessed to contemplating suicide at one point.

“Everything I earn goes on debt repayment, and my wife works as a housemaid to meet our living expenses,” he told AFP.

Mr Lee’s evening job is for an agency which provides emergency drivers, mostly for businessmen who have had too much to drink and need someone to drive them, and their cars, home.

South Korea’s household debt mountain has its origins in financial reforms introduced after the 1997 Asian financial crisis that led the country’s banks to turn to consumers for asset growth.

A resulting surge in mortgage lending was fuelled by a long streak of low interest rates and a general belief that real estate was a guaranteed investment.

“While US households deleveraged, especially after the subprime mortgage crisis, loan demand for mortgages increased here thanks to rising property prices,” Hyundai Economic Research Institute analyst Lee Jun-Hyup said.

“There’s no serious threat to the banking system, but obviously it hurts domestic consumer demand,” Mr Lee said.

Once an economic juggernaut that grew nearly 7.0 per cent a year on average since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea has, in recent years, entered a phase of more measured growth.

The property market has slumped and a slowing economy has resulted in job losses that have left single wage-earner families struggling to stay afloat.

Some government estimates have put the number of those at high default risk at more than 6.0 million – or more than 10 per cent of the population.

Those with children of school age have the added burden of the crippling costs of extra-curricular education which is considered a pre-requisite of college entry in a hyper-competitive system.

According to Korea University professor Lee Phil-Sang, the quality of household debt is deteriorating due to an increase in the debt servicing burden of self-employed people, who make up almost a third of the workforce.

At the same time, there has been a steady rise in low-income families who are borrowing just to meet living expenses.

“Household debt is like a cancer in our body,” Mr Lee said.

“If unchecked, it’s going to become a serious drag on the economy because loan repayments will worsen rapidly during a time of economic stress,” Mr Lee said.

The lack of disposable income among highly indebted households is hampering government efforts to spur domestic demand and wean the national economy off its over-reliance on exports.

Like Lee Sang-Kuk, many middle-aged South Koreans laid off by corporations take out personal and mortgage loans to start a new business.

But commercial banks favour high-income retail consumers, pushing poorer borrowers to lenders such as savings banks and credit card firms that charge punitively high interest rates.

Mr Lee is among an estimated group of three million people who have been blacklisted by banks or cannot get extra loans because of low credit ratings.

As part of her election pledge to expand social welfare spending, president-elect Park Geun-Hye proposed a 18 trillion won (US$16.9 billion) public fund to help low-income earners like Mr Lee reduce debts.

Opposition politicians and some experts say such a fund would be little more that a stop-gap policy and have urged Ms Park to look at a longer-term solution.

Others like financial services commission chief Kim Seok-Dong, have voiced reluctance at the message that would be sent by using taxpayers money to rescue indebted households. – AFP”