Saturday, September 10, 2005

Whose house is it anyway?

My Living Room

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Click here for Deviant Art entry

When I summon the numerous tentacles of my memory to reach into the deep past, the first house that I can remember is Number 42. A double storey link house built in a style so commonly found in the comparatively new areas of Petaling Jaya, it would be about 30 years old by now. Number 42, along with all other houses in the row, had magnificent white terrazzo tiles on the ground floor, large sliding glass doors opening to the north and well laid parquet strip flooring upstairs. Being built on a slight slope like many PJ homes, the dining area was separated from the living room with a small flight of steps.

Sometime in the mid-90’s, our neighbour decided to put his corner-lot house on the market at what was a substantially below-market price. My parents decided to buy the house, renovate it to our needs and move in, selling our existing dwelling at the end of the process.

The neighbours left Number 44 in a dismal state that bordered on the pitiful. The place smelled musty, dank and of decay. The terrazzo floor, so clean and white in Number 42, was marked with stains of all sorts, permeated with dirt and tinged an unfriendly hue of brown. Curtains which draped across the large glass doors looked unwashed for years, having been impregnated with a dusty and greasy colour. The floors were not cleaned in ages, as demonstrated by a thick layer of dust in corners where feet rarely approached. Most appalling of all were the kitchen and washroom facilities, not because of their absolute dirtiness, but because it was unconceivable that anyone would voluntarily live in such conditions. The entire house gave off a depressing impression of brownness- brown stains on the floor, brown marks on the walls, brown dust in the curtains, brown muck in the toilet and brown splatters in the kitchen sink.

The renovation involved complete replacement of tiles and parquet, repositioning of several walls, conjuring several extra square metres of floor space and installing new bathroom and kitchen fixtures. After some months of living next to this circus of hammering, drilling, sawing, chiselling and pounding, Number 44 was ready. We moved next door in 1997.


One Sunday morning in 1998 after Taekwondo training, I paid Yuan Harng a visit. His mother asked me where I lived, to which I replied SS6. Curious, she queried further about the subsections of SS6.

One thing led to another, and when it was revealed that my house was 44 on SS6B/9, she exclaimed that it was just next to their old house. “We stayed at number 42 before moving over to 44,” I told her.


22 years ago, when my parents were contemplating buying a house, they took a look at 42, SS6B/9 and found it to their liking. The then inhabitants were a family of 4, with a child between 3 and 4 years old, and another recently born baby no more than 5 months old. It turns out that the baby was Yuan Harng.

Spare Bedroom

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This magnificent antique 4 poster-like double bed used to be my parents’ bed which they purchased from a junk store at a preposterously good price (it was in the low 2 digits). The only issue is its damn height.

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