Unhappiness or discontent comes from wanting what one cannot have, instead of being thankful and grateful for what we do have.
But I have found another way to be… well… unhappy.
Being able to GET the things I want, but not being able to use them.
Take the Taga Baby Stroller/Tricycle.
I managed to get a cheaper version (China-made rip-off), got it delivered, and assembled it (with some difficulty).
And never got to use it with Z. After over a year left unused, in the car park of the condo, the management informed me (and all tenants/residents) that they will doing a bicycle “culling” for unused bicycles (and tricycles) left in the car park. I unlocked my tricycle, informed one of the security guards that if he wanted it, he could have it. But I told him also that it needed the inner tubes replaced.
I also wanted a solo wheel – motorised unicycle. I got one. Tried to ride it. Never managed to learn how to balance on it. Gave it to my niece.
But even before all this, I wanted a condo.
No. Actually, I just wanted… no, liked the idea of having a jacuzzi. A private jacuzzi. Just for me and… well, I guess, I have to say, “my wife”, now. And I got it!
But having lived a while in this world, I know: “beware of what you wish for, your wish may come true.”
So I got my condo, with the private jacuzzi and we spent some time in it. And… bleh.
I mean it’s a nice idea, and it’s a… luxury.
But com’on! How long can you lounge or loiter in a jacuzzi before it gets old?
I wanted Z to enjoy the jacuzzi, but she’s too young. So, no.
She liked it when she was a few months old, then she didn’t.
And we didn’t use it in the last few months that we lived at the condo.
Then when my old flat renovation was complete, we moved back to the old place.
And the jacuzzi broke down. The air-con at the condo stopped working. And there were water seepage.
I had hoped for a fuss-free condo ownership, but… I was also aware that there could be… problems.
My concern was if the other owners tried to skimp on the maintenance and the place fell into disrepair. But that fear has not materialised.
So I reported the defects and tried to fix the air-con (warranty period over). However, the air-con servicing team said it was a wiring problem. But the developer could not locate the original electrician.
The water seepage, they would take care of it. As the warranty for that, would be for a few years.
But the jacuzzi, the main reason I bought the unit, that was for me to fix. And we had it fixed once or twice when it was still within the warranty period. And the pump keeps breaking down.
And I am not sure that that particular model is meant for outdoor use, or for tropical climates. The LED panel gets faded by the harsh sunlight, even though it is covered. Probably the heat. Or maybe it needs to be left on.
Anyway, since we are not using it, I see little point in repairing it, only for it to break down again. In the sun.
But you know what?
These are First World Problems. Or problems of the Better off.
When I got the Daikin service men to fix the air-con, they said the air-con were fine. They were not getting any power. It was a wiring problem.
The developer’s electrician (a new one, since they could not locate the original contractor) confirmed that there was power flowing from the distributor board (DB). So the next thing was to check the “isolator”. The isolator is just another name for a switch. It is a big switch because the electrical load for air-cons is much higher (15 amps instead of the normal 13 amp, if I understood them correctly).
BUT… they could not locate the isolator!
The developer got a tip that the isolator may be in the false ceiling. So they cut a hole in the false ceiling, and… still no isolator!
So they patched the hole, checked their records again, and it was suggested that the isolator was in the crawl space next to the jacuzzi under the air con compressor units. That meant lifting the access panel (like a manhole cover – very heavy) and getting someone to crawl inside to find and check the isolator.
So it was confirmed that power was getting to the isolator, but checking the air-con, there was no power. The electrician (Mr Yam) said the “1.5” rating for the wires used was too light, and after some use, it would burn out. The developer’s agent informed me that as the fault was after the isolator, it was considered my problem and would not be covered by the developer’s warranty or rectification work. And I should get an electrician to fix the problem.
I asked the electrician who was standing right there (Mr Yam), if he could fix it. The agent repeated that it was not their problem to fix.
I said I understood. But if he could fix it, at my expense, I would like to get the air-con fixed.
Mr Yam, considered the problem. Discuss with his workman (the one who actually went into the crawl space) the scope of the work, and the materials, and the workman agreed that it was do-able, and not too difficult.
Mr Yam pointed out that he was not the original contractor. I said I understood the original contractor was nowhere to be found and that he was not the original electrician
Assured that I was not blaming him for the shoddy wiring, we agreed on a schedule for the work. I wanted to have the work done in the afternoon as it would be easier for me, but he said it would be better in the morning because it would be cooler, and working in the crawlspace in the afternoon heat would be quite unbearable for his workman. The sun would have heated up the crawlspace and it would be very hot and stuffy.
I liked that he was considerate of his workman’s welfare.
I asked him how much it would cost me.
And Mr Yam said, not much, and looked to the developer’s agent.
The agent said this would not be covered by the developer, and any arrangement would be between me and Mr Yam.
So Mr Yam said, he won’t be charging me for the minor work, but all he ask was that I give his workman some “kopi money” – a tip.
I liked that. So how much kopi does he drink, and what kind, I asked.
He smiled but I guess he knew I was just playing stupid. (Not everyone gets it.)
Now, why are you still reading this post about my First World Problem?
Ok, I’ll get to the moral of the story.
If I were to be legalistic about it, (and to be honest, I might have, though maybe not immediately), I might have pointed out to the developer that the wiring, whether done by their electrician, or the air-con supplier, was all chosen and worked under the supervision of the developer. And if an “under-rated” wiring had been selected, it had been installed under the supervision of the developer and so it was the responsibility of the developer to fix.
However, because I was not interested in assigning responsibility, but simply to fix the problem, I asked the person most able to fix the problem if he could do it, and I would foot the bill.
Now I do not know why Mr Yam agreed to waive the charges and just ask for a tip. Certainly, it was not a major work, and it was simple enough. But he was well within his rights to charge.
Maybe (but I doubt it) it was my scintillating personality, honest face, ingenue-like naïveté, or my recognition that it was not his fault and I was not looking for someone to blame, that Mr Yam was so kind.
Or maybe he was a honest and kind person who felt bad for this poor little (slightly) rich guy who was sweating in the mid afternoon tropical sun with no air con for relief.
Or maybe he was actually better off than me, and have landed property.
Whatever the reason, his… kindness was helpful, and I do not need to pursue the matter with the developer. I got (or will get) what I want – a working air-conditioner, without paying too much for it (just kopi money).
The point or life lesson, if I have one for Z, is focus on solving the problem. “Blame storming” is a futile and unproductive exercise.
And hope for the kindness of strangers.