Selling an illusion in the face of a property bubble


It is laughable what some desperate agents resort to when confronted with a real estate bubble. But the gimmick reveals what players in the industry are adept at doing: creating an illusion or ‘image’, a sense of exclusivity to sell otherwise hard-to-sell real estate.

But image and illusion can only take you so far … before things go belly up.

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      • What’s the use? Other than binchui for the developer, it is not even benefitting Penangites, the majority of whom need more affordable housing.
        Now the state gomen & developers realise their folly (of dreaming an expensive Cosmopolitan Penang that doesn’t ring a bell) are changing course to build more affordable house after a fancy trip down the road building high end properties that not many Penangites want to buy.

        Award is silly-meaningless when it doesn’t fulfil a social purpose ( much like Kancil Award for some ads that don’t sell).

    • Experience doing business with foreign Chinese from China.
      I work at a shop where nearby are million ringgit bungalows, a catchment market of rich folks. Among the residents are some Chinese from China whose sons / daughters studied in Penang. Doing business with these richie Chinese is not what we seem to anticipate – generous & profitable customers.
      The truth is this: they will haggle & compare the exchange rate & most likely will not kau kuan. Unlike we Malaysians who are not so rich but willing to spend & help the local businesses.
      The next time we fancy rich foreign Chinese as profitable customers of local properties, better think. One, they may not live here the entire year. Two, they may just be dumping their money in foreign havens just in case China change again. Three, they are not profitable customers.

      Will they spend Rm5 on a bowl of TeoChew [email protected] Walk? Maybe after a noisy haggle.

  1. Sinking feeling at KLCI now slide to 1747 as of 11am. Market sentiment not rosy. Property market share same sentiment.

  2. At the MAPEX housing exhibition held in JB City Square last weekend, the developers are now saying that property investment in Iskandar is for 10-15 horizon to reap profit after the warning by Singapore government on current oversupply, especially those service apartments and newi offerings like CondoTel (Condominiums with hotel services eg ordering room service via tablets provided)

    At MAPEX, Ho Chin Soon launched his new book on the business opportunity in land transaction along the coming KL-Singapore HSR.

    At the nearby JBCC, Setia was promoting its 40th year offerings, including those high rise high density condominiums in Penang.

  3. “Everything is fake” says one of the pick-up-from-bar Ang Moh model, who assumed one need not be a pro to land on a model job in China to sell anything fake.

    Not to sound too sarcastic, in China, most international brands are easy target for fake reproduction.
    Not too surprising that property marketing has already taken on the “Ang Moh Is Good” seizure-mentality of brand image building.

    “Image is the reality” has taken the Chinese to a level of consumption unheard of during the Mao period of austerity lifestyle of grey suit & pants coloured only by a Mao’s Little Red Book. Like a freed Panda Bear, consumers having relished new found wealth in a free market economy littered with international brands (thanks to Deng Xiaoping) since the 90s felt more for the wants above the needs (like basic food, clothing & shelter that they already have had in life). The wants of image lifestyle, cultured living, western music, keeping up with the Joneses (here Ang Moh again), tech driven accessories, even a Russian (Ang Moh looking) wife or husband.

    The minds of the Chinese as being abacus-driven (pragmatic) is not always the case. Given the chance to manipulate the taste-buds for westernised luxury living, western image perception is the ultimate tool to change minds & hearts & open up fat wallets, more so in an Asian society that still looks at Ang Moh as a desirable human & cultural icon of distinction – the blond hair, the high bridge nose, the blue eyes, the tall build, & the And Moh slang (even John Wayne’s cowboy is AOK!). Even to desperately sell a property by ‘proping up’ an Ang Moh engineer is perfectly acceptable, faked as reality can be. Herein lies the “soft spots” within the mindscape of Chinese consumerism in international marketing of local-made products & services.

    But one exception in Penang: What about Times Square apartment? One can still see quite a number of eerie-dark & empty echoing units if you drive along Jalan Dato Keramat at night. Doesn’t it look very Ang Moh baroque?

    Note: In marketing practice, image building, an almost century old principle of selling is legit to the marketing & advertising practitioners notwithstanding the extent of it being labelled as selling illusions by consumer watch groups. But it works, conscience or not. Btw, how do you sell Apple’s iMac or iPhone?

    • One thing I would like to point out: the ‘Brit’-looking models employed by the lady property agent are more suited for selling night-time comedy shows. Is she not trying to save a bit of money than going to a professional model agency? That may spoil the image building exercise.
      Mr Bean, you got a ready job as British body-spokeman for selling London Bridge over the Yellow River.

      • This event is organized by Gabungan Impian Kelantan, co-organized by Hong Kong Bruce Lee Club and Malaysia Mandarin Comic Society and endorsed by Bruce Lee’s younger brother, Robert Lee. In conjunction with Bruce Lee’s 75th birthday this year, fans of the martial art icon will hold variety of programmes to celebrate that auspice day of 2015. In Malaysia, charity art exhibition is organized to fund the Kelantan flood disaster reconstruction and rebuild. The fund raising target is RM200,000.

        Anil should help to publicise this charity event with a good cause.

      • Thanks Ben10.
        Just visited Bruce Lee 75 Charity Art Exhibition with my children.
        The artworks are so fantastic. So is the memory of my 70s flashing back in my mind – practising Bruce Lee 3-kicks, honing 1-inch punch @ Madras Lane goh kaki, speed swing+blow nunchaku (improvised from broom sticks). And of course, Bruce Lee’s leading sweet lady Nora Miao who’s always on my mind.
        Too bad my body is not as agile as I was in my teen as Bruce Lee wannabe.
        I bought a hardcover pictorial book as my little contribution to a worthy cause – to raise RM200,000 for the Kelantan flood disaster relief fund.


      • Tunglang RM75 Bruce Lee hardcover artwork book goes to DAP’s Indian kelantan project to rebuild torn homes for flood victims there. Hood contribution.

        Btw, I fancy the artwork of Bruce Lee and Nora Miso. Can you scan and post it on to create more awareness on this worthy project?

      • No problem, siaboay kid.
        I already photoshot quite a number of these artwork plus my own selfie.
        Wondering whether I should show my face?

      • Tunglang,
        I managed to get the picture Nora Miao with Bruce Lee. Can send to for the benefits of other fans as well if Anil consents.

        IMPIAN KELANTAN lives on….

      • Anil, Nora Miao has the look of a typical Chinese girl from the rural (kampung) who is innocent looking & pretty with a smile + 2 dimples that can easily knock out any man including Bruce Lee. And she is soft spoken & easy to cry so any man worth her friendship can lend a man’s shoulder for her to cry on. Also, Nora Miao has the eyes of a phoenix that can send any Dragon to fight any Ang Moh in Rome’s Colosseum.
        Nora Miao, always on my mind.


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