Golfing, hot weather and Japanese interest

When I was with my first company, a Japanese MNC, my general manager told me that while golf is not considered a luxury for him in Japan, it is a scarcity. More often than not you would need to book at least weeks ahead and for some of the more popular ones, perhaps even months ahead. Here in Malaysia, it’s almost a certainty that you can get a place for golf every weekend and it’s considered extremely affordable in terms of costs compared to Japan. Thus I can understand United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand)’s group chief executive officer, Datuk Charlie Chia Lui Meng when he said there were lots of Japanese interest in UMLand’s Bandar Seri Alam’s bungalow units as well as the fact that some of them may be very interested due to the hot weather all year round and the opportunity for golfing unlike in Japan.
For many Malaysians, we may think that our hot weather is a disadvantage but the truth is, for people from countries with four seasons, they prefer the hot sun compared to the cold winter. When I was in Bristol, the winter was considered mild I liked it for the first few days. After that, it was not really that likeable. I travelled to Edinburgh during winter and the winter breeze was numbing. Now, think about living with those kind of condition for 90 days every year. In some places, the snow is so thick that you could not even open your car door in the morning! It’s also gloomy, people wear thick clothes all the time and there’s really not many things you can do. Not even a stroll in the park. Here, it may be sunny but if we really wanted, swimming, running and even hiking can still be accomplished easily.
When I was in Japan for the first time, I learnt that a fresh Japanese graduate earns about RM6,000 per month. That was about 10 years ago. I just googled and found out that the average salary has remained almost the same. Well, RM6,000 is only enough for the smallest of the smallest room in a tiny apartment, Happy Hour once every week and please do not get any summon for parking at the wrong place. If you do, that’s the end of your salary for that month. However, if a Japanese saved a little and when they retire they would like to maintain or even upgrade their lifestyle, they can do it in Malaysia. In fact they can do more than just enjoy the hot weather or golfing. They can also  stay in much bigger places if they want and in terms of company, rest assured, they do mix together socially.
Yes, when it comes to hot weather plus golfing and you mix it with properties, developers can really attract lots of Japanese interest. Just make sure the first batch comes, enjoy the lifestyle and the development and the rest would follow.
written on 11 Mar 2015
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