Buying in Singapore, Private

5 oddballs you’ll encounter at MCST meetings (and how to deal with them)

August 4, 2017

A variety of people present at MSCT Meetings

Now that you’re a condo owner, you have the privilege of attending Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) Annual General Meetings. In fact, the government has done away with too many proxy votes, to encourage more residents to take part in these meetings to be kept informed about what goes on in the condo. Now you might be wondering: why wouldn’t they take part anyway? Surely everyone has an interest in their own home. Well we’re about to show you five reasons why people avoid these events:

  1. The Law Lecturer

On rare occasions, this person may have an actual background in law. But most of the time, this character will spout legal regulations that are more fictional than a 13-year-old’s Dungeons & Dragons session.

Want to put in a new playground? The law lecturer immediately jumps in, and says every resident who voted for it will be liable if some kid falls off the slide.

Want to put in a reflexology footpath? “We’ll get sued for false medical claims”, asserts the law lecturer.

Insist that residents leash their dogs? Well, says the law lecturer, you can’t legally enforce such a rule, according to the Canine Liberation Act of 1987, or some such made-up garbage *.

No matter what you try to discuss, the law lecturer will weigh in like they’re a legal expert on that precise topic. And you can be sure almost none of what they spout is correct.

(*Once and for all, it IS illegal not to leash dogs. Animal and Birds Act, Chapter 7, Section 59, Paragraph 9)

Deal with them by:

Checking if there’s an actual lawyer around. If there is – and you point it out to them – these characters will usually shut up.

Otherwise, widen your eyes and say “wow, lucky you told us that.” And then ignore them and carry on with the discussion; these types just like to be flattered for their superior “knowledge.”

  1. The One Who Knows Your Hidden Motives

This character knows nothing is what it seems. Every single person at the meeting is hiding their real motives, and every one of those motives geared towards slimy profiteering.

When the MCST asks if third party car washers should be allowed in, this person immediately asks “Why? Are you guys getting a commission from the car washers? Is this some kind of car-scrubbing mafia ring?”

If someone suggests having a flea market, this character knows why: it’s because someone wants a venue to sell illegal DVDs, smuggled in the back of a truck from Malaysia.

If someone wants to do a round of collections for the cleaners as a token on special occasions, that person must be planted by said cleaners, and getting a cut of the ang pao money.

As far as this character is concerned, altruism doesn’t exist. Every resident is a greedy, evil, vizier from an Arabian Nights story. Expect them to challenge you for the most bizarre reasons, and to have no agenda except to impede everyone else’s.

Deal with them by:

Nodding vigorously, and saying “yes, yes, those (insert subject) are all evil, and such plots do exist.” Then congratulate them for their vigilance, and proceed with your suggestion anyway.

Try not to talk to them, or go near them. And never let them contact you, lest you’re ready to deal with 50 to 150 messages every day, each one alleging a new conspiracy.

  1. The Failed Comedian

These fellas aren’t so bad, if no serious decisions are being made. They’re more of a time-wasting, cringe-inducing factor than a nefarious force.

Say the MCST brings up the fact that the lifts keep failing. Should they maybe get a new contractor? That’s the point where the failed comedian shouts “Maybe we should call Spider-Man for help!

And then doubles over laughing at their own joke. You can up the cringe factor when these types say something unintentionally rude, like “It’s because all the residents are too fat, ha ha ha.”

Now it’s hard to pay attention to the meeting, when you’re trying to dislodge the eyeballs that you’ve rolled to the back of your skull. While the failed comedian is mostly harmless, they can become a serious nuisance in situations like:

  • Discussing an en-bloc sale
  • Trying to question escalating maintenance costs
  • Raising any kind of serious issue, such as the security guard harassing your maid or tenants

Deal with them by:

Staring at them with a blank face when they make a joke. Wait for them to settle down, then carry on with what you were saying. You need to make it clear to them that you’re annoyed, as their social radar is non-existent.

  1. The One Who Repeatedly Brings Up Issues Beyond Control

There are some issues that can’t be fixed, and these characters have dedicated their lives to complaining about those issues.

In futility. Forever.

They’ll repeat the issue every year, despite knowing that nothing short of demolishing the whole condo and rebuilding it will fix things.

Their favourite topics include:

  • Ever since a new mall / train station opened nearby, it’s been very noisy at night
  • The common corridor is too narrow
  • Taxis don’t like to pick people up from the condo

You get the idea. Nothing they complain about can be remedied in any practical sense*. But year and year out, they’ll spend 30 to 90 minutes giving everyone else an earful about how it destroys their lives.

Deal with them by:

Downloading some fun games on your phone. Sorry, these characters are themselves a problem you can’t control. Whatever you do, don’t try to speed things up by agreeing with them; you’ll only encourage them to moan more.

*Well, maybe the taxi issue. But even if the condo arranges a shuttle bus service, they’ll keep complaining about the same thing.

  1. The Proxy President

This has thankfully been resolved – in part – with the new regulations that limit the number of proxy votes. But you can be certain this character will still exist.

These people know that residents are too lazy to go to meetings, so they spend all day collecting the rights to vote on others’ behalf. And they do it with the fervour of someone on a Presidential campaign.

The extra sneaky ones begin by getting you to agree on a non-controversial topic (e.g. we should have disabled ramps for wheelchair bound resident). But once the meeting is underway, your proxy vote suddenly goes toward other issues – like banning maids from using the swimming pool, or requiring residents to pay for having an extra car decal to park at the premises.

Deal with them by:

Going to the meeting yourself. Don’t surrender your rights to someone you barely know.

 

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