The Pinnacle at Duxton is a public housing project like no others. Conceived after a competition involving over 200 architecture firms from around the world was held to select the best design, the seven 50-storey interconnected blocks consist of 1848 units and 2 sky gardens on the 26th and 50th floor. It was the site where the first two original HDB blocks were build in 1963, and with its Wiki page and its official website now, the Pinnacle is a juxtaposition of historical and modern day Singapore. With it’s slew of local and international awards, there is no doubt that this is HDB’s flagship project.
In recent weeks, it has made the news more than once. HDB conducts ‘Sale of Balance Flats’ exercises periodically to make available to the public units that have been repossessed. In the most recent exercise, a unit at the Pinnacle was put on sale for $736000. Separately, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan commented that there will be many millionaires when the minimum occupancy period for the development is over and the flats come on the open market. Not that it mattered to everyone, because a resident, C.M. Foo, when interviewed, declared that she would never sell her unit on the 49th floor. Not for one million ‘or even 3 million, because of the view’.
We bought our house many years ago thinking we could translate our CPF monies into better rental yields. We searched all over the island before deciding that we only wanted to live along this one street. We went up and down the street checking out all the developments new and old. We dropped personal hand written notes under the doors of units of which we fancied the facing. We compared locations (end of the street, too far from town), developments (too much brick, too old and not well maintained), prices and potential (overpriced, en bloc potential). We spent our weekends and evenings prowling apartments with agents. We must have seen at least a hundred units before coming across this one.
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There was nothing not to love about the apartment. It was bright and airy, quaint and cosy rolled into one. It had a small kitchen that we could live with, and a huge walk in wardrobe that the wife could not live without. The neighborhood was shrouded in greenery and extremely well maintained for its age. But the clincher was this – The View.
We stayed over the night we got the keys. We thought we might as well wake up to the view ourselves first before renting it out. A week, or perhaps a month or two. It became six months, and then a year and in the blink of an eye, we have lived here for five.
Storm Clouds brewing
We could spend hours staring out of the window. We could tell when a storm is brewing from afar and water cyclones forming. We could see National Day Flypasts, the Marina Bay Sands taking shape, and Sentosa Cove on a clear day. We never had curtains until recently because no one could look in. The ships and the planes and sea and the sky form the ultimate tapestry. We would always spend the 31st of December at home, toasting in the new year with champagne together with ships out at anchor and their flares and horns.
We had happy memories. We got married and held our Solemnization Ceremony held right here in this house. We had our friends come over to decorate the night before, and we spent the whole morning cleaning up and tidying the whole place. It was our matrimonial house in every sense of the word.
Earlier this month, we awarded an Option to Purchase to a couple who wanted to buy our house. We were made an offer we could not refuse and it was a decision we lost a lot of sleep over. The house has been a part of us for a long time. It has seen us through many stages of life. It was the perfect apartment, one in which we could see ourselves growing old in. I have always been an advocate of rationality, telling everyone who cares to listen, not to fall in love with their stocks, or trades, or houses, but it is only when the buck stops at me do I realize the difficulty in making that decision. It was heart wrenching.
Rainbow after the storm
In his book ‘How Rich People Think’, Steve Siebold suggests that ‘Average people see money through the eyes of emotion, Rich people think about money logically’. Thinking about money logically sounds easy enough. One uses the mind and the mind alone. Unfortunately in some situations the Heart decides to gets involved. And when the mind says one thing and the Heart feels the other, to come to a logical decision, one would have to compartmentalize emotions, rationalize them and then mask and dismiss them. It is an extremely arduous task indeed.
Whether or not the decision to sell out is a good one will only become apparent many years down the road; we have no idea. But in signing that option, we knew deep inside that the decision was symbolic. We knew that by forcing ourselves to do the rational thing, what we are doing is really Exercising the Heart. In doing so, our capacity for making the right decisions free of emotional encumbrances will only increase. And in doing so, we will only grow stronger.
The last I checked, a 100 sqm unit on the 51st floor of the Marina Bay Residences could be had for 2.8mil. For her own sake, I hope Mrs Foo was only fooling around when she said what she said.
Edit 29/10. Our apartment is not at the Pinnacle. I used that as an example because I wanted to show that people do tend to react irrationally when it comes to matters of the heart (home). Sorry for the confusion!