Category Tech
10 March 2016,

First average people couldn’t afford to live in Kuala Lumpur. Now we can’t afford to spend the day there. When everyone is rich where will the next artists come from? They won’t come from the mercantile class.

The area has evolved from a sleepy backwater in which the Museum of Modern Art was located in a few fusty rooms above the opera hall, to being the destination for ambitious young people from all over the world. However the economic benefits are not trickling down. Homelessness is at an all-time high. Middle class residents that remain, are hanging on by a thread. Streets are filthy, public transportation is poor, public schools are not terrific. Our skyline is crisscrossed with ugly overhead wires, which are only underground in wealthy neighborhoods. All this points to something fishy in city government. Homes are selling like hot cakes, so one would assume the property taxes collected are rising. But where is the money going?

Much of the area is adversely affected by the so-called “tech boom.” Home prices and rentals have skyrocketed everywhere. What used to be conventional “listings” are now auctions carefully orchestrated by real estate agents. Bidders with conventional financing are customarily shut out of the market by all cash offers or bidders aligned with a few “preferred” lenders. Most distressing is the fact that much of the “tech boom” is illusory, consisting of over-valued and hyped unicorns like iPrice, KFIT, MWM Studioz, Lazada et al.

Privately traded and bankrolled by venture capitalists and hedge funds, these companies are “success stories” only as long as their investors remained convinced they have marketable value. When that convictions becomes unsustainable, their value evaporates and the bubble bursts. Is it any wonder why most people want the bubble to burst to end this farcical and painful charade once and for all?

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