M’sianspiration is a Malaysian-based weekly series that highlights ordinary Malaysians who have extraordinary goals, lifestyles, and dreams. We hope that these people will inspire you to live extraordinarily. If you know anyone who qualifies, email and let us know at email@example.com!
It’s the Malaysian fresh graduates’ nightmare. The fresh graduate (if you’re lucky) earns an estimate of RM2,500 per month. After reading the fine prints on your new job, you realize that you need a car. That’s an RM500 loan out of your wallet a month. With your apartment having an impressive distance from your workplace (RM200 of car fuel), you manage to get an apartment for a fairly reasonable price of RM600. RM100 goes to paying for internet that doesn’t try to heighten your blood pressure, RM400 for food, and RM300 for utilities and miscellaneous spending. You still have RM500 to spend! Then you realize there’s such a thing as taxes.
Face it. You’re never going to be able to afford a house. Well then, let us introduce you to this project by Muhamad Azree. Project Codename?
The Container House
Why on earth would anyone want to live in a container house, you ask? Well, Vulcan Post got in touch with 25-year-old Muhamad Azree, founder of RumahKontena.com and asked him exactly that.
Why a Container Home?
“My initial plan was to live in a motorhome instead of a container. The problem is that I won’t have a specific place to park the motorhome,” he said. Azree added that Malaysia is just not equipped for motorhomes. In foreign countries, there are designated areas for motorhomes to park where they are able to connect with utility resources.
“Rather than investing in a RM70,000 motorhome that will depreciate in value, I decided that it is better to buy a piece of land and make a container home (which is also movable).” He also mentioned the ridiculous prices of houses in the Klang Valley area, which sometimes leads people into debt until even after they retire.
The picture above shows the progress Azree has made on the house. As you can see, the welders are placing proper roofing for passive insulation and shading on the house. Inside, the kitchen area is reaching completion and the concrete structure for the toilet is almost finished as well. Azree said that he is currently waiting for water and electric supply as well as the completion of the second floor resting area.
How much has it cost you?
Not surprisingly, the price for the land purchase and cleaning the grounds took the bulk of Azree’s budget at RM38,000. “The container itself is only RM11,000 and further modification to include toilet, kitchen and my second storey floor cost another RM7,000. That’s a total of RM56,000 of my RM60,000 budget.”
The house is located at Kampung Sijangkang, Teluk Panglima Garang and Azree is graciously welcoming forumers from Lowyat.net to have a look once it’s completed, an invite that has been responded with enthusiasm all around. “There has been many people waiting to visit my house and I’m afraid to open the booking form,” he said.
How did you convince your family… and more importantly, your girlfriend?!
“My family has been very supportive. They’re helping me with the ongoing project: construction, moving and so on,” Azree said. He shared that he is currently unattached (hint hint, ladies), but said, “Even if I am to have one (be attached), we will ensure proper family planning. By the time our future child is old enough to want his/her own personal space, I would’ve expanded the unit suitable for a bigger family.”
He understands that this kind of lifestyle may not be suitable for anyone and added, “She must be strong enough to endure public judgement.”
Captain Ikhwan & Kak Orkid
Azree is not the first person to live in container homes in Malaysia. “Before me, many have been living in cabins or working inside containers,” he shared, “but mostly for industrial purposes.” The temporary ‘housing units’ are discarded once it starts to get rusty. “We can overcome the oxidation, and thus the rusting, by doing proper maintenance to make it sustainable with Malaysia’s weather.”
“Captain Ikhwan and his wife are among the first to own such a house and we are now trying to encourage others to do the same by promoting this movement in Facebook and on our website.”
Muhamad Azree is a full-time Software Engineer in Shah Alam and has been a Freelance Web Designer since 2008. Between his full-time job and part-time house development, he finds time to try out paragliding, a recreational flying sport. Azree also enjoyes cooking, camping, and sewing.
Any advice to our readers?
“Do what you believe in and not what people want you to do. We will never be able to satisfy everyone. And don’t stay in your comfort zone.”
Brave words from a brave young man. Personally, I won’t be buying a container house any time soon though. In the meantime, take a look at this Starbucks made from shipping containers.