On Thursday, 14th September 2017, I was leaving my apartment when all of a sudden the management staff of Sunway Monash Residence (SMR), entered without prior notice and asked me if a large induction cooker sitting on the dining table was mine. I replied no, it is my housemate’s. I did not leave the apartment yet as I was curious as to why did they ask me if it was mine and what were they planning to do with it. The management proceeded to wrap the induction cooker in a large, black plastic bag. My other housemate living in the 8th room came out of a sudden and we left the unit. On the way out we discovered a trolley filled with labeled plastic bags and most of them contained induction cookers.

That afternoon, I proceeded to the residence’s office to ask one of the management how many items did they confiscate and why were they doing it now. A quick check with the management told me that they have stated in the rules and regulations booklet that they have the right to confiscate prohibited items any time without prior notice because it is avoiding bias since they have the right to evict students because they have breached the tenancy agreement. A staff member wanted to be known as ‘S’ said “Confiscating serves as a warning, actually in Sunway Monash Residence, although drastic measures can be taken. This is because many items were confiscated and if we were to evict a mass number of residents, it would tarnish SMR’s name as an unsafe residence.”

According to the clauses in the rules and regulations handbook of Sunway Monash’s Residence, it is stated in clause 6.2(c) that among the prohibited items include hot plates, induction cookers, and multi cookers. It is also clearly stated in clause 16.5 that ‘The Residence Management reserves the right to take necessary action it deems fit in the event that items not in the approved list are found in any room or unit. This may include removal of such items and the imposition of any other penalty.’

Later that evening, I asked my housemate whose roommate was the person to which the induction cooker belonged to. Apparently, she went home for the weekend but she received a phone call from the management earlier. She chose to remain anonymous because she felt embarrassed such a thing happened to her. When she was asked if was she aware of the clauses in the tenancy agreement when she signed the paperwork, she replied with a ‘Yes’. When she was proceeded to ask her why would she bring an induction cooker to the unit even though she was aware of the rules and regulations, she replied saying “It much easier to fry an egg or cook bigger portions of food like chicken in it than a rice cooker.” In my opinion, she could be a little practical but lazy because she could always buy a carton of eggs from 7-11 and store them in the refrigerator in the student lounge but then I realized they might get stolen. She can, however, buy one of those cute, small non-stick frying pans in Daiso or any supermarket to fry an egg with or make pancakes out of it. Moreover, when I emphasized that Sunway Monash’s Residence has its own student lounge with two induction cooker stoves and ovens plus refrigerators and students are allowed to use them, my housemate replied with.”

To use those facilities, I would need to slot my OCR card which would charge me an overhead which adds to my air conditioning bill. Induction cookers take up a lot of electricity and if I use it in our unit, I don’t need to waste my prepaid credit or incur extra charges for using one.” This actually shows the hypocrisy of SMR’s policy where we are charged for electricity to use the induction stove in the student lounge instead of using a personal one in our unit.

However, there are two sides to this conflict. On the resident’s side, living in Sunway City is costly and as a student, most of us would try to save costs wherever and whenever possible and one way to do it is through cooking our own meals. Yes, the appliances which are permitted include a toaster but how long can we go on eating the monotonous toast every day? Residents can’t be microwaving food every time too because it could be potentially cancerous. On the management’s side, they are imposing a fee to use the appliances in the lounge but they are also showing a strong concern about the overall safety of the residents.

In my opinion, it is a little silly to breach the tenancy agreement of using prohibited items in the apartment units. This is because induction cookers may cause short circuits to occur which would lead to a fire and due to safety reasons, it is wise for this item to be prohibited. This is why SMR prohibits some electrical appliances in the first place which could cause a fire. Buying an induction cooker is way more expensive than just paying a small overhead fee for using the ones in the student lounge. Residents would just need to book the time they are planning to use it, that’s all. The pros about booking a time slot are one, there are eight burners on one stove and together there are two which makes 16 burners available. Also, the lounge has CCTV surveillance and the security guards are always patrolling. If any an emergency such as a fire occurs, the guards would know what to do and the residents would just need to take the stars on the floor down to safety. Imagine if a fire occurs in my apartment on the 15th floor, us girls would be screaming frantically not knowing what to do and panicking. We’d suffocate with the amount of smoke in the building and since the elevators don’t come up quick enough, we would die than trying to run down flights of stairs. The male residents could get to safety easier though since they are located on the lower levels. The ultimate con is the charging of the electricity based on one OCR card only. From my experience, my friends and I have used the oven and microwave in the student lounge. Five of us would like to share a meal but one person needs to volunteer to use their card. The meter doesn’t usually tell you how much of prepaid is being minus offed from the card and most of us residents don’t really care because the food is what unites us and not some electricity fee at the end of the day.

induction stove in Sunway Monash's residence in student lounge

induction stove in Sunway Monash’s Residence’s student lounge

Among the electrical appliances in the student lounge; a microwave and an oven

Among the electrical appliances in the student lounge; a microwave and an oven

These are the card slots with meters which residents need to insert their cards into so they can use the electrical appliances in the student lounge

These are the card slots with meters which residents need to insert their cards into so they can use the electrical appliances in the student lounge

Sunway Monash Residence is by far one of the best residences around Sunway city to provide so many facilities to make it very conducive for students to live here and I suggest the residents make full use of them. Among the facilities include the complimentary monthly laundry, the gym and swimming pool, the basketball court which I have played on many times since Monash University’s court is usually full most of the days. The student lounge is also pretty cool with a game room, a study area with discussion rooms, a slide, a movie room and a kitchen with two island tables, fridges, induction stoves, ovens, and microwaves. However, the essential necessity, WiFi is still the worst problem yet to be fixed by the management because it trips every time and us students need to use it to study and complete our assignments. Why even the internet was disconnected two times when I was trying to save this post and I had to recollect what I typed out and it was frustrating.

What does cooking as a student feel like to you? Do share your experiences and views. Thank you. Have a pleasant week ahead! 🙂

Asha


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