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Waiting for the Big Sleep

Author: Bill Barnett. Category: News Column - Property Report SEA. Posted: 13th May 2013

Chaos in Cyprus, bombs away in North Korea and talk of a property bubble in Asia. Will I live to see the bottom? Or will I grow old bouncing off the wall of one of those 20 square metre affordable luxury condos springing up everywhere around me? I'm not sure where my recent fascination or fixation on death comes from, but one sure sign that the dark side is prevailing is when you start actually reading obituaries. My eyes dart around each day through those "now trending" Yahoo headlines, which seem to feature a lot more departures than arrivals. The computer mouse mysteriously travels to the headline and clicks on someone's entire life story in under 100 words.

Even better is sitting on the plane to Singapore and reading the Straits Times backstories where the obits have those lovely little glamour poses.

The eyes search out the younger ones and wonder-how did they manage to go to the big sleep so early in the game? Of course, the devil is in the detail and for men, the odds are stacked again them. You see all the merry departed widows die at a ripe old age, their husbands long gone.

Very disturbing.

I accept that everyone (and everything) has a shelf life, but time just seems to go faster these days. I grew up slowly, with endless afternoons and far too much excess Uust how many times can you listen to Stairway to Heaven over and over again?), crazed genius and the true meaning of life in vinyl. Now I'm lucky to get to the break where Robert Plant's soaring vocals merge in heavy metal thunder.

It's the same with the property markets. It seems like only yesterday we were listening on the perfect riff of an Asian boom, yet already the next fade out looms in the headlines and market predictions. It seems that, just as it is for post-50 males, property markets are far more likely to meet an untimely demise than take a slow, saggy trip to meet the grim reaper.

It's the lead up which is maddening.

All of the lasts, versus all those firsts earlier in life. It's safe to be in the middle, but when there is no avoiding reality when the end is just over the rainbow. Life after death continues to be the ultimate perk, but I've yet to receive a Facebook friend request or an SMS from anyone I have known who is now dead. Of course, property markets stand a much better chance of a rebirth than humans, but the time in-between may feel just as depressing as the devil 's dog catching you in its fangs and slowly but surely dragging you under.

So there you have it, the crux of it all-a paradoxical start and stop for all things. Sure, there are moments of great hope, joy even, and endless days you wish would never end, but coming to terms with mortality, whether human or economic, really sucks.

My editor will probably berate me for the lack of real estate in this eulogy, but at this point I'm not even sure if I will make it to next month's column. How can you fit your life into 100 words or less when the big sleep is outside your door looking for the buzzer?

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C9 Hotelworks Founder and Managing Director Bill Barnett is a noted columnist, author and leading authority on travel trend, hotels and property.

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