Aussies seem an incredibly handy lot. I see people on Facebook post stuff for sale that are hand and home made. I've seen a potting stand made by someone's hubby and a rocking horse made by a grandad go on sale, and they looked pretty good!
The typical Malaysian Chinese is the antithesis to this. My grandmother's generation was pretty crafty, and quilt blankets were the norm for every grandkid to have. But my generation was told to get good grades, and play an instrument and learn ballet. As our parents attempted to move us up the intellectual skill ladder, we didn't learn to do much with our hands. I can write and navigate the Internet, but I can't catch a ball. I can spout poetry but the world of screws and bolts is an alien world that terrifies me.
Or maybe I should say 'terrified' me. It's hard to get help over here if you want to do a small project. Firstly, tradies are mighty expensive. For their professional-scale prices, I would have hoped I would get professional service but I haven't been fortunate enough. Some say they will come and they don't. Some come and say they will send a quote but they don't. Some come and quote and then do a job that is quick and careless and you have to watch over them like a hawk. One didn't finish the job and gave his word he would come back but never did. (yes, naïve, trusting me!)
Of course, not all can be painted with the same brush, but suffice to say this whole process of renovating and fixing up problems around the house has been stressful. It's hard to manage a house here (especially an old house) if you can't do stuff around the house. No wonder Bunnings is everywhere!
So what do we do? We rolled up our sleeves. There is so much information on the Internet these days, there is little you can't find out. Yes, the first attempt is a disaster but after two to three tries, some simple DIY stuff - because we do it with care and take our time - we do no worse than someone who charges but does a careless job.
I've sanded and retinted a dining table, one I bought second hand that had scratches on the surface.
Hubby has put in laminate floors. (we needed it done before we moved in, and because we moved near Christmas, it was impossible to get anyone to do it)
We've put silicone on some gaps in the house.
I've put up a patch of wall glass tiles.
I've resanded and filled in, and varnished wooden floors after cabinets were pulled off them.
Hubby has put in house lights, and new steps for the deck.
We've cut to measure and installed timber frames for the window.
I've cleaned up (removed paint and sanded and varnished) a cedar window.
We've mended a balcony railing that was falling apart from rust. Hubby grinded the rust off, applied a rust converter and I repainted it. Granted, all the rust hasn't be fully arrested, but the decay has been slowed down.
Sure, these are no-brainer jobs to many, but hey, we're pretty proud of ourselves because our fingers are best used for typing on keyboards!