Malaysia – I don’t like my cabinet


I find that local cabinets are of very low quality made of cheap hollow chipboards which easily rot.

Perhaps, a cabinet is not relevant anymore in modern day living?

If need be I’d prefer those see-through ones made of glass, which the inside will need to be kept tidy all the time, and you’d quickly spot anything out of place?



I don’t like my cabinet

| July 29, 2015

The cabinet I have now is full of termites. It looks sharp and stylish but sounds hollow, like a tin kosong [empty can]


It is so difficult to find a good cabinet nowadays.

The cabinet I now have is full of termites. Apparently it is made of plywood.. Despite looking stylish and sharp, when knocked, it sounds hollow. It sounds like a tin kosong.

I tried getting them renovated and visited a store called GE13. They offered various custom made compartments and were made of different types of wood. There were many options for the cabinet doors ─ metal, composite, laminate, and thermofoil. All good options, to be honest. I decided to give it a try and placed my order.

But for some reason, the order never came through. Maybe someone offered a better price for it. Sigh.

The truth is, they don’t make cabinets like they used to anymore like the cabinets we had back in my kampong. They were all made by my dad. He singlehandedly picked and chose every part of the cabinet. The workmanship was rough since dad was merely a hobby carpenter but he knew how to pick the woods and make the edges meet.

We’ve had those cabinets for more than 40 years now. The red meranti still stands firmly on my mom’s kitchen walls – slightly worn, but well kept. Even the paint is in good condition. And no matter how hard my crazy rough brother bangs the doors shut, not a single splinter comes off. The only thing that gets broken every now and then are the made in china door hinges.

But then again, the cabinets were made by a mamak – which explains its durability.

The truth is, when it comes to kitchen cabinets, you get what you pay for. There is the cheap plywood kind teeming with insects (like the one I have in my kitchen) of low durability but surprisingly sturdy and good looking.

Then you have laminates which are basically a thin layer of solid wood over an inner core of chipboard. The wood covering is deceiving, misleading and in the end the chipboard doesn’t last that long.

I don’t want that type of cabinets anymore. I need something solid. Something durable. Something with quality.

Seriously, I need to change the cabinets in my home. The IKEA ones look nice – quite pricey though, but nice nevertheless. However, I wonder if it can fulfil the real purpose of a cabinet.

You see, what I do know is that peddlers at furniture malls who want to sell me cabinets, try to distract me so that I forget the real function of a cabinet. Cabinets must serve a purpose and I know getting the wrong one means that the purpose is not achieved. On top of that you are left with a heck of a lot of trouble.

And I also know that a homeowner who keeps changing cabinets just for show should not be trusted completely. I mean, why would a homeowner change his/her cabinet(s) around Syawal? What is he/she trying to accomplish? Is he/she hiding some deep rot by refurbishing it with some good looking chipboard cabinet with an oak overlay?

Like I said, I hate my cabinet. Besides the termites eating away at the wood I paid for, I hate the fact that some of the doors which are made of dark shaded wood keep dark secrets. And I also hate that the old drawers in the cabinets don’t slide in easily. I think drawers should never fight with their master.

To be honest, I don’t think any amount of renovation or refurbishing or reshuffling can cover the unpleasantness of having this cabinet in my kitchen. It just needs to go. All of it.

I would really like to replace it with a nice, new, gleaming cabinet. Maybe one with transparent sides or a transparent glass door. One that will let some sun in so that everyone can see that it is not messy on the inside.

I want a cabinet with doors that don’t creak loudly every time they’re opened or shut.

I want a cabinet that doesn’t store candies and cookies in its’ recesses….hidden away from the kids.

And I want a cabinet with classy, durable, functional containers – not one screaming with red Tupperware and cheap plastic containers in pastel colours.

I guess I should start shopping for a good cabinet before it’s too late. As of now, one side of my cabinet is full of termites and the other side is also corrupted from absorbing too much water and dampness that didn’t belong in the cabinet in the first place.

Hopefully by 2018, I will get my cabinet replaced. Maybe with a meranti, maybe a jati. But definitely never a plywood or a chipboard ever again. I know it won’t be easy – good wood is hard to come by despite living in a tropical climate.

But then again, we must be willing to put in the effort if we want to enjoy having a good quality cabinet in the house.



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