Ants and Home Invasions: Emails from a Nasty Host


Email from Host:

Good morning Li Ming,

I was going to message you again – but think it’s best we speak via the Airbnb website so there’s a record of all communications. I appreciate your message – I hope the fresh figs and pears were interesting and delicious; it is nice to have something so natural. As for the ants (not related to the fridge), I saw your three photos but could not really see anything – maybe a dot or two – I do of course believe you, but please understand these are native creatures – tiny tiny black ants – actually attracted to water or sugar – or moving because of the coming rain. As you requested I have visited and poured a special low toxicity product, “Ant Rid”, at two locations – one by the bathroom door and also by the front door. I noticed, however, even more ants outside (that’s good) but moving around on the veranda ceiling so I also put some liquid outside the door. The ants will take this back to their nest and reduce the population.

However, these are regular Australian Black Ants – harmless and just part of the landscape. The fridge – I went to remove the offending items – contained I believe a packet of frozen vegetables, mayonnaise, jam and a jar of crushed garlic… actually three jars of mayonnaise. I took these offending items (oh, and two fresh eggs) left by the previous guests to share and not waste. I wiped all the shelves and took the one little piece of red onion skin from the vegetable crisper space. I have photographed the items – and will post this for all to see. I think personally your request is a bit reactionary – maybe it is a cultural gap. Many guests thank me for providing items like oil (open oil – not brand new that I had purchased), leaving a few eggs – messages come like “Hi Jon, can we use the eggs in Fridge?” – me “Yes of course” – and a jar of crushed garlic good until August 2016.

It looks like two spoons were used and the rest were enough for guests to cook something. I also provide hand soap – but not bars of soap. I provide a few toilet rolls but I am not “required to.” I offer the essentials so you can manage until you go shopping. This is not a hotel – it is twice as big with a yard and free parking at a lesser price. Maybe it is cultural – I didn’t really enjoy visiting Singapore very much – I thought it was bland and sort of boring – but at the same time I appreciated the work culture and making something of nothing – the political stability is good too.

So it is different than here. I enjoyed the difference and you should to. On another note – I noticed you left the heating on at 25 degrees while you were out, may I suggest this is environmentally a bad practice and also wasteful and neglectful. 22 degrees is enough and in fact the weather is so mild as to not require any heating or cooling – then again when it is 38 degrees here I still do not use our own air conditioning – I feel it is for weak people that hide from – yet damage – the environment. Anyway, I hope your few ants leave the hall way and the fridge is now empty of those annoying items. I am now going to cook an omelette using the two eggs. Oh, I know you like fresh items – the unit next door is also mine, and in front of the veranda is fresh parsley, basil, and chives. There is more than we ever can use so feel free to cut or pick some and enjoy your visit. Be careful of Tiger Snakes on the river trail.

– Jon


Reply from Me:

Dear Jon,

Thank you for your feedback. Here is ours. Your sign on the door says “Please feel free to contact owner if there are any concerns…” – We contacted you and got slammed for the trouble. Hmm. Not good. Your messages and email replies – Full of personal attacks – perhaps it’s a cultural thing like you mentioned. Not good. We tend to be professionals when it comes to business and expected the same from the other party. Our bad. You (the owner) entering the rented premises without first contacting us – unprofessional and a breach of security. Ants – a few, no problem but increasing in numbers, a slight worry, just thought you as the owner might want to know. Your liquid ant bait – not working as shown in the pics. We had to purchase Baygon. Wham, no more ants instantly. And interestingly enough, there was no rain except for a slight drizzle on the last of our 4-night stay. Hmmm… so I wonder why the ants decided to invade the house… And you are right, it is indeed not our culture to cohabit with a bunch of ants (or other insects) in our home when possible.

A few frozen vegetables? I’m sorry, but the freezer is the top compartment of the fridge, not the bottom which was hastily cleaned out on the second day of our stay. Expired cream and packet of cheese for our use? – Unacceptable. Why are we charged cleaning fees? It is so that the place is thoroughly cleaned out for the next occupants. Dirty fridge with nasty comments from owner – Unacceptable. Filthy dish washing sponge?  It muust also be a cultural thing like you mentioned. We did have a comfortable stay at your place despite your nasty attitude and small setbacks. We apologize for our high expectations of hospitality and cleanliness. Our past experiences with Airbnb must have spoilt us plenty. Please pardon us for our cultural differences and perhaps you will have better dealings with others in the future. And if you’ve messaged someone to say you’re coming down that night, please have the same courtesy to say you have changed your mind and not make the other person wait. Thank you.