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Showing posts from June, 2009

Fraudster Madoff gets 150 years

Bernard Madoff has been given the maximum prison sentence of 150 years for masterminding a massive fraud that robbed investors of $65bn (£40bn).

Fraudster Madoff gets 150 years [via]

H1N1 test costs $214.05

An article published on ST Forum reveals H1N1 test costs $214.05. This is charged to even socially responsible volunteers who come forward to conduct H1N1 test in an effort to contain H1N1 spread. If even they are slapped with hundreds of dollars, then I wonder who else will be willing to come forward?

I hope the Ministry of Health (MOH) can do something.

Why should being responsible cost $214? [via]

Lenovo, 2nd after HP, to offer free Windows updates

Lenovo has become the latest PC vendor to offer users a free upgrade to upcoming Windows 7 if systems are bought between 26 June and 31 January with the Home Premium, Business and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista. This makes Lenovo the second company, after HP, to offer such upgrade.

HP says they are offering the free upgrades to business and consumer models purchased between 25 June and 22 October when Microsoft officially releases the new version of Windows.

HP promises free Windows 7 upgrades [via]
Lenovo to offer free Windows updates [via]

Possibility of Bangkok trip being cancelled, NO way for me

Worsening of H1N1 flu and street riots may end up seeing my friends cancelling next week's Bangkok trip. I really think I am very unlucky this year. Everything I did or arranged were cancelled.

If you think of how fast H1N1 confirmed cases increase in a small and populous country like Singapore, then I would say it is even more dangerous to stay here in this little island. Accept it or not, H1N1 is here to stay.. It will one day end up becoming one of the common flu. As for street riots, just avoid the more sensitive areas.

Even if everyone end up not going to Bangkok, I will carry on with my plan alone myself.

Google Gmail allows file attachment size up to 25MB

With Gmail, you can send and receive messages up to 25 megabytes (MB) in size. Please note that you may not be able to send larger attachments to contacts who use other email services with smaller attachment limits. If your attachment bounces, you should invite them to Gmail.

Do note that the max file size attachment is increased from 20MB to the current 25MB. Googe Gmail just gets better and better but still in Beta. Weird.

Maximum attachment size [via]

Michael Jackson Selected Hits

Below are the many selected hits by Michael Jackson I can recall. The last few songs are slower in tempo.

Best Dance Moves

Moon Walk

Black or White

Beat It




In the Closet

Who is it

Remember the time

Heal the World

SM Goh says residents should take greater interest in Town Council affairs

"Mr Goh said the next stage is to get residents to take a greater interest in the affairs of their Town Council."

It has been nearly 2 decades since the formation of Town Councils and only now then SM Goh is talking on residents should take greater interest in the affairs of TCs? Isn't that amazing?

SM Goh says residents should take greater interest in Town Council affairs [via]

Tariff up by 7%

It is reported that electricity tariff in Singapore is to go up by 7% from July 1 to September 30. This is in line with the recent increase in oil prices using the newly revised formula. The below is my personal opinion on the way tariff is determined and imposed.

It is to my observation that it seems to me SP Services is a lot quicker to announce and implement hike in tariff than decrease in tariff. This recent announcement on tariff hike will be imposed in less than a week's time. Last September 2008, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) announced average household electricity tariffs from October to December 2008 is to go up by 21% in the last quarter of 2008 due to higher fuel oil prices. For the same quarter, Hong Kong announced a 3% reduction in tariff and that really puzzled me why can't Singapore be like them. Why can't Singapore share the billions profit made to the commoners? Likewise, this massive hike was announced days before it was to be imposed. Electricity tari…

Who gets the money if a bank account holder passes away?

Q. What will happen to the money in a personal savings bank account if the account holder pass away without making any will? Can the account holder's children withdraw the money?

A: If a person passes away without a will, funds in his/her personal account(s) with a bank can only be withdrawn after the Court has granted a Letter of Administration. On a case-by-case basis, a bank may consider releasing funds from an account with a small balance to the next-of-kin, without the need for a Letter of Administration. Please check with the relevant bank(s) for further information and its requirements.

Who can withdraw the money? [via]

Decided to work on both Sat and Sun

I have decided to work on both Saturday and Sunday to clear my stuff. Latest update is my coming Tuesday milestone for Project V is postponed to 9th July, immediately after I am back from my Thailand trip and my 3-days home quarantine. It is postponed because a colleague was on MC for the past whole week and I required to go for 3 days home quarantine. My the other Project W milestone is still unchanged at 30th June.

H1N1 bought me a bit of time. Alright, off to work.

OMG! Record breaking number of posts for any month!

OMG! I just realized I just break my own personal record on the number of posts ever made on any month. The spare time I have is channelled into work, reading, thinking and more thinking.

The latest thought I have on mind is wonder if I am given a chance to work in Israel, will I say yes. Why not? I once missed a chance working overseas in Bangkok because of personal commitments and ended up giving up the job, joining another company and missing my warm and friendly colleagues. But I never regretted making that decision at that moment.


Nostalgic over 'Heal the World'

After hearing Michael Jackson's hit 'Heal the World', I suddenly feel nostalgic over the song. I used to hum the song again and again to the one I loved most and that was less than half a year ago. I guess time has not healed me.

Michael Jackson's death hits tour promoter, ticket holders

LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's sudden death could prove a major blow to AEG Live, promoter of his eagerly awaited run of 50 London concerts, as well as to fans who paid well over the odds to get hold of coveted tickets.

The residency at the O2 Arena had been due to begin on July 13, and organizers have yet to decide exactly how they handle refunding tickets bought directly from themselves or authorized dealers, not to mention tickets bought from unauthorized dealers, online auction sites and ticket touts.

AEG Live's British website issued a brief statement on Jackson's death and added: "A further announcement for ticket holders will be made in due course."

Paying back the face value of some of the estimated 750,000 tickets sold is unlikely to be AEG Live's only headache.

The company is reported to have invested $20-30 million on the production already, not including any advance to Jackson.

And the O2 Arena, which appears on AEG's list of sites it owns or…

Safer to travel overseas?

Looking at the rate how H1N1 confirmed cases is rising in a small and populated country like Singapore, it looks like it could be safer to travel overseas.

According to a 26 June 2009 press release by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore has confirmed 50 new cases (316th to 365th cases) of Influenza A (H1N1-2009) today, bringing the total tally to 365 confirmed cases. In addition to these 50 new cases, 48 other cases were pending investigation yesterday. Of these 98 cases, 45 have been investigated, and they comprise 32 local cases, and 13 imported cases.

The latest list of countries with exported cases comprises of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, Indonesia and Hong Kong SAR.

Microsoft Windows 7 Pricing Unveiled

The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119. The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.

Microsoft Discloses Windows 7 Pricing [via]

Inhaling in mothball for half a day

A very "smart" idea to place mothball into aircon filters in an attempt to kill ants, fungi and millipedes by a fellow colleague had successfully broke down immune systems of many sharing the same mouldy room.

Before any of the target "victims" were killed, I almost died of lung cancer from inhaling mothballs for half a day.

I feel like cockroach now.

Got S$1,500 worth of dividends

After more than half a year of writing in and talking to the Public Trustee, the case is finally closed. A total of more than S$1,500 worth of dividends is finally being credited and shares to be sold off to open market one month later. I am expecting another sum of money coming in and credited to my mother's account then.

Half a year of ding dong here and ding dong there has finally come to an end.

M'sia stocks may fall 10% before rebounding

M'sia stocks may fall 10% before rebounding
Business Times - 25 Jun 2009

(KUALA LUMPUR) Malaysia's benchmark stock index may fall 10 per cent in coming months from last week's peak before forming a base at 980 for the next 'leg up', driven by a revival in corporate earnings, said AmResearch Sdn.

The market is 'negotiating a mid-cycle correction', Benny Chew, an analyst at AmResearch, said in a report yesterday. 'The pullback may not be too severe as long as the underlying economy and corporate earnings remain on a recovery path.'

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, up 20 per cent this year, has fallen 4 per cent from the June 15 peak of 1,091.17. The gauge will rebound because government efforts to boost spending will reinvigorate the economy, aiding builders, steelmakers and property developers, the report said.

Investors should buy so-called 'reflation trades' in industries such as oil and gas, plantations, property and steel, Mr Chew said. His t…

Optimus Prime shall be me

I shall be the Optimus Prime, wearing a mask, in Bangkok if necessary.

Yes, I am trying to stay optimistic and cheerful and not going to let fear get over me. Do not be overly scared.

Overloaded with work but too little resources and time

2 projects but only 1 brain and 2 hands to handle them! The system side got so many people working and sharing the workload on just 1 single project and they keep assuming I have the same luxury of time sitting down going through test cases at site with them! They have the time because half of them can be at site while the other half stay at office finishing their work and documentation.

As for me, documentation, development, deployment and testing are all done by me alone. 1 person do so many things for 2 projects and expected to deliver at timely but then get paid and recognized only for 1 project is really unfair.


Comparing Google Translate and Bing Translate

Google Translate recently launched a new feature to show translated sentences in tooltip on mouse hover. Do take note Translation MUST be checked (not default) to be able to see the translation in tooltip.

Microsoft recently newly revamped search engine Bing also came out with their very own translation service - Bing Translator. This new translator come with a cool side-by-side feature to compare original and translated webpages. Mouse hover on a sentence will allow you see one-to-one comparison. This is pretty cool.

Google Translator

Bing Translator

Microsoft Security Essentials Beta

Microsoft very own free anti-virus software is now in BETA. It is called Microsoft Security Essentials Beta.

According to Microsoft, this beta is available only to customers in the United States, Israel (English only), People's Republic of China (Simplified Chinese only) and Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese only). To download, one will need to first login using their Windows Live account. Do note that the software works only on legitimate and genuine Windows XP (SP2 or SP3), Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (Beta or Release Candidate) operating system.

I should be in Bali now

By now, I should be in Bali already or about to check-in to a hotel for a 4 days holiday trip. It was cancelled.

Now, when I am about to go for my Bangkok+Ayutthaya trip, this thing called H1N1 come in. A colleague of mine, currently on high fever, was suspected in contracting H1N1 after having returned from his Bangkok trip recently. Because he got the fever more than 7 days after he was back from Bangkok, his case was classified as normal fever. Should the "normal" fever is re-classified as H1N1 before my own 1 Jul Bangkok trip, I will be quarantined for 7 days! There goes my another trip again if it happens.

So darn suay!

Major Asian Bourses Fell

Major Asian bourses fell for the day following overnight Wall Street sell off. The above on how the various major Asian bourses fare is extracted from Yahoo!.

Mouldy room less smelly but still mouldy

The mouldy room I work in is now not as smell as before but then definitely still very mouldy. The foul smell from decomposed millipedes, insect nests and mould is significantly reduced after we left our air-con on overnight. The new changed filter for the air-con really did help.

Gunning for a correction

I have been waiting for a stock indices market correction for almost a week and it seems to be closer now.

With the recent approximately 10% unemployment rate in many U.S. states and the World Bank saying global recession to deepen despite recent better other economic data, the world stock market could be realizing a correction soon.

I am gunning for a few long term investments this time round instead of contra. I shall wait for a week or two.

Moving from Containment to Mitigation phase

Containment strategy VS Mitigation strategy

Containment means protect the borders and stop spreading.

Mitigation means emphasis shift from stopping spreading to looking after patients who are infected. Most of the patients no longer be hospitalised.

Unimaginable creepy working environment

Not only am I working in a mouldy room, it is filled with foul smell from decomposed dead millipedes and sight of crushed millipedes all over the floor. These dead millipedes appeared dead, crushed and broken into halves I returned from my weekend break. Even after I swept them away using a broom, the foul smell still lurks.

It's simply unimaginable.

Bought 10 masks for myself

After 13 were quarantined from my workplace because of contact with a H1N1 confirmed case from U.S, there is yet another suspect case. This time round, the suspect case is someone working together with me, sharing the same mouldy room and shared the same rojak food at Changi Village last Friday. He recently came back from a Bangkok holiday trip 8 days ago and is currently down with a high fever. If his medical report shows H1N1 positive, then I will need to be put under 7 days home quarantine.

Change Facebook Language Settings to English (Pirate) for Quirky Humour

I just come to realize there is a new special language added onto Facebook and that language is called English (Pirate).

Try changing the language of your Facebook now to English (Pirate) for some really quirky humour like Logout is being replaced with Abandon Ship. But do remember to change back to your preferred language if you are done with the humour.

Change language here

Just when will PruLink discount be over?

The Prudential's PruLink discount has been going on for quite some time and it's still going on and on and extended again and again. I wonder just when will the discount be over? If there is always a discount, then should it even be called a discount in the first place?


Investing in Malaysian market

The Malaysian market looks rather attractive to me after PM Najib took over office recently. However, I am still looking into how to get into the Malaysian market without buying directly into their stocks though I already have an account with the Malaysian Central Depository Sdn Bhd (CDS).

My first thought was to invest in Malaysia's ETF but its trading volume is very low. It seems the only way is through Unit Trusts and funds.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Each and everyone of us is is motivated by needs. According to Abraham Maslow 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, our needs are categorized into Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization needs. Our most basic needs are inborn and have been with us many centuries. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs states that we must first satisfy each need in turn, starting with the lowest level, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself.

Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development.

The converse is true in this case. If lower order needs are longer not satisfied, we will no longer be concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.

I totally agree with Maslow's theory.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs [via]

Working in a mouldy room

From yesterday onwards, I will be working in a very mouldy room. That mouldy room is situated at Changi Airbase where all my servers are.

So what exactly is the working condition like?

On the way to the mouldy room, you will see fallen leaves and litter all over the place. The ceiling of the shed looks dilapidated, definitely never once maintained since day one.

In that mouldy room, there is a pungent smell and that reminded me of a dead fish being left unattended in a fish tank for days. Chairs in the room are all filled with mould beyond recognition.

Can you imagine having to work in such an environment for weeks? That is very unhealthy. YUCKS!

Travel Advisory

In a pandemic outbreak, when the H1N1 virus is all over the world, and may last for a long time, specific travel advisory may become increasingly impractical. We encourage Singaporeans to keep themselves abreast of developments of the country they are planning to visit, and take note of the total number of cases reported, number of deaths and export cases from these countries.

Travellers who have been to countries that have been considered by WHO to have sustained community transmission or to be in transition towards community transmission, as well as countries that have been reported to have exported cases (ie. Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America) should immediately call 993 for medical assistance if they feel unwell within seven days of arrival. If you are feeling unwell, they should avoid travelling and should not engage in extensive community activities such as working…

To quarantine for 3 days next month

It is confirmed that I will be quarantined next month for 3 days after I return from Thailand. Since the trip is a personal one, I will be required to apply my own annual leave for the 3-days quarantine.

I feel so bad because my quarantine period clashes with my Software Acceptance Test (SWAT). Sigh...

Microsoft to offer own antivirus software for FREE

Software giant Microsoft Corp is launching a offering a free antivirus software of its own on 23 June 2009. Whether if it is going to impact the already lucrative security market is still unknown.

Microsoft's Free Antivirus Software Beta Live on June 23 [via]

President Obama Announces Financial Regulation Reform

The U.S. finds the need to overhaul the financial system and to provide more protection to consumers. U.S. President Barack Obama set up a federal consumer financial protection agency to shield ordinary Americans from predatory practices from credit card firms, banks and mortgage markets. The new agency is named Consumer Federal Protection Agency (CFPA).

Other developing and developed countries like Singapore should also consider taking unprecedented move to stop the finance and banking industries to earn excessively from the huge commission remuneration structure currently being practised.

NUS cleared my locker without informing me

I went to National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing (SoC) this evening and ended up finding my locker being cleared without my knowledge. I was never informed on the clearance.

I really do not understand why can't graduates be treated fairly and equally like the undergraduates. Like the undergraduates, I pay my school fees promptly.

I am demanding an apology from the Computing Club and a guaranteed locker for the coming semester.

Dae Jang Keum 大长今 and its Legendary Hyperinflation

Two years ago, a charcoal BBQ set for 2 at Dae Jang Keum 大长今 Korean Restaurant was priced at S$45++. Last year, the same set for 2 inflated to an exaggerating S$65++.

Just yesterday, that same set went up again to S$76++.

That's all for the legend of Dae Jang Keum 大长今. Thanks folks.

Contracting H1N1?

Since there are currently 13 in my workplace being quarantined because they were in contact with a confirmed H1N1 carrier, the likelihood of someone being contracted by H1N1 though small can be real.

Just call me mad or whatever because I was wondering if it is better/worse off for me to be infected with H1N1 and get myself immune to it before a more deadly mutated H1N1 strain spreads more widely. That's provided I am a survivor of the H1N1 virus.

Herd immunity?

What is a browser?

What is a browser? A browser is a software application that is used to retrieve and display information resources or web pages on the World Wide Web. Some of the popular browsers available are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome.

In an interview conducted in the Times Square, less than 8% actually understood what is a browser and the difference between a browser and the Internet. Many actually thought a browser is a search engine, the Internet, or even simply Google!

Isn't it interesting?

How to Write an Information Security Policy

An Information Security Policy is the cornerstone of an Information Security Program. It should reflect the organization's objectives for security and the agreed upon management strategy for securing information.

How to Write an Information Security Policy [via]

Contemplating in retirement planning for myself

Just when I was about to fall asleep, retirement planning for myself suddenly came into my mind. I shall take care of my own personal affairs myself and try not to let anyone worry about me at all.

Wonder how can I do that at the same time travelling around the world and having a car. Let me think.

I better not do my financials now if not I won't be able to wake up tomorrow for work. Catch some sleep.

BRIC Should Include Indonesia, Morgan Stanley Says

Indonesia’s economic growth may accelerate to 7 percent starting in 2011, providing a case for its inclusion in the so-called BRIC economies along with Brazil, Russia, India and China, Morgan Stanley said.

BRIC Should Include Indonesia, Morgan Stanley Says [via]

Selling for profit taking

I managed to offload all of my ST Engineering and SMRT Corporation shares today and both were done when Singapore stock market made a reversal comeback after lunch. All in all, it was an exciting trading day with the most number of shares ever transacted on any single day for me. The price sold was the highest intra-day traded price.

My reason in selling away ST Engineering for a small 3% profit is because of an impending correction. Another reason is due to a news report published by an Indian company on ST Engineering which I see it as negative. That news was not (not yet) reported on local media.

As for SMRT Corporation, reason in selling is very simple - an impending correction. I am glad to "run" with 13.4% profit.

An interesting paradox

A friend of mine posted the below paradox on his wall.

XX knows that he does not know what else he needs to know

My reply was:

Do you know what you don't know?

You cannot don't know and know "you don't need to know" at the same time. Or perhaps you can know "you don't need to know" but do not know what's that thing you don't need to know?

After I finished typing my reply, I ended up confusing myself!

Ronaldo is an individual player

"I love it when people jeer me. I love to see the hate in their eyes, to hear the insults. It doesn't bother me.

It's true lots of people hate me but there are even more who love me and who support me. I feel bad only when I play badly. Fortunately, that happens rarely."

I feel Ronaldo is an individual player and definitely believe Man Utd has made the right choice to sell him off for a handsome profit. Real Madrid will only be world class if their individual world class players can work together as a world class soccer team.

Madrid-bound Ronaldo says, "I love to be jeered" [via]







The 10 Essential Rules for Slowing Down and Enjoying Life More

It’s an irony of our modern lives that while technology is continually invented that saves us time, we use that time to do more and more things, and so our lives are more fast-paced and hectic than ever.

Life moves at such a fast pace that it seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s rebel against a hectic lifestyle and slow down to enjoy life.

A slower-paced life means making time to enjoy your mornings, instead of rushing off to work in a frenzy. It means taking time to enjoy whatever you’re doing, to appreciate the outdoors, to actually focus on whoever you’re talking to or spending time with — instead of always being connected to a Blackberry or iPhone or laptop, instead of always thinking about work tasks and emails. It means single-tasking rather than switching between a multitude of tasks and focusing on none of them.

Slowing down is a conscious choice, and not always an easy one, but it leads to a greater appreciation for lif…

Mulling over offloading 4,000 ST Engg shares

I am considering should I just sell off 4,000 out of my current 5,000 ST Engineering shares and just run away with a miserable $33 profit after all the brokerage charges. Market conditions for ST Engg do not look favourable to me now even though the stock should be for long term.

I will come into a conclusion tonight.

My Stocks

Current holdings (Unrealized)
Hai Leck Holdings Limited
Koh Brothers Group Limited
Singapore Exchange Limited
Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited
SMRT Corporation Ltd
UMS Holdings LimitedPrevious holdings (Realized)
China Hongxing Sports Limited
First Resources Limited
Frasers Centrepoint Trust
Hai Leck Holdings Limited
Healthway Medical Corporation Limited
Inter-Roller Engineering Limited (now Pteris Global Limited)
iShares MSCI India
Keppel Corporation Limited
Koh Brothers Group Limited
Lyxor Japan (Topix) Fund 10
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
Qian Hu Corporation Limited
Rickmers Maritime
Sembcorp IndustriesWatchlist
Epure International Ltd
Healthway Medical Corporation Limited
Qian Hu Corporation Limited

Windows 7 shall ship without Internet Explorer to Europe

Microsoft shall ship a Windows 7 'E' edition specially for Europe to avoid another anti-competition law suit with the European Union (EU). In my opinion, EU looks rather hard on Microsoft and always seems to disagree with almost everything Microsoft does.

There is an article titled "Leave Microsoft Alone Already" that discuss how the EU still hold onto Microsoft's throat despite Microsoft having done many.

Windows 7 'E' Edition Will Strip IE Out in Europe [via]
Leave Microsoft Alone Already [via]

Do good or bad acts in a lifetime: The calculated risks

I read an interesting article and I shall post it here.

An interesting analysis: Should one do good or bad acts in a lifetime? Advantaging oneself at the expense of others’ would only make sense if:

1. There is 0% of a God in this world, or
2. If there is a God, he does not punish or reward accordingly to one’s good and bad behaviours.

Say if an individual lives to one hundred years old. He has been reaping benefits at the expense of others through bad behaviours in his lifetime. He might have “gained” for one hundred years, but “lost” for eternity if a judicial God exists.

Even as modern societies become more secular, based on calculated risks, it is still more worthwhile to do the right and correct acts in one’s lifetime. This is despite the possibility that there is just a small chance, say 10%, of a judicial God existing. It is because most likely than not, one’s afterlife would be for eternity. One may enjoy his ill-gotten gains for 100 years, but could possibly pay for his misdeeds f…

To-do List getting longer

My to-do list is getting longer day by day all because my 2 projects at work have their next major milestone set at end of the month instead of 2-3 months later. I have been working overtime for the past 3 days.

My to-do list for this weekend
Plan itinerary for my Bangkok tripClear my backlog of articles to read (13 to date).Participate in a linguistic research project conducted by Universität Trier.Help buy a new fan.Review my stock portfolio.Complete my monthly progress report early instead of month-end.Read through fine prints before I book examination date for my PMP certification exam.Go back to work on a Sunday tomorrow.More coming?

Fast service from DBS Cards

3 days ago, I called up DBS to apply for a credit card. I told them I need that particular card to be settled and approved quick because I need it next week. I requested my application to be expedited and hopefully get it settled within a week.

Surprisingly or shockingly, the card is delivered to me through mail today! Normal application process usually takes 3 to 5 weeks. That is very fast indeed. IMPRESSED!

CPF interest rate for Special, Medisave and Retirement accounts (SMRA) from 1 Jul to 30 Sep 2009

News Release by:
Central Provident Fund Board
10 June 2009 --

Since 1 January 2008, interest rate for savings in the Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts (SMRA) has been pegged to the 12-month average yield of the 10-year Singapore Government Security (10YSGS) plus 1%. The average yield of the 10YSGS over one year, from 2 June 2008 to 29 May 2009, plus 1% worked out to be 3.61%.

To help CPF members adjust to the floating SMRA rate, the Government will maintain the 4% floor rate for two years, from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009, if the 10YSGS yield plus 1% is below 4%. After 31 December 2009, the 2.5% floor rate will apply for all CPF accounts.

Hence, the SMRA interest rate from 1 July 2009 to 30 September 2009 will be 4% (floor rate).

Source [via]

In a separate article published on Today paper, Frontier Wealth Management director, Mark Yang, mentioned Singaporeans had to become more active in managing their own finances “without the CPF as a shield”.

Click here to find out more! Microsoft Sets Record with Huge Windows, IE, Office Update

Microsoft today issued 10 security updates that patched a record 31 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Excel, Word, Windows Search and other programs, including 18 bugs marked "critical."

It is a MUST if you are running Windows OS and Internet Explorer.

Click here to find out more! Microsoft Sets Record with Huge Windows, IE, Office Update [via]

Singapore Casino builders strike over pay reported on BBC News

The world's most expensive casino, the Marina Bay Sands, is set to open later this year in Singapore.

Ten thousand people, including many foreign Chinese workers, have been working around the clock to complete the project.

But now some of them are on strike over a dispute about pay and working conditions.

FYI, the report was reported on BBC News but NEVER on Singapore local media.

Casino builders strike over pay [via]

Problem to window automatically opening on my blog resolved

I have found the root problem to windows automatically opening when my blog is visited. The problem looks to be due to Google Followers gadget. This is a gadget provided by Google itself.

I have removed the Google Followers gadget completely.

Internet Explorer Window Automatically Opening

Unusual traffic to my blog due to virus / worm?

I suspect there is a virus/worm on my blog ( This virus/worm could be responsible to a sudden surge in traffic onto my blog.

Some of my friends are reported to have experienced abnormal behaviour when visiting my blog. My blog will sometimes open up to 100 windows of my blog automatically. There are also instances where my blog will be redirected to an invalid URL (

I hope the Blogger technical people can help me look into this problem. Thanks in advance.

FYI, all blogs by Blogger are hosted on Google Blogger servers. So if there are virus/worms, then they are contained on their servers.

I have alerted the Blogger technical people.

HDB Property prices will not fall significantly

If someone is to spread rumours or mislead others that prices of HDB were to fall significantly and it is not advisable to buy one this year, then I would say NO way.

However, if he/she intends to buy a private property, then it may or may not fall in Singapore. It depends on which school of thought you believe in.

Anyway, price of a house should not be the key factor to be considered if a couple wish to settle down. Unless it is for mere speculation.

Transparency: Open Government Operations

How do agencies make decisions about health care reform, economic recovery, and clean energy? Who are the decision-makers? With whom do they meet and from whom do they take advice? How do they work? Openness of government operations is crucial to ensuring accountability and effectiveness.

As the Obama Administration contemplates new approaches to making government more open, we want to hear from you. What do you – the non-profit fighting in the public interest, the company creating jobs for Americans, the journalist engaged in newsgathering, the teacher of civics, the mother and interested citizen – need to know about the way government works in order to feel more knowledgeable, to be empowered to participate, and to hold government accountable?

Many promising ideas emerged in the Open Government Brainstorm and the online dialogue with government employees. They included suggestions such as requiring every agency to publish a directory of employees, webcasting all Federal Advisory …

Contra on Healthway Medical

I made a contra on Healthway Medical stock. I bought the stock at $0.11 apiece yesterday and sold them today at $0.12 apiece for a 9% profit. Incredibly, Healthway Medical was heavily traded today and even got itself on the Top 20 Volume chart. Penny stocks are hot these days.

I have plans to buy back the same stock at $0.11 apiece again if given a chance. Qian Hu and Koh Brothers are the other two on my watchlist.

Windows 7 Aero Snap

Aero Snap is a new window management feature in the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 7, which lets you snap or fix windows to the edges of your computer screen.

To snap, simply drag the windows to any edge (left or right) of the screen and drop it there. It will stick and align itself to the edge. The window will be re-sized to fill half of the screen. To maximize a window, simply drag and drop it to the top of the screen.

Other than using mouse, we can exploit Aero Snap using keyboard shortcuts.

Windows 7 Aero Snap keyboard shortcuts
Snap current window to the left side of screen; unsnap window that is snapped to right side of screen

Snap current window to the right side of screen; unsnap window that is snapped to left side of screen

Maximize current window.

Minimize current window; restore maximized window.

Maximize window vertically.
I have been using Windows 7 for quite some ti…

Roadmap to Recovery after 100 days

It’s been a little over 100 days since the Recovery Act was signed by the U.S. President. The Vice President Biden announced the Roadmap to Recovery, ten major projects that will keep more teachers in the classroom, put more cops on our streets, and give more people access to healthcare over the next 100 days ahead.

For more transparency and accountability, the U.S. is using Recovery.Gov to constantly update U.S. citizens on their efforts and how funds are being used.

Recovery.Gov [via]

Mixed signals for week ahead

Mixed signals for week ahead

Business Times - 08 Jun 2009

STOCKS here face an uncertain start to the week, with conflicting signals over the timing and degree of a recovery in the global economy. Friday's mixed finish on Wall Street offers precious little guidance to those looking to the US for direction, following a key jobs report that gave both optimists and pessimists reasons to cling ever more strongly to their respective convictions.

The monthly US employment situation report for May was less bad than expected - far fewer jobs were lost than feared; in fact, the smallest number since last September - fuelling hopes that the recession there is nearing its end, with a recovery around the corner.

But as several commentators pointed out, the net loss of 345,000 jobs in a single month is hardly good news, and suggests a crippling burden of joblessness that will slow any recovery in the world's biggest economy.

Many businesses there are still busy slashing costs and ca…

Condolences to Google adviser Rajeev Motwani

I offer my condolences to Google adviser Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford University computer science professor and well-known Silicon Valley angel investor. He died unexpectedly at his home Friday. He was 45.

Valley investor and Google adviser Rajeev Motwani mourned [via]
Remembering Rajeev by Sergey Brin [via]

PC Show 2009 @ Suntec City

The once a year PC Show is back again. PC Shows 2009 is definitely worth a trip down especially if you are looking for bargains in IT and consumer electronics. The exhibition promise to house over 600 exhibitors with international exhibitors to showcase their products and services.

Event Details

Venue: Suntec Convention Level 1,3,4 and 6
Date: 11-14th June 2009
Time: 12pm - 9pm
Admission is Free

Hardwarezone has also covered a comprehensive preview of the PC Show 2009 which you might want to check it out.

PC Show 2009 Preview by Hardwarezone [via]

Harvey Norman closing stores as slowdown cuts margins

Electronics retailer Harvey Norman has started closing stores due to economic downturn and falling margin.

Mr Harvey was forced to close two Harvey Norman stores in Australia and more were scheduled after pre-tax profit fell by 32 per cent in the three months to September. According to him, stores in Ireland is a catastrophe and it had been a big mistake to open stores there. Sales in Singapore and Malaysia are good but not great. New Zealand, like Australia is also not bad.

From his statement, I bet Ireland stores are next in line to be closed. Will stores in Singapore be closed too? Prepare for closing down sales and grab whatever is cheap.

Note: The below report is dated Nov 2008.

Harvey Norman closing stores as slowdown cuts margins [via]

Sudden Surge in Hits

For the past 7 days, number of hits to my blog has increased by 50% daily. On normal days, daily hits average at 70. The below are statistics for the past 7 days.

Past 7 days page impression: 748
Yesterday page impression: 201
Today (as of now): 83102 145

Thanks to all who have supported my blog.

Lying to myself

I have been trying very hard to tell myself to move on. I even act as if I really have moved on in front of my friends.

But, I know I am lying to myself.

How can I move on when memories are everywhere? Hong Kong drama on DVD showing Hong Kong scenes, TV showing Macau scenes, real life scenes wherever I go with friends, all bring back good old memories.

I know I am not hopeful but I am hoping to remain as friends. It is now worse than strangers.

My heart still cries every night.

Microsoft Bing is now 2nd overtaking Yahoo!

Microsoft new searching engine codenamed Bing has overtaken Yahoo! to become the second most used search engine in the United States, only after Google.

One June 5, a statistical report released by StatCounter Global Stats revealed Bing accounted for 5.62 per cent of all worldwide searches, compared to Yahoo!'s 5.13 per cent. Search engine king Google accounted for a monopolistic 87.62 per cent.

Top 5 Search Engines in the United States from 29 May to 4 Jun 09 [via]

Seeking my own reaction

6 Jun 2009 marks 1 month since the "Say No" happened.

Newton's Law of Motion rule number 3 states "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

I believe I need to seek for my own opposite reaction.

Relaxing Friday

I went for a nature walk from 0900 to 1100 today from Hort Park to Telok Blangah Hill, Henderson Waves, Mount Faber, and finally end at Vivo City Amphitheatre. The half a day team building session ended before 1130.

My 5 colleagues and myself even managed to catch a movie Night at the Museum 2 at Vivo Golden Village.

It's a relaxing Friday and a good break from work.

Secure Erasure Software

I would like to recommend two secure erasure software:

1. Eraser

Eraser is a secure data removal tool, which allows you to remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it with carefully selected patterns. The program is free software which means that everyone has access to the source code, the freedom to study it, make modifications, and even distribute modified versions of their own. This freedom has made Eraser one of the most trustworthy and popular security tools for Windows. Eraser is normally used for wiping of unused disk space.

Download Eraser.


DBAN (which stands for Darik's Boot and Nuke) is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

Download DBAN.

My View on Temasek Holdings

Just last month, Singapore investment arm, Temasek Holdings, reported a gain of S$56 billion from March 2003 to March 2008. According to the Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the full year accounts from Apr 2008 to March 2009 have not been audited and that the picture should not be fundamentally different. His remarks do not sound convincing to me. Everyone knows the stock market was in a decline from Apr 2008 to March 2009. To make matter worse, Temasek made 2 huge losses by selling Bank of America (BofA) and Barclays despite saying these investments were for the long term.

It is noted that Temasek sold its stake in British banking giant Barclays in December 08 and January 09, at an estimated loss of S$1.2 billion. This is in sharp contrast to Abu Dhabi investment arm gain of US$2.5 billion in just over seven months.

Temasek Holdings made another bigger loss by selling Bank of America (BofA) shares in the first quarter of 2009. Reuters estimated the loss to be more than US$3 bil…

How to get uncensored Internet access in China - Behind the Great Firewall

It is reported that China block Twitter and Bing in lead up to Tiananmen anniversary. Other sites known to have been blocked are YouTube and Blogger.

The below article talks on how to get around the block and still gain access to censored websites in China.

How to get uncensored Internet access in China - Behind the Great Firewall [via]

张学友 - 真情流露

This is my MOST meaningful song of all that I used to sing. It is MY song and we know it. I cannot help but keep singing it repeatedly again and again.