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Showing posts from September, 2009

Stressful but am looking for joy in it

I am indeed really stressful from now onwards but I will try my best to find joy in them, setting daily milestones and achieving them one by one.

I remembered the last time I broke down from stress was during my final year as a NUS undergraduate. Back then, I accelerated and took one additional module which happened to be a 5MC (normal is 4MC) module. Stress overwhelmed me and I actually made an abrupt decision to spend overnight in school, determined to complete an individual project, but slept in the end doing nothing. A call to my ex-girlfriend calmed my emotions. That was 4 years ago.

Stress sources are 1) 2 project milestones to be achieved by year end with the very much depleted working days due to 1-week long of ICT, 1-week long of course, 10 annual leaves to be cleared, 2) School work, 3) PMP Certification Exam, and responsibilities and commitments in assisting my mother to settle new house's administrative and logistics matters.

Seeking joy in seeing tasks to completion :)

My Product Review on CIMB StarSaver Account

A week before the official product launch of new Savings deposit account StarSaver Account by CIMB Bank Singapore, I was introduced to it by a friend's friend working in the bank. Back then, product description for the savings account was still not finalised and brief.

This week, CIMB Bank is to officially declare itself as the new entrant into Singapore's personal banking market, taking on incumbents with their latest so far most attractive personal savings deposit account in the market. CIMB StarSaver offers 1.2% p.a. interest but with a catch.
Minimum deposit S$5,000.Monthly deposit of at least S$500According to my friend's friend, if deposit in the bank account is maintained at S$11,000 or more, interest rate will be set at 1.2% p.a. without having to continue with the monthly deposit.

I personally feel this new deposit plan is good only if CIMB ATMs are more readily available in Singapore.

To recommend a stock for others is HARD++

To make a decision to buy a stock is already hard. To make recommendation on a stock for others is even HARDER.

I expect myself to come out with a recommendation and teach a friend how to make simple trades this coming Wednesday evening.

What should I do? I better declare some disclaimer.

My answer to an interesting quote

I came across the below quote while reading a magazine.

“What does not kill me makes me stronger?”

Along my way back home, I seek my own answer to that question. Since the author used a very strong word “kill”, my answer has to be equally powerful, for Newton's third law of motion states “for every force there is an equal and opposite force”.

My answer is "Experential Learning".

Ayutthaya Itinerary

The below is the Ayutthaya itinerary I sent out to a friend recently.

Just for sharing.

Should visit

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon

You will find a reclining Buddha and a Buddha images lined up all wearing saffron robes. This is one of the must-go in Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya Historical Park

For elephant ride (if you want)

Wat Mahathat

This is also where you can spot the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha head.

The Royal Palace and Wat Phra Si Sanphet

2 places but they are quite near to each other. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its row of chedis. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the top tourist spot in Ayutthaya. There are several other places around this area.

Royal Elephant Kraal and village

You can witness how elephants spend their typical day.


I had my lunch at "Siam Restaurant". It is located just opposite of Wat Mahathat. The restaurant is air-conditioned and price of food is very affordable (not restaurant price, around 100THB/pax with main and drinks). The…

Translator for Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi collapsed during translation process

Translator for Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi actually collapsed during a translation process. The translator was Kadhafi very own brought-in translator, rather than those supplied by the United Nations. He needed his own translator because he has the habit of talking in his own dialects whereby no U.N. translators can understand, repeating phrases again and again, and sometimes mumbling in some gibberish language to himself.

The translator shouted "I just can’t take it any more" into the live microphone into his 75th minute of translator. At that point, the U.N.’s Arabic section chief, Rasha Ajalyaqeen, had to take over the translation duty for the final 20 minutes of Kadhafi's speech.

Lesson Learnt: Singapore did the right decision in not promoting the use of dialects.

Translator collapsed during Khadafy's rambling diatribe [via]

2009 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix Saturday Qualifying Results

The qualifying race for 2009 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix is out, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on pole, followed by RBR-Renault's Sebastin Vettel and Willims-Toyota's Nico Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg is already being labelled as one of the hot favourites for Marina Bay's street circuit, having performed very well last season. The Q3 race was in fact cut short after Brawn-Mercedes's Rubens Barrichello crashed in the final 26 seconds before the chequered flag was due to fall. The crash soon brought the red flag up, halting the race, and everyone who started later and behind Hamilton had reasons to feel disappointed. With only 26 seconds remaining, Q3 would not be restarted and the grid would be formed on the basis of their first run times. If the red flag was not up and Barrichello did not crash, drivers behind Hamilton like Nico Rosberg could have a high chance of finishing off at a faster timing than Hamilton. So, Rubens Barrichello may indirectly had helped Le…

Singaporean wages decreased for the past 3 years, while cost of living shot up

The Prices and Earnings 2009 survey by the UBS Swiss bank concludes Singapore's wages to have decreased for the past 3 years while cost of living has shot up.

In all rankings by UBS, Singapore came out low.
Singapore’s wages after taxes and social security contributions rank us at 41 out of 73;
Singapore ranks as the 15th most expensive city, after factoring in the cost of rent (a major expenditure for Singaporeans);
Our workers’ purchasing power is ranked 50 out of 73;
Three years ago a Singaporean worker had to work 22 minutes to earn enough to afford a Big Mac. Today that same worker has to work for 36 minutes, because his wages have decreased and the cost of living has increased.High costs and low wages in Singapore [via]

Free Coke Promotion @ Bugis Junction’s McDonalds

From now till 31 Oct 2009, spend $10 in Bugis Junction and enjoy a free 16oz Coca Cola from McDonald’s #01-66 . All you need to do is to present your purchase receipt to redeem!

Valid on same day of purchase. Limited to 1 redemption per receipt.

Free Coke Promotion @ Bugis Junction’s McDonalds [via]

Working time needed to buy a Big Mac

Singaporeans need to work 36mins in order to earn enough money to bite into a Big Mac.

Flight Trial Celebration at Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant

Yesterday, we had an informal self-sponsored mini celebration on the success of our very first flight trial for our project at VivoCity's Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant. The lunch was with my DSO colleagues - 1) my boss who was not so involved in the trial, 2) a colleague who was deployed at Lim Chu Kang, and 3) a colleague who was deployed at Pulau Tekong. The last time I patronized this German restaurant was about 1.5 years ago, with my ST colleagues.

This time round, we ordered Brotzeit's most famous German pork knuckles, Würstelplatte (authentic sausage platter with spicy chicken sausages, Nürnberger pork bratwurst, mini pork cheese sausages, weisswurst sausage and garlic sausage with sauerkraut and mustard), Brotzeitflade Speck (thin crust fladenbrot with belly bacon, onions, vine ripened cherry tomatoes, chili and mozarella cheese), and Original Munich Lager.

This second time at Brotzeit was definitely much better than my first time, mainly because of its purpos…

Miss Singapore World 2009 Ris Low was charged due to credit card fraud

Ris Low, the newly crowned Miss Singapore World 2009, and who is made notorious for her substandard handling of questions during one of the interviews is now again on the news for the wrong reason. It is reported that Ris Low had earlier been charged and found guilty for credit card fraud. She was convicted of five charges of misappropriation, involving cheating using illegally obtained credit cards, and impersonating their users' identities.

It is now unclear whether Miss Low will be allowed to leave Singapore to take part in December's Miss World 2009. I really hope NOT because she will be a disgrace to Singaporeans.

Guilty of credit card fraud [via]

Miniatur Wunderland - Largest model railway / railroad in the world

This is simply unbelievable. The "Miniature Wonderland" model railroad in Hamburg, Germany the largest in the world, covering 16,146 square feet of space with more than 10,000 train cars running around its 6.8 miles of HO scale track. Now, the makers of this huge layout have created a video that gives you a jaw-dropping look at the vast scope of this intricate work of art.

Its construction started in 2000, and is still underway, with a tiny airport due for completion by the end of this year. This is just the beginning — there are plans to double to layout by 2014. We especially like the Las Vegas portion, complete with dazzling LEDs lighting up the night.

You have to watch the new video to get the full impact of this remarkable achievement, which has taken in excess of 500,000 working hours to build. There's good reason why this is Germany 's most popular attraction, already visited by more than 5 million flabbergasted tourists.

I am impressed by the number of talents a…

Anything can happen will happen

Murphy's Law says “Anything can happen will happen”. How true is that?

Today's flight started off and ended with lots of hiccups which is totally opposite from yesterday's far too perfect 5.6 hours of flight.

Weather was not ideal -- thunderstorms reported with cumulonimbus clouds advancing from the southern west regions, and many regions in Singapore heavy rained. Colour flag was red. If weather conditions did not improve, scheduled 1000hr take-off would be delayed and precious fixed flight time to be jeopardised. Singapore lived up to its reputation of erratic, unpredictable and fast-changing weather condition, clearing the sky in just an hour. At 0900hrs, all signals were cleared for flight.

While climbing up, we met with mild turbulence because of thick clouds, but everything was in control. I must say the turbulence felt was definitely rockier than any other turbulences felt on any commercial passenger planes. Smaller and lighter aircraft, lower flight altitude, and thic…

HP Abandons EDS Brand

Big news? YES!

HP Wednesday announced it would leave the EDS brand behind and rename its IT services provider business HP Enterprise Services. EDS, giant service provider, was acquired by HP years ago in a bid to expand its business to compete against the likes of IBM.

HP Abandons EDS Brand [via]

Manga artist Yoshito Usui, author of Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん, 蜡笔小新), found dead

Yoshito Usui, the famous Japanese manga artist responsible for the widely exported "Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん, 蜡笔小新)" series, was found dead this weekend after an apparent hiking accident. The death is classified as an accident, ruling out foul play or suicide.

R.I.P. Yoshito Usui.

Manga artist Usui found dead [via]

To-Do List for long weekend

To-Do List for long weekend (started since Thu 3pm)
Draft presentation slides for CS5212 (my part)

Read 2 papers (backlog) for CS5212

Read 2 papers for CS5212

Search for 2 papers to be used for CS5212 term paper

Get the 24+9 pages of CS5261 readings printed and read

Start preparing for my long due PMP certification exam (I re-scheduled it to Oct 29)

Participate in Experts-Exchange and get at least 3,000 expert points to reclaim my Premium Membership.This post is constantly updated (added if necessary)

Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2009

I am interested in the coming “Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2009” and have signed up for it. Hopefully, the balloting process will register me.

Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2009

Market Outlook: Bulls for the past week and the week to come

I personally like the below piece of article. It sort of sums up what had happened the past one week and predict what's to be expected in the week to come.

I managed to snap up defensive ST Engineering stock at a 3% discount on Friday closing. Hopefully, the stock will grow strongly.

Monday Morning Outlook: Bulls Remain Firmly in Command [via]

Requalified for FREE Premium Services from Experts-Exchange

Many months of inactivity resulted in my free premium membership from Experts-Exchange revoked. Now, I have finally requalified for the premium services after answering 3 questions and earning more than 3,000 expert points for this month. I first joined Experts-Exchange since Sep 1999 and that's a good 10 years.

EE started off as a 100% free service, made up of several experts determined in helping one another, who were always dedicating significant amount of their time and effort to make EE experience a pleasant one. Strong sense of belonging in the EE community created an excellent base for sharing of knowledge. I got to know a few friends from EE myself. Back then, the number of expert points awarded for every question was in the range of 0 to 1,200.

If I remember correctly somewhere in year 2004, EE began making itself searchable on Google and had its business model changed with profit as one of their top priority. With the huge inflow of new participants, EE saw the business op…

Malaysia trying to claim chilli crab and hainanese chicken rice Malaysian

Malaysia is trying to claim popular dishes like chilli crab, hainanese chicken rice, nasi lemak, laksa and bak kut teh Malaysian. I thought this idea from the Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen highfalutin.

What makes them think these dishes theirs when chilli crab and hainanese chicken rice taste much better in Singapore?

I quote from a post in today's Straits Times which says if Malaysia claims these popular dishes theirs, then can we say Malaysia stole Ramly Burger from the Americans?

Laksa and nasi lemak among our pride, says Yen Yen [via]

Realistic World = The Matrix

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it." -- The Matrix, Morpheus

Mythbusting: Frequent Rebalancing improves portfolio returns

An interesting article published by Fundsupermart on "Mythbusting: Frequent Rebalancing improves portfolio returns". It employs a statistical approach to determine frequent rebalancing of portfolio actually improves return is a myth or a truth . The result of the study seems to conclude that the more frequent the rebalancing is, the less profitable the portfolio will be.

However, the study did point out a fidelity - transaction costs are not considered. If transaction costs were to factor in, more frequent rebalancing will definitely result in more transaction costs and thus significantly lower profit. Likewise, transaction will also result in smaller gains for annual rebalancing portfolio too.

YouTube Resume from where you left off

YouTube added a simple but useful feature a couple of days ago to allow a video to be resumed from where it left off before it is closed. This resume feature will apply only to videos that are longer than 20 minutes and if you've watched more than one minute of the video and there are more than three minutes left.

Excerpt from YouTube Release Notes: 9/17/09:

Resume where you left off: Let's say you're watching an epic (read: longer than 20 minutes) video, and you get distracted and click away. The next time you return to the video, it will resume where you left off watching, assuming you've watched more than one minute of the video and there are more than three minutes left.

YouTube Release Notes: 9/17/09 [via]

Google Book Downloader Downloads Books to PDF

Google Book Downloader is small utility which allows you to save book as PDF from google to your local filesystem. This downloader will download fully any book from Google Books marked as 'Full view' and partially download any book from Google Books marked as 'Limited preview'. This tool should be a great hit for those who wish to read Google Books offline.

One prerequisite for Google Book Downloader is Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

Google Book Downloader [via]

Office Web Applications First Look

With the launch of the Office Web application Technical Preview, Chris Bryant (GPM for Office) gives us a first look at the details of the new free Office web applications and tells us the angle as compared to other similar applications like Google Docs. We get to see a demo of the Excel Web App, Powerpoint Web App, Word Web App, and the sharing capabilities. After the demo, Developers get some insight into what you can do with the Office Web apps.

To sign up for the beta version of Office Web Apps, visit

Learn more about Office Web Apps by visiting their Blog:

Land Banking investors in Singapore described as NAIVE

Land banking is an investment practice to purchase land and hold with the intention of profiting from the plot by selling it away.

I posted several articles on the perils of Land Banking as investment and the most recent one which was posted yesterday described that the case of possible fraud is now very true.

One interesting article on Wikipedia says,

"Many land banking companies target victims outside of the UK, particularly Canada, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia as residents of these countries are naive of the UK property market and UK planning regulations such as green belt zoning."

We are NAIVE!

The Bizarre Behaviour of Singaporeans

Edited to add in my own inputs in red

I read the below and agree with some of the points. The below observations are made by a German national who has lived in Singapore for 9 years Singaporean.
44 years of economic and material success have spawned some very strange behaviours among Singaporeans. They spent so much to buy a house or flat, furnished it up like a palace, but spent their time outside, most of the time at work. And the maids are the ones enjoying the million-dollar or multi-million-dollar assets.

We Singaporeans are spending much time outside working for a living, paying off huge housing loans and savings for 2nd generation. For some, they have extra to spend on private car and seeing them depreciate as time passes. We have to accept all these in such a highly competitive inhabitation and still want to call Singapore our home.

Then they pay so much, the highest in the world, for a car only to park at home. Too expensive to drive, too many ERPs and car park charges to pay. An…

Marco Polo Marine shares surge too good to be true

Since Monday, Marco Polo Marine stock is seeing daily jump of more than 5% (almost daily) with it currently trading at 9.8% higher than yesterday's close. It looks too good to be true!

A decision was just made to sell off all Marco Polo Marine shares since it has not disappointed me and has given me near 50% profit. So, I just cannot resist my emotions after all.

What is Cognitive Dissonance Theory

What is Cognitive Dissonance Theory?

Unmet (i.e. disconfirmed) expectations will create psychological discomfort. When an individual receives ideas that are dissonant, he or she will try to reduce the discomfort by distorting one or both of the ideas to make them more consonant. Individuals adjust their perceptions of satisfaction to bring them more in line with their prior expectations and to reduce dissonance.

What is Disconfirmation Theory

I did a search on this interesting term "Disconfirmation Theory" after seeing it yesterday night from a magazine.

What is Disconfirmation Theory?
Predicts that unrealistically high expectations will result in lower levels of perceived benefit than those associated with realistic expectations.The expectancy disconfirmation model of customer satisfaction focuses on the gap between performance and expectations.

Haze Outlook

Singapore, 16 September 2009 – Singapore has been experiencing slightly hazy conditions since yesterday. The Pollutant Standards Index was 55 in the 'Moderate' range on Tuesday (15 Sep 09). The 24-hour PSI at 4 pm today was 64, again in the 'Moderate' range.

Dry weather conditions have resulted in the escalation of fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra. The latest satellite pictures showed 66 hotspots in Sumatra, mainly in the provinces of Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra and 4 hotspots in Kalimantan. The low hotspot count for Kalimantan is due to cloud cover.

The prevailing southeasterly to southerly winds have brought some smoke haze from these fires in South Sumatra to Singapore. Slightly hazy conditions are likely to prevail for the next two days. However, an expected increase in shower activities in the region over the next few days may help to alleviate the smoke haze situation.

Haze Outlook from NEA [via]

Case on Land Banking is now REAL

Many times, I have mentioned the risk in Land Banking. It looks like the case against Land Banking is going to be "erupted" and brought to light soon.

As posted on a blog, several investors have attempted to withdraw their investment after 12 months with a certain rate of return as stipulated and agreed in the T&C. They exercised their option, but the land banking company refused to honour the promise. This case was presented to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) but the CAD advised them to engage a lawyer and to take a legal case. These investors soon approached their respective constituencies' MPs but these civil servants referred them to the CAD instead, playing passing baton game.

First world Singapore has far too much red tape and bureaucracy in the government sector and terribly lack of protection for investors. I wonder when will this be reported BIG on the news.

Hide your Windows from bosses

Don't want to get caught playing your favourite games, surfing entertainment news or chatting over instant messenger? With Don't Panic, you can now hide or minimize and open multiple programs with the click of a button. So you won't have to panic anymore.

Features of Don't PanicClose, hide or minimize as many programs as you want using the BlackList (by executable filename or keywords present in the window title)
Open up to 3 programs (files) at the same time
Open files with a certain software (other then the one selected as default in Windows)
Predefined software paths (includes paths for all Windows games!)
Run Don't Panic! at Windows startup, block access to Windows Task Manager and mute master volume
Clear some system folders (Recent Files, Internet Explorer History, Typed URLs & Cache, Recycle Bin) for extra privacy
Panic Mode (complete with customizable size, position, transparency level and hotkey)WebUpdate (complete with news) and statistic modulesUser-friendl…

Too auntie behaviour?

I was telling my colleagues that since yesterday, DSTA Science Park is selling mooncakes on offer. Meritus mooncakes were sold yesterday, Bengawan Solo today, Raffles Hotel tomorrow and next Friday, and so on. DSTA Depot Road is selling mooncakes from Raffles Hotel today.

Colleagues: Why do you know all these?
Me: I ask and listen
Colleagues: The other time during CNY on Bah Kwa and abalone you seems to know quite a bit too. Both DSO and DSTA offers.
Me: Erm.. I think I am too auntie.

Am I? Hahaha...

George Yeo on New Media to Build Trust

Minister George Yeo's remarks at the Singapore Blog Awards 2009 at the Supperclub on 16 Sept 2009. The minister himself is one of the earlier adopters of blogging and twitter.

“You can be sure, looking ahead, that those who succeed as bloggers or as websites or as web aggregators, they succeed over time because they have established a reputation of trust.”

My Destiny

I seriously do not have any idea what should be my next step. Do A or B are both NOs.

If it's your destiny, then it's yr destiny. Where can I find the resurrection magic wand? Guess I am just not good enough [Shrugged].

Singapore PSI hits 64 today at 4pm

Singapore Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) was 64 at 4pm today, which puts Singapore's air quality condition to moderate level. According to NEA, it looks like West region is experiencing the worst PSI. PSI level is expected to remain in moderate range for the next two days but may be improved with expected showers.

My speculation is that Singapore may perform cloud seeding to ensure haze does not result in visibility and operational issues on the coming Formula One (F1) race which is to be held in 10 days time.

For more updated PSI readings from NEA, visit

My advice to those with rhinitis allergy, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and chronic lung diseases to avoid staying outdoors.

Sitting on comfortable profits on recent stocks for doing my homework

The 4 most recent stocks (since Jul 09) I have on hand are currently sitting on reasonably handsome profits. They are possible due to recent improved investors' sentiments and more detailed meticulous due homework conducted before investing.

They are currently performing at a gain of 31.25% (Marco Polo Marine), 12.65% (MapleTree Logistics Trust), 6.77% (Koh Brothers) and 4.57% (SMRT).

Just how difficult it was to cancel an AOL account

Reading and watching how difficult it is to cancel an AOL account, I feel so much blessed to be staying in Singapore, dealing with the not so difficult customer service officers here.

The below 2 articles including comments in them are MUST-READ!

Canceling AOL? Just Offer Your Firstborn [via]
AOL Said, 'If You Leave Me I'll Do Something Crazy' [via]

I am insured the most next week

So in the end, I ended up being the one with the highest insurance coverage for next week's flight trial. Besides the standard coverage as the rest, my parent company is insuring me with an additional S$200,000 coverage.

I heard I am also entitled for a S$100 to S$200 flight trial allowance for the 4 hours flight. Better find out more tomorrow.

Google Fast Flip - News Scanning Tech

Google recently launched a new web application named Google Fast Flip. Google Fast Flip is a web application designed to help users quickly browse a number of sites, mainly news related. It combines qualities of print and the Web, with the ability to "flip" through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine.

Visit Google Fast Flip now at

Totally drained (Battery flat)

After spending 2 hours working on my assignment, which is due tomorrow (or today 15 Sep 1830hr), with full concentration, I am already half dead. With 50% remaining energy left, I logged onto IVLE forum to participate and attempted to comment on each and every single thread! That took me yet another 2 hours. The last time I was so active participating in IVLE was during my Uni days. I remember I was so interested in a module, CS2281 - Unix Programming, that I answered EVERY single question being posted.

Alright, I am totally dead.

Investing for the long term in high dividend yield value stocks

I have been advocating the benefits and importance in investing for the long term, especially in high dividend yield value stocks. My earlier strategy in buying and selling in short span of time was mainly for quick contra gains and I thought can be risky at times - certainly not for the weak heart.

For a safer and more stable investments, I believe in buy-and-hold strategy. Looking through financial reports of companies is extremely important to have an idea of their financial health, cash flows, future growth, corporate governance and dividend yields (both historical and future) before committing monies in any company.

The below article discusses just why buy-and-hold strategy works. I share the same sentiments.

What's Right with Buy-and-Hold? [via]

Fed up with Challenger VERY poor service

I am totally disappointed and fed up with Challenger VERY EXTREMELY poor service. This is my third encounter with them and all ended up I feeling badly affected. I have decided to write in to them and demand an explanation from a manager.

First encounter: Sembawang Shopping Centre customer service staff
Second encounter: Funan Centre customer service staff, Mr Liu
Third encounter: Funan Centre customer service staff, Mr Liu

I shall do so after I am done with my assignment.

Removing Splinters using bananas

It is said that banana peel can be used to removing splinters. To remove splinters, simply tape a piece of the peel over the splinter and the enzymes do the job by helping to dislodge the splinter and heal the wound. This means you need to bring along banana peel if you are prone to splinter wound [LOL].

7 Ways to Reuse a Banana Peel [via]

Weekly Address: Losing Insurance Can Happen to Anybody

2 important points raised by U.S. President Obama in his latest Weekly Address.And I’ve heard from Americans with insurance who thought that "the uninsured" always referred to someone else – but between skyrocketing costs and insurance company practices; they’re beginning to worry that they could find themselves uninsured too.
In the United States of America, no one should have to worry that they’ll go without health insurance – not for one year, not for one month, not for one day.

UOB Life Assurance up for sale?

I heard this is still a speculation.

UOB Life Assurance up for sale?
Business Times
12 Sep 2009

UNITED Overseas Bank is selling its life insurance unit, according to sources involved in the auction, in an effort to shed a non-core asset and raise up to US$500 million in the process.

Sources say HSBC is advising the company on the sale of the business, known as UOB Life Assurance. Prudential plc is among the global insurers bidding for the company, sources say, with first-round bids arriving a few weeks ago.

When contacted by BT, a UOB Life spokesman said: 'We do not comment on market rumours. However, should there be any development, UOB Life policyholders will be among the first to be informed.'

A Prudential spokesman in London said the company would not comment on market rumour or speculation about specific companies. But he added Prudential would evaluate any opportunity against strict financial criteria with a view to delivering value for shareholders. -- Reuters

Rich son poor son

3 of the old parents were proud of their children's careers. However, these children did not have time for their parents. "They were very busy" each said. The last woman did not talk much of her son. Her son was not a high flyer like the others. But her son has time for his mother. The other 3 women were in awe. They would prefer that their children spend time with them.

World turns disapproving eyes on Singapore banquet

World turns disapproving eyes on Singapore banquet
September 8, 2009

WERE every high school as wonderful as Singapore's United World College.

Each morning, a convoy of chauffeur-driven Mercedes, BMWs and SUVs sweep up to the expansive campus, dropping well-shod students dangling all manner of modish teenage bling; mobile phones, computers, designer this and that. The sumptuous grounds are more suggestive of a five-star resort than a secondary school.

With yearly fees of more than $40,000, UWC is where Singapore's well-heeled foreign residents send their kids. That's the common or garden expat professionals on an Asian posting, as well as Tay Za, regarded by Washington as bagman to the Burmese junta. Tay Za's teenage boy Htet is dropped off in a chauffeur-driven Lamborghini, as his father evades US sanctions.

Some teachers are disquieted by all this but Singapore seems to subscribe to a ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy on where money comes f…

Do not show your iPhone to Microsoft CEO Ballmer

In the recent Microsoft 2009 Company Meeting, a Microsoft employee from the Windows group was "caught" taking photo of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer using a Apple iPhone. Upon seeing it, Ballmer grabbed the Apple popular camera phone from the employee and made some funny remarks as everyone booed. Then he put it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it, before walking away.

Rule No. 1: Hide the iPhone from Ballmer at the Microsoft meeting [via]

Finally people are more understanding

I woke up recalling what was being discussed during yesterday's meeting. In the meeting, issues of manpower were raised and they acknowledged a risk in my part exist. They understand it is not possible for me to contribute to the project fully if I am also participating 100% in a second project.

Though this manpower issue was raised and discussed, I know nothing will be done to decrease my workload. I understand the many administrative constraints facing them but what I always demanded for was their understanding and I got them now.

Facebook Lite: Lighter version of Facebook

Facebook this week rolled out Facebook Lite, a stripped down version of its site largely aimed at users with slower connections. I know of another method to access Facebook faster is to use their mobile version Facebook Mobile.

Facebook Lite

Colleague selling his car for a very unique reason

I was talking to this colleague of mine 2 days ago when I learnt that he intends to sell off his car for a very unique reason - so that he can have more time reading. His rationale is ever since he owns a car, his time for reading is limited since he cannot drive and read at the same time.

This colleague of mine is a true genius. So far, I really don't know of anything that he has no knowledge of. Knowledge from areas like engineering, computer science, market risk analysis, mathematics, astrology, biology, religion studies, history, and many more, all seem to be part of him. I believe he is the only one in my workplace who is allowed to sleep officially at work on his personal safari bed without being "questioned".


Flight confirmed

After so many trials and discussions, the first flight for my project is now finally confirmed and scheduled for take off on 23 Sep. There remains one, though small but is in fact very important, piece of the jigzaw not settled - insurance coverage.

Am I excited? YES I am! I wonder how it would feel like when the aircraft does its "S" course and tight bending. Hopefully I can still stand firm when the aircraft disembark.

Embeddable Google Document Viewer

This is a very nice tip! This tip tells us how to embed PDF or PPT files online in a webpage.

<iframe src="" style="width:480px; height:400px;" frameborder="0"> </iframe>
Embeddable Google Document Viewer [via]

Google Maps and Hasbro launches Monopoly City Streets

Google Maps and Hasbro team up for an enormous game of Monopoly. Monopoly City Streets, which launches on Wednesday, allows users to compete in a live, worldwide version of the popular game, creating the biggest Monopoly tournament ever played. Players will literally be able to buy any street in the world, and compete with every other player on the "board". Everyone starts with 3 million Monopoly dollars, and can build not only hotels and houses but also football stadiums, castles and skyscrapers.

Monopoly City Streets [via]

Kennedy’s Letter to Obama

Below is the letter from the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy sent to President Obama on the need for changes to the health care system, as released by the White House on Wednesday. I see both Kennedy and Obama as two true dedicated leaders to public service. I admire their tireless days and nights in placing public interests as their top priority despite being paid many times less than what the many cabinet ministers are earning in Singapore.

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my lon…

What is "Economic Rent"?

I came across this term "Economic Rent" when I was reading an Economics book on a bus today.

From the Google, the definition of "Economic Rent" is as below:
Economic rent is the difference between what a factor of production is paid and how much it would need to be paid to remain in its current use.
The difference between the benefit and the opportunity cost.

Memory Lane on Presbyterian High School by a friend of mine

I came across a video shot by a secondary school friend on Presbyterian High School, 3 days before the school was torn down to make way for a new building. The video did bring back some memories, with familiar background captured in the video. The video was filmed as part of his polytechnic school project.

Memory Lane (1/2)

Memory Lane (2/2)

MAS responds to feedback on sale of unlisted investment products

MAS responds to feedback on sale of unlisted investment products
9 Sep 2009

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it will ban the use of the term "capital or principal protected", or any form of the term, in all disclosure documents and marketing materials for unlisted investment products sold to retail investors.

It said this is due to a lack of an agreed definition of the term, which would be clear and easily understood by investors.

This was one of the changes highlighted in MAS' response to feedback on a recent consultation paper, which reviewed the sale and marketing of unlisted investment products.

The Consultation Paper on the Review of the Regulatory Regime Governing the Sale and Marketing of Unlisted Investment Products was published on March 12.

Unlisted investment products include debentures and unit trusts which are not traded on an approved exchange, and life insurance policies.

The central bank will also impose restrictions on marketing…

MAS bans use of "Capital Protected"

MAS bans use of capital protected
The Business Times
9 Sep 2009

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has published the first set of new rules that it plans to implement to change the way financial institutions here treat customers in response to the recent scandal over mis-selling in the industry.

The 19-page document released yesterday details MAS's response to feedback it received on changes it proposed in March to regulations governing the sale of unlisted investment products. Unit trusts, life insurance policies - including investment-linked insurance plans - structured deposits, and debentures such as structured notes fall into this category.

MAS will ban firms from using 'capital protected', 'principal protected', or similar terms to describe investment products. Such adjectives have been widely used here in the past to market structured products that promised to return at maturity at least the initial sum invested.

But these promises were based on the design of a p…

Why is price of Gold rising?

Just today, price of precious metal gold has risen to US$1,000 an ounce as the dollar falls. A friend of mine asked me why is gold price rising? My answer to him was, "When printing of money results in dollar depreciation, people will move to safer haven like gold. Many central banks may be expected to give up the dollar if the talk of a new currency pass through.".

To prove my point, I made a search and found the below very interesting article. It talks on the reason why gold price is rising and its likelihood that it may even hit US$2,000 per ounce within the next 2 to 3 years. However, I personally am not very keen on gold investing unless its price falls back near to US$800 before I am comfortable.

The Case for Gold Today [via]

Survived meeting marathon but was left dehydrated

I managed to survive today's meeting marathon from 0900hrs to 1730hrs in a "cold" room but was left feeling dehydrated after realizing I had not had enough water. What goes out must come back in. I left the meeting earlier because I have a lecture to attend to, right after I had presented my part, before it ended officially at 1845hrs.

It is a long day with only two 5-minutes break, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. Pizza was served for lunch and we had a working lunch, meaning to say, we discussed and lunch at the same time.

This is not my longest meeting so far, but is certainly one of the longest and most torturous ones.

More Singapore big names firms sold to foreign investors

Last year, Senoko Power was being sold to a Japanese consortium. This month, homegrown oil company, Singapore Petroleum Company (SPC), is sold to PetroChina. Today, we are seeing local semiconductor company Chartered Semiconducter being sold to Abu Dhabi.

The above mentioned 3 companies were all owned by Singapore government in some way and I do not see why they are selling such prized assets to foreign investors.

Kraft Foods takeover Cadbury speculation

Wow! If U.S. Kraft Foods really was successful in their US$16.7 billion takeover of U.K. chocolate giant Cadbury, then the combined result will be gigantic! According to Kraft, a combination of the two would create a "global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals" with annual sales of more than US$50 billion.

Kraft's Cadbury move sparks wider deal speculation [via]

Yet another post on Land Banking

Last year, I made at least 2 posts on Land Banking and its so-called "dangers" in this investment. My previous posts are Land Banking - Read This First and 3 Land Investment Companies in Malaysia Raided.

Despite many independent reports by free press in countries practising freedom of media (excluding Singapore) on such investment product, many are still going for Land Banking without doing their homework. I am here to say SOME and NOT all lands are not worth investing, so please do not prosecute me and put me behind bars.

Today, I saw TV adverts on land banking on today's news. I hope investors interested in Land Banking to do their due homework, making sure the plot of land they are investing in will really one day have buildings on, and investors to be familiar with local property tax laws and regulations.

An article published on February 2009 on mentioned the perils of Land Banking.

Don't bank on this land for making a profit

"A company called Prof…

"Google" = "Gogle": Google's unexplained phenomenom

Today Google's search page logo has a UFO trying to suck up one of the O's from its "Google" word. Curious in finding out this "unexplained phenomenon", I attempted to do a search on it and I found a possible answer to it from ComputerWorld.

If we were to have a look at Google's Twitter account, it says "1.12.12 15 1.18.5 20.15 21.19". This long encrypted ciphertext if decrypted reads "All your O are belong to us", where A=1, B=2, ... Z=26.

Another discovery is Google actually owns the domain, with one less "O"! will bring you to as well. The million dollar question now is Will Google end up become Gogle?

Wait and see strategy for September

September is said to be an unlucky month for investment, historically been a bumpy month for stocks ever since the Great Depression in 1929. Since 1929, the Dow Jones has dropped an average of 1.4% in September with last year's September falling 6%. Similar trend can be seen in other stock market indices as well.

Many fund managers are actually mindful of unlucky September and some even move funds from equities to safer bonds temporarily before moving back in few months' time. Trading volume is traditionally also lower than the rest of the year.

I shall use a wait-and-see strategy for this September before investing in my next stock. I shall enter when others are fearful.

"We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." -- Warren Buffett

范瑋琪 --- 可不可以不勇敢

作词:姚若龙 作曲:陈小霞










Shall print out and read through the lyrics next week.

Back to old ways again: Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance

After the collapse of collaterized debt obligations (CDOs), Credit Default Swaps (CDSs), mortgage backed securities, and other structured investment products, Wall Street financial and investment companies are now looking into other ways to make quick money. They may have found one but this time, it is by redesigning life insurance policies, investing and "gambling" them.

Plan for such life policies is still in design stage.

Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance [via]

More credit card safeguards

More credit card safeguards
Business Times
05 Sep 2009

Issuing banks agree to cap card members' liability at $100 for unauthorised transactions; online transactions will require second password


INCREASED protection is on the way for credit card members against unauthorised charges and for card holders who make online purchases.

Yesterday, credit card issuing banks agreed to cap card members' liability at $100 for unauthorised transactions starting Nov 1.

By the first quarter of next year, those buying goods online will have to provide a second password, similar to existing online banking transactions, as part of enhanced security measures. This includes using tokens or getting an SMS from the bank for the second password.

On the move to limit cardmembers liability, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said that this means that before notification of a credit card loss to the issuing bank, the maximum liability for cardholders due to unauthorised charges is $100. …