Monday, November 24, 2008

Up to 19% Pay cut?? Yeah right...

Today's headlines indicate that our government is cutting their own pay, and they are deferring from adjusting their salaries. The headline screams... Up to 19% pay cut.

For the year 2008, their bonuses will be:
  1. $100 to $300 (Paid)
  2. 0.5 months AVC (paid)
  3. 1 month AWS (13th month)
  4. 0.5 months AVC
Well, this looks reasonable, considering only the 2nd half of 2008 did the world economies start to tank. They still only have bonuses that I can only dream about.

It was the mention of the 2009 salaries that caught my eye when I was looking at it at CNA. And guess what? I've just looked at the news article again and I found that the news article have been edited! All the salary numbers for 2009 were gone.

All the numbers mentioned here are salaries for 2009 that have already been cut, and reported before it got edited!
  • President: $3.14 million
  • Prime Minister: $3.04 million
  • Ministerial Grade (MR4): $1.57 million
  • Superscale grade (SR9): $353,000
  • Members of Parliament Allowance: $190,000

What pay cut??

Even the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the most profitable banks in US (even now), will only earn around USD600,000 for the year 2008 because they opt to receive no cash bonuses, no stock, and no options for 2008. He earned USD68 million dollars last year. Now... USD 68 million to USD 600,000. That is a pay cut.

So $3 million is benchmarking against the private sector? Unless my eyes are mistaken, I do not see how $3 million is benchmarked against USD600,000. Note that Goldman Sachs for 9 months ending Aug has earned USD 4.4 billion dollars. They are still making profits (although much lesser than last year) in this kind of climate, and yet they opt to receive no bonuses! Singapore's economy is estimated to have negative growth next year. Negative growth and still having million dollar salaries??

So where is our government's benchmark now? Will they lower their benchmark since all the big time CEO's salaries are getting cut to their base salaries? How on earth are they benchmarking the private sector salaries? It's definitely not to their base salaries.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Inflation is up 6.4%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2008:
January: 6.6%
February: 6.5%
March: 6.7%
April: 7.5%
May: 7.5%
June: 7.5%
July: 6.5%
August: 6.4%
September: 6.7%
October: 6.4%

Food and Housing is leading the charge, rising by 7.8% and 16.4% respectively year on year. As expected, food prices went down and housing went way up. Housing should continue to stay high while Food and Transport will trend slightly lower.

Inflation would still trend above 6% for the rest of the year, but below 6.4%.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's the use of cutting rates to near 0%?

All the big guys (IMF, etc) all advocate cutting the interest rates to near 0%. However, is that of any use at all when no one seems to be following the interest rates? The US interest rate is now 1%, but all their mortgage rates are above 5.5%, whether is it fixed or ARM! The only thing rate cutes succeed in doing is to stroke up inflation.

This does not resolve the problem at all. The root cause of the problem is more than interest rates. The banks are not even lending out the money because of the lack of trust.

Ironically, I think the only way to resolve this issue is to have something like the Singapore HDB Loan. Government sponsored loans that have reasonable interest rates, with reasonable credit guidelines. The old methods do not work anymore. The evidence is there for all to see, but they refuse to acknowledge it.

Once a new kid on the block start offering rates that are lower than the market rate, the competitors will usually follow. The problem now is that no one is willing to stick their neck out to jump start the economy.

Just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean that it is right. Extreme conditions require extreme measures. People might say the government is stealing the banks business but hey.. They are not lending the money out in the first place. This kind of wait and see attitude is not what we need right now.

Interest rates near 0% but no one will be lending out the money... Did a decade of 0.25% interest rate in Japan help them?

Are those guys up there blind, or so detached from what's happening on the ground?

Japan's Family Planning Measures

Finally I saw some concrete policies being made out on the aspect of family planning. Not those half-baked ones which our government kept coming out with. The ones that might truly turn the clock.

The so-called perks that our government kept churning out does not resolve the root problem. Actually, there are 2 root problems. Time and Stress. Tell me... If you go back everyday at 10+pm, and your stress level kept high because your boss kept saying you're not efficient enough, will you even think about family planning??

Obviously no... But apparently those people up there will not acknowledge this problem. You can't have your cake and eat it. Something has to give and Japan seems to have finally saw the light. The shrinking population is much more of a major concern than the so-called productivity (I see it more like kiasuism than productivity).

So what did one of the Japanese companies do?
  1. Workers are forbidden to work on weekends
  2. Must get permission if you need to stay past 7pm everyday
  3. Posted signs in office listing eight ways to go home earlier

I like what the deputy manager of Tokyo-based National Quality of Life Group said:

People are the country's resource. To sustain our standard of living it's important to stem the contraction in population.

No mention of importing the problem away... Now this is addressing the root problem.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life Balance

I quote from Stephen Covey:

Most people struggle with life balance simply because they haven't paid the price to decide what is really important to them.

Decide now what's important to you and work towards it. It's your choice.

Know which number are you SMSing

The iPhone 3G has a unique way of displaying SMSes from your contact list. It's format is very similar to iChat. Tap on the SMS icon and you will see a list of names that you have SMSed before. Tap on the name and you will see the thread of messages you have sent before, like iChat.

The one problem I faced is that if a name has multiple mobile numbers attached to it, I will see the name appear multiple times in the SMS application. I will be clueless on which mobile number that name represents, and I will not know which number am I SMSing.

Not anymore. To know which number the name represents in the SMS application, just do the following:
  1. Tap on the SMS application, and the name of the person you're interested in SMSing
  2. Scroll to the top of the page or tap on the time at the top bar
  3. Tap on Contact Info
  4. The number highlighted in blue is the number that you're SMSing

That's it...

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Apply for ESTA even if you have the VWP

My understanding is that if you need to go the United States (US) now, you'll need to apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) even though Singaporeans are in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This is to obtain a travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP.

You can apply the ESTA if:
  • You are a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
  • You are currently not in possession of a visitor's visa.
  • Your travel is for 90 days or less.
  • You plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.

It's free, and you can refer to the ESTA website here to apply for it.

Learn how to look at your Recents List

In the iPhone 3G, tapping on Phone > Recents will allow you to access the list of people who has recently called you. Typical reading of the list would be just that this so and so person has called me at this time. Tap on the name, and the iPhone 3G will call that person. Those names highlighted in red are the calls that you have missed.

However, if you tap on the details arrow (the arrow at the right hand side), you'll see the caller details, and how many times this person has called you. What I've just realised is that this screen also tells you which number has called you.

If you have answered the call, the number highlighted in blue in this caller details will be the number that called you.
If you have missed the call, the number highlighted in red in this caller details will be the number that called you.

That is how you can get the actual number that has called you. Many of my contacts have multiple phone numbers, so this is very useful for me as I can ring back the number that has called me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

8 out of 14 PAP Town Councils have exposure to Lehman Brothers

Updated 18 Nov 2008: Added returns figures from the newspaper

I've written a post last year with regards to Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council investing our money in the stock market, in particular in Creative. Now it seems that they did not learn from that lesson and went up 1 step further. They started investing in structured products!

Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol town councils have invested a total of S$12 million in DBS High Notes, Lehman Brothers' Minibond Notes and Merrill Lynch's Jubilee Series 3. Other town councils such as Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang, Hong Kah, Marine Parade, Tampines and Tanjong Pagar also have exposure to Lehman Brothers.

It was stated that it's a small percentage of the total funds available. However other than the question on why on earth a town council will invest their sinking funds into structured products instead of thinking of ways to rejuvenate the estate or to subsidize the conservancy charges, my main question is why did the town councils have so much money? And if they have so much money, why did they use the excuse of inflation to increase our conservancy charges??

The whole idea of a town council is that its not meant for-profit. It's suppose to be a non-profit organisation since the money comes from the general public. Therefore, if there's surplus, the benefits should flow back to the general public. With so much funds available, just by putting it in a simple highest rated bonds and fixed deposits would yield a decent return.

Worst still, based on what was reported in the newspapers, the returns averaged over 3 percent a year over the last 6 years, excluding the Lehman fiasco. 3%! Investing in equities! Considering the risk premium, why on earth would you take so much risk to get a return of 3% in equities when you can get the almost equivalent using bonds and fixed deposits?? Come on... I think even Singapore millionaires can get more than 3% on their deposit accounts.

According to the newspapers, they say that they need to build up their sinking funds to replace the lifts every 28 years. Hello... I compound $150million a year with interest of 3%, I get a total of $343million at the end of 28 years. Even compounding $75million a year, I get a total of $172million at the end of 28 years! Each lift cost only at most $250,000. How many lifts do you have in a HDB block?

There should be a cap on the amount of sinking funds the town council should have. What's the use of having so large an amount if the benefits do not flow back to the general public? The famous Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council seems to have $120million in the sinking fund, based on reported 6.7% invested in the structured products ($8 million).

Having surplus is one thing, but this is getting ridiculous. Is it so hard to use the money the general public has given to rejuvenate the estate, or to reduce our conservancy charges that we must pay?

Why on earth did they have so much in their sinking funds?? Scrooge McDuck??!?!?!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

iPhone 3G Fully Charged Battery Indicator

In my previous post on optimizing the iPhone 3G battery life here, I've remarked that there is no indicator to indicate that the iPhone 3G is fully charged. I was wrong.

There is an indicator, and it's so minor that I did not notice it until now.

The picture below shows the battery indicator (a lightning bolt icon) when it's charging:

The picture below shows the battery indicator (a plug icon) when it's fully charged:

That is how you tell if the iPhone 3G is fully charged. Darn... I think I'm getting old.

Exciting Consumption

Consumption results in economic growth. The problem is, will you consume more when your future is uncertain?

This leads back to the current global recession that we're having. Almost all the major developed countries are in recession, which is going to lead to a global reduction in consumption. The high levels of income disparity will also mean that majority of the world population is going to get hit harder. The impact is as of what you see now. Not pretty...

When your future is uncertain, and there are problems with cash flow, the natural reaction is to reduce consumption. This leads to a vicious cycle where goods and services are not being consumed, leading to a reduction of jobs, which leads to more reduction of consumption, etc etc.

The only way to jolt the economies is to introduce sustainable consumption. This is easier said than done. The latest US household saving rates was 0.4%. Judging from the news, this is definitely on the way up. The minimum should be around 10%. Just imagine... From 0.4% to 10%. The impact on the reduction of consumption will be humongous.

That means those other rich economies better buck up on their spending. The world has been too reliant on the US for consumption. Exciting domestic consumption should be the way to go but most took the easiest path, which is export. Now this error in judgment has come back to haunt them.

The US cannot and will not do anything to help. They have to clean up their own economy first. It leaves to the rest of the countries. They would have to make their own country rich enough to consume goods and services, and not restrict consumption to selected groups.

Is this going to be a short global recession? I think not. I'm still of view since the start of the year that this is going to be comparable to the great depression.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Crazy with fever

I think I'm crazy. I have fever and yet I still went out just now. Now I'm feeling the after-effects.

I'm so tired...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do something about your complaint

I quote from The College Blue Book:

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.

If you've got the energy to complain, use that energy to do something about it. Complaining at it for the first time is useful to put the complaint into words. After that, do something about it.

Irresponsible media reports!

Usually I will have nothing much to say against news reported in the media, but with the case of the news of 2 white tigers mauling the zoo cleaner, I feel that this time is too way overboard.

There's a distinct difference between a tourist falling down into the white tigers enclosure and being attacked by the white tigers, and a cleaner who climbed down to the white tiger enclosure, crossed the moat, took a broom and yellow bucket and waves the broom towards the tigers!

If the white tigers were provoked, their natural reaction is of course to attack. The white tigers are not at fault.

Why the editors do not have checks in place to verify the accuracy of the news report?? Even the facts are totally wrong. A tourist did not drop into the moat. The cleaner actually climbed into the moat and crossed it, and at the same time waving his broom.

It's this kind of irresponsible reporting that can get people, or in this case white tigers, killed for no apparent reason!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is it because of the EXP45 strings?

I've just changed all my strings yesterday to the D'Addario EXP45 normal tension strings. I've been using the normal D'Addario strings previously, which costs about half as much as the EXP45.

I do not know if its the price or there's something wrong with my ears, but for some reason, I felt that with these new strings:
  1. The sound seems to be louder.
  2. The sound seems to be more clear.
  3. It seems to be easier to do runs.

The 3rd point is the weird part. Somehow, I found that my runs seem to flow better after I changed the strings. In fact, I do not think I have run so fast before with my guitar.

Hmm... Is it the strings? Or am I just too tired from work and I'm having delusions? Either case, I recommend the EXP45 strings. The sound really seems to be louder and clearer than the normal string.

Well, in a way it has to... It costs twice as expensive as the normal strings. :p Now I only have to wait for my strings to stop detuning itself. :)

Totally disagree with what the MM said

Just read today's news that MM mentioned that the investors should have kept their eyes open. If the interest rate is 1%, and they are getting 5%, there should be a catch.

The whole problem is nothing to do with if there's a catch or not! The problem is that you ask all the relationship managers (RMs) and financial advisers (FAs) to go through so many courses, which in the end becomes useless paperwork that does not count. Why on earth do you need a fact finding analysis if in the end, you're not going to take into account the findings from that analysis?? It totally defeats the purpose. You might as well just throw away the analysis!

And over here, we're talking about mis-selling. There is a whole lot of difference between someone telling me that the 5% interest rate comes with a catch where you might lose your principal, and the 5% interest rate is as safe as fixed deposit. And mind you, this is coming from a person supposedly with all the certs that makes them qualified to give financial advise. Worst still, some investors have never even seen the prospectus of the product.

As evidence on how transparent our financial sector is, only now do I know that there are 3 types of financial advice that the advisers can give you:
  1. Full Advice
  2. Partial Advice
  3. Product Advice

I thought there was only full advice. Period.

We do not even know the 3 categories of advices that we're suppose to be getting. If we do not even know this simple fact, how do we keep our eyes open?

It's like saying that we should keep our eyes open, but the danger is actually what we cannot see. Furthermore, this advise is not supposedly given by any Tom, Dick or Harry. It's given by a certified adviser. What will happen to a doctor if he/she prescribe the wrong medicine?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Print Screen your iPhone 3G

I use this more when I'm lazy to type, and I rather let the picture do the talking. :)

To do a print screen (screenshot), hold down the power button, tap on the home button, and let go both buttons.

That's it... You should hear the sound of a picture being taken. Just tap on the Photos app, and you'll find the print screen under the Camera Roll.

Nights shots are impossible to take with a compact at Night Safari

Just been to the night safari and I have again attempted, to take pictures with my compact camera. The keyword is attempted. :)

The camera I'm using is the Canon Powershot SD870 IS. One thing that I can confirm is that this camera is way better than my previous Ricoh R1V. I've attempted the same experiment with that camera and I could not capture a single animal.

The differentiating factor for all compact cameras is actually how it handles low-light condition shots. One problem of taking night shots with a compact camera is that the camera sensor is not meant for taking pictures in low light conditions. At higher ISOs, the pictures are all grainy when zoomed in. For my SD870 IS, the graininess is quite apparent when the ISO hits above 400.

Nevertheless, I've still attempted to take a few shots using my SD870 IS. I've taken over a 100 shots and the results are quite expectantly... bad. :) Most of my shots I'm showing later are all taken with ISO 800 and above.

Based on my results, I've learned a few things about night shots with a compact:
  • Set your light exposure compensation to the highest. Otherwise you cannot see a single thing. :)

  • There must be a light source. If the lights are very dim, it's no use attempting to take anything, and I do include videos.

  • The objects(animals) must be slow moving, or not moving. If the animals are pacing around, or are quite active, take a video instead.

  • Check your auto white balance. In low light conditions, I've realised my SD870 IS auto balance seems to go off balance. The colors are off, and some of the colors are overpowering.

    I've used the evaluative white balance instead for some of my pictures.

  • Use a tripod, or make sure your hands are steady. Many of my pictures are taken with a tripod, and yet it's blurred. Make use of your 2 secs timer.

  • Do not zoom in low light conditions. Period.

Is it worth taking shots with a compact at night? Not at the night safari. Lights are very dim to simulate the animals night environment, and flash photography is actually prohibited. Below are some of the shots I've taken. All without flash.

The picture below is the best shot I've taken that night:

Flying Squirrel

Cut-out of the flying squirrel photo above

I've managed to take a picture of the Malayan Tiger that kept pacing around the enclosure. How I've absolutely no idea.

Backside of the tiger

I've also taken a long shot of some animals that were lazying around. I've no idea what animal is it though. :) Below is a cut-out of the main picture that I have taken.

Cut-out from a long shot of animals lazing around

Somehow, my cat shots are better than the other animals. :)

Fishing Cats moving around

A fishing cat trying to catch fishes

Some cat moving around

Backside of the same cat moving around

I believe the following shots are of mousedeers. They are quite slow moving, so its easier to take their pictures. :)

2 of them grazing around

Another 2 mousedeers looking around

A mousedeer protecting its territory

Can you spot the leopard? :)

Where is the leopard?

The other pictures are of animals that make sharp movements. Even though the light source is slightly brighter than the rest of the animals, the camera is unable to handle the sudden movement. The result is ... blur.

Indian wolves that are hyperactive

The owl that kept looking around

Anyway, this photo taking experiment is not totally wasted. I've realised that my SD870 IS has a long shutter mode. I've no idea that its hidden at the exposure compensation setting. I wonder what other settings am I missing...

Oh yes, for the night safari, if you really want to explore the whole area, go at 730pm. I went there slightly later and by the time I left at 11pm, I've missed the tram ride, and the show. Or maybe it was because I've spent too much time trying to take pictures. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Some people just do not learn

Recently, the topic of deferred payment has come up again in the newspapers. They were advocating that the deferred payment should be reinstated due to the current crisis.

I was thinking... These people who are advocating this reinstatement are crazy!

Where did this economic crisis come about?
It's due to loose credit.

Where did this crisis originated from?
It originated from the US Housing crisis.

What caused the US Housing crisis?
Low or Zero interest rates loans for the first few years that was given out to people who cannot afford it.

In another words, the current crisis originated from deferred payment!! Now some people are asking for the crisis to come to Singapore?? If you can afford the house, you have no need for deferred payment.

Do Singaporeans really look so short-term??

Concentrate on your goal

I quote from Henry Ford:

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.

It's quite normal that one will look at the obstacles that line your path towards your end objective. However, not all obstacles will block your path. Some obstacles might look huge, but it is not blocking your way.

Concentrate on the goal. By focusing on the goal, you'll only see the goal, and the obstacles obstructing you from the goal. There is no point worrying about the other obstacles because it will not obstruct you.

Stay focus...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Patterns that only I can see

Sometimes I really feel so frustrated at myself on why people do not understand the point I'm driving at.

I have a habit of looking at things differently from everyone. The way I look at problems is not common because I look at patterns. It has however been quite accurate and effective. Problems come in certain patterns, and certain patterns have similar solutions. My problem comes when I warn people of the problems ahead. Problems that have not yet happened, but I see a high posibility of it coming true. They will naturally think I'm talking nonsense or something, and refuse to heed what I say. Then what I said happens.

The problem with this? I warn people of it because most of the time it's outside of my power to resolve it if it has went down that path. Before the problem comes, I might have a solution to it.

Sometimes I really feel frustrated on why things happen even though I have warned long ago not to go down that path. Problems do not resolve by itself.

I'm so tired... Why do I even bother.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Largest Solar Park in Singapore

Just been to the largest solar park in Singapore today at the Marina Barrage. Basically, the solar park has 405 solar panels covering 1,200sqm. It generates 70kW of electricity which is used for indoor lighting and power points within the Marina Barrage.

The park itself only covers a very small portion of the roof-top at the Marina Barrage. Just imagine if 3/4 of the roof is covered with the panels and how much energy it can generate. I hope this will kick off more instances where solar panels are installed on the roof of the buildings. I always find it a big irony that the country closest to the equator is not doing anything with all the free sun rays that is shinning on us every single day.

Below are some photos of the solar park.

Starting of the solar park

Rows of solar panels

Close-up of the solar panels

What's the use of the fact finding and analysis exercise if its not binding?

Someone has actually initiated legal proceedings against one of the banks against mis-selling of investment products. This has been a long time in the making. The crux of the matter is that, if the customer has been identified as a low-risk investor, should he be sold an investment product that's above the risk profile?

From my layman perspective, the answer is NO. The basis of this fact finding and analysis exercise is for the financial adviser to understand the risk profile of the customer and recommend a appropriate product for the customer. Unless the customer has signed a special form indicating that they know that they are buying a high-risk product that deviates from their fact finding exercise, the adviser should not have sold this product to the customer. Just because the customer has bought high risk product before is of no excuse. There can be many reasons why this customer has shifted to low risk instruments.

The problem with the financial industry here is that there's a mentality of caveat emptor, meaning "Let the buyer beware". If you're going into it yourself (meaning DIY), then this rule applies quite appropriately. However, when you have an adviser advising you, then I would say this rule does not apply. Why? Because you have paid for a service. They are providing a service and they should rightly advise you on all aspects, and should understand the product workings before recommending it to you.

For example, if I apply for a HDB flat, the person handling the sale would highlight all the important points of the agreement to me. The document that I have is of many pages, but there are some highlighted points dictating some of the more important points of the document. This is proper service.

Just because the prospectus runs into 100s of pages is of no excuse. That's what the advisers are there for. Otherwise, why are they paid commissions? There must be a certain level of professionalism when you're providing a service. Some cases is that some advisers have sold products, without knowing the full workings and risks of it.

In the case of the high notes and minibonds, some advisers have touted it to be something like a fixed deposit. The facts? It's anything but a fixed deposit. In fact, looking at the product which is a structured deposit, it's even of a higher risk than investing in shares! How can low-risk investers be investing in it? Most has never heard of "credit event". It doesn't make sense.

Luckily my financial adviser is of the good sort, and has never introduced this kind of instruments to me.

If the fact finding and analysis exercise is just a paper document, then abolish that document. If it's of use, enforce it such that its binding. From my view, since that document states my risk profile, I should not be recommended any product that is of higher risk than what it is stated.

Why? Because the adviser knows the industry, I don't. The adviser should be warning me instead. It's just that simple.

Natura Loft @ Bishan

Happened to glance at the papers few days back and realised that the Bishan DBSS is open for balloting. The difference between this DBSS and others is that there is surprisingly little information that I could find related to it. In fact, the most details that you can find is in the news highlights. Even in the QingJian Realty website here, you are unable to find more details of the DBSS. You cannot even find the pricing in their website!

I will not repeat what I have written in my other posts on DBSS. You can refer to my Park Central post here, and my CityView post here. The CityView post includes some of the calculations I did to see if it fits into my affordability matrix.

DBSS @ Bishan has been named Natura Loft, and is located at Bishan Street 24. The balloting is already opened at their website since 31 Oct 2008, and the pricing of the flats is at an average of $450psf to $570psf. The pricing and configuration are as follows:

4 room95 sqm$465,000 to $586,000Master Bedroom w/out Planter

Master Bedroom w/ Planter
5 room120 sqm$600,000 to $739,000Master Bedroom w/out Planter, study near the main door

Master Bedroom w/ Planter, study near the main door

Master Bedroom w/out Planter, study near the bedroom

Master Bedroom w/ Planter, study near the bedroom

The reason why the psf seems to be lower is due to the size of the flats. It's also touted to be an eco-friendly project, with bamboo flooring for it's bedrooms, bay windows and energy-saving inverter aircon. Planters are quite common in their flat configuration.

Similarly to other DBSS, the area includes a pavilion, BBQ pits, children's playground, fitness centre (including for the elderly), and landscape gardens. According to the map, it's just in-between Whitney Secondary School and Catholic High School. Bishan North Shopping Mall is also within walking distance.

Personally, I do not like this DBSS offering because:
  • I felt that it is a tad too expensive based on the current perks, bearing in mind that HDB flats have a $8,000 household income cap. Even though the flats are at 95sqm or 120sqm, the space is actually wasted by planters and balconies. Minimally, each configuration will have a balcony and a planter. Without the planters and balcony, the flats would have been much more worth it.

  • I do not like the location. Contrary to all the cover pictures I see for Natura Loft, it is not next to Junction 8, or Bishan MRT. In fact, according to the map, I would think it's about a 15mins walk away from the MRT. The nearest shopping mall should be Bishan North Shopping Mall.

  • It's too near to Whitney and Catholic High. Living near these 2 schools will mean that at around 7am to 8am, the roads around that area will be super congested, considering that the road leading to the DBSS is also shared by the 2 schools.
Comparably with that kind of pricing, I would prefer Park Central which is more affordable, and with better location and facilities.

I still do not understand why HDB introduce DBSS when the current executive condo (EC) scheme should have fit the role of DBSS. The household income cap for EC is capped at $10,000, which gives more room for the developers to add in frills, and for the customers to do their budget. Now, the developers are trying to differentiate their DBSS, but sometimes forgetting that there's a $8,000 household income cap.

With the current recession, I'm not surprised if it's not even half-sold. Will DBSS go towards the fate of EC? I think so. HDB should have just revamped the EC scheme.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...