Friday, May 31, 2013

Unconditional Love

I quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:
The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.  

When you respect and love yourself, you will most probably be able to understand yourself better, respect yourself more, and know what you want. Love and take care of yourself.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shoe Box Apartments are not feasible in Singapore, no matter the reason

Recently shoe box apartments are again in the news, where certain countries find that the apartments are convenient as they allow people to rent the small apartments which are near their workplaces. Some people pointed to this example as reasons why Singapore should allow the apartments to be built here. I disagree.

The difference between Singapore and other countries is that we are very small and our transport system is one of the better ones in the world. Going from extreme east to extreme west in Singapore won't take you more than 2 hours using the public transport, lesser if you own a car.

This is different from the other countries where you might need to live in the suburbs and travel by car to the city everyday to work.

As Singapore is small, we should not waste the space that we have to build those small shoe box apartments, which by the way are mostly not near our workplaces. The smallness of the shoe box apartments encourage people to live alone or as a couple. Kids? No way if you're living in the shoe box apartment.

Finally, shoe box apartments are very expensive if you look at the psf price. You might as well get a bigger apartment and use it to buy a cheap vehicle to drive to work. It will be much cheaper, and the shoe box apartment also will not be that near to your workplace.

I hope the authorities won't try to bring back the shoe box apartments. I still want my green places, which is getting rarer in Singapore. We're not like other countries where we can drive 3-4 hours away and we can find green fields.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Inflation is up 1.5%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2013:
January: 3.6%
February: 4.9%
March: 3.5%
April: 1.5%

I believe it is the first time since I started tracking the inflation where transport and housing are not leading the pack. In fact, its healthcare and Education & Stationery that are leading the pack, rising by 3.4% and 2.9% respectively year on year.

Housing and Transport only rose by 1.1% and 0.5% respectively year on year, which is a severe drop compared to previous month. As these 2 items occupy a huge part of the inflation basket, this caused a severe drop in the inflation. The other items in the inflation basket are quite stable, as expected.

As highlighted in my previous post, the COE is causing havoc on any inflation forecasts, but I'm surprised that housing was affected too, mainly on accommodation. Is it due to the softening of the housing prices last month?

Friday, May 24, 2013


I quote from Ariana Grande:
If anything, we should feel sorry for the people who want us to feel bad about ourselves, because they are the ones struggling for approval. In middle school, bullies tortured other kids because they thought it would make people like them more. 

It's good to keep this in mind but it is difficult when someone is constantly trying to beat you down. There is always a limit that a person can take. What happens if you hit the limit? Either you try to change the person, or retreat. For your mental health...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Low cost iPhone?

I was reading about articles speculating about Apple creating a low cost iPhone and I was trying to rationalise on how Apple will be able to do it without diluting their brand. I feel that there is one possible way Apple can do it.

Apple all along has been improving the iPhone every year while keeping the cost stable. That would also mean that the previous iterations of the iPhone will be cheaper to produce when technology improves. Therefore, I feel that it is highly possible that the 3.5inch iPhone will be treated as the low cost iPhones.

It makes sense because traditionally, the previous version of iPhones will not be able to upgrade to the later version of iOS at some point of time. It will also be missing certain features available in the new iPhones. Therefore, just by continuing the 3.5inch iPhone and producing it in huge volumes will be able to allow Apple to create a low cost iPhone that will not dilute the brand, and yet encourage consumers to get the newer one.

Personally, I think it doesn't make sense to redesign a low cost iPhone. It is never the Apple way... At least I thought so.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rethink on COE

Recently, articles have suggested that the government is starting to rethink on how COE can be redesigned in Singapore. Personally, I find that the COE does not fulfill it's objective of controlling the car population in Singapore and yet, give the average Singaporeans a chance to own a car. The current COE quota allows the rich to own one or several cars, while depriving those who has lesser capital to own one.

My first suggestion is to remove all the different categories for COE because nowadays, you have luxury cars in both COE categories. Instead, they should follow a system closer to HDB. For example, the COE pricing could be as follows:
  • Household income below $10,000 with no car: $x.
  • Household income below $12,000, and above $10,000 with no car: $x + 10%
  • Household with more than 1 car: An addition 10% for each additional car.

This will ensure that every Singaporean can have a chance of owning a car, and at the same time ensuring those with more than 1 car to pay more for this privilege.

My next suggestion is that to ensure that you do not have car sellers who hogs all the COE for the luxury buyers, you only buy the option to purchase when you get the COE (y% of $x). The option must be exercised within a month. I feel that this will help to stabalise the COE price.

If the 2 suggestions are implemented together, I feel that this is fairer than the current system, which I feel that favors the rich. Don't you think so?

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

Friday, May 17, 2013


I quote from Malcolm Forbes:
Diversity: the art of thinking independently together. 

Diversity is important in any thought process. Diversity of views is where everybody's views are independent. If everyone comes from the same background or with the same perspective of the issue at hand, then that is no longer diversity. It will just become a scenario where everyone is trying to reinforce a certain point, and there is no longer any diversity.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Declare your advertorials

In case you're not aware of the term advertorials, they are articles or posts sponsored by certain organisations, which usually talk about certain product/service features. I recently read about a certain company that uses advertorials as their business model. Nothing new.

However, among bloggers, there is usually an unwritten code where you declare all advertorials written in your blog. The reason is simple. You want to tell people that you're paid to write about a certain product/service so that your readers are aware of the content. Even though the advertorials are usually written in the bloggers' own style, it is still after all a sponsored post.

It's usually ethical to declare it as an advertorial so that your readers are aware. Bloggers usually do that too because they do not want to knowingly mislead their readers.  Don't you think it's important?

Monday, May 13, 2013

More details on how teachers are being assessed

Recently, our education ministry highlighted that teachers are assessed based on their overall performance and overall contribution to the whole process of educating our children -- in their academic work, in the mastery of content, teaching ability, in outside of classroom activities and other aspects. Teachers are not rewarded on the basis of how well the students perform in examinations.

My question is how can assessing the teachers on the process of educating the children in their academic work and mastery of content be not related to how well students perform in examinations?

More details are needed on how teachers are being assessed. How do you assess a teacher on the process of educating the children in their academic work and their mastery of content without looking at how well the students perform in their examinations? This is true especially on mastery of content. The very word of mastery of content means that you gauge the teachers based on testing the student which implies that if the student scores well, that will mean the teacher is good in imparting the content to the student.

Isn't that reward based on the scores of the students?

Friday, May 10, 2013

No good choices

I quote from Julie Kagawa:
There are no good choices, Allison," Kanin offered in a quiet voice. "There are only those you can live with, and those you can work to change. 

As much as I do not want to admit it, she's right. Most of the time, we're face with making choices not of our choosing, and we usually end up with the above. The ideal case is you can take the choice that allows you to change it so that it is similar to what you have thought of in the first place.

Easier said than done...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hollywood Dreams Parade @ USS

If you are at the Universal Studios Singapore (USS) in the weekends, you will be able to catch the Hollywood Dreams Parade. The route is clearly marked out in the map. It will start from the Lost World zone, and will end at the end of the New York zone.

Based on my observation, it seems to me that the parade will stop to perform if there is any turnings along the route. I've also recommended a place to watch the parade in my earlier post. What's unique about this parade?

Well, personally I find that USS seems to excessively love to spray water at their unsuspecting guests. During the first few parade segments, almost every float will spray water at the tourists lining up near the roads. Do note that the water spray is not mild. Be careful if you're using your DSLR. It almost hit my camera a few times as my zoom lens is not working that day.

Below are some of the photos that I've taken of the parade. Don't you find the characters very similar to the actual actors/actresses? Enjoy...

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Other Roller Coaster rides @ USS

For the other roller coaster / 4D rides at Universal Studios Singapore (USS), I will consolidate all the rides into this post. :) According to my wife, it seems that if you see the staff in front of the ride carrying a soft toy, the ride is safe for kids to play. Not sure if it is accurate though. :)

Below is the picture of the Shrek 4D ride. The entrance is to the right-hand side, right beside Shrek.

Below is the picture of the mini roller coaster on top of the red dragon, donkey's wife. After sitting in all the previous roller coasters, this is nothing. :)  It's still fun though.

Do not be deceived by this Canopy Flyer. It doesn't go upside down but it is fast, and it does have sharp turns. 

This is also the other ride that lets you dangle your legs in mid-air, as shown in the picture below.

There are many other rides but they look pretty mild. I didn't get to sit in all so I can't guarantee it though. :)

Stay tuned for my last post on the USS parade.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rapids Adventure @ USS

Rapids Adventure is one of the more interesting rides at Universal Studios Singapore (USS). Why is it so interesting that there can one post dedicated to it? Well, just one word of advice. Deposit your belongings, and wear a poncho. If you do not have, purchase one. You will need it.

Well, judging that you need a poncho, I believe you would have guessed that this is a water ride, and it's not an ordinary water ride. Below is a picture of the main entrance of the ride.

Obviously, I couldn't bring my camera for the ride. I was roaming outside to catch a glimpse of the ride. The ride does go through some nice scenery as shown in the picture below. Notice the blur picture of the ride? Well, it kept going round and round. :)

Here we go down...



Yes, that is why you'll be wet if you are not wearing a poncho. Be warned. :)

Stay tuned for more posts on my activities in USS.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Revenge of the Mummy @ USS

Revenge of the Mummy ride is also one of the popular rides at Universal Studios Singapore (USS). It is an in-door roller coaster ride which I felt is one of the better ones in USS. However, do take note that you are not allowed to bring any bags of any kind in the ride. Either you get someone to look after the bag for you, or you deposit it into the locker. There's a reason behind it. Once you ride it, you will know why. Better make sure you secure all your loose articles. :)

The reason why I specifically dedicated a post to this ride is because of the locker. :) The locker is only free for the first 30 mins. However, it is very likely that after queuing inside, you will exceed this timing. So be prepared to pay $3 to unlock your belongings from the locker. If you do not have small change, there will be somewhere there who will be able to give you some change (not $50 though).

If you see the scene in the picture below, that means you're nearing the ride. :)

The whole zone is designed like a scene out of the Return of the Mummy, as shown in the picture below.

Even the entrance of the ride doesn't really look like an entrance. I thought it was some kind of museum. Don't you think?

Anyway, there are lockers to the left of this ride, if you need to deposit your belongings. That will also be where you'll be exiting for the ride. Have fun.

Stay tuned for more posts on my activities in USS.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Battlestar Galactica @ USS

Battlestar Galactica is another one of the more popular rides in Universal Studios Singapore (USS). Why? Well, the ride is quite unique where you can choose to be supporting the Autobots, or the Decepticons.

First thing first, the ride is right next to the Transformers 4D ride so you cannot really miss it. Below is what will greet you.

I believe that there are 2 different entrances to the ride. Below is the entrance to one of them.

So what happens when the ride starts? Apparently, there are 2 different cars going simultaneously. One of the rides your legs will be dangling and the other you'll be seated, as shown in the picture below.

As you can see, I think more people are interested in dangling their legs, as shown in the picture below.

They seem to be having fun. Right? Wheeeeeeeeeee.

How about the other car where the people are seated? Well, they do not miss out on the fun too, as shown in the pictures below.

I think it's pretty obvious that most people like to dangle their legs, compared to sitting down in the car. It's up to you choose. :) I estimate the ride is about as long as the Transformers 4D ride. Have fun... :)

More posts soon on the rides in USS.

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