Friday, November 29, 2013

Gve happiness if you ...

I quote from Gisele Bundchen:
If you are happy, you can give happiness. If you don't love yourself and if you are unhappy with yourself, you can't give anything else but that.  

You can only give happiness if you're happy. Otherwise, you'll just give whatever that you're feeling now. Do you want to do that?

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Support housewives by ...

A thought hit me recently on how to support housewives in Singapore. The concept is simple. If someone is not working, taking care of the children/house, that means someone else is working and may be working quite hard to support the family.

Therefore, to relieve the financial load of the family, the government should bring back the family declaration of taxes, where the amount of tax payable is upped as we're talking about combined income than a single income.

Simplicity aside, this will in a way give the support to people who stay at home to take care of the family. It's not easy to take care of the family alone and using this combined income tax declaration, you can also calculate the monthly income per household member. Using this calculation, you can also give workfare to further support the family.

A family should not be penalised if the family needs someone to stay at home to look after the family.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Inflation is up 2%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2013:
January: 3.6%
February: 4.9%
March: 3.5%
April: 1.5%
May: 1.6%
June: 1.8%
July: 1.9%
August: 2% 
September: 1.6%
October: 2% 

Healthcare is once again leading the pack, rising by 3.7%, while Education & Stationery rose 3.5% respectively year on year, similar to last month. These 2 basket items are now becoming a trend compared to last year where inflation trending items are more likely to be transport and housing.

Transport has risen 2.3% year on year, most probably due to the fluctuations of the COE prices again. With the exception of Housing, inflation is rising across the board.

As mentioned in the previous post, inflation should be gradually rising until December where it will taper off slightly.

Let's see if US will re-vist the debt ceiling fiasco again next month. This is again unknown territory.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Automation causing accidents?

Recently there was an article talking about the recent uptick in airplane crashes. It was reasoned that some airline pilots have lost flying skills as a result of automation taking over mundane tasks. When the system do not behave as it should, they get startled and that may have contributed to crashes.

When I read that article, somehow I immediately associate it with the recent uptick in car accidents in Singapore. Since Jan 2005, auto gear car licenses are allowable in Singapore. Somehow during that period, it also resulted in a huge decrease of COE prices which meant more people are able to purchase cars.

It may be that people take less care of cars as it is cheaper but that shouldn't be the case as COE prices have risen a lot these few years and accidents are still quite common in Singapore.

Therefore, I reasoned that the auto gear licenses may have a hand in it. My thinking is that:
  1. Getting a car license is easier to get as one does not need to grapple with the half-clutch issue
  2. People as a result may not understand how the car gears work and may not know the relationship between high gears and brake distance
  3. Auto gear cars are now also easier to drive and that may resulted in people having a false sense of superiority that they are able to multi-task when they are driving

I do admit that the above may occur even though you're having the manual driving license but seriously, once you have encountered the difficulties of handling the clutch, you will be able to better appreciate the relationship between the speed of the car and the gears engaged. Changing of the gears also mean that you concentrate more on the roads then your smartphone / sms / incoming call.

Humans cannot multi-task. Look at the research done.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dare to Be

I quote from Steve Maraboli:
When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can – At all times, Dare to be!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TDSR in my opinion

Recently I was reading some write-up from some property firm talking about the problem with the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) recently implemented. It was said that due to the TDSR, many owners will be forced to sell their properties later on when the interest rates go up which brings them above the TDSR. Seriously, I don't see what's the issue here.

The problem with the current property market here is that everyone assumes that interest rates will remain low. Is that a fact? No it is not. Therefore many people are taking advantage of the low interest rates to over-extend themselves and start buying up many properties. So what happens if the interest rates suddenly go up, and prevents you from servicing your loans?

No prizes for guessing. You will be forced to sell your properties and guess what, when that happens you have to sell it at a greater loss which may not even help you repay your debt due to the bad climate. And what will the average citizens do after that? Blame the bank and government when the interest rates rise. Nevermind that they actually over-extended themselves when they started buying multiple properties (e.g. earn $1, borrow $2).
The TDSR in my opinion was implemented to bring this situation up front so that we will not encounter the Great Recession crisis that happened to the US. If you are trapped in this credit bubble when the economy is still churning along, you will not suffer as great a loss as when you're forced to let go of your properties when the economy is in a down spiral.

TANSTAAFL. When someone wins, someone loses.

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Clean toilets? Look at Plaza Singapura

With all the recent emphasis on clean toilets, just take a look at the basement toilets at Plaza Singapura to know how far we have "progressed". Did I say progress? Sorry. I think it is more like walking backwards.

Hint... You can smell the toilet even before you see it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Open at 11, lunch at 12?

I find some of the local banks operating hours very unique and seems like it was not designed to be customer focused.

Common sense will tell you that if the bank opens at 11am for customers, the staff within should have already taken lunch before the bank is open. It does not make any sense to open the bank at 11am, where a long queue has already formed outside, and then later go for lunch at 12pm when the bank is full of customers.

Does it make sense? Apparently the local banks here think so. Wonder if this is some new management theory.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do not regret that you did not try

I quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Do not regret that you did not try

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Removal of spikes in LRT stations created alot of poo issues

Recently, I realised that for some LRT stations, they have removed the spikes from the structures and fittings at the top of the stations. I'm not sure if they take the LRTs regularly but this is a very big mistake.

In fact, ask those responsible to visit those LRT stations and they will start to see immediately the result of their "cost saving". Bird poo on the floor, bird poo staining the structures and fittings at the top of the stations.

The spikes are there for a reason, and is especially important for those stations that are above ground because we have a lot of birds flying around in Singapore. In fact, we cannot even resolve the bird problem in Orchard Road. Just look at the pavements below those trees.

I hope they will start putting the spikes back to those overhead stations. How expensive can those spikes be? Or they find that bird poo stains are a better alternative?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Obamacare issues may not be technical in nature

The recent Obamacare website issues does not really sound like a technical issue to me. Just looking at the issue from a third-party perspective, it seems to me that the main issue is there isn't a solution architect in-charge of looking at the system holistically.

If you are looking at a solution to work end-to-end with multiple systems, you need a main contractor or an overall solution architect team to design all the systems end to end. The reason is very simple. Without someone overseeing the whole architecture of the system, how do you ensure all the systems can perform optimally and also interface with each other without any issues?

Solution architects are the ones that are able to design and ensure that the functionality requested in the system are able to work seamlessly and optimally. They are the ones that can keep groups of developers working as a team to design the system such that the requirements meet the functionality of the system.

The issue now is that a lot of people have been pampered by big MNCs such as Apple and think that simple to use systems are easy to develop. Ask any developer this question and they will give you the "death stare". In fact, some think that it's so "easy" to develop easy to use applications that they think solution architects are not a necessity.

Reading the "tabloids" about the Obamacare issues seem to indicate that there is no overall solution architect designing the whole system end to end, and it seems that it was the way the project was being funded. Just because the system did not work as intended does not mean that the technical team is at fault.

If there is no overall solution architect or a main contractor looking at the full end to end solution, then the issue is the project organisation structure isn't structured in such a way that someone is looking at the big picture. That is the main issue.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Beware of our emotional baggage

I quote from H.E. Davey:
“Emotional baggage,” which is carried over from the past, colors our perceptions. Likewise, past conclusions and beliefs, based on reasoning that may or may not have been accurate, also tint our perception of reality. Retaining our capacity for reason is common sense, but definite conclusions and beliefs keep us from seeing life as it really is at any given moment.
Emotional reactions can be unreasonable, and reason can be flawed. It’s difficult to have deep confidence in either one, especially when they’re often at war with each other. But the universal mind exists in the instant, in a moment beyond time, and it sees the universe as it literally is. It’s the universe perceiving itself. It is, moreover, something we can have absolute confidence in, and with that confidence, we can maintain a genuinely positive attitude. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Republicans look set to bring the House down... again!

I don't think the Republicans are still going to allow the government to function normally. Recently they have been blocking all the nominations for some of the posts within the US administration. Personally, I think that they are causing the poor rank and file people to be overworked because if the position isn't filled, who will be doing the job? Seriously, they should put a clause that whoever who objects to the nomination without sufficient basis has to cover for that particular position full-time, at no pay.

If you look at the current trend, do you think that the Republicans will be able to resolve this budget and debt ceiling fiasco by Dec 2013? Of course not. They are too busy trying to implement party interest even though they are clearly not in-charge of the government.

So what happens if this deal is not done by Dec 2013? In short, the Republicans will then be responsible for being the party that single handedly prevented the Wall Street year end rally, disrupting all the "potential" bonuses some people may have, and thus bringing down consumption.

Let's hope not, for everyone's sake.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Secure your iOS7 Lock Screen

I was never a fan of putting pass codes on my phone, mainly because I have never put anything important into it, or surf into sites that will reveal my bank account numbers for example. Apple has finally persuaded me to put a pass code because the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S is pretty cool and pretty darn works most of the time at almost any angle, at least for me.

However, if you are the kind of person who puts important things into your phone, do take note that in iOS 7, you are able to access notifications centre (i.e. swipe down from the top) and control centre (i.e. swipe up from the bottom) from your lock screen by default.

Translated, that means anyone can read your calendar (e.g. the meeting name), reminders (e,g, the brief description), and turn on your airplane mode without knowing your pass code. Personally, I'm comfortable with people reading my calendar but I draw the line at people turning on the airplane mode. The reason is very simple. If I ever lose my phone, the "Find my iPhone" capability only works if my data connection is on. If someone snatches my iPhone and immediately turn on the airplane mode without even going pass the pass code security, and that person can take their time to break into the iPhone. That, I am not comfortable with.

If you're concerned about someone reading your calendar directly at the lock screen without going through the pass code, just do the following to turn it off:
  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on Notification Center
  3. Turn off the Today View by swiping the toggle button to your left, under the section Access on Lock Screen.
  4. If you wish to even secure all the iPhone notifications, you can also turn off the Notifications View in the same section by doing the same.

To turn off the control centre in the lock screen, just do the following:
  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on Control Center
  3. Turn off the Access on Lock Screen by swiping the toggle button to your left

That is all to it. Hope this helps...

Set meal = promotional items

Just got a 10% discount card which has a disclaimer that it is not valid for "on-going promotional items". Guess what? Set meals are promotional items too. 

Might as well don't give the discount card. To add on, it is only valid for 1 week. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Joy and Sorrow

I quote from Khalil Gibran:
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 
When you have joy, there is sorrow, and vice versa. Something I need to remind myself as it is impossible to not have sorrow as it means that you have no joy. You need to have joy in your life.

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