Friday, May 30, 2014

Resistance creates stress

I quote from Dan Millman:
Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds.

Resistance to events unfolding around you creates stress. Avoid stressing yourself out over things you cannot control. Concentrate on the areas that you can control.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why do we need a minimum sum now when ...

There have been a slew of changes these past few years on the CPF with regard to the housing withdrawal limits. In fact, after all these changes, a thought hit me. Do we still need a CPF minimum sum?

Reason is very simple. We are not in control of our CPF savings. Once a limit and the law is in place to minimise the withdrawal for property, then the employers and the law that states the CPF contribution rates determine and controls how much CPF savings we have.

Since we have limited control over how much money is inside our CPF savings, then shouldn't the CPF minimum sum be removed? Having a minimum sum now will serve no purpose since most of the withdrawal limits are mostly in place.

Instead, emphasis now should be put in other areas that will result in an increase in the CPF savings. Putting a minimum sum will not serve much purpose because we cannot control how much savings is inside the CPF account unless we put the meager amount that goes into our bank account into it ourselves, and not see that money until ... ... well. We do not know until we reach 55.

Go figure...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Inflation is up 2.5%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2014:
January: 1.4%
February: 0.4%
March: 1.2%
April: 2.5%

Transport is now once again leading the pack again, rising by an amazing 5% followed by Healthcare, rising by 3.5% respectively year on year. Transport inflation went up drastically, most probably due to the ever fluctuating COE prices. Food inflation has also went up while housing inflation has turned negative.

Inflation has trended upwards as mentioned last month and will most probably remain stable for the rest of year provided there is no unexpected external stimuli. That will mean inflation may be 2.1% to 2.2% for 2014.

We'll see.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Help not for the sake of getting a reward

I quote from Steve Maraboli:
Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.

Know that when you help others, you do it for the sake of helping, and not for the sake of getting any reward.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why the products here are more expensive?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has recently did a study on consumer products price sold here and overseas. It is of no surprise that for some goods, it is pricier in Singapore than other countries. The study found that two-thirds of the 647 items sampled from the three brands are priced here above the median, but Singapore is the most expensive city for only 6 per cent of these. About a quarter of the products here are priced below the median. The other ten cities in the survey are Paris, London, Shanghai, New York, Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Sydney and Tokyo.

Why are products here sold more expensive than other countries? There are only 2 factors affecting the retail price. Manpower and rental costs.

For manpower, there are ways to control the costs either through productivity or optimising of processes. However for rental costs, there is no way that it can be controlled by the owner. Singapore is only that big and as everyone knows, in retail industry, location is everything and it drives sales.

There is a need to moderate the retail location costs and the only way I can think of is for the government to step in, similar to JTC, to rent out retail places and price it reasonably. Only then can prices be more consistent. This will drive more purchases from locals or tourists, and it will also encourage more people to start up new businesses.

Other than that, I have no idea on how to moderate the retail costs. Do you?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Commenting anonymously is a bad habit

Having seen many of the articles online, it seems like there is a bad habit of people commenting without thinking of the consequences, because they are well, commenting it anonymously.

You see it everywhere. Many comments with words that you usually will not hear in any type of conversation. The question is, if you do not say these words when you're face to face with others, why do you think it is fine to say it online?

Therefore, I can only conclude that they were behaving the way they were because they thought that they are commenting anonymously. Yes.

Basically, for any typical internet users, you are never anonymous because for the very simple fact that you're seeing something on your screen. For the screen to change, it has to send information to you. To send information to you, that means it knows where you are, which means you can be traced.

So for all those who think that you're communicating anonymously, then think again. Rule of thumb. If you are not willing to voice what you're writing out face to face, don't write it.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Follow your heart, no matter your age

I quote from C.S.Lewis:
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream

If you're truly passionate about a certain topic, follow your heart and set the goal. You're never too old to do that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I do not think Internet TV is useful

There is now quite a bit of advertisement touting the benefits of Internet TV. However, I personally do not think that it is of much use to the average joe for a very simple reason. We're already using our mobile devices while watching TV.

Like it or not, I still feel that the TV is just meant for me to watch TV shows, movies or play some playstation/xbox games. That's about it. If I want to do anything other than that, why would I bother to go to a certain place to switch on the TV to surf the Internet when all I have to do is to grab a mobile device and start surfing whereever I am.

In fact, in my house, I even set my TV up such that I can watch my TV shows on an iPad, reducing the need for me to even switch on the TV if I choose to. Somethings look better when you watch on a bigger screen though but still, there are other shows that are fine on a small screen (e.g. news).

All in all, I find Internet TV a waste of money. I would rather save that amount for other more useful gadgets.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Patent to stop texting while driving?

There was one recently published patent that describes a "driver handheld computing device lock-out" system that detects when a user is driving using on-board sensors or pulling information from the car when connected, blocking the use of text messaging or using other smartphone functions from the person driving. The intention is noble but when I first read that, the first thought that came into mind is whether does it work as intended.

The reason is because I'm not sure how the on-board sensors, be it from the phone or the car, can achieve the purpose to stop people from texting or using smartphone functions when a person driving.

Let's start with the phone on-board sensors. Sure, the phone can detect if you're moving. However, how does the phone knows if you're texting while waiting for a traffic light, or while you're stuck in a jam? I can imagine feeling myself very frustrated if I am unable to text or use my smartphone if I am stuck in a jam for hours. What happens if the phone on-board sensors get confused by the cellular towers? Ever found the phone indicating that you're in a middle of a housing estate even though you're on the road?

Next is the car on-board sensors. To-date, I do not think there is a on-board car sensor that does image recognition. Most of the sensors I believe is more on the connection to the car electronics and the sensors surrounding the car. This will be useful to determine if the car is moving or is at rest. I hope it stops at that because doing more than that may cause your phone to disable your smartphone features for no particular reason.

In fact, in my person opinion, I feel that this feature will go the way of Siri, the voice recognition smartphone feature that most will seldom use. Just imagine your phone disabling your smartphone features when you're on the train ride just because you forgot to disable this feature.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Do things in moderation, and live the moment

I quote from Lao Tzu:
In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why are bigger phones more expensive than smaller ones?

This is something that I've never understood. Not so long ago, I remember trying to get phones that are as small as possible because well, I did not like lugging along a big phone that makes me look like a dork trying to put a big plank of wood to my face. However, recently, this seems to have changed.

If we look at it from the manufacturing point of view, if you're able to design the components such that every single component within the phone is designed optimally and the size is just right, it is alright to charge a premium. However, now it seems that everyone is trying to design phones that are as big as possible. They give reasons that well, the screen is big so you can see more things.

Seriously, we been though that back in year 2000. In fact, I think it's a lazy excuse to stop designing components as small as possible and go back to the days where we put a big plank of wood to the face.

Well designed phones, in my personal opinion, should be slightly smaller than your face, for the very reason that the microphone should be as near to your mouth as possible. There is no other reason why your phone should be bigger than that.

If your phone is bigger than that, then you're doing something on the phone that is not meant to be done. Remember. The phone's primary purpose is to communicate, not to watch movies or play games. If your phone is big, well, it should rightly be cheaper than phones which are smaller for a very simple reason. The components within are not optimised and are not as small as it can possibly be.

Anyway, in case you're unaware, try to stop playing games and watching movies for a week and you will be amazed how long your phone can last. In my last experiment with my iPhone, the phone only uses 10% battery per day for phone calls and messaging, including iMessage/WhatsApp.

Go figure...

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Do more for Earth Hour

We all know that we celebrate Earth Hour on 1 specific day every year. The question is why are we only celebrating earth hour for 1 hour every year? Why can't we celebrate Earth Hour when we can, where we can?

One way to encourage this is to introduce Earth hour to events that require well, darkness. For example, we can set certain periods of time once a month to well, see our beautiful night sky, which we can hardly see due to the severe light pollution we have here. We can also introduce events which coincides with celestial events such as meteor showers.

There are many ways we can do it and we should, so that we can see how beautiful Singapore really is.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Change the world, change yourself

I quote from Tom Robbins:
If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid - but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.

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