Friday, August 29, 2014

Responsible for your own choice

I quote from Gary Cox:
To choose not to choose is still a choice for which you alone are responsible.

You are responsible for your own choice. Don't push the responsibility to others.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Inflation is up 1.2%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2014:
January: 1.4%
February: 0.4%
March: 1.2%
April: 2.5%
May: 2.7%
June: 1.8% 
July: 1.2%

Education & Stationery and Healthcare rose by 3.3% respectively year on year. Transport inflation trend continued from last month, going down by 0.4% in comparison to last month.

Food inflation remained high, with prepared food prices still rising compared to last month. Transport inflation also continued the downward trend. Inflation has trended lower as mentioned last month and the trend will most probably continue until after August.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Virtual currency control? That's double taxation

There were recently talks by some governments on enacting controls for virtual currency. Seriously, I think it was said by people who had no idea on what is a virtual currency and they are just looking for ways and means to plug their deficit gap easily.

The reason is very simple. What exactly are virtual currencies? For those who play games, it is very simple and straight forward. It's a currency used within the game for purchases of goods and services. This is not new and has been there since the early days.

What is new however, is the ability to increase your virtual currency within the game by means other than what is available in the game play. How do you increase virtual currency? By means of exchanging real currency with virtual currency.

Therefore, the government officials who are enacting controls are not addressing the root cause of the issue. If the controls are clear and strict on how virtual currency is being represented in the businesses' profit and loss statement, then the virtual currency is already taxed because the businesses would have reported the virtual currency inflow as revenue. If a certain country is being used to evade tax, then that's another matter all together. Don't use that as an excuse to tax virtual currency.

By enacting controls, the fact is that they are trying to double tax the businesses. Seriously... In this day of age, they should have done their research before speaking.

Friday, August 22, 2014

DIfference between Information & Communication

I quote from Sydney J. Harris:
The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. 

Saying is easy, getting through is the difficult part.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Freezing minimum sum for CPF?

I was always wondering if there are going to be any significant changes to the CPF, such as freezing the minimum sum instead of increasing it as per inflation.

The rationale is very simple. We cannot control the salary that is given by the bosses, regardless of what all those career coaches or HR tells you. Your control is usually limited to asking your boss politely or "jumping ship" to another company with a salary increment.

Since we have little control over the salary given, and CPF is a controlled environment where you can't really do much with it, there is no use raising the minimum sum because whoever who contributes to it will not be able to fulfill it anyway.

Yes, you can highlight that you can contribute to the CPF but who will bother to contribute to it if they know the minimum sum and retirement age will forever be going up. You're effectively locking up your money in CPF until god knows when and not being able to tap on it when you need it most in your present life.

Yes, I say present life because CPF's funds are meant for the future... Retirement. Most of us are too busy worrying with the present than to think of the future. Yes, you can save all you want for the future but why make yourself suffer in the meantime? I don't think it makes much sense.

If you take inflation out of the equation for contributors, and this risk is instead transferred to CPF, then CPF to Singaporeans becomes more viable. It means that with regular contribution, you should be able to hit the minimum sum and retire adequately. Note the word adequately, not comfortably.

What's the use of setting the minimum sum which many Singaporeans will have trouble hitting it?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Focus on what you need to do today

I quote from Corrie ten Boom:
Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
Do not move too much ahead of time as it distracts you from what you need to complete today.

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Extending Wifi using payphones? Why not ...

Recently there has been news that the payphone providers will be extending the wifi coverage via payphones. My question is very simple. Who cares about Wifi signal when we're having problems even getting good signal on our cell phone devices? That's what the customers care most.

During National Day, I was at the Esplanade when I realised I got a "fake 3G" signal. The signal strength looks very strong on my mobile device but I had zero data connection.

Even in Europe, Kell, many have complained about bad wireless signal and many have said that they rather have strong signal than a fast signal.

The rationale is very simple. What's the use of a fast signal if you cannot connect to it? Isn't that common sense?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Assert your knowledge

I quote from Charles Darwin:
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

If you see or hear something that you know is wrong, voice out. Otherwise the knowledge spread by the ignorant may affect you in the future.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Last train from MRT does apply across the different lines

I had to go back on the very last train recently and that's when I realised a fundamental flaw in the design of the train. The last train timings are not aligned!

What does it mean? It means that if the last train for a particular train station in the East West Line is 12am for example, you would expect the connecting train to the North East line for example to also have the last train at 12am so that all the timings are aligned. After all, this is a public transport system.

No. That's where you're wrong. The last train for that station can be as early as before 11.30am. Why are we encouraged to take the public transport, touted as being very convenient and allows you to go everywhere by changing between all the lines, when the end time for your train timings do not match?

Do you know how frustrating it is to reach a connection train station, only for it to tell you that the train station for the other line has ended its service? What's more frustrating is when you get out of the station, you might find yourself in an area where taxis are hard to come by as that area is not frequented by taxis that often?

Try it and you will know how frustrating it is.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Westgate's customer service design is plain weird

Updated on 13 Aug 2014: It is not JEM. It's actually Westgate. Apologies...

I was recently around the Westgate mall at Jurong East when I chanced across the customer service centre. At first look, it looks quite neat and professional but when you are trying to get some service, the issues start to come out.

At first glance, the customer service centre looks quite professional such as electronic queue numbers, a system that tells you which counter to go to for that particular queue no, and you can even leave your telephone number so that the system will call you once you're approaching the queue number. BUT ...

Do you know that even though there are 2 different types of queue, the system still puts you in order of the first come first serve basis. Meaning... If you have 10 people who are approaching customer service and 1 person who is approaching Sistic and is the 11th person, the poor person waiting for Sistic service will have to wait for the 10 people in front to finish before the turn comes. Worst part? Those approaching customer service can opt to leave the telephone number in the system so that the system can call them when the queue no comes up, BUT, no such option for Sistic.

Who designed the flow? What's the use of 2 different queue types when it basically means nothing to the customer? In fact, if you only have one queue type, it would be more beneficial to the customer because the customer could at least leave the phone number for the system to call when the queue no comes up. The expectation would be a separate person manning the Sistic booth and for that person to put Sistic customer service as a priority and serve others if there is no one in the queue. THAT will fulfill the reason for the different queue type.

Why makes things so complex when your manpower cannot fulfill the needs of the system?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do not procrastinate

I quote from Charles Stanley:
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins. 

Grab your opportunities when it comes. Do not procrastinate.

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

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