30 July 2013

Singles and Singaporeans with Foreign Spouse May Now Buy Direct from HDB (BTO)

Source

But limited to 2-room units in non-mature estate, that's okay, but what I read next was puzzling.

If you are buying a 2-room flat in non-mature estates under the Built-To-Order System (BTO) exercise under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme and Joint Singles Scheme, you must be at least 35 years old at the time of application.

This kind of regulation baffles me, why 35? Who came up with this magic number? Don't anyone realize that we have to wait for a few years before we can actually move in? Well unless they have ready-built units then fine, buy at 35 move in at 35, but even so, why 35?

If you think about how married couples can buy at the age of 21, or even buy before marriage (Fiance/Fiancee Scheme), then this 35 thing is absolutely rubbish. Aren't we all Singaporeans? What do I lack as compared to them? I did what I'm supposed to do, I am married, I want to have children, the only "problem" is my wife is a foreigner. I don't mind 2-room, I can leave the bigger flats for our fellow Singaporean couples, I can even forgo any housing grant and give it to them, but this 35 thing is just too much.

No offense to fellow Singaporean couples, but if you would look at it from my perspective, I'm sure any reasonable Singaporeans would be pissed off.

And what about single parents? They still have to struggle to the age of 35, apply a 2-room BTO, wait for 3 years to finally move in? Wow, very helpful, I'm very sarcastic in case you didn't notice.

This HDB always tries their best to piss people off, and I find it very disturbing that this is one thing they are really good at.

Bought Ticket for My Wife to Go Back to Thailand

She will be leaving on 01 Aug, I know it's kind of rush but no choice because she is supposed to see the Haematologist at SGH on 02 Aug for her INR test as she is now back to Warfarin. The doctor in Thailand who operated on her will only be around on Tuesdays, so I'm trying to make sure she can get back home as soon as possible so she will have enough time to settle down and go see that doctor, and I'm also looking forward to this doctor's opinion.

When my wife did her valve replacement surgery in 2010, the total cost including hospitalization in a 6-bedded room (like our B2 ward) for 12 days is more than 600,000 Thai Baht before any form of subsidy, let's just put it at 700,000 since we are going to compare with today's money.

Yesterday the Cardiologist told me that a valve replacement procedure may cost between 30,000 to 50,000 Singapore Dollars, let's just take 30,000, and as for hospitalization charges, let's just say we stay in a B2 ward, according to this link, a Resident Foreigner daily B2 ward charges in SGH is S$239.68 (inclusive of GST). If she stays for 12 days it will be 239.68 * 12 = S$2876.16. Total cost would be 30,000 + 2876.16 = S$32876.16, and I'm not sure if the 30,000 has GST included.

Resident Foreigner B2 Ward Charges in SGH

So 700,000 Thai Baht is S$28430.50 as of 30 Jul 2013, it's a S$4445.66 difference.

Due to my wife's condition, she received some sort of certificate from the King of Thailand which grants her huge subsidy for surgical procedures and hospitalization charges for the rest of her life. Her mom paid slightly over 60,000 Thai Baht, I think it's at least an 85% subsidy, which is a big deal, but in Singapore, zero subsidy, where am I going to get that kind of money, and we are only talking about 12 days of hospitalization, 90 days would be S$21571.20, oh and I just realized I put the wrong amount in my previous post, but whatever, S$1571.20 seems so small when we are talking about a 5-figure sum.

29 July 2013

Good News and Bad News at SGH High-Risk Clinic

The good news is, the baby is doing fine.

The bad news is, we have to choose between abortion or keeping the pregnancy but both carries an amount of risk.

Another problem is the massive cost because my wife is a foreigner, it's beyond my financial capability. The following letter that I have prepared for her doctor in Thailand sums it all up.

Dear Srinagarind Hospital Doctor,

Me and my wife have seen the cardiologist (Mdm Tan Ju Le) and gynaecologist (Mr Tan Lay Kok) in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on 29th July 2013.

We have a medical report from the cardiologist specifying her prosthetic valve condition.

This memo contains additional information provided by the doctors during our meeting, and also things that we need to bring to your attention.

According to the cardiologist, my wife is likely to have moderately severe to severe prosthetic valve stenosis. The main concern is whether my wife can survive her pregnancy because there will be increased strain on her heart as her pregnancy progresses.

The doctors presented two options, abortion or continue with the pregnancy, and they emphasized that either way carries an amount of risk.

We are leaning towards keeping the pregnancy, but we are worried about the potential cost. According to the cardiologist, if we should proceed with the pregnancy, depending on her condition, she may need to change her heart valve, such a procedure may cost between 30,000 to 50,000 Singapore Dollars. And from her 24th week of pregnancy, she will need to stay in the hospital for at least 3 months, the 4-bedded ward charges may cost between 18,000 to 20,000 Singapore Dollars.

We are looking at a potential cost of 70,000 Singapore Dollars and as my wife is still considered a foreigner in Singapore, she is not entitled to any government subsidy. I have also tried to purchase insurance for her but due to her condition, it is not possible.

My wife was put on Clexane (Low Molecular Weight Heparin) starting from 5th June 2013 8PM to her last injection on 2nd August 2013 8PM, for 59 days, 118 syringes but 1 was damaged, 60mg per syringe, two injections a day, twelve hours apart.

We have seen the haematologist Dr Ng Heng Joo in SGH on 26th July 2013, he instructed my wife to continue Clexane to 2nd August 2013, but also to start Wafarin on 29th July 2013 at 3mg a day. Her wafarin dosage prior to Clexane was 3mg from Mondays to Fridays, and 1.5mg for Saturdays and Sundays.

We have decided to seek medical help from Thailand due to our financial constraint and also because the doctor in Srinagarind Hospital is more familiar with her condition.

Best Regards

27 July 2013

Get Stock Quotes with Yahoo! Query Language (YQL)

Code
 <b>Result</b>  
 <div id="yqlResult"></div>  
 <script>  
 // prepare the request  
 var yqlUrl = "http://query.yahooapis.com/v1/public/yql";  
 // this query will retrieve the Name, Symbol and LastTradePriceOnly for Semb Corp, CDL HTrust and Sheng Siong  
 var yqlQuery = encodeURIComponent("select Name, Symbol, LastTradePriceOnly from yahoo.finance.quote where symbol in ('U96.SI','J85.SI','OV8.SI')");  
 var format = "json";  
 var env = encodeURIComponent("store://datatables.org/alltableswithkeys");  
 var request = yqlUrl +  
                "?q=" +  
                yqlQuery +   
                "&format=" +  
                format +   
                "&env=" +   
                env;  
 // initialize the XMLHttpRequest object  
 var xmlhttp;  
 if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {  
      // for new browsers  
      xmlhttp=new XMLHttpRequest();  
 } else {  
      // for IE5 and 6  
      xmlhttp=new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");  
 }  
 // readyState==4 means request finished and response is ready  
 xmlhttp.onreadystatechange=function() {  
      if(xmlhttp.readyState==4) {  
           // responseText is the JSON string, JSON.parse converts it into an object so you can manipulate using dots  
           var myObject = JSON.parse(xmlhttp.responseText);  
           // get the quote  
           var quote = myObject.query.results.quote;  
           // this is the size of the quotes, we have 3 symbols so it's 3  
           var quoteLength = quote.length;  
           // print out the Name, Symbol and LastTradePriceOnly  
           for (var i=0; i<quoteLength; i++) {  
                yqlResult = document.getElementById('yqlResult');  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += "Name: " + quote[i].Name;  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += ",&nbsp;";  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += "Symbol: " + quote[i].Symbol;  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += ",&nbsp;";  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += "LastTradePriceOnly: " + quote[i].LastTradePriceOnly;  
                yqlResult.innerHTML += "<br />";  
           }  
      }  
 }  
 // send the request  
 xmlhttp.open("GET",request,true);  
 xmlhttp.send(null);  
 </script>  

Result

JSON String Details
 {  
      "query":{  
           "count":3,"created":"2013-07-27T06:00:39Z","lang":"en-US","results":{  
                "quote":[{  
                     "LastTradePriceOnly":"5.02","Name":"Semb Corp","Symbol":"U96.SI"  
                },{  
                     "LastTradePriceOnly":"1.675","Name":"CDL HTrust","Symbol":"J85.SI"  
                },{  
                     "LastTradePriceOnly":"0.70","Name":"Sheng Siong","Symbol":"OV8.SI"  
                }]  
           }  
      }  
 }  

Well, if you find it useful, feel free to use it.

26 July 2013

Regarding First-time Consultation at SGH

Today I learned something that was quite surprising, on my way to SGH with my wife, a lady from the High-Risk Clinic called and reminded us that we have an appointment on Monday and we will be seeing two doctors, a senior Gynaecologist and a senior Cardiologist. She emphasized that the total amount would be S$180+ for first-time consultation, then I was puzzled as we have seen the doctors for quite a few times so I told her that and she said to hold on while she check.

After a while, she told me that for the Cardiologist, it's our first time, so repeat for Gynae and first-time for Cardio, which is 79 + 109 = 188, but that's before GST, with GST would be S$201.16.

Then it all made sense when I made payment for the Haematologist today, I was charged first-time consultation as well, so I'm sure that for every new type of doctor that we see, we will need to pay the first-time fee.

But one good news from the Haematologist is, my wife can go off Heparin after we see him again on 02 Aug and change back to Warfarin which is significantly cheaper.

25 July 2013

S$1.7 Million Donated to Marina Bay Sands Casino Instead of Helping the Needy

Source

An assistant director and a head of department in our anti-corruption agency, he is a man tasked with fighting corruption in Singapore and yet he himself is corrupted. 1.7 Million Singapore dollars can help a lot of needy people, all these are taxpayers' money, how can he allow himself to do it, what a scum.

I always complain when I pay for inflation and income tax but I know ultimately the money will come back to us in different ways so I'm okay with it, but the government should really be more careful with our money, how can one man so easily siphon money out of the agency since 2008 and was only discovered in Sep 2012, I just find it impossible to believe for 3-4 years no one noticed, what happened to their audit?

Either he is versed in magic or everyone in CPIB is sleeping, one man show? We are not talking about stealing money from the petty cash box, we are talking about large figure sums, should be at least 5-figure amount for each transaction, how can he so easily settle it by himself. I hope the prosecution would look deeper into the case, there's definitely more than meets the eye.

24 July 2013

Be Careful with Starhub *138# Connecting Tone Service

Today I noticed an additional S$2.00 charged to my wife's mobile line and we have no idea what it is for, but I remember several months back they charged the same thing, I called them up and they waived and cancelled the charge for me. I also told them not to sign me up for it again.

G Premium Services
       Connecting Tones Basic      1Dwlds      $2.0000

I called Starhub customer service again and they told me it's a service whereby all callers to the number will get to listen to some music, I asked the staff why my wife's number was signed up again when she didn't do anything, the staff said maybe we re-contracted but I told him that was quite a while back (about 8 months back), but anyway he waived and cancelled the charge for me.

Then I wondered why I don't get auto-subscribed since I'm also using a Starhub mobile line, so I checked up on the service and found some information here, there are actually 4 ways to subscribe to the service,

How do I subscribe to Connecting Tones service?
If you are already a Prepaid/Postpaid StarHub Mobile customer, you can subscribe to Connecting Tones service via any of the following methods:

  1. Dial the Connecting Tones Hotline number at 9380 0000^;
  2. Dial *138# and press SEND; or
  3. Contact our Customer Service Consultants at 1633.
  4. If you are not a StarHub Mobile customer yet, when applying for your new mobile line, you can subscribe to the Connecting Tones service at any StarHub Shop or StarHub Exclusive Partner outlet.
Number 2 is the most suspicious, and according to this page, after dialing *138#, I should receive a confirmation SMS, so I checked my wife's call history and SMS log but I couldn't find anything. Then I checked her phone book and to my surprise I found a SH Call Tones entry with the number *138#, it's saved in the SIM, then I checked my phone and found the same entry, I think it comes with the SIM card.

Could my wife have accidentally dialed the number? But what about the confirmation SMS? Shouldn't it let us confirm whether to sign up or not, then why else would it be called a "confirmation"? Anyway I have deleted that entry from her phone book, that's why I don't like touch screen phone, sometimes accidental dialing does happen, we'll see if it will happen again.

23 July 2013

Urging Singapore Government to Review Medisave Coverage


I posted this in REACH, hope it will get their attention...

My wife is currently 11 weeks pregnant, she is a foreigner and she has a high-risk pregnancy. We have so far spent slightly over $2000 as pregnancy costs; consultation, ultrascan, cardiography, heparin, anti-xa assay and etc.

Currently, we are only allowed to claim up to $450 for pre-delivery expenses, but as you can see, I have already spent far more than that, and this $450 can only be claimed provided the baby is delivered, quoting from MOH FAQ:

Can  I claim Medisave for my pre-delivery medical expenses before i deliver?

You may claim Medisave for your pre-delivery medical expenses only when claimed together with your delivery. You should retain the bills incurred for  pre-delivery medical care and present them to the hospital where the delivery takes place. The hospital will submit these bills, together with the delivery expenses, for Medisave claims under the Medisave Maternity Package.

I just checked my Medisave and I have $18,786.40, but what's the point, even if I have 6-figure inside it's still useless to me, I cannot use it to pay for my wife's pregnancy costs, and I have to set aside cash for everything, can see cannot touch, not as if I am using it to go for holiday or to buy some fancy gadgets.

When I think about it, how does it even make any sense when Medisave is intended for healthcare and yet I have to put aside cash money for healthcare? Then why not give me back my medisave so I can put it to good use? Why hold on to my money? I don't understand, is the government trying to help people or are they trying to put obstacles in my way? Medisave as it is now is an obstacle to me, I don't see how it is helping me.

Youths Insist Minimum S$10 Donation but Flees when Cops Arrive

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Youths insist on minimum $10 donation -- then flee when cops arrive

Now that's really curious, why would they flee if they are doing it for charity? What are they afraid of? This reminds me of this tattooed guy soliciting donations at Tampines MRT station, not that I have a problem with tattooed persons but this guy is not even displaying his collection pass, he only shows a laminated card with pictures of children in need and asked people to donate. Something is really fishy about him, usually he will take a puff before going around to ask for donations, it just doesn't leave a good impression, a smoker asking people to donate to kids? Not that a smoker cannot do good, but smoking and charity don't go together, period.

Anyway, I never donate to these collectors on the streets, if I really want to help, I would volunteer my time to any charity organization, blindly giving money is not helping, I really don't know where the money will end up, furthermore, this act of giving only encourages exploits, there are always bad people in line to take advantage of the kind so don't fall prey to it, donating or not is a choice, there's nothing selfish about it so don't let them talk you into thinking it's your duty to help.

22 July 2013

GST Voucher - Cash Should be Based on Per Capita Household Income

This would extend more help to those with children because Singaporeans under the age of 21 are not eligible for the cash component, and most Singaporeans that age are usually studying or serving national service, or even if they work part-time, there's also a limit to how much they can contribute to the family.

It will benefit families with kids, like my co-worker, he has 3 kids under the age of 21, I'm not sure whether his wife is working or whether she is eligible for the cash component but he for sure is not eligible because his assessable income is over the limit of S$24000.

If I make a wild guess, let's say his total monthly household income is S$5000 and divided by 5 would be S$1000 per capita. As for me, my total monthly household income is S$3480 and divided by me and my wife would be S$1740, so actually I'm having an easier time than him. It's ok for me to not get the cash component since we obviously still can manage but as for him, he has a tougher time because the spending on his children are also affected by GST.

This coming 8th August is a super long weekend due to Hari Raya Puasa and National Day falling on Thursday and Friday, his children are very happy, kids are always happy during holidays, but this co-worker of mine has a headache, his kids are begging him to bring them to Genting, he can't reject them, I can tell from his face he is quite stressed over it, he even called GST Voucher department to ask why he couldn't get the cash.

Our government don't have eyes and ears everywhere, but here I am making a suggestion, I hope someone will consider what I have written.

21 July 2013

Vietnamese Lady Entered Sham Marriage to be with Married Singaporean Man

Source

SINGAPORE: A Vietnamese woman and a Singaporean man have become the first couple to be prosecuted under a new law aimed at deterring marriages of convenience.

31-year-old Vietnamese, Tran Thi Kim Phuong, met a Singaporean man in 2009 while on holiday in Singapore and they were said to have fallen in love.

But the man was already married.

Between 2009 and 2011, Tran travelled to Singapore to be with him.

Desperate to stay in Singapore to be with the married Singaporean, Tran agreed to enter into a marriage of convenience with another man - 47-year-old Singaporean Theong Peng Nyuk.

Theong was promised a sum of S$5,000 and S$300 for every successful visit pass extension he helped to sponsor.

The couple subsequently "registered" their marriage on 31 January 2013.

After the solemnisation, they went their separate ways.

The couple would only meet up at the ICA Building when Tran needed to extend her Visit Pass.

Unknown to them, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers had been keeping a close watch on them.

About two months later, Tran and Theong were arrested by ICA officers.

Cases of marriage of convenience have so far been charged under Section 57(1)(k) of the Immigration Act (IA) where the individuals are charged with making false statements in obtaining immigration facilities.

The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding S$4,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

To send a strong deterrent message to individuals who are thinking of entering into a marriage of convenience for the purpose of obtaining an immigration facility, the IA was amended and a new Section 57C introduced.

This allows ICA to prosecute errant couples, middlemen or marriage agencies involved in marriages which are entered into for the purpose of illegally obtaining an immigration advantage, and applies to marriages registered on or after 19 December 2012.

This will include the grant of visas, visit passes, long-term passes and permanent residence.

The penalties for the offence are a fine of up to S$10,000 or jail for up to 10 years, or both.

Tran and Theong were the first couple to be prosecuted under the new Section 57C.

Both Tran and Theong were charged with two counts of making false statements to obtain a Visit Pass, an offence under Section 57(1)(k) of the IA, and one count of entering into a marriage of convenience, an offence under Section 57C(1) of the IA.

Tran was also charged with making false declaration in her Disembarkation and Embarkation card, an offence under Section 57(1)(k) of the IA.

Both Tran and Theong were convicted on 23 May and each sentenced to six months' jail.

- CNA/ir


Sigh, poor woman, but it's kind of scary how ICA officers can keep a close watch on them, how did they do it? Very curious, but Chinese have a saying,

白天不做亏心事,半夜敲门心不惊。
A clean conscience fears not false accusations.

Blogger Dynamic Views Generates More Page Views

Yeah, but that doesn't mean I have more traffic, no wonder after I switched to my Simple template, I noticed a sharp drop in page views, actually it's just the way Dynamic views records page views.

According to this Blogger Help post,

If you enable Dynamic Views for your blog, you might notice an increase in pageviews. The reason for this is that Dynamic Views provides more specific information about actions on your blog. Specifically, every click to a post is recorded as a pageview. If a reader clicks on 10 posts, you’ll see those clicks recorded as 10 pageviews. In a traditional Blogger template, if a reader enters your blog once, they can scroll through ten blog posts in a single pageview. So while it may appear that traffic to your blog has increased, it's more likely that Blogger is simply recording more accurate data about your blog than was possible in the past.

That means if a visitor clicks on 10 posts, the Dynamic view records 10 page views while in a normal template like my current Simple template, it only records 1 view, that's a whole lot of difference, no wonder my page views dropped like around 80-90%, but actually the number of visitors remain the same lol...

20 July 2013

WTF Low-Key In-Camp Training Again

It was originally scheduled for 10 days but suddenly they sent a letter to inform me that it has been changed to 6 days, it really pissed me off and I immediately emailed my unit since their line is not available during weekend, but I can't wait so I called 1800-3676767 to ask them why did my unit suddenly change the schedule, and also why do they keep putting me on low-key training, the guy on the line is also an NSman so he can totally understand how I feel, and I realized that there's not much he can do because he will also need to forward my enquiry to my unit, but well, it's good that someone is following up for me.

This made me check my NS Booklet and do some research on the definition of low and high key trainings, and also when I can MR (Mindef Reserve).

I found two pages that cleared my doubts, but their definition of Low-Key Training doesn't seem to tally on both pages.

Page 1

The duration of your call-up may be as follows:

1. Low Key (LK) Training and Make-Up Training (MUT).
These refer to trainings that are between 2 to 6 days and you will be notified 3 months in advance.

2. High Key (HK) Training

These trainings are usually 7 days and longer and you will be notified 6 months in advance.

Page 2

NS Unit Training Cycle
Most NS units follow a training cycle that typically spans 10 years, including at least 7 high-key (HK) training. This is to ensure that NS training is conducted effectively and efficiently.

Training 

High-Key (HK) Training – refers to NS training of 7 days and longer.
Low-Key (LK) Training – refers to NS training of less than 7 days.

Notice in the first page, they said low-key is between 2 to 6 days, then in the second page, low-key is less than 7 days, so what about 1 day, or 0.5 day? They sure need to proof-read before posting it on their website. But one thing for sure is, 0.5-6 days is confirm not high-key, that's all I need to know.

And in the second page, they also mentioned NS training cycle typically spans 10 years and includes at least 7 high-key, based on what I heard from people who MR-ed in my unit, they did 7 high-keys and 3 low-keys, I also did some research on the internet, seems like that's the standard, haven't read of anyone who served more than 7 high-keys.

This reminds me of my section commander, he served 7 high-keys but I think he is short of 1 or 2 low-keys so he cannot MR. I also read of people who MR-ed with 7 high and 1 low, perhaps different unit has different requirements, but what I can confirm here is, 7 high-key is the minimum, so high-key is the Key.

I dug out my NS Booklet attendance information, removed all the IPPT and RT records so I can see clearly what kind of training I have attended.

Records of Attendance
Period
No. of Days

Purpose
FromTo
26-Feb-20138-Mar-201311ANNUAL ICT (HIGH KEY)
11-Feb-201211-Feb-20121MOBILISATION(R)
22-Jan-201122-Jan-20111BRIEFING / SEMINAR / MEETING
12-Sep-201012-Sep-20101FORMATION TRAINING
10-Jul-201010-Jul-20101FORMATION TRAINING
5-May-201014-May-201010ANNUAL ICT
3-Jul-20098-Jul-20096ANNUAL ICT (LOW KEY)
15-Dec-200819-Dec-20085ANNUAL ICT (LOW KEY)
23-Jun-200823-Jun-20080.5BRIEFING / SEMINAR / MEETING
11-Jan-200818-Jan-20088ANNUAL ICT
12-May-200712-May-20070.5MOBILISATION(R)
8-Jan-200712-Jan-20075ANNUAL ICT (LOW KEY)
17-Feb-200617-Feb-20061ANNUAL ICT (LOW KEY)
10-Jan-200514-Jan-20055ANNUAL ICT (LOW KEY)
3-Apr-20043-Apr-20040.5MOBILISATION/AREA IC RECCE

High-Key = 3
Based on 2-6 days, Low-Key = 4
Based on less than 7 days, Low-Key = 12

No matter what, I'm still short of 4 high-keys, and they decided to give me another low-key on my coming ICT, now you know why I'm pissed off, I'm already 30 years old, coming in-camp I would be 31, how many more years do they expect me to serve? I ORD-ed in Jan 2004, and almost 10 years later, I'm still far from MR.

I shouldn't have deferred last year's ICT, but not that I have a choice, anyway I didn't actually defer it. My colleague was also called up for ICT, we had almost the same training dates, our company sent deferment requests to Mindef but both got rejected and boy were we glad. Then one fine day at work, someone from Mindef called me to inform that my appeal for deferment has been approved, I was like WTF, then the guy told me it was my company who submitted the appeal, crap, why didn't they appeal for my colleague instead... but I guess someone's got to go to hell, unfortunately that's me, so be it.

Looking at my records, in about 8 years time, I only had 3 high-key, if including the one I missed, I should have 4, so in 8 years I might get 4 high-key, 2 years 1 high-key, then what, I need another 8 years before I can MR? By then I would be 39, WTF, this is really bullshit.

UPDATE: I got it wrong, according to my unit, Saturday and Sunday also count towards the attendance meaning if my ICT starts on Friday and ends on Friday, total days would be 8, and it's considered a high-key. Phew, so actually it's good that they shorten the ICT ;)

New Blogger Makes it Easy to Add Google Analytics

Wanted to add more tracking to my blog as I found the tracking that comes with Blogger doesn't seem to provide enough information, yeah it has the basic but I wanted more.

I remember last time I tried using Google Analytics (GA), it was quite troublesome as I had to paste the tracking code on every page, if it's not on the page, it won't track that page, so if I have 100 pages, I have to make sure every page has it. Well, I could always use an include file or something similar, but provided I remember to include the file on that page.

Anyway, coming back to GA after a few years, and using Blogger, it's so much easier now. So how to add GA to Blogger?

First of all, obviously you need a Blogger and a GA account, so go create, by the way, this guide is meant for the new blogger interface and using the new template, I'm not sure of how to add GA to the old interface and classic templates so don't ask me.

So once you have your GA account, just click on the Admin button and you'll see a New Account button, click on that.

GA Admin and New Account buttons

Fill in the info!

Fill in the information according to your preferences, but most important thing is to make sure you fill in the correct Web Site URL e.g. marrythaigirlsingapore.blogspot.sg

After that, click on Get Tracking ID at the bottom, next you should see this screen,

Find your tracking ID

So now, you copy that ID, the entire thing, in my case it's UA-41943515-1, now log in to your Blogger and go to Settings > Other and at the bottom of the page you should see Google Analytics, just paste it there and your done.

Add tracking ID to Blogger

If you feel like checking whether the tracking code has indeed been installed, just go to your blog and view the source, then search for your tracking ID.

GA tracking installed successfully

And please take note that your site data will not immediately appear on GA, according to this Google Help page, it will take a few hours but within 24 hours so sit back and let the script do its job.

Oh, and I found this really cool feature where I can ensure the tracking code is actually working, just go to GA account then Reporting > Real-Time > Overview, it'll show you the number of visitors on your site like Right now, you see 1 in my case, and that's me ;)

GA real-time monitoring

Meh... how sad, I'm visiting myself...

18 July 2013

Been Messing Around with Blogger Look and Feel

So what do you think of my new design, cool?

I didn't do anything fancy, just changing the colors and text to make everything look clearer because a totally white background is too bright for me, but I'm not sure if people like it. Now I'm making it all black and darker, I hope people like it.

If you have any suggestions, please drop me a comment.

17 July 2013

How Much Ang Bao to Give?

My long-time friend is getting married soon and this question keeps haunting me, I read up quite a lot of related forum posts and articles, seems like the consensus is to give enough to cover the cost of one person e.g. if the table costs S$1000, you give S$100 minimum. If close friend, give more, some people suggest 50% more.

So in my case, my friend's table costs S$1500 and I'm going with my wife and my parents. My parents can only afford S$75 each, that means I have to prepare S$150 for my wife and S$150 for my parents. As for myself, I have to prepare S$150 + 50% = S$225, so S$300 + S$225 is S$525. WAH... That's going to burn a big hole in my pocket.

Sigh, my wife is not working, my mom is not working too, my father is low-income earner, sigh... what to do... Or maybe I'll take one big red packet, put my parents' S$150 + my S$358 to make it S$508, at least it looks nicer, even though it doesn't cover the costs... But he is my long-time friend, I should at least make sure the ang bao cover the costs... even if I don't give more... Hmmm...

Oh wait, I think he said one table is around S$1400 to S$1500, or maybe I'll make sure the total amount is at least S$140 * 4 = 560, that means I have to top up S$410. He told me the amount is up to me, no worry, anyway I was the one who asked him how much one table is, I was expecting the S$1000 to S$1200 kind of range, so it was quite a shocker, I really wonder what food we'll be having, must be some expensive stuff.

I think I should do a budget check before I decide, seeing the blood doctor in a week's time as part of my wife's pregnancy checks, and that's before the wedding dinner, I'm not sure how much I'll be spending at the doctor's place, hope it's not some crazy amount.

Sigh, headache.

16 July 2013

Old Man Outside the Train Station

Today I was on my way to work and as usual, I would take a puff before I enter the station, there was this old man, he approached me with a smile, I knew for sure he wanted something from me, strangers don't usually approach with a smile, he was smoking too, his cigarette was more high class than mine; I am smoking the cheap hand-rolled type. I was immediately alerted at that moment, if he was going to ask for money, straight no.

Indeed he was trying to ask for money but he started by saying he is not doing well and he didn't have a decent meal for days and all he wanted was just some money for tea. I told him I'm not doing well too, everything is expensive, I was expecting him to get pissed off and walk away but he smiled and said how can I be more worse off than him. So I asked whether he has a job and he said he has been trying to find one for a long time but he always got rejected due to his age, according to him, he is 65 years old. He said once a person reaches 55, it's very difficult to find a job in Singapore. I nod in agreement.

Next I asked about his children, he knew exactly why I asked so he told me he have two sons, one is 39 years old, unmarried and trying to find a job, the other is married and earning about S$1200 a month. The old man is staying with this married son and he said he doesn't wish to add to the financial burden so he didn't ask for any money from this working son.

I then asked why didn't he ask government for help, he said he tried CDAC and they helped him by giving S$100 or S$200+ a month and they told him to find a job. Then I asked if he was aware of the GST rebate that our government is giving out and he said he is aware but he has to wait until next month before he can receive it. Then I asked him about his cigarette he immediately said he got it from a guy earlier on, then he asked me for a cigarette and I showed him my hand-rolled stuff and he didn't want it.

But all the while he was smiling, I don't like giving strangers money but since we talked a bit, we aren't that far apart so I gave him S$2. He thanked me and said when he gets his CPF money next month, at this moment I stopped him and said keep it and spend wisely, don't spend it on cigarettes and liquor, then I left for work.

5000 Singapore Dollars for Investing Plus S$100 a Month?

Source

Why not, I started with exactly S$5000 in November 2012, right now, I have put in S$12735.40 in capital, current return is 3.89%, and it's not even a year, no matter how you look at it, it's still better than leaving it in the bank or buying some stupid investment-linked insurance policy.

If you read the forum posts, look at this part posted by this Dividends Warrior,

Never mix investment with insurance.

Investment is investment.

Insurance is insurance.

My advise. Invest in REITs. With $5000, you can buy:

- 3 lots of Mapletree Industrial Trust (6.6% yield)
or
- 4 lots of First REIT (5.2% yield)
or
- 5 lots of Starhill Global REIT (5% yield)


The red part is the key, most people who signed up for investment-linked insurance ended regretting it, but of course it all depends on how much you think is regrettable, after all everybody has varying levels of risk tolerance.

I remember long time ago, NTUC offered me such a plan, they said I can get up to 3.75% return, let me repeat, I can get up to 3.75% return, get it? The key part is up to, it's not guaranteed and according to my friends who have such a plan, usually they get less than 3% per annum. I remember only about 1.x% is guaranteed, so actually it's not so bad, like I said, it all depends on your risk appetite.

But if you compare that kind of return to our inflation rate, it's quite bad, but still, it's better than leaving it in the bank.

If you follow my blog, you'll know I don't own any life insurance, I'm currently insured with NTUC, it's a term plan, pure protection, it's cheap and good, if shit happens to me, my wife can get S$150000, and I pay about S$50++ a month, reasonable price for peace of mind.

Actually life insurance is not that bad, you get investment returns and you get protection, sounds like a good deal, but the problem is, too much of your cash will be locked away earning way lower than potentially possible.

Like Dividends Warrior suggested, with S$5000, you really can buy a few lots of REITS, these are high yield stocks, you don't have to care too much, of course don't just jump in without looking but once you buy, you can leave it there and collect money once every few months, most REITs pay dividends quarterly.

15 July 2013

Kurt Tay Spent S$4000 on Breast Enlargement... What?!?

Source

Actually I didn't know about him until I saw that video of him singing "Nong Nong Ago" in Singapore Idol audition, and that was a few months back.


Anyway I thought he was a gutsy person, maybe with more practice he could do better, but I think the problem is his tongue, seems to be hindering his pronunciation, that aside, he's got the guts to go on TV with that standard, no serious, if it was me, I don't think I would even dare to sing to myself, not to mention in front of the nation, singing 0/5, guts 5/5.

This news of him going for the breast augmentation was shocking, I saw his YouTube videos yesterday and I thought it was all a joke, you know, like Steven Lim, he can get crazy sometimes but at the end of each video, I know it's just a show for entertainment, but this boob job, and the news, it's all real, the boob job in Bangkok, C-cup some more... It's beyond comprehension. I wonder what Steven Lim has to say about this.

According to the news report, Kurt is said to be a guy who wants to have boobs, he wants to get married eventually, so that means he is straight, now that's the mind-boggling part, why would a straight man want to have boobs??? Boobs are a feminine feature, in my whole life, other than obese guys, trannys, I have never ever seen a man-looking person with boobs, C-cup boobs, WTF.

Or maybe I'm a frog in the well, somebody enlighten me please, and I'm seriously interested to hear more from Kurt himself, I bet it takes unimaginable courage to do it.

14 July 2013

Bride Questioned Guest for Giving S$100 Ang Bao

Source

"Last weekend I attended a wedding of a not-close friend with my boyfriend and as a gift we gave $100 cash. This was generous considering my financial situation. I just finished university with $40,000 in student loans, and have only found part time (12-18 hrs per week) minimum wage work. I gave as much as I could and attended to show my support.

"Today I received a rude and condescending message from the bride via Facebook messenger:

"'Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike's and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well. As I know you both live together and work, so I did not see any reason for that amount, when it comes to your wedding hopefully you'll know what I mean. I hope for the best as from what we receive is what we will give back. Anyways, good luck on everything." [all sic]'

"It's infuriating that she had the nerve to make assumptions about my finances, and assume that I or my boyfriend had an extra $400 lying around.

"Those $100 were hard-earned and she didn't show an ounce of gratitude for what she did receive. That money didn't grow on a tree.

"If she had a minimum gift requirement, she should have specified it...or asked everyone for income statements before inviting them."


How tragic when wedding is all about the money...

This reminds me that I'm invited to my long time friend's wedding, it's at a really nice hotel, one table costs about S$1500 and that makes S$150 per pax. They invited 35 tables and they would need every single seat to give S$150 ang bao so that they can break-even. Actually, he invited me, my wife and my parents, my wife and mother are both unemployed and my father is at the low income group and as for me, I'm doing okay but I'm trying to save as much as possible for my wife's pregnancy.

My parents are planning to give S$75 each, I'm thinking whether I should top it up and bring the total amount to 600, or at least 588, which looks nicer so my friend won't lose face with the girl's family. 588 - 150 means I have to top up 438... which is a big deal to me. I'm happy for my friend, he finally got married but his wedding is giving me a headache... Sigh. I think it would be okay if he only invited me, I think I can afford S$150 if I go alone, or maybe S$300 max if I go with my wife, but his parents know my parents for a long time as well, so they invited my parents too.

Sigh.

Money Stolen from DBS Bank Account Via PayPal

Source

Based on her article, Chanise seems to be holding on to a Debit Card from DBS and she has an iBanking account so there should be Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for any transaction made. But the problem is that for transaction made through PayPal, there isn't any 2FA. Anybody can add a new debit/credit card in PayPal and start using it for payment. You may argue that there is a sending limit if the PayPal account is unverified, that's true, but confirming your debit/credit card in PayPal is not the only way to get verified; you can also add a bank account to get verified status hence removing all limits.

And also for the limit, according to this FAQ, the sending limit (buying limit) for unverified account is USD2000,

PayPal Send Limit USD2000

That means an attacker can steal up to USD2000 before hitting the limit.

So what exactly happened in Chanise case?

Hence I rushed back home immediately to login to my ibanking account and found out that there were 2 pending transactions made to AirAsia of amount $797.79 and PayPal $1 without my knowledge.

The PayPal $1 is USD1.00 charged by PayPal, in her case, it should be for adding Chanise's debit card to the attacker's account. This is just a card validity check on PayPal's part to make sure the card added is valid.

USD1.00 PayPal Card Validity Check

Actually I did a test since I have recently changed my debit card and I haven't updated into my PayPal account, so let's see whether what I'm saying is correct. I removed my old card from PayPal so now you'll see only one card and that is my new card.

Added my new debit card

As you can see, there is a Confirm My Card link under Action, I added but I didn't confirm it because there is no need to since my account is still Verified. I still have my bank account linked to my PayPal, no change to that.


My PayPal is linked to my bank account

My PayPal is still verified


This proves that I can maintain verified status with just a bank account. And by adding my new card, all I did receive was an SMS saying,

The 1st txn on your DBS Card ending XXXX was USD1.00, PAYPAL XXXXXXXXXX SGP on 14 JUL 14:30 SG time. If you did not use the card, pls call +65 6327 2265.

Next thing I did was check my iBanking account,

PayPay charged USD1.00 to my debit card

This proves that PayPal is allowed to make charges to my debit card without 2FA i.e. without Chanise's control. And if I'm the attacker, I can now officially make payment using Chanise's debit card since in PayPal's view, the card is valid and ready for use.

This is a major loophole and I can understand why people are losing confidence, I think DBS should make it compulsory to have 2FA for any transactions charged to cards, be it debit or credit cards, it really puzzles me why transactions from PayPal can go through without the user's control, it really defeats the purpose of 2FA.

What we can do to protect ourselves is this, from what I know, PayPal only allows one debit or credit card to one PayPal account, that means if you link your debit or credit card to your PayPal account, an attacker won't be able to link and abuse it, but provided you have a PayPal account.

As for the charges for card linkage, it's actually free, PayPal will charge USD1.00 (validation) and SGD3.00 (card confirmation code) for the linking, it will be charged to your debit or credit card, the USD1.00 will be removed in a few days depending on the bank and the money will go back to your bank account, and the SGD3.00 will be refunded to your PayPal account within 24 hours.

Oh by the way, I have confirmed my debit card, so if you have a PayPal account, please do the same for your own safety, as for people who don't have a PayPal account, try not to keep too much money in the bank and make sure you log in to iBanking daily to check.

13 July 2013

What a Despicable Human Trash

Source
  1. http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Crime/Story/A1Story20130711-436456.html
  2. http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/stomp/sgseen/this_urban_jungle/1862492/man_accused_of_raping_16yearold_student_after_posing_as_cop.html
  3. http://therealsingapore.com/content/man-accused-raping-teen-says-girl-offered-him-sex-200


I'm not talking about the 20 year old boyfriend, I'm talking about this guy who posed as a police officer and raped a 16 year old girl. Remember this name Sivakumar Selvarajah and remember this face.

Sivakumar Selvarajah the Stupid and Despicable

You might think that I'm only reading one side of the story but if you read the 3rd link, you will realize why I'm angry.

At the last few paragraphs,

He (Sivakumar) then approached the car with the girl and her boyfriend because he saw something being thrown out of the rear window. He told the boyfriend to step out of the car to ask him about the litter. He also asked the couple for their identity cards and where they lived. When he caught the girl out for lying about where she lived, he became concerned whether her parents knew of her whereabouts, he said.

The girl kept mum when he asked for her parents’ phone numbers. But she volunteered to let him drive her home, and the boyfriend agreed to it, he told the court. During the journey, he accepted her offer to have sex with him for $200, he claimed. He said she chose the spot and directed him there.

But he stopped having sex with her after a while because he felt uncomfortable as the environment was too “open”. He handed her $50 as he did not have enough cash, he claimed. This made her unhappy, he said.

When the DPP asked how he went from being concerned about her welfare to agreeing to have sex with her, Sivakumar replied that he knew it was wrong but could not resist as she had asked in a “seductive” way.


What a f*cking stupid liar and rapist, I hope he gets the maximum sentence.

12 July 2013

Why Do Singaporeans Have to Fear That Their Foreign Spouse Might Not Be Able to Stay?

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately, there are thousands of LTVP applications rejected yearly and our fear is not without reason, and from what I know, it's usually because of income, but how much is enough?

Just think about this, if the foreign spouse is not able to stay in Singapore and has to stay in his/her homeland, I think it really puts a strain on their relationship and it also puts a strain to both of them financially as they have to travel in order to be together.

But in the first place, if it's due to income, then why allow them to marry? Why let them marry and then break them up? If stopping them from marriage is a violation of human rights, then how about stopping a married couple from being together?

It's not as if the foreign spouse cannot find employment in Singapore to increase their household income.

And foreigners with high salary can easily get a PR, but Singaporeans with low income have to be afraid.

10 July 2013

Just Upgraded My Starhub Internet Connection to 100Mbps

And it's blazing fast, so fast that I don't feel anything, getting used to the speed already. My last connection was their obsolete 50Mbps plan and that one is already extremely fast. Anyway I upgraded because they got a hubber promotion which is overall about S$15 cheaper than my existing hubber promotion, and my contract is ending this month. It's cheaper and faster!



09 July 2013

Gordon Ramsay Can Cook Singapore Chilli Crab (LOL)

Source

He is not just "can cook", his chilli crab even beat a dish from our local Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, now that's quite a feat. But for him to cook a local dish, and a spicy one, that's unimaginable, I always thought westerners cannot eat spicy food, not to mention cooking spicy food, he changed my mind.

07 July 2013

Save and Invest is Not, and Should Not be Limited to Rich Singaporeans

Source

Everybody should save and invest, not just the rich, and one has to balance earning, spending, saving and investing in order to survive the ever-rising prices in Singapore. Most people around me take it easy, but it's because they are still single but once they get married and have children, the weight of inflation will land hard on their shoulders.

I think most people should be doing fine with the earning part, be it through employed or self-employed, it's just a matter of how much each person earns but that's another topic. The most crucial part is spending, some people simply cannot get out of debt because they spend more than they can earn.

The rule is very simple, if you have the money, buy it, or else, forget it. I know purchasing with installment plans sounds like a good idea, but provided the interest rate is 0%, anything higher you might as well just save the money and buy later. Why pay more to buy now when you can pay less if you buy later, especially when most products have a cheapening trend, look at LED TV prices, they came out with a bang, see how cheap they are now.

What if your cash is limited and you have a lot of things that you need to buy? Prioritize. I'm sure a refrigerator is more useful than a TV. I'm sure a washing machine is more useful than a coffee table. List it down and then prioritize all the items.

So you see, if you are going to spend more than you earn, it doesn't matter how much you earn, you'll still be in debt.

Some people ask, "how to save", saving money is easy, actually it's the leftover of your earnings minus your spending, the really tough part is managing your spending.

Savings = Earnings - Spending

06 July 2013

Damn, Got the Notice to Pay Income Tax

I thought I don't have to pay for this year and to my horror, I received a letter from IRAS telling me to pay up by Aug, shit, it's slightly over S$300 even after a 30% discount. And while panicking, I checked my payment notice for last year and realized that I received the notice also in Jul, I must have confused and led myself into believing that I don't have to pay...

That part where they say, "Thank you for your contribution towards nation building", really annoying, collect money then thank me, I serve NS never thank me, oh wait, they gave me an S$80 Safra Voucher and a Safra Membership card that I will probably never use, hahaha... life sucks huh.

Google Chrome Still Freezes On a Daily Basis

I made a post saying that it was fixed but actually it still happens every day after I applied the fix, just that I didn't really test it out thoroughly and I got so fed up that I switched to Firefox. To be honest, Firefox just isn't as fast as Chrome, the speed difference and smoothness are miles apart. The other problem with Firefox is the screen tearing, it's very obvious when scrolling long pages, not a big problem but it bugs me sometimes.

So recently I did a clean re-installation of my Windows 7 64-bit, just wanted to start anew, clear away the junk, and I thought it was a good time to go back to using Chrome,  I thought the freezing would be gone since everything is new, but to my disappointment, it still happens. I'm using Windows 7 32-bit at work, and it runs perfectly, no problem at all and it struck me that the problem could have something to do with my 64-bit OS, so I did a search based on that and found this.

Those guys were having similar problem in Windows 7 64-bit and this Mike4120 poster had a fix,

Mike4120 Mar 27, 2013 at 12:39 AM
It's been driving me mad too!

I found one fix that seems to work for me (at least so far) - try opening chrome:flags and disabling GPU-composting and Threaded composting

Just to clarify, it's GPU compositing and Threaded compositing.


I just applied the fix, I hope it works.

Update: Unfortunately, this does not work as well... that's it, bye bye Google Chrome.

05 July 2013

Useful Information Before Applying for Long-Term Visit Pass


Summary

Number of marriages between Singapore citizen and foreigner is increasing.

Factors considered when applying for Long-Term Visit Pass, Permanent Residency and Citizenship:
  • Sponsor's occupation.
  • Sponsor's income.
  • Foreign Spouse's education level; degree holders have better chance.
  • Children.
  • Good conduct.
  • Ability to contribute to society.
Those who earn below S$1500 a month (referring to sponsor) usually have a harder time to get their application approved.


Summary

A 34 years old Singaporean man Mr. Leo, managed to obtain PR for his wife from China in less than one year after their marriage in Nov 2011, but he has not forgotten about his fellow Singaporeans with foreign spouse, following was what he said:

If the couple is truly in love, really married, they should let them (foreign spouse) come, rather than send one overseas, every month have to go there or what, it's very tiring, yeah, in the end we also will move over there, we also will give up Singapore citizenship.


Summary

Mr. Kang has been trying for 3 years to apply PR for his wife from China but has been unsuccessful, and their application for Long-Term Visit Pass wasn't easy, it took them more than 5 tries and they finally got it after appealing to Hougang MP Desmond Choo. Mr. Kang hopes for more transparency in the criteria for LTVP application and reasons for rejection.

My Thoughts

I agree with Mr. Kang about the part where ICA should be more transparent with the application criteria and reasons for rejection, but not just for LTVP, for all applications, at least specify clearly why the application was rejected so people can work towards meeting their criteria, don't give half-assed replies or omit the reason for rejection. Imagine taking an exam and the teacher fails you without telling you why, yeah, it's that stupid, and imagine going home and telling your mom that you failed and you have no idea why, it just doesn't even make sense.

I remember the time when they rejected my wife's application for PR, it took them 6 months to reply via a mail, and all they said was something like this, "Sorry we have carefully considered your application for PR but it's rejected.", I bet they must have been really careful, it took them 6 months of careful consideration to send out the rejection letter with no reason, and the letter including the header and footer is probably no more than 100 words. I can tell you I was damn pissed off.

03 July 2013

Mob Bullying a MacDonald's Employee Over Hello Kitty

Source

Based on what I understand from the video, seems like those men and a girl were offered 2 soft toys instead of 4 per person, they also claimed that they queued overnight, so? Does that give them the right to talk down to another person? Furthermore, that lady is merely an employee, she's just working for the company i.e. McDonald's, if they are not happy with the offer, and if they feel that they are not getting the justice that they think they deserved, they could always bring it up to McDonald's HQ, it's just an email or phone call away, what's the point of making things difficult for the employee?

Nobody forced them to queue overnight for some stupid soft toys, these idiots don't deserve anything, they are a disgrace, they even have the cheek to threaten to bring in the media, what are they going to show? Show the nation or maybe even show the world how stupid and ugly Singaporeans are? These losers should just stay out of sight so they can stop embarrassing our nation.

And even if McDonald's decided to limit 2 soft toys per customer, it's up to them, it's their company, it's their policy, take it or leave it or bring it up, it's that simple, no use yelling and screaming at someone who was just following a directive. And I don't see McDonald's guaranteeing that every customer will get 4 per person.

I'm also very sure that our 150 policemen have better things to do than to go down there and waste their time with a bunch of losers.

One guy said this, "We are paying customers you know, you settle the issue with us before you carry on", so what else is there to settle? The lady made it clear since the beginning, 2 per person, period. He choose to queue overnight, he set his expectation at getting 4 soft toys even though McDonald's clearly meant that one person may get up to 4. So she will go when she wish, who is this guy to restrict her, a man saying that to a woman, what a loser.