29 November 2013

LTVP Approval Took Less Than 3 Weeks

I submitted my wife's LTVP renewal on 10 Nov 2013, today 29 Nov 2013, she received the In-Principle Approval, nowadays ICA is really efficient, the first few times it took 4-6 weeks. Now I'm wondering whether she's getting the normal LTVP or the LTVP+, they didn't indicate anywhere, only show Type: Long Term Visit Pass (Renewal), but whatever, still can't buy BTO even if she gets LTVP+, perhaps the only benefit is lower consultation and medication charges when she visits polyclinic to get her Warfarin, and I'm not going to let her see the doctor here if she is pregnant again, even with subsidy, the healthcare charges here is ridiculous, might as well fly her to Thailand, it's way cheaper there.

Update: I just remembered one of my visitors mentioned that the time when we will know whether we are getting LTVP or LTVP+ is during the completion of formalities, can refer to following:

Link to the post with following comment

Contributed by richelle

Thanks richelle, good to have people willing to share their experience to help many others.

And I also just noticed that nobody replied to Mr Rahman:

Mr Rahman

If anyone can help, you can post in the comment section here, not sure if he will see it but I'm sure it will help many others, I can't advise because my wife haven't got her LTVP+, wish me luck.

27 November 2013

Panzar is Now Available on Steam

Steam

This game looks really nice, it's free to play, going to try!


26 November 2013

Looking Forward to Year End Bonus Next Month

I wonder how much I can get, last year I got 1 month which is normal, after that I remember reading somewhere that the amount is not fixed, and better performing employees will have a chance at a higher payout. Looking back, my performance is considered decent for this year, I hope I can get more, maybe 1.1 or 1.2 months is also not bad, even 1.05 months is better than 1, anyway I'm trying to save up more money for next year's Thailand trip to my wife's hometown, most probably my parents will want to go too, and confirm I'll be paying so yeah, more is better.

24 November 2013

Dishonest Wonton Mee Seller

I don't really mind bad attitude because I know they were very busy, I mean from the looks of the woman taking orders, it was very obvious, she even yelled at me to quickly place my order, okay, so I quickly ordered two Wonton Mee, gave her my table number and went back to my seat.

It took quite a while but finally the noodles were sent to us, but I wasn't sure how much it all costed so I thought maybe it would be $3.50 per plate, so I gave her 4 pieces of $2 notes, she took it without saying anything and left, I thought she would return to give me my change. After a while I still don't see her coming back, so I went to the stall, then I realized that one Wonton Mee costs only $3, it was clearly written on a small board, so I asked that same woman about it, she showed an indifferent look, grabbed a $2 note and handed it to me without saying anything, I expected at least a "sorry".

And clearly she was aware that she collected extra, if I didn't go to her, she would just keep quiet and keep the money.

Bad attitude plus dishonesty, not good for running a business, never going back again. The stall is at Tampines Street 81 Block 826, "826 Wan Tan Mee". The taste is okay, but I hate it when people are dishonest.

22 November 2013

SMRT Going to Increase Fares

Source

As "predicted" (it's obvious to everyone anyway), SMRT is going to increase fares to bring in more profit, that's very much expected since they will be increasing bus drivers' salary and that means more "operating expenses". This year seems to be a bad year for them, Jan-Mar, they made a loss of $12.049 million, Apr-Jun, profit was $16.328 million, but down 55.2% from same period in 2012, Jul-Sep, profit was $14.304 million, down 57.1% from same period in 2012, for their coming Oct-Dec report, I think should also be "no eyes see".

From a social point of view, increasing bus drivers' salary is a good thing, you increase their spending power which will also improve their quality of life, but from a financial perspective, this is not good for the company which is already struggling with incredibly high "operating expenses". But then again, to provide better services, spending more on staffing is necessary, this also helps to provide more jobs for the country which is also a good thing as a whole. I can only say too bad for investors, no more high dividend yield.

I don't mind them increasing the fares as long as they keep it reasonable, I think most likely both bus and MRT fares will increase, but I wonder what the future holds for this company, if you ask me, I think it is dying slowly but surely at this rate, and the only thing that can keep them afloat is to keep on increasing fares, or cut costs, not easy to be the CEO at this time, but actually not easy to be the CEO of a public service company, you will always be in a dilemma, on one hand you have to bring quality and affordable service to the public, on the other hand you have to answer to investors and major shareholders, damn headache.

21 November 2013

Volvo Trucks - The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test 6)

Van Damme. Split. Epic.


Fellow NSman Suffered Cardiac Arrest after IPPT Run

Source

Hope he is okay, also hope he passed, and no point giving his life away for a stupid IPPT. I think this kind of incident happened quite a few times already, if I remember correctly, seems like every one of them did not have existing or prior medical condition, their heart suddenly stopped working. I also came across the following article saying that signs of such attacks will come weeks before.

Signs of 'sudden' cardiac death may come weeks before

These few days I feel my left chest cramping a bit, is this a sign? Actually this is not the first time I have this issue, it is because I exercise lesser nowadays, so once I start working out often, the cramping will go away, I do make sure I go for a 3KM run every Saturday without fail, even so, every time I read this kind of news it still scares me a bit, I should really start working out now, since my wife came back, been slacking too much, eating too much good food.

Everyone take care, holiday season soon.

20 November 2013

Documentary About the Struggles of Degree Graduates in China

These people are well educated and yet they have so much difficulty finding work in their homeland, I wonder how they will survive, even if they can find work, the salary is so low that it hardly compensates their living expenses. I think graduates in Singapore are still much more fortunate, most can find work within 6 months after graduation, and our salary is more than enough for most people as most of us can choose to live with parents, but for these Chinese graduates, they have to travel to the city to find work and rent a place, not easy with such a low salary.


18 November 2013

How to Tell Which Stocks Can Be Bought with CPF?

In order to invest in stocks with your CPF, you need a CPF Investment Account, but not all stocks can be bought with this account, only those which are CPF approved i.e. those which falls under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). So which ones?

Go to sgx.com, move your mouse to Company Disclosure and click on Stock / Indices List.

SGX.com Stock / Indices List

So for example you are looking for Lippo Malls, then just click L at the Alphabetical CPF, and there you go, Y means you can invest with CPF, N means you can't.

List of CPFIS stocks

16 November 2013

Starhub Annual Handset Upgrade

Today went to re-contract my wife's mobile line using the annual handset upgrade offer extended to Starhub Hub Club members, and got this cool looking Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 for S$129 with the Power Value 100 plan.

Front View

Back View

We were looking at S4 and the likes but it is too expensive, this is like a cheaper version of the S4, not bad though, very nice screen.

15 November 2013

Some People are Overly Worried about Brokerage Fees

The first time when I bought my first stock, I was also thinking too much about the fees, worried it might eat into my profits or cause me to lose more money, after a while, I realized that the charges can be negligible. Every of my buy or sell trades so far costed me around $20 to $30+, and lucky for me, I mostly see profit, and the earning more than makes up for the cost, I think I am doing okay so far, overall I haven't lost any money, yet.

What I'm saying is, stock pick and going in at the right time is far more important than that $20 to $30, but of course it doesn't hurt to find a cheaper broker. I know Standard Chartered Bank offers lower charges because they do not have a minimum commission, but well, I won't worry about that.

Recently read about a guy who have been losing money in stocks, he said he mainly buy because others are buying, sell because others are selling, no wonder he is losing money, following the crowd is a big mistake, if you follow the right crowd, you could end up with more money, but usually the right crowd are the big players, you won't ever get near enough to know what they are planning next, it's better to not do anything when not sure than to follow the crowd, like people in forums, or blogs, usually they tell you to buy because they are invested in that stock, sell because they are waiting to buy or they are shorting it, it's always advise to their benefit, so don't read into it too much, make your own judgement.

If you are really not sure, no idea what to buy, no time to research and form your own judgement, it's better to stay away from the stock market, put that money in some endowment plan, or top up your CPF, rather than losing it for no good cause. Be safe.

Bought 7 Lots of Cache at S$1.16

Previously bought 12 lots with CPF at S$1.165, today bought another 7 lots at S$1.16, wonder why it went down, just a while back, after they gave out the dividends, it shot up to S$1.20, maybe some people were shorting it? Don't know, but this stock looks promising to me, high dividend yield at 7%+, mainly local industrial parks with one other chemical warehouse in China. If the price don't go too high enough to tempt me into selling it, I might just hold on to it for a while.

12 November 2013

Created a New Blogsite to Provide Free IT Advise

In my years of being in the IT line, I have seen many non-tech savvy people, from clerks to directors, nurses to doctors, teachers to principals, they may be really good in their domain, but once they are outside of their comfort zone, technology can be quite intimidating to them.

Actually technology doesn't have to be so scary if there is someone who is willing to answer whatever questions these people may have, and technology is meant to assist, not to hinder. And knowledge should be free whenever possible. So I created a simple site where these people can ask whatever they have in their mind, I hope my little knowledge and experience can help some people. You can click the following link to get there.

IT Advise Singapore

11 November 2013

Some People are Revealing too Much on Facebook

I have come across some Facebook profiles where people display a lot of their personal information such contact number, email and residential addresses, working place, job position and etc etc, personally I think unless if you are a public figure, I think it's quite okay to reveal your work place and job position, anything else may be too much.

For someone like me who is just another ordinary Singaporean, I feel that it's better to keep those information to myself, unless some long lost friend needs to contact me, they can always drop me a message, but I really feel like deleting my Facebook account since I hardly use it, I really don't find it fun at all and I have no idea why so many people can get stuck on it at work, on the train, while eating, during gathering, anywhere, anytime, even while walking! It's ridiculous.

Anyway back to the topic, what I'm saying is people should try to reduce their "internet footprints", don't leave personally identifiable information online, when you leave that kind of information for public eyes to see, who knows what will happen when somebody decides to abuse it, at the very least, set it so that only friends can see it, but I think that is also quite dangerous. In my friends list, there are a couple of strangers, and I have absolutely no idea how they ended up becoming my friends, I don't if it's a bug or some crazy feature, but one thing is for sure, they are friends of my friends, maybe it's some sort of feature, but hypothetically speaking, all the bad person needs to do is to either be your friend, or be your friend's friend.

10 November 2013

LTVP/PR - Particulars of Applicant's Parents and Children by The Present Marriage

When you are filling up the form for LTVP or PR application, you will see this section, I always thought because it says "by the present marriage", it means since my wife is married to me, so her parents by the present marriage should be my parents, boy was I wrong, the correct reference should be my wife's parents, not my parents!

I confirmed this when I submitted my wife's PR application last month, the officer who attended to us told me very clearly that I should fill in the details of my wife's biological parents, not my parents, and I realized I have been filling in the wrong info all along! Actually when we tried to apply PR for the first time, the officer did tell me that it was wrong, but I asked since that section was referring to my wife's parents, then why put "by the present marriage" behind, I don't remember getting an answer from her and she accepted the application anyway, I hope they didn't reject the PR application because I put the wrong parents...

09 November 2013

Singapore to Block Ashley Madison

Source

The block has been implemented, at least for Starhub internet users, I can't access the site,

ashleymadison.sg blocked

Yesterday I managed to view the page on my office computer though, I think we are using Singtel internet, but no problem, that can be easily bypassed using a proxy server such as ninjacloak.com,

ninjacloak.com

ashleymadison.sg

In the name of internet freedom, I don't think our government should block the website, there are plenty of other adult friend finding websites available such as adultfriendfinder.com, idateasia.com, thailovelinks.com, the list just goes on and on. I know Ashley Madison is different, they are more aggressive with their marketing, maybe we should simply limit the amount of marketing they can do rather than block them? I'm not their supporter but I really don't think our government should block this block that, it's so annoying, and it's not as if blocking this one website will decrease the number of divorce cases caused by infidelity, if the spouse is meant to cheat, he/she is meant to cheat, do they really think blocking one website will make it less likely to happen? They might as well make it illegal to cheat on spouse, I think that would be far more effective.

Another thing comes to mind, porn sites, over the years, this MDA has blocked so many of my favourite porn streaming sites, I had to experiment with several proxy servers but the experience is mostly terrible, I have yet to find a decent proxy that can run it all, ninjacloak.com is decent, but it won't run the videos on most of my favourite sites. These are all adult content meant for adults obviously, so if they don't want kids to have access to these content, it's up to the parents to ensure, our ISPs provide safe surf services, the parents can utilize the service to filter off unwanted content for their children, there's really no need to block everything, depriving every resident of our rights to porn, so annoying, we are not children, please. And it's not as if we don't have alternatives, porn is ALWAYS available as long as you are on the internet, you can't block it all.

08 November 2013

What's Up with the Hijab?

Today while surfing the net, I saw a lot of articles on Hijab, I don't quite understand the story, I didn't even know what Hijab was until I Googled it. So how did the whole saga start? How come our government suddenly took interest in this? I thought Muslim women have been wearing the Hijab for a long time? What's going on? Government don't allow them to wear anymore? Curious, there's just too many articles on it for me to ignore, I wonder what's going on.

SMRT Bus Captains Can Earn Up to S$3500 a Month

Source

I think S$3500 a month is more for experienced drivers, for new drivers probably will be lower because the new salary scheme is a progressive model, something like grading, higher grading higher salary, and of course higher grading means more experienced, and I think new drivers will surely start at the bottom of the hierarchy, so I don't think S$3500 a month applies to every of their drivers, furthermore, this amount is inclusive of overtime pay, allowance and incentives, which technically makes it even more unlikely for every driver to earn that amount.

Of course I think it's a good thing for Singaporean bus captains to be able to bring home more money, it will also help to retain and attract more local drivers, with higher salary and a progressive career model, I think it's appealing even to younger people, so overall the idea sounds good. But I'm wondering where will all the money come from? I'm sure we will be expecting a fare hike announcement in the very near future, I don't really mind paying a bit more for bus fares, just don't increase the MRT fares, bus and MRT are two different things, increasing bus captains' salary doesn't make it okay to increase BOTH bus and MRT fares. Let's see.

07 November 2013

On Standby Thanks to Anonymous

Today my boss informed me that I will be on standby in case Anonymous decides to do something funny, great, now I have to be on mobile phone standby, anything happens I may be activated to go check our server stuff, damn, why me, there's like two other guys who can do it too and these days I'm quite busy with a new system implementation and production support for another system, I sure hope nothing spectacular happen, or even if something does happen, better not be our system!

I find it quite amusing that one video can cause everyone to be on high alert, we don't even know whether the video is real or prank, but better to be safe than sorry I know. The person or group who produced it sure have a lot of guts to issue a threat to our government, I think here in Singapore, we have incredibly strict laws, this kind of threat will be taken very seriously, see even our PM is getting serious,

"Our IT (information technology) network, the Internet, our communications have become an essential part of our business and our lives now. And, therefore, when somebody threatens to do harm to it... we take that very seriously and we will spare no effort to try and track down the culprits and if we can find him, we will bring him to justice and he will be dealt with severely." - PM Lee.

So now the big boss has given the word, they better not get caught, I bet the prosecutors will make it a point to dish out the maximum punishment, and we have the highly controversial Internal Security Act, who knows what our government will do with that. You can read about the threat transcript here.

"For every single time you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cost you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion." - Anonymous

That's no way to send a message, causing damage just to make a point? Please no. When our nation suffers a financial loss, whose money do you think that is? The people's money, all the GST, income tax, property tax, road tax, COE, ERP, all these money comes from the people, dealing the government a financial blow is the same as dealing us a financial blow, for most people, it's our hard-earned money, if Anonymous thinks that Singaporeans will be grateful, think again, maybe the kids here who have yet to join the workforce will cheer for you, but I for one will not be grateful, I would rather you stay away from us, let us deal with our own problem our own way, the complain way, the voting way.

05 November 2013

Woohoo! Tomorrow No Need to Work!

Last Saturday was Deepavali, for people like me working on a 5 days week, we get one day off in lieu, so I choose to clear it tomorrow. I'm still thinking of where I should bring my wife, should I bring her to eat BBQ at Chinatown or bring her to eat chicken rice and then go to Sheng Siong, hmm...

And these few days, it's all about the Anonymous threat, our company has ramped up cyber security, updating patches, installing new security solutions, getting people on standby, lucky I'm not in the IT security line, I'm just someone who implements business solutions, security is none of my business, we leave it to our security team.

And now I know why they choose 5th November, it was the day when Guy Fawkes was arrested for the Gunpowder Plot, and the Guy Fawkes Mask is the mask used by Anonymous in their videos. I wonder what they will do in Singapore, I sure hope they don't cause too much damage, just do their usual deface thing and that's it, if they hurt our economy, it's the same as hurting the citizens here because ultimately the money will still come from us, people won't thank Anonymous for it, instead people will be very angry. I'm fine with sending a message, just don't damage anything that costs money.

Well, at least the security guys here will get something to do, I think being in the security line in Singapore is quite boring, this Anonymous threat finally gives them something to work for. Those people I know working in the security line, what they do is they run penetration tests, submit report, repeat, do the same thing everywhere, it does get boring very fast, but actually who would bother to attack the systems here, maybe it does happen but always nothing a firewall can't handle.

03 November 2013

New Zinger Burgers from KFC

Tried the new Cheezy Zinger today, I bought the Ultimate Zinger Box at S$7.70, the service staff gave me a big piece of spicy chicken thigh, shiok! The burger itself is very simple, as the name suggests, just imagine eating Zinger with a slice of cheese, it's that simple, but not bad la. I think they forgot to put the cheese sauce for me, don't remember seeing the yellow cheese sauce, now then I realize!

New Zingers

I don't think I would try the Asam Pedas though, sounds like the sweet and sour type, don't really like sour stuff.

Time for Air Con Servicing Again

My father says the compressor unit is getting noisy, I also find that my fancoil unit is getting noisy, according to my mom, the last cleaning was done on 03 Jul, it is about 4 months now, Gain City service guys recommend to clean every few months if not it will be noisy.

Was thinking of trying those smaller cleaning companies but heard that my sister had a bad experience, I'm not sure which company but they broke her air con cover, don't know what cover, in the end that company had to pay for it since they broke it.

I think I'll stick to Gain City, cleaning-wise, I think they did a pretty good job so far, I'm not adventurous enough to try the service of another company. Their pricing went up a bit, now it's S$80 for 2 fancoil units.

If you are interested, you can check out their rates here.

IDA is Aware of the Anonymous Threat Video

Several SG government websites down since 1pm; IDA says it's planned maintenance
Government agencies on alert after hackers threaten attacks

Yesterday several government websites were down, not sure if it's related to the "hacker" group Anonymous, it's very likely for government sites to run their maintenance during weekends, also very likely during weekdays, but the crux is the timing, at 1.00pm? Nope, usually should be while users are sleeping, it just doesn't make sense to run maintenance when you know people are going to use it. Someone called it an attack, see following link.

Singapore Government Under Attack

I wonder if it's really an attack, from my experience, other than "hacking", systems do go down sometimes, faulty hardware, network slowness, application server cannot start up due to code error (happens when someone accidentally deployed problem code), there's a variety of possible causes, so it's hard to say. Just last week, one of the systems that we support went down for a whole day due to old and faulty hardware, that system is for public to access, so it was a big deal. And so far, Anonymous has not claim responsibility to this so-called "attack", so let's just wait and see.

And you might be wondering why I'm double quoting, Anonymous should be a Cracker group, not Hacker, there's a difference.

What are crackers and hackers?

Basically Hackers build things, Crackers break things, I think it's better for everyone to simply refer them as Anonymous, we have to respect true hackers like Tim Berners, Linus Torvalds, Steve Jobs, Richard Stallman and the list goes on and on, they are people who built things that are useful to this day, putting them together with people who break into systems is an injustice to them.

02 November 2013

Anonymous Threatens Singapore Government

Source

So something is going to happen on our tiny island? I wonder what will happen...



Full transcript from the video:

We are Anonymous and we believe that we have your undivided attention.

We also believe that you have had the pleasure of meeting our comrade The Messiah, who demonstrated what a single Anon could do to your so call technologically advanced island.
Now allow us to explain the objective of our recent invasions.

The secondary objective was to welcome you to the new rule where ignoring the issues of your citizens will not go ignored by Anonymous. We advise you to stop feigning ignorance and serve the people.

Any form of arrogant and ignorant statement from a person of position towards the people will not go ignored by Anonymous.

Have you forgotten who you work for? Traditionally the workers respect the boss. Let us stick to tradition.

But the primary objective of our invasion was to protest the implementation of the internet licensing framework by giving you a sneak peak of the state of your cyberspace if the ridiculous, communistic, oppressive and offensive framework gets implemented.

Did i mention the previous hacks was executed by a single
Anonymous member?

Now close your eyes and imagine a legion of Anonymous unleashed upon your tiny little island and infrastructures. It will be like dipping yourselves into a pool of piranhas.

We have faced much larger and more secured corporations such as the F.B.I & the NSA.

Do you think the I.D.A will be a problem for us?

After all, security is just an illusion against time and temporary ignorance.

So mark our words when we say that we Anonymous stand firm on our belief that no Government has the right to deprive their citizens the freedom of information.

No one has the right to tell an individual what he can or cannot read or write.

This is a basic fundamental of democracy and we will use everything in our resources to protect it at all cost.

We demand you reconsider the regulations of your framework or we will be forced to go to war with you. For every single time you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cost you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion. An intrusion your $130 million cyber security will not be able to stop.

After all how do you stop an idea?

You may be ambitious enough to try and stop us but remember, the people you are after are the people you depend on:

we cook your meals, we haul your trash, we teach your children, we pay your high salaries, we feed your families, we guard you while you sleep!

It is not wise to piss us off.

And finally we call upon our fellow Singaporean brothers and sisters to join our protest by dressing fully in black & red on the 5th of November to paint your streets with the colors that represent the current Singaporeans emotion.

We urge you to black out your FB profile picture for a day along with the status message:

I am a Singaporean and i had enough of being oppressed! I want my freedom back!!

Anonymous will be making a virtual protest by your side.

Let us demonstrate our frustrations in organized unseen unity that may live a thousand years. This action might not make a political change but it is the first step towards the mental conditioning needed to achieve our goals.

Remember, remember. The fifth of November.

We are anonymous, we are legion.
We do not forgive, we do not forget.
Expect Us!

(Editing by Josh Horwitz)

Smoking Linked to Health Benefits?!?

5 Health Benefits of Smoking
Years of Smoking Associated With Lower Parkinson's Risk, Not Number of Cigarettes Per Day

I feel enlightened, for my whole life, smoking has always been linked to numerous health problems like heart disease, lung cancer and etc, now the articles say that smokers have a lower chance of getting Parkinson's Disease, knee replacement, obesity and etc, so actually smoking isn't all bad, but I'm not saying everyone should start smoking, it's more of a hobby to me.

I'm a long time smoker, I have been smoking since I was 13, I used to smoke a pack of 20 sticks a day, nowadays I'm smoking a small packet of Storm King a day, it's a hand-roll type of tobacco, much cheaper than those boxed packs, costs me S$2.60 per packet, saves me a lot of money, of course not smoking saves me even more but it's really a negligible amount, some heavy smokers I have encountered smoked 2 packs of 20 sticks a day, Marlboro brand, I think it easily costed them more than S$600 a month!

The Bigger Your HDB Flat, The More Expensive It Gets

Let's look at the recent Punggol BTO exercise.

Punggol Sep 2013 Sales Exercise

We use the maximum Square Meters (SQM) and the maximum price, as you can see, the bigger your HDB flat in terms of rooms, the more expensive it gets per square meters, does that make any sense to you? Shouldn't they charge the same price for each square meters?

I don't know what's the logic behind that but it seems like you buy big you pay more, if I were to apply for BTO, I think I would probably buy a 2-room, cheaper to renovate, don't need to take a massive loan, probably only have to take about S$10,000 housing loan and that's it.

And I like the 2-room type 1, it's just nice for me and my wife, and if I have a child in the future, I think it's ok, we can sleep together, maybe when he/she gets older we can plan for a bigger flat, but that's a long way to go, or maybe my wife wants the child to live in Thailand, who knows, so really no point getting such a big flat and paying so much for it, and I hate taking loan.

HDB 2-room Type 1

Look at the floor plan, it's just so nice.

01 November 2013

Cambridge Industrial Trust Reported Good Results for 3Q2013

Source

DPU Up 3.9%

Actually not just DPU, everything went up compared to the same quarter last year, which looks good, that means the 10 lots that I bought the other day at S$0.68 was a good buy, and today they closed at S$0.70, last few days was hovering at the S$0.68 to S$0.685 range, yesterday suddenly shot up to S$0.705, I guess people like this stock, me too, mainly because they have many properties, 48 as of now, and everything else looks decent to me, no complain.