31 December 2013

Collected My Passport Today at ICA via iCollect

Recently I submitted a passport renewal because it is going to expire soon, they deducted $70 from my bank account after I dropped it into the collection box at ICA building.

A few days later, I checked online and found that it is ready for collection, I choose the iCollect mode, I think it is a new self-collect service and I set the collection date as today.

So I went to ICA level 1 eLobby, the iCollect section is very obvious, it's like a spaceship with two counters, quite futuristic looking. I went to the counter, there's nobody there, well, it's self-collect, so anyway I touched the screen to start the procedure, there were videos for each step telling me what to do, scan my NRIC, scan my thumbprint, scan my old passport, scan my face (facial verification), all done by myself, then it dispensed my new passport, it's like a vending machine! The whole process probably took less than 3 minutes, I think it's very efficient, impressive.

30 December 2013

Had a Bad Dream Last Weekend

Can't remember whether it was Friday or Saturday night, the dream was quite vivid and I still remember it now, it's strange because I never remember a dream for long after I wake up, I will probably forget everything within one or two hours.

In the dream, somehow my father passed away, I can't recall the cause of death but I saw my mother's face clearly, she looked a bit sad, she didn't talk, she was staring at something on my left side, and I was looking at her the whole time. Then I saw my father's face, he was lying down, his eyes were closed, lying on something peacefully. That's about it.

I think I remember it because it has something to do with my family, my dreams were usually stupid things like jumping up a building, and then down a building, or I'm running with someone or something chasing me, can't remember clearly but it was always the stupid crap, I rarely have good dreams, oh there's one where I dreamt that I strike it rich, and then I woke up and realize that I have to go to work, sigh.

I think it's just a stupid dream, never believe in the dream to reality crap.

28 December 2013

More Than 500 Staff Retrenched at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies

Source

Mainly they are shifting their hard disk manufacturing operations to Thailand, obviously because labour costs there are so much cheaper. I think they can easily hire a staff from 6000 to 7000 Bahts a month, which is around $230+ Singapore dollars.

Actually most companies have shifted some or most of their operations to emerging markets like China, Philippines and Thailand, of these 3, Philippines staff costs are the highest since they are a English speaking country, Thailand and China are the cheapest.

This has nothing to do with our economy, it's just because operating costs in Thailand are lower, and the company is taking that opportunity to maximize their profit, that's all. For those who were retrenched, I wish them the best, I hope the relevant ministry and union will do their best to assist these people.

Also to highlight that people working in the production line usually have a low monthly basic salary of between $1100 to $1600, and in order for them to earn more than their basic salary, they need to perform overtime work. I have a friend who used to serve in the army with me, I heard from him that his basic salary is around $1600, with overtime work, he can earn $3000 or more a month, but that's a lot of overtime work to do so it's not easy for him. The article mentioned that for those retrenched, the company will compensate them one month's basic salary for every year of service, it's really not much, so I really hope the ministry will help these people out.

26 December 2013

3 Young Girls Crush Puppy to Death!

Source

Video (contains graphic content, DO NOT let children watch it!)

Today I chanced upon this article about 3 girls stomping a puppy to death, I saw the video and was totally disgusted by their actions, it's shocking, why would they do that, it's so inhumane, I felt so angry at them, I watched the video without any sound because I was in office, but I think with the sound the effect would be far worse. I cannot imagine the kind of pain the puppy was in, I also cannot imagine what went on in the minds of those 3 girls, are they crazy or what. The video just keeps replaying in my head after I watched it, it's so traumatic.

As I read on, it's some sort of a crush fetish video, the girls are paid for performing the act, I cannot believe they were still smiling while committing the slaying of an innocent animal, I hope the authorities arrest these people and serve them a stiff sentence, this must be the tip of an iceberg since it's a paid act, some evil syndicate must be earning loads of money off these kind of videos, the Philippines authorities must stop them.

RIP Unknown Puppy.

25 December 2013

24 December 2013

3 Ways to Clean Aircon


1. General servicing

This is the cheapest but most ineffective way. One fancoil costs between $35-$50, the servicing company will usually give some discount if you clean more units. The problem with this method is the technician will simply remove the outermost cover and filter and use a vacuum cleaner to try to suck out the dirt, but it's really very ineffective, I would say they can only clean out at the most 5% of the dirt in your unit, or worse, not even 1%. If you don't believe me, after they clean it, you try opening up the unit and see for yourself, it will still be full of dirt and mold, and if you put your nose close to the area where the air comes out, you will smell something like dirty socks. And the worst part is aircon servicing companies will usually suggest you to at least do this cleaning once every 3 months, just imagine how much money you will be wasting, you might as well open it up and vacuum by yourself, it doesn't take more than 10 minutes to clean one unit, and the cover is not that difficult to open, not the mention the filter, I'm serious.

2. Chemical spray

I think this costs anywhere less than $100. For this way, they are using some sort of spray jet to clean the evaporator, I think this is fairly effective, it does clean out most of the dirt that can be seen by eyes but the problem is, it cannot clean blind spots, but it's still better than the useless general servicing, if you are on budget and still need to clean your unit, this is the way to go.

3. Chemical overhaul

This is the most effective, it costs between $150-$160, I see some companies offering $120, I would stick to the more reliable ones, money should not be an issue here, it's the ultimate cleaning, if you want to spend, might as well make sure you are getting the right people to do it. Anyway you are not going to do this very often, probably once in a year or maybe even two years. The reason why this is the most effective is they dismantle the whole unit, take out the evaporator and really clean the whole damn thing, and depending on the skill of the technician, this can reach 90% effectiveness or more. But better to get someone who knows your model to do it.

Just a disclaimer, the percentages shown in this article is by guessing, I'm not an expert in aircon but I do know general servicing is bullshit since I opened it up and saw for myself, what a terrible waste of my money.

23 December 2013

My Wife Renewed Her Passport at Singapore Thai Embassy

She took taxi back and fro (damn expensive, $23 to and $25 back!), the process seems to be very straightforward, print out one form, fill it up, bring along Thai ID card, passport, long term pass with a photocopy each and $58, submit and wait for 2-4 weeks (according to the official there). Their operating hours is a bit strange though, can only submit application from 9.15am to 11.30am, collection is only from 2.00pm to 3.00pm. For more details you can check out this link.

So if you are planning to travel, please remember to renew your passport before booking any air ticket!

22 December 2013

Someone Tried to Log In to My Battle.net Account

I just received an email from Blizzard saying that my account was locked due to a change in access pattern, I think somebody tried to log in to my account from another country, anyway I haven't been playing Diablo 3 for quite a while, even if somebody manage to log in, that thief will be shocked to see there's actually nothing much to steal haha, just 2 or 3 million gold, some shitty items and that's about it.

Anyway Diablo 3 gold price is super deflated, 50 million gold can only sell for $1.65 USD, I'll probably take 2 months to farm that amount if I spend 8 hours farming every day, that's so not worth it and not fun.

The game is so dead, I have no idea why anyone would buy its expansion, just a new class, new act, some new monsters, ultimately it'll be back to mindless farming, anyway I already earned back the $90 SGD I spent on buying this game, so it doesn't matter whether it sucks or not.

21 December 2013

Did Some Christmas Shopping Today

Went to Tampines Mall and Century Square, bought myself a leather belt for $19 (originally $59), 2 short sleeve shirts for $37.80 (at 20% discount) and a very durable looking shoes for $49 (also 20% discount), quite a good deal.

The guy selling shoes kept recommending me those $99-$100+ shoes but I told him I'm looking for durability since my shoes keep holing at the bottom, I'm a rough guy who can't walk slowly and gently so I need something strong enough to withstand the friction from my quick pace, or at least capable of lasting for more than 3 months, my shoes usually last maximum 3 months, by 2 months one hole will start to appear below the big toe area, 3 months onwards it will open mouth, those who experienced it will know what I'm saying.

My wife got herself a new bag for $69, original price I think was $89 or $99.

We also had a meal at Bali Thai, the food was alright but serving was small, my wife had steamed rice with beef fried with basil leaves and chilli ($8.80), I had pineapple rice with fried fish fillet ($11.80), they have this special pineapple dip for the fillet, it was quite tasty, bill including service charge and GST was $24.25, felt a bit hungry after that haha, still prefer hawker food, cheaper and filling.

And then we bought some stuff here and there, total we spent about $235 today, way below my budget ;)

20 December 2013

My Wife Got Her LTVP+

The whole process is exactly the same as LTVP, only difference is when completing formalities, they will say whether it's 1 year or 3 years, it's that simple. Well, 3 years is good, no need to keep renewing every year, can save some money. Oh and the card also looks exactly like LTVP, only difference is there is the word PLUS behind.

Next is PR, still waiting for the update, hope they approve it so I can apply BTO, sigh.

19 December 2013

STI Opened at 308X

Today was like a roller coaster ride, opened high and then closed low at 3070.23, not that low though, at least it's still 8.45 points higher than yesterday's 3061.78, so what will happen tomorrow? Let me guess, so far the tapering issue has been finalized, the Federal Reserve have already announced the cut back by $10 billion in January 2014, markets are very fragile, they tremble at the sign of any uncertainty, the announcement should give some needed assurance to investors, furthermore, interest rate would also remain the same, so the impact to the markets is minimized, but ultimately, it's still up to investors to decide whether they should invest in Singapore stocks, can only wait and see.

18 December 2013

My Aircon is Not Noisy Anymore!

So yesterday I did some cleaning of my own, and it worked damn well! To my surprise the noise is gone, no more stupid clicking noise in the middle of the night, I really had a peaceful night of rest, damn shiok, woke up this morning feeling refreshed like never before, almost don't feel like leaving my bed, I also felt that the air is cooler than before.

Now that I think of it, the noise could have come from poorly positioned fancoil unit, I really don't think the cleaning did the job, more like the adjustment and making sure everything is set tightly in place, I think that helped to minimize the vibration significantly and hence removing the noise completely, I don't know, that probably also helped to make it cooler, I guess?

17 December 2013

Now I Know How to Clean My Aircon

These few days the fancoil unit in my room was very noisy at night, there was a clicking sound and it was very obvious in the middle of the night, today I was so fed up that I unscrewed and opened up the damn thing, found that it's not that difficult to open, just 2 screws and pull out the casing from the top.

It was damn dirty, especially the bladed part, so much dust was and is still stuck in there, there's no way tissue or vacuum cleaner is going to do the job, unless it is a powerful vacuum cleaner, those strong enough to even suck in water, I can only try to wipe off and vacuum as much as possible, and finally, I still remember how to put it all back, now I have switched it on, I hope whatever that I did will get rid of the noise.

Anyway, for those of you wondering what those aircon cleaning guys do, for normal cleaning, what they do is bring along a vacuum cleaner and vacuum off the dust, that's it, I paid $80 to clean two units, and they didn't do a good job, it was still so dirty, might as well I do it myself and save the money.

Oh wait, at first I thought maybe I could do some chemical cleaning by myself, after watching this video, wow, seems like there's a lot of dismantling to do... very good video though.


16 December 2013

Bought Some Stocks Today

Today I managed to convince myself that STI is now at its lowest period, and it's time to stock up on some cheap bargains, it's like buying Christmas presents for myself ;)

But of course I didn't just convince myself without reading up, the US Federal Reserve will either continue their bond-buying program or reduce a bit, what I read is from $85 billion a month to $75 billion a month, $10 billion difference, actually it's just a fraction of their GDP, their GDP growth far exceeded $10 billion a month, I don't think it will have a huge impact, they can't keep printing money forever, they got to at least slow down their pace since their economy is improving, this tapering will come sooner or later, might as well come bit by bit, that's why they called it "tapering", it's meant to be gentle to everyone.

If you are wondering about the meeting, it starts tomorrow, can refer here, and it lasts until 18 Dec.

Anyway, I bought 2 more lots of Sheng Siong at $0.580, 2 more lots of CDL HTrust at $1.575 and 10 lots of LippoMalls at $0.400. Sheng Siong and CDL HTrust is more for averaging down since it's so low, overall with LippoMalls, it gives me a good yield for 2014.

Venture (V03) Closed at $7.75

As mentioned in earlier post on 06 Dec, when it drops to $7.50, it always have the tendency to go up again, I have seen this pattern a few times in recent months, today it actually closed at $7.75, unfortunately my cash was limited and Venture is one expensive counter so I didn't buy it, almost $200 easy money, that's why investing is also about having a deeper pocket, more cash means more bullets to expend, small-timers like me can only suck it up.

The other good thing about Venture is they pay a good amount of dividend, even at $7.75, the last payout also yielded 6.451%, better than the likes of SingTel and Starhub, but of course don't buy just for the dividend, buy if you believe in their business.

14 December 2013

Inflation Kicking In

KFC 3 pieces chicken meal is now $9.50, it was $8.80 or $8.95 about 2 weeks ago, western food chicken chop used to be $5, now $5.50, tailor-made pants used to be $88 for 3, now $130 for 2, things just keep getting expensive, the increment that I got for this year is just nice to cover the inflation; my increment was about 5%.

I think one good way to fight inflation is to try and save money whenever possible, spend only on necessities, save now for the future, some people might say I'm not going to bring all the money into my grave but I can always leave it to my loved ones.

13 December 2013

Potential Promotion Coming

Today my boss sent me an email and cc his boss, it was regarding a new project tender and he put me up for the team lead position, I was quite shocked because I'm supposed to do a tender presentation but I have no idea how that goes about, the other thing was that he is pushing me as team lead, wow, I don't know if I can take more responsibilities, but if my company increases my salary for that then I think it is still ok, who doesn't want more salary, but if they are going to give me more things to do without any pay increment, then it really sucks, then again, I still have to take it, I still like this job so far.

12 December 2013

STI Index at 3 Month Lowest

I think it's scheduled for a rebound, obviously, but the question is when? At current prices, a lot of stocks are very attractive, especially REITs, look at Sabana, its yield is 8.7%, even my CDL HTrust has broken the 7% mark. Also my Sheng Siong is now back to 5% yield.

I'm thinking of buying 2 more lots of Sheng Siong and 4 more lots of CDL HTrust, damn glad I didn't do so earlier this week because the prices have been going down, wonder what will happen tomorrow, there seems to be a sign of recovery at the end of today but it went down again, I think tomorrow will either stay flat or continue to plunge.

I'm also looking at SPH, today it closed at $3.96, anything below $4 is attractive to me because it has the potential to reach $4.20+, and the dividend is good at more than 6%.

Sigh, I only have about $8000, or maybe $8200 max, limited cash, limited choice.

11 December 2013

DBS Vickers CPF Investment Account Interest (Update)

In my last post, I mentioned that the monthly interest for the account was 0.0008%, which is wrong, I noticed that sometimes I get slightly more, then today I took a closer look at my investment account statement and found that they actually stated that the interest rate is 0.05% per annum, which comes to about 0.00416% per month, I think that made sense, I didn't verify though, it's like pieces here and there and would probably give me a headache doing so, anyway good to know they pay more!

09 December 2013

44 Years Since the Last Riot in Singapore

It's all over the news, riot in Singapore, wow, in Singapore, I bet everyone thought this will never ever happen (again) on this tiny dot, I did and it happened while I was at home watching The Fellowship of the Ring. So when was the last riot, according to this Wikipedia page, the last one was in 1969, and some people decided to break our decades of peace. They even set fire to a couple of vehicles, including a police car and an ambulance, but why the heck would they burn an ambulance? They must be out of their minds, well somehow I'm right, because according to news reports, the rioters were drunk and throwing beer bottles.

But the thing is, I don't really care what started the riot, what shocked me was that these people actually had the guts to do something like that here in Singapore, this is Singapore. Drunk or not, we have drunk people everyday but we don't see riots everyday, those who started the riot must be severely punished by handing them the maximum punishment possible and making sure they never have the chance to step into Singapore again, we don't need troublemakers.

I know it's not easy for them to come to Singapore, I may sound harsh but the law is the law, no one is above the law, they come here, they are expected to follow our laws, we are not talking about petty crimes, this event if not handled in a stern manner could send a wrong signal, let people think it's okay, then what happens in future, everyone will start rioting, look at other countries, protests and riots like nobody's business.

08 December 2013

This December is a Month of Sudden Rains and Cold Nights

I noticed that the rain nowadays comes so suddenly, last week me and my wife walked into the lift at our housing estate, the sky was clear with sunshine, and it was barely one minute after we reached our level, then it started to rain heavily.

Today we went for lunch, the sky looks clear, a bit dark but I didn't think it was going to rain because it rained last night, when we finished our lunch, it suddenly rained heavily, luckily we dined near where we live because we didn't bring an umbrella.

And the weather is getting colder, I haven't had a flu for a long time but yesterday it got me, but I think I'm recovering very fast, the flu is mostly gone now, I think because I work out quite often, good to have a strong body to withstand this kind of unpredictable weather. The water that comes out of our tap is also cold, especially during shower, the water is chilling.

06 December 2013

Complain Complain Complain

Sometimes I feel that the people here are not very nice, I feel that people here are always in a rush, so much so that they forget to be nice to people, for example, people always like to cut into my path, I know it's very obvious I'm walking this way, but some people will deliberately quicken their footsteps just to cut across, I usually just give way to them, I think out of 10 times, only 1 or 2 times people gave way to me. I'm also always in a rush, rush to work, rush home, rush everywhere, but I don't cut people's path because I know it's really annoying.

Some extreme cases are when some people totally don't want to give way, they will even go as far as to walk with a "bump into me if you dare" kind of style, of course I don't bump into them, I avoid them, what's the point of them trying so hard to gain that ego point, don't understand.

And also when walking on a narrow path, obviously at most two or three person can walk side by side, some groups just walk side by side anyway and force you into the grass patch, people here really don't like giving way huh.

Playing with phone, playing with tablet, read book, read newspaper, another annoying thing is people like to play with gadgets or read stuff even while walking, especially when exiting the train station, massive crowd, they just play and take their own sweet time to walk, blocking the way, why can't they just do it without getting in people's way, or better is to quickly get to wherever they need to go, settle down and play or read until they happy. Or some of them even play with a big tablet on a crazy crowded train, or flip open the newspaper going full page, it's already so crowded so why not just stand properly instead.

Talking about train, people always like to lean on the pole, why can't they just realize that the pole is for many people to hold on, not for one person to lean on. And handbags, those women like to swing their bags to their side, I wonder if they know that their bags always hit the person behind, and one of those always getting hit is me, I don't think it's so difficult to hold their small bag in front right, it's more ladylike, but most women don't do that, they just swing their bags to the side like aunties.

I think I need a holiday soon, get away from this place for a while, get away from all these nonsense.

What Stocks to Buy Now?

On 04 Dec, SGX suddenly plunged, most of the counters that I am following become cheaper, thinking of buying Sheng Siong and CDL HTrust to average down, planning to buy 2 lots of Sheng Siong, and maybe 4 lots of CDL Htrust. Next Tuesday I will have $6919.72, I top up another $1600 then should be enough.

There are also other stocks that I would buy if I have more money, like KepLand, Cache, Lippo Malls, Sabana, Venture, M1, all these should rebound later on, if I'm not wrong, have been monitoring their pattern a while now, especially M1 and Venture, once M1 hits $3.2 and below, it will always go back to $3.2-$3.3x, as for Venture, $7.50 seems to be their main support now, once it hits that price, it will always go up. By the way, today M1 closed at $3.20 and Venture at $7.52.

04 December 2013

My Thoughts on the Recent Protests in Thailand

As we all know already, it's Suthep versus Yingluck, so I asked my wife who she likes more, she says red shirts support Yingluck, her step-father even went all the way from Udon Thani to Bangkok to show his support, even though he was there only for 2 days. She also said the red shirts are there to make sure Yingluck don't lose.

Then I remember that Yingluck and her Pheu Thai Party was put to power by the 2011 General Election, she won by 4,310,428 votes, the people voted for her, basically she won fair and square in a democratic manner, but now Suthep is trying to bring her down by getting people to storm into government offices, start violent protests, that's not democracy. The question now is, what kind of political standard is Thailand trying to achieve?

Sold Cambridge Industrial Trust at S$0.695

Recently SGX is on a downtrend, hardly going up, 3200 seems to be very far away, not sure if there will be a Christmas Rally, so today I sold my Cambridge for a small profit of S$222.10 (inclusive of S$125.10 dividend), and right after I sold, Cambridge moved down to 0.690/0.695, lucky I sold early? Last few weeks the price was sort of stuck at 0.695/0.700, haha, everytime I do something the price will move, strange.

So anyway my next step is to probably to buy more of CDL HTrust and Sheng Siong since they are so cheap now, CDL HTrust closed at 1.580 and Sheng Siong closed at 0.595, what a sudden plunge, but it's a good chance for me to average down, but not sure if I can get my money in time to buy in, the sales proceed will only be available on next Tuesday, see how.

03 December 2013

This Litterbug at My Neighbourhood

I used to be a litterbug when I was much younger, I would throw stuff on the ground when no one is looking, I even threw water bombs from the 7th floor, but eventually I grew out of it when I realized that somebody is going to clean it up. All the rubbish and the mess don't just magically disappear when I wake up the next morning, some cleaners start cleaning as early as 4am in the morning, when everyone else is sleeping, wonder how many people are aware of that.

And cleaning is not an easy job, nobody really say it out loud but I'm sure at some point in your life, you have looked down on cleaners because their salary is pathetic, don't need any education, anyone can do, very easy, but it's not easy when it's your job, but it's always easy to stand at the corner and judge.

Now back to the main reason why I started this post, just now I went to the supermarket with my wife, there was this young lad chatting with his girlfriend, he took out a stick of cigarette, crushed the empty packet and threw it into the drain like nobody's business, he knew I saw him doing it and he looked a bit guilty, I didn't do or say anything, not like I would care if someone told me not to litter when I was his age, but I hope he will grow out of it like me, this is not a one litterbug problem, just look at our neighbourhood, you can see all sorts of rubbish everywhere, it's a culture problem, people need to be more considerate, don't go ahead and think oh we pay conservancy fees every month, it's their job to clean, come on, there's no need to make their lives so difficult.

02 December 2013

So Many Balance Flats in Nov 2013 BTO

I checked out the recent Nov BTO launch and saw that there are 3974 flats available under the Sale of Balance Flats scheme, wondering how come there are so many flats leftover, I thought BTO is always over-subscribed, 100 to 1 or 200 to 1 that kind of ratio, so if you ask me, I think there shouldn't be anything left, so this is very strange.

So maybe some people ended up not getting the flat due to a multitude of reasons, marry then divorce, engage but not marry, book already don't like, book already cannot get loan, surely there wasn't 3974 of such cases right, even if that was accumulated since a few launches, the number is also very high if you compare to the number of flats for each BTO launch.

01 December 2013

Planning a Trip to Thailand Next Year April for Songkran

Still thinking of how much to set aside for this coming trip, for our last 11 days trip this year April, we spent a grand total of $4350.06, so let's see how much to budget for this time, by the way we are planning for 8 days because 11 is a bit too much.

Air tickets to and fro
$350 per person for 4 people, total $1400 for me, my wife and my parents. This time we are taking plane to Bangkok and then to Udon Thani, no more taking bus, the bus ride is too long, 8-10 hours, damn tiring for my parents and wife, I'm actually okay with it though.

Give sinsod installment and mother-in-law insurance
40,000 THB, $1700 Singapore dollars should be a safe number.

So $5000 - $1400 - $1700 and I'm left with $1900, that means we will have $237.50 to spend per day, which is more than 5000 THB per day, I think for our trip we spent less than that, I think around $200-$210 per day if we exclude the bus fare, so in the end we gave the leftover cash to my mother-in-law for the sinsod, and my wife spent everything else on shopping in Bangkok, oh and don't forget my wife gave her mom 12,000 THB, so I think we actually don't spend that much.

For the curious, as of now, I still owe my mother-in-law 135,000 THB for the sinsod, and I think maybe setting aside $5000 is way more than enough.