Friday, December 31, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Can't talk well & yet Celebrity

My 1st exposure to Arnold is Terminator 2. This guy is amazing because:

1) his austrian accent is so thick
2) knows little english

yet his weaknesses/liabilities became strengths under the right circumstances. Can't talk well in english & with such heavy foreign accent - what to do? That's right- act as robot!

Often times we would have let the above excuses take root & forget about pursuing our dreams. Better question we need to ask ourlselves is how to get our weaknesses/liabilities to become strengths under the right circumstance.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mall at Bukit Indah, Johor - Refreshing feel

I loathe the locusts swarms of crowds in local shopping malls. Is especially crowded on weekends. Is a refreshing experience at the mall at Bukit Indah, Johor on a weekday. Causeway Link bus from Jurong East Interchange cost $4 & journey is around 1 hour to 70mins inclusive of Tuas customs clearance. Malaysian bus driver sure drive fast cause he's always on middle lane, sure knows how to brake without any jerks to passengers.

Causeway Link Cafe (yellow). Bus stop at other side which is the alighting point. Same place for taking bus to go back Jurong terminal at RM5.

Exterior of mall at Bukit Indah from the front.

A&W restaurant. Is extinct in S'pore. There used to be 1 in Clementi where i live. Ever since its 'extinction' in S'pore, A&W restaurant has become a star attraction for the mall for S'poreans.

I love the environment. Hardly any people on a weekday at around 11am. Totally unlike the crowded aisles common in S'pore malls.

Not many pushcarts along the walkways in bid by mall to max out rentals. Is more spacious.

Newly opened Mac opposite the mall. I'm not a fan of fast food. Consume the junk food sparingly or not at all. Anyway there's A&W so why bother with Mac? Notice the Tesco (blue) behind. Groceries there are generally cheaper than Jusco. The place there is bit older & rundown but hey we get cheaper prices.

Area still under development in front beside the Mac. I'm amazed that Causeway Link started the bus service to this undeveloped area. Approach is opposite to the profit sucking public transport companies in S'pore which is to wait till sufficent development & passengers to justify starting the service. Msian side has foresight to jump in knowing the area will flourish in future. S'pore style(govt scholars) is wait till future is clear then jump in start service.

Daiso outlet in the mall. RM5 per item.

Besides the Jusco in the mall & Tesco nearby, there's also Giant which is nearby as well. 3 hypermarts in the vicinity. Whoa i wonder if is overkill. Giant outlet is very quiet when i went there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Absence of Creativity in S'pore

Govt through control of mainstream media likes to tout about awesome grades scored by top scorers during PSLE, N, O, A levels. What's missing is how come they don't follow up with what happen to those top scorers later in life?

During secondary school i loathe the idea of memorising & spitting out whatever memorised onto paper during tests & exams. During industrial age it may makes sense but with advent of internet with answers readily 'googleable' & walkthrough tutorial videos on youtube it makes memorising pretty much useless.

School system is perhaps the slowest to reform & is primarily a tool by govt to churn out primarily worker cogs to fill the economic machine. In the past govt promote engineering (which has pretty much hollowed out), then biotech, then waferfab. I see casinos as last ditch effort after the above mentioned industries didn't take off.

After being exposed to taiwanese dramas & current affairs talkshow is apparent creativity & educating the public is higher than in S'pore. Is also a reason i don't watch local shows & buy local papers.
Road to creativity

MR TAN Jiaqi's letter ('No template for creativity'; last Saturday) makes the excellent observation that the considerable absence of creativity among Singaporeans stems not merely from the pressures within classrooms but also from our socio-economic circumstances.

Far from being an exclusive Singaporean problem, educators around the world are beginning to recognise that a system that emphasises rote learning & the regurgitation of information in tests stifles young minds & limits the application of creative methodologies.

Situation is far more pronounced in Singapore - with our limited manpower - where parents' & students' expectations are premised on the need to be economically productive, fuelled by materialism and pragmatism.

Conformity is encouraged from the moment a child enters primary school. Not only are children exposed to standardised assessments & pressures, but they are also forced to go through a framework which places disproportionate emphasis on rigid teaching-learning processes.

Our society treats differences with disdain & expects everyone to turn out exactly the same. The message we should stress is this: Not every child is meant to be an academic, & so should not be trained or educated as one.

Problem is compounded when education is seen merely as a means to an end - the end being landing a good job & enjoying the comforts brought by material gains.

Co-curricular activities & leadership avenues are there to help students further their interests, but many have become obsessed with beefing up their portfolios to 'look good' in scholarship & college applications. Even something like community service has been abused for personal, pragmatic purposes.

Creativity can be nurtured only by giving a child the space & freedom to pursue his strengths & interest himself in endeavours or areas that he is passionate about & talented in. An educational institution's role should be to equip the student with the right skills to achieve his dreams & aspirations.

-Kwan Jin Yao

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More People Digging their Graves with their Teeth -Unhealthy Food

There's an article in paper today on few healthy food choices in S'pore. Main points are:

  • More people eating out due to long working hours
  • >50% of those surveyed eat out 8+/wk
  • Increased obesity

Of course is not reported how it contributes to high gdp growth- The grow like cancer also good as long as is growth mentality that is entrenched in present govt.

  • Spend $ eat outside food with high salt & sugar-gdp up
  • Little-no time exercise, fall sick see Dr-gdp up
  • Buy medicines-gdp up

Gdp up up up.

Govt like to boast through the media about gdp growth & many are brainwashed into swallowing this flawed gdp growth indicator crap.

What kind of growth is that when population is becoming more obese, less time with family due to long work hours, increased intake of unhealthy outside food?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Die Die Must Succeed - Soviets Defending Stalingrad

Battle of Stalingrad during WWII was among the most brutal battles as both sides fought tenaciously. What's noteworthy is that the soviets were hanging on to their city by their fingernails when they control just 10% of it.

In life we often are disadvantaged in certain situations & is human nature to complain. Given the set of 'cards' we're dealt with in life, is often how we play with what's given to us that propel us forward. Against the superior german combined-arms tactics, the soviets adopted the tactic of 'hugging' the enemy. By 'hugging' the enemy as close as possible, the germans would risk killing their own by their artillery or close air-support.

Some complain that the scenarios in Memoir44 (a WWII boardgame) is lopsided in favor of 1 side. Publisher recommended switching sides to see which player has a better score after playing both sides. Is one of the few boardgames where 'unbalanced' is featured. While we clamor for fair play in life, sometimes we don't get such fair circumstances in life.

How the soviets deal with their dismayed situation & turn it around is a good inspiration. Don't you think so?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Die Die Must Succeed - Doolittle Raid on Japan

Good example of a determined effort to bomb Japan in retaliation for Pearl Harbor carnage. No navy carrier-based bomber is able to do it & no carrier battle group can survive for long near Japan shortly after Pearl Harbor been raided. Hence the ridiculous idea of launching army medium B-25 Mitchell bombers from a carrier! Able to takeoff but unable to land so have to land in China/Russia.

A good example of when one is determined to do something he will find the way & if can't find the way will make the way!

The majority of public is introduced to the raid from Pearl Harbor movie in 2001. Leading officer Jimmy Doolittle leads by example by being the first(shortest runway) to take off.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gift Voucher/s

I don't celebrate xmas & being this part of the year the usual 'what gift should i buy?' pop up in forums asking for suggestions.

Instead of buy gifts why not buy vouchers & give?

They are great:
  • U have no headaches figuring out what to buy
  • Let receiver control what he/she want to buy
  • Less clutter by avoiding buying something the receiver already has
  • No excessive gift-wrapping/packaging (good for mother earth)
  • Comes in nice $5, $10 denominations.

Personally i like Popular bookstore vouchers. With books, stationary, computer peripherals(though tad more costly compared to Sim Lim Sq) there's got to be something suitable.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Army comedy drama series that is a smash hit in taiwan. I very much look forward to it every week! It focus on basic military training in taiwan that brings back memories. Conditions have improved a lot that i wonder if is better than the recruits in S'pore. I saw breaks for recruits going to mini-marts, vending machine in their barracks.

Have not seen any wholly made local productions this decade & having seen 新兵日记 i agree with the chorus of lament that local tv dramas have deteriorated much. Some even label Mediacorp as Mediacorpse.

Scriptwriting is superb though the female senior seargeant is added in to spice things up.
My favorite character is Ye Datong. Real joker & what's unique about him is he is short (1.62m). A liability that's turned into a massive asset for the character he portray in the drama! There's no lack of taller actors & better looking but someone like him who is both short & comedic is rare!
As i watch more & more, the more i'm attracted to the idea of a cycling exploration trip in taiwan.

Catch the series. You'll love it too!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting Educated Financially Pays Better

” You’ve reached the maximum you can do at your age in that position, you move sideways & you take less pay & you move gradually to less & less pay because you are moving slower & slower, especially if you are doing physical work.” -MM Lee Kuan Yew
Above quote just reaffirms i'm on the right path by taking the investment route instead of the chasing paper cert route that the masses chose. With both $ & time limited at the forkroad, i chose the investment route.
  • No age discrimination
  • No gender discrimination
  • No race discrimination
  • Can pass my investment skills to younger generation. (Can't pass the job!)
  • No maximum limit
  • Applicable in other countries

Peer pressure encountered when people around you are upgrading their paper certs for more $ & job security while i self study personal finance & investment. Is hard to explain to them & often times i don't bother explaining.

The way i see it is the chase paper route still doesn't solve the issue ultimately since the person might be laid-off due to age, obsolete, aged reflexes etc. Furthermore in recent years with the influx of foreign workers who work cheaper, many got a rude shock that their paper certs aren't helping much at all.

Have you got started on educating yourself in personal finance & investment (starting on former 1st)?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Uplifting Songs from a Taiwanese Army Comedy Drama Series

Particularly like these 2 songs which are featured in a taiwanese army comedy drama series. I have listened to it > 100 times & still like it. Is uplifiting.

Read a comment that the singer used to sing in a pub before he got his break. I've never heard of him too & boy these 2 songs of his are awesome!

Everyone has their unique talents to share with others. Situation in S'pore which overly stresses on academic results crippled many people by destroying their self-esteem at a young age through streaming exams. Jay Chou's results couldn't make it to university & in S'pore environment he's considered a condemned case.

Many 'Jay Chou' like individuals whether in singing, craftmanship, sports etc are crushed at a young age which is why there's a dearth of such individuals sharing their unique talents in S'pore.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Drastic Paycut after Retirement Age

I bumped into an ex-colleague working in a govt-related company. He told me he's paid $200+ inclusive of cpf for working in morning till 1pm. He said that's what HR offered him as continued work as technician after hitting retirement age. He took it up saying got something to do in morning. Working full day is not much also.

$200+ incl. of cpf is a drastic cut to me & a reason why i don't like to spend $ frivolously & end up like him in old age. After deducting transport cost to work is even worse.

It is also a reason why i venture into investing. It is an endeavor that has no age discrimination as long as you can still think clearly. No doubt i'have paid some tuition fees as in losses in the market but it is clearly worth it as i've already recovered some of the losses by investing during the recent financial crisis when stocks are on sale.

People's lives are either an inspiration or a warning especially the older ones if we do not wish to go down a similar downtrodden path.

I chose the investing route instead of chasing after more paper qualifications. Many people don't understand me as they themselves are upgrading themselves with more paper certs. End result is still to get more $$, is just the path we take are different. As we have seen in recent years the more paper cert approach is breaking down with more off-shoreing, out-sourcing, automation.

"2 roads diverged in a wood, and i took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference..." -Robert Frost

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Independence of Riding

Is near end of the year. Last week i got an sms from a weekday badminton organiser asking me to join in as a few withdrawal for night session. Weekend session attendence is weak too, other group at other court suffers a similar fate.

For this coming weekend session there is a possibility of cancellation due to insufficient players. So what has all this got to do with cycling?

Well is independence. A fellow cyclist in the Desaru trip shared with me that he like the independence. I don't like depending on others too much just because he/they can't make it. With my bicycle i can still go ahead with my ride even if it rains.

Happiness controlled by the individual (cyclist) & not dependent on others.