Saturday, December 31, 2011

Causeway Smooth Flowing on 1st Night of a 3 Day Long Weekend

Last day of 2011 & is on a sat with monday being a public holiday so i'm not surprised there isn't any jam. Jam would be back tomorrow especially for those with kids to have a day to get the kids ready for a new school year. Looks like i have much reduced fear of a jam while coming back at such time during a 3 day long weekend.

Decay in Morals as More People Mutated into Consumers

Govt urge parents to pay more attention to children's moral education. This is perhaps the last message from a top govt leader in 2011. Many people have mutated from citizens to consumers. What difference between citizen & consumer?

Govt is also partly to blame with its mentality of grow gdp at all costs like cancer. Shopping malls sprout up like weeds across this tiny island & overconsumption is a result of it. People see so much in malls so they tend to buy more inclusive of impulse buying. How many people actually go to a mall with a specific product in mind?

Market-created values of selfishness, instant gratification, perpetual discontentment & constant consumption have become diametrically opposed to the values most adults want to teach their children.

Greed & materialism have infected many young people carrying these ill habits into adulthood. These kids don't feel like their lives would be worth anything unless they have the hottest product that's being sold in the marketplace.

Habits of thrift & frugality is becoming rare as the mutation goes on.

Friday, December 30, 2011

3 Life Simplifying Adjustments in 2011 That Saves Me $$

As 2011 draws to a close what new adjustments have i made with regard to simpifying my life without spending much $$? I can safely say the following 3 adjustments:

Cutting my hair in JB
At RM10 a cut & the default cut is shorter than what i get in S'pore. What's more there a brief massage. Awesome value for $$ which cannot be found in S'pore. A day trip to JB is an outlet to destress, slow down & spend on some of the stuff i've been holding back in rent high S'pore.

Not buying a single book
Is more primarily space constraints due to my already burgeoning library at home. This year i just borrow from library. If is a good book i read it a 2nd time before returning it. Still a $$ saver.

Not watching a single program on tv
No point watching a 1hr show where around 15mins of it are commercials. That's like spending 25% of the time(what a waste) being programmed by advertisers enticing me to buy this buy that.

Eliminating Bedbugs Without Calling Expensive Pestbusters

These bloodsucking critters are an annoying nuisance. Once a house is infested it can be tough to get rid of them. I've gotten rid of them without engaging the services of costly pestbusters.

Insecticides are pretty useless so your weapon of choice would be heat & open field engagement.

You need not look all over the house for bedbugs as they generally nest near food source (which is you). They are attracted by body heat & carbon dioxide you breath out so you & your family members are practically 'bedbug magnets'.

They normally nests where you would be for prolonged periods of time (e.g. computer area, sofa, bed, etc). Bed bugs want to live near you, so you probably won't find them in your toilet unless you been there a lot .

So to deal with them, instead of trying to stay clear of them, welcome them to you. Steam your sofa/bed/chair/table/wardrobe every 2-3 days. In a few days you should see dramatic improvement but to get rid of them 100% will still take quite some time.

To kill as many crawling ones, use yourself as magnet by sitting on floor & read a book at night. On the ligths-it doesn't matter. Do a quick scan of the floor like after finish reading a page. Kill as many crawling ones as you can while they crawl over the exposed floor with tissue/toilet paper. You might still be bitten. Look around your clothes too as they probably take cover in your clothes after their blood feast.

Hunt & destroy their eggs(look at small rice beads) with hot water. Soak your pillow case, bedsheet etc in hot water. Object where many eggs are found can either be discarded to subject to hotwater treatment(soaking is best if can be done). Splash hotwater into small crevices to kill those hiding. Use a hotair blower to dry the area afterwards.

Spending a few hundred on pestbusters does not necessarily rid your house of those nasty critters. Approach i've used can achieve similar if not better results without blowing a hole in your wallet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mass Return After a Longer Weekend From JB

A longer weekend means a quick getaway from crowded S'pore. I was expecting the jam at the causeway back to S'pore to commence after 9:15pm. I was off the mark. The massive jam started at 10pm+ & at 1am the massive jam was still ongoing.

Look at how deserted it was for the side back to S'pore in late afternoon. A dining feast is highly recommended in Johor since prices are literally like half of S'pore. Why bother paying the frickin' high rent? Load up the stomach with good food at value for $$ prices before returning.

But hordes of people started squeezing back at around the same time... I bet many of those stuck in the jam have trouble staying awake at work today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

S'pore's Long-term Decline

According to Harry Dent, based on demographics alone S'pore will go into long-term decline after this immigration boom. The writing is already on the wall especially over the past few years with infrastructure bursting at the seams from a flood of people allowed into this minuscule island.

I like the following 2 drawings from thecartoonpress:

Population + productitivty = Economic Growth
Input(people) driven type of gdp growth. Productivity in S'pore is low compared to other countries. What's left is by increasing people to drive up consumption. A short-sighted approach instead of adopting a long-term approaching of more productivity through automation, better trained personnel.

Obsession on gdp growth as sole indicator of success for current ruling government... nevermind is cancer type of growth. Flood in more & more people to buy & throw, buy & throw in order to drive sales. I find it sickening from Mother Nature's point of view.

As the years go by...
Pigoenholes get smaller & smaller & smaller while prices are rising & rising & rising.
Bigger & bigger & bigger loans in order to afford it while income are less & less & unstable.

Economy needs to create more paycheck slaves via housing loans & squeeze them into smaller & smaller sized pigeonholes in a volatile environment we now live in.

The coming climate crisis will force a rethink of this unsustainable & unhealthy model of economic growth.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sucky Giveaways of Safe Cycling Jerseys -OCBC Marketing Sucks

I'm not a fan of short sleeve jerseys after being tanned rather bad from the 2 Msian rides. This free jersey giveaway piqued my interest. I surfed for more details & read about complaints for the petrol kiosks giveaways. It struck me as real dumb by the organisers as i read the complaints.

- Only 5 jerseys to giveaway. People don't know is so pathetic.
- 2 girls are stationed at the gas station for 3hrs but the jerseys are gone in <10mins

Complaints are not addressed. Instead people are told to go collect the free jerseys on a Sat morning at a central location whereby 1000 jerseys are to be given out.

What economic sense is there to hire & deploy 2 gals for 3hrs when the stuff is gone in <10mins? How to accomodate people's sizes when only 5 jerseys are given out? If extra different sizes are brought along to fit the person doesn't it make sense to give them away as well since the folks have already make the effort to go down collect?

The withholding of more details of the giveaways as well as sizing chart for the jerseys has marred the event. Simple common sense info & yet are not given out. What's so difficult in giving out these basic details?

This is how a bank like OCBC does their marketing to promote safe cycling...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

$1 Bobo Hitam(Black Rice) Dessert

Eyes are tired from prolonged looking at books & lcd screen. How to relax eye muscles? Decided to go for a short leisure ride for dessert to Tanglin Halt Hawker Ctr after dinner. Eye muscles are relaxed while looking far during riding.Value for $$ stuff while supporting local hawkers. Is an outlet for release for my pent-up pressure as i tend to hold back on many purchases in S'pore due to high rental component in the prices of stuff.

Looks like is the end of the road for this old sony digital camera with that blurred picture. Snap button not responsive which i got it repaired 5 years ago is back again. Doubt i'll repair again. With advances in technology is better to get a better replacement. I don't mind generic brands this time round. Branded product may not neccessary be good. It may be a lie we tell ourselves.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Devious Move to Build Smaller Pigeon Hole Flats

I have mentioned about the accumulating tons of crap & clutter collecting dust in our homes previously in a sept blog entry. Now the state controlled media announced tat HK based Storefriendly is opening its storage business in S'pore.

Read why that storage business is entering S'pore (i've bolded it) & you'll realise the misleading answer given out by the woman in charge of S'pore 's public housing govt agency. She skirts around the complaints of tiny pigeon dwellings by telling others that living space is increased despite smaller flat sizes due to smaller household size. What she didn't tell everyone is that smaller household size is replaced by bigger size of clutter at home. With so much shopping malls luring people to buy, buy, buy in order to spur superconsumption, how many people can resist? Furthermore there's the temptation to keep up with the joneses as well as people using retail therapy to buy tempoary happiness from their overworked stressed lives.

In the end you'll realise that by building smaller pigeon dwellings, more & more people are forced to pay for storage solutions to store their accumulating stuff. Gdp up again. Imagine peope working their asses off to pay rental to store stuff collecting dust elsewhere which they seldom use. Instead of them owning the stuff, it seem the stuff owns them instead.

Is a reason i'm no fan of shopping malls with its buy, buy buy 'sirens'. Why spend unnecessary $$? Why have more stuff pile up & collect dust at home? Why spend time cleaning & maintaining it? Why complicate our lives?

State Media report:
As the average apartment size in Singapore shrinks so does the space people have to keep their stuff.

The trend is attracting a new wave of companies that rent out storage space.

Hong Kong-based Storefriendly opened its first franchised outlet in Singapore on Friday.

It aims to have 25 operating across the country by 2014.

Jes Johansen, Managing Director at Storefriendly, said: "We believe that Singapore is ripe in that apartment size is getting smaller. People consistently accumulate a lot of things, they want to have access to them and we believe with the small storage conveniently located, air conditioned, they will make use of that, they will appreciate that product right in their neighbourhood.

Storefriendly's 12,500 square foot outlet at Bukit Batok comprises about 300 secure lockers.

They will cost between $88- $888 dollars per month to rent, depending on the size.

The company says it has the largest network in Asia, with 90 branches through Hong Kong, China and Macau.

It opens a new franchise on average every month, and this year its revenue jumped 50% to S$60 million.

The top 4 existing operators in Singapore control the majority of the industry's approximately 17,000 storage units or 1 million square feet of net lettable area.

With a population of 5 million in Singapore, Storefriendly says that will translate into an industry penetration of 0.25 square feet of self-storage space per person or one storage unit per 250th person.

By contrast, the penetration in more developed markets is above 1 square foot per person or about 80 people per storage unit.

Singapore therefore has the capacity for further organic growth in the self-storage industry.

Another industry player, Lock and Store says consumer demand in Singapore is growing 5 percent a year, in view of the smaller properties being built.

Dare Not Tell Truth Reply:
Shrinking size of public flats here has not lowered Singaporeans' quality of living, according to Housing and Development Board's (HDB) CEO Cheong Koon Hean. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a housing forum yesterday, Dr Cheong noted that there are now fewer people living in one flat which works out to increased living space per person.

"Our families are smaller. In the old days, we have very large families living in a flat. Today, the family is 2, 3, 4 (people)," she said.

As a result of rising land costs and the need to keep flats affordable, the size of HDB flats has shrunk by 5 to 10 per cent over the last 2 to 3 decades. For example, a 5-room flat in Bukit Batok Central built in 1989 has a floor area of 121 sq m, compared to 110 sq m for a similar unit built in 2003.

Based on official surveys, the average household size was 3.5 last year. In 1980, it was 4.9.

This means an occupant of a 110 sq m 5-room flat today will have 31 sq m of space, while a resident of a 121 sq m 5-room flat in the '80s had about 25 sq m of space. Dr Cheong added that interior design also plays a part in creating good living space.

"In many global cities of the world or big cities, people do pay attention to how they do the inside of the flat as well as optimising the use of furniture and storage. It can be a very comfortable living environment," she said.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail concurred with Dr Cheong: "The modern Singapore family is much smaller & living in a bigger place compared to previous generations, and with amenities. The quality of life is not affected."

Mr Ismail added: "And people have a choice to buy 3, 4 or 5-room flats."

Still, Mr Ismail noted that with the high property prices, the lower income with many children will be most affected as they have "no choice but to buy within their means, and that means a smaller flat".

Friday, December 9, 2011

Status Quo In Organisations - Monkeys Parable

You may laugh after looking at the cartoon. However is on hindsight. Such scenarios of how things are being done in organisations exist. Power of the 'crowd' cannot be underestimated. The more monkeys (resistance) there are the slower things are to change. Small companies often 'run around' big companies with their bureaucracies as their bigger group of monkeys stick to the status quo to hamper change.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Locusts Swarms of Crowd - Marathon

Look at the seemingly endless stream of locusts swarms of crowd taking part in the marathon. Train services are run into the wee hours of the night to bring runners to & back.

I dislike taking part in these mass events. Paying to take part & squeeze with countless others doesn't make sense to me. As if squeezing during commuting to work on roads or public transport or crowd infested malls is not enough during our normal lives...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mushrooming of Pawnshops All Over S'pore like Weeds

More & more pawnshops all over the tiny island. Just in Clementi alone where i stay there are 5 pawnshops at the town centre within 300m of each other! It indicates 3 things:

- people buying things beyond their means
- liquidating items in desperate bid to clear bills & debts
- people gambling with their hard-earned $$ which they can ill-afford to lose.

1 pawnshop

2 pawnshops

3,4 pawnshops(competitors next to each other)

5 pawnshops

Huge part of the economy is debt driven. Is already a matured economy. How much further can an economy grow when many people are already in debt up to their eyeballs?

In the area of Buona Vista, the pawnshop(below pic) is situated right beside the bank with its ATM machines...... As if bank account is dry there is pawnshop...

Tons of bad debt among the populace.