Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Low Down on Singapore Taxes

What is to be done on a hot Sunday afternoon where life is like living out a sci-fi movie - everything is being baked under the hot sun and threatening to explode into a culmination of light and heat waves.

Read the Singapore Personal Income Tax Guide! That's what.....It doesn't get more epic than this. :D

I'm pleased to report that the personal income tax rates in Singapore is noted to be one of the lowest in the world. (My Australian co-worker kindly alerts me that even if Singapore has one of the lowest personal income tax rates in the world, we should not forget that we also have a combination of other taxes and expenses to contend with. I painfully regard the price of COE and accept his comment).

Back to basics....and to summarize what could be a rather complicated process, one is to look at it in 3 steps: Determining which tax residency status you belong to, determine the chargeable income for the tax year and then applying the progressive tax rate against the chargeable income.

1. Status of Tax Residency
Divided into into 2 categories.
a) As a Singapore tax resident

  • Singaporean
  • Singapore Permanent Resident and have established your permanent home in Singapore
  • A foreigner who has stayed or worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in the tax year

b) As a Singapore non tax resident

  • A foreigner who stayed or worked in Singapore for less than  183 days in the tax year. 

2. Determine chargeable income

Chargeable Income = Total Income - Expenses - Donations - Personal Relief

3. Personal Income Tax Rates for Singapore tax resident

Note: They even have a very helpful online tax calculator.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Inner Peace... Inner Peace

I swear that on some days this is how I feel ....................

And this is what I aspire to become 

Hell Yeah!! Keep on rocking!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Project - Standing Desk

I've recently been contemplating about the whole concept of working at a standing desk. 

In fact, for the past week or so, whenever I had to read documents at work, I would make myself stand near the filing cabinet or at the pantry to read. I have an awfully nice pantry at the work place with a fantastic view...the filing cabinet though has got the perfect height.

My endeavours have received its fair share of stares and quirky comments from my colleagues who were curious about why I didn't want to sit in a perfectly nice chair to do my work. The only time I was made to stand in the past was as punishment for not bringing my textbook or completing my homework in Primary school.

A few of them got it when I explained about the concept that humans aren't meant to be sitting on their asses 8 hours a day but I figure that most of them might have concluded that I have finally lost my mind and politely walked away. 

In my defence, I guess the whole concept of standing and working have not quite got on in Asia although I'm not closed to the idea that I might have been an annoying distraction shifting from foot to foot and ultimately looking like the floor supervisor lording over my minions.  (just kidding). 

At the end of my one week experiment, I found that I was able to focus much better when reading long boring legal documents and further research on the internet convinced me that I should persist on.  

After a bit more research last night, I finally decided to bite the bullet and convert my home's work table into a standing desk. The final push to this decision were some articles that suggested that I could "hack" my way into a relatively cheap solution of a standing desk before deciding if this was something that I wanted to commit myself to.  

After a couple of hours of hard work (and alot of perspiration on a hot Saturday afternoon), Jamie's version of the standing desk is completed. (aka: the poor man's standing desk)


Jamie's version of the standing desk (the cheap way)

Everything that you see in the picture that was used to convert my current table to a standing desk was abducted from some corner of the house, mostly forgotten and collecting dust, but now playing an important part on my road towards healthy living. 

I must not forget to thank my mum for being extremely supportive after I explained my intentions to her. She firstly gave me permission to scavenge the house for materials which I could put together to achieve the appropriate height and also gave me suggestions on how to put everything together. (Thank you mum! You are the best). 

As a result, total investment cost for my standing desk: $0!


I found the following articles extremely helpful when making my final decision to work at a standing desk. Enjoy!

Gina Trapani's Reasons for switching to a standing desk:

Kevin Michaluk's Reasons for switching to a standing desk:

Gina Trapani's blog after working at a standing desk for a year:

Some ideas to do a DIY standing desk:

Adam Pash's view on the benefits of working at standing desk:

Friday, May 25, 2012

2012 Book 5 - Catching Fire

Its been almost a week since I have finished this book. However, I've been so swamped at work that I haven't had time to pen down my thoughts so I will make this a quick one before I head off to bed.

In my opinion, Book 2 is better than the first. In fact, amongst the 3 books, I enjoyed Book 2 the most of them all.

There you have it....I have indeed finished Book 3 - Mockingjay as well. I didn't quite enjoy Mockingjay though but I will save my rants for another time in a dedicated book review just for the Mockingjay.  :-)

Back to Book 2.

Based on most of the reviews and discussions I have had about the Hunger Game series, it appears that I'm not alone in my impression of the trilogy. Catching Fire has received mostly positive reviews and appears to be a favourite at least amongst my friends who have finished reading the series. 

Jamie's Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The story starts with Katniss Everdeen enjoying a much deserved recovery in her new found life in District 12. She is now staying in the Victor's Village and has her needs mostly taken care of by the Capitol. She is expected to go on Victory tours and eventually become a mentor for future Hunger games but on the most part, her family no longer needs to worry about making ends meet and other practical matters. So it appears that the worst is over for Katniss, or is it? 
Unbeknown to her, Katniss catches on during her victory tour that she had unwittingly sparked off a rebellion against the oppressive Capitol which seemed to be ...yes...gaining momentum or rather "catching fire". For the sake of her loved ones, she attempts to suppress the rebellion (or minimally not further aggravate matters) but finds herself failing miserably. 
In a twist of fate or rather manipulation on the part of the evil President Snow, Katniss and Peeta find themselves forced to return to the arena in a special edition of the Hunger Games. With each strategizing to sacrifice themselves for the other, how would the story end for this "star-crossed lovers"...........? 

As always, for more information and other book reviews on Catching Fire: 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Book 4 - The Hunger Games

I have never heard of this book till the Hollywood movie hit the cinemas a couple of months back. I was duly informed by a fellow avid reader that this novel comes highly recommended. "You will enjoy it!"....I was promised. My interest was mildly piqued when I saw that this Hollywood blockbuster had achieved quite a following....(close to the "Twilight" proportions). Eye Candy?? Yum!!

So what is "The Hunger Games" about....

We are placed in the future, in the country of Panem (where the countries of North America once existed). The surviving human race are mostly split into 12 Districts, each functioning with a special purpose and all working under the direction of the highly advanced metropolis and privileged few known as the Capitol. Life is hard and the people in the districts are living in perpetual poverty. To keep the districts in check (and for sadistic entertainment purposes), the Capitol throws an annual event known as "The Hunger Games" where one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18  are selected by lottery from the 12 Districts to compete in a televised reality show where the objective for the contenders are simple.  To Kill or be Killed. Only 1 child can be declared a victor and return home....the last one standing  breathing.

Wait...wait....wait a minute...................This plot reminds me so much of another Japanese movie - "Battle Royale". And boy, did I hate that movie. Grotesque!!!

This book and I....we are not getting onto a good start.............

Jamie's Rating: 4.0 out of 5

From the rating, you can safely say that I'm a convert. I finished the book in less than 48 hours and was rather pleased that I did not suffer from "Battle Royale" blacklash. In fact, there were a lot of emotions in play within this book which was able to draw the reader (aka me) in. The movie was also rather enjoyable (Eye Candy!!) but once again, for a truly immersive experience, reading the book is still the best way to go.  

Other book reviews:

For more information on battle royal, please click:

Sunday, May 06, 2012

2012 Book 3 - Shadowfever

The truth is...I've been waiting for this book for almost a year. And I've never waited for a book before so this would be my first and oh yea....waiting is never fun.....

My first Fever series book "Dark Fever" was courtesy of Sony. It was one of those free featured books that I could download with my Sony eBook reader. If my memory serves me correctly, it was about 4 years ago and after a couple of chapters, I found it so compelling that I finished the book within the week or less. After some difficultly, I downloaded the other 3 books in the Fever series (Blood Fever, Fae Fever and Dream Fever)  and (to put it in Karen's style of writing) relished and devoured them. Imagine my horror when I realized that the key to the puzzle, the final book which would put an end to the suspense was not even written yet and was not due for release for another 12 months!! HORROR!

After a year of waiting and even adding the author onto my Facebook so that I can keep tabs of the release date, the final book of the Fever Series "Shadow Fever"is released.

Okay, this is where it gets crazy: I found that I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed the earlier books. It was like a roller coaster ride with parts with me going "HELL YEAH" and then parts where I simply glossed through (mostly in the middle where Mac and Dani became just so tedious to read). Overall though, I'm pleased to say that  the book seemed to redeem itself towards the last quarter of the book which fortunately makes for a rather happy ending for me and my one year wait. :D

I really think that the Fever Series makes for a good blockbuster trilogy. (Yes 5 books condensed into 3 movies and please remove the tedious Mac and Dani parts).

Jamie's Rating: 3.5 out of 5 
(But make sure you read the other books first or you would be lost with this one.) 

For more information about the Fever Series, please go to:

For other reviews on ShadowFever, please go to:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bruno Mars - It will rain

Love this song! The stage is ultra cool too. My jaw dropped halfway through....