Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dependents Protection Scheme - Singaporeans and PR only.

I'm covered but for quite some time I had no idea what I'm covered for......:)

So I did some reading and would like to share what I have learnt for all you clueless CPF contributers out there.

What is Dependents' Protection Scheme (DPS)?
It is a term-life insurance scheme (which means you don't get any money when your insurance ends but its okay because the premiums for term life are lower than for endowment) covering CPF members:
a) Singapore citizens or permanent residents
b) between 16 and 59 years old at entry
c) for a sum of $46,000 up to age 60.


About premium payment and premium amount
Paid yearly from CPF Ordinary Account or Special Account. (and its auto renewed so you don't need to worry about it. Unless of course, you don't have enough money in which you can pay the difference in cash or be insured for a lower amount. Note: Check your annual CPF statement for more information)

Yearly premium is based on age range (male and female) as follows:
34 and below: $36
55-59: $260

For more information:

Reality Bites............Run like being chased

Long gone are the days where I said that I will work for free. (Yes, believe it or not, I used to be willing to work for free just for the chance for the opportunity to learn - just like Chris Gardner during his broker internship days at Dean Witter). On good days, I have learned some, on bad days, I've been taken for granted. (Thank goodness, I've been mostly having good days on the major things that matter)

I would clarify that today, I would still be willing to sacrifice certain things for certain opportunities but I definitely approach any situation with much more assessment and caution. In other words, I would like to think that nowadays, I don't rely as much on pure dumb luck as before. (Note: I still like to say that luck is an asset or an "unlearnable" skill like 6th sense/intuition is. Some people have it and some people are just sooooooooo damn unlucky)

So I'm saying this:
Keep your chin up, eyes open: Beware of danger (and I mean you, bro, in mumbai) and look out for opportunities (and I mean all of us...for instance make our money work harder for us for we are not young and healthy forever). Protect yourself, your loved ones, work smart and work damn damn hard. Like my big boss would say: Run like being chased.

Private Banker's word of advice: Make your money work harder for you.

On the way back from Bangkok to Singapore, I sat next to a private banker from a reputable international bank. We spoke for almost 2 hours from take off to landing.

He shared with me on what it takes to be a successful private banker. I found him to be a very humble guy (and I told him that). In response, he said to me:" I found out that the higher you climb up the social ladder, the more humble you have got to be." Ahhh..........words of advice from the private banker.

We spoke about everything under the sun. From books we read to thoughts on environmental issues and how these ultimately impacts the way we behave and the life that we lead.

2 things he said that is stuck firmly in my mind: Importance of Networking (I suck at that)and Making your money work harder for you. (I suck at that too)

Note: He recommended a book: "Rich dad Poor dad". I'll make sure to get my hands on it the next time I visit the book store, you should too.

Dick Lee - Chotto Matte Kudasai. Hilarious!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Some movies to recommend....

If you want to just grab a DVD and just chill at home, the following are my personal recommendations.......

The Pursuit of Happyness
I googled the movie and found that it was based on a true story. It made the movie very special to me.
This show was very inspirational and so touching that it brought tears to my eyes. A good watch for anyone who feels like they are forever struggling and never seem to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Note: At the last scene, as Will Smith walks off to the sunset with his son, you will be able to see the real "Chris Gardner" walk past. Will Smith turns around and gives him a special smile. It was a very pleasant way to end the movie.

For more information on Chris Gardner:

An Inconvenient Truth
A movie done by Former US Vice President Al Gore. This movie talks about global warming.
An excerpt from the official website:

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.
I liked the presentation of the movie and although I've read and heard many negative comments made by people criticizing the "facts" presented by Al Gore, I ultimately think it does no one any harm and everyone alot of good if we all can learn to protect our environment. So just take it for what it is worth.
For more information:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Surprise surprise......Singapore becoming a more "open-minded" society?

I read this on the news 3 mins ago. Surprise surprise! First, in 2006, they decriminalize oral and anal sex by a consenting heterosexual couple aged 16 years and above and now this bold statement from MM Lee.....are we truly becoming a more "open-minded" society?

Former PM hits out at Singapore gay sex ban
Singapore April 24,

SINGAPORE'S powerful former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has questioned the city-state's ban on sex between men.

"If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual … you can't help it, so why should we criminalise it?" the pro-Government daily Straits Times quoted Mr Lee as saying. [Jamie: Oh - I didn't know that you are genetically born a homosexual]

Under Singapore law, a man who is found to have committed an act of "gross indecency" with another man can be jailed for up to two years, though prosecutions are rare.

But Mr Lee, who remains the most powerful minister in the cabinet of his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said Singapore should not pursue homosexuals who engage in sex. [Jamie: Doesn't the police have something better to do with their time?]

"Let's not go around like this moral police … barging into people's rooms. That's not our business," [Jamie: Unlike a certain other country we know. And I agree that it is truly none of anyone's business except the persons' involved] he told a weekend meeting with the youth wing of the People's Action Party.

Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle. [Jamie: Can homosexuality truly be advocated as a lifestyle?I chuckled when I read this]

But despite the official ban on gay sex, Singapore still has a thriving gay scene.
[Jamie: Duh.....*speechless*]


Blog in Thailand

I'm in Thailand. Staying in Centerpoint, Widthayu (which means wireless in thai - so its Wireless Road). 10 minutes walk to the office.
Not bad....much better than omni hotel (another service apartment at a sleazy part of Thailand - I like to think). Centerpoint is a service apartment and it has got quite a presentable kitchen. I'll take a picture of it tomorrow when my phone is charged up.

Anyway, I was just surfing the web and decided to come and blog abit. I noticed that blogspot auto-detected that I'm in thailand and gave me the Thai log in. How cool is that?!?!

I love Thai words...but they are so hard to read....I had to agar-agar the log-in link based on my recollection. I got it on the first try.....haha!
P/s: My colleague previously taught me how to write my name in Thai. Even that, I could not manage.................:P

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Marine consultant......sir..erm mdm

April 19 - On SQ flight from HCMC to Singapore

Yay! Yay! Yay! I'm going home.

I meet a marine consultant on board and had a short chat with him. He asked me what book I was reading and commented that it looks like heavy stuff. Yay, its heavy, all right..Its that same old financial accounting book.

Marine Consultant: "Are you student?"
Jamie: "Nah, I'm already working"
Marine Consultant: "Then why are you studying"
Jamie: "Erm..., its good reading for me..."
Marine Consultant: " Do you enjoy reading it?"
Jamie: *weak smile* "I admit its a little dry"
Marine Consultant: "I could never do something I didn't like. Life is too short for that..."

He then tells me about his life on the sea...wonderful life of being his own boss and how we should do things that we like.

*Jamie speechless*

Hey, life is not that bad for me because I'm reading a financial accounting book leh....

Anyway, he is quite big sized so....the air stewardess got a little confused and addressed him Sir and Madam in the same sentence. I think Mr marine consultant was quite upset with her.

Triet and traditional Vietnamese dinner........

April 18 - Met up with an ex-colleague and now-friend Triet.

She took me out for dinner. Initially, she wanted to get her motorbike, pick me up from the hotel and take me out for a ride. It would be fascinating to whiz around Vietnam on a bike, I think. Its like close brush with death.

How cool is that!
Heheh...Just kidding. I trust I'm in good hands with Triet. By the way, she's one of the smartest, most hardworking and diligent person I know.

We were having such a great time talking and laughing. We chatted and ate till the lights started to dim and go out one by one. Oops, a subtle or not so subtle hint for us to GET OUT of the restaurant.

Took a shot of Triet and our big bittergourd soup hotpot but the photo turned out to be quite dark. Anyway, here we go.................

P/s: The servings in that restaurants are HUGE and Triet, I had a fascinating time.. the dinner 3 weeks later will be on me.

Kim do Hotel - And the imitation "old" phone

April 17-19: Vietnam, HCMC

I'm staying in a 4 star hotel in Vietnam - Kim Do Hotel. Its right next to my office (2 mins walk) and the other hotels are fully booked. I can't complain.

The hotel is old and they try to make it look like they meant for it to be that way. My hotel room is HUGE - Senior Executive room....ooohh-hooo!!

I can do 3 cartwheels from one end of the room to the other and still have some more space to swing my arms without hitting the wall. I have free internet..lots of complimentary fruits and a good number of tv channels to watch. Okay, its not so bad.

The room design is slightly confused. I give you an example: Right next to the bed, you have a high-tech Panasonic phone. Those kind that you can find in your regular hotel room. But on the study table, there is this imitation "OLD" phone.

It feels funny when you pick up the handle and the hand set is curved in that way. Its a little heavy and I'm figuring out if I should make a call by tapping on the morse code. I'm exploring the phone and then I pull that little ring that you see there and


It opens up!!!

If you look closely at the buttons, you can see that this phone has "Flash", "Redial" and "Pause" functions.

The best part is that.....................


Small world - after 12 years

April 16 - On an SQ flight from SIN to HCMC.

Was in a rather crappy mood. Tired and just want to be left alone. I'm sitting in *surprise surprise* center seat in the center aisle. Okay, I thought to myself: I'm just going to sit here and not move and do some studying. I look to my left and to my right, squashed between 2 chinese elderly man...all right, never mind, positive thoughts.. I'll just focus on my financial accounting book.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see this lady coming on board. She's seating 2 seats away from me across the right aisle. Hmm..she looks slightly familiar. I put on my ipod and shrug it off. I'm alone in my world. Ms anti-social is going to start cramming for her paper right here...right now.

Nodding off to sleep..its not even noon!!! (Well.........if you have ever read a book on financial accounting, you'll know what I mean.)

I steal a glance to my left, look out of the window, ho chi minh city approaches closer and closer
I steal a glance to my right, see ms "familiar" - she's taking a nap. Strange..., where have i seen her before?!?

We've landed. I'm busy getting my cabin bag out of the overhead compartment. The flight is so full. Everyone is heading over to Vietnam nowadays....same like Shanghai, the latest fad....the land of opportunities. :)

Our eyes meet. She smile..I smile. I finally say:"Hey, you look familiar". I feel pretty dumb...I hate that line. She mouthes the word "St Nicks!". Of course, st nicholas...where I spent many memorable days of my life.......

Okay, now I know where she is from....her to get her name...We both look awkward and then she asked the question I wanted to ask. "Erm...I kinda forgot your name..."
I relax, let out a laugh, tell her...and ask her for hers.

Still can't remember her, of course, we were never that close before but we kinda know kinda know kinda know (that's 3 degrees there) the friends we used to hang out with.

Its odd.........She meets up with my friend Jocelyn...but I meet up with Jocelyn's dad more.. (her father is in insurance so our circles meet)

Jeannie, it was nice to meet up with you again, of all places, on a flight from Singapore to Saigon. Let's catch up sometime.

Note: While writing this blog, I'm educated by a sweaty sweaty quin:
Seats on the left aisle of a plane aka port
Seats on the right aisle of a plane aka starboard

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Singapore PM to earn 5 times more than Bush

SINGAPORE, APR 9: Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, will earn five times more than US President George Bush this year after a pay hike on Monday boosted his annual salary to S$3.1 million ($2.05 million). A minister told Parliament on Monday that other Singapore government ministers- who are already among the best paid in the world - will also see their salaries jump by about 60% to an average of S$1.9 million ($1.26 million).
“For the public service to remain an attractive employer, our terms must keep pace with the private sector,” defence minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also minister in charge of the civil service, said in Parliament. The ministerial salary increase - which will take effect in two steps by the end of next year - is slightly smaller than the government had originally proposed. Lee said last month the salaries of Singapore ministers and top civil servants might have to rise by as much as S$1 million ($660,000) to S$2.2 million ($1.45 million) because they had fallen way below benchmark top salaries in the private sector. Lee’s announcement sparked an outcry, with hundreds of Singaporeans signing an online petition and writing to newspapers to protest against the move.

Some Singaporeans said the ministerial salaries did not reflect the country’s economy or the government’s performance, adding that the government was tactless to raise ministers’ salaries now given Singapore’s widening income gap.

[From Jamie: I haven't been following the newspaper for several weeks (simply not enough time/energy!) and I chanced upon this article while reading China Daily in Shanghai. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I was SHOCKED. I always knew that the Singapore ministers were earning one of the highest public sector wages in the world but to have this headline staring back in my face was just unbelievable.

What ever happened to the noble ideology of people working in the government because they wanted to serve the country. As it is, the Singapore ministers aren't exactly being paid peanuts..... a fine example of the rich and powerful becoming even more rich and powerful. Going on a pay rise right after the decision to increase GST 5% to 7% is down right insane. ]

Cool Concept - Park Hyatt Saigon

Was staying in Park Hyatt - Saigon.

Pwah...the service there was fantastic. Picture this: Someone waiting at the hotel front entrance as your limousine pulls up and escorts you directly to your room. When you turn the corner towards the room, you see a bell boy, dressed in white, (and cute by the way) waiting by the side of the room door, with a white cloth wrapped around his arm. He smiles and opens the door for you as you approach. Is It FANTASIC OR WHAT....................

The rooms in park hyatt had a very interesting concept as well so I snapped a couple of pictures to share online.

This is the bedroom.

Nothing very different except that the style of the windows and the ceiling fan gave it a very rustic feel.

You can't see very clearly here but on the walls, they have these black and white pictures of saigon back in the early days. Very interesting!

This picture is taken from the inside of the bathroom. I deliberately took the picture of the closet in the bath room. The mirror is actually a sliding door.

This is the same closet but taken from the outside of the bathroom.
Yes you can see that the closet opens both ways. This means that you can access your clothes from the bathroom and let's say you are going to take a shower, you don't need to carry your clothes into the bathroom because you can access directly from your bathroom.

The actual shower and bath tub is separated from the main bathroom by a glass cabinet and with the rain shower ON, you can sit and have a nice rinse on the "spa-like" bench.

Tribute to Dopod 838 Pro

To all who have been calling my phone in the past but could not get me OR we've been disconnected in the middle of a conversation: REJOICE! My company has gotten me a new phone and the blackberry is now DECEASED.

I would like to pay tribute to my dear DOPOD 838 Pro.

Its been less than a month but I really cannot do without my new love. I put everything in contacts, my calender, my task list... EVERYTHING and it automatically syncs to my laptop.

*MUACKS* Beautiful........

Most of all, I've resumed my horrible habit to start emailing people at all times of the day. Its a license to be an absolute nuisance. One word: FANTASTIC.

So far, I've had little/no problems with Windows Mobile 5.0. I've had to do 1-2 times software reset but based on my prior experience with Windows Mobile 2003, this is VERY GOOD and quite a refreshing experience.

The battery life is on the low side but this is also probably because of the number of calls I get on the work day especially when I'm travelling. Just remember to charge your phone every night and you should be OK.

In fact, sometimes, I get lazy and head to bed but I know the phone won't last me through the next day so I force myself out of bed to charge my phone and VOILA! check my mails and work some more. :) Checking attachments are also a breeze as compared to the blackberry days. With all the nifty quick buttons, getting used to the phone is child's play.

So I would recommend this phone: 4.8 out of 5 until the next power-power phone comes along.

Just believe in the right thing....

I haven't had time to blog since March 22nd.

Quick recap of what happened since then: Well, I survived the meeting in Vietnam. Came face to face with the top guy in the company (we shook hands!! such a celebrity, you can even find him on wikipedia) and survived it. I'm quite happy except that now there is more entrusted weight/responsibilities on my shoulders and there are times that I feel like I'm going under. Fortunately, my bosses/colleagues are giving me the support and advice I need to keep me afloat. My direct boss's number is quickly becoming one of my speed dial. (Haha!) I'm really quite blessed to meet some really fabulous people in the company who have been helping me every step of the way.

Since I've gotten back from Vietnam, I have been working real hard to set my priorities straight again. Looking back, its seems like the stress and tension kept building up to that one meeting in Vietnam. Prior to that ONE meeting, everything in my life just went way out of whack. Now, its much better again.

So, I've been really busy trying to balance family, friends and work. Once again, I'm really blessed to have such fabulous people in my life.

I'm getting to spend slightly more time with my paternal and maternal grandmas. On my parternal side, she loves mahjong so since a while back, I've picked up mahjong and recently am starting to be able to "hold the fort" on my own which is really good its really been quite fun! With my maternal grandma, she doesn't like to do much besides complaining so...... we've been going out for a couple of dinners and I visit her home as much as I can. She just needs someone to hear her complain. She's a pessimistic lady, my maternal grandma, so I just don't let her get to me. :)

This weekend (and the few weekends before) is spent just trying to clear some work stuff. Its a terrible headache just trying to sort things out but its fantastic when its finally ALL DONE and you can rest for that half a day before *yikes* the week starts again.

Of course, when Quin is in town, work takes second place.

All in all, I'm a happy camper.