Archive for the ‘money & work’ Category

The Light Saber

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Test Light Saber

Trying to learn Motion, so just followed a tutorial and created a light saber in Motion. Pretty roughly done, but the gist is there.

I remember …

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

… being a teenager in sec school, occasionally working a day or two, and making $30-$50 folding letters and handing out flyers. How rich that made me feel! (i got like $15-$20/week in allowance then.)

… being a teenager in JC, working a one off temp job at a Brand’s fair, making $50 and still feeling kinda rich.

… getting a full time job for 10 months after JC, starting off with a job that paid $39/day to one paying $68/day, going on a instant noodle campaign and blowing the rest of crab and night trips to JB for food & shopping. It was yummy and fun, though I never had any left to save.

… getting a 15-20 hour job in College, paying USD$6/hr, and later getting promoted to $7/hr. Receiving a cheque for $200-$240 every two weeks was awesome! It paid for my gas, food and that return trip to Singapore during the Summer.

… graduating, and going out to LA to find work. I worked for free on a deferred payment indie film. It’s more than 3 years now and I’m still waiting for my cheque. Actually, I’m actually wondering if they found time to edit it. I’m tempted to ask them to ship the stuff over and I’ll edit it for them just so I can see my first project in full!

… returning to Singapore, and starting work full-time. I OT a lot, and at times wondered if I’m actually getting paid more per hour than if I had worked at McDonalds. I still managed to purchase a MacBook Pro, and fly back to US for my cousin’s wedding.

… deciding to go freelance. The pay and flexibility is great! When you get your cheque though, can be highly random. Strange thing is, even though I’m making more, I feel like I’m making less. I guess maybe it’s because my ‘dreams’ and ‘expectations’ have become bigger. Saving $4k can buy me a decent Macbook Pro, but $4k is only 2% of a $200k flat, and not even 1% of a condo.

Is money related to happiness? The rich spend tons of money buying fast cars, posh houses, expensive holidays. Yet at the same time, there are millionares who are not happy at all.

I guess the happiness cannot be associated with how much money you have, but rather happiness is a result of enjoying your life before you, and the people around you. Although money can pay for all those things, in the end, it’s the experiences that you’ll remember, and that which truly matters.

Rules of the Set

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Got this off a facebook group. Some days, I do miss production. But for the rest of the days, I enjoy being stuck alone in my air con room.

Welcome to our happy little film set! Ignore the swearing and dirty jokes – the crew are really nice folks, but we do have a generally misunderstood job to do, and you can make it much harder for us if you don’t pay attention. Normally when “tourists” or “suits” are on set we roll our eyes and groan, but if you just remember the following things, we’ll love you forever:

1. Never set any liquid on an HMI ballast – they’re the square silver things in the photo, and what they are is a computerized control system for that big huge light. Unless you’re the producer, I’ll bet they cost more than your car, and spilled liquid will ruin them. Don’t sit on them, either. You’ll get the ass rot.

2. Please, please, PLEASE pay attention to what’s going on around you. Film sets are dark (especially if they’re on a stage), and confusing- and as you can see from the photo, there’s all kinds of cable and construction waste on the ground. People are also in a hurry and rushing while they’re carrying hot, heavy and/or pointy things. If you’re not paying attention, you could be seriously injured. Don’t wear open toed shoes or flip flops, either. 3/4 ” drywall screws have ways of finding your toes.

3. If you take a picture and are using the flash on your camera, please say “Flashing” loudly – before you take the picture. A camera flash looks exactly like a light bulb blowing out, and if the electricians see the flash of white light and don’t know that’s what it is, they’ll go batty trying to find the blown out globe when it was your camera. This is funny, but very, very mean.

4. When the AD says “Quiet” – this means you. “Quiet” does NOT mean ‘continue your conversation in a whisper’. “Quiet” means shut up while we’re rolling. The microphones that are used can pick up a whispered conversation from a surprisingly long way away.

6. If you see crew running in and out of a doorway, please don’t block that doorway while you have a conversation. We might accidentally hit you in the back with something pointy. On a related note, the phrase “Watch your back” means move right now. If you’re in a doorway and you hear the phrase “Watch your back”, move AWAY from the doorway. Do not attempt to go back through it. Remember, pointy object = pain.

7. Whomever’s carrying the heavier load gets right of way. If I’m carrying a 40 lb light, and you’re carrying a 10 oz. cell phone or two sheets of paper – You are the one who needs to yield. I don’t care who you are. Neither does my spine.

8. When craft service puts food out, let the folks who’ve been there longer get to the food first.

9. We are happy to answer questions and chit chat when we’re not busy. If we are busy (and you can tell), please let us work. We get yelled at if we don’t.

10. Ladders are for climbing, not for setting drinks on.

11. If you ask really nicely, the grips might let you sit on an apple box (but know that it can be taken from you at any time), but NEVER EVER for any reason sit or stand on camera cases.

12. Don’t stand in front of a light. Feel that heat on your back? It means you’re casting a shadow onto the set. Don’t walk in front of a light, either. On a related note.. if you can look into the camera lens, you’re in the shot.

13. If folks are working over your head, you might want to move. We try not to drop things, but accidents do happen. If a crew member asks you to move, please do so immediately and don’t argue.

14. If you don’t know what something is, don’t touch it.
14a. Don’t plug anything in ANYWHERE without asking first. DC power (which some stages still have) will do a number on your cell phone charger, and if you didn’t ask before plugging it in, we’ll laugh at you.

15. Please don’t wear perfume. Even air conditioned sets are hotter than hell under the lights, and you wouldn’t believe how bad your “Obsession” smells after it’s been hanging in the air for a while and has bred with someone else’s “Opium”. Speaking of bad smells, if you have to fart, please step off the set – off the stage if you can. Thanks.

(Peggy Archer work as a lighting technician on movie and television crews in Los Angeles, California)

Singapore Dreaming …

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

… only the dream destination isn’t Singapore!

Where do you see yourself in 12 years?

That’s a little like those job interview questions one gets. In all honesty, I never had a clue then, so I’m glad none of my jobs ever asked that question. But now, I vaguely have one.

In 12 years time, here’s what I hope we have:
– a fully paid for 3-room flat
– a 4-room flat with about 6 years of mortgage remainding
– 2 kids
– a 2 or 3 BR house in Oklahoma, rented out and close to being paid off
– Hopefully at least $300/mth in dividend income
– 2-3 online business/income blogs
– the same Mazda 2 we have now!

Basically, the simple plan that I really wish to migrate to the USA, and settle into a slower pace of life. My kids would have a taste of primary school education here in Singapore, and have their foundations set right, but they will go to middle and high school in the US. If the boy likes it in the US, he has the choice to renounce his citizenship so he doesn’t have to head back to SG for NS.

We would have more time together has a family, and have a small family business (necessary for us to stay in the US!), with the main difference being, we aren’t working because we have huge liabilities, but rather, its a good way to keep the mind active, and get the kids involved and learning.

And of course, we can finally have our dog and he would have a backyard to roam in! Or the occasional short roadtrips down route 66 through historical America, camping, lighting our own real fireworks, having nice home cook meals and bbqs, and living out the American dream.

Hopefully by then, we wouldn’t have to deal with mortgage payments for our US house, as rental would have covered all if not most of the costs, and top ups in payments within the 12 years would have settle the rest.

In terms of income, from Singapore, we would have rental income from the 3-room flat, excess rental income from the 4-room flat (after settling the mortgage), and dividend incomes from stocks every 3 months. At today’s rates, that would put at least $3,500 SGD in our pockets. If by any chance somehow we manage to accelerate our 4-room payments and pay it off within this 12 years, that’s an extra $700/mth in our pockets. In 12 years time, I’m sure that amount would have gone up, and hopefully at a faster rate than the increase in cost of living.

We can only dream.

(Now that this is out of my system, I won’t be talking about it for awhile.)

And sometimes I wonder …

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

… what on earth I’m doing in Singapore.

The one of many properties < $100k in Norman, Oklahoma

I was just curious what a 2 bedroom house would cost me in Oklahoma, where my aunt lives, and where I went to University, so I went online and did random searches. You can own a piece of land, with a house on it, and a backyard, some with garages, porches, and there is no such thing as 99 year leases!

What’s more, on a 10 year loan, 20% downpayment is $10,780 (I already have $2300 stashed in a US bank account) and monthly mortgage is a mere $463. And in time to come, I can tear down the house if I want to and rebuilt a bigger one, a dream home or whatever, on the land I own.

With USD$53,900 in Singapore, you can virtually buy NOTHING. Not even a 2 room hdb resale flat! OMG, HDB has really become unaffordable housing!

Time to migrate!

Growing a Money Tree

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The first month of the year is nearing a close, and my finances are in a mess. I don’t like carrying debt at all, so when I realize that I’ve not enough cash to pay off all my current debt, it makes me really uncomfortable. I don’t like owing money at all. I know I can clear them when the next pay cheque comes in, but that pretty much means I’ve been living beyond my means.

I realized that I don’t have much cash reserves at all. Last year, I pretty much dumped most of my cash savings into learning about the stock market (aka, I lost some $$ trying to figure it out), lasik, renovation/furniture, and in attempts to make up for the previous 3, into dividend-paying stocks earning about 13%pa.

I need to start building a so-called “Emergency Fund”. This year, I’m going to try to focus on saving so that I can use money to make money. Basically, the next time I see something that I think I want, I would have to ask myself this question:

“Will buying this result in it paying off for itself, or will it help me make money?”

If the answer is ‘no’, I really have to think hard about blowing the money away.

I realize this isn’t going to be easy, considering I’m getting married this year, and hoping to make a trip to London for my twin’s wedding as well. I’ve always wanted to visit the place, so maybe two birds can be killed with one stone.


Here are somethings I’m probably not spending money on this year:

I’ve started borrowing from the library, and that has been working out so far.

No more DVDs for me this year. I don’t have space for them. In fact, I’m considering ‘decluttering’ and selling some of my existing DVDs. Plus, I have MioHome now, that comes bundled with unlimited Video On Demand movies. That pretty much makes up for it. Also, we get to watch free movies at GV anyway.

Gadgets & Gismos
32 inch LCD TV for $699, that cool new laptop, a home entertainment system, you know, crazy stuff like that. Do I want them? Sure why on earth not. Do I need them? In all honesty, I don’t. I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of things that I think I need, but over time, realize that they are under utilized or overpriced.

Eating out
Going to spend less on eating out, and have more home cooked food.


Things that I’m trying to save for this year:

I’m not the typical girl who has been dreaming of her dream wedding since I was a kid. I don’t know how much this whole thing will cost, but I do know I don’t want to get into debt getting married. Being in debt over a day’s celebration is a pretty horrid way to start married life.

1SGD=2.22pounds currently, a real discount to the 1:3 ratio just not long ago. But still expensive! Depending on how finances go, we might have to skip London altogether, and make a trip closer to home.

Emergency Fund
I would sleep better if I had an “Emergency Fund” of about $3k for starters. I don’t get pay cheques on regular dates. Sometimes they come all at once, and sometimes, I don’t get any in a month at all. I guess as a freelancer, I should have had this fund a long time ago.
We are going to Beijing instead.

House Downpayment Fund
I’m targetting to save for a down payment for a 3 room flat over 2.5-3 years. This is part of growing a money tree and using money to make money. Based on my calculations, by putting down just the down payment and then moving in, and renting out our current flat to pay for the installments – without forking out any more money from our pockets, we should own the 3 room within 10 years, and have ‘passive income’ coming from the rental from the other flat till it’s 99 year lease expire!!

As a self-employed person, I don’t have CPF contributions. That means if I don’t set aside money for retirement, I’m in trouble. The plan is to set aside 20% of my income (like CPF contributions), and dumping it into my POEMs account. When the market has fallen somemore, I will buy some more stocks with good dividends.


My dream is really to be financially free in 10 years. This means having sufficient passive income from dividends and rentals to cover all the daily expenses without having to depend on salary!

For that to come true, the above has to happen!

At the end of the day, it’s not how much you make, but how much you save and how you manages your savings that really counts. A couple who makes $10k, but saves none each month is really poorer than a couple who makes $6k but saves $1k every month. That $1k in savings, if properly invested, will continue to make them money in years to come, whereas, $0 will make, well … $0.

Short-term Rally

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

So Obama won a landslide victory.
Most consider it a watershed moment:
The first (half)black President of America!

I’m glad for the US Presidential Election.
It’s what spark off the short-term stock ’emotional’ rally.
I don’t expect it to continue for long.

And of course it pays to listen to your stock broker.
Sold off some shares today.
Bought them for $4.1k, made $600+ …
Essentially, I made 15% in less than a month!

The market will fall more.
It’s really a great time for a new investor!
I’m slowly buying stocks at levels I find reasonable.
Holding out for it to tank some more before I go in again.

“Be fearful when others are greedy,
and be greedy when others are fearful.”

— Warren Buffet

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

If you are buying anything online, it’s good to check out to see if there are any coupons you can use to get you discounts or extra stuff. They actually have a firefox plugin as well, to alert you of any deals that might work.

Quite a cool site. Recommended it to my director today, and helped him get 5 free credits for our current project. It’s about US$5, not too much, but better than nothing!