Archive for the ‘personal rants’ Category


Saturday, November 1st, 2014

There are two main parts to school – learning through books, tests and exams, and learning through human interaction, activities and situations.

I loved school for the fun times, the friends made, the experiences shared, but not the studying. School in a way scarred me. Till today, 9 years after leaving the formal schooling system, I still have nightmares of exams – of forgetting to study, or just plain forgetting I had an exam on that day. And I’ve probably forgotten 90% of what I’ve studied.

We eventually forget with time right? Except having a kid essentially means resetting time, and we indirectly get to relive school all over again – new syllabus and all.

Then there are different learning methods.

The dry way is listening to the teacher lecture. I just finished attending a half day talk on property related matters, which just reminded me how there isn’t a “one size fits all” kinda teaching or learning method. The talk interested me because of the list of topics.

Except I spent the first two hours of the talk basically learning about really interesting income tax related issues, but not the only question I hoped would be answered. That was later settled by asking the speaker after, but that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Then there’s Q&A driven and interest-based learning. That seems to be the latest trend in learning. It’s very common in facebook groups. You join a group based on interest (eg fishing) and if you are newbie, you learn from the questions others ask (eg where are some fishing spots in sg, what type of rod/bait/string is good etc). It’s like having different people asking variations of the same questions over and over again and the answers kind of sinks into your head eventually.

The interesting part of this is there isn’t a model answer, which is the part I love, because this isn’t school. This is the real world and there is no model answer. Eveyone says their own two cents and it’s up to you to make up your own damn mind. And that’s real life.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. — Albert Einstein

I would love to see Daniel explore the world by questioning everything and hopefully changing the world by coming up with new answers. Smart phones kind of sucked before Apple came up with the iPhone. Steve Jobs wasn’t even thinking of creating a phone from scratch. Apple was suppose to tie up with an existing company. He made it happen in the end because he wasn’t happy with what was out there at the time.

So Daniel, my wish for you – go forth, explore the world and make it a better place. I will not be able to answer all your questions, but I would definitely encourage and guide you on where to search for answers. I foresee Google becoming your best friend.

Hello Daniel

Saturday, November 1st, 2014


A lot has happened since 2013. I finally tied myself down to a full time job, our office shifted into a spanking new building named after it, our church moved to its new premises at Star Vista, and the highlight – after trying to have a kid for 5 years, we finally welcomed Daniel into the world.

He’s already 5 months 1 week old. Yet it seems like he’s been with us for years! Parenthood is a strange thing. Enjoying every moment of his growing days.

Air-con leak solved!

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Our aircon was leaking over the past few days. I was hoping it would like just stop once it had it’s fun, but it didn’t. So finally I googled.

Apparently you have to reach the tube/pipe behind, cause there’s some blockage which is not allow the aircon condensation to flow out. We still couldn’t even figure out how to open up the aircon, cause it didn’t have screws to unscrew like the model.

Then I remembered U. John vacuum-ing the outlet pipe in the toilet once. Found his elaborate setup of tubes that linked the vacuum (big hole) to the pipe (small hole), switched on the vacuum and viola, unclogged!

Mission accomplished. Now we sleep in peace.

Looking ahead

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

The dream has always been to own a HDB (it’s like a singaporean’s birth right), then own a condo (and pay part of the mortgage with rental from hdb), and at least one investment property. At present now we own a HDB, 1.5 years ago we bought an investment property (in JB), so now, its just the condo remaining.

The plan was always to work towards getting a condo by end of 2014, but the property laws keep changing, additional stamp duties get added, and amount of loan one can take (and for how many years) is constantly being tweaked. So it looks like, it might not be possible to buy a condo after all.

Unless, we sell the HDB and our investment property. Then we will barely have enough to get 3 bedroom condo (costs approx $1.6mil).

  • Pros: No additional buyer’s stamp duty
  • Cons: Only 1 property left. No more rental income, so have to pay entire mortgage ourselves ($4k+/month). That’s going to be a real strain.

Alternatively, we sell our investment property, pay off the HDB, and get a 2 bedroom condo (costs approx $1.3mil).

  • Pros: Cash proceeds from investment property will help. Will own 2 properties. Rental income avail (approx $2.5k/mth from HDB). With mortgage being about $3.5k/month, CPF contributions + rental would pay for it all. No out of pocket cash neccessary.
  • Cons: 7% additional buyer’s stamp duty (Give the govt $91k for nothing).

Or, we sell the HDB and our investment property, and get a 5 room HDB flat in the same area where we intended to buy the condo.

  • Pros: Spacious 3 bedrooms for about $800k, cheaper and more manageable mortgage, all payable through CPF contributions.
  • Cons: Only own 1 property, and can’t buy any other property for the next 5 years (or maybe never if the law changes again).

Of course, the laws could change again, before we get to the end of 2014, property prices might go up even more (or crash), so the only thing that’s in our control right now is just to keep accumulating and just see what we can get when the time comes.

Overall, kinda bumped that we’ve to sell off Sky Loft (our investment property). It’s our first new property ever – still under construction – not to mention it’s freaking huge!

Of Apples and Fast Cars

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

21 September 2001 was a very happening day because of 2 events:

– iPhone 5 delivers today
– F1 Night Race starts tonight

iPhone 5

The day I had 4 sets of iPhone 5, and then I had none.

Just before lunch, I received word from home that the 4 iPhone 5 have arrived. I was one of the lucky few who managed to order the phones online in a short 1 hour window before Apple SG decided to not allow anymore sales.

Decided to make a trip back home to get the phones, as I was planning to sell them near my office. The going rate for phones sold to the ‘black market’ on launch day is a cool $250 profit per phone. Every day after that, the rate drops.

The problem with Apple is they can never make enough phones to meet the demands, thus there is always a very active black market selling to those who just can’t wait to get their hands on a new apple iphone, and at a premium markup of course. Also, nobody knows when Apple will release more stock.

I was planning to keep one initially, but after hearing news that the profit was $1000, I decided to let it go. It’s the same rationale as how I can’t enjoy a meal if you tell me my food cost $250/head. I’m not that hard up for the new iPhone. Just have to wait till Jan to re-contract my phone plan and get one then.

So anyway, going home to get the phone took longer than I expected, so I didn’t have time to sell the phones. Decided to clear as many projects as I could, and then headed out to sell the phones. It’s kinda like holding onto a ticking time bomb. Every minute it’s not offloaded, the risk of them getting stolen, or the price dropping is there. It was a mad rush, cause halfway I got a call from office, and I had to scramble to get back. But not before I offloaded. The guy paid me in thousand dollar notes! Never seen one in my life! After settling the credit card charges for the phones, its a nett profit of $1008. Enough to get a new phone for free.

So I ran back to office, partly cause I needed to get back asap, and also because I was afraid there might be a syndicate robbing people like me! Haha. Carrying so much money on me is quite pressurising. Luckily I managed to deposit it into the cash deposit machine (they accepted $1000 notes thankfully), before heading down for F1.


First time going for the F1. Bought a $38 walkabout ticket, as I thought it was the last year they were having the night race in Singapore (they signed a new contract after). The main event was really the Jay Chou concert afterwards (not a Jay fan, but I went with a friend who was!).

Two words to describe F1: Loud & Fast

Couldn’t catch a clear shot of the cars on camera at all! And the sound was deafening. Interesting experience though.

As for the Jay concert, I’ve no idea what he’s singing, not because my mandarin sucks (which it does a little), but because he mumbles, but that’s his style. Whenever he spoke to the audience, the crowd just went wild, and I’ve no idea what he said. Couldn’t get a good view either because I was standing behind two super tall guys. My camera gets a better view:

The lighting was pretty awesome. During one of Jay’s wardrobe change, the drummer played a solo, and each beat synchronized with the lights turning on and off. Kinda cool.

After the concert ended, it was a mess trying to leave the area. Security couldn’t handle the crowd, so they swung open the gates and we got to walk down the tracks. Then for some reason, we couldn’t get out of the tracks. Everyone was trying to squeeze through a tiny crack in the fence. They finally made everyone turn back and rerouted us. Took us over an hour just to leave the place. Reached home at about 2+am.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve stayed out late. I need a back and leg massage!

Mac Applications (Updated)

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Just did a clean install of mountain lion. Thought I would update this list.

Adobe Photoshop CS – photo editing
Adium – IM for mac (msn, gtalk, icq, aol etc.)
App Trap – the uninstalled apple forgot
Caffeine – prevents mac from automatically going to sleep or dimming
Dropbox – cloud storage/sync/share files (18GB)
Disk Inventory X – find out what’s hogging your hard disk space (replaces WhatSize) – cloud storage/sync/share files (50GB)
Final Cut Studio – Edit Suite
Flickr Uploadr – desktop uploader for flickr
Google Drive – cloud storage/sync/share files (5GB)
Filezilla – FTP (previously used Fetch/Rbrowser)
MPEG Streamclip – convert video to different formats
NTFS-3G – read/write NTFS from mac
NetNewsWire – rss/atom feed reader
Open Office – open source office for Mac
PDF Lab – combine, create, delete pdf docs
Perian – enables QuickTime to play almost every popular video format
Plex – media center for OSX (makes your mac into a powerful media server with Mountain Lion’s Airplay
PicFrame – multiple pics in one frame.
R-Name – batch file renamer
Skype – free internet telephone
Switch – convert audio to different formats
Xslimmer – slims universal apps
VLC – for playing virtually all video formats
Toast 8 Titanium – dvd/cd burner

Not commonly used but still useful

Audio Hijack – Record live audio from applications, audio devices & more.
BoinxTV – turns your Mac into a live video recording studio
DVD2OneX2 – compress a dual layer disc into a single layer disc
FacebookSync – sync your Address Book with FaceBook
Google Earth
ManyCam – allows webcam to be used with multiple applications at the same time

Aimer Video Converter


Saturday, April 7th, 2012

The good news is, my Sony Nex-3 has been found! Apparently it dropped out of my bag when I chunked it in the boot of my mum’s car.

The bad news is, I only received the good news via sms minutes after I bought a 2nd hand Sony Nex-5! So now I’m trying to sell it off. Have an offer to meet a buyer on monday. Hope all goes well. Having 2 Nex just doesn’t feel right.

The 2nd hand Nex-5 I bought

Misplaced, lost or stolen?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This morning, I was looking at my bag, wondering why it looked so empty, then debating whether I should bring my external hdd to work. It’s only a half hour later that I realized why it looked so empty – my Sony Nex3 wasn’t where it’s supposed to be!

I’m really hoping I absentmindedly misplaced it somewhere in the house. Won’t be able to know for sure till I get home.

If not, the alternative would mean someone (could be someone not from my company) came into my room and took my camera. My wallet and phone are still with me and I usually leave it on my desk, so I assume it’s during lunch hour.

So now I’m carrying my camera sling bag without a camera in it. I pray it’s misplaced, because I’m still freaking paying the installments.