Friday, December 27, 2013

Singapore Do Not Call registry - Effectively became another beaurocratic process.

You guys may have seen this yesterday.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-exemption-order-under/934376.html

There are now exemptions to a law that allows consumers to bar unsolicited calls, text messages and faxes from telemarketers. Organisations that have an "ongoing relationship" with customers will be allowed to send out marketing messages without having to check the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry.


I was quite happy when I saw the DNC registry news in October but now it's just another framework thanks to this last min news. 

So now Singtel, SH or M1 or Credit card companies can still FLOOD my inbox with SPAM mails and messages wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Some relief is this is not applicable to Calls. 

I wished Singapore to show the world in terms of privacy but it seems the folks drafting the new rule are convinced by companies and accepted that we the subscribers are 'owned' by service providers.

Disappointed.. !!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Google location history "dashboard" gone

Not sure if it's worldwide, but I can confirm my account and my friends.. This is gone. No more dashboard but people can still see individual history..

**SAD**.. The whole point of history is to check it in the dashboard (beta and i was expecting more updates and improvements) to get a easy summary.

Google, I thought killing latitude was a bad idea but now even this is gone...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Y Duos - S6102: 3G or UMTS not working

I've blogged about a new Dual-SIM phone an year and half ago (here). It served me well, and saved from roaming costs as I tend to buy local SIM when I travel and use this as a hotspot + voice device.

But recently I've updated the firmware (Samsung pushed a new one) and that's where the problems started.  Now the phone couldnt stay on 3G network for a min. It connects when it starts afresh but immediately goes in to "no network". I've tried by resetting it and at first thought SIM card issue so changed the SIM but finally realized it's something to do with the phone itself. Irony is it works great on GSM :(

Currently the updated version is DDMF4. Old one was DDLJ1. I tried to fallback (odin+stock firmware from XDA) but somehow both my laptops couldn't detect it in recovery mode. Unfortunately there is no heimdall version. Seems like I need to cook my own.

Android Version: 2.3.6
Baseband Version: S6102DDMF4
Kernel Version: 2.6.35.7
Version: DDMF4 (auto update from samsung)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding a good in ear earphones with mic for mobile phone and VoIP calls

I am really frustrated after my 6 months old Skullcandy earphone stopped working (only left side) and this is probably my 8th one the last two years. Most of the times, I end up buying through Amazon or online, so I could  count the number and amount of money wasted on ear phones. On the other hand, my trusted Creative Noise Cancelling headset  HN-900 is working flawlessly over three years. 

I do good care for headset and earphones and some hoe the earphones are always end up with faulty mic or failure on one side. 

So far I've used following and among them the best would be perhaps the Puregear. So here goes the list from Amazon


I am wondering if I could just buy some cheap ones as the lifetime seems to be the same but again, I use earphones for hours. So need comfortable ones.. Sad but no choice..




Saturday, November 30, 2013

Indira Gandhi International Airport - New Delhi

Finally, I got to experience the new Terminal-3 building and New Delhi due to a business trip. I was expecting a memorable experience as it does with India all the times. So for the better part, India is changing and now one can see the heavy investments (that's coming at a huge cost to the user ofcourse) in infra.


Here are some images I've taken at airport and once you get out of airport you can take a taxi right out at the terminal building. I got warned that during peak hours, the queue can be quite long and it may take an hour or so to get one. So being paranoid, I've booked a taxi/online reservation with merucabs. It's painful as it needs a Indian Mobile number but finally with few phone calls managed to get one. I was told there are some other operators like quickcabs, megacabs & easycabs but the recommendation was Meru. But trust me this is where things started to go give 'experiences'.

When I entered the taxi, it's like entering a vehicle which was just excavated from some desert. I could see 'sand' at the vehicle floor, then the seats are really dirty with lots and lots of dirt. I can understand why. These taxi operators/drivers tend to run without AirCon and within few weeks or months, the dust just adds up to the vehicle weight. I doubt they wash it periodically too.

Anyway, the hotel is not very far and the free way seems to be good. But wait.. there comes the "manual toll booth".. Where we ended up waiting for 15-20 min. And I can see vehicles making some huge u-turns as the contractors build the highway without any 'elevated exit'.

Hotel was nice and clean. No complaints but compliments only. On the otherhand the price we paid could have given us a Suit room in Thailand or other asian places. so "NO VALUE for Money".

The horrible part was the "traffic" and "pollution". Be it the dust or vehicular or noise or whatever.. One can name it and you can feel it. A five minute walk on the outside would definitely make you cough once, unless you are used to it.

I saw huge buildings and offices like Bharti Airtel, Ericsson, Nokia etc. But the worst part is these people can build buildings and invest billions but can't work with government to "create proper walkways, or approach roads".. So much for taking care of their own employees. Most of these places have no parking for visitors which adds up to the horror.

And on the road it seems the saying still goes true. "THERE ARE NO RULES ON INDIAN ROADS". So you can see a car slowly driving in the opposite direction of the highway, or taking sudden stops or turns etc. Also people trying to sell you cheap stuff like some beads or sun shades etc are maneuvering their way in the slow moving traffic.

Food is not bad and Delhi/surrounding areas offer wonderful food. Also, I am not surprised to see "chinese" food almost every where. Infact I saw more Non-Indian food than Indian food in entire Gurgaon.

Most of the people, I've interacted are well polished and professional. This is one change probably due to the high-end firms in Gurgaon, as I've a terrible scene at airport. A kid started to vomit at the airport while hundreds of folks watching. The parents (must be going on a vacation) are just watching and the horror doesn't stop there. They washed the kid with a bottle of water at the same spot.. :|

So it's a mix of good and bad experiences. Probably my next visit, I'd plan to visit some historic places around Delhi and post it..(Also hope to see some improvements in people, pollution & policies)





Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Strange enough, gov websites are not working as usual

Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://www.cpf.gov.sg/" on this server.
Reference #18.63cd4c17.1384824562.5921fac

that's what I am getting since this morning (8.30 onwards).. Not sure whether there is some mtce going on or is it my laptop/computer problem.. But the error message is the same across all browsers..

Saturday, November 16, 2013

World pay scale or salaries PPP adjusted

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17543356

Check it out and compare.. We hear grouses from IT engineers in India. For example, the most recent one from Economictimes here says India stood at 24th position but that's really a faulty method of checking. It says, that the data is PPP adjusted but I don't believe it is.

When checked with PPP (BBC tool /2012) India ranks at much higer place on an average. If I take 50,000 INR it puts in 10th position. This may be again faulty given this is across industries, and one may argue 50K is too high. But the fact is 50K per month CTC is quite a norm these days unless in call centers or some support functions.

Socialism vs Capitalism. India still dreaming that it can flourish with Socialist policies..

Source: Armstrongeconomics..

http://armstrongeconomics.com/2013/11/06/socialism-brought-home/


No wonder, India is in such a dire state. Even salt is sold at prices of $3/KG.. Problem is still many Indians believe "capitalism=evil". If we ask the same guys to share their assets or even offer some help, then the reality comes out. The mindset is simple, "everyone else should give and share" but not me.

Like the workers always fight and destroy their own company properties for "better pay" because 'cost of living" went up. Who caused the problem? It's not the company they are working for but the outside forces. Also majority of people put the "wants" ahead of 'needs'. Like sending to private schools, going to private hospitals etc. One may say the quality is the issue, but when we are paying taxes and can't afford (point is affordability and choice) why can't one question and get the entitlement?

Anyway, I have little hope that one day India will overcome these issues. As more and more educated people coming to rule this country, the worse it is becoming. because they are not god fearing, law abiding (they know how to bypass it) and smart folks but doing only for their own benefit..

********************************************************************************
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.
Here are possibly the 5 key points about such an experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Doing Business - India ranks all time low at 134.

Source: Doing Business report by world bank

Well, what to say. India ranks at 134, which is worse than Bangladesh (130), Sri Lanka (85), Nepal (105) and even Pakistan (110). It shows where exactly we are in terms of business friendliness. Be it the corruption at top or lack of 'productivity' at workers level, unnecessary strikes by unions, and most importantly the mindset of people. i.e. No wrong to tax business but give free stuff to people.

Some Interesting items and comments:

Based on cross sectional regression analysis and controlling for a large number of factors that affect unemployment, he shows that labor regulations in India’s retail sector undermine job creation. He further notes that labor reforms  could  increase  employment  in the retail sector by as much as 22% for an average store—a signi´Čücant effect given that the retail sector is India’s second largest  employer..

* Starting a business rank - 174 (bottom 5)
* Dealing with construction permits - 182 (bottom 5)
* Paying taxes - 158
    - time to pay taxes - 243 days
* Trading across borders - 132
* Enforcing contracts - 186 (bottom 3). Only Bangladesh & Timor-leste scored worse than us.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Room Service DEALivery - Horrible food and exorbitant rates..

Few weeks ago I was enticed by an advertisement in deal.com.sg, to buy a roomservice voucher of 25 for 10. I thought it was a good deal as I tend to order food quite often and wanted to give it a try.

So finally today I made my order and o boy, what a disappointment it was. Some points to note are,
* $10 delivery charges if you are lucky to be in 'central' area
* $14.30 for outside area

Then
* 10% service fee
* 7% GST.

So most likely you'll end up with ~ $ 17 bill before even getting a single bite. But my disappointment is not for the charges, but for the food itself and roomdelivery process.

I got to place an order online and I called them to clarify on the time too. I was told it'd take 1.5 Hrs so I was waiting for my food and after 1.5 hrs, I called them to find out what happened. To my horror the answer "your order was cancelled". Reason - no mobile number. In the first place why they take the order if it's mandatory, and how they are going to use my mobile number? I have no idea as it's not stated there. Secondly, it's an online order and if it fails, there should be a mail/alert to my registered e-mail. Nope, no alert. They happily cancelled the order..

Coming to the food, (Though not their fault as per their FAQ), the food sucks.

I placed an order for Biryani, Samosa & Fried Rice.What I got was "Chicken Fried Rice" and charred samosa and oily fried rice. So this order was a disaster and I got to quickly place an order for Pizzahut.

Anyway, I forgot and deleted the bookmark and then in the evening I got a mail from them asking for feedback. So I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience and suggest to them to send an alert if they change/cancel the order. I patiently entered all the details in the feedback form. When I press "submit" this is what I got.

Now, this is what I call "taking the feedback seriously but 'creatively'.".. If you guys don't want to hear any feedback, then stop sending e-mails...


URL address error. Please use the same address as it was shown in the email.

© 2011 roomservicedeliveries.com. All Rights Reserved.         




Saturday, October 19, 2013

New version of Google Hangouts - Google Voice integration and multiple accounts addition..

Today google released an update to their hang outs on iPhone. I wasn't quite interested but today's update seems I am going to use hangouts more often.. What's the big differentiatior? It's the Google Voice call that can be routed to hangout.

So I don't have to rely on third party apps like talkatone etc to connect to my google voice app for voice. I can just use hangouts. Great job Google..

Now I've a phone number to take incoming calls while I am roaming :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

India property show in Singapore - More golden than gold..

http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/events-ips2

"Golden than Gold" - an asset class which depreciated 21% YTD.. that summarizes what Indian real estate returns for many folks in foreign currency in the last 5 years.

Then Indian rupee - Probably the worst performing currency in the world this year. What would you have when you combined the "Currency risks" with sky high property prices of India, 10-12% interest rates on mortgages, 1-1.5% yield,

Ok, now the scary stuff: Government changing laws, and potentially charging retroactive taxes. Most of the Indian house holds are paying 3-5 years old electricity charges, because there was a mistake in calculation 3-5 years ago.
Also "no guarantee" that the asset will be on your name after an year;

Finally, limited legal ways to bring back money to Singapore or overseas. If you can, then extremely high taxes (30% tax on rental income/interest income on NRO accounts), or 10% spread Forex rates through banks.

My conclusion: Invest in Singapore or some other 'safe' markets. If you can take risk for higher returns, then invest in US. or go Forex markets.

Real estate in India - Bleeding ground for locals. So as a foreigner what can you expect..

Friday, September 27, 2013

M1 200 Mbps Fibre home broadband speeds - measured by Samknows

WoW.. that's all I can say. NGN brought a great change to the market. I still remember the "student plan" in early part of 2000 which used to give 35 hours free Dial-Up for $20. Or the 256Kbps unlimited DSL for $55.

Now I am using a 200Mbps fiber connection and it comes with a 'unlimited' calls to singapore phones too. Oh yeah, a Wi-Fi router thrown for free as well. All this for $39 per month. It's slightly expensive compared to my original $31 plan for 50Mbps but I see it's a good bargain. The Wireless router costs atleast 50 in market and if I take it over 24 months contract period, it's already 2/month. So effectively I am paying ~$37.

I've a throughput measurement device at home, thanks to IDA/Samknows and below is the screenshots taken. As you can see the speeds to local content hits almost 200Mbps. Not only the automated tests, but when I try to download from microsoft or Google documents, I can hit 170-180Mbps which is more than sufficient.

So some tips.


  • First and foremost, make sure there are no Fast Ethernet equipment that limits your throughput to 100Mbps theoretical max. Every thing must be a min Gigabit Ethernet or GigE that can run at 1000Mbps.
  • Check your Router, Computer NIC card etc
  • Most important / often missed. Physical cables. If your LAN cable is cat-5 then that's another bottle neck. Min Cat5e or Cat6 is needed
  • No Wi-Fi. My Wi-Fi gives me a max of 120Mbps but again that's not consistent. I've attached a Wi-Fi heatmap of my home and you can understand why I can't hit more than that ;)
So that's all. I don't plug in my notebook all the times to a physical cable but this is good enough speed for me on Wi-Fi. 

Only grouse with M1 is the billing system. Over the 26 months of relation, I had more than 5 billing issues. It's minor ($2 or 1) but it takes away the confidence. That's all folks..






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Youtube background play in iphone - IOS 7

Back in IOS4 or 5 days, this is an interesting use for youtube. i.e. let youtube run in the background while keeping the phone in your pocket. In this way many music videos, or music lists can be enjoyed. One might wonder why there is a need to do and suggest to use Apps like Pandora or other streaming services.

But this is pretty popular in developing markets like India, Indonesia etc. You can find Hindi music compiled for 2-3 hours or all hit songs in a playlist as typically the streaming services are not available in these countries.

So now with IOS 7, this is a cool development. If you are using youtube in Safari or Chrome, then it lets you use in background. Just click home button (the play black stops) then bring the control center (swipe from bottom to up) then press the play button. That's it. The music / stream starts in the background.

Happy listening folks.

Monday, September 23, 2013

SingTel Rewards - New program launch. Basically it's removing their loyalty program

You might have observed the changes to SingTel Red rewards, through their website or SMS push.

Come August 2013, you can look forward to a fresh new rewards programme. In the new programme, you can enjoy a variety of exciting lifestyle treats that would appeal to everyone in your family, every month. This is our way of thanking you for being with SingTel. Look out for more details at www.singtel.com/red.

Now, the so called "new programme" is nothing but removal of their existing program and saying that you guys suck for being SingTel "loyal" customers. On the other hand their CEO-Consumer and their Optus MD seems to have focusing on "Customer retention" and NPS which means giving more value to loyalty. Also during their conf call in August, they stated clearly loyalty is important and it costs more to get a new customer than retaining one.

However the 'walk' seems to be totally diff to the 'talk'. So now SingTel expects you to chalk-up bills worth 250 every month to quality for their 'elite loyalty' program. Rest of the bunch are just a losers. So if you are spending 200 every month then you are not a good customer in their eyes and doesn't warrant any loyalty bonus.

It's no wonder as SingTel loyalty program was the worst five years ago with their red rewards program. Also they don't even bother to "keep" you as their customer after your contract. They simply charge "existing price rate" and force you to sign up new contract.

If you look at StarHub or M1, they are no saints but atleast I've received mailers, e-mails and calls when my contract is about to expire. StarHub even sent me a voucher to use it in their store. that's a good gesture.

So now I am using SingTel only for my mobile and chalking up bills averaging 150 for the last three months. Now it's high time for me to go back to M1 or SH and enjoy some bundling promo. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Samknows - Singapore

If you guys ever visited Hardwarezone forums, you might have seen a very active thread on Samknows. It's
here
Samknows - Singapore Campaign

It's really a great tool which can monitor the internet performance of your residential broadband. This gives the theoretical maximum throughput you can expect and nicely put in a graphical format.

But I've only one problem. Which is the feedback loop. When I feedback or complain about packet loss, or slow throughput with my ISP, it's almost the same answer from them.

"Internet performance can be subjective and varies greatly with overseas server".

Common my dear ISP friends, customers are not idiots and they are technically pretty good these days. So better prepare some answers or try to entertain instead of shooting them down with some standard answer.



Friday, September 13, 2013

The Big Bang Theory - Sheldon T-Shirts

If you guys like or fancy getting the t-shirts from BBT, then you can give DX a try.

http://dx.com/s/big+bang+theory

Cheap, good quality and most importantly free delivery world wide :)

Change of Credit card rules in Singapore

Source: CNA

In a nut shell, the new changes are


  • Limiting the 'credit' to 12x months of income across all credit cards, credit lines (and all unsecured credit)
  • If it's hit then no more 'credit'
  • Banks need to ensure it.
More info, check MAS website.

But I feel the 12x months income is still pretty high. Most of the unsecured credit facilities charge "2% per month" or around that period. So for example, if a person takes 12x months, then he would end up paying almost 24% of his monthly pay for "interest". Not even minimum balance. If we take a fair assumption of $50 then it still stays around 25% for "credit card payments". Then what about others?

I would guess MAS to further tighten this and IMHO, keeping it to 6 months or lower would be better. Especially with the 'high' interest rates.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Times Points - TOI or Times Of India new reward scheme

Source: here

Below the FAQ copied from website. It is a good and somewhat different idea to bring traffic to website. I am sure there is significant difference as based on number of comments posted and the not bad points.

So the idea goes like this.


  • When you visit an article you'll get 1 point. 
  • For comment 5 points. 
  • When someone likes or recommends another 1 or 2 points. 
  • Facebook or Twitter share will get 5 points for each share
So if you post average 20 comments a day you may get 150 points (assuming 20x1 for visit + 20x5 for comment + average 1.5 likes or recommend). So in a month you'll get 4500 points and you can redeem gifts. For example Adidas 3x deo is worth ~5200 points. In the market it's going for ~500. So approximately 1 poitn is 10paisa or 10 points = 1INR.

Not a bad deel as it can pay for your broadband bill :)

But the downside is the system is very buggy. Many a times, you'll see the points are not getting updated, your login is not loading, or the system asking you to confirm email address multiple times etc.

Still worth a try if you spend lots of time reading news. By the way one tip is make sure you've adblock installed on your firefox/chrome. Their model is simply based on ad prints or ad revenue so the site is filled with ads. 

_______________________________________________________________________________

Frequently Asked Questions
Earning Points and Badges:
Points and Badges will be awarded for various activities performed on Timesofindia.com. These include reading articles, commenting, watching videos, linking your profile with Facebook and Twitter accounts and subscribing to our daily newsletter. Points accrued on the Times Points program will soon be redeemable against exclusive deals on the Times network.
Expiry of Badges:
  • When you reach a particular level within a badge, you will get to keep it for 12 months.
  • If within those 12 months you cross to the next threshold, you will move to the next badge level.
  • However, after 12 months, you can lose your badge in case of a drop in your activity on the site.
Points Credit:
Badges and Points will take a maximum of 90 seconds to be credited to user accounts. In case of the Wordsmith badge, points and badges will be credited after user comments are published on Timesofindia.com.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Latitude - Dead and no alternative.

Finally Google killed Latitude. I loved it because of its capability of background updating of location and sharing with freinds and family. Ofcourse, I love the "trips" and "distance to moon" which was wonderful. You can still see it as part of the "location History" in Google search app on iOS or Web Page. Just search for Google Location History or simply login here. . You can see all your previous data there.

https://maps.google.com/locationhistory‎

But what I am missing is the 'sharing'. i.e. my friends, family can see me where I am or I can see the location in real time. Especially useful when we travel on business or on an extended holiday.

I think as part of it's product strategy, google targeted plenty of applications which doesnt really fall under "social" net and started to integrate all the apps in to Google+. May be good for Google, but not too good for me.

For the alternatives, I see Google+ auto update which will be coming to iPhone in September as the one alternative. Other than that, I don't think I've any other stuff. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

India - Super power or to be a failed state ????

No mood to write but the way Indian are becoming, I have strong doubts that India can ever be a super power.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My SingTel application - Good and fine example of what TELCO's should do

Point your browser here.
http://info.singtel.com/personal/apps-tv/apps/my-singtel


SingTel just launched a revised app and this is a Hit. Finally it seems our telco's are learning what Customers are looking for. Instead of selling their own stuff, now Singtel tried to share what we, the customers are looking for.

So instead of 'singtel offers' in old apps and web pages, the App shows how much data been used, how many minutes consumed, how many SMS been sent during the current billing period. Below are some screenshots captured from iTunes (hope it's legally ok to post it here).

Great job SingTel.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Obesity of nations (?) - United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study.

Source: FAO

I am quite surprised to find a mix of wealthy and poor nations at the top. Most of these nations are from Americas or Middle Eastern countries. Could be due to diet habits which used to be high on carbs, fats with little work.

Ofcourse, I did expected India, China and other South Aisan/East Asian countries to do well in this area. South Asia mainly because of "average out" reasons (i.e. India has got too much obese folks compensated by too poor people who can't afford a good meal or simply malnutrition), while East Asia due to their food habits.

Anyway the PDF file can be downloaded from the above website but I've copied it to Google Docs in Excel format for easier sorting. (hope it's not illegal...If it is plz let me know through comments section and will remove it.)

Google Docs Link


Google is killing Latitude

Source: Google

Google Latitude will be retired on August 9th, 2013. Products being retired include Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android, Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, the public badge, the iGoogle Gadget, and the Latitude website at maps.google.com/latitude.

Guess, Google is killing all those apps which are 'cool' but doesn't make much money to them. Reader was gone and now Latitude. Don't know but being a loyal fan of Latitude I am gonna miss it. I've started using Facebook locations (private checkin) especially to keep the record of specific locations, interesting places at new destinations etc.

May be time to look in to Google+ when it's available on iPhone. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Singapore TDSR Rules impact on your property purchases.


I don't know whether the TDSR rules would have an impact on the market. Seems I am surrounded by cash rich millionaires who are on a spending spree. The property values almost tripled or doubled across the country. I saw a document in Today which tried to do a simple calculation on the TDSR. So I thought I'd help the author/today by adding a excel file.

So here is the Google Docs link.

This is shared as a public link so you can use it. Of course usual disclaimer applies. I am not a financial expert, and this is purely for a very very basic understanding. You should talk to a financial planner or bank to get a clear picture. the data is only a very high level estimate and i may be totally wrong with my formulas.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

ITES Industry woes in India - Now the low end 'moat' is gone and it is a matter of time before it hits other areas.

Source: CNA

Here is the summary:

India was, at one time, considered the call-centre capital of the world, but it has since lost its status to the Philippines. Some analysts are of the view that India can regain its status, with government support and by giving people the right training.

Now, the big challenge is not really due to the "government support" but more structural issues. Whether it's the non-stop growth in wages in the last decade, or almost nonexistent infrastructure, or the people attitude of get rich quick which, or near zero growth in productivity, or the overall experience or blame the acceleration in globalization bringing more nations to the market, end of the day the market is in dire state. 

Based on Assocham numbers, the new jobs generated dropped by 2% in April-June quarter to 125,000. This is 4.3x the time of Singapore with a net 28,900 addition on Q1. Well, I don't know about numbers from USA or China or Philippines but the number looks dangerously low. It could be only the number from 'tracked' industries or specific cities, which I am not sure but still based on the details in Assocham press release this shows across all metro's, tier-2, and even tier-3 cities.

In my opinion, the key problem is productivity, lack of innovation and more importantly the "service culture & professionalism" which unfortunately not well maintained in Indian industry these days. The "chalta hai" attitude is not only killing the public sector but started to show the dangers in private sector. What we need from industry bodies like FICCI or ASSOCHAM or NASSCOM is to bring back the professionalism and show the value to the Customer. Then all these short falls associated with culture or accent will disappear without any issue.

Philippines, you guys have done a great job. The best thing is we can see it and experience it. Be it the simplification of VISA, or the industry or the regulation. Ofcourse, there are plenty of things to improve but the initiation can be seen and it is good news for all pinoy folks. Cheers..

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pasar malam @ Ang Mo Kio

WoW. After a long time, I am seeing a pasar malam @ AMK Ave 10. Couldn't stop but here goes couple of snaps.




Friday, June 14, 2013

Mapping with Google - Now I am certified by Google ;)

Here goes a certification from Google which is cool ;)


This is a certificate, I can keep with my years old (mostly expired) certificates from Novell, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Redhat, PMI, ITIL, BCP-DR, TOGAF/OpenGroup, & GOI

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Indian Rupee at all time low. Is it due to USD strengthening ??

If you are following the news, you must have seen it. If you are some of those Indians, who are out of India and doesn't have to worry about happenings in India then you are a luck person.

The news is 1xUSD = 58.98 INR. 

For majority of the Indians, the impact is bad. Even for those folks who are working outside and sending money with a grin need to be worried. Just think about it. The same 1xUSD used to buy a full breakfast in 2005 @ 35 rupees. Right now you are lucky if you can get a good coffee @ 58 Rupees. So numbers may look high in absolute value but the buying power has gone deep down.

So I am hearing this time, the problem is not with Indian rupee weakening but USD strengthening (???). I have no idea on what is doing what and I do believe many of these analysts speak  hind sight.

So what I tried is to match this with another currency. Not Euro or AUD which has seen some downs and ups due to various factors. I thought I'd compare with SGD as SGD is pegged with a basket of currencies and the variations with other currencies are not that great.

Below are the 10 year charts with Indian Rupee (INR), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Philippines Peso (PHP), Russian Rouble (RUB), Chinese Yuan (CNY), Indonesian Rupaiah (IDR) Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) & Brazilian (BRL).

So if I see the variance over 10 years, we are the 3rd worst performing currency compared to SGD. The bottom two are war ridden Sri Lanka & forever corrupt Indonesia. Most of the currencies like Peso, Ringgit, did better..

MYR 23%
PHP 29%
CNY 39%
BRL 64%
RUB 66%
INR 82%
IDR 83%
LKR 102%



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

M1 Fiber Broadband 200 Mbps + Mobile Broadband 1 GB Promo @ SGD 39

It's time to re-contracted my home Fiber broadband. It's not a great comparison work for me (you might have guesses which camp I went for as I shared few times in the past about my experiences here, here & here) and I tried to get the cheapest among big telco's. Again, M1 is attractive and lately I am quite impressed with the improvement in Customer Service. I had a very bad experience with their call centre but now a days it's a matter of seconds(or less than couple of min) before some one attends the call.

So the offer is 200 Mbps home fiber, 1GB mobile broadband, free digital voice for home landline & a Linksys free Wi-Fi router. All at SGD 39 per month.

It was great and I signed up over telephone / online for this two days ago. Opennet is still a pain in the XYZ, as the earliest appointment is in early July. Anyway, I've got the free router and data SIM delivered to me. So I tried to check whether the data SIM is working fine, and I tried it in my 2nd Dual-SIM Phone.

Now the funniest part. The moment I restarted the phone, I've got a call from a telemarketer from Prudential.  I've no idea how the hell they even know this number. I havent even checked the number as I thought it's a data SIM. So I checked and found the number on SIM card cover, then I tried to make a call. Yeah it works surprisingly. Seems M1 didn't blocked it unlike SingTel.

Which means, you can use this as a 2nd mobile line or spare mobile line ? But there is a caveat. The charges are damn expensive. According to M1 the voice calls & SMS are charged for both incoming & outgoing. Below are the rates.

Local Airtime Charges
(Excluding Mobile Broadband V plans)
Peak Hours (Mon - Sat, 9am - 9pm)
1st min. at 21.4¢, 2nd min. onwards at 10.7¢

Off-Peak Hours (Sun, Public Holidays, Mon - Sat, 9pm - 9am)
5.35¢ per min

Charged by 1st min. block, followed by 6 sec. block

For me, it's good and bad. I can pass this SIM card when my close friends travel to Singapore, or use it as spare.
But to be honest, I found the danger of getting anonymous incoming calls worse than the benfit. So that's where I called m1 to block or bar the voice calls completely. Be it incoming/outgoing. I can still use this for Data and my trusted VoIP softwares like Fringe, GV or the all time fav Skype would be enough. Who needs a CS connectivity :)

Now looking forward for the Fiber connectivity to home. Will update in next couple of weeks time :)



Monday, June 10, 2013

Customer Service in India - Need to learn one or two things from neighbours in Asia. btw, avoid makemytrip.com. It sucks !!!!

Recently, I've been travelling to & within India. I've decided to use www.makemytrip.com, which is supposed to be one of the better websites for travel arrangements. Within months, I received a mail from them saying they've upgraded my membership to "Royale". I don't really know what does that means, but I thought I'd be getting some privilege.

It was a nice experience so far but the problems started when I wanted to cancel one of my flight booking. I've called the "priority" phone number. The conversation goes like,

Me: Hello, I need to cancel this ticket with PNR number XXYYZZ.
CSO: Thank you for calling makemytrip. Let me put you on hold, while we verify.
Me: waiting..waiting
CSO: Do you have the reference number?
Me: Yeah, here is the PNR number. XXYYZZ.
CSO: ok. let me check.
Me: two more minutes hearing a stupid advertisement forcing me to listen what makemytrip offers
CSO: Thank you for waiting Sir. Could you share where is this trip to?
Me: I thought I shared the PNR number. Also I've dropped a e-mail previously. Could you check it. I have multiple trips to the same destination. So I do not want to cancel some other trip.
CSO: Sorry Sir, but I can't see your e-mail and I don't have your PNR with me.
Me: Faint !!!!!!
All this while, there was a terrible background noise. Added to that, I can't be waiting @ hold for more than 10 min. So I've told them that I'll followup with e-mail.

Another shock.

E-mail reply:

Thanks for the mail. We'll respond within 72 working hours

At first this looks like ok to me. Then I realized, that they $%&^*( taking more than 15 calander days to respond.

What the hell. By that time, my flight journey would have happened and I'd end up with ZERO refund. Is it intentionally playing with Customers or just day light cheating ?

I don't know but Makemytrip, you've lost a valuable Customer.





Advani leaves BJP


L.K. Advani, who made B.J.P the second largest party in Parliament decided to leave the party. I may or may not agree with his points but I do agree that people lost hopes on "BJP" & Congress.

The problem is these parties are seen as one and the same.  For example, the same BJP who ruled Karnataka for five years was no better than Congress (or rather worse than congress or caste based parties).

On the other hand, looking at Modi, it seems way above compared to the inept leadership at centre right now.





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amazon conversion rates - Better to charge USD to your card

While purchasing an item from Amazon, realized that now a days Amazon gives an option to charge in local currency. For details look here

But is it worth letting Amazon does the conversion ? Or let your local credit card does the conversion?. Initially I thought Amazon could do a better job based on the volume and it's good for them to get wholesale customers. It's a delta income for them on top of sale so they should make it as competitive as possible to make it a norm.

But unfortunately, for SGD it's not the case. There is a quite a bit of difference between Amazon conversion rate vs your local bank conversion rate.

Here is a screen shot showing amazon conversion rate for SGD which is ~ 1.3059. My credit card company charged me 1.2644. So Amazon charges approx 3-4% higher. If the order is worth, 1,000 you'd be paying close to $ 30 extra to Amazon for doing the conversion.

Not sure what is the practice for other currencies like GBP or EUR. If you guys know plz share :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Viber Desktop - Change of strategy?? or just can't afford to miss desktop


Source: Viber

I believe, finally things started to change and 'apps' from mobile world started to enter 'desktop'.

I always believe, there is a limit to mobile/tablets and replacing laptop/desktop would not be possible in the near future. It may happen in one day in the future but not so soon. Tab/Mobile are good to 'read' but to act, we still rely on notebooks/desktops.

So when I saw the announcement, it's kind of wow to me. Mainly we've been used to an application on Desktop, then eventually see it on Mobile. But this is kind of odd

I've taken couple of screen shots of the interface and looks pretty simple, and straight forward. No bells, whistles, and no "call out" or "skype out" functionality like where you can call landlines/regular mobiles.

 So it's still closed to Viber alone. I guess, we can see an option to 'pay' to make outgoing calls to regular PSTN or Mobile phones soon. Basically, this is where they can make some money from VoIP users. Like Skypeout or Fringout or even Google Voice ;)



Friday, May 3, 2013

APPT - Asian Pay Television Trust

Prospectus here.

In a single line - AVOID.  Yes, the yield 8.25 - 9.0 % looks lucrative and the business model sounds like "starhub". So people may jump in not to miss the opportunity. But when you see the assets which MIIF is trying to put under APPT, then you may realize :)


Asian Pay Television is a newly constituted Registered Business Trust formed to acquire its initial
asset, the TBC Group. The TBC Group is Taiwan’s third-largest cable TV operator, with more than
751,000 Basic Cable TV RGUs as at 31 December 2012. 

Then, the revenue/loss/profit number for the last two years is not very promising either. Though the margins are good the interest /finance costs are taking out all the money.

And their assets are kind of bloated if I're to calculate their nav. the intangible assets are close to 1.8 billions (or 89% of their total assets). Not quite sure what kind of intangible assets a cable operator can hold. Is it the 'license to operate'? Not sure and any way I am not an expert so I'll leave it up to the analysts and better informed people.

The cable industry or living room entertainment sounds lucrative but I see a very high risk in countries with good connectivity. Especially, SG, HK, Korea, TW etc. Reason, is Internet and once people start to use Internet streamed content the biggest margin squeeze would happen. It may not happen in this year but I feel it's not too far in future too. At the same time, the broadband prices are dropping YoY. So any increase in broadband share would be offset by falling prices.

So why should I pay $1 for a business making losses and doesn't have a solid future ? Is it for the 9% dividend? or trap?

* I may be missing the whole point here but this is my own opinion and I am not trying to induce someone to get in to buy or not to buy * ;)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SingTel website performance

A picture speaks thousand words...

I still don't understand why the local firms still so obsessed with flash. If you guys ever visit the websites of the two telco's you would find what I am saying.
Unnecessary graphics and tough on eyes. Not key board friendly, not intuitive, not updated (e.g. MIO MOBILE which is dead as per the customer service but still in the website), non-working google custom search, 404 errors.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

India - Structurally unsound and yet the country seems to be sleeping.

As days get passed my optimism about India seems to be going down too. I was @ Bangalore, once a Garden city, and dubbed as silicon valley of India or the next innovation centre of world.
Also for a couple of days travelled to Hyderabad, Pune & Noida. Most of these places are supposed to the best places. But my experience shows that these places are as good as any other Indian slum cities. 

- Buildings, Facilities are built as if it's USA or some large country with good infra. 
- Pay/ Service charges are equal or higher than welfare states. i.e. the hotel accommodation costed us ~300/night.(Corp rates and similar hotels @ BKK would be around 200)
- Majority people are just like as if it's 1800. i.e. no sense of urgency, cleanliness, commitment
- Worse of all, it seems $$$ driving every single aspect of life. India, China, or the old world is famous for the values it shared with rest of the world. But now, it's the opposite..

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SingTel Store & Share - Another me toooo service or any differentiator ?

Just got a message from SingTel that there is a free upgrade from Store & Share as I am their premium subscriber (?).
http://info.singtel.com/personal/internet/addons/store-share/detail

So I was curious on what made SingTel to believe they can go head-on with OTT players like Google Drive, SkyDrive, SugarSync & the ubiquitous Dropbox.

As expected it's NONE. There is nothing SingTel can do better compared to dropbox or for that matter sugarsync. Why should I even bother to upload my documents to SingTel even if it's free to me.

This is the biggest issue I've found with many of the TELCO firms. Especially in Asia where end subscribers are tech savvy, no point going with "me too" approach. If SingTel is thinking "consumers" trust a local telco compared to OTT player then sorry guys, I've to disappoint you. You are the same bandwagon (if not worse) and by the way I can't see your privacy policy details. I see FAQ but no privacy policy..

So is it the "SPEED" which SingTel is selling? If that's the case, may be there is a logic if the volume is high. For example 10's of GB. But if I've such a big data or huge data, I'd invest in a decent NAS and a backup disk. Also, the huge data may not be suitable to be stored as per T&C. And if you look in to the details, the terms of service, liability & Privacy is as good as a third party BV registered company.

So what is the VALUE SingTel offering and what am I missing here ? 



5.6 SingNet and SingTel Mobile reserve the right in its absolute discretion to suspend, discontinue and/or terminate (in whole or in part) the Service without any liability whatsoever to the Customer.

5.7 Upon any termination, suspension or discontinuation of the Service, all data stored by the Customer will be deleted and the Customer's account for the Service shall be removed and the Customer shall in no event hold SingNet nor SingTel Mobile liable for any such deletion or removal of data.


5.9 Neither SingNet nor SingTel Mobile shall be responsible for any loss of data or information pursuant to the use of the Service by the Customer.


8.1 SingNet and SingTel Mobile reserve the right to manage and control access to any computer or any SingTel system or any computer linked to any SingTel system and any data stored therein, in a manner deemed appropriate by SingTel, and to delete any data (whether belonging to, provided or stored by the Customer or otherwise), notwithstanding that such access and the storage of such data is a requirement or constitutes a part of the Service.


April Fool's Day statement from Finance Minister of India


"We are governed by the rule of law. We are a democracy. We have free press...We have a system of law and courts. Any dispute will be resolved through legal suit...that is what makes India not only an attractive destination but a safe destination."

If you are wondering about the person, then it's Chidambaram . He is visiting Japan and he made that statement yesterday . Ironically it's 01st April.

I respect him as an economist, but just like any other politician these respectable ministers, leaders are corrupted to the core.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google just killed Reader.. In search for good alternatives

What a terrible day to start with. The leaders at Google just decided to kill Google reader and the last day is 30-Jun-2013 which is around three months from now.

At surface it may looks like a typical cleaning exercise but I see the step is due to the not so great success of RSS (or failure ?). I tried to explain how RSS works to my Dad for months before I decided to just subscribe via email.

When a technology doesn't reach masses, it's obvious the life of it going to be short. Sad to say.

I am going to miss this reader very much and already started to look out for good RSS reader. One obvious option is "Flipboard", but it's a bit heavy. I will try Feedly & Pulse later today and see which one suits me the best.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Corruption becoming Public - Thailand Visa On Arrival at Bangkok

If you are one of those nationals who are visiting Thailand and hoping to get Visa On Arrival, yes you can do that. But at the queue itself you'll get a shock of your life. Perhaps this is the only place where I saw people asking for extra money so publicly and daringly it's a shame for the people.

There are two queues at the V.O.A desk. One if normal and the other is Priority. So Priority is supposed to be for physically challenged, old age folks and families with young kids.

For both queues the VISA Charges are "1000" THB only. But the moment you enter the priority queue, the lady at the counter would immedietly asks you to pay for 1200. If you refuse, the answer is very blunt. Go and queue at the normal line.

What exactly the Government of Thai doing here? I am not talking about some road side desks or remote public offices. This is the largest airport in the country where millions of people transit every day. What exactly is the motive behind simply ignoring this?

No idea, but my impression on BKK dropped by few points. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

India Budget 2013 - Making fun on international travellers with antiquated laws on Gold

You may have seen my views on the dated laws of India here. So Finance minister became sympathetic(?) and generously increased the duty free gold limit.

So now a male passenger can carry Gold worth INR 50,000 or INR 100,000 if it's female passenger. So India allows people(A country with extremely Gold obsession) to travel with 15 Grams or 30 Grams of Gold.

The problem with Indian laws is it still thinks as if we are in 1940's or 50's. It's more like a pseudo socialist policies that's killing the economy. The babu's think that by creating this kind of laws, they are benefiting the poor. Reality is this is where the problems happening with middle class and the masses are getting frustrated. Gov itself gives many means to make money via corruption.

Would be interesting to see how it'll end up when the Minister travels with his family.

Image Source: The Hindu

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Income Receipts (Budget) - Singapore vs India

Source: singaporebudget.gov & India

Here is a small chart showing the receipts breakdown. I've used 2012 numbers (may be will update with 2013 after Indian budget) but the % terms gives us why Singapore is doing a great job.

It is about the coverage of the tax umbrella and not to depend on borrowings.

Singapore is considered as a "low tax nation" and the taxation is pretty low compared to India. Be it the individual income tax (max 20% vs 30+%; but reality is around 10% vs 30%); Services tax (7% vs 15%); Corporate tax. Whatever we say India is way higher compared to Singapore in terms of tax rates.

Then why the revenues are low compared to Singapore? Answer lies in the coverage. :)



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Indian barber in Singapore

Not very sure whether it is ever felt to look for an Indian barber but today a friend of mine asked me for one. My friend is working for Shell and visiting from Nigeria. He really wanted to travel to Malaysia if he can't find one in Singapore.

So we started searching Internet but I kind of told him that the best place would be to just go to Serangoon Road / Little India to find out. We first did a google search to find but surprisingly we couldn't get with the search "Indian barbers" in Google Maps or Google search. It showed two places


  • Corporation Road, Jurong
  • Circuit Road, Macpherson

Another last minute search with " Barber in Serangoon Road"  in Google Maps showed couple. So we decided to go there. Weird enough, we couldn't find the saloon at the location. After a couple of queries around we found the location


Don't expect a great saloon with all the nice things around. It does the job and the best part is the nice head massage we got. @ $10 this is great to have the experience and now I know why my friends always miss it in Singapore. I see the Malay barbers around in the corner but the Indian barbers are quite rare.

If you are going there worth a try ;)

Friday, February 22, 2013

High Risk Apps - Verizon Wireless publishes high risk Android apps

Source: Verizon

Occasionally we learn about apps in the Google Play™ Store that might have serious negative effects on your device. Examples of these effects could be:
  • Loss of functionality (e.g., loss of data connection)
  • Unexpected high data usage
  • Battery draining 2 or 3 times faster than normal
  • Security or privacy exposure
This page lists apps that may be especially risky for you to use at this time. We work regularly with app developers to help them fix problems with their apps, and apps are removed from this list as soon as the issues are fixed.
One App I used and I concur with VZW finding is "Hill Climb Racing". With Mydatamanager, I found that it used close to 100MB in an hour. Not very sure why but it's a battery killer & bw hungry. Ofcourse addictive too ;)

It's certainly an interesting article from VZW and certainly useful for the end user. Wish SingTel can do something similar in local market. Or may be with iPhone too.

Networx - Excellent traffic monitoring utility

http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/


I know gone were the days when you need to ensure that your traffic volume is below the specific level. With the Unlimited plans, we no longer bother but seriously a good tool to watch out your consumption is always great and fun to have.

On the other hand there are still many developing countries (in virtual world or e-global standards) like USA (AT&T,  Verizon), Australia (Telstra, Optus) or many other European nations & Developing world (India national operator still offers 1GB limit plans /Month / $15)

So there is still a requirement to watch out for many of folks. I recall using a software called DU Meter long ago but stopped when it's became a paid software. Also the resource consumption went crazy on XP.

I came across Networx when one of my Director who is based in one of those developing countries (Australia) requested help. Basically he wanted to watch how much GB he is consuming across his home. Which means whether it's the 2x Desktops or Laptops or iPad or iPhone.

I simply told him to use SNMP to monitor the router port but end up to be the RG can't be monitored. Thanks IDA once again :) for making our lives much easier..

So the solution is to use Networx across the PC devices in a Sync mode. For Mobile devices use Mydatamanager then manually add for time being. I still prefer to use SNMP at the GW so told him to put another WiFi GW or a small SW to use..

I wish for a iPhone networx client but doubt it will happen any time soon. If there is that would make things much easier for families..



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

High Speed Rail between Singapore - Kuala Lumpur

Source: Gov.sg

"The Prime Ministers agreed to build a High Speed Rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This is a strategic development in bilateral relations that will dramatically improve the connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore. It will usher in a new era of strong growth, prosperity, and opportunities for both countries. It will facilitate seamless travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, enhance business linkages, and bring the peoples of Malaysia and Singapore closer together. Ultimately, this project will give both countries greater stakes in each other’s prosperity and success. The Leaders tasked the JMC to look into the details and modalities of the High Speed Rail link."

This is really a great news for Singapore - Malaysia. And this is exactly what is needed in the region. A small initiative before we can connect the ASEAN with high speed rail. Be it for people or goods.

Ofcourse, in the short term this is not going to be a great news for Airline operators. Especially Malaysian Airlines; But the world is changing and their once high profits're eroded by budget carriers. So sooner or later they need to diversity instead of milking the captive customers.

Will be looking forward to travel in the next 7 or so years to KL without having to start 3 hours early from home. Wish India and other countries can learn some thing from this. Instead of spending billions on flights/airports a high speed rail is what needed for the vast country.

Connectivity, Submarine Cables -

Here is an excellent zoomable map showing the submarine cable systems and lit capacity.

http://submarine-cable-map-2013.telegeography.com/


If you notice at the bottom, there is a significant increase in lit capacity within Asia (in general worldwide). The region around Taiwan/HongKong looks like bee hoon ;).
When it comes to India, the capacity still seems pretty much limited. The 5.12 Tbps Tata Indicom to Singapore; 8.4 Tbps i2i and SEM-ME-WE group seems carrying majority of bits n bytes. The new cable system BRICS (http://www.bricscable.com/) supposed to add another 15 Tbps in 2015.

Connectivity certainly shows the economic activity and this has been taken as an indicator in many occasions.
Below is a map which shows the connectivity-GDP. A bit old though still valid based on today's situation.

My point





Monday, February 18, 2013

Short Term benefits vs Long Term improvements

Source: CNA


It was an election promise in Thailand and it's a roaring success for the party. Basically it's a USD 3,000 subsidy for first time car owners in Thailand.

Imagine what would majority % Singaporeans think immed. Our Gov sucks. Why can't we increase the tax on foreigners buying cars and give the discount to us. This leaders are bad, they doesn't want us to get basic needs etc etc..

But this is what makes our leaders different to the rest. This is exactly what made Singapore to have such a vibrant and great economy and place to stay. This is why people look at us with such envious looks. This is why majority of world intend to learn from us.

Look at what Thailand did. The subsidy costs are approx USD 3 billions. Ofcourse leaders are claiming indirect benefits such as taxes collected, new job creation, spur the automobile industry. But what about the traffic situation in Bangkok? How many productive hours lost due to congestion? How much money in Tourism receipts gone?

How many accidents? Health care costs?. I'm sure this would easily outweigh any monetary gains due to the scheme. We can easily afford 3 billion. It's probably 1-1.5% of our reserves (2013 Jan - 258 Billions). But if it's our leaders, they would have upgrade the BTS or build new public transport services.

The Bangkok MRT costed USD 2.75 Billion in 2004. Given the current inflation BKK could expand with double the amount. The benefits are certainly higher compared to 1 million new cards on already congested roads.

Ofcourse, giving subsidies is a simple and easy task compared to building public transportation. And the latter doesn't really give 'votes'. Sadly this seems to be the direction Singapore people are going. i.e. Vie for short term benefits without understanding the world and dynamics.




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Idiocracy Movie - Guess the movie predicted the evolution. Atleast that's what I can feel

Wikipedia link

As shown in the movie, I don't think it needed 500 years but less than 5 years.

Why so much hatred towards people? Why people simply focus on rewards, entitlements but conveniently forget responsibilities?
Be it our friends in SG who doesn't want to see foreign workers here but want all the cheap labor; invest in all those third world countries so we can get dividends back.

Or the americans, or russians, Indians, Chinese. Whoever it is the attitude seams the same to me. Why can't we simply live and let live? Why ???

Today, I've seen one of my old friend who is working with with an american company, covering the region as sales head (e.g. India, Indon, Philippines etc). He was sharing his views on the immigration and for the simplicity sake, I can summarize his view. Don't give PR to any of them; Don't letem buy property here. Must rent from Singaporeans; Tax them higher compared to locals; No public schools to their children; Let them go to private hospitals. The point is at an individual level what would happen if the same thing happens to him.

Imagine, the Indonesians or Philippines firms reply with the same? If the US based company says the same, i.e. less pay compared to an american; less annual leaves; more working hours etc. What would be his reaction? I've no idea thanks to the established policies from HR/Companies. But what it would be to get in to that situation?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Power of Crowd, Social Networking, Collaboration - For a good cause

The CNY is a period enjoyed with all good stuff. Many folks doesn't want to hear the number '4' during these days.
However one family wasn't as blessed as the rest for couple of days. Their Child went missing on 09th Feb. Singapore is such an efficient country, things can be pretty fast and the info went up in hours. Singapore police force started efforts and also asked public to help. Then went in to Social Network. Yes, Singapore police does use Facebook ;)

The boy relatives started a website to do "COORDINATED SEARCH". This is where things get to start a real case of how powerful the concept can be. They started to use technology( i.e. google maps; social nw.) and result.

A happy & joyful Family on 10th Feb.

The Blog they started was still up here. http://tirisearch.blogspot.sg/

Google Maps for sharing the search effort. Google Maps

A screen shot of the Google Maps below.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Worldwide cost of living index 2013 - Singapore at 6th place

Source: EIU

Ok. I do agree Singapore is an expensive place to stay. But this report from EIU, simply filled with many flaws and the views are totally from a 'westerner'. There are plenty of reasons to say that Singapore won't end up in top 10 if it is normalized with local or asian flavour.

At the same time, I don't agree at all that South Asia is the cheapest place. As mentioned by the EIU themselves in the report,


Although India is something of a tiger economy tipped for future growth, much of this is driven by 
its large population and the untapped potential within the economy. Income inequality means that 
household spending levels are low on a per capita basis, which has kept prices down, especially by Western 
standards


The Worldwide Cost of Living is a bi-annual (twice yearly) Economist Intelligence Unit survey that 
compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, 
clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private 
schools, domestic help and recreational costs.


See, this is where the problem is. So don't pack your bags to India, as many of the returning Indians end up getting a huge shock. At times, they may find cities in India are more expensive than living in US or AU.

Ok. Let's look at the details for a couple of items.


  • Bread - EIU shows that Bread costs USD 3.25.
I choose NTUC prices as this is the largest super market where majority of people choose to do their shopping. So based on NTUC Online price it varies between SGD 1.91 to SGD 2.30 / KG.

From Coldstorage it's between SGD 3.83 (Gardenia White) - SGD 8.40 (Fruit & Nut loaf). So in USD terms the prices are no where near US 3.25 unless you take one that costs $ 10+.

  • Cigarettes & Table wine. 
I don't think this is a good way to compare. I completely avoid this based on our life style and this is not even something done by everyone.

The problem is when you try to look at a specific view, things look differently. If I try to buy a napa valley wine in Singapore, it'd be pretty expensive but the question is how many people drink in this hot sultry whether as a necessity item?

As many of our leaders say, the devil is in the details. Unless people see the full picture and get in to the details, there is no way the surveys can give a clear picture.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Testing with Windows Live Writer

After trying HTML (Which I admit still am a novice) for some time, I started searching for a tool and found out Live Writer. So this is my first test post with this. I really need a tool where I can do indent; insert images; tables (this is the most important one); Numbered lists etc.

First test. Numbered lists.

  1. Item 1
    1. Item 1.1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3
    1. Item 3.1
    2. Item 3.2

Second with Table

Title -1 Title-2
Content goes here Content goes here

Image insertion
Tulips
That’s it. Looks good Smile Best of it I can do offline work.