Sunday, July 29, 2007

Investment Bubble 1 - Sub Prime Lending

Major Stock Markets across the world tumble recently. The market is looking for a chance for correction after 3 months of continual risings. The main culprit this time is the Sub Prime Lending issue in the US. What is actually this sub prime lending issue about?

What is Sub Prime Lending?
it is loans to people who have patchy credit histories or cannot prove their incomes.
The loans carry a higher rate of interest to compensate for increased credit risk.
This include Sub Prime Mortgages which these people borrow based on higher interest rate.

So whats the problem?
Many Sub Prime Lenders in USA have been hit by a rise in default rates, meaning fewer of their customers have been able to keep up with mortgage and loan repayments.
A slowdown in the US housing market coupled with rising US interest rates have also hit this sector.

What will be the repercussion?
Such defaults sent mixed signals to the economy. On one hand, it seems growing, on the other, many people are not able to pay their loans. Financial institutes may go bust, many people may become homeless and many housing jobs will be lost. This sector may go into a slump and many jobs lost. When jobs lost, economy may tumble.

What I feel?
This is a time bomb in the US. The default rates may not peaked yet. More may come later but many prefer not to see it as a major problem.
The world market will continue to rise after this correction. For longer term, it will depends how the Asian Economies grow and the political climate of the oil nations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yu Sheng - 鱼生 (2)

Someone asked me why I suddenly wrote about Yu Sheng when Chinese New Year is so far away. My answer is simple. "Because this is my favourite dish." Even my Rabbits love it.

In my 2nd part, I want to write about the words to say before tossing the Yu Sheng. I'm sure it will impress your friends in during Chinese New Year.

Step 1 - When dish is placed on the table. Say "Gong Xi Fa Cai", "Wan Shi Ru Yi"
(Congratulation and may you be propersous)

Step 2 - While squeezing the lemon over the fish. Say "Da Ji Da Li"
(Wishing you Good luck and blessings)

Step 3 - Place the fish over the shredded carrots and radish. Say "Nian Nian You Yu"
(Wish you abundance in wealth every year)

Step 4 - While sprinkling Pepper over the dish. Say "Hong Yun Dang Tou"
(May you have good luck at your doorstep)

Step 5 - While sprinkling Cinnamon Powder. Say "Qing Chun Chang Zu"
(May you be young forever)

Step 6 - While pouring the Peanut Oil. Say "Rong Hua Fu Gui"
(May you enjoy prosperity)

Step 7 - While pouring Plum Sauce. Say "Tian Tian Mi Mi"
(May sweetness enters your life)

Step 8 - While pouring the crackers. Say "Man Di Huang Jin"
(May gold falls at our feet)

Final Step - While tossing the Yu Sheng. Say "Yue Lao Yue Qi, Lao Dao Feng Shen Shui Qi"
(Toss higher and higher till the wind and the oceans rise up for a good year ahead)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yu Sheng - 鱼生 (1)

Taken from Wikipedia

A Chinese-style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish, mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. Literally translated, "yusheng" means "raw fish", though it can also be taken to symbolise abundance, prosperity and vigor.

The delicacy was invented 1,500 years ago in southern Chinese coastal areas such as Chaozhou and Shantou, during the Song Dynasty. According to legend, a Chinese female deity known as Nuwa (女娲) created mankind from clay and mud on the seventh day of the first month of the Lunar New Year. From then on, this day was known as the "Birthday of Man". It is believed that the fishermen and seafarers of ancient Southern China were very observant of this myth. On this day, yusheng would be prepared in feasts or religious ceremonies, not just to commemorate the event but also to show respect to Nüwa.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many of these fishermen immigrated countries like Malaysia and Singapore in search of a better life. They brought this traditional dish along with them.

Now, in the 21st century, "Lo Hei" -- tossing yusheng -- is a Singaporean/Malaysian Chinese New Year custom for families and friends to gather around the table and, on cue, proceeding to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes (吉祥话) out loud to mark the start of a prosperous new year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The incident about Li Hongyi (2)

Hongyi was charged for breaking the protocol and was given a reprimand after a Summary Trial. LTA X was court martialled for Awol.

10 points I like to write about this incident? "A bit of joke element"

1) There are actually a lot of snake eaters in SAF.
2) LTA X is foolish enough to eat snake in front of a White Horse.
3) There are always back-stabbers around us. See how the guards reported on LTA X?
4) A white horse better don't do anything funny. Sometimes they are treated like rock stars.
5) But, only a horse whiter than the rest dare to send such an email to all the army chiefs and Ministers.
6) Internet is powerful. It exposed the deeds of Hongyi without the media reporting.

This matter had also triggered my thoughts with regards to our so-called society elites

1) Do they have adequate EQ in handling people and problems?
2) Are they cultivating a perfectionist attitude towards the system? There are no tolerance for errors and all mistake doers must be punished.
3) Will they be flexible and street smart enough to do business when things in other countries are usually imperfect. Eg, some level of corruptions, need of entertainments, etc
4) Are they too sheltered? Many do not start their first job till 25-26 yrs old. They are put into a senior position right away. People under them may have to suffer under their rigid, inflexible rulings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The incident about Li Hongyi (1)

Li Hongyi, the 2nd son of our PM Lee Hsien Loong had received a lot of attention in the ST forum page and many political websites lately.

Let me share what happened.
Hongyi is currently serving his NSF as a 2LT in an army unit. The junior officers in the camp are rotated for camp duties where tbey have to stay in camp to ensure security and emergency readiness. The saga started with with such camp duties.

LTA X was supposed to be on duty on 20th and 22nd Apr. Hongyi was scheduled to be on duty on 21st Apr. Hongyi offered to change duty with LTA X for either day so that he can perform the duty for 2 straight days to minimize change of duties. Eventually it was arranged that LTA X do his duty on 20th and 21st and Hongyi on 22nd Apr.

On 20th Apr, when LTA X was supposed to be on duty, he told Hongyi to cover him till evening as he claims to be busy. At 4pm, Hongyi received his call, LTA X told him that he was on his way back for duty. Hence Hongyi left the camp.

On 22nd Apr, Hongyi came for his duty. He discovered from the guards that LTA X did not returned back to camp till 21st Apr 6pm. LTA X failed to report for duty on 20th and reported late on 21st Apr. He confronted LTA X for explanation but was given many reasons and excuses which Hongyi investigated and concluded to be untrue.

This matter was brought up to the Unit OC(Officer in Command) and LTA X was let off with a warning.

LTA X was scheduled for duty again on 28th Apr. On 29th midnight, Hongyi received an sms from the guards that LTA X's car was driven out of camp. He told the guards to search for him in the camp but he was nowhere to be found. LTA X only came back in the morning.

He reported his findings to his OC. LTA X was given 10 extra duties as a punishment.
Hongyi monitored for 2 months and found that none of the extra guard duties was performed.

On 11th June, he gets to know that a Corporal was awarded stoppage of leave for 7 days because he left his guard duty 1 hour earlier than supposed to be.

With frustrations of the unfair treatment between a Corporal and an officer. He felt that the officer was considered as AWOL (Absence without leave) for more than 24 hours and get such light punishment and worse of all, punishment not executed. He felt that the poor Corporal got punished more severely compared to LTA X.
He blasted an email across SAF which includes many senior officers such Chief of Army, Chief of Defence Force and our Minister of Defence Teo Chee Hian. News spread like bush fires to the public and many people are talking about it.

So what happens after that and how I feel about this incident? Lets wait for part (2).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS)

My 3 previous postings involves credit cards and how it can create a new urban poor for those who are not careful.

If you know of someone who falls into these credit traps, there is an organisation in Singapore that may offer their hands. It is Credit Counselling Singapore(CCS).

The idea for CCS began as early as 2001 when judges from the Subordinate Courts expressed their concern over problems caused to individuals and families by the rising consumer credit indebtedness. It was officially registered as a society in March04, registered as a Charity and become a member with NCSS in June05.

CCS has a 3 steps approach for those who seek their assistance.

1) Free talk on debt management and Services
2) One to One couselling session to assess situation and identify possible solutions
3) Debt Management Programs(DMP) for suitable individuals

DMP is a voluntary arrangement between Creditors and consumers where CSS help individual put up a reasonable proposal on how the debts can be paid over a specific period time.

CCS charges as of Jun07

1) Debt management talks - Free
2) One to one counselling - $30
3) DMP - $120 up to 6 creditors, $20 for each additional creditor

CCS responsibility is largely help work out possible solutions and negotiating with creditors on future repayments scheme. Your credit cards loans and interest "WILL NOT" be waived or reduced.

For those needing their service. Below are some of their info:

CSS Helpline - 1800 call ccs / 1800 2255 227 (9am to 6pm)

CSS website -

Let those around you knows about this organisation and help them early before its too late.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How to become part of this Urban Poor???

Common causes of indebtedness
1) Gambling - need borrow money from loan sharks, credit lines, friends, etc.
2) Careless Spending - Shopping, Cars, holidays beyond the size of their pocket
3) Bad Investment decisions - Failed businesses, declined property prices, etc
4) Loans to friends and relatives - Act as guarantors at times
5) Change of job and Income - Lower income, lesser OTs, etc
6) Too many responsibilities - Aging parents, Medical expenses, without adequate insurance, etc

How to solve credit card problem yourself?
1) Stop using all credit facilities
2) Pay on time - each late payment around $30-$80 per creditors
3) Pay the most to the most expensive facilities
4) Pay the most to the one with the lowest Outstanding amt. Try clear some first.
5) Pay more than the minimum sum everytime

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Do you belongs to the Urban Poor?

Writing about credit cards reminds me of a talk I attended with Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) recently.

There is a group of people in Singapore who abuses their credit cards and their salary are not enough to pay their loan interest. They caused extreme hardship for their families and they approached CCS for help. What is the profile of these people? Let me share.

Ratio of male to female - 3 : 1
Married with Children - 69%
5 Rm & larger properties - 51%
A Levels and above - 47%
Car Ownership - 20%

Average age - 40
Average no. of creditors - 6.5
Average monthly repayment - $1,400
Average take home - $2,700
Average debt outstanding - $69,000

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Credit Cards - What you should know

A slip was given to us whenever we applied for a credit card. You might be too busy to read through the slip. Let me summarise what in it...

A) Remind you that Credit card in not to be used as a long term credit facility

B) The 5 Questions you should ask yourself
1) Why I apply this card?
2) Can I pay in full every month?
3) If I rollover, can I pay the charges?
4) Do I know the terms and conditions for using the card? Eg, Late penalties, interests, etc
5) What bank can do if I fail to settle my overdue payment?

C) The 10 Questions you should ask the bank
1) What is the membership fee? If under promotion, when will it end?
2) What is the minimum payment every month?
3) What is the interest on outstanding amount?
4) What interest and charges if I did not settle my minimum amount?
5) What charges if my payment, via cheque or Giro fails for whatever reason?
6) Can I take cash advance on my Credit Lines? What charges I have to pay?
7) What if I lose my Credit Card?
8) If I lose my credit card, what are my liabilities for unauthorised purchases?
9) What is my credit limits?
10) Will I be informed on any change in terms and conditions for usage of the card?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Marriage. Before and After...

Before the marriage:

He: Yes. At last, it was so hard to wait.

She: Do you want me to leave?

He: NO! Don't even think about it.

She: Do you love me?

He: Of course!

She: Have you ever cheated on me?

He: NO! Why you even asking?

She: Will you kiss me?

He: Yes!

She: Will you hit me?

He: No way! I'm not such kind of person!

She: Can I trust you?

Now after the marriage you can read it from bottom to the top!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What Health Insurance do I need???

* All medical expenses paid - Medical Expense Insurance.
Example => Medishield, H&S Plans

* Fixed amount of cash for each day stay in hospital - Hospital Cash Insurance.
Example => Hospital Benefit Riders

* Reduce financial burden when diagnosed with major illness - Critical Illnesses Insurance
Example => Normally in form of Whole Life or Term Policies that cover 30 Critical Illnesses

* Protect your income when you are unable to work - Disability Income Insurance
Example => Normally come in form of term policies to cover this area

* Old aged care services when too old to look after ourselves - Long-term care insurance
Example => Eldershield

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fast Facts about the Aedes Mosquitoes

My place, Pasir Ris Dr 4 and 6 had became the hottest Dengue site over the past 1 week. I'm lucky not to be bitten yet.
What exactly is Dengue Fever and who is the culprit? Lets check out!!!

What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue Fever is an illness caused by infection with a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes are identified by the black and white stripes on their body.

Life Cycle of an Aedes Mosquito
Eggs to Larva - 1 day
Larva to pupa - 4 days
Pupa to Mosquito - 2 days
Mosquito to lay eggs again – 3 days

Some Quick Facts about Aedes
1) Only the female Aedes mosquito bites as it needs the protein in blood to develop its eggs.
2) The mosquito becomes infective about 7 days after it has bitten a person carrying the virus. 3) Peak biting is at dawn and dusk.
4) Average lifespan of an Aedes mosquito in Nature is 2 weeks
5) The mosquito can lay eggs about 3 times in its lifetime, and about 100 eggs each time.
6) The eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for up to about 9 months, after which they can hatch if exposed to water and food
7) There is no drug for Dengue Fever. Recover depends on you alone.

Dengue Hotline:
1800-X-DENGUE (1800-933 6483) or 1800-333 7777

Monday, July 2, 2007

How to Succeed in Life

Find this quite interesting.

When Someone told you that you can't do something?

Look Around!!!

Consider all your options...

Just GO for IT!!!

Use all the things GOD gave you!!!
Be Creative

In the end, you will succeed and prove them wrong!!!

When there is a will, there is a way!!!
Just DO IT!!!