Saturday, December 30, 2006

My first Wikipedia Entry

I just written my maiden Wikipedia entry at It elaborates the role of a tuition agency, the differences between a tuition agency and a tuition centre, and also the problems faced by tuition agencies nowadays.

No wonder some people get addicted with Wikipedia.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Taiwan Earthquake victims vs Internet Connection disruption

Don't you find that the world is so funny at times. Take a look at the recent major earthquake in Taiwan which caused the Internet Connection in parts of East Asia to be disrupted or slowed down.

When people realised that the disruption was caused by an earthquake in Taiwan, they were panicked over the economic impact and the impact of the disruption on their daily routine. People were swearing over the slow connection and bombing the Internet Service Providers with queries and complaints.

What about the victims and casualties of the earthquake? Are they second to the symbol of the digital age?

Sometimes it just leaves one pondering whether human beings are going into the right direction.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Beauty of Katong Laksa

I simply can't forget the bowl of noodles. I believe I am addicted to it already. Yes, that's the Laksa of Katong.

You can find it in some Katong Laksa stalls situated along the shophouses near Katong Mall. There are several stores lining the shophouses. Several shops come with newspaper articles and photos with celebrities.

I went crazy over Katong Laksa when a friend treated me to a bowl over lunch recently...

Katong Laksa is served with just a spoon. The secret recipe lies in the making of the curry and the chilli. I learnt that Katong Laksa was originally a Peranakan dish and it didn't come with cockles. The present Katong Laksa includes cockles if you request for them. I like the taste of the laksa with the cockles. It is a great blend of taste.

A nice cold barley drink would be great to go along with Katong Laksa. I also enjoy an additional Otah.

No wonder Katong Laksa is a Singapore delicacy. I lived 20 years to discover this. Haha.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Siloso Beach Resort

Siloso Beach Resort is situated in Sentosa island of Singapore. It faces the Siloso beach where girls are clad in bikinis, people lying down enjoying a good tan, the sporties playing beach ball on the sand, where the preparation of the New Year Countdown party is going on.

As you stroll along the corridors of the resort, you can see lots of greeneries and enjoy the nature and the breeze that comes with it. I believe the resort is quite a new one. It is clean and natural.

The architecture of the building is unique in a certain sense. To preserve certain trees, the building was built in a way such that the trees are in the building. The blending of nature and man-made structures make the whole concept a very unique one. It gives visitors a unique experience when they see a tree out of nowhere.

The swimming pool is a scenery. The swimming pool is cascaded into the baby pool and the adult pool. A man-made waterfall looms over the baby pool, where some young kids are wading and playing on the 2 slides. Parents sunbathe nearby, seeing that their children are entertaining themselves.

In the resort suite, one will be mesmerized by the view from its window. It just reminds you how close you are to Mother Nature. If the accomodation and the environment have been perfect, wait till you engage the room service. My experience with the staff at the hotel had been a splendid one. They react fast to demands and are willing to go out of the way.

Kudos to Siloso Beach Resort and staff

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Touring Internet Cafes

Internet Cafes litter the streets of Katong. After a sumptous appetizing wonderful bowl of laksa, my companion and I visited the cafes.

The Internet Cafes faced intense competition among each other such that they have reduced their prices to S$1/hr. They provide solely the computers, with headsets and cameras, with satisfactory comfort. There is no difference whether you visit this or that cafe. There is no differentiating factor. This competition had led to a price war, which is the worst thing that could happen.

At Burlington Square, the Internet Cafes were more comfortable and conducive. Of course the rates were slightly higher, but the higher price is worth it. And yes, there was also price war but not as bad as seen from Katong cafes. The two Cafes across the street of one another around Burlington Square were competing against each other.

Generally, the receptionists in the cafes were cold. There isn't passion within them. This makes the users feel that they are really there only for the computer and the Internet. There is no experience factor in it.

Had a discussion with some friends over a business plan on an internet cafe. The discussion went well. I hope it really comes out into reality.

Returning the Blessing by Goddess Guan Yin

Went to the the Kwan Im Thong Temple at Bugis in the morning to return the blessing by Goddess Guan Yin.

My Aunt had asked for the Goddess to bless me for my two years of National Service. As it drew near the end of the year, Aunt got me to return the blessings.

The rain was heavy for the whole day. Luckily the temple wasn't that crowded.

We bought 5 apples, 5 oranges and 1 Fa Kuay (Prosperous Cake) to offer for prayer. The offerings were placed on a tray borrowed from the temple and then placed at the table in front of the altar.

Then I said my prayers. After a while, I collected the offerings and donated some money to the temple.

Learnt a new ritual.

Monday, December 18, 2006

We Care Tuition Agency AGM Preparation

Soon it will be the Annual General Meeting for We Care Tuition Agency. This means preparation for materials to be shared during the meeting has to be done.

The AGM is going to signify the end of the work year 2006, and the embracement of the new year with fresh goals and new directions setting. Everyone will be sharing their ideas on expanding the agency.

I have my agenda too. I find that I may have too many. I will be also taking this opportunity to share my new business plan, hoping that some of them might be interested in it and join me.

And if everything goes well, by next February, I'll be able to become a Director of my own firm. This is simply exciting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Business Opportunity Fair -- EAP Graduation

The Business Opportunity Fair at Le Meridien Hotel started at 1300hrs, 16 December 2006. About half an hour prior to the commencement of the Fair, our CRE-ACTION team went out of the hotel to start giving out our specially designed flyers.

Giving out flyers in shirt and tie is quite a fun experience. Beside me was an Indian man also giving out flyers. After seeing me approaching people and giving out more flyers than he had given, he came to me and asked for one flyer. 1 hour later, I returned to the Margaux Ballroom where the event was held.

On the way back, I met my Mother and my Aunt who had just visited my booth. Got two leads from them.

Worked through lunch at the booth, entertaining visitors to the booth. More than half of those I entertained were full-time national servicemen (NSFs). One visitor conversed with me for a long time, telling me about his plans to sell his health products. From various interactions, I gained quite a lot of insights into other's activities.

The whole event ended at 1700hrs. We generated around 50 leads, and S$80 profits for our team in the event. Overall, we earned ourselves S$9.85 each after weighing in the costs for setting up of booth.

Even though our team did not clinched the champion award, we enjoyed ourselves. When we retire back at one of the team member's office, we did a little of debrief and after-action reviews. We also agreed that we should meet bimonthly to keep each of us updated, as well as a possible discussion of team effort in starting up a business opportunity.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Handphone Number turns out to be TOTO number

Soon after reaching Singapore, I received a news that every digit of my handphone number turned out to be the winning numbers of TOTO (Lottery). The lucky person who bought would have earned S$40,000.

Luck is coming to town.

KL, Genting Trip 2006

This is the second trip to Malaysia in a month. However it is a different feeling altogether, perhaps, because of the companions that went together.

The trip started with an unpleasant incident whereby I forgot to collect one of the gift from the cab's boot. It was meant as a birthday gift for one of us. The dull moment dissipated as hours passed.

Even though it was a Monday, the Tuas Checkpoint was flooded with coaches. Just as we thought it was bad enough, we encountered the next major jam in Kuala Lumpur. We moved off at 0800hrs and we reached the destination at 1800hrs. 10 hours of journey is totally uncool.

We reached Royale Bintang Hotel, checked in and quickly had a dinner at Swensen's. The price of the food is half compared to that in Singapore. We noticed something interesting as well. The baked rice is wet in Malaysia but dry in Singapore.

Browsed a brief while in Sungei Wan Mall. Then, split up with the girls to return to Swensen's to get a birthday cake for the birthday girl.

Went back to hotel for some Mahjong sessions. Began to appreciate the game a little bit more. Then at midnight, one of us went to get the cake and came in to surprise the birthday girl. It had been a long day, so the cake went into the freezer and we closed in for the night.

The next day, we went up to Genting Highlands. The birthday girl got to know an economical way of getting there by taking a train and then a bus to the peak. Cost us less than RM10

We took this little ride as a kickstart. When I got down, I felt a little dizzy. The queues were long and we ended up with some brain twisting riddles to kill the time. Managed to solve some while still puzzled at the rest.

Luncheon is at Kenny Roger's. Affordable rate. Went on to a Ferris Wheel ride. From the ride, I noticed that the whole mall is decorated with some global significant buildings such as the Twin Towers of KL, the Big Ben of London, The Statue of Liberty of New York.

We also went for the bumper car. In the queue, most of them were small little kids. Some observations made were that there are actually kids that don't bump, but rather drive their way out to safe spots, and then encircling the rest

of the bumping cars.

Near evening, we went to the ride that defined the whole experience we had over there. It was a life-changing experience. An experience that emboldens one.

The ride is the tallest structure in Genting Highlands. It stood about ten-storey high. Each time, 12 brave souls are sent up to the top, given 10 seconds to view the scenery from above, and then scream as they drop all the way down within 3 seconds and get back up and down and up and down.

In the queue, I didn't think much of the ride. As I sat on the carriage, I began to ponder why in the first place did I place myself there. Soon, the park staff checked our safety belts and sent us up. I looked down. Nice scenery. You can practically see the whole Genting Highland from the top. Spectacular view. The 10 seconds of waiting was punishing in itself. Hugging the strap real tight, I awaited for the fall.

It occured just like that. My legs were raised up as the countering force pushed them up. The most terrifying moment I believed was only the split second when we drop. Because the 3 seconds are too fast to cause an impact. Felt some wobbly-ness when I alighted from the ride but I thought that was awesome.

We went for the ride again later on. All the same but just that this time the mist was thick. And I could feel the water condensing on my face on the way up.

Just when it was our turn at the roller coaster, the ride was closed due to the mist and rain. After some shopping and browsing, we took the bus back.

The next day, we went to Petaling Jaya thinking that Petaling Jaya was a shopping mall. It turned out to be a location. So we took a cab to 1Utama Shopping Mall and spent the rest of the day there. Evening, we went to Berjaya Times Square via a cab.

The cab driver was an interesting uncle. He shared with us his 20 years experience of driving a cab. He mentioned that most policeman aimed to be a traffic police because of the bribe amount that can be collected off the road. So most policemen will give their superior a few thousand ringgits to get their superior to post them to the traffic department. He also know of some top official at the traffic division that earns up to RM50000 just by collecting bribes.

Also, he shared with us the dangerous part of the life of a cab driver. He says a driver who have driven for 10 years will definitely face at least one burglary case in their career.

We watched the latest Bond movie, Casino Royale, at the Times Square. It was a midnight show. And then we made our way back to the hotel to continue playing mahjong before we slept for two hours.

The way back was a short one. Great trip, Great trip.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Art of Selling

Just discovered someone replied to my online ST forum letter. And he agreed to my point of view. Great kind of feeling now.

At the Exec-Directions office today, I attended a lesson on sales. Sales and marketing are the most profiteering division in any organisation. If you have the best idea in the world, but you do not have the sales knowledge, the idea will forever be only in your hands. Sales is useful in many areas of our life, so it is very important to know more about it.

Everyone was sent up on stage and to repeat some sentences showed on the projector screen. The purpose was to train up the versatility of the individual in tackling others with different characters.

I discover that I am not a very good sales person. There is much more to be improved on.

Yesterday, I got involved in a car accident. There was an old car parking at a turn left filter. So our car nearly hit it. Then, as we were turning right, the driver saw a taxi coming our way backwards, so he instinctively drove forward a little, but we still got bumped at the back.

We came out from the car. I stared at the car in front with vengeful vision. The car then drove off, knowing that he was in trouble. Useless figure.

The taxi did bump into our vehicle but it did not cause a single scratch or dent. Whew, what a ride.

Experience gained through selling Christmas Cards

After 3 weeks of sale of Christmas cards, I have received a considerable sum of profits. The profits weren't that crucial but it is the learning process that had occured.

It is my first major lesson in leveraging on other people's time and money. The power of leverage is immense. Wonders can be created from leverage. It is the fundamental principle in moving towards creating a successful system of business.

Another lesson is that accounting is a basic knowledge and skill that one will need when entering the business field.

Opportunities are abound.

Friday, December 08, 2006

EAP Flyer Design

This is the flyer design by my team CRE-ACTION. We were pressed for time and I came out with the idea of the Christmas tree. The idea of it all is that our team will be placing the cash and opportunities there, would you be the one receiving it at the bottom?

We clinched 3rd position, gaining S$50 for the team. Our very first profit in the the programme.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Getting Sponsors for Cre-Action Business Opportunity Booth

After being tasked from the meeting to source for sponsors for the team (named Cre-Action) booth, I set off with an open mind.

Big companies websites do not include their marketing and communications branch contact information. So therefore the only way to get to them was via the tele-operator. And so the chain of command starts from the operator, then being directed multiple times to other call recipients and finally reaching the yes-no person.

Sometimes I hit the voicemail. And I suspect the voicemail had not been checked for ages, or it had replaced a tele-operator whose sole purpose might just be to reject calls. Automation replaces the need for human at times.

Then I reached a staff who bothered to listen after some convincing words. I managed to email her a proposal for sponsorship. The odds of getting it is small but at least I got the message across.

Later, a friend of my Father returned a call handled by his secretary when he went to a meeting. I respect him a lot from what my Father always say about him. My respect for him is even higher when he even bothered to find out exactly what the business opportunity fair was about. Even though he's quite skeptical that his bank company could actually sponsor for such a private function, he said he will still put in effort in helping me.

And so, the excitement builds up...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

1st EAP meeting

The first EAP meeting went on very smoothly. The meeting place was in the Wee Luk Office where one of our member worked in. There were many timber products such as furniture around.

My eyes were drawn to one piece of artwork called "Ping2 Mu4" in Mandarin. I believe in English, it's called a screen. In the ancient history of China, families place screens to block the view from outside into the house by situating them facing the doors. I was especially drawn to this artpiece because it is a creation based from "Romance of the Red Chambers", a classic Chinese novel. In it there were the characters of the novel and also some poetries. It is not for sale. Too bad.

The other team members looked quite dreary from their day of hard work. 2 of them just came from a meeting. But everybody got focused on the agenda of the meeting and voiced out useful pointers. The Entreprenurial spirit.

Everybody was given his/her roles and responsiblities. We set off with the lethargy of the day but with the refreshed mindset of the evening.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mayor's Dialogue on Aging Population and GST

The Mayor of North East CDC, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed gave the Grassroots Leaders (GRLs) an insight into the government's view on aging population and the reasons behind the GST hike. It was a very easy-to-understand kind of presentation and it enabled the GRLs to have a clearer picture of the current situation.

Upon registration, I sat with some YEC members at the registration table for some chit-chats. All of the GRLs that I met were friendly and returned smiles and greetings. Overall, it was a warm feeling that they exude.

Soon, the mayor arrived and he then get the people at the registration table to actually introduce ourselves. He arrived on time. And then we went in to grab a seat.

The mayor signalled us to sit in the front row, where it was reserved for himself and some other senior GRLs. When I went to the front, he extended his hand out again and clarified my name with him. His effort in getting my name right impressed me. He could have simply thought he knew me and carried on his speech.

The Q&A went on after his speech. At 10.35pm, instead of asking for the last question, he requested for 3 more questions. This, I believe, is a very tactful way of managing the time issue. At the end of the dialogue, he stayed back for further queries.

This is an interesting Mayor.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Entrepreneurial Action Programme

This is a 2 day programme conducted by Exec-Directions.

I used to be doubtful of entrepreneurial programmes because I believe that entrepreneurship is either an innate character or it can be attained through real-life business practice and experience. However, this programme proved me wrong. EAP actually brought me through the idea of entrepreneurship through real action and sharing of experiences by successful entrepreneurs.

Through the course, there are many lessons that I've learnt. These include penning a good USP, sales and marketing techniques, how to start a business with no cost at all, and last but not least, the correct mindset of an entrepreneur.

EAP also provided a good oppurtunity for like-minded people to gather around and network with each other. I was glad to meet people of various positions such as CFO, Directors, Consultants, Designers. I also met a young boy named Luke. He had just taken PSLE and expressed interest in attending the course. I find his way of thinking rather mature and that made me the third youngest in the whole programme.

The programme ends on 16 Dec when every teams will set up booths at a business oppurtunity fair at Le Meridien Hotel.

It is always to start young, as many I met told me. Seems like the best part of your life is still being young. "Learn Learn Learn and you will Earn Earn Earn".

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Perceived Value and Actual Value

Perceived value of an object is the value derived from others' opinions. Actual Value is the innate value of an object. I am writing because I have heard this from Jay Abraham and some other speakers in the World Internet Summit 2006, and found this concept vital but often overlooked.

One of the participants of the Summit posed a question to Jay Abraham, saying that small companies have a hard time fighting with big companies. Consumers tend to squeeze the small firms by pushing prices lower and lower. His question was how to tackle this problem.

Jay Abraham gave a thinking look, looked upwards, and then said that one has to respect one's own value in order for others to respect it. Small companies need to respect themselves so that consumers will pay a good price for them.

When you actually see yourself as a valuable asset and are confident about the fact, then people will see you differently. People will perceive that you are valuable when you think you are valuable.

My tutor, Mr Terence Ong from Temasek Junior College, used to tell me a short story. It goes like this: Tom went for an interview. When the interviewer asked him what kind of salary he wants, Tom said $2k. Immediately the interviewer said okay. The interviewer actually wanted to pay him $5-6k for the job. But since Tom deemed his own value at $2k, the company would have just saved $3k for employing this person. And if Tom is satisfied with his own value, the company would continue paying him such an amount.

Self-respect and self-valuing are crucial and they make up the perceived value.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Immense Value of Giving Speeches

It occured to me that giving speeches in seminars do earn one a great income, but never did I know how powerful it can be. At the WIS 2006, John Childers presented the idea to me, as well as to the rest of the audience.

You see, speaking in public is a one-to-many sales technique instead of one-to-one sales technique. By doing a one-to-many, you can actually increase the efficiency of your sales and the credibility of yourself. When you show that you have the confidence to speak out and convince the crowd, people will develop trust in you even though they have never seen you in their entire living life.

So if they start to listen to you, and they start to like what you are saying, it will be easy to promote a product to the audience. When you compare a one-to-one selling, the odds may be about 10-20% chance of closing a sale. Whereas if you do a one-to-many selling, a 10-20% would give you a good portion of the audiences.

When training others to speak, these learners will eventually turn out to be great speakers in their own realms and regions. When this happens, they become living proof and testimonials of yourself. And your value increases, and people will start inviting you to give speeches at their events.

Finally, you will just need to speak once in a while to get your living expenses. What a great potential job it might be.

World Internet Summit 2006

Held at Expo from 25 November to 28 November, which sees many Internet Marketing Experts sharing their knowledge, is the World Internet Summit 2006. Speakers came from around the world. They included Brett McFall, Tom Hua, John Childers, David Cavagnah, Stephen Pierce, Andrew and Daryl Grantt, Rick Raddatz, Jay Abraham, Ewen Chia, Jo Han Mok, Fabian.

Of them all, Ewen, Jo Han and Fabian are Singaporeans. Ewen and Jo Han took up the Internet Challenge and earned themselves US$60 000 from selling online throughout the 4 days. How amazing Internet Marketing can be.

Jay Abraham gave a keynote address to the audiences on the first day. He speaks for up to US$25000 per pax in other seminars. He is a powerful speaker. Able to analyse questions and formulate a solution just at the blink of the eye.

John Childers won a landslide victory in a vote for the best speaker of WIS 2006. He trains speakers. For the event, he promoted his course by saying that those who joined him need only pay S$7500 for his S$45000 course as a deposit, and when they earn from public speaking, will he then collect the remaining money from them. This is an amazing feat of confidence.

I thought Matt Bacak was the best speaker. He gave a lot of useful information and insights to us.

At the end of the 4 days, I feel that I am 80% equipped with knowledge and just need the other 20% of energy to kickstart this income-generating source.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Maiden Post in the Straits Times Forum

This is my first letter to the Straits Times Newspapers. It did not appear in the printed media but I'm glad to see it online.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A health lesson

The second interview is more of a reminder that I am taking my health for granted. Health is generally dependent on three adjustable factors - food, exercise, sleep. I'm glad he made it sound so simple.

Also learnt something about magnetic therapy and some beneficial magnetic therapeutical products such as mattresses and pillows. It's a good-to-have and I will eventually buy one for my family members since they are important to me, and so are their health.

Flipped through the Straits Times forum. I believe my article will come out tomorrow.

Steering in the right direction

Finally, the Straits Times have got back to me over my entry to the forum in regards to the purpose of rewarding programmes offered by national transport giants. This was discussed in the previous blog entry. There are two possible follow-ups. One would be that the rewards are being sponsored. The other would be that the rewards were from the profits of the companies. The latter would then lead to a fierce debate in the forum.

Dispatched two teens to work. Gathered some feedback from them and discovered that business is good. Imported new goods. The future looks bright.

Went to a free internet marketing seminar. This was the best so far that I have attended. Registered for a course, organised by Success Resources, and received some bonuses. It is a 4 day course which sees all the gurus imparting their knowledge and skills. Did some networking at the seminar and also saw a SISPEC platoon mate.

The next day will start with an early "interview" to learn more on the products and services that the company provides.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Useful Recurring Advices

There are certain advices in life that must recur from various sources in order to remind, if not motivate one. These advices are in the context of proper planning for the future, having a proper mindset, methods of achieving goals, etc. These all lead to the word "success".

201106 Afternoon, I listened to what was the most enriching conversation I have ever heard from a stranger. Interestingly, the conversation was actually a job interview. The firm is looking for candidates to train them to be distributors for the main company. However, for the first interview, there was no mention of the products and services catered by the firm.

The job interviewer get ourselves to think and applied some concepts of thinking and planning to us. Throughout the 1.5hrs interview, he just conversed with us regarding the route to success. It was awesome. The next interview will be 3hours. I am looking forward.

This talk actually came at the right time. Acts as a morale booster for me personally, giving me the fuel to go on and endure this current mega map that I am drawing. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Purpose for Transport Companies to issue rewards?

I have just entered this topic into TJC forum because I find this topic very commentable.

See, Singapore has two major transport players. They do not actually face a true competition. Their buses and trains do not overlap each other's routes, and they actually serve different major sectors of the island. Based on this fact, it is hard to think that the rewards are given to retain loyalty of customers.

The rewards given are great deals. Prizes include free transport for a year, free overseas trips, etc. You can find this on some of their buses and trains.

Transport costs keep rising every year. If the rewards are provided for by these companies, is it acceptable for the citizens? The prizes only go to some lucky customers. Transport costs affect all. Surely they should pour such profits back into restoring their transport fares.

My next step is to contact the companies and see their replies.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Underage pornography

I have come across this link through a forum. It is a global support against underage pornography. Recently, this has also come in the form of advertisements on cable television. It is shocking to see the high numbers of children being exploited sexually. It is outrageous.

I've watched a documentary showing the prevalent children prostitution still existing in other parts of the world. The journalist actually went into the brothel and was disgusted by the dozens of girls being exploited.

It will take a long time for such exploitation to end. If we unite against such atrocities, I believe one day, the sufferings of young children in other parts of the world will cease.

Light the candle to show your support @ now.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The day George Bush came to Singapore

Early in the morning, I was surprised to see my brother still at home. Then I recalled that George Bush's arrival to Singapore has caused a change in the "O" Level Examinations schedule. After doing some work, I left home to NUS for a lunch with my girlfriend.

The book that I was reading, Singapore Burning - Heroism and Surrender of Singapore during WWII, was soon to be overdued and had been extended previously after a fine of S$2.50. The day before, I read the book till about 2am and then surrendered to the bed.

As I was reading on the train, a caucasian male, about my age, suddenly asked me whether the book was fiction. And that started the conversation for the trip.

He was accompanied by 3 others, all dressed with white shirt and black pants, each with a tie, and on their breast pockets were their name tags. On the name tag was the words "Elderly [Name]" in various languages.

They are voluntary missionaries that have come to Singapore for a tour of their service. While I served my 1 year 10months in National Service, they spent 2 years going around Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other regional countries to serve as missionaries.

Initially, I thought they would want to preach Christianity to me, but I was wrong. They respected me as a Buddhist and conversed with me about other matters. When I told them Bush was coming, they jokingly commented that there might be terrorists that want to blow him up. When they alighted at City Hall to transit to Newton to meet up other friends for lunch, I returned to my book.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Trip to Malaysia

Uncle Francis gave us a lift to Golden Mile Tower, the tower that houses almost every travel agencies that you can find in Singapore. We reached early but soon we had companions. I met a new friend. Her name is Su Ting. She's the daughter of my Mother's friend. Chat with her for a while, even though I am still half asleep. Found her interesting through the conversation.

Everybody else came earlier than the stipulated timing. So, once the driver was ready, we got on board the bus. The bus was a double-decker. Each seat has a monitor screen in front, with a gamepad and a set of earphone. The inclining controls also enable one to fully lie flat parallel to the ground. Cool.

My book "Singapore Burning" kept me company for the most part of the journey when I was awake. I am entering Malaysia while reading about the part where Malaya fell to the hands of the Japanese. The TV couldn't be turned on, probably due to copyright laws in Singapore. As the school holiday period has yet to start, the queues were not visible in any area. We cleared our customs and the Malaysian one rapidly. No luggages were checked.

We rested at a canteen in Yong Peng. In the book, Yong Peng's nasty experience was brought to light. Here, I met a Mr Su, a fellow Singaporean heading to Genting. After a brief chat, he passed me his namecard as he thought it was fate that we met. After a short brunch, we continued the monotonous movement towards the North. Along the way, I played some tv games like Batman, Demolition man, and got bored. Then I watched Tian Di Ying Xiong. And then zzZZZ....

We checked into Berjaya Times Square Hotel. The room arrangement and design was interesting. From the room, we can see the Twin Tower and some distant mountains. The haze obscured the nice scenery of buildings and mountains, and it fused with the faraway clouds.
Soon, we started our first activity in Malaysia. Beside the Hotel was a shopping mall. The shopping mall housed the world's largest Borders bookstore as well as the world's largest food mall (it occupied the whole 10th floor). Our first stop is the Cosmos Indoors Amusement Park.
Imagine having roller coasters spanning from the fifth floor to the tenth, merry-go-round, bumper cars, and other machines littering around part of the shopping mall. It is a creative concept and is something Singapore couldn't afford to do due to space constraint. I tried the roller coaster which had two 360 degrees vertical turns. The others were just usual games you can find elsewhere.

Next stop: Chinatown - Chi Jeong Gai.
We took a limousine cab (packed with 13 people) to Chinatown was packed with stalls selling counterfeits products as well as pirated discs on the road. There were plenty of stalls but most sell the same things as the rest. Soon it reached dinner time and our group dined in at a Chinese restaurant. Visited a shopping mall, bought confectionary products from Feng Huang shop (well-known shop), ate Herbal Jelly, waited for limousine cab...

Day 2:
Breakfast at Berjaya Times Square Hotel was satisfactory. Didn't eat too much, not much variety.

Toilet was cool. The last time I saw the thing beside the toilet bowl was in Shangri-la hotel Singapore. Luxury.

Next trip: 1Utama Shopping Mall.

Most Singaporeans always get a pleasant surprise when they first visit a Malaysian Shopping Mall. It is the equivalent of four or five local equivalent. Spent 3 hours browsing through the mall and getting what we wanted. Then we went for an amazing race.

Amazing Race: Steam Fish Head @ Chan Sau Lin

Shu Ting suggested a well-known steam fish head restaurant for lunch. Our group of 5 began our exploration. First, we took a cab to the nearest LRT terminal. We took the train to an interchange at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, transferred to the KTM Komuter train, and then transferred to another one to reach Sungei Besi. According to a brochure, the steam fish head restaurant was situated in Sungei Besi. Along the way, we met a Malaysian Indian, Balli, who was helpful and guided us to the destination. Balli worked in Zouk Singapore as a DJ before and I was heartened to hear that he would want to return to Singapore to advance his music career.

We walked around and saw a police station. Shu Ting and I asked the sentry officer and he gave a doubtful look. This was a Malay ground and any Chinese restaurant is not heard of. We are in the wrong place. Near the train station, when we were just about to give up the search and head back to the hotel, Mum suggested to ask a cab driver. We did so, and were rewarded with useful information. The restaurant was at Chan Sau Lin instead of Sungei Besi.

Reached Chan Sau Lin via train. Chan Sau Lin was 2 stops away from the station near our hotel. Time was around 1700hours. At Chan Sau Lin, we tried to get a cab but 2 Chinese cab drivers declined because it is illegal to carry 5 passengers. Then a Malay one came. He was glad to take us along. He drove to a petrol station and asked for the exact location and then drove us there. He quoted a price 150% more than what should have been the cost. We relented since it was just a few dollars more, and he got us to the place.

The Steam fish head restaurant was a run down place, a place I feel will serve good food. From past experiences in Malaysia, I had good food always from run down places. Our lunch and dinner cost us roughly RM50, cheap and good. We will not forget the location... Jalan Tiga, Chan Sau Lin.

After a brief rest at the hotel, Mum and I went to Sungei Wang, a shopping mall 15min walking distance away from Berjaya Times Square Hotel. With the lethargy accumulated throughout the day, we bought a few items and left the mall. Ate some desserts at Secret Recipe. Mum wanted to go try the KL monorail and so we went.

At Bukit Nanas station, we alighted and found a spot for us to photograph with the Twin towers. I wonder why the twin towers is called as such, because both towers actually differ in height. After a photoshoot, we headed back to the hotel... zzzZZZ...

Last Day: Going back to Singapore

Early in the morning, we had breakfast in the hotel again. This time, I felt bored with the food variety and only ate not much.

Went with the rest to search for some shopping place. Gave up and then went to Sungei Wan. Went back to hotel shopping mall to buy some items. Ate lunch in the world's largest food mall. The food mall spanned nearly the entire level. However, there are still many vacancies left. Each shop had a wide area to occupy.

Took some photos at the swimming pool area. Here, I met a new friend. He is Kamal, a Gurkha Security Guard on contract to the hotel for 3 years. He wanted to work in Singapore but could not secure a job there. But he will be visiting Singapore soon.

Journey ended at around 1900hours.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Operationally Ready Date

The anticipated moment of the year, the indescribable astonishing moment, has just happened. I am operationally ready. I can bear arms and fight a war now. I am a trained soldier.

After a year and ten months of not having a pink I/C in the wallet, after a year and ten months of fun and hard work, getting led and leading, getting faulted and praised. This is a next step in life.

Looking back, I remember vividly the unity of the section and the platoon in times of hardship, in strenuous exercises. The way soldiers encourage each other in hard times, motivating others to carry on the missions to complete the objective together as one. The way we relaxed while we looked back on the tough missions and laugh about it.

Now that I am a civilian, there are important lessons learnt from the Service that I can learn from to apply to a civilian context. And now that I am a civilian, it is time to start revving things up.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cashflow game

After giving tuition in the morning (not a very good way to start the day), I settled some tuition work and departed from home to Clarke Quay. I was on my way to learn how to play a game called "Cashflow".

After meeting with a group, we made our way to the Settler's Cafe. It is a I-think-I-have-heard-before-but-not-too-sure-about-it-kind-of-cafe. It is actually in a shophouse, amidst some heritage-looking corridor.

The cafe exudes a cosy and comfortable atmosphere, making it a conducive place for chit-chats and some relaxation. A brief look at the menu reveals set meals incorporated with the activities that are going to take place later. All the staff are attired in uniform with the words "I play game for a living, do you?". Good.

After we settled ourselves down, one of the guides (I would not call them waiters because that is just their side-job as far as I am concern) set up the board game for us and then briefed us to the rules and regulations of the game. This is an interesting game that can take you more than 4 hours to complete. It is educational as well.

The aim of the game is to allow yourself to be able to buy your dream, that you have selected before the start of the game. In order to buy this dream, you will need to get out of the "rat race". All players start in the "rat race".

Everyone is asked to pick a card initially and that card will tell what occupation are you having. For example, I got "Secretary". There will not be repetitive positions. Each card also states your income-expenditure statistics as well as the liabilities that you have. Every one starts off without a passive income. The only way to get out of the "rat race" is to get your passive income to be greater than your expenditure.

It resembles monopoly a little. You get to pick up cards when you reach certain boxes after throwing your dice. Then the cards will either give you an oppurtunity or a deduction of your money.

Although I nearly could have gotten a fourth or fifth position (I ended up getting 6th, which is also the last), I would say I have learned some key points out of this game. I have attended talks and read up books that mentioned about passive income and its importance, but it is in this game that left a lasting impression on me.

Our group is going to bring this game to more youths and hopefully, many will benefit important financial knowledge through this game. Cashflow game.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rascal-ity or Childhood

Children making a nuisance out of themselves in the public. Is that an act of childhood, or are they simply rascals? Sometimes it makes you wonder.

Some days ago, I was distracted from watching a game that my friends are playing, by a group of children making a nuisance out of themselves. I was at the bowling alley. This group of boys on my right tried to enjoy themselves by throwing two balls at one time to the pins. They then throw 3 at one time.

At one point in time, the technician working behind opened the cover just above the pins and scolded the boys, even though his volume is too soft. The boys continued nonetheless. A few times, the balls hit the metal piece that clears the pins. As they are playing at the furthest alley away from the counter, they got away with it, laughing and cheering themselves when they do the "tricks".

I stopped to ponder if this is a scene of childhood life or just simply rascal-ity as I call it.

From their point of view, they will remember this as a childhood memory, and they will laugh at it when they recall it. However, from our eyes, they are vandalising and creating a nuiscance out of themselves.

It depends on the extent of damage vs the importance of childhood memories for the individual. I have yet to determine the balance for myself. Wait till I witness another of such activities...

Monday, October 30, 2006


Just received an email from a new penpal. This makes my total penpals to be 6, of which only two are active. I have included the link of the site you should go to if you want to find a penpal. You can also list your site down for other people to look for you.

I love writing to penpals. There is a lot you can learn from them, including their culture, their values, their language, their tradition. Of the two active penpals, one's from Sri Lanka and the other New York City. I get my updates on the Tamil Tigers conflict with the Sri Lankan government from this source. Pretty cool.

Of course, some penpals can go overboard. I have this penpal that kept wanting to convert me to Chrisitianity. But I must say, this group of people remain the minority. And usually, some ignoring will solve the problem.

In this globalised world, it is even more important to learn of other cultures when you have the chance to. And writing to penpals certainly does help. In my emails to penpals, I also take the oppurtunity to "advertise" Singapore to them. One of them actually came to Singapore eventually and wanted to see me but I was in camp.

Emails have rapidly displaced traditional mails as the primary media for penpals communications. However, traditional mails still have the personal touch and feel which cannot be totally eliminated in a world still inhabited with humans.

Alright, time to return mails to my penpals...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting Busy

I'm going to get busy.

One needs to plan and visualise one's path in order to gain better enlightenment.

As I move towards my ORD date, more and more new ideas pop out -- ideas on the activities on the aftermath of my National Service, ideas on improvements on the current activities -- and these can confuse and retard the smooth flowing of life.

If life is a journey, then it should flow like a river, from its source and branch out into many small streams, steadily and smooth.

There are lots of things that I am yearning to achieve within this timeframe. I've got to achieve it!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Infant years

I was born into a wonderful family on 10 November 1986. At 1759 hrs, I gave out my first wail. I was chubby and healthy, which I would like to credit to my parents who took care of me since I was a foetus. Soon, I left Mt Elizabeth Hospital and entered a cosy HDB (Housing Development Board) 3-room flat.

I consider myself as very fortunate as a child. My Grandmother stayed with me and guided me cared for me. Grandparents normally live with their eldest child (normally son). However, my Grandmother opted to help my parents in bringing me up. Also, my Aunt stayed with me and was responsible in caring for me too.

I had a nanny too. She was a kind and nice person. She had a son who I played with when I was really little. Apparently, she had some flaws. My Grandmother noticed me not pooping regularly once. She reckoned that it must have been due to the late payment for the nanny services. After the prompt payment, my pooping cycle resumed.

Soon, I would have a new companion to play with...