Sunday, August 31, 2008

Never Allow Devotion to turn into Desperation

Have you ever got yourself so passionately devoted into a certain activity that you become over-obsessive and then desperately seeking to have it fulfilled?

This predicament/syndrome/scenario* usually casts itself upon individuals who just embarked on the activity. The stages of the desperation-poison set in slowly through this cycle:

Upon introduction to an activity that intrigues you, you go through the first process of Information Gathering so as to feed your curiousity. When you finally collated sufficient information, you will then set certain benchmarks or standards (2) when performing the activity. In some cases you might also set goals to achieve a desired outcome.

As and when you have committed yourself to the activity, you devote (3) your time and effort in it. No obstacles could stop you because you have the Passion to complete the process.

Many of us tend to restrict ourselves to achieving such high standards that we over-commit and become overly obsessive (4). We are blinded due to the fact that we are so heavily involved to what we are doing that we get led by the nose. After realising that we are sinking in too much, we then rise up and set new goals and standards(5).

However, we would sometimes fall again into the trap and repeat the process of (3) - (5).

Experience prevents the cycle from repeating endlessly. Recently, it took an individual who had 20 years of experience in the trade to enlighten myself.

So How to Never Allow Devotion to turn into Desperation?

Referring back to the diagram above,

Step 1
Information gathering should encompass the "failure" component of the activity. For instance, find out the risks involved in investing in a certain industry, or what are the possible fallouts if you were to embark on a business.

Step 2
Goal Setting should not just be positive, but must also include the negatives. Knowing what you want to achieve gives you a high standard. However, there must be limits. State down what you would never do i.e. will not sacrifice family time for soccer.

Step 4
Realise that when you set your goals stating down what you would never do for your activity, you have already set the boundaries. You will thus know when you should stop working on the activity so as to not burn the wick of your candle.

Step 5
Certain adjustments of your goals from time to time are beneficial. This will enable you to know where you have reached, yet giving flexibility and adaptability to different situations.

Sharing with your Loved ones about such situations could also help. They would usually give you the very timely reminders...

Monday, August 25, 2008

NUS Zer0Waste PhoneCycle - Handphone Recycling Campaign

So I was going through the long list of emails in my National University of Singapore (NUS) account when I was engrossed in one. It read:

"As an extension to our Zer0Waste project aiming to recycle paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles, Students Against Violation of the Earth (SAVE) and Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) are collaborating with Nokia and TES-AMM to organize a handphone recycling campaign during Green Carnival 2008 @ Central Forum on 25 to 27 Aug 2008. This is your chance to do something for the environment as well as get something in return...

... For every spoilt handphone of any brand, with or without battery you recycle during Green Carnival 2008: Nokia would plant a tree in your name in Kalimantan complete with the precise latitude and longitude coordinates. You can monitor the growth of your tree via Google Earth or Yahoo Maps..."

There are also other benefits such as lucky draw and free gifts.

I feel that this recycling project is one of the more creative ones that I have come across. The organisers moved beyond the usual newspaper collection and old clothes collection to come out with a rewarding experience for recycling. Get a tree named after you? Sounds too good to be true.

This reminded me of an article in Time Magazine, titled Making Capitalism More Creative, where Microsoft Founder and Philanthropist Bill Gates said:

"It is mainly corporations that have the skills to make technological innovations work for the poor. To make the most of those skills, we need a more creative capitalism: an attempt to stretch the reach of market forces so that more companies can benefit from doing work that makes more people better off. We need new ways to bring far more people into the system — capitalism — that has done so much good in the world".

The Economists have a saying "People respond to incentives". How true. Donation drives get great response when celebrities perform (incentives for fans), lucky draw prizes are given, records are broken (fame/experience). Even when students sell flag to raise funds during flag day events, stickers are given to donors (The sticker "immunised" the donor from being approached again).

At the Grassroots level, several Residents' Committees have also worked with waste recycling companies whereby the latter rewards residents with can food when they submit their recyclable waste.

Just as Capitalism should be more creative, there should also be creative methods to protect the environment. Critics to this concept might point out that this might breed into a nasty culture where people ONLY respond to initiatives and not out of personal values. However, my stand is that the giving incentives to people who do good deeds are a good way to encourage others to participate as well. The end result is that more people are doing good deeds and it benefits society at large. Eventually, when the practice is prevalent and consistent, people would adopt it as a habit. Habit dies hard.

Here's a video about NUS Students Against Violation of the Earth (S.A.V.E):

Finally, after keeping the phones for so long (not worth selling), I can expend my phones in a way that I can contribute to saving the Environment (however small).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2008

24 August 2008

It has been 2 years since I last ran the Army Half Marathon, previously also known as Sheares Bridge Run. This year, I registered for the 21km competitve run with my Brother and Jian Hao.

I had not been running for months and I'm certain that this half marathon would be a tough one for me to complete. Nevertheless, at 5.30am, we reached the start point. As it was raining the previous day, the Padang field was extremely muddy. The slight drizzle at 5.45am caused some of us to worry. But the worry dissipated when at 6.30 am, Chief of Army flagged off the race.

What made me enjoy the AHM 2 years ago was the experience of running on the road (specially cordoned off for the event), the cool morning breeze, and sightseeing.

After a trip to the toilet at the 2km mark, I lost Jian Hao and my Brother. Starting off the race at too fast a pace, I was already panting then. Jogging upslope at the East Coast Parkway (ECP) eventually tire me off.

Throughout the race, I was jogging and brisk walking (most of the time). The runners entered the ECP exit to Fort Road and eventually into East Coast Park.

After running the whole stretch of East Coast Park, runners ran on a rocky path. There was a golf course that separated us from the city landscape.

The highlight of the run is the Marina Barrage. SAFRA Singapore Bay Run is the first run across the Marina Barrage.

There were some runners who stopped by and took group photos against the backdrop of the city landscape.

We then ran/walk back into the CBD area.

I overheard quite a lot of runners joking about the ERP gantries when we were running under it.

After the race and collecting our finisher medals, I followed my Brother to Clarke Quay where he collected his goodie bag for the next race - the Nike Human Race.

With muscles at the shoulder and legs exhausted and about to cramp, where's the best place to go? Mother has the answer and met us at [comfort space] Helio Asia, situated at top floor of Paragon Shopping Mall, where we embarked on aromatheraphy massage.

Had a great bath...

And a wonderful Jacuzzi!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grassiq - The Cure for Cancer

One leaflet reads:
Life is Precious. You Too Can Save Lives of Cancer Patients.

Congratulations and blessing for your good health! Please pass this message of health to persons who need it!

Although cancer is dreadful, but certainly it is not a death sentence. Let us face it with a scientific and open mind. Grassiq The life's Spring - A new rising star to save the lives of cancer patients. Because it eliminates the environment in which cancer cells survive. In a short period of 10 days, it lets patients feel satisfied with the effect. Tumors diminish. Patients after radiation therapy/chemotherapy would not feel painful and miserable. Operated patients would reduce their risk of post-surgery infection.

Moreover other chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension can be improved.

We seek your compassionate heart to find out more about this newest lucky star of human life, Grassiq The life's Spring, and let persons who need it, drink it to save his/her precious life!

4 Months ago when I came across this proclaimed Cancer Curing Drink, I was highly skeptical. Who wouldn't be? A product, that received seemingly no mention in the newspapers or the media, could cure Cancer? You must be kidding.

There were testimonials of cancer-stricken patients recovering from the disease, even from the most severe stage of cancer. Patients attending chemotherapy felt revigorated after the drink. And it doesn't matter what cancer it is.

Introduced by my Uncle, James* purchased the miraculous cancer curing drink as soon as he was detected with cancer cells. The instructions were to consume 4 bottles of Grassiq per day. And Grassiq drink isn't cheap. A carton of 30 Grassiq bottles costs S$390, which translates to S$1560 per month. However, consuming Grassiq is more pleasurable and economical as compared to the traditional chemotherapy sessions.

Grassiq is a product by Apex Cosmeceutical Industry Pte Ltd ( The company falls under the Apex group of companies. From my understanding, Grassiq is distributed in a multilevel marketing system by Apex Nation Network Pte Ltd. That might explain why there's no advertisement of the product. Through word-of-mouth marketing by the many patients that have recovered from Cancer, it is a great sell. There are also product educational talks in the office at Jurong East.

At one point during the past 4 months, James was told that there was shortage of Grassiq and that only genuine cancer-stricken patients should buy the product so as to benefit those in need.

Just a few days ago, James had a great surprise. His tumour cells had shrunk in size. The Doctor thought it was the successful result of chemotherapy but James had never attended one. I am totally convinced by this product. Some online forumers even claimed 100% cure for cancer.

You might argue that placebo effect might be in play. Believe it or not, Grassiq could be the saviour of the day.

Updated on 30 March 2009

James went for medical treatment after a resurgence of cancer. He went for radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He passed away due to pneumonia (due to weakened immunity) 3 days ago.

* Not real name

Why Singapore can never qualify for Canoeing in Olympics?

Was watching the television when canoeing teams from different parts of the World gathered in Beijing to compete in the Olympics.

Following the chain of unfortunate incidents related to local water sports, there is a new regulation that requires all those engaged in water sports to wear safety life vests in competitions and practice.

The canoeists in Olympics aren't wearing any life vests! There goes the Olympic Dream of all Singaporean canoeists.

Unless... The Singaporean canoeist will don the life vest to mark his difference from the rest...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making Money from Grieving Moments

I had a hard time figuring out a suitable title.

I just came across an article titled "Bye Bye, Love" in Time Magazine.
Business for products aimed at the newly divorced, from greeting cards and postbreakup getaway packages to custom-made cakes and joke gifts like wedding-ring coffins, is booming. New Orleans resident Reneé Savant bought a hearse, thinking she would rent it out for over-the-hill-birthday celebrations. But since she began her service last October, the hottest demand has come from clients who want to ride around as they and friends celebrate the death of their marriages. "I would never in a million years have thought the fad would be divorce parties," says Savant.

In the capitalistic market, all sorts of innovation and ideas turn into profitable businesses. As Divorce becomes a prevalent trend in the United States and some Western countries, entrepreneurs come up with divorce parties and gifts.

To an extent, such parties provide solace and comfort for the just-divorced individual. Before the concept of divorce parties, divorcees might bear the pain herself. They might not have the courage to seek help from peers or might not know where they could otherwise seek help. So with the introduction of divorce parties, friends and relatives come together and "celebrate", thereby alleviating the pain involved in the process.
Divorce gifts, like the knife rack above, also act as destressing (or revenge) tools.

I believe people in the East have not yet adopted such customs of throwing divorce parties. After reading the article, it reminds me of an industry in Singapore that is very profitable -- The Business for the Dead.

Why burn incense paper when you can burn designer handbags, branded watches, mobile phones, cars or even aeroplanes?

I had a hard time figuring out the title simply because such moments might not be so grieving after all...

Images from:

Monday, August 18, 2008

National Day Rally 2008

17 August 2008

After missing National Day Rally 2007, I told myself I will not miss National Day Rally 2008. Participants were to reach at 5.45pm for refreshments. I reached at 5.30pm. There were already a crowd at the University Cultural Centre @ National University of Singapore (NUS). I caught up with Zul and had some nice refreshments catered from Meritus Mandarin Hotel.

According to a veteran RC member, it's wise to arrive early and queue early to enter the Auditorium. Those that came later would be designated to proceed to levels 2 and 3. Those even later would enter a theatrette to view the Rally from a screen.

As were waiting for the Rally to commence, we looked as the MPs and various VIPs enter from the front side door. It was great to see Mr Chiam See Tong, though he staggered a little, probably due to his recent stroke. As one Grassroots Leader puts it, "The Heart of Singapore is Here!"

In National Day Rally 2008, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong employed the use of IT to illustrate his points. For the first time, there were English subtitles of his speech in Malay and Mandarin on a slideshow. He would later used graphs and other images to bring across his points with the powerpoint slideshow.

PM Lee's speech covered economic issues (specifically inflation and ERP concerns), raising happy families, gracious society, cyber society and writing our Singapore story together.

For economic issues, the audience clapped thunderously when PM Lee revealed that the Government would be dishing out 50% more dividends in October. 3-room flat dwellers would be getting about S$5,000 worth of support from the Government this year. With graphics, PM Lee convinced us that the ERP did not make the average car user worse off than a few years ago. Instead the lowering of other taxes brought in lower net revenue to the Government.

Expressing concern over the low Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Singapore, PM Lee hinted a possible merger of Social Development Unit (SDU) and Social Development Service (SDS) to cater to a wider group. I thought this was a change that should have been done long ago. At present, SDU focuses on matchmaking graduates while SDS focuses on matchmaking non-graduates. This elitist policy is finally scrapped. The Prime Minister also suggested having a SDU Trust Accreditation for dating agencies so that single Singaporeans can be assured of the quality.

To encourage couples to give birth to more babies, PM Lee called for an extension of Child care leave from 2 days to 6 days. Maternity leave is also extended to 16 weeks! Furthermore, benefits would also extend to the 5th and subsequent child, instead to only 4.

Highlighting the importance of the Government to pay attention to cyber society, PM Lee wowed the audience when he used his mobile phone Quik application to instantly capture us in a video on screen. He quipped, "Here's our first non-political video." After the table tennis match, PM Lee surprised us when he instantly connected to Team Singapore at Beijing and started a web chat.

For politics, the Speaker's Corner would now have the Nparks in charge, instead of the police. Demonstrations and strikes would be allowed within the premise, as hinted by DPM Wong Kan Seng some few months ago.

The overall experience was good. I would rate this National Day Rally as among the best I have heard over the years. Not only has PM Lee delivered his agenda and concerns to Singaporeans, he impressed many of us with his use of digital media and dispelled myths with convincing data to show that the Government is doing its part to help the poor.


Update on 21 August 2008: Reflections

Since I was interviewed by Today Newspaper [], there were some comments and concerns from readers. In this section, I'll seek to address these concerns.

A reader left a comment stating that it is a matter of "integrity" whether or not one should reveal the details of the Rally. I feel that this is too exaggerated. The PM only mentioned not to share his jokes, so technically there wasn't any instructions not to share the information in blogs. The local media can be controlled but not bloggers [participatory journalism]. Besides this is the cyber society that the PM was focusing on. As long as the information is accurate and factual, there should be no qualms about sharing information. Of course, if there were clear instructions to keep the details to ourselves, then I wouldn't be blogging about the Rally prior to the telecast.

First-time readers could read up my featured posts (see right column) to find out the events that I have written on and some "business opportunities" that I exposed.

I would like to also thank some of the readers who sent me compliments.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What Happens when Belongings get Lost

Sometimes things just get missing. You may just lose your wallet which contains valuable cards within it. Usually you wouldn't see your wallet again. It could be a depressing, frustrating, numbing experience. I know since I just lost mine... and I decided to share my post-trauma experience.

What to do when you lost your DBS Debit Card?

Call 1800-111-1111 immediately to request for a block on your card. This is important because with the debit card, the lucky person that picked up yours would be able to do online purchase, even worse, forge your signature if you have one at the back of your card.

The DBS helpdesk staff was very helpful and understanding.

What to do when you lost your UOB ATM Card?

Call 1800 22 22 121 to terminate your card. There is a replacement fee of S$5 for the card.

What to do when you lost your EZlink card?

Call 1800-2255663 to report lost to Transitlink. Your card will be terminated within the next 48 hours. The friendly helpdesk staff will inform you where you can get your card replaced. For me, I went to the Card Replacement Office at Pasir Ris bus interchange and got my card immediately. The remaining concession and money in the EZlink card would be refunded in cash, and can be collected after a week at any Transitlink outlets.

Also you would need to call the National Library at 63323255 and the staff will actually terminate your card for you. Reactivation of your card to borrow books is FREE.

What to do when you lost your Driving License?

Proceed to the Traffic Police Dartment at Comfort Driving Centre @ Ubi to replace the card. According to my friendly Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) Police officer, lost of photo identifications need not be reported to the police.

At the end of the day, it is heartening to have my Brother assisting me in my search for the wallet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Commuting in the Pre-Dawn Hours

It is a blunder that I overlooked my schedule for my modules before bidding for them. So I ended up with a 8am lesson at NUS. It has been so long since I have to climb out of bed at 5am.

Despite the lack of sleep, I still manage to stay energetic on the way to school. But the people around me seemed to be very exhausted.

Comfy Position on the Bus

A pillar as a Bolster? Anyone?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm Attending the National Day Rally 2008

After missing last year's National Day Rally, I told myself I couldn't miss the next. And yes, I am excited when I received the invitation card today.

I am a huge fan of the National Day Rally. Every year when friends doze off watching our leader speak over the rostrum, I am stuck to the screen.

In this year's National Day Rally, I would certainly be looking out for any mention or hint of the future of the political landscape of Singapore. With the ongoing debates on political freedom, and endless lawsuits, it's important to hear what the Prime Minister's stand is. Besides this issue, I would also be interested in how the government is going to handle the ongoing inflation and economics.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Brand New Semester at NUS - Year 2 Begins

I had spent the recent weeks to readjust my body clock by resting early. Sleeping early not only refreshes the mind and maintain the health but also reduces energy waste. By sleeping early, lights are turned off earlier. Energy conserved, money saved.

2 days after National Day, tertiary students from National University of Singapore (NUS) either dragged or sprung themselves to school. I belong to the latter group. Reflecting back on the Summer break, I reckoned that I had achieved quite a bit. To name a few, I co-founded We Care Printing Services, spent meaningful time with my family, became the Vice President (Education) in my Toastmasters Club and finished reading some books (that I have purchased long ago and had since yellowed) and not forgetting meeting army buddies in my NS call-up.

In the morning, wrapped up my work for the day packed my lunch box and laptop into my big bag. My first time eating from a lunch box and it tasted marvellous. Nothing beats home food.

The first destination of the day was to SingTel Hello! Shop to return the Mio TV set. My family's experience with Mio TV had been utterly dampened by failed promises.

Disappointment Part 1) The Mio TV salesperson had congratulated my household to be one of the lucky few selected for free installation and free rental of the TV box. We only paid for one channel to try out the service. The salesperson told us the channel would have all the latest Hong Kong films but it turned out the complete opposite! All the shows were at least 20 years old!

Disappointment Part 2) After the 6-month contract was up, I called the the customer service hotline to request for termination of Mio TV plan. The customer service officer was polite and offered to extend the free period to another 6 months after hearing my complaint. When asked if there were any deadline for the set to be returned, she politely said no. And then here comes the bill for this month...

Since number portability is now possible, I guess I'll be leaving SingTel mobile plan pretty soon.

Rushed to NUS after that. This is going to be a very Political Science semester for me as I'll be taking PS2239: Foreign Policy and Diplomacy; PS2240: Introduction to Public Administration; PS2248: Chinese Politics; PS2253: Chinese Political Thought; GEK1542: Forensic Science.

Collected the free hard-cover NUSSU Welfare Diary at Central Forum. I thought the campus was filled with so many new faces that it was hard to identify the old ones. Haha.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Singapore's 43rd Birthday - A National Day worth Celebrating

Whenever Singapore celebrates its birthday, Singaporeans are reminded of how the state gained its independence in 1965. Then, it was considered a "political joke". Nobody thought such a small state, naked of resources, could survive and prosper in the international realm.

The People's Action Party (PAP) would always remind Singaporeans that it brought Singapore to where it now stands. Being the only government that we have seen, it has to be the case. However, the Opposition parties would argue that many other factors contributed to the nation's success as well, and the PAP had its blunders too.

As Malaysian politics gets increasingly dramatised, its neighbour island state is not getting spared too. Almost every day, there are articles and commentaries debating the authoritarian style of the PAP. Even in the morning of National Day, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was distributing flyers and selling books for its Tak Boleh Tahan campaign in Toa Payoh.

Singaporeans have every reason to celebrate the 43rd year of Independence. Generally, we are sheltered, well-clothed, able to feed ourselves for each meal. We worry about different issues as compared to developing states. We live happily with our families, we travel around freely, knowing that this is a safe and secure environment for our children.

Yet, not many would appreciate how fortunate we are. I can sense a prevailing herd mentality towards supporting the Opposition for the sake of Opposition. The most common hyped up keywords are "Human Rights", "Democracy", "Freedom of Speech and Assembly". Some fans are supporting these like they are "Britney Spears".

I'm not saying that we should not have Opposition parties. They are essential to any governments in the world. Just as we don't want to have Opposition parties opposing for the sake of opposing, I frown upon people who join them for the sake of opposing to certain measures by the PAP government. There are plenty of feedback channels available. It's just a choice of whether one takes action through them.

It's hard not to celebrate Singapore's birthday. We never know whether we could do it 5, 10, or 20 years from now.

Happy 43rd National Day to ALL!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Questions shape our Life

Whatever we focus on, expands.
Have you ever wondered how questions can shape our life?

Everyday, we ask ourselves a whole lot of questions. It ranges on questions that are task-related such as "How should I process this document?", to questions that are relationship-oriented such as "Why is my superior such a dickhead?"

How we phrase a question will ultimately render how we are going to act. This is because when you ask questions, you cast your focus on the answers. And when you focus on something, it naturally expands. Just like when you focus the light with a magnifying lens on a spot, the light energy gets so concentrated that it releases heat.

There are empowering questions and crippling questions.

When facing a predicament or when feeling down, empowering questions provide a positive outcome. Instead of asking "Why does he treat me so bad?", which will indirectly lead you to visualise all the reasons and factors that lead to him treating you poorly, you should ask instead "How can I make him treat me better?"

Remind yourself to always ask empowering questions when you encounter any issues in your life. Even when you are in transit, empowering questions can generate innovative ideas for you.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Zhong Yuan Festival : 9007 Zhong Yuan Carnival

2 August 2008

It is Zhong Yuan Festival (中元节) again. Although some would call it the Hungry Ghost Festival, a more appropriate way to put it would be the former one. Zhong Yuan means middle season. During Zhong Yuan Festival, companies would organise Zhong Yuan Carnival, where auspicious goodies would be put up for auction while dinner is served.

As per previous years, Uncle Francis had a table reserved for the Fong family. The carnival is organised by the Tampines Blk 9007 Industrial Estate companies.

After watching 881 and listening to Hokkien songs being repeated uncountable times during the Eunos Harmony Trail, I listened to the Getai performers more attentively than previous years. My relatives and father, as usual, were dissatisfied with the quality of the Getai performers.

It is amazing how people can bid for items worth less than $500 until the price reached above $5000. I visualised the future me to be rich enough to participate in this high-end activity. After reading "How to talk to anyone : 92 little tricks for Big Success in Relationship", I used some of the techniques to judge the Big players and admired them.

Anyhow, the main point of my presence was the FOOD!

A featured auction item is the Barrel of Gold. This barrel would be circulated among all the dining tables, where all participants would place a token sum into it. It would then be bidded.

The main draw that day turned out to be an unexpected brawl a few tables away from us. A drunkard was provoked and threw someone to the floor. Apathetic Singaporeans seated around the table didn't move any part of their body except their necks to watch the fight.

The helpers (who were sprinkled around the vicinity to blow whistles and shout out the new bid prices) immediately rushed to separate them but to no avail, until Uncle Francis (dubbed the Hulk) turned up. He grabbed the assailant and dragged him all the way to an empty space. A couple of times, the drunkard threw punches to him but he (without much effort) brushed him in an Aikido-like fashion.

The drunkard seized attention away from the Getai and the auctioneer for about 30 minutes. Finally, he had the honour to be chauffeured away by the Police.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Burning Joss Sticks can cause Cancer

I was alarmed when I read the papers today. At one corner of the page of The Straits Times was this article stating Burning joss sticks can cause cancer. In disbelief, I searched online for more information and came across this page at ...

... devotees across Asia could be taking their life into their hands every time they go to a temple to pray... deadly as traffic fumes and cigarette smoke...

...risk of leukaemia, lung, blood and bladder cancers

One joss stick creates the same amount of cancer-causing chemicals at one cigarette.

"It's not necessary as part of the ritual for these traditional joss sticks to burn down," he (Dr Manoon) said. "By putting them out after a minute or so the air pollution would be cut by 30 to 40 times."
I can't believe I had been a smoker since I was born!

However, I do not believe every Buddhist, Taoist and Hindus would immediately abolish their own traditions of burning joss sticks during religious prayers. Therefore I have come up with some pragmatic solutions to the health hazard caused by incense.

Solution 1 : Open Windows to ensure proper air flow [Duh...]

Allow the smoke to escape out of the house when burning joss sticks indoor, so as to reduce the amount that you have to breathe in.

Solution 2 : Wear a N95 Mask or Chemical Protection Mask

Simple! Just don a mask to prevent the inhalation of toxic substances while carrying on the practice.

Solution 3 : Learn from SAF - SIMULATE

If we can simulate rifle shooting with "Bang! Bang! Bang", we could also use simulation on joss sticks. Instead of lighting them, we could just light it up "virtually/imaginarily". This way your joss sticks won't release any gas at all.

Solution 4 : Install the Urn outside your house

Just like in temples, most of the time the urn is situated outside.

Solution 5 : Buy premium grade Incense

I had come across some joss sticks that don't release toxins. They cost much higher but they are made of premium grade of wood.