Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shameless SG State Media News on 1Hr Lights Out. What about No Plastic Bag Day?

I read with amusement the state controlled media about news on 1Hr Lights Out(once a year) to save Mother Earth. The no plastic bag day on a weekday is an utter failure, now the state media dare not even mention it. Leaving it to the free market ain't gonna work here in sinkieland. Unfortunately this incumbent govt is too $$$$ minded to legislate such regulation.

Lights out 1hr in sg is peanuts compared to JB,Msia where busy Sats is no plastic bags day. Msian state of Penang went further with a ban. Even toilets in Msia have the green message. I don't see such 'Gaia messages' in S'pore toilets.

Remember that sg's incumbent ruling party is thinking of flooding this tiny island with 6.5M people to use plastic to boost gdp. Grow at all costs like cancer mentality so long can grow can already. 6.5M people using shit paper to wipe assholes can boost gdp - buy use throw, rinse & repeat. Sales up up up, Gdp up up up.

With their 'cancer philosophy' would they take huge strides forward about the environment? Yes as long as it hurt them a lot in their pocketbooks or much $$ to be made in profits.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

$3.5M Roast Duck Recipe + Eatery Business - Cheap or Exorbitant?

Came across this headline in the chinese night papers about the old couple retiring since their children not keen to take over their roast duck eatery business. After 40 people eager to buy with highest bidder at $2.8M, the old couple now insist on a minimum $3.5M else they won't sell.

Local food is on the wane in S'pore as the older hawkers with their fine culinary skills are lost with their retirement. Hawker centres in particular are part of S'pore food culture. Construction of more hawker centres is to be resume after a 20 year 'drought' as the incumbent govt has woken up to the fact that much of the populace are squeezed out of affordable food.

Let's suppose you have $3.5M. How would you do a basic evaluation?

Let's compare it to the virtually risk-free investment in S'pore- 10 year govt bond. Average yield over past 10 years is 3.3% & currently the yield is 1.46% in February.

$3.5M at 1.46% bond interest = $51,100/year
Hence 1 month = $4258

Thus $4258/mth is an overly overly simplified minimum baseline of what you need to earn from that roast duck business just merely to stay on par with a 10-year bond investment which you can practically forget about it. If you can't make enough to beat the 10year bond yield, then why bother slaving your ass off?

Of course things are not so simple. There's risks involved so more 'cushion' is needed. Some risks i can think of:

- customers dwindling if the business is too 'corporatised' upon takeover
- regular shopspace rental hikes
- govt acquire the land (think of rochor flats-->road)
- new cog workers lack personal touch of previous bosses
- food poisoning (brief shutdown & reputation damage)
- More competition from new eateries nearby

Just as engineers will add a 'cushion' to maximum allowable weight on a bridge, we need cushion on investment. How much cushion depends on factors such as risk, net earnings, ROI, predictability, future trend etc.

Have you ever wondered how come schools don't teach us how to do a basic evaluation of the above deal? How come schools teach useless stuff like calculus, trigonometry when it isn't applicable to daily life? I suspect is 1 of reasons to keep the populace enslaved. Afterall slavery through debts & financial ignorance are needed so that workers continue to slave away & be obedient interchangable cogs.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Comparison of S'pore & Msia Ride Event Fees

Photo by Foong WS:

"I like this RM100 still got Dinner & lunch at end of ride...ocbc is just crap. Tis event really worth coming. I was at the 2nd pack front pack n the polis follow us open road for us all e VIP lidat..shoik.."- Foong WS

"I am proud to be Malaysian.. that's y I only love to join races in Msia, even RM50 still got free lunch & jersey & finisher medal & lucky draw. Beat that!" - nw
Kuantan 160km ride participation fee is RM100 (S$41). I've written about s'pore's overpriced rides. Too bad i don't have the endurance for 160km. I tested my limit in a 135.5km ride to Kluang & barely made it.

One can get much more bang for the buck in Msia. Is a reason why i like to keep my wallet shut in S'pore if possible. I don't mind being odd one out during group rides while others have their pitstop meal breaks. Question of how much stuff in Msia can i get with the $$ lingers in my mind......

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My 1st Meal Break During Rides

After joining group rides for close to a year & refraining to spend on drinks & food during pitshop breaks i ordered a piece of $1.60 prata egg onion during a pitshop at a Bukit Timah eatery.

Photo by P Wong. [i'm right of dotted guy]

Went for a piece of prata since it cost around the same as a canned drink. All of us except 1(he ordered something fancy) waited more then 30mins for the food. 1 guy just ordered a drink- gosh he's frugal like me & he dresses simply too.

This kind of pitshop meal breaks will not be a norm for me. I rather go home & eat bread, cake or other stuff that's stocked by my mum on the dining table. Is hard for me to stomach the idea of $1.60 for a piece of prata. I can reward myself & whack more food at lower costs at an occasional daytrip to JB, Msia. Bomb-bay doors open & bombs away in Msia... More punch for the buck.

My rides this week with 2 different groups:
36km ride. Home to Mandai Shell - around 12km. The group is basically cycling the roads circling the central water reservoir catchment areas.

Joined them from a gas station & rode to a gas station opposite botanic gardens where i broke off while they headed northeast.

49km Ride. Home to Lim Chu Kang Jetty - around 25km
For those unaware, long straight Lim Chu kang road is an emergency runway once the streetlights are removed. Tiny S'pore--> north-south S'pore can be cycled over around 25km.

This ride is well done with like a 10min break at lim chu kang jerry & then detour back. Once near the jetty, my cellphone signal switches over to Msia side.

Such tiny place & yet the govt wants to squeeze & squeeze more people in to boost gdp.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Corporate Communications --> Corpse Comm

Tired of reading the more or less same replies especially in papers by large companies' customer service/corp comms? After a few reads you probably won't bother reading the rest of the 'corpse-like' reply.

Large organizations like to hide behind a 'corpse comm' department to make the customer 'go away' by making it hard to give feedback. When the customers 'go away' it appears to those in ivory towers collecting large paychecks that the situation is fine.

State Capitalism S'pore Bus Companies:
SBS Transit Feedback
SMRT Feedback
Highly paid CEOs have little clue to the rot in the system when their corpse comm staff shield & repel the needed feedback. How many breakdowns, squeeze like sardines, low frequency, poor service level have taken place so far & still fares keep going up & up?

Free Market Capitalism Msia Bus Company:
Causeway Link Feedback (Visible at front page)
CWL boss can assess frontline action by reading how easy commuters give feedback. CWL is not even a listed company compared to S'pore bus companies yet CWL have a person dedicated to 'grassroots' action.

I prefer SMEs to large 'corpserations' which give out 'corpse' replies spam out from their 'corpse machine' due to their largeness hence a need for top-down command & control structure to maintain order.

Monday, March 19, 2012

98% of S'pore Workers Are 'Bochup' aka Disengaged in 2010

2 comments about worker disengagment & job disatisfaction blogspots a couple of days earlier.

How come no up-to-date survey apart from results from 2003 & 2005? I'll like to read about recent results as well but unfortunately it seems Gallup Management Journal didn't have any after a search on their site.

I did manage to find clues of Gallup's recent 2010 results that's not readily available to the public:

[Forbes] Not Just The U.S.: Worker Disengagement Is Worldwide
Highest category of job satisfaction:
31% of Costa Ricans
30% of Guatemalans
29% of Brazilians

Xtra Stats from aussie article link below:
28% of Americans
23% of the British
23% of Kiwis
20% of Canadians
18% of Aussies

2% S'pore & China

At the bottom of the table: Singapore & China. A staggering 98% of employees in those 2 countries admit they’re disengaged with their work, preferring to be doing something else somewhere else.

[Businessday Australia] Worked up about work

By comparison, only a dismal 18% of Australians can say they love their work.

If the aussie author consider 18% of his fellow countrymen as a dismal figure then what does it make of S'pore?

If you look at the top 3 countries you'll realize that they are not 1st world countries. Our incumbent govt's relentless focus on gdp does not equate to increased happiness for the general populace.

Someone commented about how i relate shopping with need to tranquilize. When people are unhappy with their worklife, an easy fix is to 'transquilize' their pain of unhappiness by shopping & buying stuff. Do i need stats to prove? The stats are already staring at us right in the face:

- More & more shopping malls
- Look at amount of stuff our people are selling in local forum bazzars
- No place to store the bought items? Go rent Xtra space & shop & buy somemore!

There's a reason why Xtra storage space businesses are flourishing in recent years. On a personal side relating to the sports i do- do one really need 3,4,5 badminton racquets? do one need 3,4 bicycles? We have more material possessions than we do compared to the 80s but how come more & more people are disatisfied despite having more 'toys'? How come the top 3 countries are people with less 'toys' than us?

More is not necessarily better.

Shopping & feeling happy from buying stuff to transquilize the pain of worklife unhappiness is only a temporary measure.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

75km Northeastern Ride

4 new experiences of this ride are:

- my first ride at bedok reservoir(part of it)
- pasir ris farmway shortcut into lorong halus wetland
- serangoon dam
- last kampong in S'pore island(Buangkok)

I thought all kampongs(villages) have been eradicated on the main island in the name of progress. Only a handful of village houses still intact & time is ticking away...

49km Night Ride

Not a worthwhile ride. Was still having 2nd thoughts about whether to join the ride as the route details are pretty scant. I dislike the eating breaks at a Marsiling coffeeshop & later at a beancurd eatery at Sembawang. I reckon these 2 breaks take around 30mins-35mins. Some of the riders are not eating like me due to the frickin killer rent in the price, ended up waiting & trying not to look at those eating.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

'Zombie' Workers - Plenty of Them In S'pore

94% of workers in S'pore are bochup (disengaged). Not passion into their job but just putting time. Around 40 years of working life during a person's most productive lifespan. Isn't that like a zombie? Sometimes i cringed whenever people said they are 'mgr' or whatever seemingly nice-sounding job title in effort to impress others. Odds are 94% of them are 'zombies'.

Would you want a 'bochup' doctor to operate on you if you are on the surgical table?

If you think the Gallup surveys done back in 2003 & 2005 are bad it has gotten even worse with the massive influx of foreign workers to grow the gdp at all costs like cancer. There are no followup surveys after that but is not hard to figure out the pathetic situation.

Worker Disengagement Continues to Cost Singapore

Disengaged Employees Cost Singapore $4.9 Billion

Highlights from the Above Gallup Survey Results:
- in today's competitive world, companies & countries are very dependent on an engaged workforce for their success. Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the Singapore economy about $6 billion in lost productivity.

-best companies & managers understand that people are unique & need to be managed as individuals.

- engagement of its employees may dictate the success or failure of businesses in times to come. Many aspects of running a business or an economy -- such as production processes & information technology -- can be copied, but employees & their engagement levels must be nurtured & managed.

- 62% of the respondents said that their supervisor treats them like a boss
- 38% said that their supervisor treats them like a partner
Why is this significant? Survey findings indicate that engagement is doubled & disengagement is halved, when the respondent is treated as a partner rather than as a subordinate.

I have no doubt the situation is endemic especially in govt linked companies in State Capitalism S'pore where many retired generals & high ranked officers are 'parachuted' in. Many of these deadwood bureaucrats bring with them 2-3 decades of ordering 'grunts' around type of mentality.

With 94% of workforce 'bochup' of course we see many of them trying to tranquilize their unhappiness through buy buy buy consume consume consume in malls - there's plenty of $$ to be sucked out of these dispirited people.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Even Computers Teach You How to Save $

Not exactly computers but my previous Viewsonic VX-2235 monitor died yesterday after 3years 7mths. It was repaired twice around 2year 6mths & 2year 8 mths under warranty period.

Before dying(after repairs) it already got signs whereby the screen would suddenly blackout & the power light would blink & blink & after a a few minutes the screen is back. I'm fearful of this happening especially when work needs to be saved. Not able to see anything in the blackout i would just ctrl S a few times in effort to save. Other fear i have is i don't know when a sudden 'blackout' would occur.

Monitor i'm now using is 21.5" LG E2250V at $175. I bought it from TradePac at Sim Lim Sq. This shop hidden in the back usually has the lowest price compared with other frontal shops with higher rents. I've bought my m/b + cpu + ram + hdd & graphic card from them previously. Service is average.

3D monitors are already in the market at high prices. No point chasing to have the latest gadgets, it is a neverending & costly race to catch up.

Take care of your stuff & maintain them well. Use until they fail, repair if it makes economic sense. Maximises value & environment friendly.

Oh & save your work often while working on the computer...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

S'pore 2nd Lowest Globally for Job Satisfaction

Survey Results:
- 76% of respondents from S'pore claim to be dissatisfied with their jobs
- Indonesia ranked lowest with only 18% being satisfied with their jobs
- Swiss workers are happiest employees with 68% claiming to be happy with their jobs
- Work-life balance, pay & availability of opportunities for career advancement emerged as the top 3 factors S'porean employees consider most important.

- Males more concerned with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, with 38% of men believing it to be of priority, whilst only 24% of women share this sentiment
- Females are however more concerned with compensation & benefits, with 38% believing it to be primary factor in achieving job satisfaction, as compared to 28% of male counterparts.

- 39% of respondents reported having some type of flexible work schedule
- 10% said they have used flexible work options for more than 3 years

- While an equal number of men & women are dissatisfied with their current job, women are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere as compared to men, with only half as many women as men exploring for job alternatives

- More men (40%) than women (22%) believe that there is no opportunity for advancement & feel trapped in their current job.

- Close to half of both male & female respondents agreed that they need to consistently sacrifice time with family in order to achieve career success. This is reflected in the findings in other Asian countries such as Malaysia & China. Interestingly, the respondents in Europe were in the opposite side of the pole. For instance, 84% of respondents in the Netherlands agreed they do not have to sacrifice family time to be successful in their jobs.


Excluding Indonesia, 1st world S'pore is the lowest. My first taste of it is during my national service days. Officers are damn on especially the 2 officers with 'red' carplates(off peak cars). They literally don't see their families during the day as they have to drive out before sun rises & drive back after sunset. What kind of animal is that?

Now with the flood of foreign workers, the situation is even worse with even more people working late or pretend to work late so as not to get their ass fired. Many are literally slaves to their digital gadgets(earlier blogpost). With so many foreign workers + 30year mortgage of course the worker turns into cog labor & has to keep quiet & yes yes yes even if the work doesn't make much sense & is redundant.

Dehumanization. Being cog labor(incl. white collar) & so easily replaced 76% of sinkies are dissatisfied with their jobs. We can see plenty of cog labor like locusts swarms of shoppers in malls shop shop shop, consume consume consume in an effort to retail therapy fix to transquilize themselves. Is no coincidence that malls are growing like weeds.

Generally the more unhappy & disatisfied the cog labor is, the more he/she shops - vicious cycle. No $$ to shop? Pawnshops are growing like weeds too so people can continue to shop to 'drug' themselves.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Before & After Railway Tracks Removal Pictures

Someone commented in the Work-life balance post 2 days ago regarding using phone to take pictures of fast changing S'pore. I missed out that perspective of using phone of taking pictures cause my 5 year old cellphone with 2 megapixel camera cannot make it when it comes to taking pictures.

When i do go out for a ride i at times bring along my old digital camera instead. Riding & taking pictures under the hot & humid climate here is usually better than walking & walking & then taking pictures. That being said with my road bike there's some terrain which i can't easily access.

Before & After Railway Tracks Removal:

At previous workplace i prefer to lunch alone & after that having some alone time under the trees to recharge & then go near the track when i hear the sound & watch the lunctime train pass by. This type of experience sure beats watching the mindless crowd rushing about like headless chickens.

S'pore's elevated track runs above Msia's track. For foreign readers wondering, the Msian govt agreed to give up the track & its track land in exchange for majority stake in real estate at S'pore's business district.

There's pleas for a green corridor for this old railway track. However i'm skeptical about it since the present regime is obsessed with gdp growth at all costs even if it grows like cancer. A green corridor doesn't contribute much $$$ when the land can be developed for commercial, residential usage. Whole darn island is becoming concrete.

Riding a bicycle & exploring & occasionally taking pictures. I'm more of a leisure touring cyclist. Ever thought of taking up this healthy hobby? You don't to buy an expensive bike. My bike cost me $428.

See also Storm Drain outlet into canal before & after pictures.

Transport Minister's Acknowledgement of State Capitalism

Transport Minister said no public transport fare raises this year. How come he is making that statement in parliament? Isn't the companies privatised & listed?

I've made a couple of posts about State Capitalism in the past. People who are still in denial about existence of state capitalism of S'pore public transport sector ought to sledgehammer the denial out of their heads.

State will dictate & control prices & supply.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

40.7 km Lim Chu Kang -> Kranji Loop Night Ride

Joined another group's improuptu night ride. Lim Chu Kang road stretching into Kranji area overlooking JB, Msia is a quiet stretch which i like though is not advisable to ride alone. An extra break but shorter one in between to let slower riders catch up is my preference over 3-4 cigarette duration breaks in another ride.

I have mentioned earlier about the exorbitant ride fees for OCBC Cycle 2012. The participants this year compared to last year have increased but is mostly due to addition of kids categories. I sense the event has peaked in terms of participants. After reading the comments of those who participated it seems the route this year is better.

Highlight is probably the Benjamin Sheares bridge. Such event attracts mostly the competitive or those wanting to experience their maiden ride in this event or those who like to ride with many many cyclists. I'll still give this sort of events a pass. $$ is better spent on Msian rides.

Riding up the slope(hard time) of the bridge is an area that separate the weak from the stronger riders. Is akin to you don't know who your real friends are until you are in hard times. Hard times are not necessarily bad, it gives us an opportunity to test one's character.

Photos of bridge by Peh Hong Theam:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Work-life Balance Suffers Due to Technology

It was reported that majority of employees in S'pore struggle to achieve work-life balance, due to widespread use of technology. Let's take a look at the word 'balance'. Isn't the act of 'balancing' & walking across a narrow plank across a fast raging river stressful? How about 'balancing' standing on 1 leg?

Is been said that technology is suppose to make our lives easier & give us more time. On the contrary, many people have become a slave to their digital gadgets than being a master of it.

Poll results of 405 employees:
- 71% receive calls or emails outside regular office hours
- 67% receive work-related calls or emails when they're on annual leave
- 45% said their employers expect them to be available at all times, or '24/7' (higher for those who're between 45-54 years old & for those aged 25-34 years.)
- 60% of workers feel they fall short of their own expectation if they don't respond to an email or phone call immediately

People ought to practise cutting the link with their digital gadgets occasionally. Here are the occasions where i usually leave cellphone at home:

- cycling(short trips)/ badminton/ jogging
- strolling around neighbourhood after dinner
- running errands
- daytrips at JB, Msia(in pocket but switched off)

So many people scared of their boss firing their ass if they not contactable 24/7 as they are deemed 'not hardworking'. What a silly idea. Are those people slaves? The fear is fed especially by their 100% reliance on a paycheck as income. In overwhelming majority of cases, the company will not go bankrupt if you don't respond to an email/ phonecall immediately so the 60% of workers are giving themselves undue stress which also affects their families.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

53km Night Ride to Southern Tuas

First ride to that deserted area at night with a group of leisure riders. Perhaps too leisure. Break at around halfway point is around 3 cigarette smokes duration(ride lead & few others are smokers). Break at southern tuas is somewhat similiar duration which i don't mind since that's the point of riding there. On the way back they stop for a supper quickie which i prefer they just ride back & have their supper & drinks while i head home.

Chain that came with the bike lasted me around 2000-2500km(i don't have speed/distance meter installed). Read a review on chainreactioncycles that it lasted a user like 4800km. Wow, that's like double the mileage of mine. Initially i thought the wornout was due to me being more of a hard pedaler using the largest chainring most of the time.

Is upon watching this 2min video shared by someone that i realised i worn mine out because of angled chain. I tend to use the biggest chainring with the 2nd-4th largest rear cogs on my 8 speed bike - higher wear & less torque.

Video animations are a great way to illustrate:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Urgent This + Urgent That by 'Scholar' Govt Officials = Long Term Decline of S'pore

"S'pore must urgently restructure its economy, so that growth is anchored in productivity & innovation in the medium to long term. Restructuring of the economy will take place at 4 levels, namely economy, sectoral, firm & worker levels."-Lim Hng Kiang

Innovation here in S'pore? Under the present hybrid regime with state media control & overemphasis on rote learning to ace exams, i highly doubt there'll be much improvement in innovation. School factories & s'pore's environment are desgined to churn out yes yes yes obedient drones.

Urgent need to ramp up eldercare services(rapid aging population) + Urgent need to restructure economy = Inevitable Long Term Decline of S'pore

I'm amazed at the urgent this & urgent that from govt officials who pay themselves absurb amount of minimum salaries delivering these type of policies. For decades the population has been brainwashed that these scholars type of govt ministers are an elite breed. If so elite how come can't anticipate the needs? They have not days, not months but years upon years to roll out bold initiatives to slow it down/reverse it. Their approach of throwing small breadcrumb size incentives is a massive failure.

If the above last minute firefighting is not enough, consider this straight out of DPM Teo CH's mouth:

- By 2030, only 6 will begin working for every 10 going into retirement
- > a quarter of S'poreans, or over 900,000, will retire come 2030
- Median age will rise sharply from 39 to 47
- Ratio of working-age adults to those aged 65+ will fall from 7:1 to 2.3:1

When you have 900,000 retirees with little retirement funds coupled with frickin killer rent high cost of living, you can bet many of them will sell their pigeonhole dwellings to downgrade to a smaller one or move elsewhere to get $$ for living expenses. A selling tsunami by around 25% of population will see the property market collapse.