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Chill out at the historical town of Melaka Day 3...

Chill out at the historical town of Melaka Day 3 Posted by on Oct 8, 2013

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My thoughts on private sharing apps in Singapore...

My thoughts on private sharing apps in Singapore Posted by on Oct 2, 2015

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How to be a UberX driver in Singapore?

How to be a UberX driver in Singapore? Posted by on May 21, 2015

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The government paradox. After thoughts of the Punggol East by-election

Jan 27, 13 The government paradox. After thoughts of the Punggol East by-election

Posted by in Musings

And so the vote counting just ended and the results announced. Worker Party’s Lee Li Lian got 16,038 votes vs People Action Party’s Koh Poh Koon who got 12,856 votes. The other 2 candidates were fairly insignificant with Reform Party’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s 353 votes and Singapore Democratic Alliance’s Desmond Lim with 168 votes. The by-election was called when PAP’s Michael Palmer resigned after his extramarital affair came to be known. I would have to say I was a little surprised at the margins that WP won though. However, if you did look at the sentiments in the last couple of years, both in Singapore and Internationally, there are elements of social unrest everywhere. Everybody just wants change. In Singapore, this resulted in an opposition party winning a GRC for the first time in the GE2011. The problem with this is what I call the government paradox. In a stable system, the government is meant to instil confidence in that it is able to lead. As much as people realise that no solution is perfect, there is some form of compromise for the greater good. However, when a political party start to lose confidence votes, there is a growing need to address this and commonly, these are not long term solutions, but more of short term patches. Examples of these could be fixing immediate concerns such as housing issues, foreigner issues, transportation issues, or even general vote buying and promises. As much as it seems like it is the thing to do, the result can actually be counter-productive! The case of proactive VS reactive In management and leadership, it’s always been said that a leader is someone that has to have foresight and be proactive. A weak leader is reactive and only reacts to things that they see. In the recent incidents, the PAP government is seen as being reactive. When something happens, they come out and patch it. Housing prices going crazy? Flood the markets with supply. Implement cooling measures. Restrict property transactions. The same...

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Fergus Watch – Outlook 2012

Jan 02, 12 Fergus Watch – Outlook 2012

Posted by in Musings, Personal finance

Some of you may know, I work in the financial industry, and I usually write emails to some people for their reading entertainment. Here’s one that I wrote a while back, on my outlook of 2012. Originally sent out 26 December 2011. One of the things I wanted to do for this email was to amalgamate some of the views I have as well as others that I have discussed with. In a way, a snippet of things that happened this year, and what it means for the year ahead. That is, the outlook for 2012. 2011, the watershed year 2011 has definitely been a watershed year in more ways than one. We have the General Elections, we have Orchard Road floodings, we have MRTs breaking down dramatically, we have numerous dead bodies found in reservoirs, we have a new record price for properties, we have our 2 Integrated Resorts, numerous new shopping malls and numerous new office buildings in the CBD. We also have Lee Kuan Yew leaving active politics. In a way, 2011 is really extraordinary. How can so many things happen in the same year? Suay? Heng? Or is the world really ending in 2012? Complacency is a downfall of the Singapore model? Some of the viewpoints I have been hearing about is if the Singapore model is good to go for the next decade? In the last 10 years, the biggest issue in Singapore was.. no issue. We have taken a lot of things for granted. Things were meant to work. Jobs will be available as long as you studied to the best of your ability. We will always have housing, we will always have cheap transport, we will have accessibility to anything you want to buy. This has also affected the policy makers. Why fix things if there is nothing broken? Thus, I would say the last 5 years has been one of complacency. There has been some lack of foresight and planning. After all, you pay senior management primarily...

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Singapore sits moodily atop wealth pole

Dec 29, 11 Singapore sits moodily atop wealth pole

Posted by in Interesting articles

Haven’t posted anything for quite a while, but this is worth keeping. Sunday, Dec 25, 2011 The Business Times Last month, if Singapore had been a person, it would have stood above the unwashed tableau of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), watching from its penthouse and laughing into its cognac. But it has spent the year being a little down in the mouth, preoccupied with property prices, taxi fares and faulty trains. This gloom is hard to explain in the grander scheme of things. When OWS’s gross simplification of the one per cent trampling on the 99 per cent is contemplated, Singapore is practically part of the world’s one per cent. This is a country where, every single day, 25 people bought either a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW for the first 11 months of the year.  In the same period, every four days, someone drove away from the Ferrari showroom with a big smile on his face. (One assumes that, each time, it’s a different person.) When it comes down to it, Singapore can be almost as Wall Street as Wall Street. Last year, 8.5 per cent of New York City’s workforce was on the payroll of the finance and insurance industries. Singapore had about 6.4 per cent of its resident population on it, while Hong Kong had 6 per cent. If a demonstrator with anti-banking invective to expend were to imagine the two as corporate entities – which is not hard – he would therefore be more inclined to picket Singapore than Hong Kong. “One per cent” might be a dirty term these days, but would-be picketers here have to be careful about calling others names that might apply to themselves. On a per-adult basis, Singapore has the sixth highest net wealth in the world: a mean value of US$284,692, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2011. “Net wealth” here is defined by a person’s financial and real estate assets minus debt. The mean value, however, gets short shrift from experts, since...

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Banker, empire builder: The story of Mr Mochtar Riady

Oct 11, 11 Banker, empire builder: The story of Mr Mochtar Riady

Posted by in Interesting articles

Quite a good read! Very apt since I am moving into the industry. Originally appeared in The Business Times, 8October 2011 Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady looks back on a lifetime filled with adventure and accomplishment. By Vikram Khanna IN his prepared remarks for a talk at NUS Business School (of which he is a major benefactor), Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady, quoted the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu to sum up his management philosophy: ‘Trees that fill our embrace emerge from small sprouts, and a thousand mile journey always starts with the first step … Plan for the difficult while things are easy, and act on the great while it is still small.’ Mr Riady started small and went on to build a pan-Asian business empire with some US$11 billion worth of assets, spanning financial services, property, retail, information technology, natural resources and healthcare. But he is first and foremost, by instinct and by passion, a banker. ‘I went into other areas only by chance,’ he says. Banking was an ambition he harboured since he was a schoolboy. Speaking in Mandarin through an interpreter – though later he breaks into English – he recounts this childhood memory: ‘When I was in primary school in Indonesia, I had to pass a big building on my way from home to school. I always thought, oh, this building is so impressive and the people who work there look so elegant. But I don’t know that they do.’ ‘When I graduated from school, I was already thinking about being a banker. My father said, you are unrealistic. The banking business is a rich man’s business, how can you do it? My answer was, the bank’s commodity is not money, it is trust. As long as I can have people’s trust, I can be a banker.’ ‘So I asked my teacher about the building. He said it is a bank. I asked, what is a bank? He said, a bank lends people money and makes money from that. And I thought, maybe one...

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Congratulation to Dr Tony Tan for being elected Singapore’s 7th President

Aug 28, 11 Congratulation to Dr Tony Tan for being elected Singapore’s 7th President

Posted by in General, Musings

SINGAPORE: Dr Tony Tan has been elected Singapore’s seventh President, winning by a 0.34 per cent margin, or 7,269 votes.  He secured 744,397 or 35.19 per cent of total valid votes, while Dr Tan Cheng Bock received 737,128 or 34.85 per cent of the valid votes. It was a long and widely followed election. Being one of those years where there was a General Election (in May 2011) and a Presidential Election (in August 2011), the social media buzz was loud and furious. Mr Tan Kin Lian was one of the first few to have utilised social media. Earlier in the year, he was suddenly very vocal about topics and had started to attract interest to his name. He started talking about investments, then about insurance. Ironically, he was slamming most insurance products even though he was the CEO of NTUC Income. He also started to appeal to the unsophisticated investors by showing that he will be the evangelist that fights against the big bully, be it the big corporations, the governments, etc. Mr Tan Jee Say was the next to have increased his social presence. He came out to compete in the General Election as a candidate for the SDP. I wrote a fair bit about him with regards to one of his rally speeches. I personally feel that he has a good head on his shoulder, with ideas that have a high possibility of working. However, being the President might not be the right office for him, and he might be better off as a MP. Unfortunately the SDP reputation wasn’t particularly good, and that might have cost him some points. But being the way he is, it is also unlikely that WP will be a good match to his confrontational style. Dr Tan Cheng Bok also came out during the General Election. He already stepped down from active MP duties earlier on, but I told my friends that he was one of those competent PAP members still around today. It was then that I discovered...

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Sights, shopping and massage in Bangkok – Day 5

Aug 04, 11 Sights, shopping and massage in Bangkok – Day 5

Posted by in Food, Travel

Without knowing, it is the final day of the Bangkok trip. Since we have to get to the airport in the evening, the program for today was very light. A maiden visit to Bangkok’s highest restaurant was decided on, with the rest of the afternoon kept for final shopping at platinum mall. Bangkok Sky Restaurant is located on the 76th and 78th floor of Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which is really walking distance from Platinum Mall. My hotel was rather far at Asoke, so taxi was probably the best way for me. Food wise, it was really quite underwhelming. The standard finger foods, 1 station for japanese sushi/sashimi, 1 station for pad thai, 1 station for pasta (which is probably one of the better choices), 1 station for thai noodles, 1 station for grilled meats, and the usual dessert and beverage booth. But I guess for 840baht, the view makes it worthwhile. They also had balloon entertainers walking around to make complimentary balloon shapes to entertain the kids. I felt that was a refreshing thing to see since most of the crowd tend to be tourists and tourists just like to be entertained. The views from the 78th floor were great! In the 3rd pic, the dark green patch in the middle-left of the picture close to the horizon is Chatuchak In the 4th pic, Amari watergate, Platinum mall, Central world is right at your doorstep! No matter, as long as you taper your expectations about the food, it is actually fairly decent. The views more than make up for it. In fact, you can go to the 84th floor, which is a revolving open air rooftop with a view of the entire bangkok horizon! With that, it was time to head back to Singapore and to earn money to fly back to Bangkok again! :o) As a recap, here are the other days of the trip! Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4  Day...

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