Sunday, September 30, 2007

Personality Test

Get to know yourself better

Your view on yourself:
You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:
You like serious, smart and determined people. You don't judge a book by its cover, so good-looking people aren't necessarily your style. This makes you an attractive person in many people's eyes.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:
You prefer to get to know a person very well before deciding whether you will commit to the relationship.

The seriousness of your love:
You are very serious about relationships and aren't interested in wasting time with people you don't really like. If you meet the right person, you will fall deeply and beautifully in love.
Your views on educationEducation is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.

The right job for you:
You're a practical person and will choose a secure job with a steady income. Knowing what you like to do is important. Find a regular job doing just that and you'll be set for life.
How do you view success:You are afraid of failure and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous.

What are you most afraid of:
You are concerned about your image and the way others see you. This means that you try very hard to be accepted by other people. It's time for you to believe in who you are, not what you wear.

Who is your true self:
You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve.

[ Try It ]

Your Working Style

You are extremely dependable and devotedly accept responsibilities beyond the call of duty. You have a complete, realistic, and practical respect for the facts. When you see from the facts that something needs to be done, you pause to think about it. If you decide that action will be helpful, you accept the responsibility. You can remember and use any number of facts, but want them all accurate. You like everything clearly stated.

Your private reactions, which seldom show in your face, are often vivid and intense. Even when dealing with a crisis you look calm and composed. Behind your outer calm you are viewing the situation from an intensely individual angle, often a delightfully humorous one. When you are "on duty" and dealing with the world, however, your behavior is sound and sensible.

You are thorough, painstaking, hard-working, and patient with particulars and procedures. You can do the "little" things that need to be done to carry a project to completion. Your perseverance tends to stabilize everything with which you are connected. You do not enter into things impulsively, but once in, you are very hard to distract or discourage. You do not quit unless experience convinces you that you are wrong.

You often choose careers where you can combine your careful observation and your caring for people, as in the health professions. Other fields attractive to you are teaching, office work, and occupations that provide services or personal care. You show your feeling preference in your contacts with the world. You are kind, sympathetic, tactful, and genuinely concerned; traits that make you very supportive to persons in need.

Because of your concern for accuracy and organization, you often move into supervisory roles. If you are in charge of something, your practical judgment and appreciation of what works make you conservative and consistent. You take care to collect the facts necessary to support your evaluations and decisions. A you gain experience, you compare the present problem to past situations.

For you, problems may be arise if your judgment is not developed. If your feeling preference remains undeveloped, you will not be effective in dealing with the world. You may instead retreat, becoming silently absorbed in your inner reactions to sense-impressions. Then nothing of value is likely to come out. Another potential problem is that you tend to be somewhat suspicious of imagination and intuition and not take it seriously enough.

[ Try It ]

Psychological Test
  • You have a complicated personality.
  • How ambitious you are depends on the height that you answered, which is: Peak.
  • You try to please everyone, the size of this personality as seen by others is medium.
  • Diamond means stubborn personality.
  • You are also down-to-earth.
  • You are an opportunist.
  • Your best friend is the one you need when you are in trouble.
[ Try It ]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Disjointed GDrive (or Where Do I Upload My Files?)

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/disjointed-gdrive-or-where-do-i-upload.html

Internet Services Goes Down In Myanmar

Public Internet access was cut off last Friday to prevent outflows of videos, photographs and information about their current crackdown on the biggest protests against military rule. Internet cafes were shut down as well. ISP customer service helpdesk had also stopped operation.

Myanmar's already limited access to outside world is now made even worst.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/09/28/myanmar.dissidents/

Forgot to Pay Bills Again

I have forgotten to pay my Singnet, M1 and SunPage bill again. Will do so tomorrow. I have far too many things on my mind.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Now We Have MENA

FIRST, there were the global emerging markets. Then, there was BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Now, welcome the MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

SG Asset Management has launched the Oasis Middle East and North Africa Fund, the first of its kind in the local market.

Improved sales advisory guide to help consumers make good choices

THE Life Insurance Association (LIA) has published a new consumer guide to help people make better choices when buying life insurance. From Oct 1, all financial advisers and insurance representatives will give their customers a copy of the guide before offering them any life insurance policy. Produced by the Life Insurance Association (LIA) and MoneySENSE, the guide outlines the role of the representative, what you can expect during the sales advisory process, and your rights and responsibilities as a consumer.

http://asp.lia.org.sg/lia-TypeA.asp?id=384

Excel 2007 Can't Multiply

Can you imagine Excel 2007 giving 850*77.1 to be 100,000! This is a very serious bug in Microsoft Excel 2007. I bet a patch will be on the way very soon. This bug seems to be contained only in Excel 2007.

http://www.appscout.com/2007/09/excel_cant_multiply.php

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gmail 2.0

Google's Gmail may release their new Gmail sooner or later. The current version of Gmail has remained rather stagnant ever since its launch in year 2004. It's time for a change.

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/gmail-20.html

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All Phone Chargers To Standardized In The Future

I thought it would be better this way with standardization. In this way, we won't need to go around looking for a particular charger type. With standardization and USB, we can share all connectors and simply do a plug and charge on any PC.

http://www.news.com/Pros-seem-to-outdo-cons-in-new-phone-charger-standard/2100-1041_3-6209247.html

Apple Legend Woz Blasts iPhone Price Drop And Refund Policy

Apple recently slashed iPhone's selling price by US $200 from US $ 599 after launching iPhone for a mere 68 days. Many who bought iPhone during its launch were not happy about the cut. The cut should have been gradual over time and not that much in just 68 days.

http://www.crn.com/hardware/202100333

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What Tarot Card Are You?


You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.


The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Internet Rule Over Sex

A survey conducted in the US involving 1,011 American adults concluded that the impact of Internet on their personal lifestyle is great. Most are not able to live without Internet than without sex - Internet Rule Over Sex.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070920-not-tonight-honey-im-on-the-internet.html

Powering Up Again

After 2 months without a freelance project, I have decided to take on one. My ex-colleague who was once my project manager called me and wanted me to help him out on a web-based project for a goverment agency. This time round, I said Yes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

20 SGX firms make the cut in Forbes Asia 200

TWENTY Singapore Exchange-listed companies have made their way into the latest Forbes Asia 200 'Best Under A Billion' list, which ranks companies with less than US$1 billion in turnover but which have shown consistent growth in sales and profits over three years.

One of the 20 SGX firms is in my portfolio :)

Enjoy 0% brokerage charge and more!

I am yet to read the fine prints.

http://www.citibank.com.sg/APPS/portal/loadPage.do?tabId=Ready%20Credit&path=/promo/det/rc_brokerage_aug07.htm

Thursday, September 20, 2007

USD Drop Against SGD

As of 20 Sep 2007, 1 USD is equal to 1.5007 SGD. USD dropped even further after the recent interest rate cut.

Stocks: Percentage Gain Required to Recover Loss

A good reference

Loss of  % Gain Required to Recover Loss
5% 5.2%
10% 11.1%
25% 33.3%
50% 100%
75% 300%
100% Game Over

Federal Reserve Statement

THE following is the full text of the statement issued on Tuesday by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in announcing a half-point cut in the base federal funds rate, to 4.75 per cent:

'The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 43/4 per cent.

'Economic growth was moderate during the first half of the year, but the tightening of credit conditions has the potential to intensify the housing correction and to restrain economic growth more generally. Today's action is intended to help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and to promote moderate growth over time.

'Readings on core inflation have improved modestly this year. However, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain, and it will continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.
'Developments in financial markets since the Committee's last regular meeting have increased the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of these and other developments on economic prospects and will act as needed to foster price stability and sustainable economic growth.

'Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S Bernanke, chairman; Timothy F Geithner, vice-chairman; Charles Evans; Thomas M Hoenig; Donald L Kohn; Randall S Kroszner; Frederic S Mishkin; William Poole; Eric Rosengren and Kevin M Warsh.

'In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 50-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 51/4 per cent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Cleveland, St Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City and San Francisco.' - AFP

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/storyprintfriendly/0,4582,249500,00.html?

Keylogging worm discovered on Skype

Chris Boyd (aka Paperghost), from the FaceTime Security Labs (FSL), have identified a variant of the Bubbles worm on Skype. The team at FSL found what they're calling "Bubbles for Kids" that is designed to steal any and all sensitive information from the victim's computer through the most devious method of all - keylogging! It looks like it not only attempts to steal all your info on your machine, but once it has done that, it spreads out to all your Skype contacts.

The team have written up their findings on the Spyware blog.
http://blog.spywareguide.com/2007/09/bubblesfor_kids.html

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Federal Reserve Cut Interest Rates By 50 Basis Points

As expected, the Federal Reserve moved aggressively to head off the risk of a sharp slowdown in the US economy on Tuesday 18 Sep 2007, cutting interest rates by 50 basis points to 4.75 per cent. This resulted in global stock markets to soar.

However, I believe the turmoil is yet to be over.

10 Easy Arithmetic Tricks

10 tricks to do mathematical calculations without using a calculator.

http://listverse.com/science/10-easy-arithmetic-tricks/

USB 3.0 To Be Released Soon

It will be a boost from 480-Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0 while dramatically lower power consumption.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184767,00.asp

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

US Federal to Announce Decision In Few Hours Time

The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its decision at about 2:15 p.m. (Washington Time) in Washington today, 18 Sep 2007.

Google Presentations Is OUT

After so long, Google Presentations is finally launched. However, its functionalities as of now is limited. One key feature is its embedded chatroom.

Google Presentations Finally Launched
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/google-presentations-finally-launched.html

Example of Published Presentations
http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=ajg2d6cw8q8n_120cfj9cm&fs=true
http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=df7b563g_6cb55qv&fs=true

Yahoo to acquire business software maker Zimbra

Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) said on Monday it will pay $350 million in a cash and stock deal to acquire Zimbra, makers of "open source" e-mail and collaboration software that is an alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070917/tc_nm/yahoo_zimbra_dc

Microsoft Lose EU Antitrust Case

The gist of the whole matter is Microsoft Windows bundle with Windows Media Player is seen as a monopoly move by giant Microsoft which has caused minor players unhappiness. Microsoft is being ordered to pay approximately S$1 billion fine for this EU Antitrust case. On top of that, Microsoft is being accused of not releasing its code to others and making difficult for other software to interface with Microsoft's.

Personally, I feel the decision is unfair since the final decision is the customers'.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184210,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2183936,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184214,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184207,00.asp

Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting Busy At Work

I am getting busier at work these days. So tiring :(

What is the yen carry trade

Simply put, the carry trade involves selling a currency with a relatively low interest rate, like the yen, and using the funds to buy another currency that yields a higher interest rate, such as the New Zealand dollar.

Usually, investors borrow in a low-interest-rate currency, convert the funds into a high-interest-rate currency and lend out the resulting amount at its relatively higher interest rate, reaping a profit from the difference in interest rates.

To paint a clearer picture of how the yen carry trade works, take the example of a trader who borrows yen from a Japanese bank, converts it into US dollars and buys a bond for the equivalent sum. Assuming the US bond pays 4.5 per cent and Japan's interest rate is zero, the trader makes a profit of 4.5 per cent as long as the exchange rates of both countries do not change.

The huge risk of the carry trade is the uncertainty of exchange rates. In the example above, if the yen was to appreciate in value relative to the US dollar or vice versa, the trader would stand to lose his money.

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/campus/story/0,4574,249041,00.html

How to Extract Pictures from Powerpoint

This simple hack is very useful.

http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/09/extract-pictures-from-powerpoint-photo.html

How To Stay With MSN 7.5

Microsoft has just step up in forcing all Messenger users to upgrade to the new Windows Live Messenger. However, this has brought displeasure to some.

However, there's a temporary workaround to revert back to MSN 7.5. Please note that this workaround method works now does not mean it is going to work forever. Who knows when Microsoft will lock the use of earlier messenger versions by changing the encryption and protocol.

This is how the workaround works.
  1. Open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger
  2. Right click msnmsgr.exe and select Properties
  3. Make sure Compatibility tab is selected
  4. Check the Compatibility mode option and select Windows 2000 from dropdown list
  5. Click Apply or OK button
  6. Run MSN Messenger 7.5 and it will automatically repair it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

A loss

Sold one of my shares yesterday for profit taking but then today the share actually jumped 6%! That's a hundred dollars gain and a miss for me.

It's just too bad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There's No Free Lunch

Nothing in this world is free. In one way or the other, there's definitely a cost incurred. Think carefully - if it's 100% free, then where on earth are we to find incentive for those who promote the so-called "free" product?

NO to the Microsoft Office format as an ISO standard (Online Petition)

I would say those who signed this petition are either an Open Source follower or just being anti-Microsoft.

BTW, below is a link for those who wish to sign a petition against Microsoft's Office OpenXML becoming an ISO standard. Anyway, I remember reading an article few days back saying even Microsoft themselves know they are losing this battle since they are not able to garner enough votes.

Online Petition (I am neutral so I did not sign)
http://www.noooxml.org/petition

Monday, September 10, 2007

A quick guide to sub-prime issues

In case you are still not sure what sub-prime means, read below. Please note that it is extracted from The Business Times (Published 10 Sep 2007).

CHARMIAN KOK explains how individual loan defaults in a faraway land can have a domino effect all over the world - including here

PAUSE for a moment to consider these facts: HSBC, the world's third-largest bank, announced that 50 per cent of its earnings in 2006 were wiped out by sub-prime losses from its US subsidiary. Since the beginning of that year, over 50 US mortgage companies have put themselves up for sale, closed or been declared bankrupt. In July this year, Bear Stearns closed two of its ailing hedge funds, while in June, BNP Paribas announced the suspension of three of its funds due to exposure to US mortgages.

With news like this making waves in financial markets lately, it is hardly surprising to see the proliferation of doomsday headlines like 'Market falls parallel previous collapses', and 'Anxiety attack knocks markets down'. No longer confined to the US real estate or financial markets, the topic of America's sub-prime mortgage market has taken centre-stage, as fears of a spillover spread to financial markets in Europe and Asia - even Singapore.

How did it all begin?

Before the US real estate bubble burst, sub-prime lending was a rapidly growing segment of the mortgage market. It worked by banks extending credit to borrowers who, for a number of reasons, would otherwise be unable to qualify for credit. According to the US Department of Treasury guidelines issued in 2001, 'sub-prime borrowers typically have weakened credit histories that include payment delinquencies, and possibly more severe problems such as charge-offs, judgments and bankruptcies'.

Most US sub-prime mortgages have an attractive initial fixed-rate mortgage payment for a few years, followed by a higher adjustable rate for the remaining life of the mortgage. The sub-prime mortgage industry began to proliferate earlier this century and estimates say that about 21 per cent of all mortgage originations from 2004 to 2006 were sub-prime - a sharp increase from 9 per cent in 1996-2004. At its height in 2005, sub-prime mortgages were worth US$805 billion.

Although not all sub-prime loans are necessarily high-risk, many of them were made to homebuyers with poor credit or little income. As the US housing market boomed, thousands of lenders greedily sought greater profits by aggressively touting loans to individuals with poorer credit ratings and making greater exceptions to guidelines. In certain cases, individuals were not even required to produce any proof of their income.

These sub-prime loans were bought mainly by big banks which bundled the debt and sold them to Wall Street firms. To sell these ticking time bombs, Wall Street packaged these risky loans with supposedly safer loans to create instruments known as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) - making them more attractive to risk-averse investors. In 2006, an estimated US$100 billion of sub-prime debt went into US$375 billion worth of CDOs.

In pursuit of higher yields, investors stretching from Europe to Asia invested in these instruments for their potentially higher returns, as compared to bonds with the same ratings.

What went wrong?

Trouble started brewing when the US economy began showing signs of slowing down. Interest rates crept up, house prices tumbled and sub-prime mortgage defaults began climbing at an alarming rate, reaching 12.6 per cent at one point.

As default rates soared, creating losses on the underlying mortgages of CDOs, investors began to question the reliability of the models and ratings which valued these CDOs; indeed, credit rating agencies like Moody's have come under fire for misjudging default rates in sub-prime mortgages. With the uncertainty surrounding the current analysis and valuation of credit risk, many investors have decided to pull back on investments in CDOs and hedge funds with stakes in such securities.

Explained Jeremy Goh, an associate professor of finance at the Singapore Management University (SMU): 'When investors heard all these negative things about default rates in the news, they started withdrawing their money from hedge funds and parked them in safer money market instruments like treasury bills.'

The result was a triggered chain of reactions which affected markets worldwide. Hedge funds were forced to unload their assets in order to raise cash.
The scattered ownership of CDOs has in turn created widespread loss of confidence in financial markets. Besides affecting all holders of sub-prime-related assets, the greater and more serious implication of the sub-prime crisis is a squeeze on liquidity. Due to the uncertainty over other financial institutions' exposure to sub-prime losses, they became unwilling to lend to each other.

A tsunami or ripple effect?

However, central banks around the world have responded by injecting liquidity into the markets to ease fears of a liquidity crunch. The US Federal Reserve has also cut its discount rate (which it charges for emergency lending to banks) from 6.25 per cent to 5.75 per cent.

Asian equity funds have also been hit hard, and among those affected the most are funds from Singapore and Malaysia. Data from Morningstar Asia showed that funds from both countries sank an average of 10 per cent. Asian stock markets has also been tumultuous, spreading fears that a slowdown in the US economy will extend to the rest of the world.

Although the sub-prime crisis in the US may be a cause for concern, investors here should not be overly worried as Asian fundamentals remain strong. Many industry watchers agree that Asia's economies are no longer as reliant on the US as in the past. As intra-regional trade grows, Asian giants like China and India have become increasingly important trade partners for other Asian countries instead of the US.

Fundamentals of Singapore's economy remain firm as well, analysts agree. With the introduction of Formula One and the integrated resorts in the coming years, demand and consumption is likely to continue to propel Singapore's growth.

Prof Goh concurs: 'I think the jittery stock market in Singapore is only temporary, and I believe that highly-rated CDOs are still safe. Even if the US economy is heading for a recession, it will be a mild one, so the problem could be due to panic selling in the markets or hedge funds unloading some illiquid assets.

' As a result, it triggers fear in the lending market. Lenders are more reluctant to lend, which might have some effect on the economy - but nothing major, in my opinion.'

Extracted from The Business Times (Published 10 Sep 2007)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hit 2,000,000 Expert Points

I am late on hitting 2,000,000 expert points but it's never too late than never.
And there's another worth celebrating and that's I'm finally back to top 100 in EE HOF after dropping many positions due to inactivity years back.

Question that earned my 2,000,000th expert points - Need SQL statement for the following case
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Development/MS-SQL-Server/Q_22816087.html

Selected groups may be exempted from compulsory annuities

Not all Singaporeans will need to buy compulsory annuities when they turn 55 years old.
  • Those with chronic diseases may be excluded, since they may not live long enough to enjoy the life insurance payouts.
  • Those who are adequately covered and the policy which they bought fulfils a certain requirement may also be exempted.

More details on the scheme are expected when Parliament sits on 17 September.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/298784/1/.html

Windows Live Translator

Microsoft has just launched its Translator Service - Windows Live Translator (Beta)
http://translator.live.com/

Money Mind On Channelnewsasia

Those who are interested on Unit Trusts can catch today's 30 minute show on Channelnewsasia.

Sun, September 09 2007, 9:30pm on Channelnewsasia
Episode 19 - Money Mind will focus on unit trusts as well as cover topics like Global climate change and multi asset allocation.

Mon, September 10 2007, 12:00am on Channelnewsasia (Repeat)
Episode 19 - Money Mind will focus on unit trusts as well as cover topics like Global climate change and multi asset allocation.

Save the Polar Bears

Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 — and the entire population gone from Alaska — because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j9NGJ0_eVkxqgpEFC6RMHVlvT9qw

Experts-Exchange Signatures (9-Sep 07)

hongjun
Sage500,000 Expert Points
Active Server Pages (ASP)

hongjun
Wizard300,000 Expert Points
Active Server Pages (ASP)

hongjun
Guru150,000 Expert Points
Active Server Pages (ASP)
Visual Basic Programming

hongjun
Master50,000 Expert Points
Active Server Pages (ASP)
Visual Basic Programming
JavaScript
Miscellaneous Web Development
MS SQL Server
Microsoft Access Database
Microsoft Visual Basic.Net
MySQL Server
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Malaysia's Budget 2008


Added New BizFinance Tag

I have just added a new BizFinance tag on my blog.
It will focus on Business and Fnance related news / issues.

http://hongjun.blogspot.com/search/label/BizFinance

What is meant by “Independent Financial Adviser” and why good?

Before the Financial Advisers Act was passed, there's only tied agents. These tied agents work for the insurers and their duty is to put their principals first, client second. This means, they push their products as their priority instead of doing a proper financial planning for their clients.

To be independent, they must be
  1. objective
  2. impartial
  3. not influenced by commissions
  4. no contractual obligations with any product manufacturers
  5. able to sell a wide range of products (such as mutual funds, life insurances and health insurances)
  6. more importantly good advice that put their clients’ interests first
… the Bill [Financial Advisers Act] will create of a new class of licensed financial advisers. These professionals will be able to provide investment advice on a wide array of financial products, and also sell unit trusts and their close substitutes, such as ILPs. In some cases, these financial advisers will not be connected to any product providers, such as fund managers or insurance companies, and will act independently of them. Such independent financial advisers will represent the interests of their clients, rather than the interests of specific product providers.

- Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong for the Second Reading of the Financial Advisers Bill 2001 in Parliament on 5th October 2001

My Previous Posts
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2007/08/independent-financial-advisers-vs-tied.html
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2007/07/perception-of-ifa-vs-fa.html

Friday, September 07, 2007

Aggressive Prudential Financial Adviser

I passed by a Prudential roadshow at AMK Hub last Thursday (6 Sep 07). They were promoting savings plan - PruSave & PruCash. I actually am aware of these 2 products but I just sat down with a Pru adviser that fateful day in a purpose to increase my awareness.

The financial adviser did all the talking and I must say she's really good in talking. She just went on and on, clocking a record breaking number of words per minute. She first went through PruSave followed by PruCash after knowing I prefer liqudity. PruSave, a savings plan with no withdrawals, requires one to lock-in for 25 years and yield a 5-7% p.a. returns. PruCash, a savings plan with flexibility of withdrawing 60% of the amount saved yearly after 2nd year, will yield a return of approximately 5% if no withdrawals are made and a return of 3-5% if withdrawals are made. These plans are suitable if we are towards a conservative side. However, if we want to take slightly higher risk, we can consider investing in a diversified portfolio of bonds and equities. If we do not want the hassle of maintaining investment ourselves, we can opt for a Investment Linked Policy (ILP) with majority of premium towards investment portion.

There are actually lots of savings plans in the market e.g. Prudential's PruSave, NTUC Income's RevoSave, HSBC's PowerSaver, e.t.c. There are certainly far too many in the market. It would be more wise to make comparison before making a decision among these plans. If we are too lazy to compare on our own, we can engage a qualified Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to make comparisons. Please note that IFAs are not able to service certain products from certain companies like those from Prudential's and Great Eastern's and AIA's. However, this just means they have access to an even wider pool of products to service e.g. from ManuLife, HSBC, e.t.c. without limiting oneself to only 1 company.

After almost 45 minutes of talk, she finally come down to the main part - filling in my personal financial assessment and signing the policy. I quickly told her I will need to consider before making a decision. She then went on telling me Prudential will take 2 weeks to process before sending me the "Terms & Conditions" and I will have a further 2 weeks to cancel the policy. This effectively means I can sign the policy before I even start consider whether to take up the policy. I would say this is a very aggressive tactic used by this particular Prudential adviser. My guess is if one is being persuaded into signing a policy after knowing he has got 4 weeks to make product comparison or do some serious considerations, I really doubt he will go back home and make product comparison. Humans are too lazy to bother about these things thinking products are similar. I would say there's a 99.99% chance the adviser will end up getting the deal closed if this tactic is successful. I wonder if this tactic is taught by Prudential's trainers themselves? In my opinion, this is an unethical act.

Just before I left, the adviser told me she had run out of name cards and so would have to give me a "missed call" so I would be able to note down her phone number. She called using the phone number I provided earlier. I wonder what would have happened if the number I provided was fictitious. I bet it would have been very embarrassing. I bet this is just another tactic in finding out if I really gave a valid phone number. That's very cunning of her!

C# Split Method (Ignore Empty Elements)

To ignore empty elements, use below

string s = "*jan*feb*mar*";
string[] months = s.Split("*".ToCharArray(), StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
int count = months.Length;

Console.WriteLine("count = " + count.ToString());

Investors to be Cautious as 9/11 Approaches

Osama is planning to launch a video on 9/11. I am unsure if this has an impact on the stock market as 9/11 approaches.
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/298366/1/.html

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Windows Live Package

Microsoft has just released Google Pack similar - Windows Live Installer
With Windows Live Installer, you will get an array of products e.g. Messenger, Live Writer, e.t.c. One thing to note is, Windows Live Installer does not include 3rd party software in their array of products.

Jump into Windows Live
http://get.live.com/en-us/wl/all

Google Reader Now Has Search Feature

Google Reader has just added a search feature. Now, we can search loaded RSS feeds using keywords.
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/google-reader-adds-search.html

Microsoft's Silverlight, Flash's competitor, Will Support Linux

Microsoft's Silverlight 1.0 launches and will support Linux
http://mashable.com/2007/09/04/silverlight-1/

Sunday, September 02, 2007

China Oilfield Technology Seeks Listing in SGX

This IPO is going to be hot!
http://www.cosl.com.cn/index.jsp

Defining Success

When it comes to your life, what do you want? How does your money fit into that?

If you can't answer these two questions, you won't ever know when you've been successful. In fact, it might be worse than that: you might achive what you thought you wanted, or what all of your friends want, and suddenly realize that it doesn't satisfy. In order to make sure you're going the right direction for you, it's important to figure out what you want from your life (to find your definition of "success").

Why it Works

We're all going after something. That's part of being alive. As long as we're living and acting, we are headed towards something. Even if we don't want to live, we're going towards our goal (yes, death is a goal!). Our lives are going somewhere. We're caught up in the stream of living and we'll end up somewhere.

Luckily for us, we have some say about where we can end up. Sure, we all die in the end, but we have the abilitiy to decide what is important and make choices towards that end. If you're saying, "Sure, Sarah, we all know that. Make this entry worth reading, already!" then tell me what you're living for. Go ahead, tell me what your life's goal is. Tell me why you're on this earth and how all the different parts of your life fit into that.

If you can do that, you're ahead of most of us. Deciding what we want, what we're about, takes a lifetime of deliberate, focused introspection. But we can figure out different parts of this whole at different times in our lives, and we can live deliberately towards them.

How it Works

If you're not sure how to get started in this process, here is a process that helps.
  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper. In 10 minutes, list as many things as possible that you have not done, that you would regret not doing if you died tonight. To the best of your ability, don't stop writing and don't censor or even think too hard about anything. Just write. You might find some crazy things coming out the end of your pen, and that's ok. Let them be.
  2. Read your list. Notice any internal reactions you have to different items on the list. Note these in the margins next to your list so you can remember them later.
  3. Step away from the project for 3-7 days, except to read your list once a day. This lets the list percolate in your mind. Often, writing down our desires brings to the forefront things that we haven't thought about in a while, or voices things we avoid voicing any other time. It can take us a few days to become accustomed to these thngs being a reality in our lives. We learn to accept, "Yes, I am the person whose life won't feel complete if I never help the refugees in Darfur," or, "Yup, I'm the busy entrepreneur who really wants a desk job so I can spend more time with my kids before they leave home."
  4. Come back to the project and read the list again. Note any internal reactions that have changed as you let the ideas percolate.
  5. Start pulling the different items on your list together and write a statement that encompasses what you're about. In the beginning, this can be a list of more general cateogories that cover all of the items on your list. For instance, my list would containg such items as "helping people grow" and "working with groups to help them better understand and support each other." My larger category might be, "working with people, as individuals and in groups, to help them better understand and support the growing process in themselves and others. Eventually, this statement will be less like a list and more like a sentence or two, but the list is fine to start.
  6. Write down and commit to one step you can take this week! today! right now! to help move your life more in line with your statement. Make sure that this is small enough to be achievable and is something you can maintain.
  7. Repeat stps 3-6 until you have a statement that feels right. Most people know when they've hit on the one that's right for them. It moves many to tears, but some also feel joy or peace when they find it. Continue with the small goals until your life looks like what you want it to be.
  8. Live the life you've designed. Achieve your definition of success.
[ Above extracted from below source ]
http://www.wisebread.com/defining-success-if-you-dont-know-what-you-want-you-wont-know-when-youve-gotten-it

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The 100 Most Powerful Women (2007)

Singapore's very own Chief of Temasek Holdings, Ho Ching, is ranked Number 3 - a position higher than Condoleezza Rice.

Full Complete List
http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/11/biz-07women_The-100-Most-Powerful-Women_Rank.html

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