Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cockroach in my Car

EEEEeeeek ! I hate cockroaches ! Breathe.....

Ok. So I arrived early and was parked early for my next work appointment. I am sitting in the back of my car doing some work on the laptop and was on the phone. I was looking around and noticed a small piece of black dirt stuck on the ceiling. I took a piece of tissue and removed it.

Then I started looking around and saw more pieces of black dirt on other parts of the ceiling. I also noticed some dirt on the car door panels. And one of the black dirt on the ceiling had dried water mark around it.

Did I carry anything that could have spilled dirty stuff around the car that I hadn't noticed until now ?

I walked around and cleaned up all the dirt. While I was on the phone, I was wondering where they came from. And suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw something familiar and scary. There, on the other side of the car, standing on the door panel, is a large cockroach !

I have a phobia of cockroaches... Did I tell you I hate them ?
I will try my best not to touch them. And I hate smacking them, because then it would leave the innards and slimy stuff all over everywhere. If I had to smack a cockroach in my car, I will have to sell my car (and I just bought it less than a year ago !)

So I had to spend the whole day hunting for it, hoping I can chase it out of the car. Spent the day driving everywhere meeting customers. Finally, when I got home, I sprayed insecticide all over the carpet, crevices and all.  Closed all the doors and let it cook.

The next morning, I nervously checked everywhere. Couldn't find it. Maybe it had died in the railings of my rear seat (which is under the floorboard.) Eventually, I unfolded my 3rd-row seats and there it was on the floor. I know it is dead, but I still went to the garden to grab a pair of tongs to dispose of the carcass. Not touching it with my bare hands.

When I was done, I considered throwing the tongs away.. But nah, it is used for gardening anyway.

Bloody cockroaches...



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Contemplation

I am sitting on the balcony of a hotel in Port Stephens, staring into the ocean.

Once every few years or so, it seems I fall into this mood. Of wondering what I want to achieve and what my worries are and how to address them.

Today I am thinking how do I retire...
I am thinking of live and death.

And some nights I lay awake and wonder how I would die and how painful that would be and how frightened I would be.

I guess you can tell I am a "glass half full of poisonous water" type of guy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Time for Check List ? Time for a comeback ?

I know, I know. This is not the first time I said I am making a come-back.

Coming back to the blogging world, I was reminded of my old friend KoP (Singapore Serf).
Oh how quickly time passes. And just a few days ago, my post received another comment from someone. I have always thought of making a comeback, that comment just jolted me into action. I hope this lasts.

We probably all reach some point in life where we are nostalgic and think of the past. All the various moments that we try to hold on to. I hope I am not hitting mid-life crisis.

Why do I want to come back ? I don't know. Maybe I felt my brain needs more stimulation. Maybe I need another writing avenue other than work emails and documents. Maybe I secretly yearn to be back in the limelight , albeit anonymously. I am not sure, and you will not know, but you are welcome to guess.

Check list ? Is that a work thing ? I don't know...
8 years in Australia now - check.
Have a job - check.
Have a home - check.
Enjoying life - check.
Having a beer while writing this - check.

Ok. We are go for a re launch.
Let's see how many people come back. :)




Sunday, September 29, 2013

Negative Gearing - New concept to a lot of people

Not many countries have negative gearing. And it is a foreign concept to many that I have spoken to.

The general idea is that losses made from an investment can be used to reduce taxation from salary.
Why make losses, most people ask ?
Why would the government allow that ?

I guess, as with most investment around the world, you expect a short term loss, then a break even point, then a longer term gain.

Like when you buy a new car, the first couple of years, depreciation is the highest. You make the most losses. Though only a small percentage of cars can be considered investments. Not a good analogy.

Say  Shares. When you buy shares, you make a loss because of frictional costs (trading costs, fees, etc). And then you have to wait for the share price to rise, or wait for dividend, before you break even and then make profits later on as prices go higher than inflation. Now imagine if you are borrowing money to buy shares. The initial "loss" will be higher.

When  you buy a property, it is also usually with mortgage. How much do you need the property to rise before you can sell it for a profit ? Think about the fees, stamp duties, interest payments, etc.
People are betting on the fact that capital growth of the property in time exceeds the interest and inflation rates and it becomes a profit in future.

Negative gearing allows investors to use the losses in the first few years to offset their income (even if it is from employment). Most countries allow the losses to offset FUTURE profits (from capital gains tax, or from future rental profits) but countries allowing negative gearing lets you offset those losses NOW.

In Australia, negative gearing is not just for properties, you can also use negative gearing on shares, as far as I know.

Is it for me ?

I am not a financial advisor, so don't take my words with much weight.

Negative gearing is probably useful if you have other income to offset against, so as to reduce taxation.
Maybe a steady employment income.

But if your income is not stable, it may not be worthwhile.




Friday, July 12, 2013

Updates - Mid 2013 - 5 years on...

I guess I owe all of you some updates over the last 3 years.

 Work 

Work has been largely the same. Some restructuring in the company, some retrenchments,some people leaving. But largely business as usual.

My territory has changed and it is a shame I am not going to Perth anymore. However, I get to travel to Brisbane and New Zealand now. Hope to be able to enjoy that.

Still been able to travel around regional areas in NSW and ACT. Visiting sleepy country towns and all. Always is nice to drive around a bit and get out of the office.

Also been trying to do side-lines... See how it goes.


Life

I have bought my own 3 bedroom townhouse, in a nice suburban complex. Nice and friendly neighbours with lots of get-together and parties.

More friends and more events and things to do on the weekends - Birthday parties, catch up sessions, etc.

Haven't been going to the beach a lot in the last year. Been staying home more. Not sure why, maybe just being lazy.



Car

Sold my old car (Ford Focus) and bought a new one (Hyundai ix35) about 3 years ago. I think my previous LS experience took place when I already have my new car.

Haven't done any 4WD or much off road with it though.

I am now sitting in the service centre while my car is being serviced. Doing my work, enjoying free coffee and blogging.. It is a Friday after all..



To Do List

In the short future, looking at getting a better paid job. Getting an investment property. Though in no particular order. Maybe also starting a little side business of some sort.

But I guess, most of the plans is to build a financially secure future and get to enjoy life a little more.

Maybe pick up more sporting activities.





Monday, June 24, 2013

Come back.....

Ok. I think I want to make a comeback... Probably as a way to force myself to compose creatively, not just writing proposals for work.

I hope not everyone has tuned out of my blog after 3 years...

I will be back.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Childhood - Part 8

When I was younger in Primary school, I used to have tuition in the PAP Kindergarten below my block of flats.
A tutor would have access to one of the classrooms in the evening. She's not the day-time teacher of the said kindergarten.

I remembered once, after doing my assignments, I simply took a stroll across to the other classrooms (separated by partitions that are not locked) to explore. Opened drawers and cabinets, etc.

Then one day, I struck gold. Well, not gold but close enough. There, in a cabinet, was a box of blackboard-chalks. Or so I thought. I opened it and there were money in there. Looking back, that's probably the temporary petty cash box a teacher used to put school fees in, before handing them to administration.

I took a coupe of dollars and some coins, I hoped it was not enough to make the person-in-charge immediately detect my theft.

After the class, I went to buy some candies... yeah !

After that, almost every week, I would make myself some pocket money....until about 2 months later, the box was gone ! How could they.. how could they deprive me of my hard earned candies... :(

Sunday, December 05, 2010

My LS Experience, Again...

Hmm.. it's been a while since I had to do things like this

But recently, it happened again. :(

I was on a road trip around the regional countryside for work. And by countryside, I mean roads that are, well, windy and up and down mountains and basically 1 lane each way. Well, for some part of it.

So the morning before I set off, I had a McDonalds breakfast - Latte and Ham & Cheese croissant. Not sure if that's the culprit. Then it is a 4 hour drive across a mountain range to another coastal town. It was raining for the week as well.

1 hour into the drive, my stomach was churning a little. But the mountainous road didn't have as many rest stops as the usual highways. The pain came and gone. I thought I could last a little longer. I don't fancy going to those toilets along the highway.

Another 30 minutes and it started to hurt again, this time more churning. I am starting to look out for rest stops but there weren't any. And I was in the middle of winding road passing through the state forest.

5 more minutes and I had a trickling sensation near my anus, and I thought, "I still had it under control ??!!. It couldn't have leaked out !" I resigned myself to fate and decided to look for a good place by the roadside to stop my vehicle.

I soon found a small clearing by the road side that goes downhill. So I could stop my vehicle safely and I can be out of view of passing traffic. I stopped, got out, grabbed an umbrella as it was still drizzling all so lightly. Grabbed my box of tissues and a pack of wet wipes and headed down slope.

15 metres away, I couldn't see my car or the road, and I saw a place with some logs that I could take a dump. And so I did, wishing very hard that it doesn't come out all in one blast and splatter all over my shoes and pants. Luckily, it didn't - it was like brown yogurt... (haha.. I don't eat yogurt, thank goodness.) And the tickling sensation must have been my sweat, cos I checked my undies and I hadn't leaked anything at all. *phew*

Since I was already there, I wanted to be sure I emptied everything before I am on my way again. Squatting behind the logs, under my umbrella, the rain picked up. And I had all memories of my army days coming back to me for a while. Damn, it's been a looooong time since I had to do this. I hope my bums don't get bitten by anything. And I hurriedly looked around to make sure there weren't any snakes or insects that are creeping up me.

10 minutes later, I was sure I am in the clear, cleaned myself and walked back to my car - yes, it was still there of course. Continued my journey, all relieved.

500 metres down the road, there I see it - a sign and 100 metres further a rest stop with a small tinny toilet shed....

Saturday, December 04, 2010

My Childhood - Part 7

Ok, it's almost a year now.... Gosh.


So here's my promised instalment of part of my childhood.

I can't remember when this happened, but I must have been no older than 10. Of course, my parents do not buy as much sweets and candies as I would like. I wanted more, always.

Then one day, I was wearing a shirt that my grandma made for me. It was from floral textile, with a collar, and 2 pockets along the lower hem near my waist. I guess she thought it would be a good idea. It was really a design that I haven't seen before, as most shirts had breast pockets.

And the size of the 2 pockets (left and right), I swear, were the right size for a pack of 3-tube mentos. Same width, same height. I was sure my grandma made this shirt for my next endeavor - putting 1 pack in each pocket and strolling out from the supermarket.

And that's what I did. All it took for me to hide them was to wear baggy pants/shorts and tuck my shirt in like a good boy...

I did it a couple of times and stopped. I can't remember why, honestly. Maybe I got caught, maybe I just knew I shouldn't do it too often.

Ok.. next episode - how I stole money...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Toy

Heh... I bought myself an early xmas present. Was eyeing the Garmin Nuvi 1390T for a while. Then recently got an email from a local retailer with special offer and free delivery. I got it ! :)

View Details Here.


5 days after that, a local giant retail chain offered the same thing, cheaper. :(

At least, the retailer that I bought from (a small family-run local business) gave further discount to try to reduce the gap, and gave me a partial refund. Not too bad.

How is this different from my previous set ? It has a bigger screen, black sleek look, Lane-assist with Junction-View, updated map, and lifetime subscription for FM Traffic receiver.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Childhood - Part 6

Let me go back to some parts of my childhood that I can remember.

When I was in Primary School, I was mostly in the morning session. And as my parents work, I usually have the afternoon available to play. My grandmother doesn't know much about my homework. I just need to do them and I can go downstairs to play with the neighbourhood kids.

There was this little convenience store that is on a standalone hut near my place. The store sells sweets, snacks, papers, magazines and cigarettes. The store owner is a middle-aged Indian. There are usually a few kids hanging around to read the comics without buying them. I think the owner knows he can't chase all the kids away, so he lets us read as long as we don't damage or steal them. But steal them I did.

At first, I remembered I tried tucking them under my shirt. But of course, got found out. Then one day, I found an ingenious way. You see, beside the stall, there was always planks and other stuff. I would, when nobody is looking, drop a comic book into the stack of 'rubbish' and quickly pick up another copy of the same comic and pretend to read. Then after a while, put it down when the owner was looking at me and proceed to walk away.

Later at night when the owner locked up and left, I proceeded to the pile of junk and retrieved the comic book and stashed it in another location - rooftop of a rubbish collection centre. Had to climb the walls to get up there. No one else goes there and my stuff are safe. I can't bring them back home, cos my dad will notice it.

And so this was the beginning of my stealing days. I am sure almost everyone steals as a kid.. don't you ? ;p

Next instalment - how I steal sweets from supermarkets.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My Work in Australia

My work is in a technical consultant role. It involves traveling around more than half the time meeting customers and all. I also work closely with the sales team, a little like my previous job role in Singapore.

Though I am not involved personally in office politics at the moment (and I hope not ever), I still do hear quite a lot. Friction within the sales team (fighting for accounts, etc), between departments (Product vs Sales), and also office affairs.

Let me talk about the friction within the sales team- its not uncommon in any organization. Everyone fights to earn commissions. Teamwork can only be seen when one person goes on leave and another sales person help out with the account even though she/he is not getting a commission.

Management also plays a part. If the manager doesn't make it clear who owns what accounts, or how accounts should be split, you will have overlaps. The sales team is divided mainly by industries, or so-called verticals. Everyone has a job to develop new customers from within the industry assigned to them.

What happens when a customer can belong to multiple industries ? How then ? Or the dealer (who belongs to one of the sales) happens to get a deal that is in a different industry (which belongs to another sales) ?

If the sales person is tasked to develop a new market segment, what about his/her old accounts that he has taken time to develop ?

All these are probably common in many sales structure. Managing the team well is the job of the manager and I probably have to say in this case, the manager isn't doing a very good job. Worse if she/he is seen to practice favoritism and hides like an ostrich, not solving problems that are brought to her/his attention.

Blatant backstabbing and spreading false accusations about colleagues to management is something that I dislike very much. One person's off my friend-list now.

And what about the problem between product team and sales team ? The sales team wants more information and sell anything that is easy to sell. The product team withholds information from the sales team, because sales team is stupid and cannot be trusted with precious information. Knowledge is king and holding on to information is asserting authority, I guess.

Office affairs ? Haha, I didn't see anything. But a couple is seen coming to office together, etc. Girl's single and available. Boy's having family problems, not sure of his actual marital status.

So there you have it. Nothing as juicy as my previous work environment, but it's getting there...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our Credible News

Am sitting at Perth domestic airport lounge and reading through Singapore news.

First one is this :


First, take note of the headline.

Then, notice the 3rd paragraph, how it says "This also shows an increase from March 31, 2009, when Temasek's portfolio value stood at $130 billion by market value, which is up from $90 billion five years ago."











Now look at this :


See how this article says "Its portfolio value for the financial year to March 2009 fell 30 per cent on-year to S$130 billion. This means the portfolio has shrunk back to levels seen three years ago when its value was worth S$129 billion. "

Haven't had time to see what other international journalist wrote, because I am boarding the plane soon..

I will attempt to compare my own (now inactive) investment portfolio to their performance. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Updated

I have updated my blog templates.

It is now easier to navigate and look through my history. I would bring myself to add more soon. Very soon.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hello...

Hi, its me.. :) Long time no see eh ?

Let's see what's new in my life...

Been getting lots of stuff (big and small) for my new house.. so spending lots of moolah..

I have done my first body checkup here. The usual - fasted the night before, went early to see the doctor, had 4 viles of my blood drawn for testing. All these for free.. Well, not exactly free, just paid for, 100%, by MediCare.

Work has been pretty good. Kept me busy, supporting different sales people. Travelling around different states as well. Just been to Melbourne and back few weeks ago.

Even though its busy with lots of projects and reports to complete, I never once felt "stressed". Maybe it helps that I spend 60-70% of my time away from the office and have more time to myself and more time to rest.

Financially, ok. No money to dabble in stock here for now or anything else. But getting along just fine. Wait till I save enough dough. Going to get myself a tax accountant/adviser to try to minimize my taxes. No details here of course, but it will probably be a well-spent $150 (or around there.)

Ford launched their new 2009 Mondeo, Titanium version (with all the gizmos like voice activated air-con and stereo, bluetooth to phone, auto-everything-from-headlights-to-wipers, heated leather seats, adaptive cruise control with collision avoidance/warning, 2.3L engine with 6-speed auto gears, 18" sports alloy wheels, etc) starting out from $41k. Probably will be changing my car to a new and bigger one, maybe in the next financial year.

Socially, getting to know a couple of friends outside work, and on ok terms with my neighbours. Not so much partying. Dinners with colleagues, drinks with ex-colleagues, etc. Increasing slowly and steadily.

Didn't see much things on the roads to comment about. Not much road rage, or weird drivers, etc.. So yeah, a bit boring at the moment and thus nothing much to blog about. I am sure I am not going to make this into a "Dear Diary" thing.

Till the next post..

Friday, June 26, 2009

Coincidence & Power of the Internet

Few months ago, I was shopping for grocery and saw someone that looked like an old friend of mine - my junior in Uni, who was Malaysian, that I got to know in hostel.

I looked at him, but he didn't seem to see me. Sounded like him too, but I didn't dare approach as I thought it would be highly unlikely that I would meet someone there.

Fast forward to 3 days ago.

I finished work at about 5.30pm and was crossing the road to my car. The same guy was crossing the road the other way. We saw each other in the middle. I looked at him and he looked at me. But he didn't show visible signs of recognition.

The next morning at work, I received an email that he has added me to his network. Yes, the person I thought I recognized. So I was right afterall !

What a small world, to be working 2 buildings away. He has migrated to Sydney too, a few months earlier than I. He told his wife about seeing me and his wife thought he was mistaken too.

And he found me through a social networking site, even without my photo shown on that site.

Interesting how we meet old acquaintances and the ways to get in touch with someone.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long awaited...

Long awaited updates for you all... :)

Let's see what has happened in the last few months...

My work is getting busier with more projects and and stuff.. I am travelling to Perth monthly, which is nice for me meeting my friends and all, and good for my frequent flyer points. Heh heh.

The weather has turned cold here. Winter started earlier it seems. Luckily, we do not get that much rainfall and flood like in parts of Queensland.

And I have bought a new 3-bedroom, 194sqm townhouse to live in. With that, I got $24k of government grant (and free stamp duty worth $16k) and I only pay $200 per month more than my previous rental (of a 2-bedroom towhouse).

I have also gotten $900 of the stimulus package from the government without needing to do anything. No need to top up CPF, or login to register, etc. They just send put the money into my bank account.

But of course, with the new house and all, more money has been spent on furniture, deocorations, etc. I sure helped the economy.. haha..

A couple of close friends came to stay for a week, and we went out to enjoy Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains. And I also got to visit Taronga Zoo as well. It's a nice place, but I personally think that the Singapore Zoo is still slightly better.

Hmmm.. What else do you wanna know ?

Maybe I can make this more interactive (no, not trying to emulate twitter) and maybe I'll have more things to write about.. and you'll have more articles to read.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weather and blood pressure

Sydney is now cold due to rain. Its still summer now and temperatures of below 30 in the day and 19 at night.. It feels like autumn is here earlier.

I was just back from Perth last week, and it was still hot out there. Day temperatures of near 40.

Parts of Queensland is flooded.

Parts of Victoria is burning.

And what has this gotta to do with blood pressure ?
Nothing.

At least until I went to the doctor's yesterday for my cough, and ask the doctor to check my blood pressure due to the fainting I had a couple of months back.

Turns out, my pressure is a little low. She said 90/60. Nothing else feels bad (except my cough now) so she told me to increase my salt intake slightly.

At least I know it is blood pressure and not brain tumour...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thankful and more...

I made a trip back to Singapore during CNY. Caught up with lots of friends and some relatives. However, there are still quite a number of friends that I didn't have time to catch up with. Next trip I will stay longer to catch up with everyone.

Sleeping back at my parent's place during the CNY, I learnt that even though my current place in Sydney seems noisy at night, it is definitely so much more peaceful and quiet compared to the city I lived in.

Every night, I had to ignore loud inconsiderate motorists (loud cars and loud motorbikes) travelling around residential areas.

Every morning I wake up to the sound of hydraulics doors of buses and LRT trains opening and closing.

So what is the sound of occasional resident returning home, or the distant hum of the motorway that is 500 metres away from my sydney rental place that I cannot live with ?

*~*~*~*~*

Near the end of my stay in Singapore during the CNY, I developed a bit of flu. That lead to a sore throat and now I have cough. Hope I will recover quickly

*~*~*~*~*

I am sure almost everyone heard about the recent bush fires in Australia, especially the recent tragedy of the Victorian fires that killed many people and are still raging on.

Fires around parks and bushes in Australia is common during summers. Temperature as hot as mid 40s (in Celsius) are common. Nationally occuring fires are already unavoidable. Add the fact that there will always be careless people (cigarette butts, etc), fire-fighting resources are already stretched to the limits.

And somehow, every year there will always be arsonists who liked setting things on fires and somehow killing people or destroying properties. It is just sad and everyone is resigned to the fact that somehow, there will always be people like that, just like there will always be robbers or murderers.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bad start for the year - Episode 2

Yesterday, while out looking at properties, I stopped outside the garage of a house that I viewed. I parked sideways so as not to block the small road. As I was about to drive out, I didn't recall nor notice that a short brick parapet was right in front of my car. I remembered the curb, and thought I could turn out without a problem.

So moved out and then I heard a loud crack.

Damn. It was loud enough for the property agent who was in the house to come out to take a look. No damage to the brick of course, as I wasn't going fast.

The corner of the brick parapet hit the bumper where the foglight was. Foglight casing was cracked, bumper was scratched, and plastic molding panel for the foglight dropped out.

This afternoon, I tried to repair the damage. Not sure how much it would cost me to replace it, but I am quite sure they will charge me for a SET of lights instead of just one.

Used duct-tape to wrap around the light holder to make sure its water-proof. Pushed it back into the bumper (the holding ears were obviously broken so it can't be screwed back on) and then put the plastic molding panel back on. Some of the clips were broken and the screw broke as well, but it still held on ok. I used a few double-sided tape to ensure it doesn't drop off. That will hold the light in as well.

The light still works, just a bit unfocused and I am sure I can't turn it on for long, as I am worried that the duct-tape might not take the heat very well. But I hardly use my foglights anyway.

Oh bummer.. At least cosmetic-wise, it doesn't look too bad.