Day 6 – Employment 2013; CNB NGB retired

More find jobs last year amid tight labour market

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/more-find-jobs-last-year-amid-tight-labour-market-20140130

In 2013, employment grew by 134,900 (MOM) Over 60% went to locals & PR. Most of employment growth came in services sector, followed by construction and manufacturing.

Former CNB chief Ng Boon Gay retired from public service: Ministry of Home Affairs

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/former-cnb-chief-ng-boon-gay-retired-public-service-ministry-home-affa

So he was first interdicted in Jan 2012 which means he was suspended from duty & docked off his pay after being arrested by CPIB for graft investigations about a month earlier.

Graft investigations:

Graft

  • Graft is defined as a use of public stature to gain illegal benefit. For instance, a senator who sits on the armed services committee in the U.S. senate cannot use his knowledge of military contracts to buy stock in a defense contractor’s company. His position gives him unfair advantage over other investors. It is similar to the notion of insider trading in business.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_6635615_meaning-graft-corruption_.html#ixzz2rrWIVdzC

He was acquitted of corruption which means he was not guilty but has been retired from public service effective yesterday. Why was he retired despite not being guilty? Well logically speaking, given that his reputation is reflect badly on many other companies, I believe no company except close friends would put him in a role that requires sound ethical judgment and professionalism.

Self

Got the itinerary up for Kuantan & seems legit! Shall conduct a briefing later today when everyone’s here. Oh this reminds me of the ppt I needa do for OCIP. Quite disappointing because after thinking about it so much yesterday, I couldn’t actually find succinct points to support the sustainability of the project. I mean. How difficult is it to inspire youths to take on OCIPs by knowing there is continuity of the project in the long run. I can go far-fetched like saying “It could be your first step towards making a difference to the world” but then again that would be what every other OCIP would do. & if I were among the audience (I used to be the audience for such things a lot) I wouldn’t be very receptive to it because firstly, the point’s diluted and overused and secondly, realistically speaking is that even true? We are ultimately still a small fry and to effect big changes, we’ll need much more than that – working very closely with NGOs, getting them to be more receptive towards our involvement in planning as opposed to just manual work etc. Many factors that have more weight comes into play so don’t be superficial. I’ll join whoever gets me the real deal amidst all the fluff.

Hmm. Now the reall deall….

Day 3 + 4 + 5 – Tudung issue; Smartphone sales (Samsung); SM SF Budget 2014

A few issues over the past 3 days I intend to highlight :

Tudung issue

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/tudung-issue-is-about/967930.html

Tudung issue is about what sort of society S’pore wants to build: PM Lee

I remember learning about this issue in my SS mod and if i recall correctly, my prof’s interpretation of the issue was how it was not allowed in schools then because it could impede national integration yet the other party insists on the basic right to practice their religion to their utmost best in this secular state. PM’s comments imply a deferment of allowance for donning of tudung in schools as it could lead to other religions fighting for the same right to practice their beliefs openly within an institution. Eg. Practicing their beliefs in school. etc.

What is my opinion? I’d go for my prof’s/ PM’s stand that Sg, being a melting pot of cultures whose composition is always changing, would require constant and more conspicuous efforts to promote the quality of being one or together, rather than separate entities. As it would be difficult to validate every individual’s stand or perspective regarding this issue this move would be a prudent one to take now.

Auditors’ independence

Before accepting an engagement from a client, there is a need to establish our independence – a list of 24 😮 which I am presently reminding myself to keep reinforcing it in my head.

Smartphone sales (Samsung vs Apple)

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/smartphone-sales-top/970310.html

Smartphone sales top billion, Samsung leads

Boohoo Apple. I never really was a fan of Apple but I did a project on Steve Jobs & he was amazing. He was the backbone of the company then but its future seems uncertain now. Anw, Samsung 31.3% of 2013 sales while Apple hits 15.3%. Samsung’s double! I do not fancy how big its devices are but well it seems most reliable compared to other phones. I actually really like the look and feel of a Blackberry but it seems dormant now. Well I heard about its pop-up keys technology which it is still furnishing. Let’s hope it’s break into the market fairly quickly.

Budget 2014

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/budget-2014-to-look-at/968692.html

Budget 2014 to look at how to better support families: Josephine Teo

Senior Minister of State for Finance

One of the priorities for Budget 2014 is to better support families through healthcare & education (preschool to tertiary).

As for business, we should expect an update of the progress of restructuring. Businesses requested “for the continuation of Productivity & Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme which allows local business to get tax deductions for investments to improve productivity” (thus scheme is helpful biz are making moves to improve their productivity) & govt is considering the merits of extending it.

Self

Almost forgot to update this area. So I’ve been eating little on some occassions and eating a lot or rather, munching more often these few days. My body hasn’t yet realized/ been accustomed to a certain benchmark that determines whether you need food or not. Counting calories may not necessarily help and I’ve been exercising too but I have no idea of its effects. Well my strategy was to eat lesser & exercise much more which means my fats will be used up as energy for the strenuous exercises that I’ve been doing but yea it now seems true when people say it is challenging to stay fit & healthy when you’ve been so used to your regular meetings with the fridge. Or when your body dictates your mind on your level of hunger at various points of time. So willpower is definitely important. The conviction to let your mind decide when you should consume food rather than let your body do harm to itself. Speaking of which, I think probably the main reason for obesity is psychological. Turning to food for comfort is just depressing because food should the last thing we seek for comfort. I mean people do it temporarily – munching on donuts after dissatisfaction with exams. It could become chronic when done so often and you’re not mentally strong/ garner sufficient willpower to resist. There are definitely other more effective measures to overcome any unsettled issues within self cos honestly, food doesn’t help. Oh right, it’s like smoking – a temporary relief from stress which only comes back once again and may or may not render you in a better position to solve the problem or not. Let’s not leave such things to chance cos we tend to blame it on our bad luck when things do not turn out the way we wanted it too and soon without any effort, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A vicious cycle that no one should fall for. We should all probably think back into our primary school days, specifically CME lessons and actually reflect & apply it now since the world’s quite screwed up. Going back to basics usually works especially with a fresh and non-convoluted mind.

Day 2 – Rogue traders; Bill Gates vs World Chess Champ

Hello,

I’m reading an article about rogue trading from my Prof and so I figured it’d be good to discuss it over here.

Acc

Rogue traders just like any of us (ST 28 August 2012)

The article then mentioned about a local fraud case by Nicholas Leeson, then GM of Barings Futures Singapore, who used an error account to make unauthorized trades. He was capable of doing so as he was put in charge of both the front and back office which means that the issue here is no segregation of duties.

Looking into issues that make trading very susceptible to fraud, firstly, traders generally are prepared to take on more risks than face penalties for losses. This brings us to their compensation plans. They are paid on aggregate performance as opposed to daily performance. Thus, take big risks to recoup losses before the end of appraisal period.

Secondly, rogue traders are experts in operations of back office where critical decisions of trade & payment settlements are made.

What differentiates a losing & rogue trader is their attitude towards facing a loss because considering the nature of their job, losses are inevitable at some point of time. Ethics become essential as an ethical trader would abide by the loss limit while an unethical trader merely carries on.

So how to we reduce the likelihood of fraud? Strict regulation would help in enforcing the limits and improving risk monitoring eg. via stress-testing of positions & analysis of margin calls and daily settlements. Self-governance becomes crucial. Banks are enhancing their compliance & internal risk control departments and managers have to lead by example and play an active role in the transition.

Few words for me take note:
vilified – speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner.

Self

Bill Gates takes on world chess champ, mated in 9 moves

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/bill-gates-takes-world-chess-champ-mated-9-moves-20140125

Amazing win in 1 minute 20 seconds! Well he is a world champ. I hope to play chess with a great contender when I retire! Which reminds me. I recently borrowed a book of IQ Tests. Yes, I find it pleasurable answering questions from these books correctly or faster than anyone I know. What got me intrigued is the statement that contends that the tests are accurate for individuals aged below 18 and beyond that, your cognitive ability will not show much change. So up till JC, my mind’s not developing already? I have maxed out my potential to be more adept? Is that what it’s suggesting? Does this account for the reasons behind why people find it difficult to change the minds of seniors? Well, I’m not sure and have no idea what means to take to answer those questions but it just sounds discouraging that’s all. Coupled with the fact that I couldn’t answer most of the questions. Yea, I have a big ego but I know what happens to those who do so I’ll keep my ego to myself and le blog.

Anyway, I will be going to Kuantan over the CNY holidays! I can’t wait. It’s at a resort and we’ll be overlooking the sea, which means the view will be breathtaking! 🙂 I’m looking through dining areas and activities to do while we’re there. Hope it’ll be substantive! Oh and they have a gym. YES.

Day 1 – Fall in private home prices

So today I officially open this blog and start off with my first actual post.

Current Affairs

Private home prices fall for first time in nearly 2 years

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/private-home-prices-fall/966242.html

Reason for reduction in private home prices is mortgage curbs implemented by the government. Mortgage refers to a legal agreement by which a bank, building society, etc. lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor’s property, with the condition that the conveyance of title becomes void upon the payment of the debt. So basically with stricter regulation, there is fewer lending by banks to potential owners and therefore, lower demand for private houses resulting in the fall.

Nicholas Mak, executive director of SLP International Property Consultants, said: “We could also see the phenomenon of flight to quality. That means as you have more projects that are going to be completed, tenants will have more choices, and as rents come under pressure, some of these tenants may be moving from suburban areas to city fringe areas, while those that can afford higher budgets may be moving from city fringe areas to the prime districts.

“So on the whole, property in the prime districts will probably see stronger rental demand.”

Thus, the trend expected in future as more houses are being built in Singapore to support an exponentially increasing population is people moving over to high-end areas. I’m starting to think that Singapore’s a great place for expats who would usually occupy such prime districts but not so for Singaporeans. I recalled from a friend how Singaporeans are generally poor and it is the foreigners that are largely fuelling our small & export-driven economy.

Self

I don’t recall any particularly interesting revelations about myself but mm. Ok, I recently realized that I should start investing more into myself regardless as I owe it to myself to live my life the way I want it to be. Then I questioned why it took me so long to be responsible for my own life and decisions. (No I’m not saying that I have been irresponsible all this while. I just haven’t fully taken charge of my life.) I brought myself to a few conclusions; parenting & socialization. Parenting to a certain extent does affect how an individual turns out. Afterall, we learn more from home when we were young and our parents were largely influential figures then. I recall for every mistake I made/ anything I did that deviated from the norm, I was reprimanded for it & when I asked for reasons or rationale behind it, I wasn’t given an answer or the answer simply states that it just has to be that way. This reminds me of the point about creativity in “I’m not proud to be a Singaporean” vid but no, I am not commenting on that. Anyway, so I grew up in this authoritarian culture where I have no say or was not trained to think through things pragmatically and rather just follow the authority blindly. So I turned out to be passive which people don’t like honestly. Even me when I’m faced with someone who just follows any Tom, Dick Harry etc. without reason. So this brings us to socialization. Knowing how people your age functions or the responsibilities they undertake allow you to compare that with yourself and in a sense shows you where you stand. So I believe people who interacted more with more people can learn a lot about being proactive and putting yourself out there. This is definitely an essential life skill especially considering that how valuable we are is how we market ourselves to be. So investing in self would be the first step. Hope I’m not too late realizing this now.

So it’s 3:01am noww. I’m out.

Objective & Mission Statements

Hello. So let’s start with a little background of why I started this blog and thus, it’s objectives.

“You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with” yet I believe I could do better & where I am, it is challenging to get new people to account for the 5 or less. Me doing better? Yeap, it does sound selfish but no. It is if I’m doing it at the expense of others and I excuse myself from this reason as I am actually trying to help the current 5-ish. -ish because I have no information of how receptive they are towards it. Anyway, I treat this as a platform for further self-development in various aspects. I’d like to be more open, stay abreast of current affairs and engage more critical thinking in everyday matters and learn as much. Basically, be on the top of my game at all times. Sounds tiring now that said it but we’ll see how it goes overtime.

So why do I want to me the top of my game 24/7? My field is such that how you deliver your message is equally or more crucial than what you deliver. Thus, this blog allows me to develop skills for both content & delivery. I just have to make it applicable to real-life situations.

The following are some rules for me to adhere to in achieving my objective. Yes, I need rules as I can tell I’m deteriorating in the discipline department, possibly exponentially (frankly speaking I should be sacked – all those efforts my parents made since young could be said to have gone down the drain).

Requirements:

1) Half an hour daily
2) Current affairs (Sg/ Worldwide)
3) Invest a portion on learning about oneself

Again, such requirements may change overtime depending on my progress. This may be a flop for all I know. But in any case, I actually tried. Hopefully, if successful, I’d be able to replicate this methodology to other aspects or maybe share  my success story. 🙂