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How I Got Started In The Year of The Flaming Rat!

February 17th, 2008 by Wai Loong (2 Comments)

Boy, did I really enjoy a full 9 days break from celebrating Chinese New Year! Just as I thought I could get away and relax, I noticed that the lazy part of me starts to creep in! It turned out that I’ve actually missed some writing while getting too carried away doing some rather unproductive work 0ver the first few days!

I had a great time running out on Monday (2 days before Chinese New Year) with one of my financial adviser to get him familiarized with his plan to automate part of his business. The “grand plan” I cannot reveal here but it’s something not obvious and I believe 99% of all sales professionals in the country are not using this simple and powerful customer relation/retention process.

How do I know?

Well, at least I know that my brother (he’s also a financial adviser himself!) isn’t using this strategy! But he has recently acquired a very powerful weapon recently that he had been playing with non-stop for the first 3 days of the lunar new year…!

Oh, and did I mention in my previous post that I wanted to visit the celebration this year at River Ang Pao 2008 (Chun Dao He Pan 2008)? This year, it’s located just in front of the Padang next to the World War II memorial and Esplanade. I realized that I’ve gotten 2 days earlier and the decorations were just setting up while most of the shops along the river side are just setting up.

I whipped out my untrusted camera and volia – the batteries died on me as I took my first shot (it’s still day time ok)!

I can’t believe it happened again because I did a full charge before I left home. I suspected it did happen because I kept the AAA batteries already loaded while I carrying it around for about half the day.

It’s pretty obvious now (I’ll probably test this again) that power was leaked off somehow even when the camera is turned off

Arghh!!!

In fact, this unfortunate incidence (and many past ones too!) left me thinking hard if I should part with some savings to “invest” in an ultra compact digital camera. I’ve been reading a couple of reviews already but I couldn’t make up my mind to take advantage of the upcoming IT Show 2008 from 6-9 March at Suntec City.

Since I’m a holder of UOB credit card, here’s another good reason for this spend – a “Redeem Sure-Win Lucky Dip” chance to win an iPod nano, PSP player or shopping vouchers for a credit charge at least $850.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to verify this with the bank on the details how this “Sure-Win” lucky draw comes about… after all, there is no free lunch and the catch should be there somehow, no!?

You know, how sneaky credit card issuers can be when you want you to make a major spend with all the fine hair line terms and conditions.

I couldn’t decide if the Sony Cybershot or the Canon Powershot IS is right for me as I’m quite inexperience in digital camera selection. Currently, I’m looking at the Sony one since it has good optical zoom, image stabilizer and smile detection.

Before I deviate too much, here’s a summary of what I did on the birth of this flaming rat year:

Day #1

Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I was hibernating at home the whole day, mainly poking around my investment books and doing substantial reading. I also poked around Facebook for a while and sending new year blessings to all my connected friends. The day whizzed past fairly quickly… and I only caught a nice TV program in the evening…

It’s “Ai Du Ai Du” (I Do I Do) by local movie producer Jack Neo.

I DO I DO is a heavily flavored local movie produced by Jack Neo. It approaches genuine love in a comical and heartwarming way by putting two totally mismatched persons together in the story.

The movie starred Singapore’s popular comedians including Adrian Pang and Sharon Au, Marcus Chin, Margaret Lee and Cheng Yeow Nam. It was very touching movie and it promised a lot of fun and laughter for the whole family.

As usual, Jack Neo managed to integrate many insightful messages into the film, including many social and political problem faced daily by local Singaporeans, as well as very useful tips for managing inter-personal relationships.

Day #2

I didn’t really got to visit (as usual) a lot of relatives this year over the Lunar new year, except for a very close relative family of mine. Since their family is relatively large, the usual noise from children are obvious and I didn’t really join in the fray.

Instead, I lent a listening year to some very interesting political-social talks from a group of seniors and learn a great deal along the way. Some of the recent problems here includes the addition of over 17 ERP gantries that increases the burden of road users. I’m no expert or follower of this hot topic but a quick googling found some very interesting article on new ERP gantres written by Daniel Chin, Part I and Part II.

Other topics can be quite sensitive and I did’t think I want to discuss this here for fear of getting into trouble.

As you can see, Taxi drivers are hit most because the customers fear the extra tax spend. Even the increase in 35% cab fare imposed across the board of Taxies did not help if you’re a cab driver because your sales goes down. Your monthly income can become less predictable as more people hit for public transport such as MRT and buses.

The discussion concludes that public transport fares are likely to increase due to popular demand cause by the extra ERP gantres, so just brace yourself and make more money to cover the inflation!

Still dazzled by the discussions, we had a quick dinner and concluded the day as I headed for home for more TV programs…

Day #3

I put in some real work in the morning setting up an autoresponder for my financial adviser finally after a few days of rest and no work. Very interesting work I was familiarizing with before I head off to new year invitation visit at Yin Tuck (a fellow colleague) and his wife Yu Lee at their father’s house.

Like previous year, I re-learn how to play mahjong… and trust me, I’m not good at that! Luckily, we didn’t play money else it’s like throwing money away on the table. Looks like I should train up a lot before the next new year in case real money is at stake!

We had a quick session in about 2 hours before we headed for a movie “Kung Fu Slam Dunk 2008” (????) starring Jay Chou at Golden Village Jurong point.

Kung Fu Slam Dunk ????

Speaking from someone who rarely watch movies, I must say it’s pretty darn good!

Not only was it very humorous, it’s storyline was very funny with lots of special slam dunk scenes starring Jay Chou. In the movie, Jay in his real cool images, applied his special Kung Fu skills in winning the national championshp for First University. In the movie, Eric Tsang displayed his usual stunning Cantonese acts in both touching and money faced scenes.

If you don’t like Jay Chou or has no interest in basketball, you should take a look at this movie. Maybe your perspective of Jay’s talent might change? I did!

I got back home just in time to catch another fantastic movie, “I NOT STUPID TOO” by Raintree Pictures with Jack Neo starring Shawn Lee, Joshua Ang, Ashley Leong, Jack Neo, Xiang Yun and Huang Yi Liang.

This is the kind of comedy I enjoyed in the past like “Home Run” (also by Jack Neo). This time round, the story line centered around the theme of increasingly difficult relationships between parents and their children today. This phenomenal is increasing true as the quality of communication declines over the years.

I NOT STUPID TOO

The scenes are set in a fast-paced Singapore modern society. The narrative progresses through the eyes of 9-year-old Jerry as he and his older brother, Tom, face the pressures of school and demands of their wealthy but ever-bickering parents.

Along for the ride is Tom’s friend, Cheng Cai, who is often misunderstood by his teacher at school, and whose own predicament with his single hawker-stall owning father reveals the film’s deep concern with the generational gap between its characters.

The message in the movie is clear – both children and adults alike, need to learn new ways of relationship building. Gone are the days where physical punishments can put children and adults at rest. Only through the eyes of harsh incidents (like death or the loss of loved ones) can they be revealed to one that it’s even more important in this modern day society to influence others by showing others the “why you can’t” rather than saying the “No you cannot”.

That message I felt, was pretty powerful in my path to being a better communicator!

Day #4

It’s Lou Hei time!

My father and elder brother did a small “Lou Hei” to kick off day 4 of Chinese New Year! It’s pretty simple, nothing fanciful but it’s very edible. I hang on that for more than half a day and surprisingly I survived till dinner at 9pm!

On the invitation of a good coaching friend Andre Tan, I round up another friend Chwee Lee for an ad-hoc visit to some old folks in Chinatown at 4.15pm!

The grand plan was to allocate about $20 each to buy necessary food for some aged and lonely folks living in single bed room HDB flats in Chinatown.

Boy was it great to meet new and old friends too! All of us quickly settled at Shing Siong and grabbed small bags of white rice, biscuits, chicken of essence, sponge cakes, instant porridges, instant tea among others and found our way to a 21-level HDB block next to Fo Ya Shi (Buddha Tooth Relic Temple) in the heart of Chinatown Singapore.

Since I’m in a team of all ladies and all of us speak and understand Cantonese, we managed to communicate very comfortably with the old folks. We quickly learn to divide our 3 bags of goodies into 6 parts so that more families can benefit from them.

We stopped on the 10th floor and work our way through level 15. I must say that the corridors are very dark (shielded from the bright afternoon sunlight) and very narrow and they’re also not very well maintained! We had to use our senses to figure our which are the needy families along the dark alleys.

In our first stop, we even stopped for more than 20 minutes with a lonely “Ah Ma” whom she later identified herself as “Seven Sister” (she’s the 7th child in her family). Together with her curious neighbor, they invited us all into their simple abode and we chatted for a long while about their living conditions.

Seven sister had an only one elder brother alive now. Unfortunately, he had migrated to Thailand and it’s been many years since she had any money to pay him a visit. When she’s lonely, she counts symbols on poker cards to reduce the pace of dementia.

Chinatown Visit 10 Feb 2008
Location: Chinatown
From left to right: (Back row) Wai Hong, Andre, Sonal, Jeffery, Wai Loong

Before we departed for desserts and home, here’s a snapshot of some of us using Wai Hong’s camera.

Day #5 to #9

I was madly occupied at work… boy was it mental straining to step through software code with customers! Fortunately, I managed the process pretty well in spite of some technical hiccups. Nothing spectacular thorughout the week except that I had my 2nd “Lou Hei” for this year.

Day #7 is supposed to be “Ren Re”, the birthday of everyone. This day turned out to be nothing spectacular and I ride through the day trolling over with our customers.

Interestingly, the staffs from the company will be treated to another Chinese New Year celebration or “Lou Hei” on Day #15 (next Thursday). Day #15 of Chinese New Year is also known as “Yuan Xiao / Yuan Hsiao” or Chinese Lantern Festival (???). It’s also the equivalent of Valentine for the Chinese.

Day #10

I got up early for a quick jog in the morning and then rush off to a commercial real estate investing preview in the afternoon. The presentation preview was pretty interesting as it got me thinking of building up very impressive multiple streams of passive income and capital gains over a long period of time.

Prime land as you’ve probably know by now, is a very powerful asset to generate wealth and a great hedge to inflation that acts on your cost of living.

The main catch is the high entry cost which deters most investors from picking up such deals. As I probe further, the presenter revealed yet another method to reduce the cost of entry by half via the use of asset allocation through legal means.

As I’m pretty inexperience in commercial real estate investment, I will be taking up some time to evaluate this interesting opportunity that will be closed soon.

Later in the mid afternoon, I invested some time hunting and testing digital cameras that I may be buying in this coming IT Show 2008.

Not to forget the grand Chingay 2008, I headed down to city hall and managed to catch the happenings as the sky grew dark. I didn’t hang around too long since I don’t have the entry tickets, but I did managed to snap some shots and many of them I thought was quite bad taken due to unsteady hands and poor lighting conditions.

Chingay 2008 Day Shot 01
I took this shot before the roads got blocked out by the police and volunteers… Chingay 2008 Day Shot 02
Here’s another shot featuring the tail of the Chingay procession before the sun set…Chingay 2008 Night Shot 01
Good blending of the sun skyline and Chingay crowd…
Chingay 2008 Night Shot 02

Chingay 2008 Night Shot 03
Chingay 2008 Night Shot 04

Only a few shots made it clear on my camera! This goes to show how important the quality of the camera when it comes to very poor lighting conditions and image stabilization.

Chingay 2008 Night Shot 06
Chingay 2008 Night Shot 05
Before heading for home, I grab this rare opportunity to steal a shot in the middle of the road in the middle of City Hall where such a feat is impossible every day else.

Chingay 2008 - Head For Home on MRT
Err… yes and it’s really City Hall.

Interestingly, I’ve uncovered some interesting video clips that folks have uploaded onto their YouTube account. Here’s one that feature the F1 Formula One racing machine racing across the Padang.

[youtube d1IrXlMDGqI]

[youtube SpugFwvJS50]

That’s it…!

I thought this may have conclude a full 10 days and much of what I experienced in the beginning of the flaming year of the rat!

I trust that yours would be equally, if not more exciting than mine or any of your previous year. Keep the comments coming and live life with passion!

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2 Responses:

1
Jeslyn on February 17th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Hi there!

The lightings for Chingay does look very nice but I think they were up there since Xmas? ;D

I like 5566 since Mr Fighting and only Sam Wang is currently in 183 club though promotional activities for that club reduced significantly.

2
Wai Loong on February 17th, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Hi Jeslyn!

Not sure about the lightings on the trees! I’ve not strayed the night streets of city hall for a long time. Thanks to Chingay, for giving me that excuse!

Did you managed to see the lightings at Chun Dao He Pan (River Ang Pao) this year? I did not get a glimpse because I’m too lazy to get away from the computers!

Yeah, I haven’t been checking up 183 Club too…
I haven’t watch “Mr Fighting” but it looks like the very typical 5566 idol type. 😉

Channel U is currently showing Romantic Princess (????) starring Angela Zhang. Since you like 5566 dramas, do you happen to be a fan of Angela?

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!