Sunday, July 29, 2007

Working in Singapore

In Singapore, for work, one can choose to work in the private sector, the public sector or to be an entrepreneur. Let’s talk about the merits/ disadvantages of all these 3 options.

Public Sector

Once considered an iron rice bowl for many, contract or temporary positions in the civil service are now no longer remote. The good thing is after some years of working in a contract position, the possibility of being offered a permanent position is high. However, with the recent trends occurring in the world, divestments, mergers of some government controlled boards are now no longer impossible. But these discontinuities may be still fewer as compared to those occurring in the private sector.

Public sector still has its many attractiveness for prospective employees: good work life balance, good benefits and bonuses. It helps to be a scholar in government organizations as the climb to the apex of your career is made far easier than the non-scholars who will rise, though not really to apex, and who will definitely take many years more.

Private Sector

One must be mentally prepared to slough it out in the private sector, doing overtime in this highly competitive private sector, where profits are the bottom-line and performance is the watchword.

It is far more exciting in private sector than in public sector where work is monotonous. The stability in private sector is however not taken for granted. Divestment and mergers come and go. Even for experienced veterans, if it is cost effective for a company to let them go in bad times, these hard decisions may have to exercise.

For private sectors, how high you go depends on your performance, though there may still be some scholars on a fast-tracked career path.

Entrepreneurs

It is easy and hard these days to set up business. Easy in the sense that one can leverage on technology and open up E- company with little start-up funds. Hard in the sense that in this highly competitive world, one needs really a very good business idea and plan to make it work!

Be prepared to put in lots of hard work being an entrepreneur. Failure rate is high but if you preserve, you may be one of the many millionaires in Singapore in time to come.

Health Surveys

This week, while turning the pages of the newspapers, I began to see more and more companies putting advertisement on the newspapers to recruit healthy participants to take part in health surveys.

As part of the surveys, the volunteers are required to take medicines orally, undergo blood test, x-rays and other tests.

Results of the checkup will be provided free to the participants and monetary renumeration will be given to participants.

Well, effects of drugs differ according to different persons. It is a risk to participants if they take some of these drugs during the survey trials and damage their health.

Damage to their health may be impermanent or if there are no damages, there may be side effects.

Health is most important, for me I will definitely not go for such surveys for the sake of earning few bucks more as health is priceless.

There may be little or non side effects as assured by the companies, but who knows?

If side-effects occur, who will take up the responsibility?

El Nina

Singapore seems to be experiencing the effects of El Nina.

In this month, it has been two consecutive weeks of rainfall almost everyday.

Whereas in other parts of the world, where it should be temperate climates, there has been large sunshine.

The earth is really facing an environmental problem with the increasing globalisation, industrialisation of nations .... ....

Soon, there will come to a time where the earth will not be able to sustain life at a comfortable setting where floods and other major environment disasters will take centrestage ......

Altitude of man towards caring of the earth should change but till now, it has not changed and it will be too late for action in future.

Billionarie bought 11 floor condominum

Yes, this is the news that grabs the headline of today's Sunday Times!

Singapore's top billionaire remisier Peter Lim bought all the 11 floors of his Ardmore condo which is valued at an estimated price tag of $100 million.

He has 11 floors of condo units all by himself and not to mention a vast underground carpark which is more than enough to house all the 1o over cars he has bought.

Truly, an ultra-rich Singaporean!

Amazing Cat?

There is a cat somewhere in the western world which has made news this week with its ability to sense death.

Some hours after the cat sits near a patient in a home, the patient will leave the world.

The accuracy of this cat in predicting death to such an accuracy baffles even the doctors.

Is this cat really able to sense death? Or, does it emit some viruses which invades patients with poor immune systems and ..........?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Income Gap

Featured in today's ST was an article on the meagre salaries earned by cleaners, labourers and stevedores.

The salary of cleaners as outlined in the report was a paltry $400 to $1000 per month. With the increase of salaries for many occupations, the salary increase for this group of workers has been long overdue.

Singapore currently has about 66 600 millionaries and Singapore is one of the countries in the world with the highest proportion of millionaires! With this increase, it is boom time for investment managers too who subsequently earn higher wages too.

The widening income gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is one that the government is currently looking at. This widening gap does not come without social problems, chief of them is a culture of envy for the richer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smoking ban to be looked at

I get irritated when my neighbour smokes in his house and the cigarettere smokes gets into my house.

In homes, smoking bans are not effected but residents who sniff in the cigarettee smokes from their neighbours in the fashion described, nevertheless put their healths at risk.

National Day

National Day is here soon. However I cannot see many flags hung by Singaporeans. Where has the patriotism gone?

It seems that most of the National Day flags and decorations are hung specially by Town Councils. National Day Song is getting harder to sing as it becomes more and more trendy.

In spite of this, Singaporeans are treated to more and more exciting NDPs. So its time to celebrate afterall.

Korean Hostage Crisis

At this point in writing, the 23-member Korean delegation of Christian volunteers who had come to Korea to do missionary work and who were unluckily captured by the Taliban were said to be freed soon after negotiation talks proved successful. However one of these 23 members were freed dead, his body punctured with 10 over bullet shots.

Though it is not known at this point in writing what the negotiation terms agreed were, I believe it is in monetary terms. The terrorists are hungry for money to buy weapons and to fund future terrorist activities.

Engineers

It was reported in today's Straits Times that among the top CEOs of listed companies in Singapore, a majority were trained in Engineering. 'Top' in this context means top in salary, needless to say.

This result is not surprising, given the problem-solving skills, deep thinking and planning skills that this faculty provides. Logical thinking, a step by step approach, solving problems under tight deadlines, planning; all these are skills necessary in Engineering and which are nevertheless used and applied similarly to solve life and business problems.

Thus it is no wonder a good Engineer who is able to apply his skills outside his own faculties can do wonders in his life and succeed in his work too, regardless of the line of work he choose to do in life.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bus

Singapore bus commuters seem to be getting worse and worse with their antics nowadays.

Let me summarise some of these antics I encounter daily:

1) Failure to move into the rear of the bus where there is so much space available, causing some passengers to be unable to take the bus as the bus driver refuses to open the door to pack in more passengers in the 'overfilled' bus. These passengers are denied a place in the bus and may be late for work.

2) When moving down from the upper decker of the bus as the bus nears the bus stop, you walk on the upper decker to the stairs, preparing to proceed to the lower deck when you discover passengers standing and blocking the passageway, thus making you stand on the upper deck, waiting for them to move !

3) Loud music from handphones, laptops, MTVs.

4) Loud chattering and shouting from groups of students.

5) Sometimes as the queue from the queueline in the interchange fills up the bus, at a certain point, you find the passengers in front of you stop moving as they do not want to take the already filled bus to be left standing throughout the journey. The bus then leaves, thinking that there are no passengers interested to take the bus and you are in a dilemna as you do not know how to struggle againsts the dozens of stationary bodies in front of you to rush to the bus before it moves off mistaken that there are no more passengers for the bus.

On a different front, sometimes the mob TV volume is far too loud, creating noises and disturbing passengers taking a nap.

The ceiling in the bus is also short, causing tall passengers to bend their heads, causing potential injury.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Buddha Tooth Relic

Lately, there has been wide controversy centred on this question: whether the Buddha's tooth housed in the newly-opened Buddha Tooth Relic Temple along Sago Street belong to Buddha or even to a human !

The controvery sparked when pictures of the sacred tooth shown to dentists and the relevant authorities revealed that the tooth could not possibly belong to a man but more to an animal.

I myself am a Buddhist and I will not be blasphemous to say the tooth does not belong to Buddha or to a human.

Some Singaporeans demand the temple authorities to verify that the tooth belong to a human and from Buddha himself. This demand was made especially when the public donated a significant amount of money and donated golden necklaces, bracelets to be melted to construct a stupa for the tooth. These Singaporeans want transparency and accountability, two words which are recently popular owing to the saga of some charities like the NKF.

Science vs religion. Certain things, especially religion cannot be verified by science. Religion is a faith: if you think it is a Buddha tooth, it is. If you think it is not, it is not.

For me, whether the tooth is true or not, it does not matter. I believe in the essence of Buddhism and that Buddhism is still relevant and important in the world today.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Running

I ran for 1 hr 15 min from my home to Pasir Ris Park today as the weather is cool.

Running is my hobby and it is a healthy hobby. With the Sheares Bridge Run coming up, I train even harder.

Talking about Sheares Bridge Run, this year, the run is retermed as the Singapore Bay Run to better capture the essence of Marina Bay. Marina Bay is in the limelight this year as the most celebrated event in this island: the National Day Parade will be held for the first time on a floating platform in Marina Bay this year. This was due to the demolishing of the National Stadium to make way for the construction of a sports hub.

Sheares Bridge Run is one event where Singaporeans can come together for a competitve run or leisure jog. When can Singaporeans run on roads in the city at other times besides this great event?

Running nourishes the mind and body, and it relaxes my mind. Problems seem so minute during the jog or is it that i have forgotten these problems?

When the run ended, I was jolted back to reality, a reality where problems exist and are to be solved.

of Shopping and Centres

Singapore is not bereft of shopping centres: in fact we have scores of them sprawled all over the island.

Recently, plans to build two new shopping centres were unveiled. The name of one : Ion Orchard draws a mix of praise and flax.

Critics lament on the difficulty to pronounce the names while advocates praise it for its 'sassy' feel.

Like the name or not, I believe Singaporeans have too many shopping centres ! All our places of recreations are mostly man-made: be it the upcoming IRs, the Singapore Eye ..............

For me I prefer to run on East Coast, partaking in the beautiful sceneries of Singapore's few natural landscape.

Dengue Fever

The dengue fever 'epidemic' seems to die off after previous weeks of high incidences.

Though NEA (National Environment Agency) has taken a proactive lead in carrying out an 'Intensive Source Reduction Exercise' mainly on homes over Singapore in the past two months, the number of dengue cases is on the steady rise over these months, going down only in the past two weeks.

The discovery of a canal in Pasir Ris where 600 larvae were found soon propelled Pasir Ris into a super cluster.

Personally, I believe NEA should change tack in its fight against dengue. The dengue scourge is mainly out in the outdoors and not inside homes.

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