Rain on stock exchange

Read this broadcast few days ago:

Philippines Stock Exchange : Trading is suspended today due to weather conditions. For more details, please refer to www.pse.com.ph

Huh? Are they trading out in the open or what?

Haze from Indonesia

Haze in Malaysia and Singapore is usually attributed to forest fire in Indonesia caused by slash-and-burn method.

Here's a novel idea for the victims: impose a 'haze tax' on all goods imported from Indonesia. Besides working as a deterrent, it is also a way for the countries to recoup the cost of providing healthcare to those affected by the haze (notably children and old folks).

Naturally, there are lots of details that can be discussed and implemented e.g.
  • Exemption can be given to companies and their suppliers, collectively, that have been independently verified not practicing the slash-and-burn or any any practices that result in haze.
  • Impose the tax each time the haze season starts and end it when it's obvious the haze is not coming back for sometime
The first point's inspiration comes from the H1N1 epidemic years ago where Singapore sent team of experts to check and verify, on a state by state basis, chicken farms in Malaysia to be H1N1 free and thus allowing eggs to continue to be imported by Singapore. As for putting to condition on the suppliers of the exporting company, there is precedent in the Western countries where MNCs abide by and impose on the downstream suppliers certain conditions relating to child labour.

What do you think?

Stuff on the net

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

- Abraham Lincoln

2nd Anniversary

Happy 2nd Anniversay, honey! I've been very happy to be with you these past two years and hope for many more years to come. Thanks for making me feel very loved and making me laugh every single day :) Hope you feel likewise.



This is a simple but good commentary on why people in Singapore are underinsured, which is highly likely the case in Malaysia too since the insurance industry is also dominated by insurance agents and the structure of agents' compensation is similar.

Coincidentally, one of the questions I recently asked an insurance agent was whether she herself was buying the insurance product she was trying to sell to my sister, of which the answer was affirmative. You can try asking that too but please don't make it obvious to the agent that you will not buy the product if he/she doesn't buy it. If the agent doesn't plan to buy it, ask why and judge whether the reasons are sound or not.

On a side note, I find it a little disconcerting that the agents I've spoken with recently either provided misleading information (whether the agent was misinformed or not, I don't know) or didn't provide important information until I asked for them. All these would have gone unnoticed by my family because either they do not know what information to ask for or are inexperience to notice something is amiss. It's scary.



Verna shook her head. 'No.' She looked up into the other's eyes. 'No, the thorn was to discover that appearance was all that ever mattered, and that what was inside' - she tapped the side of her head - 'didn't hold any meaning for him, only its wrapping.'

- Verna to Phoebe in "Blood of the Fold"

CPF Nomination Risk

Found this article by Martin Lee:

As a followup to this story about missing CPF money, my colleague Wilfred emailed the CPF board to confirm their policy regarding the confidentiality of nominees. This is what he received:
As the Board is under a duty to CPF members to maintain the confidentiality of the information belonging to our CPF members hence we do not release confidential information of a deceased’s CPF nomination.
The information of the deceased’s beneficiaries is confidential to the next beneficiary(ies). Therefore, the beneficiaries will not be identified with each other as we will contact the deceased’s beneficiary(ies) directly.
This is a very serious loophole. What is there to prevent a rogue agent at CPF board from making a fake nomination and making off with someone else’s money? Dead man tell no tales and without knowing where the money went to, it is even harder for the deceased next of kin to detect such a fraud.

This is dangerous. CPF Board should make this process similar to a will i.e. the 'executor' of the will can reveal the content to interested parties.

What's wrong with her?

I recently read in newspaper about an Indonesian maid who managed to dodge execution in Saudi Arabia. I tried to find it online but to no avail and so please bear in mind that the details may be inaccurate.

Seems that she was sentenced to death for killing a relative of her employer who allegedly tried to rape her. The family of the victim was willing to forgo that punishment for a huge amount of compensation. So the Indonesian government and the Indoensian public raised fund for her.

It seems that it was more than needed. So when she was back at her village in Indonesia, apparently she spent the excess money on jewelries, house repairs and other things. She was viewed to be spluging money in the village and thus was scorned by the villagers.

When asked (presumably by a journalist) whether she would consider using the excess money to fund legal fees for the remaining 23 Indonesian maids waiting for trials in Saudi Arabia (a popular suggestion in Twitter), her response was one of incredulity: "Why should I help them? I don't know them" or something to that effect.

Excuse me, if everyone thinks the same way you do, then you wouldn't have had help in the first place, right? Seriously, what's wrong with her?

Grand Slam in equatorial region?

Tennis ball

Recently I watched a US Open tennis match on tv where a woman tennis player was trying very hard to close out an energy sapping match (over 2 hours at that time) and at one point, she seems to be retching.

The commentators attributed her physcial ailment to the heat and humidity, which it seems are 'higher' than usual at that time. I was thinking of temperature along the line of maybe at least 35 degree celcius but I was surprised to hear later from them that the temperature was a mere 28 degree celcius (considered coolish in Malaysia and Singapore) and the humidity level was only 60% (whereas normal humidity level in Malaysia and Singapore is easily 70%).

Of course the length of the match matters. When I played tennis (singles, not doubles) for even half and hour in Malaysia or Singapore, I was already panting and needing a break. However, in US Open, bear in mind that they have a few minutes break after every 2 or 3 points and a much longer break after a set.

Hmmm I wonder whether this could be one reason there's no Grand Slam championship in the equatorial region? Players will be dropping like flies.

PS: My first guess of why there's no such championship in the region is the prize money :)

'Status update'

On Facebook as well as when using gtalk and yahoo messenger, one can insert a remark about one's current 'status' from simple status such as "Busy", "Away" and "Available" to multi-words/sentences status such as "It's Friday!", "Yay! Got it! :)" and "I can't go back to sleep after feeding the dog early in the morning. Argh!"

Who can see the your status? Well, generally it would be anyone whom you added to your list of 'friends'. Some of them would contact you via messages (instant or normal) or comments regarding your status. The reasons they do so are varied: it could be because they're concerned, curious or just a social thing to do. It is just a normal reaction.

Yet, there are some who react to such messages/comments in a curious (at times, outrightly negative) manner. Examples (from mild to outrageous cases):
  1. Status: "Wow! Such a long queue". Comment: "Where is this?". Respond: "Somewhere in KL". It can go on and on in similar fashion with respect to the same status. Why so coy? Is this a tactic to get people more interested? It's ok to do this once a while but it's annoying once this becomes a habit.
  2. Status: "I feel sad". Comment: "Oh, what happen?". Respond: "None of your businss". Huh? If you don't even want those on your list of friends to ask you, then don't put up such update. It's common sense"
  3. Status: "Studying for exam". Comment: "So what exam are you studying for?" Respond: "Why do people keep asking me this? I'm fed up answering such questions!" Then don't bloody hell put it in your status! Goodness.
It's just so strange lah.

What do you think? Have you encountered such behaviour or perhaps you yourself exhibit such behaviour?