Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I haven't been selling my items to Singaporeans, because of many reasons. And low prices not being one of them. It is more the hassle. Yes .. it is more hassle to deal with Singaporean buyers than overseas ones trust me.
And the most annoying reason that makes me reluctant to sell to Singaporeas? ... drumroll please .... "Buay steady", "Not gentlemanly", "Does not keep their word"
Here are 2 cases where it is self explanatory.
I placed my ipod on ebay listing. The price was put there as $200. And I mentioned that I will not go below $150. Yet people are still SMSing me about prices that is below that. I choose to ignore them after a while.
And Singaporeans have the tendency to ask questions that is already clarified on the posting. Most primarily, "is there warranty" when I would have stated very clearly, "YES" or "NO".
Then this guy emailed/messaged me and enquired at length about the product. We agreed on the price, and then agreed to meet up at Orchard Road (town) to deal. He was saying he needed it urgently cos he needed to get it for his brother's birthday. So I drove to Orchard to meet him almost immediately.
Then when we met, he still said "No warranty leh. I buying present for my brother la .. can gimme $20 less somemore from the agreed price?" At that point I said "No ... sorry .. i am not selling anymore."
I walked off. And this is not the only time something like that happened.
I posted a LCD TV on ebay. $900 and specified please "no offers below $700". The usual offers below that ensued.
Then this SMS came: "Gd morning, is your LCD still on sale?"
I replied: "Hello. Yes it is still available"
He then text back: "Hello, can I get @400 anyway if 4 my young children"
I responded: "No."
I DON'T F #$#ING CARE IF U WANNA GET IT FOR YOUR DOGS TO WATCH. Or for your brother's birthday or funeral. Why even bring it up?!?!? Can you not read English? The reason there are hardly "30 days back guarantee" in Singapore is precisely because Singaporeans do not have integrity.
In Singapore, we describe these behaviors as "Not gentleman" or "Buay steady". And it all stems from a selffsh standpoint and an unwillingness to be considerate.
And sometimes, this is why Singaporeans complain about the bad level of service (or the lack of good service) in Singapore - they have to learn to start being reasonable customers too .... Stop using bad merchants as an excuse to not behave like a gentleman. You should behave like one regardless. No one's pointing a gun at your head to part with your cash if you do not want to.
When everyone starts being reasonable and understanding ... everything thing will work out great! We'll start seeing good customer service because merchants are more willing to give, and customers will start enjoying better service too. Vicious cycle works both ways - for good behaviors as well as bad ones.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
- Make sure u have signed up a "mobile internet" sunsurf plan .. or be prepared to have your bill shoot into the stratosphere (a SunSurf 22 with 1GB data at 3.6Mbps is only $22 with $10.70 per GB. Quite reasonable. Can activate online or over phone. Almost immediate activation)
- Make sure u got a 3G SIM card. If you are already using a 3G phone, more than likely you have a 3G SIM card. Your SIM card should also have the word "3G" on it. If not sure, call M1 at 1627 to check.
- In the "Settings>General>Network>Cellular Data Network>" Enter the following:
And voila! ... you are done.
- to check your 3G is working properly, you may turn off "Wifi" ("Settings>Wi-Fi>Off"), and see if you can access the internet via Safari or App Store. You should see a 3G logo at the top right hand corner too when 3G is in use.
So here you go. If you are a lucky chap able to get an unlocked (all Singtel and some countries like Australia) iphone, here's how you get it to run on M1.
*As for Starhub, I'm sure the tips above apply, except the data network APN, username and password would obviously be different. You can call Starhub for it. Other networks? Just make sure you get those cellular data APN,username and password right.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Here's the new Singtel plans for the iphone coming in a few days
Three new data plans (all prices with GST)
iFlexi Value - $56 - 300 MB Data - 200 Mins Outgoing Voice - 500 SMS
iFlexi Plus - $95 - 500 MB Data - 500 Mins Outgoing Voice - 500 SMS
iFlexi Premium - $205 - 1500 MB Data - 1500 Mins Outgoing Voice - 1500 SMS
Additional data usage charged at 1cent for each 2KB extra. These plans also come with 3 value added services free (Voicemail, roaming and Caller ID)
Handset price (varies depending on the price plan)
Plan 8GB 16GB
iFlexi Value $348 (8GB) $508(16GB)
iFlexi Plus $49(8GB) $208(16GB)
iFlexi Premium Free(8GB) Free(16GB)
if you do not want to sign up for the above plans, and want to use your existing voice only plan and add the mobile on broadband plans, then the handset price will be more expensive and you will have to sign either a 24 month or 30 month contract
8GB - $568
16GB - $728
You cannot get the handset without any contract from singtel.
Oh and for those who are planning on taking the route of getting one and then terminating the contract, the penalty is $800!!!
So what are my thoughts?
If the above plans are true and they are not offering unlimited data, these are my conclusions:
- The person who set the pricing in Singtel is obviously a tech turd accountant. He/She probably doesn't even know why iphone is the big deal that it is ...
- they are insulting the intelligence of the customers here
- and those who will buy it are only justifying their cockiness and their actions
- we shld boycott Singtel's packages and make them suffer
- Thank God we have competition (M1 and Starhub should be able to offer their iPhones by Nov)
So the Real Prices and Plans have emerged!
Here's the real deal.
SingTel iPhone Price Plans
They have other iOne, ITwo, iThree and student plans which u can also subscribe to, but the above iFlexi plans are specially designed for the iphone. What you can notice is the largest difference are the amount of Data allowable are more generous. Not unlimited, but i am not sure 1GB, 2GB or even 3GB is enough for regular email and surfing use ... dun really track ... anyways ... i think i don't see why M1 or starhub can offer unlimited mobile 1Mbps internet at less than 20 bucks and Singtel can't offer something similar. Even if slightly more expensive, the unlimited data is what I would prefer over a faster Mbps for regular internet and email services. Heck i'll take 512kpbs unlimited over a data cap plan.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
He is a very passionate man, who believes strongly that NTUC income has crossed the ethical line in dealing with their insurance customer and has written harshly against them before. He also runs a website called THE ONLINE CITIZEN (http://theonlinecitizen.com/)
In the speech he gave, he emphasized that all businesses, not just NTUC, has a responsibility to make profits, but not obscene profits. And if there are obscene profits, they should be responsible to share it with their shareholders/customers. The talk also veered into the concepts of free market competition, and he emphasized that the government should step in to provide certain level of regulations in the market to prevent private firms from "cheating" the customers. Here is a link to an article on his the same issue which was basically the same speech he gave that night (http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/08/business-ethics-–-honesty-while-making-profits/)
While i appreciate what Mr Tan was driving at, I also want to draw attention to what appears to be a contradiction to what our business education typically preaches. In school, we are taught that all businesses eventually has one goal - to maximize profits. Of course it does not state anything about how and what u should or should not do to attain that goal. Many companies make a lot of profits, and some state that they should not, and many of these arguments are usually pointed towards organizations that have a somewhat "noble" or "socially conscious" purpose. And thus insurance companies are usually ones facing such criticism.
Given the fact that private or government owned companies that make money off of providing a service that is somewhat "socially responsible" in nature, proposition for organizations such as NKF and health insurance being somewhat regulated is justified. And to a certain extent, it is also somewhat the government's responsibility to ensure some form of regulation, should exist to ensure fairplay and encourage healthy competition and innovation within any markets. But they should only exist like a referee within a football match to ensure the game is played fairly. However here lies the biggest problem. What if the referee is not just an independent party but a member who could potentially benefit from either game players' outcome?
We are facing this question in Singapore. And the question here is: given the fact that our Singapore government (the referee) is also a major player in every major industry in Singapore (whether directly via NTUC or somewhat indirectly via some close minister's family ties), who is there to ensure that these companies are working for the people's interests or not? If the referee cannot conduct a game fairly, how can we be sure that the regulations that they put forth, won't be one to pursue their own interests?
While I applaud Mr Tan for his righteousness in wanting to push for ethical business runnings in NTUC, what is to ensure that eveyone in NTUC is equally ethical like him? If (and please note that this is an assumption) a minister in the ruling party has family connections involved in running companies of the likes of say ... NTUC, GIC or Temasek Holdings, would it be unreasonable to say that any government policies that is proposed by this minister could have been for personal gains?
If our country's watchdog (the ruling party) is both the referee and the soccer team, who would want to play?
From a speech by Mdm Halimah Yacob, NTUC ASG & MP for Jurong GRC at the PAP 50 Rally Held on Sunday 5 December 2004 at S’pore Indoor Stadium. With respect to why should NTUC and PAP form such a close bond and if it is good for Singapore, she said "The NTUC wants to secure a better life for workers. The PAP government wants a better life for Singaporeans. So, the NTUC maintains a symbiotic relationship with the PAP to work together for the common good of Singapore." Given the recent accusations that NTUC insurance is "cheating" the customers (Singaporean citizen) and the fact that it is supposed to serve the nation, can we say that the actions and policies of NTUC (or any government linked organizations), as well as the government themselves need to be carefully policed to ensure fairness.
Problem is as a country, we do not have a system where we allow our leaders to be scrutinized properly. Even when it comes to voting, I can only vote within my GRC (if I even get the chance to) for the MPs of the decisions they make, the arguments they put forth etc, but not for the leaders who exact the kind of policies that affect us all like say ... ERP, road tax, GST?
Correction: Mr Tan is not "running" The Online Citizen. But he is one of the senior editors. :) See the comment below
Thursday, August 07, 2008
It kinda makes me wanna .. break into a song :) ... Boom De Ya Da Boom De Ya Da!
I love the mountains
I love the clear blue skies
I love big bridges
I love when great whites fly
I love the whole world
And all its sights and sounds
Boom de yada, boom de yada
Boom de yada, boom de yada
I love the oceans
I love real dirty things
I love to go fast
I love Egyptian kings
I love the whole world
And all its craziness
Boom de yada, boom de yada
Boom de yada, boom de yada
I love tornadoes
I love arachnids
I love hot magma
I love the giant squids
I love the whole world
It’s such a brilliant place…
Boom de yada, boom de yada
Boom de yada, boom de yada
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I have stopped writing reviews for a while now, but a recent article on Straits Times really prompted this. Ong Sor Fern, a movie critic on Straits Times gave the dark knight a 3.5/5 score while Hellboy 2 gets a 4.5/5. She also complains that the Dark Knight is too long a movie. Having just watched it, I have got no idea how she came to her ratings and how she actually found this film to be too long. Now, I am not saying Hellboy sucks - I actually thought it was an excellent film. But I felt the review for Dark Knight from this reviewer was doing a huge injustice to a brilliant masterpiece that is not just groundbreaking in transcending genres, but also setting a new standard by which all future superhero, action thriller and cops/baddies movies will be judged upon.
This is the one of the best movie this year, and while everyone says Heath Ledger might get nominated for an Oscar, let me make another bold prediction. This film will also be nominated for "Best Picture". Gasp may I dare say it might even win. This is not just one of the best movie this year, this is definitely one of the best mafia/detective action thriller I have ever watched. Yes you read it right, "mafia/detective action thriller" I wrote. Halfway through the film, I lost sense of this movie as a superhero comic book franchise. The Dark Knight has been elevated by Christopher Nolan to more than just a comicbook superhero. Batman is now a man who struggles to question if he's own existence is a blessing or a curse to city that he tries to save. The other 2 "partners" District Attorney Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon are thrown into this cat and mouse game with the Joker where the stakes are very difficult moral choices to make. These moral choices that has to be made by these 3 characters are what makes it more than just a regular action film.
This film is also a character study. Of 3 righteous men trying to deal with a maniac killer, and the difficult choices they all have to make throughout the film. It is also intellectually superior to most superhero movies out there and it creates characters that we all can actually believe to be real.
For a movie like that, I would expect people to come out talking about how cool the gadgets was, how great the special effects was, how nice the suit was etc. But the fact that we do not get distracted by these "exterior" things goes to show how well crafted the environment, and the whole world was, that they blend so nicely with the characters that we do not question for a fact that we're watching a make believe movie. The world in the Dark Knight is so real you get immersed in it, and you get engaged by the characters that actually makes you care for them.
The performances by all the actors in the film are excellent. Batman played by Christian Bale was intense and introspective; Gordon played by Gary Oldman was desperate; Harvey Dent by Aaron Eckhart was multilayered; Maggie Gyllenhaal was tender yet strong; and of course the Joker played by the late Heath Ledger was terrifying. All the actors handled they part responsibly and gave very memorable performances. This is definitely an ensemble piece where everyone shone - very brightly.
As for length of the film which was a complain of the ST reviewer, I hope anyone who comes across my review would trust me on my assurance that it does not feel at all like a long film. In fact just check the numerous reviews online at rottentomatoes.com and you'd find everyone praising the film to be extremely fast paced and intense. Ong Sor Fern must have been watching another film altogether.
The Dark Knight, is highly recommended. Please watch this film. Period.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
So what am I gonna write about today? Hmmm .. just some random thoughts. I am currently at a Burger King spending some private moments before my next meeting. I see this chinese manager acting like a sergeant in the army ordering the rest of the crew around. Incidentally he was the only male. And this is just funny, cos I was just talking to an old friend over lunch how I felt army have had a bad influence on Singaporean males, on how they behave and exert their authority in the "real" civilian world.
Generally I feel that some males have a certain kind of pride and ego (that may be the result of the social pressure) that they feel like they have to defend and project. Also added to the ingredients in these insecure Singaporean males is the lack of self confidence, and we can start to understand how all these influence the the way they behave in the working/civilian world. "Enhanced" by the training in army about how you can push your weight (or "rank") around to get things done "earn" respect, males in Singapore sometimes behave in annoyingly insecure manner that may rub people the wrong way.
So when some females in Singapore complain why "Singaporeans males are wussies", I think I can understand ...
Well to be fair .. I'll talk about women the next round :D ... or do you readers have some thoughts? :D
Monday, March 03, 2008
Wow ... man conquers all. We build machines that land on the moon. We build sky scrapers that reach the heavens. But we can't eradicate the most detested of all insects. Yes I hate mosquitoes .... almost as much as cockroaches. Ok cockroaches were scary to me, but these days they are more disgusting than annoying. Mosquitoes are annoying as hell ... and shit, it even got me dedicating an entire post to these blood suckers. Yes it will possibly cause an imbalance to the eco-system should we destroy the mosquito species, and if we are able to do so, we might one day regret it. And you know what, we mankind might actually be able to create some sort of mutant gene that can cause mosquitoes to go extinct. You know, stuff Sci-fi movies are made of.
Ok ... I am not making sense and my thoughts are all over the place. It is 3 am eternal, and KLF's gonna rock ya. I'm heading back to destroy the blood sucker .... And Where's my Zambuk and Tiger Balm? ...
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Kao Biore Pore packs ... is what I consider one of the best invention of the past 10 years .... Man there is something so bloody satisfying looking at the amount of crap that is pulled out with these pore strips. Instructions say "Do not use more than once every 3 days", but man I wish I could do this every other day. :D Seeing all those white/black heads being pulled out just makes my day ... and when there's not much, it kinda makes me disappointed somewhat :D ....
Come .. share your pore tales! :)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
So the 2nd volume is out ... and it appears that they've been listening to pple's feedback. Now they've printed the songs list on the back of the box. But obviously the ppl in the packaging design group hasn't been talking to one another very much, as u can see in the photo, the titles are still covered by this thing that goes around the box. How smart. I bet the 3rd volume they will find some way around it. In the meantime, you can still see the listing of tracks here. :D
The new box set is white in color. Wow! Nice! Lemme guess, it will be red the next round. Or maybe gray, brown, blue ... Who wants to take a bet?? :D Ok sorry, I am a packaging nut :D I dig pretty packaging.
Now back to the beef. The collection this time seems to have addressed some requests from the customers. As the text in the enclosed booklet says "我們收到了許多“老新謠”的關心：為甚麼沒有姜鄠，黎沸揮，雅韻小組，黃宏墨，鄭展倫，玖建，蔡榮祖？ 。。。巫啟賢，黃譓禎，梁文褔，洪劭軒, 水草三重唱的歌還不夠！”. It is good to see that they've been listening. Some puzzling inclusion does bring a chuckle like 田勁. But I truly wondered if his inclusion was just to satisfy the quota that is required by the different licensees who are involved in this collection. These songs seems to be arguably non-xinyao in my opinion. Some 巫啟賢 tracks like 太傻, 紅塵來去一場夢, 愛那麼重, 傷心的人更傷心, also seems to be of the much "commercialization era" of xinyao already and didn't really feel like they belong here. "流行歌曲，我唱你來聽，。。。唱過就忘記，唱些甚麼沒人理，流行難道就是好歌曲？” The lyrics of "流行歌曲" (also in this collection) suddenly appears remarkably poignant and ironic. But they were after all written by Singaporeans, so I guess they do deserve they little place in history. (For those who are not familiar, 田勁 was a Singaporean who sang and released Thai albums and was quite a star in Thailand. In fact his 成名曲 was actually the chinese version of "Lambada" called "Send true love away". How the hell I still recall all these shit is beyond me.)
Some other notable tracks are those by 鄭展倫，黎沸揮，黃宏墨 etc. Many of these tracks were only released on cassettes and never on CD, so it is very good to see (hear) them here again. One track which is rather rarely known but is one of my all time favourite is 也許是寂寞 by 巫啟賢 - I am pleasantly surprised by the selection of this track. This was a 2nd 插曲 from the Kopi-O TV series, but the main theme song as well as 遺忘過去 became the more popular tracks instead.
Quality wise, they seemed to have taken a more stringent control and testing, and this time I didn't notice any clipping of audio tracks like I noticed in the last box set. Sound quality is on par with the previous boxset, and really, the "HDCD" remastering might really be just marketing jargon. The truth is, many of the original recordings were not very good to begin with, so not all the tracks will truly benefit from the technology. So don't expect the moon when it comes to High Fidelity.
This collection holds up pretty well, and has lots more previously unpublished songs and "rare tracks" than box set 1 - thus I think it is actually a better value than the last one. So whip out your cash, and till the next box set arrives. Can we have more 鄧妙華 and more SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation) tracks? :D .... Please :D
不是不願意 - 姜鄠
感情好累 - 姜鄠
戀之憩 - 姜鄠
我會用真心填滿你的孤單 - 鄭展倫
如果你不小心想起我 - 鄭展倫
多情男子 - 鄭展倫
夢湖 - 巫啟賢＋黃譓禎
唇邊的笑意 - 巫啟賢
感情的水手 - 巫啟賢
讓我可以 - 地下鐵
日子 - 許南盛
夜的眩暈 - 許南盛
親親你念著誰 - 玖建
羞答答的玫瑰靜悄悄地開 - 玖建
你有珠簾一襲 - 梁文褔
古人的酒觴 - 地下鐵
和平的呼喚 - 雅韻小組
倦鳥不再 - 雅韻小組
風城 - 劉瑞政
悟 - 黃譓禎
鷹 - 地下鐵
時川 - 地下鐵
無言的祝福 - 水草三重唱
我們的歌在哪裡？ - 水草三重唱
17:00的心情 - 水草三重唱
門 - 許南盛
臨別衣袖 - 洪劭軒
友情故事 - 洪劭軒
莫提永遠 - 洪劭軒
彈一支涼涼的歌 - 洪劭軒
寫一首歌給你 - 梁文褔＋黃譓赬
追雲 - 水草三重唱
搖搖民謠 - 水草三重唱
排排坐 - 梁文褔＋黃譓赬
野人的夢 - 黃宏墨＋跳動律
笨鳥的表白 - 黃宏墨
童言故鄉 - 黃宏墨
情誼藏心底 - 巫啟賢
也許是寂寞 - 巫啟賢
千千萬萬個愛你 - 巫啟賢
讓夜輕輕落下 - 潘盈
在你眼裡看不見自己 - 潘盈
背著行囊去流浪 - 蔡榮祖
愛情電影畫面 - 蔡榮祖
久久才見到你的好 - 蔡榮祖
流行歌曲 - 合唱
太傻 - 巫啟賢
紅塵來去一場夢 - 巫啟賢
愛那麼重 - 巫啟賢
傷心的人更傷心 - 巫啟賢
為了你 - 巫啟賢
讓全世界起舞 - 黎沸揮
請在我心經過 - 黎沸揮
只有你能完成我的歌 - 黎沸揮
在世界放光芒 - 黎沸揮
邊緣少年 - 姜鄠
日子是一條藍色的牛仔褲 - 姜鄠
只是要愛你 - 田勁
碎花如雨隨風飛 - 田勁
最後的一首歌 - 梁素珊
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wow ... seems like someone else have written about my production even before I had a chance to write about it!
This was a very rushed but extremely enjoyable shoot. And I loved my crew and cast. Might be my last short film in a while before I move on to bigger things ....
Anyways, here's the blog by Jeremy Sing who writes about on-going productions in Singapore right now. Thanks for popping by Jeremy! More updates on the production later while i catch some rest 1st ...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Me been out of action and out of blogging for a while cos so busy with so many things lah ... travelling mainly ... After a bout of crazy globetrotting, I think i can finally take a breather and do some work back home liao. And that means, back to bloggin'. So my blog updates will come fast and furious soon. So, thanks for waiting around ... lotsa interesting news, especially for those looking forward to my next short film. AKAN DATANG :)
Meanwhile, have a great 2008, and may your troubles last as long as your new year resolutions ... :D
And what a great song to welcome the new year :) If you got itunes, please buy it.
"New Soul" byYael Naïm
I'm a new soul I came to this strange world hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take.
But since I came here felt the joy and the fear finding myself making every possible mistake
I'm a young soul in this very strange world hoping I could learn a bit about what is true and fake.
But why don't please trying to communicate finding just that love is not always easy to make.
This is a happy end cause' you don't understand everything you have done why's everything so wrong
this is a happy end come and give me your hand I'll take you far away.
I'm a new soul I came to this strange world hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take but since I came here felt the joy and the fear finding myself making every possible mistake