Tuesday, September 26, 2006

there's something about ..... idol

Singapore Idol ended predictably.

I didn't follow the show that much until the last couple of weeks. One of my female friends is crazy about the show. She watches religiously and voted for her favourite singers.

Her favourite started with Jonathon Leong and later became Hady. During the final, she told me she voted about 10 times for Hady. So you could imagine her joy when Hady won.

She shouldn't have bothered.

It's no coincidence that another Malay won Singapore Idol. In fact, I have told my friend as way back during the final 4 or 5 that Hady would be in the Final 2 and will win the Idol. And my belief is not about his singing ability. Hady has a clean and boy next door image which make him more suited to be an "idol". But the end result wouldn't be any different if Hady has that rocker image as well.

I'm not racist. This is not a racist entry.

Hady won despite a better performance from Jonathon. Why?

With a viewership of around 300,000 each week, it's not a very big figure for the voting to be well spreaded across all social borders.

There are approximately 450,000 malays in Singapore and approximate 2.5m Chinese in Singapore. This figure can be found in www.singstat.gov.sg.

Most malay families watches Chanel 5 as their main channel. While most chinese families tuned in to Channel 8 as their main channel. Therefore, it's not difficult to derive that there are more Malay families tuning into Singapore Idol than Chinese.

But so what if there are more Malays watching than chinese? Isn't everyone Singaporean? What talk about races?

Malay community is one of the most united communities in Singapore. The chinese? We always treat cautiously when we meet another stranger, wondering if the chinese is out to take advantage of you. The Malays treat another Malay like one big family.

My point?

Malay will definitely vote for Hady. They might also vote for Jonathon. But they ensure they have 1 more vote for Hady. The Chinese have no such loyalty. They vote who they believe should win. Chinese who voted for Hady will not vote for Jonathon and vice versa.

There lies such cultural differences. Singapore Idol will not work in Singapore. Period.

My friend? She is a chinese.

Monday, September 25, 2006

there's something about ..... car park II

Earlier, I mentioned about the different car park systems in Singapore and how if you do not have sufficient funds in your cash card, you will have all cars piling behind you......

Well... that happened to me yesterday at TANGS.

I was there for about 1 hour and 20 mins and promptly decided that I have sufficient funds in my cashcard.

You see... everyone's optimism is different. Having $3.70 in my cashcard is enough for me to feel optimistic that THAT IS sufficient.

I mean... isn't sufficiency a relative judgement?

But one would ask... on a Sunday at TANGS, surely you would have reasons to feel otherwise?

I dunno. I mean... Suntec City would only be $2.10. Should I then have 20 feelings for 20 different malls? Even if it's $2 an hour, 1 hour 20 mins would at most be $3, well within my $3.70.

And so I started my journey towards enlightenment.

I knew I'm in trouble when I was stuck at the ramp down with all the cars in the queue before me. Someone else at the exit must be another optimist. You see... the way the car park is designed, when you are in the ramp, there is no other way out except the exit. Even if you decide to stop by the side, find the ATM to top up the cash card which is probably somewhere inside the mall, you can't do it. In other words, you are really stuck.

When I finally come within sight of the exit gantry, I was relieved to see a booth nearby where an attendant is inside probably reading newspaper, chatting on the phone, play Sudoko...

The fee.... $4.50!!!!!!

I have no choice but to go to the attendant to top up my card... but for reasons I can't explain, the machine wasn't working. It's like someone up there is trying to teach me a lesson. I probably spent about 5 mins there before the machine could work. By then, I have already seen a long line of cars queueing up.

Funny thing is... nobody was impatient enough to even make a light horn for the wait. This shows that such problem is getting more common.

Which brings me to the next question... why spend more money in new technology where it doesn't seems to solve any problems at all?

I mean.. you still need to have an attendant nearby in a booth when you are adopting a ERP styled car park system? Might as well stick to the old system.

there's something about ..... og

OG has the best business concept in Singapore. No other famous departmental store can come close. They appeal to a niche in Singapore and made their target-market very loyal to them via their loyalty programms that is the BEST IN THE WORLD.

My mum is a fan of OG. Like all Or-Bah-San in Singapore, OG is THE store. Not Metro, not Isetan, not Takashimaya. OG is to them, what sexy-photobook-in-kinokunia is to me.

And from a fan's perspective, the most desirable thing to own is the OG's member's card.

My first thought was that the card gives a discount on every purchase made in OG. However I soon realised the card merely gives you loyalty points for you to redeem gifts. And to entitle to a member's card, you have to spend $70 in one single receipt during their yearly membersip-renewal-excercise.

This already beat those loyalty programs from Credit Card companies and Petrol companies. While these companies give out free cards and hope you stay loyal, OG make the customer spend $70 and still have the customer's loyalty. No hope is necessary, it's a surebet.

And so my mum frantically needed to buy something so as not to miss out on the CARD of the Century. In order to fulfill my fillial-piety,I have decided to help by buying a child car-seat for my kid and thus qualify immediately.

And so we got the new card but we have to redeem all available points in our old card or those points will be forfeited.

Of course, redeeming gifts is the whole reason for getting the card in the first place. And off we go to the redeeming counter.

I went with high anticipation for a wide selection of good products. I mean... I was never dissappointed with those redemption programs from Petrol companies and Credit Card companies and surely this can't be that bad considering we had paid to be a member and have consistently purchased something throughout the year so that we can redeem wonderful gifts.

The first thing I realised when I enter the redemption area is that you get 1 point for every $10 spent. That is already double that of any credit card. And my mum has about 37 points to redeem. That raised my expectation of a wonderful selection.


This is not Loyalty-program!!! It's a ROBBERY-PROGRAM!!!!

It's not FREE GIFT we are redeeming. It's to redeem an opportunity to BUY some products AT what looks like their original selling price or at best at 10% discount!!!!

150 points + $39 for a cooker?!?!?!??!?!

Pardon me... but why do I need to spend $1500 throughout the year so that I can buy a cooker at $39?!?!?!!??!?!?!? I might as well go buy the cooker at $39!!!!!

And what's with the shopping bag that looks like what you can buy at Basar Malam at $1!!! And you have to pay $2 for it!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!


37 points entitled us to "redeem" three of those bags and not only that, pay $6 for it. And not only that...... TO QUEUE UP FOR 20 MINS FOR IT!!!! NABEH!!!!!!!!

I was so fuming mad that I told my mum that I'll give her $50 to give up the points and we leave immediately.

But you know... OR-BAH-SAN's loyalty is strong. To them, this act of "redeeming" is what they look forward to every year.

I look in front of my queue and I see these Or Bah San's face.... all breaming with joy.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

there's something about ..... car park

By and large, there are about 6 car park system currently used in Singapore.

Starting from the old generation to the latest generation:

1. Coupon

Method: You purchase parking coupons and remove the tabs or chads if you are american, corresponding the the date and time at the point of parking and hope parking warden stop patrolling the area.

Problem: You have to ensure you have enough coupons in the car as these are only available for sales AWAY from these carparks.

Age of this system: Probably 25 to 30 years.

Where: Almost all HDB car parks and half of those surface carparks you find anywhere else.

2. Ticket; pay to human

Method: You pick up a ticket at the car park entrance from a validating machine. And you pay at the exit to the attendant stationing in a booth.

Problem: You have to ensure you have enough cash with you, otherwise, it can be a disaster if there are cars piling up behind you when you are exiting and you need to go draw cash from a ATM.

Age of this system: Probably 20 to 25 years.

Where can you find one: Shaw Centre at Beach Road

3. Ticket; pay t0 machine

Method: You pick up a ticket at the entrance. And before you leave the area or a mall, you pay at a ticket machine before picking up your car. You would have about 10 mins from time of payment to exit the mall.

Problem: Rather fuss free. You can often find a ATM around the corner if the car park charges is more than what you find.

Age of this system: Probably about 10 to 15 years.

Where can you find one: Liang Court

4. Cash Card system 1. Must wind down window one.

Method: You use the same cash card in the IU, instead of receiving a ticket from the gantry at the car park entrance, you insert your cash card into the machine to validate the time of entrance. At the exit, you again insert the same cash card into the machine determine the time spent and the amount. The amount is thus deducted from the cash card directly.

Problem: You have to ensure you have sufficient funds in the Cashcard. Otherwise, it can be a disaster if the cars are piling up behind you when you are exiting and you need to go top up the cash card somewhere.

Age of the system: About 5 years. And facing Obsolesence.

Where can you find one: Some car parks within a complex that may have a hotel component. Eg. Scotts Shopping Centre

5. Cashcard System 2. ERP style.

Method: It uses the cash card already in your car's IU. You do not have to do anything except to drive slowly pass the censor which will detect your cashcard and validate the time of entrance. When you exit, it will also automatically deduct from your cash card without having you to do anything.

Problem: You have to ensure you have sufficient funds in your cash card. Otherwise it can be a disaster if cars are piling up behind you when you are exiting and you need to go top up the cash card elsewhere.

Age of the system: Probably 3-4 years ago.

Where can you find this: Almost in every complex in Singapore... except the next one.

6. Cash card system 3. Also must wind down window one....

Method: Same as method 4.

Problem: You have to ensure there is sufficient fund in your cash card. Otherwise it can be a disaster if cars are piling up behind you WHEN YOU ARE ENTERING and you need to go top up the cash card at the Main Lobby of the OFFICE COMPLEX, after which YOU WILL TRY TO ENTER THE CAR PARK AGAIN!!! CASH CARD NO VALUE... SORRY YOU ARE TOO POOR TO ENTER OUR CAR PARK!!

Age of the system: Probably 3 years.


Monday, September 18, 2006

there's something about ..... chee soon juan

I'm pro-pap. It's uncool to pledge your allegiance to a party that trys to be cool but I don't subscribe to coolness to start off. I subscribe to my personal beliefs.

Came across this link from another blogger. It's about Chee Soon Juan's flyers being "stolen" by the police. This makes an interesting read, but you have to know that this article comes from CSJ directly and it's totally biased and probably as flawed as his character. see link

Over the years, I have grown to admire CSJ. This guy got "balls", a term now approved by the government as "parliamentary" as said by George Yeo

Unlike other defacted politician like Tang Liang Hong or Francis Seow and others, he choose to remain in Singapore to fight his beliefs. Though the manner in which he fight his beliefs could have been more credible. For example, go on hunger strike without glucose drip.

As a bankrupt, he has nothing to worry about lawsuits against him. Is there any difference if you owe $300k or $1m? And he is smart enough not to be caught for for any jailable offence. So he continue to provide us with political entertainment.

But I don't pity him. As a family man, your first priority is to look after your family which in his instance, he has 3 kids. The next priority would then be your beliefs.

And to take care of your family, you have to ensure there is enough bacon in the house to take care of basic needs like food, education and other well-being.

But yet he go about his political career with such care-free attitude, you wonder if he cares about his family at all.

Unless of course, he family is already been taken care of.

I belief Chee Soon Juan has financial backing from overseas source. And these money may not go directly to him or he may have to pass it on to the OA. And of course, this remains my speculation. Just pure speculation.

Nevertheless, he makes Singapore interesting. Kudos to CSJ. But I will never vote for you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

there's something about ..... news

I walk past a newspaper vendor yesterday while waiting for someone and came across the headline in the NEW PAPER. It says "Mistress give one-eye dragon a baby"
story link

Wah biang. SINGAPORE DAMN Drama-less. Our lives is so damn bored that a murderer/loan shark's offspring is reported in our daily newspaper.

Imagine a IMF delegate bought the newspaper and ask the Singaporean's representative....

IMF delegate: May I know what is this one-eye dragon? Is it a endangered species in the zoo and you guys managed to ensure this species do not extinct?

Singapore rep: err.... yes.. it's endangered before.... and this species will soon be extinct.

IMF delegate: Oh... then you guys did a wonderful job to ensure there is now a off-spring. Is this dragon like a Cameleon?

Singapore rep: er... no.. it's a shark.

IMF delegate: wow.... a shark that looks like a dragon... I just knew Singapore is exotic... can I go to the zoo to see it...

Singapore rep: err.....

Just wonderful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

there's something about ..... banquet

I am beginning to feel that my blog has a whining + complain theme to it.

I went to Ang Mo Kio Central 2 days ago for dinner. My family decided on comfort and head towards BANQUET (the former A&W location, wow... how I missed those A&W days) where they have converted the coffeeshop to be a foodcourt with air-conditioning.

I'm not a fan of Banquet. I don't see how a chinese local fare prepared the halal way is appealing as compared to other foodcourts. I have tasted some of the food and while it's a close resemblance to non-halal preparation, you felt it's still different in a lesser way.

While other foodcourts are started by long time coffeeshop operators with lots of experience behind the foodcourt/coffeeshop business, BANQUET is started by a Contractor who failed in the construction industry and jumped on the banwagon of a highly lucrative industry. In order to have a go at a lease, he promised the landlord that his foodcourt is different and it will be 100% halal. The rest is history.

While the Malays could finally taste Wantan Mee and Bak Chor Mee without Bak Chor, there seems to have no motivation for a chinese to patronise them while down the street, you will have a Bak Chor Mee with Bak Chor. I mean.. we are talking about Ang Mo Kio Central where you have gazillions of coffeeshops at every 10 steps you make.

So I decided to go "western" and ordered a BBQ spring chicken. On the menu, the picture indicated a accompanying side-dishes of fries and salad at $7.

When the meal arrived, there was none of the side-dishes but just the chicken.

moomooman : Sorry... where is the fries?

Stall helper: No fries.

Moomooman: huh? Your picture here got fries!

Stall helper: No fries.

Moomooman: Then you should change your picture.

stall helper: (no response... just look straight at me)

I was pissed!! Not so much about the missing fries but their attitude towards the whole incident. I decided to teach them a lesson. Their chilli sauce was free-serving in a bottle. So pour out almost half the bottle of chilli right in front of them and walk away.

Of course I did not finish the chilli sauce.

And of course I will not patronise another Banquet outlet again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

there's something about ..... speeches

Coincidentally, Sunday Times feature an article on local motivational speakers and their rates.

It was mentioned that Nanz Chong has 8 to 10 engagements per month now, ranging from $2k to $10k per engagement.

Assuming the lowest figure of 2k x 8 engagement, we are talking about $16k income a month minimum. At the maximum, we are talking about 100k a month.

If I knew failing is so lucrative, then I rather fail. No need to worries about inventory, staff costs, shop space, balance sheet, etc etc.

The papers quoted that "she decided to go into speaking to help others with her message".

She describes her style as "High-energy, impactful and humorous"

It was also quoted that her story of her business' demise has often moved audience members to tears, she says "sometimes we need to hand out tissue boxes"

Wah... very noble hor.... since you want to help others with your message, can dun pay or not?

Actually there is nothing sad about her failings and the subsequent bankruptzy. In Singapore Law, even if you are a Bankrupt, your CPF remains intact and the creditors can't touch the money in your CPF.

All those CPF that she has over the years would be high enuff to ensure she has a comfortable retirement after 55. On top of that, her husband would be able to find a good job to support the family.

So she is not exactly in dire straits.

If she is, do you think she would be pregnant during the down period?

Imagine... your business is failing.... you are facing bankruptsy.... but hey... let's get in the mood to procreate.

In the same article, it was also mentioned that almost the whole Mount Everest expedition team is into motivational speaking.

Robert Goh says "If we can motivate people to climb mountains when they are not paid to, then surely we can motivate people who are paid to do what they do."

Well said. Except that Khoo Swee Chiow is said to have applied for Grant from Government plus he is sponsored by Hitachi and many others.

The papers mention that Mr Robert Goh recently quit his job as an aeronautical research scientist at DSO national laboratories to pursue motivational speaking and coahing full-time. His fee is about $5000 per hour.

Money Talks!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

there's something about ..... books

Yesterday I had about 1.5 hours of waiting time to kill at bugis and I decided to visit the kinokunia (pardon my spelling, it could be worse).

I like to visit the business section. Of course, I would also like to visit those sexy photobook of japanese models, but unfortunately they are not meant for browsing. Damn it!

Anyway, I managed to read a few pages of Nanz Chong's 1 business 99 lessons. I've also flip thru Adam Khoo's book about becoming a millionaire. Plus also other related "sales" book on how to "sell" effectively. Not to mention other Rich Dad Poor Dad's series.

And I realised something.

They write books not with the intention to guide as their primary motivation, they write books to profit from it.

I mean.... why read about Nanz Chong's failure? Shouldn't we be reading someone else's success instead, like what they did correctly and not what they did wrongly. Nobody has a more celebrated bankcruptzy than Nanz Chong. She is now making more money giving motivational speeches and selling books. Why am I such a critique on her? Because... this book sucks!! In order to tie in with her 1.99 concept, she has to ensure there are 99 lessons to write. And some of these lessons are lame.

The same can be mentioned about the other "sales" book. If you are a fantastic sales man, you probably got no time to write a book. You will spend those time making more money in your trade. Of course, if your trade is about writing a book then... your expertise is not so much about "marketing" but about "writing".

And not to mention Rich Dad Poor Dad, which I was never a fan of. The original book is used by all MLM sellers, and you know if MLM uses them... the book can't be any good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

there's something about ..... stingray

Just heard the news that the world-renowned Australian "crocodile hunter" and television environmentalist Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray on the famed Great Barrier Reef.

I thought this was a news big enough to call coolcat about this tragic accident.

Coolcat: Stingray can sting people one meh?

Now we know why the name. And not only that, it's deadly.

While I'm sad that someone so famous died while on the job on educating the world, I can't help thinking that he got killed by a famous hawker dish in Singapore.

A hawker dish we so take it for granted. Often complaining that the meat not enuff, chilli not out enuff and hawker try to bluff us on the price etc etc. But we never think about the danger that fishermen go thru in order to make that dollar.

I think it's a matter of time the price of stingray goes up. They now have a case to highlight the dangers involved.