Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dividends and Passive Income (Aug 2010)

Received some dividends from my holdings in certain real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The following 2 REITs paid out distributions for the month of Aug 2010:

1. Ascott REIT ($423.60)
2. Suntec REIT ($25.28)

Total passive income and dividends for Aug 2010 = $448.88

It seems that dividends are still the main source of passive income for me as I do not have any money generating businesses or stuff to provide me with more passive income.

Youth Olympic Games

For those of you who missed the closing ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games, here is the video for you to enjoy.

Personally, I felt that the YOG was a huge and resounding success. Though I wasn't personally involved in it, I really felt proud to be a Singaporean to see the beauty of our country and its skyline broadcast to so many nations overseas. Watching the closing ceremony of the YOG literally gave me goosebumps when I heard the national anthem and also the song "Its not about winning(?)". It was simply amazing!

Singapore has really transformed over the years and I cannot say how amazing it is to be living in such times.

As Ng Ser Mian says, WE HAVE DONE IT, WE HAVE DELIVERED.

Hosting the YOG is indeed a proud moment in Singapore's history. And I am proud to be a witness to these times.

I was in Singapore where it all begun...




Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Curriculum Vitae or Resume

I have wondered about the differences between a C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) and a resume.

In fact, many people use it interchangeably and when people refer to C.V. nowadays, it seems like they are talking about the same thing as a resume.

Is there any significant difference between the two? Which should you use for your job search in Singapore?

I got a template from somebody close when I was deciding to do up my C.V. a few years back. It was then that I realised that the template used involved putting up all my education details upfront while my work experience was located slightly to the back. I never questioned the logic of such a layout but used it anyway.

Whether such a format was effective still remains unknown to me. Another issue was it was pretty long (5 pages). I read elsewhere in the internet that a resume should only be 2 pages long at most.

I am not sure what format or template most people out there use. But I would like to think that a resume/CV in Singapore is as important as it is anywhere else in the world. A resume / CV could be the factor that helps you nail an interview with a potential employer. It is the first thing that a potential employer actually sees and whether you get called up for a job interview at the end of the day probably depends on how you arrange all your personal information in the most effective way in that few pieces of paper.

Another way the CV or resume helps is that it helps you develop a clear understanding of what your key selling points are to the potential employer. Should you get the interview, you will know how to effectively sell yourself according to how you have arranged the details in your resume/CV. So giving proper thought of what to include in it is probably a good use of your time if you are thinking of a career switch or looking for a job.

So the following questions are going through my head right now when I look at my C.V.:

1. Should I condense the 5 pages into 2 pages.
2. Should I put my employment history right up front instead of focusing on my academic qualifications?
3. What other skills or certification should I strive for to make my C.V. look more impressive.

Food for thought for the weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best Homes in Singapore

Which are the best homes in Singapore? Or should I say the best location to have a home in Singapore?

I was reading the newspapers on the MRT lines to be built over the next few years as well as the section on property agents and their commissions. There was also a topic on how certain flood prone areas will most probably have the value of their homes affected.

I have been thinking recently about the best location for a home in Singapore. While there is a balance to be strike between privacy and the availability of amenities, I think a lot of these has to do with the individual home buyer.

For me, I think a good home should be located close to food stalls or places where I can grab my meals. My family likes to eat out so having food stalls nearby is one of the major decisions when it comes to having a good location for a home.

Perhaps another important factor would be distance to work...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Red Hot YOG

I have been busy catching up on the action in the Youth Olympic Games that I haven't found the time to blog.

Will find the time to update you guys once YOG is over.

Go go Singapore!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Singapore!

Today is 9th August 2010 and it marks the 45th birthday of the small country that I live in - Singapore. To all my readers in Singapore, I wish you a Happy National Day!

I have called Singapore my home for my entire life. It is quite hard to imagine the kind of progress that we have made in a few short years.

Just the other day, I was walking down Orchard Road and was amazed the developments that have taken place over the years. The Orchard Road of today is very different from the Orchard Road of my teenage years. And I can only be amazed at the transformation that has taken place.

When I was walking in Orchard Cineleisure, I noticed that I could see the Marina Bay Sands Resort towering in the background. That is another new feature of Singapore.

As a nation, we are only 45 years old. I find it hard to believe that when I was born, Singapore was only 16 years old! That is a pretty young country if you ask me. One would expect us to be dealing with riots, wars, poverty and all the problems of a country that has just gained independence. Instead, today we are a developed nation. People feel safe walking alone on the streets at night. We have political stability. Well, to put it short, we have prosperity, peace and progress for our nation.

Happy Birthday Singapore! I hope to call you home for the remainder of my life.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is Inflation Bad?

I have always had the concept that inflation is bad.

Recently, I dug up my old school textbook on Economics and started to read it and realised that there are actually pros and cons to inflation and that aiming for zero inflation might actually be a bad thing. Here are some of the things that I learnt:

Reducing inflation is said to require a period of high unemployment and low output. In addition, the cost of reaching zero inflation is large. When inflation is zero, the lost output translates to lost income and this does not fall proportionately across the entire population. Instead, the workers who lose their jobs are the ones who actually pull down the aggregate income. These workers are often the ones who are lower skilled and have the least expertise. At the end, the cost of a zero inflation policy is borne by the ones who can least afford it.

So do you think inflation is good or bad? The answer is actually not that simple and a huge debate is still ongoing....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Salary Poll Results

I ran a poll on this site asking readers to reveal their monthly gross salary. I gathered a total of 30 votes.

Here are the results:

a. 56% earn less than $5000
b. 30% earn between $5000 and $10000
c. 13% earn more than $10000

The poll is now closed. If respondents are willing, they can click on the Ongoing Hot Discussions tab above and look for the Salary Discussion post to reveal their occupation, working experience and gross monthly salary. Thanks!

The Little Steps You Take and the Decisions You Make

It is past midnight and I can't seem to sleep. My brain is like in SUPER overdrive mode with lots of random thoughts. This posting might be of little interest to most of you but I just needed an outlet to express my innermost thoughts and feelings. I am not sure whether some of you can relate to what I am about to share next.

Over the years, I have been increasingly aware of the little steps that I have taken that have nudged me on in a certain direction in life that I would otherwise have not taken if not for some small decision on my part. Sometimes, this decision tend to be big and sometimes, small. But nevertheless, they have all contributed to where I am today.

Studying Locally or Overseas

For one, the decision to study locally or abroad has shaped my life in many ways. I can only think of the "what ifs" of the time when I had the opportunity to go overseas and study. In fact, I had sent out a few applications and had managed to secure a place in universities like University College of London and Brown University. Alas, things did not come to pass due to the small steps I took and the little decisions that I made. And this has probably affected the way things have turned out and the way my career has panned out. Whether they have turned out for the better or for worse, I will never be able to tell. Only God knows.

The decision not to pursue my studies overseas remains one of my deepest regrets in my life. It just seems that people's perception of you are formed by them knowing which school you have graduated from. And apparently, graduating from a good overseas university is very important in traditional Singapore. At least that is my perception...

Blogging My Life Away

Just take the example of me starting to blog just for the fun of it. This has already nudged me in a certain direction and little did I know that in the span of two years, I would have made so many online friends and gotten to converse with them on many sensitive topics. Many thanks to you guys and girls! You know who you are. Again, the small decision to start a blog rolled my life in one direction and led me down a path which I never knew I would take or could take.

At the same time, I wonder whether I should quit this blogging business thing. It brings me little real income and I don't really find myself adding value to the tons and tons of information already out there on the internet. Could there be better use of my time?

Missed Opportunities

Then there are those missed opportunities in life which I keep asking myself the "what ifs". Many years ago, if I had just taken a small step in a certain direction, I might have had the opportunity to enter a business venture with a friend. That was over 5 years ago. If I had just taken that step, I could be financially free now. Seriously. And now, I can only wonder about the "what ifs". It makes me feel like kicking myself.

TWO PATHS....

At the same time, I cannot help but wonder whether my present life is actually better off or that maybe God had some other better plan installed for me and I ignored his promptings.

But I guess life is not worthwhile thinking about the path that was not taken. It is the path laid out in front of me that matters most. And I need to seize it and make it count while I am still here on earth.

The little steps you take and the decision you make will lead you to some place in life. Don't underestimate the decisions that you make today.


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