Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blame it all on stress

Uuurgh!! I hate my face! The acne is really going beyond control despite my effort to avoid junk food and fast food for the past 2 months. I am sure it is because of stress either directly or indirectly. I am so tired that for the past week, I had been falling asleep without bathing or brushing my teeth. Yucks!! Perhaps one day worth of oil clogged my pores and thus caused the pimples. Sigh.. On the flip side, it basically means that I had enough sleep. But the whole week, I feel very irritated, edgy, and angry at work. It is all symptoms of my inability to cope with stress :(

I finally knew the address of my new place. After passing by the place, my mood just plunged even further. I know that HDB flat will not be better than my current landed house but I am still in denial mode. There is some sort of construction work near the flat and the unit is rather low. I don't know if it will be dusty, noisy, and full of pests. Sigh.. To make things worse, the block number is 441 and the unit number is 411. According to my friends, the numbers don't mean something very good in Chinese. Something about I want to die or I confirm will die. 'Lucky' that it is not the 4th floor. I will be seeing the room this coming weekend and I don't know if it will make me happier or even more emo. I gotta start thinking about packing my toys for moving too. Sian..

It is not good to have all this stress pent up inside me. I tried to escape with toys but it just provided temporary relieve as when I realised the amount of money I spent, I will get even more emo. Anyway, my spending for February again shot up the roof as I purchased Final Fantasy Chrome for Cloud, Aerith, Squall, and Rinoa. The happy news is that I got them cheaper than the prices I previously saw here. On eBay, I saw Final Fantasy IV and VIII Cold Cast which I had not owned yet. I failed to get FF VIII which was sold for USD 717.07. Sigh.. I was crazy enough to bid up to USD 707.07 just for a toy. I managed to win FF IV one. I will keep the price as a secret :) Will take pictures and write a review about it after it arrived. Likely I have to pay further for the customs.

I happened to pass by Seimon-Cho in Junction 8 when I saw Kuroko no Basuke plushie! I always find Tetsuya 2 to be very cute. I decided not to buy when I found out that only the display piece was left. The following day I went to the branch at Plaza Singapura and again there was only one which was the display piece. Due to the overwhelming stress, I decided to just buy it nonetheless yesterday. I even decided to get Kuroko as well although I was not interested in buying him in the first place. Guess what: Tetsuya2 was already bought!! Sianz!! Kuroko was still there though but no point for me in buying him because the one I really want is the dog. Emo.. Thinking about checking their IMM branch tomorrow. Haiz... Why am I so fickle minded sia!!
I want them :(
By the way, it is kinda late to mention that I had watched the LEGO movie about 2 weeks ago. I am not a fan of LEGO but the trailers look interesting enough as there are plenty of comedic and witty dialogues. Of course it is a bonus to see popular characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Gandalf too. The movie is corny and funny at the same time. The trailers don't like as really the script is hilarious. The movie is distributed by Warner Bros and since DC comics is under them, no wonder that a lot of DC comics characters are featured. Initially, I thought that the movie is rather nice as a family and comedy movie. The plot is not too bad for a typical adventure story targeted for children. Unfortunately, the end just ruins everything for me. Everything that happens in the movie is just a figment of imagination of a real boy playing with his father's LEGO sets. W.H.A.T T.H.E F.U.C.K! Yes.. just because of the ending, it really spoils everything for me. I will love it better if they would just do away with the human's imagination part. Bleah..
Anyway, my opinion matters not because the movie is a huge success in box office worldwide. They will even make sequels! Will I watch the sequel?? I don't think I will. I hate it when after going through the emotional roller coaster, everything ends with "It's all a dream" or "It's all only in imagination". Pui!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tired but happy

My aunt, cousin, and sister just completed their visit to Singapore. They were coming because my aunt went for her last post-surgery check up. Looks like now she is confident with her knee and she will not have any reason to visit Singapore again in the near future. It has been very tiring for me as I went to accompany them after work. I usually do not want to "waste" my leave to go out with them on weekdays but perhaps I am really in an emo mood recently that I took half a day leave on Friday to go out with them.

After the talk on Wednesday, I forced myself to meet my aunt to pass over her SGD that she gave to me previously. It was quite a wasted trip because on the next day, almost all the money was returned to me. Haha.. To help me earn points, I will offer to pay for her shopping with my credit card and she would return me the cash. On Saturday, I was accompanying my sister to buy things for my mum and dad and hence I missed another chance to get more points with my credit card!!

Only on Saturday that my sister mentioned that my dad was looking for a horse figurine. I thought he was looking for a Wind Horse figurine as according to Lillian Too's horoscope book for 2014, it will be good to have that figurine to improve luck and wealth this year. I told her that I passed by a cart selling feng shui horses at Harbour Front Center when I went to deposit money in the bank on Friday. If she mentioned it previously, we would not need to make another trip there! That cart is selling a Bejewelled Wind Horse figurine for $88. The auntie could speak English but I disliked the way she spoke to me. Yes people judged people from the outward appearances. I was only wearing t-shirt and bermuda which made me look like a school boy with no money. We passed by another shop which was also selling at $88 but the pushy woman said she would give a discount till $69. We took note of the scratches at the "gem" so I was not very keen. My sister seemed to reluctant because the woman was irritatingly pushy as well but I kept telling her that we should check Bugis out too.

Guess what, in Bugis we found it for $58 only nia!! Lol.. In the end, my dad bought the Kubera riding a Wind Horse for $100. It is considered King of horses and hence "more powerful" than Wind Horse alone. Haha.. I was the one that ended up with the Wind Horse :) I am quite crazy about figurines sia.. Haha.. I was also looking for that one but when I went to Bugis last month, I could not find any. I also bought a Bejewelled White Elephant. Wind Horse is more for windfall luck while the White Elephant is more for success in work and career. Well, not sure how true they are but just for fun, when asked whether I wanted to buy both, I jokingly asked how much discount they would give me. I spent $100 for both. I think the shop has to thank the overpriced shops at Harbour Front that made me did not really bat an eye when I knew this Bugis shop was selling almost half price. See how if my luck will be much better this year.
Bejewelled White Elephant.
A website recommends not to have this in bedroom without saying why. But I only have a room here leh :(
Bejewelled Wind Horse
A disclaimer: I am still a Catholic so ultimately I still believe in Jesus. I am not worshiping other things. I don't really "believe" but if these figurines really help to improve chi energy and feng shui etc, why not? Haha.. My dad and sister often tease me to get citrine to attract luck. Money is not an issue but I dislike yellow. Everytime I go to a gemstone shop, I always change my mind because I don't think I will like to wear yellow citrine bracelet. But I like figurine so I don't mind displaying them. They have the same purpose anyway. Moving to the figures, the saddle can be removed to reveal a compartment. I don't have Chinese old coins or ingots so I put my citrine tumbled stones instead. Beneath the horse, there is an opening to put a paper with my wish on it. Hmm.. not sure if I should put as I will be embarrassed if someone sees my wish. Lol.

I was thinking of using their hotel breakfast coupon this morning. But because I felt tired, I decided not to. Sadly, despite my tiredness, the first thing that I remembered when I reached home last night was that I forgot to pass over my father's original documents of name changes that I borrowed for my PR application! Sian.. Perhaps that is God's way to force me to wake up early and attend 7am mass again today. Lol. I had the free breakfast at Tung Lok Restaurant at Orchard Parade Hotel. The choice of food was rather limited and I only had limited time before my aunt had to go to airport so I did not really enjoy. Well, the bacon+chicken sausage+scrambled egg+hash brown did make my stomach full until dinner time. We were quite lucky to get a taxi which has boot completely empty and could fit 5 luggages. Initially I thought one of the luggage had to be placed on the front seat and I did not need to go to the airport. Yay! Since the front seat was empty, I went lor. I was very tired and despite my effort not to fall asleep, I was quite embarrassed to keep leaning on the guy next to me. Lucky only my arm was against his arm and not my head on his shoulder like what happened to one girl who fell asleep and kept leaning her head against my shoulder when I was still in JC. Lol.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Disappointed with Amiami and Square Enix.

I am a huge fan of Final Fantasy and has been collecting a lot of Square Enix merchandises mostly from their Final Fantasy Play Arts and Trading Arts Kai Mini. I even own 2 Squall Final Fantasy Dissidia Play Arts Kai figures to have one at home in Jakarta and one with me here. Everything is positive when all is well but true tests of greatness are in times of adversity. Disappointingly, my Final Fantasy Trading Arts Kai Mini: Ace came with manufacturing defects! Fuck!

I tried e-mailing them for possible parts replacement. There are 4 addresses listed at the back of the box and since I am not in US, Euro, or Hong Kong, I sent to the most generic email which is meant for their Japanese support. They just replied me with questions where I made my purchase and where my location was. After I provided them with more details, I received no more replies until I sent them repeated email. The answer I received was: we only provide support to Japanese customers. What the fuck! Then why the heck are they even selling these things internationally?

Never mind, I tried Hong Kong support then. It was actually answered by the same Japanese branch! Jeez. Seriously why the fuck list so many emails when ultimately only support for Japan is provided! I asked them if international shipping is their concern, they can ship it to my Japanese address. Again.. No fucking reply.

Okay, enough expletives for the goddamn manufacturer. I bought it from Amiami and this shop turns to be a bigger fucker. There are a lot of hate for Amiami with their policies as they don't allow cancellation of pre-order (no big deal for me as I don't pre-order things I don't like) and they ban people sharing the same address (yes! there are cases where family members or friends sharing the same address get banned!). I am fine with them so far until this last straw that broke the camel's back.

They only offered me a 200 JPY refund for such a huge defect. Oh please.. I know it is not Amiami's fault for manufacturing defect but they should have offered help with replacements. They expected me to pay for return shipping. Go eat shit man! Looks like Square Enix did contact them as Amiami told me not to email manufacturers directly as it will put them in trouble. I was like o_0 what the fuck? Are they selling things illegally? I am emailing the manufacturer directly because you are not providing any help for your customers at all!

Amiami is the cheapest among other Japanese online shops and that is why it USED to be my number 1 choice. However, after comparing their policy with CDJapan or Hobby Link Japan, I finally decided that I will avoid Amiami from now on. HLJ would pay for return shipping and would arrange for replacement in case of manufacturing defects. Even if there are missing parts, they will try to contact the manufacturer's replacement. Even CDJapan which is quite crazy with their overpriced shipping fee will pay for return shipping for for manufacturing defects. I guess for expensive items, it is really not worth it to buy from Amiami since their policy just sucks.

Not to mention that my Figuarts Zero: Kagami that I bought from Amiami arrived opened and resealed. The top flap had the "dent" which means that it had been opened previously. I emailed them about it and there was no reply. I decided not to pursue that further because it was very minor. Sigh..

Anyway, the 200 JPY refund that I accepted was also given in the form of Amiami store credits. Not only they fucked me up with their lousy support, they want to fuck me up further by forcing to purchase from them again -__-. I know that Amiami has a lot of spies on the net so even if they read this and decide to ban me, I don't really care. I just hope that this will help to damage their reputation and prevent new buyers from using them.

Looks like to patronise local shops will be the best choice. I believe they will allow a one-to-one exchange for manufacturing defects and shipping will not be an issue as I can bring the item back to the shop.

I don't mean to bash Amiami and Square Enix but this is an honest post from an absolutely disappointed ex-fan of Amiami and Square Enix.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blunder

February seems to be always a bad month for me especially when it comes to this one person. Last year, I was very angry because she did not let me to skip workgroup meeting. The meeting date coincided with one of my colleague's birthday. Because I was not allowed to skip the meeting, my colleague had to cancel her leave and came to work on her birthday to cover me at work! Sigh.. I was just an insignificant member and my presence (or absence) made no difference. But working or not working on a birthday makes a huge difference for that person. I still remembered the blackmailing words "If you think that medication safety is not important bla bla bla...". I decided not to be crazy as I did not want my colleague to get a call from superiors to cancel her leave so that I can attend the meeting.

This year, it is still with the same person but with regards to different matters. There was a mistake discovered in the drug name changes that we were doing. I am sort of "the one in-charge" of this so it IS my fault. I am not denying it. But what really makes me upset is how she makes it sound as if it is ENTIRELY my mistake. I checked the drafts and I did that mistake right from the first draft which was subsequently checked by 2 different people (one of them being herself!). Jeez.. I don't like to point fingers.. Yes you are also equally guilty for not catching the error when checking so there is no need to make it sound as if it is entirely my fault. Sigh.. I don't even know why I must be the one sending email regarding a "project" of this scale! I thought it should be her sending all the emails pertaining to this as the workgroup head.

Perhaps I am a perfectionist and I am just being too hard on myself. I, too, have my face and pride. I find it very embarrassing to make such a mistake, having to admit it publicly, etc. Sigh.. Don't know if I should just quit and change job.

My meeting in the afternoon was another cause of hidden anger within me. I am just so sick of all these customer service. People are so two-faced in front of the bosses and always say things which put customers as first priority. While I agree that customers are important, my staff are important too and I will always think about them too! The rest were just saying things or suggesting things which look good on them without thinking the inconveniences that they would cause to the staff on the floor! Pfft!

I was basically the biggest asshole in the room: my customers are the worst and my staff are the lousiest bla bla bla.. Fine.. your customers are so great and your staff are so bright. Bleah.. I really wanted to get out of this lousy workgroup. It is difficult for me to do well here anyway because I don't even believe in these hypocritical version of customer service anyway.

At times like this, I just wish that I am a working ant: just do ordinary work like everyone else, don't do anything extra, don't do anything that can cost me mistake and reputation, keep a low profile, and keep my mouth shut! The outcome will be the same anyway :(

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NUStalgia

I went to NUS LT 31 to attend a HMDP talk and it was a trip down the memory lane. Upon arrival, I felt kinda awkward and old to return to NUS with office attire. Aaah.. I missed attending lectures (late) just wearing free NUS T-shirts, bermudas, and sandals. But as I was walking back to Kent Ridge MRT station after the talk, I was suddenly swept by emotion and felt nostalgic about NUS. 

Without realising it, NUS actually has a special place in my memory. I suddenly remembered the times I went back from school back to PGP on foot at night, be it after CCA, after mugging or printing something in library, after mugging at the canteen, etc. The toilet at level 2 of the Science Admin building also reminded me of my emo FYP times. That level was the link to the building where my FYP lab was located. I did not notice a lot of changes other than the plants on the road outside LT 27 which basically prevent students from jaywalking! There are a lot of changes in front of NUH but as it was already night, I could not explore what the new buildings are.

For the past 10+ years of my stay here, I spent:
~2 years in CJC Hostel (with Orchard, Bugis, and Toa Payoh as my main playgrounds)
~2 years in Victoria Hall (with East Coast Park, Siglap, Changi Airport, Marine Parade, and Suntec City as my main playgrounds)
~2 months in Sembawang Hills Drive (hmm.. a middle of nowhere near Ang Mo Kio and Upper Thomson)
~3 months in Sembawang (with Sun Plaza as my main playground)
~4 YEARS IN NUS!!
~6 months in Toa Payoh
~2 years and 3 months at my current place (Upper Thomson near Shunfu) before moving on in 3 weeks time T_T

No wonder why NUS is so special to me as I spent a very very long time there. Aaaah~~~

By the way, when I left my office, I bumped into a drug rep who happened to be going to NUH to pick up her husband. She offered me a ride and with thick skin I just said "Of course! Thank you very much". Haha.. Some of my colleagues who were also going home saw me on the car so it will be quite embarrassing tomorrow. But oh well.. Haha.. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lucky Starbucks :)

I went to Starbucks last week to try their Chestnut Macchiato before it is removed from the menu. I think it should be removed anytime soon after CNY. When the receipt was printed, I was 'chosen' to give a feedback online and as will receive a code for a free tall drink as a thank you. Yay!!! Lucky!! Perhaps all the feng shui thingy for this Year of the Wood Horse is true since the prediction is for me to be luckier this year. Haha.. Okay I know it sounds very childish of me to be so happy over a free drink but for someone who hardly wins any lucky draw, it really made me happy. For the past 26 years of my life, I have only won 2 lucky draws: 1 in my JC days when I supposedly won a soap (but it was mixed up with an mp4 player) and 1 last year when I won 2 Gold Class movie tickets from my credit card purchase.

I over-napped, rather than overslept, last night from 9pm till 430am. Haha.. Thus I decided to go for 7am mass rather than continue sleeping and go for the later ones. With 9am and 1100am plans to go mass are usually disrupted by my sleep and the 530pm disrupted by my laziness, attending 7am one seems to be a viable alternative. Lol.

After mass, I went to redeem my free Starbucks drink. I also ordered their egg white+mushroom+cheddar wrap for breakfast. I usually don't order food from Starbucks so in the end, because of the free drink, I spent money on them too. Lol.. Anyway I ordered food so that I could use my card in the hope that the free drink will be counted as a purchase for my card. Cheapskate me. Hahaha...

Time to payback my sleep now..

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FromJapan (Review)

After joining myfigurecollection.net (it shall be known as MFC from here onwards), I discover another Japanese proxy other than the so-far-so-good Goody-Japan and the shitty Shopping Mall Japan (the reasons why I say shitty can be found here and here. This proxy is FromJapan.

FromJapan is only charging 200 yen per item or auction bid and that is considered the lowest among the other proxies. In addition, if you win more than 1 item from the same seller, there is no proxy charge for the 5th item onwards. However, as FromJapan as multiple accounts to bid for items, there is a chance that the different items are bid using different accounts and you may not get this combined items advantage. It is all random. This is especially good when I want to purchase low value items like anime books. Goody-Japan charges a minimum 600 Yen and that can even be more expensive than the price of the books itself. In a mere 2 months, I bought more than 30 anime books through FromJapan! Haha.. I don't want to calculate the total I spent as it will definitely make me emo.

For domestic shipping, users can choose to pay for cheaper (uninsured) method as well as safer (insured) method. Taking a book as an example, cheaper domestic shipping can cost less than 200 yen while safer method can cost 500-600 yen. So this is another feature that I like.

For international shipping, FromJapan also offers FedEx as a shipping option. FedEx is actually cheaper than EMS for small but heavy items like book as FedEx charges by volume while EMS charges by weight. For my first shipment which weighs about 9 kg, EMS would cost me 9400 yen as opposed to 2994 yen by FedEx. The difference is really mind-blowing. Users can also indicate the amount they want to declare in customs form for every single item!! Cool, isn't it?

FromJapan also provides regular, light, and extra secure packing. Other proxies may use "excessive" packing materials to ensure safety of items but this may not be very desirable if you want to cut shipping costs and you know the items are relatively "damage-resistant" eg. books. Thus light packing is useful. However, any damage will not be insured if this method is chosen. Extra secure packing, as its name suggests, will also incur extra costs. FromJapan uses old/used boxes for shipment. So in the event that they have to use new boxes for shipment of your item, you have to pay 500 yen extra. So far, thankfully, it has not happened to me yet.

The other good things about FromJapan is user's total control over placing and withdrawal of deposits as well as direct control over sniper and real-time bids. In addition, when it comes to paying for the item, I can choose not to use the deposit but to make a separate payment. This is good for my calculation of expenses. Why is that so? Let me illustrate: I can put a 10000 yen deposit and say bid for 5 items. I can make 5 separate payments for the 5 items and thus I know how much exactly each item costs me. I can then refund my deposit in full. In addition, their invoice provides a very good breakdown for every charges incurred. Cool!

FromJapan also rewards users based on the amount of items purchased through them. The reward is 3-10% off for delivery cost via EMS or FedEx for users who have bought items worth 40000-400000 yen respectively. Although I don't think I can hit the 400000 yen spending and I only get a small discount, it is still a nice gesture.

Do you notice the small banner on top of my blog? Yep, FromJapan also allows to invite people to use their services. I can get 300 yen per new user who signs up and uses FromJapan services. Zero so far leh!! Haha..

Customer service wise, they will reply email daily as long as it is sent between 1000-1900 Japan time. I think they close on weekends and public holidays though. Unfortunately, when you have a question regarding an item, they will just read the Japanese item description and "translate" it for you rather than asking the seller. No mention of customer service will be complete if you never have incidence of broken item. That also happened to me and it did ruin my impression of their customer service.

What happened? Due to backlog over Christmas and New Year holidays, it took 2 weeks for my items to be packed since I requested them. Note that before this period, when there was no backlog, they packed items quite fast. So after these 2 weeks, they informed me that one of my items was damaged. That item cost me close to 8000 yen and their email was not exactly very nice or helpful with the following message: "However, we are not able to guarantee that the seller should accept the return of item or refund". What the hell! I chose safer (insured) domestic shipping for a reason and if they are unable to contact the seller, then at least they should contact the domestic shipper! I find it unbelievable that they did not check items upon arrival and notify damages immediately. By the time they emailed me, it was almost 1 month after item arrival so it might be too late to report for any damage and from my point of view, that should be their responsibility, and not mine!

Anyway, after 3 weeks, I finally got my refund so I am happy for that. However, I am still disappointed with the fact that they did not even show me the photo of the damaged item. They also did not inform me whether they returned the item or they claimed an insurance from the shipper! If they had a refund without the need of sending back the item, then that item should me mine after all! I am not being greedy here to want both the items and the refund. The reason why I want to know the details is because the item in question is something rare: Final Fantasy Chrome Koyo Koyo with a small serial number #0070 and I got it for quite "cheap" at 7543 yen. With no details provided, I can always suspect that perhaps their staff want this item and can always pretend to say that the item is damaged while they keep the item!
Another negative point about FromJapan is that they charge another 5% of whatever charges if payment is made via PayPal or Credit Card. This makes things worse for buyers as PayPal or Credit Card already has unfavourable currency exchange rates in the first place.

So in summary, FromJapan's pros:
-Provide users with a lot of options for customisations from the choice of domestic shipping method, packaging of items, international shipping method, and customs declared values
-Full control of placement and withdrawal of deposits as well as both real-time and snipe bids
-Relatively quick response time by the customer service team
-Great search engine function (I did not mention this above but FromJapan's search engine is the first proxy's search engine that can give me meaningful search results)
-200 yen proxy fee and a maximum of 800 yen fee for multiple items bought from the same seller on the same day (provided all items are bid using the same account which unfortunately users have no control of)

Their cons:
-5% additional charges (not only from price of item but also from domestic shipping, international shipping, and bank transfer fee!) for payment paid using PayPal or Credit Card
-Did not check of item condition upon arrival
-Unable to split items which comes as "a package" from the seller
-Unsatisfactory approach for damaged item: sounds unhelpful and no details provided to the buyers about the whole process
-Merely giving translation of item description, rather than asking the seller directly, for any questions asked pertaining to items

Despite the hiccup, I will still use FromJapan for their pros. I personally prefer FromJapan for cheaper items like anime books for their low proxy charge and FedEx as a choice for international shipping. However, for expensive and fragile items, I will stick with Goody-Japan who checks every item upon arrival and is very exceptional with their handling of damaged items.

Again, neither Goody-Japan or FromJapan solicits me for my opinions. Haha.. I hope this can be useful for people who are considering proxy options. I am not sure whether I am lucky or unlucky to always experience damaged items with so many different parties. It is really a rare occurrence and most reviews never mention how different companies handle cases of damaged items. Thus, I hope my posts have been helpful for people to consider the possibility of receiving damaged items and weigh the risks and benefits of proxies appropriately.

Lastly, it is time for shameless advertising. Should you decide to use FromJapan, please do so through the link on this blog so that I can get 300 yen. Lmao..

Friday, February 14, 2014

Loser's Valentine

No chocolate.. No flowers.. Pay for own meals.. Someone else's girlfriend..

That is a summary of my 2014 Valentine's Day. To complete everything, the dinner was actually initiated by the girl!! Yeap.. I am such a loser. This was the 2nd time that a girl asked me to accompany her for dinner and to set the record, I have never asked a girl out for Valentine's Day. Lol. It's funny how I don't want to ask someone for Valentine's Day dinner as I did not want to send wrong signals. However, when a girl ask, I don't feel any signals whatsoever and I am just accompanying a friend.

This friend is a close friend of mine since my junior high school days in Jakarta. Wow.. that is almost 15 years ago. She went to Busan (South Korea) to study and work for a few years and she hosted me when I visited South Korea a few years ago. Her boyfriend is a Korean and I asked permission from him to go out with her hor... Hahaha...

Anyway, I don't know how my future will be. I am so uninterested in having a relationship right now as I am still super narcissistic and think that I only care about myself. I want my house, I want my toys, and I want to spend my free time lazing and sleeping around. Perhaps after having a house, I will then start finding the right girl for me. Of course the big question is, where can I find this girl in the first place when my social circle is so limited? :(

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Money for the future

Insurance agents can be very persistent. I have been receiving missed calls since last week and when I wanted to return the call, it always could not go through. 2 days ago, the same number finally called me at the time when I was at my table and thinking that it was something important, I gladly picked it up. It was an insurance agent. Not being racist here but listening to a thick Filipino accent did not exactly give a good first impression as it could be quite challenging to listen.

The woman claimed that she was from ACE Insurance and was offering an "exclusive" insurance only so selected Standard Chartered Bank clients. The offer was so "exclusive" that I could not find the information anywhere, not in the bank's website, not in the ACE Insurance website, and not in the internet in general. I found it too exclusive and made me suspect that it was a scam. Haha..

I never heard of such plan before so I found it quite appealing initially: $300 per 24 hours of hospitalisation cash and it applies to worldwide coverage. I can claim the main hospital bill from my company and a separate $300 from the insurance. Furthermore if no claim is made in a year, I can get 20% of it refunded! Wow.. Of course I am aware some red tapes when it comes to insurance claim so I am not going to make an uninformed decision. It is quite ridiculous that I have to say that I enroll to the programme on the phone before I can get more details on the policy. The further we talked, the pushier the woman got. Haha.. I asked to call on another day because I needed time to do research and I had been avoiding her calls. So bad.. Haha..

I asked my colleagues whether they have heard of such plan. Lol obviously no. One of them recommended me to her personal financial planner. Her family members (and even extended family members) are also being managed by the same person so I think that provides good enough testimony. In addition, she is an independent financial planner that can recommend any available products, rather than being employed by an insurance company and will push only certain products.

I just met her today and it was a very fruitful discussion. I had a bit of information from my friend's friend who happened to be an insurance agent with a bank. I met her about 2 years ago when my purpose was really to know more about financial planning, rather than intending to get something. I just started working back then and had little saving so don't talk about buying insurance plans etc. In addition, I had concerns whether my status, in case I turn PR, will affect the whole thing. I got my answers today. Hehe..

Anyway just for recap (in case I forget about tonight's session), there are 2 aspects of financial planning: the fundamental, which is protection, followed by accumulation. There are 2 types of protection: income protection and expense protection

Expense protection is quite straight forward as it is the typical health and accident insurance plans etc. You basically pay money to safeguard in case something bad happens to you and you need to be hospitalised. If you are so lucky and healthy and make no claims, you still won't get any of the money paid back.

Income protection is something new for me. Those death or disability insurance falls on this category. Basically it protects you in the event that somehow you are no longer able to work due to permanent disability, illness, or death. Typically, the payout is 10x of the annual salary when you enroll which means if really suay that you can no longer work, you can still survive for another 10 years. If you are unlucky and something happens tomorrow, you can straight away get your 10x annual salary and the plan stops there. If nothing happens for many many years, you can stop paying when hitting certain age but the coverage will continues until the day you die or decide to stop the plan. Stopping the plan means you can get all the money you have been paying + some interest!! Hmm..

For wealth accumulation, there are savings and investments. As I am still a poor guy, I shall focus on the savings for now. Other than the meager returns offered by banks (be it regular savings or fixed deposit), there is another product which allows you to regularly depositing money for 25 years before maturity. Upon maturity, you can get 3-4% compound interest wor!! I am quite amazed that these are not considered investment products but none of the banks has these. Banks typically offer structured deposit which falls under "investment" and thus uninsured in the event that the bank goes bankrupt! I put some of my savings to fixed deposit in mid-January and I realised that my savings or fixed deposit with a bank is only insured for up to $50000. That means I should not put more than $50000 in any bank if I don't want to lose anything in the event bank collapse. Waleaw.. so troublesome to open more bank accounts to mitigate such risks sia.. However, for products related to insurance companies, the government actually insured 100% capital so in the worst case scenario, I can get all my money back with 0 interest! Hmm.. at least I don't lose anything la.. In addition, in the event that an insurance company is going bankrupt, usually a bigger company will try to take over to grab the ready pool of clients. That really sounds quite comforting.

Anyway, I will see her back in 2 weeks time for some product recommendations and I shall see how. The most depressing thing that I realised today was that my spending was higher than regular people. Sigh.. thanks to my rental. After I checked my expense history for the past 2 years, I realised something even more depressing: my spending for anime/manga/toys related is really exhorbitant and in reality I spent more than what I projected during my discussion! Jeez.. This has got to stop somewhere leh :(

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Boring update

It seems that my job scope nowadays has changed to only signing invoices and scolding people. I am so tired doing this everyday. I cannot understand how people can be so shameless and irresponsible at work. People need money and hence they work. No matter what they have to spend 7.5 hours daily at work a day so why don't they make use of the time to do their best! Why must they try to cheat and make the 7.5 hours so torturing for everyone. Haiz.. Anyway, life can be very ironic. When I was younger, I used to tease my parents by saying that when I grow up, I want to be a boss like my dad. A boss' life is so good: only need to sign papers and scold people everyday. Guess what, I am not a boss yet but I am doing all of these things!! Ironic right?

Yesterday we had staff dinner and my ex-boss was also invited. She commented how my face was so disastrous. Sigh.. I thought my pimples breakout since November last year was caused by my incessant junk food and potato chips intake. Since I went home for Christmas holiday, I have been avoiding these rubbish but there was not much difference to my complexion. The 'old' pimples are sort of healing but new pimples are still breaking out. I really think stress is the main culprit but the ultimate question is how I can get rid of these pimples sia..

One of my classmate has left the company. She will be going to Australia for further studies. Huhuhu T_T I am so jealous!! We are in the same workgroup and I will definitely be missing her from my team. I also wish that I can continue with further studies but every plan is awaiting the outcome of my PR application. I went to submit the additional documentation requested today and I really hope they will let me know whatever the outcome be as soon as possible so that I can make plans for the future.

Even blogging is no longer enjoyable for me. I am perpetually feeling tired and I don't think I have a lot of interesting things to write as job is very boring. I have been buying too many toys and there are so many toys that I want to buy that writing about toys is no longer possible. Haha.. I have so many backlog of toys to show off here leh!! So stressed thinking about how I am going to transport them safely to my new place and how I am going to fit them into my room :(

Anyway, I am quite proud that I successfully went for mass last Sunday. That was my first one in 2014! Wow.. yeah.. I am the prodigal son. I went for a blood donation today and my eyes went big when I saw my queue number: 6066.. Hmm.. it is clearly a sign that I am a fake follower of Christ lor.. Hahaha... In the midst of my 'busyness' at home, I am toggling between Samurai Troopers and Saint Seiya Poseidon Arc. My Gokusen Season 3 progress was also stuck midway. Ckckck... I don't know since when my life becomes so lifeless sia..

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Li Chun

The post title is not a typo error and it is also not referring to Chun Li, my favourite Street Fighter girl. Li Chun (立春) is also known as the first day of spring. It is quite peculiar that Chinese New Year, which is to celebrate the arrival of spring, was celebrated on the 31th January while the actual first day of spring is still a few days later. Apparently, the beginning of the Lunar New Year may not exactly coincide with the actual start of the spring and I have been wrong all these time.

Anyway, I am digressing. What I want to write is about a recommendation by some Feng Shui masters to deposit money in the bank during Li Chun as a good sign that for the rest of the year, the money in your bank will keep increasing. I guess it is a similar belief that farmers start farming on Li Chun in hope of getting good harvest for the rest of the year etc. I read one of these articles in December so I kinda forgotten the actual day. A friend made a comment on this on Facebook and that reminded me that I should also deposit money. Haha.. Who does not want more money right? Although the banks were already closed by the time I realised this, I still went to nearest cash deposit machine. Haha.. The ultimate goal is to deposit money ma.. I was shocked with the queues that I saw -__-

Sian.. I really don't know that people can be so superstitious when it comes to money. Honestly, I am glad that I am Catholic and I believe everything that God wants to provide me, He will provide. This sounds very hypocritical that it comes from someone who has not been to the Church for more than a month already.. Although I also wanted to follow the deposit money thingy, I was just doing it for fun. After seeing the queue, nevermind.. I am not gonna waste my 1 hour for that. Haha.. Having said that, I do feel regret for not remembering this earlier. I could have gone to the cash deposit machine near my office that was empty. I could even go there twice (at lunch time and after work)!! Lol.. Oh well, I should just "deposit" my money in my drawer as a symbol lo..

I mark this Li Chun by deciding to get Final Fantasy Trading Arts Kai Mini of Zidane, Warrior of Light, and Ace from Amiami. They were released in November and up to now, I still don't see them in any of the local shop. Bleah.. just bit the bullet and bought it la! Perhaps it is a sign that my wallet will bleed money for the rest of the year to fund my toys. Storage space will be a headache and I am officially very emo. I have confirmed that I will have to move to my new place by 14th March! I am following the current landlord but I have no idea where the new place is, how big my room is, or how it will look like. I foresee that I will sleep on top of my boxes and plastic containers :( Oh heck! Buy first and think about how to store or ship them back to Jakarta when the time comes lor...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Welcome the Year of the Wood Horse


Spring is here and it is Chinese New Year again! With all the bad images from the PRCs, I prefer to call it Lunar New Year nowadays. I am not a fan of celebrating this except for the 2 days holiday. Unfortunately, as the second day falls on a Saturday which is considered one of my working days, I am cheated half a day!

As usual, I went to my aunt's place for the Eve dinner. I was amazed with how little food that I could stomach now. I could literally count the number of wanton (2 pieces), sausages (2 pieces), meat balls (3 pieces), tofu (2 pieces) that I ate. Previous years, I could eat much more than that! I did not even have space left for the beef :( Not sure if I took too much tidbits while waiting for dinner! It is depressing that I eat so little nowadays and yet I am so fat. I stayed until past 2am to chit chat with my aunt and my cousin. Well, she drove me home so I could stay so late. I knew that the consequence would be feeling lethargic for the whole of Friday.

On Friday, I went to meet another cousin who was here from Indonesia for a holiday. I had to collect some documents for my PR application from her. It was quite interesting to go out during first day of Chinese New Year. I never did so for the past 11 years of my stay here as I expect that shops would be closed and everywhere would be like a dead town. Surprisingly, only the road and the MRT were emptier than usual. There was no difference with the passengers on the bus. Lol.. Despite most shops closed, Orchard was still crowded and business went on as usual at MBS. Haha.. 

Anyway, my cousin brought along her kids aka my niece and nephew. I find it cute and amazing at the same time that my nephew was so friendly to me. The last time I met him, he was still a baby so I am sure he will not remember me. But yesterday, he would hold my hand as we walked. Haha.. I find it quite weird and akward to hold a child's hand. Lol.. I do love kids for their innocence. Before I said bye bye, he even asked "Will you come again tomorrow?". Aww... my heart melted!! Unfortunately, the answer was no because I wanted to rest and hibernate today.

Talking about fat, CNY basically ruins all my hardwork for the past 1 month. When I weighed myself in Pontianak, I was 65kg. I was literally shocked with this new record! Not to mention the pimple breakout on my face. So yeah, no more fast food, bubble tea, potato chips, Starbucks/Coffee Beans, etc. So far only the fast food was a success. I had not bought any bubble tea in Singapore but I had one when I went back to Jakarta last week. Sharetea had stock for cream cheese these time so I tried the beverage with that which I could not try on December. Unfortunately for Starbucks and Coffee Beans, it was a failure. When I met a friend to return his comics in early January, we settled at Coffee Beans when we were tired. While waiting for my flight last week, I also had a coffee at Starbucks. Yesterday, my dinner with my cousin as in Coffee Beans again! I am not tempted for potato chips yet so far but when my cousin took out her Pringles on Thursday, I gave in to the temptation and took it as one of the CNY tidbits. Lol..

The Year of Wood Horse is apparently a good one for me. Many feng shui masters say the same thing for my sign: plenty of money making opportunities, success in career, increased luck, and a good time for finding a soulmate. Unfortunately, looking at my situation, despite all the favourable stars, I don't think I will get anything. I am a paid salary man so I have no money making opportunities except for salary which I don't expect to increase much. In addition, I am too young and a promotion will be to early. Thus, I don't think there will be an extra money. For the increased luck, I don't mind trying to fill in and participate in lucky draws etc. Haha.. My wishful thinking is always to win a million dollar and get my own house. Haiz.. So emo just to think about moving house. Girlfriend, or wife, is still too far-fetched for me. I don't even have a good social life that will open up the chance for me in getting to know girls!! Haiz.. I don't know what social opportunities will open up for me sia.. Honestly, I will be happy to even have friends to be able to spend weekend playing games or sports together.

All the tiredness from the CNY Eve still lingers so I just want to rest and have a peaceful year a head. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and wealthy year ahead. Let's gallop away on the Wood Horse!