Monday, 27 February 2012

Credit Cards Annual Fee - Waiver via Telephone

[Commentary : Credit Card companies are getting a little smarter with regard to Credit Card annual fees. Now with DBS and ANZ, basically all you need to do is to get the waiver done over the phone instead of waiting for 15 mins on the phone to speak to someone. On the other hand, I have never used a HSBC credit card nor apply for one after they refused to waive the annual fee. I cut the credit card and sent it back to them. Annual Fees are arcane and banks should just do away with them all together, they make enough money from the 2% commission charges that they charge the merchant and the rental fees for the credit card machine. Guess who picks up the bill already for these charges? YOU DO!

So remember to check your credit card statement and make sure they don't double dip their greedy fingers twice into the honey pot.]

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Property : Top bid of S$532psf ppr for Bedok South Ave 3 site

Property: Top bid of S$532psf ppr for Bedok South Ave 3 site. A consortium comprising Far East
Organisation's F.E. Lakeside, Frasers Centrepoint's FCL Topaz and Sekisui House Singapore submitted the top bid of S$345.9m or S$534.22psf ppr for a 99-year leasehold plot at Bedok South Avenue. The site has a maximum gross floor area of about 647,491sf, yielding an estimated 600 units comprising a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments.
(Source: The Business Times)

UOB Kay Hian Comments: The measured seven bids for the site despite jittery market conditions is indicative of developers’ view that although prices are likely to moderate by 10-15%, demand is likely to sustain. We expect the breakeven price for the site at S$850-900psf and selling prices at above S$1,050psf. The bid is reasonable in our view considering nearby Optima @ Tanah Merah is selling in the subsale market at S$1,000-1,100psf. Bedok Residences, a hot new launch located above the Bedok MRT (one MRT away), is currently selling at a 20% premium to our price assumptions.

[Blog commentary] The bid price of S$532psf ppr is reasonable, but having the final selling price of S$1000+ psf still seems high for a OCR condo. We need a cold chill wind to bring the prices back to sanity  <S$1000 psf for heartland condos.

Monday, 6 February 2012

CNBC : Singapore Faces Growing Pains as Setbacks Pile Up

CNBC : Singapore Faces Growing Pains as Setbacks Pile Up
Published: Sunday, 5 Feb 2012 | 6:12 PM ET

[Commentary : Well-written article that captures the grouses of Singaporeans. I will not call it growing pains but instead "Singapore Experiences Hubris and Arrogance of the PAP as Setbacks Pile Up".
The article is also not totally accurate with the comments that the floods occured in the financial district, when it actually happened mainly in Orchard Road. "The financial district has been hit by flash floods up to ankle level, threatening to damage the Louboutin and Gucci shoes favored by many bankers."

What is disconcerting is the comment, if true, that the news of the CPIB investigations had to wait for a tabloid Chinese newspaper to discover and then the MHA admit to it. I wonder how much more dirt is around just waiting to be dug up?]  

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dr Toh Chin Chye vs Steve Jobs

I am sure everyone probably read on the news that one of the founding members of the PAP govt has passed away. I think we all express condolences to his family and loved ones. Nonetheless, it is inevitable that it made me think about the passing of a recent figure as well, i.e. Mr Steve Jobs.

When it was announced that Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. had passed away on 5 Oct 2011, I felt a saddening and souring of mood, even though I have never met him. I read all the eulogies written about him, and already knew before hand, how he set up Apple in his garage, how he was ousted from Apple by the very guy that he brought into the company, how he set up NeXT and Pixar and his triumphant return to Apple and revival of the company. Not to mention, the most inspirational speech he made in a commencement ceremony and his oft quoted phrase "Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry".

However, when it was announced that Dr Toh had passed on, my mind just drew a total blank. Who is he again?


The effects that Steve Jobs and Apple have on our lives are more personal and related to our daily ongoings than Dr Toh. My iPhone is used daily for me to text friends and relatives, check the stock market, find out if the traffic is bad on the expressway, my iPad is used for YouTube, Channelnewsasia, Asiaone, CNBC updates. I read books on iBooks and download music from iTunes. These machines have changed how I work, how I communicate, how I am entertained, how I travel and how I learn.

Sure, Steve Jobs was in his prime and a creative-destructive genius who changed the mobile phone, music, books and tablet industries, whereas Dr Toh had retired many years ago. Also the impact that Steve Jobs made was global rather than the confines of Singapore.

Nonetheless, I think I speak for many Singaporeans that the emotive ties that Singaporeans have towards our "leaders" pale in comparison to Global Leaders who have a direct impact on our lives. We do not really care who the next DPM is or who the next Govt is as long as they can deliver the goods. We are more concerned on the next MacBook Air model, the next BMW car model and the next Hollywood Blockbuster Movie.
The only emotive link we have with our current Singapore "leaders" is whether they are going to correct the inconveniences of FT policy, employment opportunities, the transportation problems, lack of affordable housing and Orchard Road floods. Essentially viewing them as problem-solving managers than awe-inspiring leaders who will improve our lives.

The inspirational rallying call and drive of the first generational leaders to better Singaporean lives from a third-world country have been displaced by Global Leaders who change our lives with all the ubiquitous machines and systems of this century. Good luck to whoever wants to run Singapore.