Candidly low

In today’s paper, the Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang predicted that consumer prices could rise by between 1 and 2 per cent this year. Said Mr Lim: “If you ask me candidly, I’d say we have been enjoying practically 16 quarters of growth. In fact, I’m surprised our inflation numbers are as low as they are.”

Dear Mr MTI Lim, this is probably one of the rare times  that I  am actually in agreement with your statement. With the increase in GST (again), inflated property prices, public transportation cost soon to go up (again), no. of ERP gantries going up (again), consumer price index up and even price of my daily coffee goes up from $0.80 to $1.00, I too, am rather surprise at our low inflation figure.



P.S. I am sure with your million dollar salary, this 2% inflation is nothing to you.




Assessment charges

My handphone went crazy last week, the screen goes blank everytime I slide the screen up. And the best thing? The warranty for this phone just celebrated his one year birthday two months ago.

Since iphone will not be available locally till next year, I made a trip down to the service centre today hoping I can prolong the life of my existing handphone. Everything goes as per usual, including the long waiting time however, I was quite amused by a particular exchange between myself and the customer service officer (CSO).

CSO: Sir, the cost of repairing the phone is estimated to be $80-$100, depending on the extend of the damage.

Me: Ok, sure.

CSO: In addition, in the event that you decide not to repair the phone, we will have to charge you an assessment fee of $27.

Me: ??!??! Why is there a need to charge me an assessment fee? I don’t need you to assess the phone for me, I KNOW what is wrong with the phone, it goes blank everytime I slide open the phone. You just need to repair it for me!

CSO: Yes sir, but we need to check which of the component is damage you see.

Me: Ok, so if I decides to repair the phone, the assessment fee will be waived?

CSO: That’s right sir.


Random Conversation

The Girl: I read your last post on the name of that condominium. It  is so silly to name your condo after some random sour fruit, just like the development known as  ‘Rafflesia’.

Me: Yeah, it is not the first one and won’t be the last one too.

The Girl (ranting mode): Why can’t they be more creative in naming the condominium! Might as well call it as it is, just call it ‘The Condo’!

Me: That will be quite hilarious though! LOL

The Girl: I can just imagine the conversation between residents  and taxi drivers……………………..

Taxi Driver: Hi Miss, where do you want to go?

Miss: Bring me to ‘The Condo’

Taxi Driver: Sure, which condo?

Miss: THE Condo.

Taxi Driver: I know, but which one?

Miss (rolled eye): THE CONDO, THE CONDO, THE CONDO!!!!

The Girl can be quite funny sometimes.

Sour and pale

Showflat @ The Amarelle

Project name: The Amarelle – A type of sour cherry having pale red fruit and colorless or nearly colorless juice (as defined in

Location: Lim Ah Woo Road (31 Dec 2010 TOP)


Design: 7.5/10

Typical 5 storey development design. Clean and modern look. Nothing too fancy nor too plain. There is no basement carpark, which I think is acceptable for small development like this.  Standard facilities like swimming pool and gym are provided. No tennis court as expected from a small development. No view to speak of as it is just a low rise development, but being located off guillimard road means getting to CBD will only takes 20mins.

Showflat: 7/10

My main grouse on the development is that the developer did not provide any branded fittings at all. You must understand that this is a project asking for more $1,000psf and yet cooker hood and hob and multi function ovan are Italia brand, no brand for the tap, shower micers, toilet bowls, long bath and  not even marble for master bathroom. In my opinion, at this price range, most developers would provide marble for master bath. To be fair, the use of material for the units are nice and pleasing to eyes even though no expensive material are being used. I personally don’t like the frameless bathroom shower screen. As nice as it looks, I always think there is possiblity of the screen shattering. Wardrode uses modular pole system that is growing in popularity these day.

Concept: 5/10  What concept? Even the name of the development is wrong.

Overall: 6.5/10

I think the developer has paid a lot of attention to details and it has shown in the showflat (Simple things like a facial board to concealed the sliding tracks at the wardrode to removable tile over the shower area for easy maintainence). When the development was first conceptualise, I think the target price was probably set at approximately $700psf and was increased before the launch to take advantage of the good market. However, they forgot that by increasing the price, they should improve the quality of the fittings given and the material used.

At an asking price of $1,000psf, if you are the type that do not care too much about the branded fittings and are looking for reasonable designed development, The Amarelle will be an interesting proposition given its good location.

Views expressed here are solely those of the author’s.

I want my ball back

My Sunday was spent in Johor Bahru (JB) not for shopping, but golf. Together with Raymond, Wendy and Kieve, we drove to Palm Villa,Johor Bahru for a round of golf.  Travelling there was an experience in itself, we flew through the 2nd link and to the golf course in an mere hour, much thanks to Wendy’s turbo-charged mazda cx-7 and her ‘brake-less’ driving. She is so fast that our car managed to outrun a BMW 320i and a Mercedes SLK350 on the way there and back.

It was Raymond’s virgin experience at the course and he did play pretty well, so much better than I was as compared to my first time on green. I took the chance to try out my new clubs mentioned here, just in time before my PC test next week!

Raymond tee-ing off

Above: Raymond tee-ing off.

During our break after 9-hole Putra course, we discovered the golf course serve the most delicious chicken wings *drool*. We ended the day with a dramatic IOI course that featured 4 holes with large canal obstacle. Wendy ended up losing a few of her ‘noodle ice’ balls to the canal. One of her shot landed right in the middle of the canal and she refuses to move on until someone goes down to get it for her. We literally have to drag her away from the canal, such competitive nature of this lady!


Quote of the day:


Wendy, standing at the edge of the canal looking forlornly at her golf ball.


Finished with a high luster

Soleil @ Sinaran

Project name: Soleil @ Sinaran

Location: 2 & 6 Sinaran Drive (Next to Novena MRT and Novena Square)


Design: 8/10

First impression of the facade looks like a office building. The design kinda grows on me, I like the clean, sleek and modern design, the contour on the facade allows for interesting exterior .  The developer has used the massive land size to its advantage as the two tower blocks are rightly sited to face away from Novena Suites, The Huntington and Novena Square. Most of the units have north-south facing with minimium units facing partial east and no direct west facing units (good!).

What I don’t like about the design is the aluminium sunscreens provided for unit type A2 and B3 at the balcony. While the intention is good, the finish product falls short. These ugly contraption comprises of 4 sliding panels that can be slided open in the middle, hence reducing your viewing area to two panels.  At any point in time, two panels will be blocking your view. Not to mention the hassle of maintaining it (do remember that these suncreens are located within your unit, not outside).

Showflat: 9/10

Extremely well done-up showflat that has the mark of a good developer. Interior designers have the habit of overdoing things but for this showflat, colours used are pleasing to eyes. The use of materials are well-thought through:

Living rooms: The light coloured floor for living room (two choices, timber strip or compressed marble). I will go for compressed marble for the ease of maintainance but that is my personal preference.

Kitchen: Kitchen has clean lines and looks bright and literally fill with storage spaces. The developer also provides oven, induction cooker, built-in refrigerator etc, pity they are only given Teka brand, a lesser german brand usually found in suburban developments. For the asking price, I would expect them to provide a better brand.

Bathroom: 600X300mm marble for master bath and tiles for common bath. Toilets are huge, with plenty of storage spaces. I like that they providing a lot of hidden storage spaces as most developments tend to forget that. Branded fitting like Hansgrohe and Duravit are provided.

Rooms: Master bedroom has the best size, the rest of the bedroom are,as usual, small. Typical tricks like custom-making the bed over the bay window to make the rooms seems bigger are being used here. Size of the wardrode  will be an issue if there is a lady staying. 


+ Points for innnovation, i.e. teaming up with the spa to provide service to the residents. However, I think the concept is poorly developed and marketed as the agent is not able to give me any details of this concept at all.  When asked about the details, the agent merely tells me that there will be spa service provided at a fee and quickly switch topic.

Overall: 8/10.

Would I buy it? Maybe. At average price of $1,500psf, this is certainly not cheap. A 2-bedrooms unit will cost more than $1m. While it is conveniently situated next to the Novena MRT and Velocity, one must not forget that Tan Tock Seng hospital is located just next door and adding the fact that Far East will be building a hotel next to the site. The bad traffic condition around the area will be a concern as well. This development  will be popular with yuppies and people looking to stay within the hustle of the city.

IMO, Sky @ eleven is a better deal if you are looking for a freehold development situated slightly further away with no access to MRT, bad traffic condition, but in a convenient yet tranquil area. At subsale price of $1,400psf, you are given top of the class finishes (we are talking about marbles and marbles and marbles) and fittings.

Views expressed here are solely those of the author’s.


Paul Potts and Connie Talbot.


Two of them managed to send goosebump all over my body and tears to my eyes last night. I cannot believe what I saw or rather what I heard. For those who knows me, they will know that I am probably the least emotional people around. In fact, The Girl is pretty amazed by my lack of emotion whenever we watched those sad movie scenes. 

Paul and Connie participated in a British program called “Britain Got Talent (BGT)”.  Yes, just like the “America Got Talent” program showing on local tv now. Purpose of the show is to discover talents among common people. And boy, did they discover talents.


Paul Potts, a 36-years old mobile phone salesman who was just another face in the street before joing BGT. And guess what? He sings opera. Now, who in the right frame of mind knows how to appreciate opera? Probably 0.000000000001% of the world population. I always thought operas are for boring old people and posers. Paul Potts made me take that all back. Even though I have absolutely no idea what he was singing, I can feel his passion and emotion in his voice. Most importantly, he is real. A real underdog that made it in life.

So please, if you can only listen to just one opera your entire life. Listen to this, Paul Potts singing Conte Partiro (Time to say goodbye) on BGT semi final.

I will definitely grab his album when it comes out! [edited: I bought his album over the weekend. Woohooo!]


Connie Talbot, one-sixth of Paul’s age, but also has a beautiful voice that touches people’s heart. Her voice is filled with childhood innocence and purity that makes you want to turn back time and become a child again. My jaw literally dropped on the floor when she started singing. Admitably, she is not pitch perfect but hey, she is only 6!Give chance leh!

Do listen to Connie Talbot singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow on BGT audition.

Check out Simon’s expression when Connie walked onto the stage and the comment he made after she walked off the stage.

It's a done deal


I just signed away my life from now till end of the year. This came in my mailbox just now:

Dear Mr.Joseph Lim:CFA Institute has received your order. Please see the details below. We suggest
printing this order confirmation email for your records or to use as a receipt.
Date/Time of Purchase (Eastern Time): 8/14/2007 3:36:49 AM
Order number: xxxxxxxx
Order Status: In Progress
Amount paid: $845.00 <-US$ hor!

Quantity Item

1 Level I CFA Examination
1 CFA Exam Enrollment December 2007

I am now officially broke.