Visit to The Istana, Singapore

The Istana opens to the public only 5 times a year. Open House today is on account that it is Hari Raya Puasa public holiday. We started early and joined the queue to get in at 8.30 am. Singaporeans and PRs go in free. We only need to pay $2 when visiting Level 1 of The Istana. Besides seeing the various exquisite gift items from various nations, we get to visit the Reception Hall, the State Room, and the Banquet Hall. For majority of us who have no reasons to be present in the State Room or the Banquet Hall, this is the closest we can get to feel the environment of this stately place.

I was impressed with the landscape and grounds of The Istana. It is a miniature Botanic Garden but very well maintained. You can see: The Grove, Japanese Garden, The Swan Pond, Victoria Pond, The Gun Terrace, The Lawn and the Centre Gate.

The weather was fine and not hot this morning. We got out of The Istana before the heavy rain came, feeling satisfied. At least we had a chance to visit The Istana and mark off our list of places to visit.

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Inconsiderate Behaviour

I used to see shopping trolleys belonging to NTUC Fairprice at locations other than at its premises. The users brought their purchases homes together with the trolleys. Instead of returning them to NTUC Fairprice outlets, they left them anywhere they pleased. This is selfish behaviour. Trolleys are meant for the convenience of shoppers for use in the supermarket. Missing trolleys deprive others from using them. NTUC Fairprice has to spend time and resources to recover these trolleys.

Now, I see the same pattern with bicycles from bike-sharing companies. These bicycles are placed haphazardly in locations that are not appropriate, eg. bus stops, pathways for pedestrians. I also do not understand why some people throw bicycles into a canal. It is as if the canal is the logical place for bicycles.

Worse still, some of these bicycles have missing seats. How can one ride one without a seat?

Bike thrown from a bridge above the canal

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Stock index of United States of America defies gravity

Since 2008 in the thick of the Global Financial Crisis, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) had been climbing steadily.

On 2 January 2008, the Dow was 13,043 points. Now it is 21,467 points, a 65% jump in the index. The Dow touched the lowest at 8,143 points in February 2009 before climbing without a let up.

The Dow dipped twice in 10 years before 2008: 11,293 points in August 1998 and 10,264 points in September 2002. You would remember 1998 was the Asian Financial Crisis.

Month/Year Dow Remarks
Aug/1998 11,293 Asian Financial Crisis
Jan/ 2008 13,043 Global Financial Crisis
Jun/2017 21,467 Now
Jan/2018 ???

Come 2018, it would be 10 years since the Global Financial Crisis. Will the Dow continue to defy gravity? Will there be another financial/economic crisis to stop the uptrend of Dow?

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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Thrust into taking side

23 June 2016, UK held a referendum to decide whether UK remains or to exit from European Union. UK voted to exit. (Brexit)

8 November 2016, Donald Trump of the Republican Party won the Presidential election. President Trump set out to unravel policies enacted by President Barack Obama.

14 June 2017, Singapore woke up to news of siblings quarrel over 38 Oxley Road house belonging to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. One side wanted to demolish and the other side raising “grave concerns” over the preparation of LKY’s final will.

Reading news of this nature, it was difficult not to take side and to remain unaffected by which way the outcomes might be. One wishes that one could be cut off from reading this kind of news. This is not possible with the Internet, TV and the newspapers.

In this scenario, I am still trying to remain neutral and to read news without injecting my own emotions into the mix.

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Time Stealers – Smart phone

You and I have the same number of hours in a day. Everyday, we wake up to 24 hours in a day. How one uses time is personal and is different for everyone.

For me, I do not spend inordinate time on my smart phone. I do not watch movies or catch-up TVs on the phone. I do not play on-line games on the phone. These two alone would reduce our precious time from what I consider as worthwhile activities. The same applies to my personal computer.

I would limit my access to Facebook and Instagram during the day. It is not time sensitive that I have to access them to see what friends and others are posting on these platforms. It can wait until it is convenient for me to do so. My Facebook is private, limited to friends I know and would like to associate with. While my Instagram account is public, I do not follow many accounts.

As to messaging applications, I have WhatsApp. I belong to two chat groups, active in one but not the second one. I limit my time on these chat groups. I do not re-post or forward links or information that were widely circulated.

Looking at my phone, I have limited number of applications on it. I have only 16 GB of memory/storage space, which is a whole lot less space for many applications and data files. With less space, I get more time on my hand for other activities not related to accessing the phone.

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Why are people getting angrier and in a rush?

Is it my perception or are people getting angrier and always impatient nowadays? Are people caught up in highly stressed lives that trigger this behaviour? Is this the price people pay in a modern society? Stressed and unhappy.

We read about a couple who shoved and hurled abusive language on an elderly man in a hawker centre over a seat in the centre. If you drive on the road, you would definitely encounter road bullies. These drivers were in a rush to get to somewhere. Do a few minutes saved on a journey make a whole lot of difference to people’s lives?

Some twenty years, thirty years back, it was less hectic. We had no smartphones and no Internet. We did not live with the speed of Internet. There were lesser distractions on our times. Property prices were within our reach. Motor cars were cheaper without the COEs.

Raising a kid now is very expensive with child-care costs and tuitions. The rat-race to the top gets keener.

All these add to the stress level of people. But this does not provide people with a passport to be nasty and angry. If we live without kindness and compassion in our hearts, the society would be poorer.

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POSB Invest-Saver – Actual experience

We went to a POSB branch to enquire about POSB Invest-Saver, thinking that it is a product, which must be executed at the bank itself. We then realised that we could do it on our own with POSB Internet Banking. But before we can buy into the regular savings plan (RSP), we must answer a few questions on the Customer Knowledge Assessment (CKA) on-line to assess our risk profile. Once we clear this step, we can then go ahead to execute the savings plan.

Nikko AM STI ETF

It is a RSP, meaning we put in $100 per month to Nikko AM STI ETF. At the end of 12 months, the total money put in would be $1,200. The bank sales charge for this Nikko AM STI ETF is 1.0%. For every $100, you would invest only $99. $1 goes to the bank. This is a low sales charge.

You do not time the purchase of the STI ETF under RSP. When the STI ETF is high in the month, you would get lesser units of the investment. When the STI ETF is low, you would get more units of the investments. You then average out the costs per unit of investments.

When you decide to sell off the investments in the future, there is no fee on selling.

Dividends earned on Nikko AM STI ETF will be credited in CASH to your POSB account. Distribution is credited semi-annually.

ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund

This fixed income fund is also managed by Nikko Asset Management (Nikko AM). We decided to put in $100 per month into this fixed income fund as well. Now the total investment has two parts, the equity (stocks) and the fixed income (or bonds). Every year the investment comes up to $2,400.

The bank sales charge is 0.5% on each investment amount. For every $100, $99.50 is invested. $0.50 goes to the bank. Distribution of interest income is credited annually.

Overall

For $200 each month, you are invested in Singapore STI 30 component stocks and the Singapore bond markets (86.8% in Singapore Government bonds).

Note: Please assess your risk profile and decide whether this regular savings plan is suitable in your circumstances.

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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