Cable Car Ride – Free for Seniors

We had a free cable car ride this morning courtesy of One Faber Group. As long as you are a senior (citizens or local residents), just produce your senior ID before boarding the cable car. Do not go to the ticketing counters to buy tickets. This is not necessary. Privilege happens every Tuesday in July 2019. The last one will be 30 July 2019 (Tuesday), 9 am to 12 pm. Be prepared for some crowds.

There are two cable car lines: Mount Faber Line and Sentosa Line. This free ride covers both lines. You can hop on and off at any station for free so long when you do it within 9 am to 12 pm window.

It was worth it, taking in aerial views of Mount Faber, Habourfront and Sentosa.

Siloso Beach

Resort World Sentosa

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Posted in Travelogue | Tagged

Austerity Measures on Spending in Forefront again

Singapore’s Real Gross Domestic Products (GDP) grew below 3.0% in year 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

For the past three years, GDP growth rates were 3.0%, 3.7% and 3.1% respectively. As for this year 2019, the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) is planning to revise the GDP estimate downwards from 1.5% to 2.5% initially estimated.

Real GDP Growth Rates

Year %
2007 9.1
2008 1.8
2009 -0.6
2010 15.2
2011 6.1
2012 2.5
2013 3.9
2014 2.9
2015 2.9
2016 3.0
2017 3.7
2018 3.1

Source: DOS Singapore

2019 is on track to show a weak performance in the economy compared to 2018. It was in 2012 when we saw a weak economy after the Global Financial Crisis (2007-2009). It is discomforting even when the economy would not slip into recession for the whole year this year.

I am now back to austerity drive to cut back on unnecessary expenditures. Without a steady income stream and one that is affected by the economy, it is necessary to watch my spending. One good thing that happened this year was that I had given up my car. This is a great saving for me. I am also looking at other ways to cut on discretionary expenditure.

Copyright © 2019, 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.

Posted in Economics, Financial Management | Tagged ,

My Experience with Mother on End-of-Life

My mother passed away at her home in 2017 at age 93 years old. For more than a year, her health deteriorated at first slowly and then rapidly in the last 6 months of her life. In the final month, my mother stopped talking and stopped to eat and drink. Her doctor was called in to see her at home. The doctor was not optimistic with her medical conditions and mentioned that she won’t last long. He was spot-on.

My brothers, sister and I had to make decisions on her behalf. Decisions such as tube-feeding and sending my mother to hospital were considered. The fortunate thing was that we knew what my mother would want in a situation like this. She would definitely not want to go to a nursing home. We engaged a domestic helper to look after her in her later part of her life.

As for funeral rites, my mother had been telling us for several years what she wanted, precisely down to the number of days to have a wake, the type of funeral rites, cremation instead of burial, where to place her urn and which temple to place her ancestral tablet. She had even bought places in two temples for the purposes many years ago.

My mother started this kind of conversation early with all her children and my siblings and I had no issues with carrying out her wishes. What was less certain was determining the medical care she would like during the last months of her life.

Everyone faces the end of life. It can strike at anytime. In order to ease the burden on our children taking care of us, we should at least talk about medical care we want and about dying. This is where the Advance Care Planning (ACP) can help. It has a downloadable workbook one can use to guide us in this conversation.

It is often an emotional matter when one is faced with making decisions for the loved ones. Even when a person has only one child, he/she may have close relatives who may want to have a say in such matters. If the person’s wishes were not made known, then there could arise unpleasant disagreements.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged ,

Complacency and Exuberance are Flashpoints for Downturn

During the last Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, the sudden collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage triggered the lost of confidence in the global financial system. During the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, the sudden devaluation of Thai Baht sparked a contagion of flight of capitals from other Asian nations as well, like Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia. These countries did not have sufficient reserves to protect their currencies from attack.

Both crises were debt-induced crises. They did not see the impending crises before they blew up in their faces. Have nations and the banking communities learned from both episodes?

The US had strengthened its banking system. The Asian countries have build up their foreign reserves and depend less on government borrowings in order to prevent a repeat of the crisis. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) watches the world economies and sounds the alarm if it sees a crisis unfolding.

The known flashpoints for another financial and economic crisis (if one is to develop) are:

  1. US and China trade tension
  2. Unresolved UK and EU Brexit deal
  3. War breaks out in the US and Iran standoff on nuclear enrichments

Despite the known risks, the US equities still shot to new record highs. Investors are banking on global monetary easing policies to drive their appetites for investing in stocks and shares. With cheap money, they bet on returns from equities. This is misplaced exuberance that the only path for equities is UP.

I am conservative. I had seen several recessions in my lifetime since the 1980s. Economic and financial bubbles ultimately developed into recessions. Complacency and exuberance are dangerous for investors. Those who borrow and bet big on equities risk losing big too. During this uncertain time, it is advisable to watch the global developments.

Copyright © 2019, 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.

Posted in Financial Management

Advance Care Planning (ACP) Explained Simply

First there is AMD and then there is LPA and now this thing called ACP come along. I thought that I have all things covered about dying according to my wishes without burdening my loved ones and relatives with decisions in the future when I am not capable of making.

AMD is Advance Medical Directive created in accordance with the Advance Medical Directive Act (Chapter 4A) 1997.

LPA is Lasting Power of Attorney created in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act (Chapter 177A) 2010.

ACP is Advance Care Planning is the Ministry of Health’s initiative to start people discussing about their own palliative care and of end-of-life matters.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) has no weight of law unlike AMD and LPA.

Advance Medical Directive
An AMD is a legal document that one completes stating that one does not wish to receive extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to artificially prolong life in the event of terminal illness where death is inevitable and impending

Lasting Power of Attorney
LPA is a legal document that gives authority to the person you appoint (called your “donee”) to make decisions and act for you when you lack mental capacity.

You may authorise your donee(s) to make decisions about your

  1. personal welfare (which may include health care) and/or
  2. property and affairs (including financial matters).

Advance Care Planning
ACP includes the health care preferences when one is at the end-of-life stage and not capable of making preferences known to hospital and health care professionals.

ACP would reduce anguish of personal carers who are his/her loved ones under this circumstance.

Do we need All Three?

To answer this question, let me present a simple decision tree narrative.

1. Does one lack mental capacity to make decisions for himself/herself? If yes, the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) kicks in, (if one has LPA executed).

2. Is one at end-stage in the event of terminal illness where death is inevitable? If yes, Advance Medical Directive kicks in, (if one has AMD executed).

3. For All other situations other than 1 and 2 above, Advance Care Planning becomes relevant, (if one has ACP documented). One example is when an old person is bed-ridden and cannot talk or communicate clearly his/her wishes about health care needs such as tube feeding or hooking up to medical equipments or CPR resuscitation during cardiac arrest. With ACP, loved ones and even relatives of the patient can find comfort in caring for him/her without the family squabbling on what to do.

For more information visit:

www.livingmatters.sg/ACP-Directory/

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

Weighty Issues on Ageing

If you look at news and personal updates on social media, you would see glamour and beauty that are not entirely the real world. The real world consists of the young and the old, the healthy and the sickly, the rich and the poor, and the good and the bad. Not often people want to talk about ageing. Yet, everyone has to live with ageing process when the time comes. My parents and older siblings did not tell me much about ageing. It seems that people has to cope with ageing on his/her own. This involves not just the physical body, the psychological aspects are very crucial too.

Friends who had not seen me for a while often commented that I had lost some weight. It was tiring to have to explain and it can be annoying. I knew that some people meant good and were genuinely concerned about my health. Such personal matter could be left unspoken in front of the person. It could result in embarrassment for the one losing weight. I had one person who even asked me how much I weighed! It is as if I have been neglecting my health or that I have a serious health issue.

There are several reasons why one is losing weight besides health reason. I eat less as I age. I stopped eating meat and poultry choosing more vegetarian type of meals. I cut back on sweet with high calorie stuff. I walk a lot more and do more house work. I stop glowing and in fact I would be losing bone mass as I age. I have been on the low weight side all along. Health is not the reason as I go on annual health screening.

I tell myself that I should not be obsessed with my weight. So what, if I am 46 kg? It does not matter, when I am healthy. With ageing, I do not look as good as before. I have to live with it and accept it gracefully. I have accepted that coping with ageing will be the next phase of my life.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

I Remember – My Uncle from Malaysia

My mother had one brother who stayed in Malaysia. She was the oldest among her siblings of five including her. My mother was the only one who moved to Singapore.

I remember my uncle used to come to Singapore once a while to visit my mother. My impression of my uncle when I was still a young boy was one of a happy man. We were not well to do back then. My uncle who drove a Mercedes Benz car was to my young mind a one rich uncle. I still remember that he brought my siblings and me to Haw Par Villa. We had black and white photographs to show that we had been there.

What is most memorable for me was that he would buy packets of Treets Peanut Chocolate for me. This was a real treat that I did not have the privilege of eating. My family was not well off when I was growing up. Treets was popular back in the 1960s. It was peanut coated with milk chocolate and the exterior was coated with dark brown glazed candy. The slogan for this treat was – “it melt in your mouth and not in your hand”. This was true.

Indeed, my uncle was a generous man. He had left a deep impression on me till this day.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in I Remember Series