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7th Nov
Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Graphene is a solution where we have yet to find the problem for.

Posted by Shaun at 1:43 pm under Thoughts | 1132 Reads | Post Comment

Graphene has always been a topic fascinating so many people in the engineering and scientific scene. Even my university professors were all totally hyped up about Graphene over the past year even well way after my graduation from University. In my understanding from various research groups and PhD students in Cambridge, the properties of Graphene are astonishing, the applications are almost limitless, but what is it good for?

Interesting thought though, does this means
“Graphene is a solution where we have yet to find the problem for?”
3rd Sep
Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

The UOB ONE Savings Account, comparison with the OCBC 360 offerings

Posted by Shaun at 8:23 pm under Current Issues, Thoughts | 32127 Reads | 4 Comments

UOB definitely got everyone’s attention with the recent introduction of an elevated interest savings account plan. The UOB ONE Account is a pretty attractive plan on paper with a maximum possible saving interest rate “up to” 3.33%, the highest offered by any bank in Singapore to date. Standard Charted first started this with their bonus saver accounts, which are not as popular as the OCBC 360, which had proven that the best method for banks to rake in massive cash in-flow in the shortest time possible.

UOB had always known for their attractive fixed despots (FDs), but this latest offering will possibly kill off FDs altogether today. The UOB One Account looks to offer two different plans with two fixed maximum interest rates at 2% p.a. and 3.33% p.a., based on your contributions to your savings account (up to $50,000), with the latter beginning the more feasible one. The catch is that you do not get the full 3.33% p.a. interest rate up front from your minimum deposit, but rather only from your $30,001-th dollar. UOB also requires a minimum salary contribution of S$2,000, 3 GIRO deductions and S$500 minimum credit card spend on a UOB One Card- really similar to OCBC 360 offerings.

A quick summary and comparison of both banks offerings and your return of investment from various deposit amounts ($20k-$50k) in the table below:

Plan/Bank
UOB One Account (3.33% tier)
(Min deposit $2000)
OCBC 360
(Min deposit $1000)
   

Annual $ interest earned

  Annual $ interest earned
Constituent item Interest Rates E.g. $20k deposit E.g. $40k deposit E.g. $50k deposit Interest Rate E.g. $20k deposit E.g. $50k deposit
Savings 1st $10k: 1.5%
Next $20k: 2.0%
Next $20k: 3.33%
Above $50k: 0.05% (basic rate)
$150+ $200 $150+ $400+ $333 $150+ $400+ $666 Determined by constituent items
Monthly salary credit (min. S$2,000) 1.2% Up to $60k $240 $600
GIRO credit 0.5% $100 $250
Credit card spend (min $500) 0.5% $100 $250
Save bonus
(e.g. $1000)
NA
NA
NA
NA
1% $10 $10
Total yearly (monthly)
$350.00
($29.17)
$883
($75.58)
$1216.00
($101.33)
$440.00 ($36.67) $1100.00 ($91.67)
Annual ROI
1.75% 2.21% 2.43%
2.20% 2.20%

To grasp a better understanding of the interest rate sensitivity between the two banks offering, when you plot the p.a. interest ROI to savings/deposit (e.g. $10,000 to $100,000), you will notice the OCBC tend to favour small deposits, with near-constant interest rates from the $3,000 minimum amount, while the UOC plan has a linear increasing interest rate peaking at a maximum nominalised value of 2.43% p.a. (and not as the collective “3.3%” as claimed) which is overall higher than OCBC offerings.

UOB OCBC Savings ROI analysis

Once past the $60,000 mark, your money is working much lesser for you, with the ROI from both banks falling drastically below the 2% mark. UOB offerings are on average 0.5% lower than OCBC’s per dollar, as such it is not recommend to leave any amount beyond $60k with UOB.

Assumptions of analysis:

  • Calculated based on a monthly $1,000 savings (for OCBC saving interest), which is representative of an “average savings rate”, though this adds a somewhat negligible 0.01-0.02% p.a. to OCBC p.a rates.
  • Excludes the respective credit cards rebate perks.
  • Excludes additional interest from investment and insurance packages, which is not relevant for most customers on these plans.

With that, I have recommendations from 3 possible scenarios:

  • You have the option to open an account with either bank.
    If you have under $40,000, go for OCBC 360, as the entry interest rate is consistent starting from the minimum deposit sum. At $40,000 deposit, the savings ROI is similar for both banks. However, if wish to obtain the maximum possible interest rate from your savings and have at least $50,000, go for UOB One, you will earn $105 more p.a. (at $50,000) than the OCBC 360.
  • You are currently on OCBC 360.
    Stick to OCBC 360, as the interest rate difference between the two is somewhat too low to be worth the hassle for a switch. (Maximum interest difference is 0.21% or $105 p.a. from $50,000 savings).
  • You have over $100,000 in saving deposits.
    It is recommended to split your pie between both banks which each account not exceeding $60,000 each. If you are currently with OCBC and maxed out your 360 account $60,000 bonus interest cap, opening an alternative account with UOB and putting at least $50,000 will bring you the best of both worlds, topping with a savings ROI of ~4.65% collectively. It is not recommended to leave over $60,000 in either account given opportunity costs of investing it elsewhere (e.g. the Singapore government bonds for instance).

Hope this analysis helps, if you have any queries or doubts of my evaluation methodologies; do feel free to open it for discussion at the comments below.

1st Sep
Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Vote responsibly in the upcoming Singapore general elections Sept 11th.

Posted by Shaun at 8:17 pm under Blogs, Thoughts | 1678 Reads | Post Comment
singapore ge vote wise

With the upcoming Singapore general elections scheduled on the 11th September, the question on everyone’s mind is the decision of your vote to see Singapore for the next term. As with any responsible voter, one ought to choose your leaders wisely based on their capabilities on top of their promises to bring Singapore forward as a whole, with a track record and perceived abilities to boot.

The power of the word of the people was indeed a wake-up call to the current ruling political party, which brought about a paradigm shift of the importance of connection with local heart landers. The realisation since the last election that ruling parties can’t rule with an iron-fist or silence the masses without the scrutiny of people had changed with the times- The people of Singapore today are more outspoken and have different needs- gone are the days where people have to make electoral decisions based on livelihood, often forgoing their wants and more tolerant in preference for needs of basic living. In contrast, Singaporeans today had moved way beyond basic needs, needs of self-actualisation are key now, where failure to meet these demands of the individual by the government are often met with rebellion.

Rebellion can comprise of unconstructive behaviour and criticism, which are often seen as a revolution to current government policies in place (for example, how money is handled to the ever increasing cost of living and housing). Here, disgruntled individuals come together under a collective “Group think” to selectively reinforce and validate their ideologies to influence voting patterns, which is worrying, especially in most of Singapore opposition parties. In politics, of course it will never be possible to please all parties, stakeholders and Singaporeans across all age groups and incomes levels. Bluntly put it, a popularity contest with the less trade-off and the lesser of the evils.

However, I wished that most of the opposition parties will move on from unconstructive criticism or shaming, it reeks of unprofessionalism and paints a degree of short-sightedness to dwell over the smallest unhappiness. The winning solution here then is a party which is able to not only look at the big picture, but able to represent both the country and her people on the international level. This includes being able to connect and speak the language of the locals and yet able to portray themselves as the face of the country professionally, internationally and implement the best policies meeting these needs on both the short and long term- essential ingredients for Singapore’s continued success. This is particularly important given Singapore’s vulnerability to externalities, where the reputation of the country is one to uphold.

Not all political parties are made equal and though many expect this election to be favourable to the current ruling political party, it is definitely one of Singapore’s most diverse elections; a healthy political scene which Singapore had definitely came a long way from the age of rampant political walkovers.

Of course, as a Singaporean, you will have your say come September 11th, so make your vote count for Singapore and your constituency.

Think before you Vote, and Vote wisely.

My fray as a system-administrator started with my curiosity to have a-go and enjoyment of running my server cluster to fulfil my computing and web-hosting needs. I started creating websites almost 20 years ago- when I barely left primary school. Till, then I’ve never looked back. 10 years ago, went into the hobby of server management. Looking back, one of the reasons is to sustain the growth of Shaunchng.com from a free geocities-hosted website of the mid-90s to one which had out-grown it’s shared web-hosting 6 years ago and running on its own dedicated server, managed by yours truly.

Technically, running server clusters in datacenters is not one you call a typical mainstream hobby, but the enjoyment of managing a website from the hardware bare-metal back-end perspective to the content frontend delivery has taught me plenty of managing servers over a whole range of open and closed operating systems, as well as hardware platforms. I am a Mechanical Engineer by profession, by Computer Engineer by accident through these experiences in server management, which brings about hardware and software design, load optimisation and security. I’ve alsocustom built-servers for various needs.

The digital infrastructure I’ve created over the years allowed me to web-host a couple of project websites for friends, relatives, as well as serve as a render farm for complex render/computational power on-demand for my developmental projects. I’ve moved away from offering public web-hosting as a business given the lack of time for the commitment, and moved to supporting closed web development with people within my close circle of developers. These developmental environments also allowed me to test and develop various security suites when setting up environments for testing and testing vulnerabilities.

The site is definitely here to stay. I’ve not mentioned these milestones previously given University and work commitments over the past year, so I guess it’s never too late to do a reflection of what the site it is today.

31st Dec
Monday, December 31st, 2007

Looking back at 2007, with 2008 around the corner!

Posted by Shaun at 6:10 pm under Thoughts | 1543 Reads | Post Comment

2007 had definitely been a rather interesting year for me, with lots of interesting ups, downs and challenges. I am glad that I’ve met and even surpassed all targets the targets I’ve set the previous new year’s eve. I’ve got closer and became more understanding & tolerable with my loved ones on top of securing my first scholarship for my current studies. It was a rather short year as well and one which not only saw oil prices reaching record highs but the US dollar hitting bottom low and no where close to what we had saw almost 10 years ago.

On academics, I will be graduating from Singapore Polytechnic early next year bringing a myriad of crossroad junctions for me again in the turn of 2008. On the ideal forefront I will be pursuing a scholarship program by one of our government organizations here for fully subsidized overseas undergraduate studies, targeted in commendable universities such as MIT, Stamford or The London Imperial College.

Besides recommendations from others, I personally want to try to study overseas, contrary to my previous thoughts of staying in Singapore and being disconnected from home. But on the contrary, I think I will be more disconnected globally if I stay put here! Moreover, with the exception of SMU, I come to distant the liking of studying in local universities such as NUS and NTU, also considering how rejectingly they can be on entry applications I had come to face previously. Now the tables are turned with them inviting us top students over.

My studies plan B, would be staying on homegrounds on a bond-free undergraduate scholarship offered (ironically) by both NUS and NTU. Studying back at home is not that bad but I foresee that I will learn alot more and take a break from Singapore culture once in a while.

Study Resolutions for 2008
-Secure a place in a top 10 University, otherwise, studying local ain’t that bad either.
-Survive through my first year as a (duh) freshman.

Work and financial wise, I plan to spend more time on flourishing a homegrown business I am planning, on top of pushing a few more others I currently have on the cards. Though I am happy that I’ve met few targets I’ve set for business, 2007 came much of a blow for me too with the US dollar hitting rock bottom exchange rates now and I’ve lost quite alot on the rates. Despite surgery costs (which I will cover in running/sports), I will still consider low-risk investments as a big spending factor of my finances for the next year, also as part of growing my retirement savings. I personally find that I was able to balance out my time quite well this year and I hope I can do even better when I juggle in my degree into the equation.

Running Resolutions
Contrary to plans to always better my running ablity the next year, I plan not to run so much in 2008, considering that I will be down for a minor leg surgery which will put me down for a few months, so technically trying beat mileage from the last year is quite unrealistic. My ultimate sport dream is still to complete a full Ironman, but I won’t see myself doing it so soon next year until I train more specifically for Triathlons, work more on my swim and get a descent road bike in place of my mountain. But that does not mean condemning myself to gaining weight and growing a pot belly.

My sporting goal for the next year is to maintain my fitness and physique to put me though my medical term and recover fully for the following year ahead where the real training begins.

And to close up my running mileage for 2007, with 1101 kilometers covered!

Running Mileage for week (17-23rd Dec)
Alexandra Park Connector Route: 16.51km – Thursday
Running Mileage for week (24-30th Dec)
Alexandra Park Connector Route: 17.16km – Tuesday
Running Mileage on new year’s eve run (31th Dec)
Alexandra Park Connector Route: 14.02km – Monday
Total Mileage for week: 47.69km
FINAL Total 2007 Accumulative Mileage: 1101.39km

And time to party now!

25th Dec
Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007 and Happy 2008 New Year!

Posted by Shaun at 11:07 am under Thoughts | 1480 Reads | Post Comment

Yup it’s the season to be jolly again. Wishing everybody a Merry Merry Christmas and enjoy the best of the holiday season for the year!

3rd Oct
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

My Medical Appointments – The long interesting radioactive story

Posted by Shaun at 10:23 pm under Thoughts | 2132 Reads | 1 Comment

It seems that whenever you see a GP for a problem, it’s very interesting of one problem to pop up another, in my case from diarrhea to kidney stones? to kidney problems? whoa read on:

Dropped by SGH for a medical appointment follow-up today, apparently on a long story this case which started on early this year when I had a bad case of diarrhea, which strangely seems to be recurring like another previous incident 3 months before (last year). The GP who tended to me last year for this issue simply gave diarrhea medication and I recovered in about 2 days time, only to recur again early this year, where I visited the docs again.

The thought of a recurring incident of diarrhea could have sparked a thought of some infection or so (I had a fever then, where I could not only skip the long A&E waiting time for the short fever section queue and walk round the hospital in a cool a mask) so as the blood tests at that fevery time which emphasized large amounts of white blood cells, indicating an obvious sign of an infection. A subsequent gastro-intestinal X-ray showed some interesting results- since it was an X-ray we could see more or less “everything”. And though everything else was fine, the docs said that I may have kidney stones as there are spots in my bladder.. jang jang jang jang!

My first CT scan- whoa stargate wrap portal!
Later do I know after being referred to the Urology department in another separate future appointment, the docs there said that it’s not a stone, but an X-ray artifact. After all they are specialists in the field and can confirm that, regular A&E GPs may not be accurate in their diagnosis. But the thought of possible “stones” and “infection?” prompted a cool (but expensive) stargate entry style Siemens Somatom Definition CT scan which further confirmed the absence of kidney stones in another following appointment. Only that this time the CT scan report shifted the focus of the problem to my left kidney which looks slightly more engorged than the other, oh great…

After, its their job to further investigate on the issue- which prompted another CT scan last month, this time with contrast- having the need to poke and fill your bloodstream with with warm calmy liquid during the scan so that your veins will turn up emphasized like all-glowly on the CT images. It’s just like photocopying you with extra toner contrast, all crispy.

Organ Adaptation
The appointment today is a follow-up on the latest CT scan and the results? It seems that internal organs will evolve an grow to accommodate the user’s needs. Taking the Tour de France cyclists heart’s being 30% bigger than the average man. In my case, my constant high water consumption I take daily to keep up with my high weekly running mileage prompted my kidneys to be slightly larger to cope with my all the excess water, in this case, my left being bigger. It will look funny on the scan at first, but it’s completely healthy and functional.

Normal and as healthy as a horse!
The end diagnosis is completely normal, no blockage, no stones, no cancer, nothing. It turns out that sometimes, the tender areas (pain sensitive to touch/pressure) of my body are actually attributed by sore muscles after gym training, duh! I also had the luxury of having a full check and CT report for all my other vital organs as well, like the liver, pancreas, etc, all A-ok!

Looking back I think my 1st case of diarrhea could be caused by unclean food or possibly something which I simply have a reaction too, (in which I would have to keep tabs on).

A showcase of bodily art?
Having to go so numerous X-rays and CT scans till I am all green and glowy with radioactivity now, it’s just simply cool to see how all your insides are, especially the cross-sections you can see of yourself in a CT scan- simply a work of art of your beautify inner body lol!. The doctor also left a 1 year open period so I can check back direct if any issues were to arise, take it like a “warranty period”.

So much for that, the docs even encouraged me to go back full into running, yea!

26th Aug
Sunday, August 26th, 2007

It tough being a SBS transit bus driver these days

Posted by Shaun at 10:06 pm under Thoughts | 5483 Reads | Post Comment

Looking into the limelight of the events happening recently with regards to SBS transit bus drivers, don’t you think SBS transit is acting too harsh on bus captains now?

Taking the incident this year of the Indian elderly lady who fell from a bus which simply drove off, only laughingly being treated by a driver from a competitor bus company who attended to the large gash on her head which actually revealed her skull under the cut. The indian lady didn’t take much offense on the event, well not as much as SBS transit decision to fire that bus captain who left her.

SBS transit was quoted as “being intolerable” towards such acts and would send off any driver who fails to meet the expectations of the company.

With the exception of yesterday’s article in Straits Times of the school boy being run over. These are considerably minor incidents which should not cost drivers their job.

SBS Transit Volvo B9TL Rear Right

Bus captains are not exactly one who earns alot from work, having a stereotypical background of a low income group. Do you think SBS transit policies will adversely affect the drivers job security and morale? If I were in their shoes, it would be miserable working day by day knowing that the very people who you have to ferry day by day have a higher chance of only shower complaints down your back, besides also being ultimately the ones who will cost you your job with you mess up. And it’s just that one mistake.

Sure there are other jobs which demands more than this. But in the public eye, this is eminent. Consequences of a service orientated job nature? Well its commendable that SBS takes pride in their drivers being professional employees with clean records, contrary to the Drivers of the olden days but there is also to be a fine line defining whats tolerable and not, it’s not just one “goof” and you are gone.

SBS Transit Volvo B9TL Interior

These really got me thinking and shed new light onto how I further precieve bus drivers too. I mean knowing their story, I am one who on a normal occasion will thank the bus driver who stops the bus when they see me running after it, maybe all it take is a smile to make a person’s day easing much their work stresses. Not to mention giving thumbs up to a handful of drivers I know who greet their commuters daily when they board the bus (while most Singaporeans would just stare or never even bother to raise a brow when greeted).

Ultimately it’s the demands of the commuters who paints much of the situation now, let be the standards set forward in the light of tourism. Love it or hate it, it’s simply our mainstream societal pampered and typical stuck-up nature, we are living in the consequences of our actions – a self-imploding crisis of our demands.

21st Jul
Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Transformers, Old Cartoons that deserve Movies, exams sighted

Posted by Shaun at 3:32 pm under Thoughts | 2188 Reads | Post Comment
Transformers the Movie

Hadn’t had time to talk about transformers the movie which I caught previously on free passes (yea) funny that the movie didn’t follow the old child hood memories I had on Optimus (flat front prime mover?), Megatron (walter giant cannon?) and Bubblebee (VW bettle) or just because of their scanner’s they can turn into anything they want? Or is it just going in line with how hollywood “spices” things up like Jurassic park, Spiderman, or UK’s Harry potter, it’s always difficult to follow a fixed storyline to please the modern movie crowd these days.

Well, besides comic/print adaptations like those from Marvel and J.K Rowling, I guess it’s the trend this days to put your buck on something with a proven fan base and successful storyline, rather than coming out with something orignal, which can be rather comical, laughable at times (e.g we have “Snakes on a Plane”, killer “Black Sheep” now, what’s next? “Attack of the Radioactive Amoeba?”). Besides sequels (e.g. Die Hard 4.0, Rush Hour) I hope this won’t spoil the drive to introduce in and original movies in the future. Though some old cartoons are also worth recreating on the big screen.

Old Cartoons of the yesteryear that deserve Movies

  • Starcom
  • Mask (The one with vehicles in disguise, not the green mask)
  • Micro Machines
  • Thunderbirds (Machines & Puppets)
  • Thundercats
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatos
  • Gravedale High
  • Smurfs???

Other memorable movies have to be disney ones, like ducktales, darkwing duck, goof troop, gummy bears and talespin, which I believe disney themselves has put many into movies already.

😉 Last but not least, Semester exams are in around in a month’s time, so blogging will be a little slow these weeks, till then, it’s the books I will have to catch up on. Cheers!

13th Jul
Friday, July 13th, 2007

Paraskevidekatriaphobia Friday the 13th

Posted by Shaun at 2:22 pm under Thoughts | 1130 Reads | Post Comment

Do you get paraskavedekatriaphobia? Apparently, the fear of Friday the 13th is called just that.

28th Jun
Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Using return addresses to get your mail through free

Posted by Shaun at 6:59 pm under Thoughts | 1415 Reads | Post Comment

This came to be from just a random neuron connection

Ever wondered what happens when you post a letter in the mail box with your address on the front (To: address) and the address you actually want to send the letter to on the reverse (From: address) return address area? If you just want the letter to reach it intended destination without a stamp on, you think where will the letter go to? And will you ever lose it?

Go figure.

P.s I won’t be foiling your next possbile plan to send christmas cards to all your friends for free, but I won’t be responsible for anything arising from the use of this thought. You know how it will work, be responsible, do at your own risk! What’s more it’s only $0.20c you are trying to save, spare a thought for our friendly postmen.

14th Apr
Saturday, April 14th, 2007

My Internship, as a chapter closes

Posted by Shaun at 1:50 pm under Thoughts | 1404 Reads | Post Comment
Views from my office balcony

And there we have it, 9 weeks of internship gone in a flash and school’s reopening next week. Time do flies and it’s not exactly “tiring” or “difficult”, but strangely neither as the saying goes: “Time passes when you are having fun”. Lets face the facts, work is not always enjoyable, that’s why people get paid to work! But I guess having to do what you like to do as work and get paid for it is the best of both worlds.

Not exactly conducive, but I have a dedicated work desk during my term there and my own space to dump just about anything I want for personalisation, like SPAWN figures to decorate the table, toy cushion arm and palm rests, whiteboards, blow up neck support cushions and even our own private stash of finger foods. There’s balcony where we can see the whole of the CBD and rocher area, which is also home of the company’s Pok Pok Department.

My work place office
My work place office
My Desk!
My Desk!
The Pok Pok Department Inc.
The Pok Pok Department Inc.

I am thankful to have to have my job round the city area specifically at SimLim Tower (contrary to some of my other classmates working in remote areas at either ends of Singapore), which not only give good views from the window but also a breeze when to get items, after work shopping and a breeze to meet up with friends in town. Daily lunches are interesting too, with me learning where are the best and the most affordable chicken rice, char siew rice, minced meat noodle (ba-cho mee) and yun tun mee (just to name afew). Daily journeys see me through the Singapore Art district too, which is rather pleasant sight in my way to daily work.

Journey to work
Journey to work
Daily sights through the arts district
Daily sights through the arts district
Daily sights & sounds
Daily sights & sounds

My Liason officer came for 2 visits during my 9 weeks (the 3rd and 2nd last weeks). Noteable events includes my role there as a senior programmer and coaching/teaching current fulltime programmers (duh I am an intern?) to better prepare them for future and more advanced programming jobs. Overall I am glad to be of help, being a teamplayer and appreciated of my contributions, it’s just the driving force. Monday Lunch on my last week was on my boss in Miss Clarity’s Cafe, ending with a the late night Shaun’s farewell CS session last night with drinks and Canadian pizza on the house! Totally!

Last but not least, I’ve got A for my internship!

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Da Blog Quilt!