Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Risky – One Word Prompt

We all take risks.

But I prefer to take calculated risks to make an informed decision.

We cannot cover all bases as there are no full proof solutions or one size fits all.

At best, we have a good overiew. I call this overview, “a helicopter view” and it is useful as it gives me worst or best case scenarios.

This way we will not be seen as taking risky decisions or “wing it” type of decisions.

Admittedly, I am risk averse. I do my homework.

In Singlish, our lil red dot peopling are a risk averse lot. We call our own traits as *kiasu* or afraid to lose.

We are also afraid to “die” or lose in financial risks. In Singlish, we call this *kiasi* ie literally afraid to take risks. If risks are high, we lose and “die” (*not literal death but a loss of sorts which is usually financial)

Maybe that is why we as Singaporeans can survive with little or no natural resources! Ha! Ha!

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Succumb

Despite more than 16 surgeries of which 3 were life or death, I refused to succumb to any of my lemony issues.

To be fair, I did not fight either to live.

Instead I resigned self to what will be, will be.

I entrusted my life to a team of 12 surgeons and great physicians.

They played GOD since the real GOD decided to go on vacation and has been, ever since.

After more than 30 hospitalisations, I am not bitter.

I just accept that 🍋🍋🍋🍋are a part of my life and my destiny lies in suffering pain, being diced and sliced, often losing my ability to breathe.

For the surgeons more faint hearted, they surrendered their FRCP MBBS degrees to me and said those belonged to the waste bin.

For that one surgeon that loved me so much, he was so hurt that he could not function. I could not love him back.

I often wished I succumbed to illnesses plaguing me. It would remove all my pain, suffering and or enquiring mind on the proverbial “WHY”

I have no answers.

I did not succumb.

I wish I did.

But till then, laugh….and more lemonade anyone? 🍋🍋🍋

Lemon pie perhaps?

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Fraud – One Word Prompt

One must never commit fraud, else one lives in a shroud of fear. This has always been my motto.

There is a difference between criminal intent or naivete.

I have been involved in investigations for fraud on behalf of Lords and accordingly sent 3 people for free food and lodging behind bars!

Did I like doing it? 

Nope as these were my colleagues.

The largest sum that 1 out of 3 ladies took was SGD 1 million. She is serving time now and has 2 years remaining on her 3 year jail term. Before she surrendered self she looked me up and mysteriously said that she should have listened to me.

I was stunned. She surrendered after that and I found out in the news that she was arrested without bail.

I felt for this 25 year old as she did the crime to spite China Lord who treated her badly. She should have just resigned instead of stealing through payroll she did.

The 2nd lady siphoned more than $100,000 in gifts and goods. But the district prosecutor could only nail her for 3 counts of fraud which amounted to $30,000. She was jailed for 3 months and adjudged a bankrupt. 

This one I detested as she was treated so well by our boss so much so that she was given full trust to handle petty cash and a corporate card. 

She used the funds to buy Tiffiany items and online gifts for her friends to show off.

Lady #3 was a habitual gambler at the slot machines. She allegedly took $30,000 and resigned. She was not convicted as she covered her tracks well. The last I heard she and her husband were made bankrupts.

Fraud is not worth committing. If you do the crime, you do the time.

In lil red dot, Criminal Breach of Trust or CBT as a servant is a criminal offence. This carries a jail term and the crook must pay back every penny taken.

Cut your coat according to your cloth. Live within your means and all will be good.
 

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Thursday Natter – All About Complainers

It has been rather pleasant waking up to thundery showers and cooler temperatures this past week. I like it when it rains but then to be fair, the pedestrian or public transport taker will be rather unhappy as it means trudging through the rain in their office attire. They might have their designer look thwarted, arriving to work like a bedraggled beagle! LOL!

Still, our government has done a fair job of having sheltered walkways and often times; public housing has a canopy shielding commuters from the foot of the block of their units to the bus stop or to the MRT station. So the majority arrives perfectly dry. It depends on location and hence the real estate adage of location! Location! Location! is pretty accurate!

One of the biggest worry for both motorist and pedestrian is that trees will topple or branches break off during a windy storm. The upside to greenery throughout the island is the cool shade, green lung areas and greening of the environment. The downside is, falling branches or trees can kill or maim or incapacitate people.

People complain when the roads are cordoned off from say 5 lanes of traffic to 2 lanes to allow tree pruning and or checking of the health of trees. A it is, the NParks department has allocated weekends for tree pruning to be carried out, unless of emergency situations whereby their team of arborists find a decaying tree and poses a life threat to commuters.

We complain when there are no trees and we complain when trees need to be pruned or felled.

We complain when a branch falls and injures or kill someone.

As a country, lil red dot is famous for its queueing, complaining and food.

We love to complain.

We are officially known as a nation of complainers.

We complain about everything and anything. I guess this keeps our government well-oiled and on its toes.

 We love good food.

Today it was announced that our 2 stars Michelin restaurant “Andre” will close its unit in Bukit Pasoh Road as Chef Chiang wants to return to Taiwan and redo his “Jaws” outlet there. After closure on Valentine’s Day in 2018, he will work on a new concept in its place. He will also return his Michelin stars!

Chefs are interestingly brilliant people. Their minds think differently and they feel that they ought to shut down a business when it is roaring and not when it starts to “die” – this way, they are remembered for its success and not for its failure!

We love to queue – especially when it is for launch of new phones, food or promotions. I often ask why someone would queue for the food when they did not try it before. Their philosophy is, since there is a queue, hands down, it must be good! LOL! Good analogy is my take!

So, there is no pleasing everyone in Singapore.

This is possibly why we are a nation of survivors with good sovereign wealth. As a nation state, we are resource poor. In fact ZERO resources save for humans. Yet, I suspect our complaintive nature has kept us never satisfied and always seeking for betterment.

Not too bad then….we are not too bad! Complaining has its upside after all LOL!

 

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Superficial – One Word Prompt

I dislike being superficial or knowing that a “friend” is being superficial.

MR EX fits the ambit of being superficial.

There can be no loyalty from him, only utilitarian usage.

If you are of use, he will fake interest, buttered with superficial actions to confound you into believing a warm and generous man lies within.

He can create stories like Walt Disney without making us realise we are conned into his thinking.

There are many MR EXs amidst our lives in social circles or at work.

The trick is to see through “superficialness” and act in remembrance of the message shared here.

*Pardon the “French” or “F” word below!

Take care and treasure good friends and discard energy sucking vampires like my MR EX!😉

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My Oddest Think Thoughts – You Think?

I am, to the best of my own knowledge, an odd ball.

No no…don’t get me wrong, I dress normally and eat normally. I also act normally and behave normally.

But I have the oddest think thoughts and different things I see amuse me with blog post ideas.

I see daily things such as an elderly person picking up used card boxes for recycling and wonder why his children let him do this? Or maybe he is alone. The hard laborious work he puts in as he rips the boxes to flatten it and put onto his push cart.

The regular “karang guni” man (*rag bone man in our local dialect) that plies his route to buy used newspapers to eke a living is already in his 60s. I saw him with plasters everywhere on his arm. I asked what happened and he told me he had a bottle of beer at home and fell onto the floor. Thankfully he was not worst off, with a concussion as I suspect he lived alone.

Classmate (CM) shared with me that he went to enroll for downgrading courses as a security officer. I told him it is not “downgrading” courses but Skills Future development – you see, I tend to be politically correct!

Everyone in lil red dot is worried about their old age. I am too.

I am single and will die single and as CM shared, please make sure I do not stink up the neighborhood!

S Man chimed in when I was in a conversation with him over text messaging. He shared that he often looks in on his professor in Australia where he studied as he was alone too. He also asked me to ensure that I have a circle of good friends who will look in on me when I grow old. S Man is married with 2 children. He is struggling despite having 1 PhD and 2 master degrees.

Bird Man said the same to me too.

I shot back at both of them…of course flashing my pearly whites…” so are you considered a good friend of mine?”

Both said “yes”

My odd thoughts are that these are words that are valid now, in this moment in time. Things change, people change and time changes people.

I will not hold anyone to look in on me when I grow old.

Instead, I must grow old graciously and choose how I die unless I die of a massive heart attack or stroke! Not unlikely as people in lil red dot are dying of heart ailments, strokes, cancers ( top 4 being lung, breast, prostate and liver).

I just wish to die a quick death, not a lingering one as this is the worst kind of death really!

I just heard from Bird that her father is dying in hospital as he has terminal lung cancer. 

I feel for Bird and told her to be strong and pray hard her father passes soon so that his suffering ends.

Sigh! Life is tough!

We are feeling it as we age….

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How To Die Properly…..

For the last 6 years, I was an active advocate in a voluntary capacity for seniors’ wellbeing. 

I enjoyed this as it gave me an opportunity to understand what it was like to be old and faced with a mountain of issues, including expressing the “right way to die”

LOL! Yes, I can hear people laughing when I pen this but truth is, many of the seniors here die without expressing their wishes or desire. Their concerns like burial rites, post death offerings or wishes die with them in silence.

I remember my co-chair member, Mr How To Die, always having long discussions with me on “how to die” – we are both not that old but we recognize that death the Grim Reaper is indiscriminate and collects anyone of any age as he has a quota to fill.

People don’t talk about death as it is macabre and an ill omen….a taboo!

So when I had an unfortunate health incident that put me at death’s door or being a potential quadriplegic, Mr How To Die rushed to my hospital bedside. I was thankful for his company.

We joked and laughed about “How to die” and I assured him that the several instruments to help me were done.

Firstly, the Advance Medical Directive – this disallowed unnecessary medical attempts to resuscitate me or keep me on unnecessary life prolonging measures.

We laughed as I said to him – “let me die in peace, with dignity and save unnecessary costs!” – yes, the joke in lil red dot is, one must die quickly and not a lingering death as medical costs are exorbitant!

Secondly, Lasting Power Of Attorney – this was necessary if in the event, I became the living dead. This is the worst stage of anyone’s life as I may remain in a permanently vegetative state either comatose or awake without ability to scratch or move.

Again, we laughed as I said to him – “Done….at least I will have clean diapers as I hate wading in own poo!”

Third and final instrument was the Will. The ultimate hurrah!

“Done”, I said to him. “Garfield is well taken care of and this favorite bugger of mine will be interred, intact with me in my 2 room niche! Not cremated!” We laughed as I hugged Garfield tightly.

Good news is that I made it, all senses and mobility intact.

Bad news is that Mr How To Die suffered a huge loss when his 12 year old son keeled over and died in a bus on the way to school. This happened shortly after my health scare. It has been 3 years ago since his son passed.

I could not make sense of it and I knew it hit Mr How To Die very hard. His only son and what makes it worst, is that there was no closure for him. He never had a chance to say goodbye to his son that day as he never expected his son to be shanghaied by Grim Reaper from him.

Although Mr How To Die hardly shed a tear in front of me and keeps a stoic face whilst we continue to serve as volunteers, I know he is wrecked inside.

This year, we both took on a new 6 year term of office. Sadly, I will not be able to serve with him in the same committee as we did such a good job such that the Dukes of Yore dissolved the need for the committee. Happy problem!

I now serve to help people find employability as lil red dot is seeing a huge rate of unemployment for 45ers to 62 years old.

The lessons I have learnt in doing voluntary work is that, we can never be too prepared.

Age discrimination is practiced as many companies and government institutions prefer not to hire “older” or mature workers.

The polite terms they use to decline potential candidates are “ we allow the person to grow into the role” – point blank it means, “we hired the other candidate as it allowed the person to grow in the role. It does not allow the person to die in the role”

So, it is a long road ahead of me to help this sector and today, I started with media and writing to the Dukes of Yores to commence my case against age discrimination.

Wish me luck!

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Daily Buzz In Lil Dot – What Lil Dot Citizens Are Talking About

Lil Red Dot has been abuzzed with a lot of local issues lately. Some sad, some environmental.

First there was a sad incident of a 32 year old man who substituted for another person to do a bout of muay thai for celebrity causes. Sadly, the man collapsed and died of a cardiac arrest. This same gent is also the President of World Body Building and Sports Physique, Pradip Subramaniam, passed away suddenly and of unnatural cause.

What was especially heart rending to the family was that he had shared with his siblings and father that he was feeling under the weather and that he would not be fighting. But I guess for him, duty called when the appointed fighter, Sylvester Sim, bowed out at the last minute due to insurance issues. If only he declined participating, he would still be alive today.

Time and life waits for no man and for him at the prime of his life, to be taken back to heaven is heart wrenching to his supporters and family.

Many comments received were that as a body builder, he is not trained to fight, much less fight muay thai which is rigorous combat sports.

I feel for his family. His good deed for the name of the organization he is involved in cost him his life. The various governing agencies for this celebrity fight is now investigating and reviewing how best to avoid such an unfortunate situation from ever happening again.

Another bit of news that is the talk of the town is that green activists are urging supermarkets to stop giving out plastic bags for groceries. So, the head honchos of supermarkets are huddled up and discussing this.

Many cited the inconvenience and that this will spiral to bigger issues as we recycle these bags for use as garbage bags.

Some say charge 5 to 10 cents per plastic bag whilst others say, ban the use of plastic bags for grocery shopping.

A caller into the radio station suggested using brown bags like the supermarkets in USA. This is not quite practical nor possible as the brown bag cannot be reused as garbage bags.

If plastic bags become a forced to buy item, I feel that people will start throwing food waste or items just the way they are down the rubbish chutes. This is going to mess up the bin centers and attract rodents and pests.

Personally, I use plastic bags for rubbish but I use it to the max. This means that I collect and bag as much waste into one plastic bag before I tie it up and throw it down the chute. Food waste would go into a smaller bag and wrapped in newspapers so that it will not be water bomb effect when thrown down the chute.

I do not like clogging my kitchen pipes or drains with waste food and would painstakingly use kitchen towels to wipe of food stains on crockery before washing them. This makes washing a lot easier and kitchen pipes choke free.

I also use lesser water in rinsing the dirty plates after washing as it is much easier to remove soap suds from not so greasy plates.

I guess the solution is really to budget food apportionment well so that there is no wastage. I keep left overs and re-cook it to another concoction for meals. Recycling for eating 😉 but sometimes the recipes turn out disastrous as once I recycled something and it smelt like a dead cockroach or at least I imagined that is what a dead cockroach would smell like LOL!

 

 

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Relevant – One Word Prompt

As an island state, we are constantly reminded by our government to stay relevant.

Upskill, upgrade and stay relevant are words we citizens see everyday in media and social media.

I cannot disagree and am pleased that our government cares. Somebody does! 

So, to ensure my dad continues to stay relevant and not move towards full blown dementia, I took him and mum out for our regular Saturday walks.

Woodlands Waterfront located at Admiralty West, 26 km from where I lived.

At the fringe of where the Johor Causeway is, Woodlands Waterfront is part of the islandwide park connector that links all parks to allow cyclists to cycle through.

A nice entrance greeted us.

Johor Bahru, Malaysia can be see opposite.

Fishing enthusiasts were reminded of fishing etiquette.

The long jetty that dad enjoyed walking on as he loves fishing and it got him excited to see anglers.

I loved the green edges around the Johor Straits….deep waters!

A halal restaurant is situated at the jetty and its food was pretty good.

Innovative home made way of fastening a rod to railing. A “live” fish is used as bait to entice yellow tail seabass. An avid angler told me that last night someone caught a 5.9kg seabass. It was immediately sold to another angler for SGD50!

Some Filipinos playing with their drones! It is the rage now for controlled devices.

Yes…my weekly walks with dad to exercise his mind and body to ensure his memory and mind stays relevant!

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Tax Queen I Am Not!

I am up to my eyeballs on taxes! I am expected to be the Tax Queen LOL!

Aargh…I am as confused as the baby!

It is good learning though as I plough through research I made for computations of how tax is handled for personnel hailing from Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Philippines and Thailand.

It is a minefield of information really and the tax guys are lost in their own little world as we are in a niche market for offshore work.

Dowager was clueless and I explained to her that the regular tax guys will not know as they are the wrong people to approach as we need people who are conversant in offshore tax management.

Terms like source of income, flag carrier state etc intrigued me and made sense. Of course there was also the Double Taxation regime!

I enjoyed the research and summing up the massive information into a couple of slides so that Dowager will not be lost in the Tax Jungle LOL!

Truth be told, I do not even bother on my own taxes and my simple minded philosophy is, if I can afford to earn, I can afford to pay taxes and I am proud to be able to pay taxes as it means I am economically viable!

I am unsure about how your country eyes you for tax but over in lil red dot, the more tax one pays, the more gearing one has i.e. when it comes to loan for properties or big ticket items, one’s tax credit rating is rated “jolly good” and the banks will be prepared to loan monies.

All this arose from the USA fallout on home loans and our local government wanted to rein in any risk by tightening loan eligibility.

So, now it is tough to get bank mortgages if one earns little as the earned income deducts outstanding commitments on hand pegged against current salary. Plus the tenure of loan gets shorter if one is older.

I guess this is done in the good name of ensuring our economy does not collapse as our local properties are much in demand by foreigners too, especially mainland Chinese. We had properties on Sentosa Cove going for more than SGD32 million at one stage and with the weaker economic sentiment with tightening measures, it has plummeted to SGD21 million.

My eyes almost popped out when I found a penthouse on Property Guru selling at SGD45 million! Gee….I wonder what it looks like? Like IM Pei’s Palazzio or Frank Llyod Wright’s creation or possibly Borromini’s fantastic weaving walls?

Ahh well, my inanimate furball Garfield has just got to be satisfied staying with me in my pigeon hole. Any smaller, it will have to be a shoebox apartment! LOL!

 

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