Friday, March 26, 2010

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

Title: Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
Author: T. Harv Eker
Publisher: Harper

I received this book as a gift from one of my generous colleagues, as part of his give-back-to-society action after being a very successful investor.

This book does not emphasize on the exact strategy or tactics to get you rich, rather, it deals with the psychology size of how to get rich - Think Rich to Get Rich.

Part I of the book introduces the concept of your Financial Blueprint.  Have you ever wondered why whatever you do, you soon hit a bottle neck?  Or whatever you do, you can never achieve beyond the same level?  The answer lies in the blueprint in your mind.  If your blue print is to build a 5-story building, then no matter how hard you work, you will never end up with a 100-story skyscraper, because you didn't intend to build it in the first place. 

Eker acutely pointed out human's most common fallacy: People tend to focus on the fruits, but never the roots!  If the roots are not deep and strong, how do you expect the plant to have beautiful flower and good fruits? 

Part II of the book elaborates on 17 wealth files.  These 17 wealth files point out the different way of thinking between rich and poor people. 

One interesting concept is creating different accounts.  It is common knowledge to have a "savings' account" to save for your enjoyable days ahead, but Eker also suggested to have a 'play' account where you draw, say 10% of your monthly savings, for you to pamper yourself, to play in life.  The purpose of this 'play' account is to entice yourself how enjoyable life will be once you achieve financial freedom.  This concept is new and I think it is very useful.  It differentiates one from the over-stingy, over frugal way of life, which makes achieving financial freedom sound more like a pain than a joy. 

These are just a few interesting points in the book.  There are other useful and awakening points in the book that I have not mentioned in this blog entry.  I strongly suggest you read this book if you are serious about changing your life to a more successful, more wealthy and happier life. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flu Prevention Porridge

I have noticed there is an increase number of people having flu these days.  In office, in the MRT trains, in the bus, everywhere you go, sure you will hear someone coughing, sneezing, blowing their noses.  Viruses are easier to spread in the air-conditioned environments we so love to stay in.

To help ourselves, I would like to share with you a recipe of Flu Prevention porridge.  The ingredients are easy to get & inexpensive, the preparation is easy too.

1. Rice
2. A few slices of ginger
3. some white portion of spring onion (葱白)
4. rice vinegar

1. Put ginger and rice together with sufficient water into a pot to boil into porridge
2. When it is done, put in the spring onion
3. Before serving, add in some rice vinegar and boil for a few more minutes, then it is done and ready to serve.

It is very easy, isn't it?  I have tried this recipe myself and it works pretty good.  Give it a try. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stock Trading Through DBS iBanking - Follow-up

This is a follow-up post of a previous entry: Stock Trading Through DBS iBanking.  

After some trial and error, I managed to figure out this whole thing.  There are two points worth sharing with you.

1. When you trade with DBS iBanking, you must choose the proper account you are going to trade from.  By default, the account chosen is 'Cash', which means you will place the order, if the order is executed, you will make payments later.  For this kind of transactions, the commission rate is still 0.25% or S$25 minimum.  There is no savings in commissions at all. 

If you choose 'Cash Upfront' for your BUY orders, you must have sufficient funds in your 'Cash Upfront' account for the order to get through.  Once the order is executed, the full amount for your shares plus commissions, etc will be deducted from your account IMMEDIATELY!  For this lower risk the brokerage has to bear, you are rewarded with a commission rate of 0.18% or S$18 minimum.  However, do take note that you can only place a BUY order and enjoy the lower commission rate with your BUY orders.  You can't place a SELL order and enjoy the same lower commission rate. 

Ok, it is kind of like a C O N job, you can only buy but not sell.  Anyway, for one complete BUY & SELL transaction, you will save ~$6.00 on your commissions in total. 

It is up to you to decide whether you want to have a bit of extra trouble to save on $6.00. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gypsy Child Thieves

I was directed to this BBC documentary about Gypsy Child Thieves in Europe.  I was surprised by their boldness in robbing, not only stealing of people in the streets, and obviously the police can't do much.  It reminds me of what I saw when I traveled in Italy, and my colleague's painful experience of having his passport stolen in Vatican.

This documentary will be useful to help you mentally prepare yourself if you are planning your trip to Europe for the first time.  If you have been to Europe and been lucky not to encounter any of such incidents, it may help you get to know Europe better.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:

It is scary to see how they steal at the Milan Central Railway Station, where I used to stay nearby.  When I was in Milan, whenever I saw Gypsies coming onboard a train, I became much more alert about my own belongs.  It is not discrimination but, rather, self-defense.  Nobody wants to get things stolen. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kitaro "Love & Peace" World Tour 2010

Attended Kitaro's "Love & Peace" World Tour 2010 concert at Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 Mar.   I was first introduced to his music by YK back in my university days.  His most famous pieces are from his Silk Road series.  A Japanese, spending time in China and got inspired for great music.  It itself is very impressive.

The concert started at 8.15pm, lasted about 2 hours and 20 mins, with 20 mins recess after 1 hour of performance.  It was the very first time I listened to Kitaro's music live.  My personal favorites are his keyboard & flute works, but his drums are not very good, or I don't know whether it was because the drum team is actually a local Singapore Taigu group, not the real Japanese pros.

His music has this magic power to bring you to paradise, make your soul free from your body, your mind jumps, dances freely in an unlimited universe, calms the worrying, anxious hearts.

Jane Zhang (张靓颖)  from China's 'Super Female Vocal' 超级女声 made a special guest appearance and sang a song composed by Kitaro - Impressions of the West Lake (西湖印象).   Her voice is beautiful, just like her looks.   Below is a YouTube video of Jane Zhang singing the same song at Kitaro's concert in Tokyo.

The concert ended with Kitaro's most famous piece - Matsuri (Enshrining).

A great night with great music!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goemon vs Ninja Assassin


Goemon and Ninja Assassin are two movies about Japan's infamous Ninja warriors.  Goemon was produced by Japan whilst Ninja Assassin was produced by the Americans and starring South Korean star Rain.  How do you expect them to fare?

Let's talk about their commonality first.  Both movies are blood-thirsty!  Ninja Assassin, being produced by Hollywood, a blood sucker, is way more gruesome than Goemon, it is Goemon x1000.  If you collect all that blood spilled in Ninja Assassin, probably a normal hospital can survive for a week or two.  Some of the scenes are Ninja is also very gruesome.  In one scene, a gangster's hands were chopped off one by one, then his head was cut off, leaving a body with no hands, no head standing.  Yucks!

Both movies also portrait the superiority of the Ninja martial arts.  The lighting speed of the swords, daggers, and many many other lethal weapons.  Chinese Kungfu is pale in comparison.  Hello, our Chinese kungfu stars, do something that will do our Chinese martial arts justice.  

Ok, now it is time for the difference.  The Ninja Assassin has a very cliche Hollywood story, and poor martial arts performance.  Rain's acting is too unnatural and always the same facial expression.  What's more, there are too many mistakes in the movie.  Go see them for yourself.  

Goemon's story is not too fresh either, but at least more attention catching.  Some suspense making the audiences wanting to see what's next.   

Ah, one more commonality between the two films.  Both are very unrealistic.  In Ninja Assassin, ninja warriors have this special skill that if they pray with some mysterious sutra, their wounds would heal on its own.  I was, at one time, wondering whether I was watching Ninja or X-men?!

In Goemon, the ancient Japanese streets, castles, somehow look like European streets and castles.  You may wonder whether you are watching a Japanese movie, or a European movie.  The most obvious one is a castle with an interior that looks like a Gothic Cathedral.  

My ratings:

Ninja Assassin: 2.5/5
Goemon: 3.5/5 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Microstock: Purging Starts at Dreamstime

Received an email from Dreamstime today, telling me I have one photo that has been on their database for more than 4 years without any download. 

I am given 3 options:

1. Donate the photo as a free photo
2. Re-keyword using Dreamstime's keyword service at 0.40/image
3. Disable the image, ie. get rid of it from the database

Long long time ago, some contributors from various microstock sites have been talking about purging the increasingly big database.  It gets more and more urgent as all the sites have gone by the million photos mark and getting closer and closer to the 10 million photos mark.

I decided to give out the image free.  4 years without any download means it is not really that great an image.  I am more willing to share it with people who might find it beautiful or useful. 

Dreamstime is the first microstock to purge their database, I am wondering whether this purging exercise will soon become an industry norm, which I think it will.