How to waive POSB credit card membership fee

It is easy to apply for waiver. Use a browser and login to POSB or DBS. Then, via a digibot, key in ‘fee waiver’. The bot will guide you in the process.

Alternatively, you can call in at 18001111111. However, that will be slower as the customer hotline is always occupied.

REFERENCE

  1. Waive Credit Card / Cashline Fees & Charges (https://www.dbs.com.sg/personal/support/card-waive-credit-card-cashline-charges.html)
  2. How to waive UOB credit card fee (https://siekitchen.com/2020/11/07/how-to-waive-uob-credit-card-membership-fee/)

Webinar on The Road to Becoming a Hawker by Hawkers Collective and NTUC LearningHub, 17 Sep 2021 Fri at 15.00

This webinar is organized by NTUC LearningHub and Hawkers Collective to share insights from ‘hawker mentors’ that 0, HeyMe Prawn Noodles, Hong Seng Curry Rice, Li Xin fishball noodles, Old Amoy Chendol, Reimondo Seafood Congee, Soon Heng Pork Noodles, Tian Kee Carrot Cake & Hokkien Mee, Warong Pak Sapari and Western Barbeque.

To register, go to the following Zoom link.

Items non exchangeable and non refundable are superseded by Singapore Lemon Law

Customers will be given ‘warning’ during checkouts at the cashier that their items are non exchangeable and non refundable. The cashiers say it according to their management’s instruction: ‘please note that these items are not exchangeable and non refundable’. Some are ‘stamped’ on the receipt (Fig. 1).

I would usually say, ‘yeah, ok’. Why would I even need to bother telling the cashier who is not in a management position about Lemon Law? But I know what Lemon Law is and my rights to replace/exchange a DEFECTIVE GOOD.

So, for all customers, your rights are protected under Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act Chapter 52A (https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/CPFTA2003), under Part III Additional Consumer Rights in Respect to Non-conforming Goods (i.e., defective goods).

If you got a defective goods, you can get it replaced with the same design, size, or model of the product. In the event that there is no suitable replacement, you can get an exchange (provided that you are agreeable), i.e., to switch the defective item with something of equivalent trait or value. If there is no suitable equivalent value to exchange, you can get a refund!

Some company are more open about their return policy, e.g., Art Friend (Fig. 2).

So, if you encounter an outlet or staff that says your goods are non-exchangeable and non-refundable, THE RULE IS NOT BINDING BECAUSE IT IS SUPERCEDED BY LEMON LAW.

Fig. 1 items sold are non-exchangeable and non-refundable by Sketchers Singapore
Fig. 2 Art Friend receipt conform to the Lemon Law requirement (somewhat, because Lemon law protects consumers longer, especially when the defect may take time to reveal itself).

Reference

  1. Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act Chapter 52A (https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/CPFTA2003)
  2. What is Lemon Law?, 29 May 2021 (https://irblaw.com.sg/learning-centre/lemon-law/)

Daun Ketapang (or Indian Almond Leave) is used to keep betta fish

Betta fish is also known as Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) found in freshwater and native to South-East Asia.

Aquarists who keep this fish will use Daun Ketapang (Indian Almond leave, Terminalia catappa) in the water when their fish is sick or lethargic. The dried leave are added to the water, where they will lower its pH and infuse the water with beneficial chemicals. One major chemical component is tannic acid and tannins.

The Ketapang is useful to treat fish skin ailment. The antimicrobial tannin kills bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It is better alternative to the fish antibiotics (ref. 2)

How to make almond leaf extract? The tannin and other phytochemicals are water soluble. You can increase the chemical release by pouring hot water over the dry leave and incubate overnight until the water changes colour. Keep the solution chilled for months.

Tannin is a non-toxic phenol that function as crosslinking agent (ref. 3). It is used to agglutinate microbes in order to inactivate them. Its crosslinking property is beneficial in wound healing (ref. 4)

Tannin has been used in leather-making industry where curing involves chemical crosslinking afforded by adding tannin to the leather (ref. 5).

Reference

  1. Where to find Ketapang leaf (aka Indian Almond Leaf) (https://bettaboy.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/where-to-find-ketapang-leaf-aka-indian-almond-leaf/)
  2. Indian Almond Leaves: Keeping your fish happy, naturally, 7 Apr 2021 (https://fishlab.com/indian-almond-leaves/)
  3. Effect of tannic acid as crosslinking agent on fish skin gelatin-silver nanocomposite film (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214289418300747)
  4. The use of tannins in the local treatment of burn wounds – a pilot study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346037/)
  5. Tanning (leather) (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanning_(leather))

Business owners with lousy website security self-block businesses

Lackadaisical attitude by business owner irks customers

You can call it sabotage, rivalry action, or callousness (or lackadaisical).

Business owners who don’t put thoughts into maintaining its web presence can only display its lack of professionalism. The trait is a letdown to potential customers.

Get professional help or web development platforms

A business should hire only professionals to maintain its website. If not, at least get an IT-competent staff to subscribe to web development platforms such as WordPress, Wix or GoDaddy to maintain their website!

Unsecured website is a threat to customers

Alas, their inaptitude can cause harm to customers/visitors who visit their website (Fig. 1-2).

Those with anti-virus will pick up the threat and render their website useless (Fig. 3).

Site can’t be reached. Conversion funnel is nil.

If businesses such as UTOC (Singapore) Pte Ltd can’t be bothered with its web security, it can only expect zero customer from CONVERSION FUNNEL attributed to website presence.

Fig. 1 AVG detected and aborted threat from a website
Fig. 2 AVG history displayed the threat blocked from a website
Fig. 3 Website with threats will not be available in the user’s broswer

Phillip Capital Poems GTD, Cash, and fees

It is easy to open an account to invest in securities in Singapore. Register for an account in any stock broker, e.g., Phillip Capital. You will receive a CDP account (from SGX) and an online trading platform POEMS account.

Next, open a bank account for Electronic Payment System (EPS) and link it to POEMS. Install the apps on your phone and you can trade any time any where.

If you want to use your CPF to invest in securities, you can apply for CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS), where you can invest securities using your ordinary account (OA) and special account (SA). Please note the cost-and-benefit of using CPF to invest, e.g., CPF provides yearly interest of at least 2.5% p.a.

POEMS allow you to add securities to watch list, add price alerts, and trade by limit order, and good to day (GTD). The commission fee is $25 per transaction per day (excludes other fees).

For successful purchase of securities with Cash, you have to pay within T+2. Payment is by bank transfer to Phillips Securities via EPS. It takes T+1 to effect the bank transfer.

It is convenient to buy via GTD, but the risk is that if you have multiple ‘partial completions’ to complete an order, especially in ‘sluggish’ counters, you will have to pay for multiple commission fees at $25 for each transaction per day. E.g., I had to pay $25 + $25 for two partial orders of 1000 units and 2000 units of securities (for a GTD limit order of 3000 units). What happens if I have 3 partial transactions? I will have to pay commission fee of $75.

I am still learning how to trade and currently only looking at SGX securities. There are other exchanges that I haven’t ventured.

Start investing when you start to work. Know your assets, liabilities, and equity.

siekitchen@gmail.com
3 Jul 2021

As a working person, it is important to understand your assets, liabilities, and equity (i.e., A=LE). Let us look at the following examples.

Assets

Intangible assets

We start of with this asset.

Your qualification/skill is your intangible asset. It allows you to earn revenue via service contract with your boss, i.e., through job or freelancing. To be relevant, it is important to continue your education (aka lifelong learning). That way, you don’t make your intangible asset ‘obsolete’.

However, invest in education should be decided based on the cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Benefit should outweigh the cost. Select relevant and value-added courses that will help you to improve your intangible assets. It MUST NOT be a ‘trophy qualification’.

Real property

Real property is a good asset in Singapore. It is subjected to capital appreciation (i.e., value increase/decrease by market demand).

If the asset is bought by a home loan (i.e., mortgage or debt), then the asset is a mix of liabilities + equity (L+E). The bank co-owns the property. As you repay the loan, you reclaim more equity over your property.

The expenses that you pay for your property are the property tax, bank interest on loan, conservancy charges or monthly maintenance fees.

In comparison to rent, paying a housing loan is an ‘investment’ (plus expense/interest). You pay for the ‘equity’ over time. In contrast, if you pay rent, it is entirely your expenses (without return). In countries where the property market is constantly in over-supply, property is considered a risky investment.

The challenges to buy a property are the significant down-payment, one-time transaction costs, renovation/furnishing costs, and securing loan.

Car

Car is not an asset, unless it brings revenue, e.g., when you are ‘moonlighting’ as a Grab driver. There is no capital appreciation (increase in value), except depreciation. The depreciation value can be above $10k per year. Other expenses involved in owning a car are interest, petrol, maintenance, parts replacement, etc.

Liabilities

Loans

Loans are derived from Education, Property, and Car purchases.

Property loan can help to grow your asset (dependent on its capital appreciation). It can be a loss if there is a glut (i.e., over-supply) that caused depreciated value.

Education loan helps improve your intangible asset and allow you to generate revenue (i.e., salary/service fees).

Car loan can be used to generate revenue (or ‘cost recovery’) if you use it in gig economy of ‘shared rides’. Else, it depreciates rapidly.

Equity

Property

As you repay your mortgage, you start to increase your equity over that property. The final asset value depends on market demand. If there is uptrend, you earn profit from its capital appreciation.

Summary

The above is an example of your assets, liabilities and equity. Everyone starts off with intangible assets and sometimes liabilities such as education loan. But over time, you should be able to reduce your liabilities and improve your equity. The more asset you accumulate, the higher their values appreciate, the more you keep your equity.

Other assets that I did not mention are in share-holding (i.e., equity market), starting your own business, other investments, and insurance that protects your asset/health. Insurance is a liability if it is short-term, but some are structured to have lower expenses/premium over longer-term commitment. It is important to start your insurance policy early, especially if you want to start a family and have several liabilities under your belt.

Advice from other gurus

  • Grow your asset
    • intangible asset (i.e., your qualification/skill)
    • invest part of your salary
      • knowledge acquisition, e.g., books, courses
      • share-holding or investments that has at least 1% p.a. return (e.g., saving bonds, insurance savings plan)
      • once you have sum for down-payment, invest in property
    • assets to consider
      • shares
      • property
      • intangible assets (yourself)
  • Reduce your liabilities
    • get into loans that have better benefits/returns, e.g., property or continuous education
    • avoid loans that don’t add value. If you must own a car, wait until your asset grow and you can afford to draw out from your growing equity.
  • Manage your expenses
    • it is good to spend money to improve your well-being. This is considered as maintaining your ‘intangible asset’ (or mental health), but don’t overspend and accrue credit card debts.
    • understand your recurring expenses. If there are ways/alternatives to reduce these expenses, do it.
    • consider implementing ‘cost-recovery’ if your expenses are too high, e.g., car debt repayment can be offset by moonlighting as grab driver to earn revenue. If this is property repayment, consider renting out a room to a colleague to offset the monthly home loan repayment.

Food delivery revenue splitting formula among rider-owner-agent

Fig. 1 Grab food is answerable to its investors. It is not a social enterprise with capital procured from the public.

First, the owner gets 70% of its sales (FULL STOP). For example, if owner sold $27, it gets $18.90. Grab ensures order and delivery.

The rest is about Grab’s charges to CUSTOMERS (FULL SOP).

Grab charges extra on customers. E.g., $27 + $3 = $30 (listed price). Then service fee at $11.50 (depending on distance), which is 38% of listed price.

Rider gets $8.50 (assumed, ref 1). Grab gets $41.50 – $18.90 – $8.50 = 14.10. In terms of revenue distribution, it is a 20-45-35 formula of the last pricing of $41.50.

In this arrangement, owner still gets 70% of earning, e.g., $18.90. Grab coordinated with other stakeholders, namely customers, riders, and stall owners to earn $14.10. Rider received $8.50 per trip (assumed, ref. 1). This arrangement is still good because without Grab, stall owner gets zero.

Grab is not a social enterprise and it needs to pay investors. Investors had pumped capital into Grab.

Lastly, disgruntled stall owners can opt out if they think Grab is a bane than a solution.

Else, stall owners can coordinate among themselves to incorporate their own food delivery services for themselves. This would be similar to the extra service charges they pay to stall associations to get their plates washed…

Reference

  1. Grab allegedly pocketed 50% off the cost of a food order made over Grabfood. What happened here? (https://mothership.sg/2020/04/grabfood-commission-rate-explained/)

Finished food Safety Course (FSC) Level 1 via NTUC Learninghub

The class started at 9.00. There were 10 participants. Some had problem accessing Zoom and accepted later. The instructions given were the following:

  1. Switch video on all time. If you are using Tab or phone, prepare another device to access the online assessment (Canvas, https://ntuc.instructure.com/).
  2. Scan QR code to update learner’s particular
  3. Save zoom link somewhere accessible in case participant get booted out due to poor connection.
  4. Assessment will be the following
    • 25 multiple choice questions (MCQ)
    • 5 short answer questions
    • Practical session, e.g., oral questions and demonstration (hand washing and food handling)

The agenda of the lecture is about personal hygiene, safe ingredients, handling, storage, and overall cleanliness.

Practical food handling

Prepare the following: glove (or chopstick, tongs), container (with ready to eat food), and serving plate.

The instructions: transfer the food from the container to the plate. Response: wear glove, open container, take the food and place on plate.

The instruction: receive the money. Response: take of glove to receive money.

Oral questions (with photos)

  1. Items to wear at workplace? Covered shoe, cook hat, apron, and/or head net cap. Inappropriate ones are slippers, torn and tattered aprons, and jewelry.
  2. Proper PPE? Anti-slip covered shoe, apron, and cook hat
  3. Placement of ready to eat and raw food in chiller? Ready to eat at top and raw food at the bottom.
  4. Store canned food. Ensure item is not expired or physically damaged (e.g. dented).

The course takes 7.5 hours, with intermittent breaks at 10 min. Lunch from 12.00 to 13.30. I think the course can be shortened, especially when the course material is given to participants earlier for reference. By then, participants would be ready for the test.

The course material is 135 pages long but the content is easy and fast to follow. The 8-step hand wash requires more practice.

Note that the trainer will help participants to understand and pass the course. This course’s main purpose is to help improve participants’ understanding about proper and safe food handling. It is not out to fail (if participants really understand the topic).

Reference

  1. Food Safety Course (FSC) requirement to work in food and beverage (F&B). How to register (https://siekitchen.com/2020/12/24/food-safety-course-fsc-requirement-to-work-in-food-and-beverage-fb-how-to-register/).