Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Singapore House Prices

Recently a colleague in the office mentioned she and her husband were looking to buy an apartment. I thought I'd see if I could help them out as if there's one thing I love its renovation planning. I seriously think I missed my vocation on that one. Anyway I started my search and lets face it its been a long time since I looked at property. I was totally shocked!. What the hell has happened to house prices in Singapore!.

Suddenly 3 bedroom condo's even way outside of the CBD area are priced over $1 million to $1.6 million. How the hell is anyone suppose to afford their our property at those ridiculous prices! And why are they so high? I mean seriously it's on the verge of ridiculous!

All the so called cooling measures simply have not worked because the people who are buying up apartments have the money and don't mind spending it. House prices are so damn high now that the average Singaporean cannot afford it. And yes I know the government is doing it's best to ensure that everyone has their own home. From HDB to Executive Condo's and with the whole approach to CPF usage. But the price of condos in general in Singapore is just crazy and Singapore citizens are being literarily priced out of the market.

I seriously think that the government needs to start to rethink its strategy because the bubble will burst at some point and when it does there's going to be hell to pay, and a lot of people hurt financially in the fall out. It is inevitable and anyone who thinks otherwise is not living in the real world. And when it happens the majority will no doubt just cut their loses and run (after all they can afford to) and it will be the Singapore citizens who are left holding the can at the end of the day.

So here's my solution and it's pretty simple and straight forward. If you are not a Singaporean Citizen then you should have pay an additional 25% investment tax. Many countries already have an investment tax in place and its there for exactly this reason, to prevent external influences from driving up prices. It would be an instant way to cool down the market.

But I'm not sure now if its' already too late. I think any hard measure the government adopts at this stage could very well be the cause of the market taking a nose dive. But I also think that that needs to happen and its better if it happens sooner (and in a controlled manner) rather than later (in some sort of panic reaction).

Just how high can house prices go before it's too late. Or maybe its too late already. I have to admit that the price of property in Singapore is starting to scare me because that bubble is getting awfully big and is really not sustainable in the long term.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sun Ho China Wine & Mr. Bill

Lots and lots of news around the City Harvest Church in the papers and online these days as the trial continues. The trial of course centres on Church founder Kong Hee and other senior Church members about the alleged misuse of more than $50million of church funds through sham bonds to fund Sun Ho's (Kong Hee's wife) album.

It was a project the City Harvest Church called the "Cross Over Project" aimed at attracting more people to the Church through the aforementioned album. An album that alas (or luckily) never made it to full production. There are two songs that are available to watch on YouTube, China Wine and Mr. Bill and both are just plain terrible. I mean really really bad. Watching Sun Ho sing Reggae is painful but the lyrics and music are even worst. With lines like "I want to kill Bill, If I have to I will Kill Bill", yeah right on, that's so Christian.

It's laughable that any sane person could even remotely believe that this "Cross Over Project" would ever deliver. Anyone who thought that this was a good idea or a good investment is without doubt not firing on all cylinders (or has more money than sense as the saying goes). And 700K for Kong Hee's air flights alone in one year. Come-on people, wake the hell up. This was nothing more that a man who loved and would do anything for his wife, and had the opportunity to indulge her in her chosen profession. Sadly, her reggae like approach to this particular album is nothing short of atrocious.

But don't take my word for it. If you haven't seen them (and everyone has to watch them at least once to see how really bad they are) the links are below for you enjoyment (and obviously that was me being overly sarcastic).

Sun Ho's Youtube Videos (warning may cause gag reflex)
China Wine
Mr. Bill

The fact that the church in question is reported as having 33,000 followers is equally insane. I mean what the hell is wrong with people, and why would any sane person think they can buy their way to heaven. I mean seriously, God is about spiritual wealth and not material wealth but that material wealth seems to have drawn many to this Church with their tithe and God will return you tithe 10 fold kind of rhetoric.

Forget your dot.com's I"m half tempted to start up my own church, it seems to be where the money is these days.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear Fail?

Samsung released their much waited smart watch named the Galaxy Gear on the 4th of September, delivering on it's promise to launch a smart watch into the market and putting to bed all the rumours about what it will look like and how it will function.

The Galaxy Gear boasts (if that's the right word) a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 320 x 320.  A 800MHz processor and a 315 mAh non-removable cell running Android 4.3. The wrist strap has a built in camera (a nice touch) designed to capture low-res shots and 10-second 720p videos, and includes a 1.9-megapixel BSI sensor and an auto-focus lens. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer and gyroscope, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM.

And while it's clear they went all out with those somewhat impressive specifications, unfortunately for Samsung they forgot the most important element, the design. While the specs may sound impressive the upshot of all that is we are left with something that looks about the size of a small brick. Indeed I felt so astonished at this utter failure on their part in this one aspect that I even fired off an email to the company with the tag line ... DESIGN IS EVERYTHING.

It's only going to look half way decent on the largest of wrists which means that most people will pass it by so this is destined to be a potential flop for Samsung. You'd think they'd have learnt already given Apples success and the the markets noise on their plastic phone coverings that DESIGN IS EVERYTHING, but alas no, it would seem this well placed piece of advice has fallen on deaf ears.

Why they would let something this clunky and so not wrist friendly out on the market is anyones guess, but if they were aiming to knock some of the wind out of Apples announcements later in the month they have totally failed there ... and then some.

Clearly no-one on their design team thought about the visual aesthetics that such a wearable piece of technology needs to embrace, or if they did they decided to chuck that out the window in order to fit all of those specs into it. And while we love the specs, the packaging leaves a lot to be desired.

So learn this lesson well Samsung because the market is not going to give you many more chances.