DKNY BLOG

To live life better and happier everyday

Ho Chih Minh City (17 to 20 Jan)
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dknyblog
Today is my last day in HCM city and I am sitting in Trung Nguyen cafe drinking my Iced coffee, savouring my cheese cake and typing my blog from the iPad.

Day 1
I have a marvellous dad who volunteered to drive me to the airport. I reached the airport sleepily at 615am. After checking in, I have my breakfast at Mac and board the plane soon after. On the plane, I met a Vietnamese girl and her mum. They are returning to vietnam for a few days to vist their relatives. She told me some of the places to visit and the food to try in HCM city.

I reached the airport at 930 and took a cab to Hoang Hai Long hotel 2. As I can only check in from 1130am; I decided to have coffee and lunch. While having coffee in the cafe, I am doing research on things to do in HCM city.

I checked in and took a afternoon nap. Around 2pm, I started my journey as the weather is too hot, I decided to find an aircon place and the first place to visit is the famous barber stores known as "Dan Luc Thoc". That is where there will be SYTs helping you washed your hair and did facial massage. The hairdresser tried to strike a conversation with me but there is obvious language barriers.

After my hair cut, I took a short walk to Ben Thanh market and add beef noodles at Pho 24. After a satisfying afternoon tea, I went to hotel to take a break. At night, I started walking from my hotel area along Le Loi Road to Dong Khoi Street and Hai Ba Trung.


There, I had my dinner at the "wrap and roll restaurant" recommended by my Vietnamese colleague. Directly opposite the restaurant is the famous 91 bar which is supposedly the place to pick up girls.


After dinner I took a walk back to hotel, dropping by at the one of the massage parlor, which I am definitely not impressed! The massage is basically piano massage and the gal ask for tips which cost more than the massage. That marks the end of Day 1 as I slept early in preparations for Mekong Delta tour tomorrow.


Day 2
I woke up at 630am to a nice and sumptuous breakfast. The minivan arrived promptly at 730am. After several pick ups at different hotels, we started throbbing among the busy traffic in HCM city to the destination. the travel group was great, there are Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese, Germans, Finnish, Swedish among the small group of 20.

After a 3 hour ride, we transited into the river taxi to discover Mekong delta. I totally enjoyed the taxi ride. I liked the wind blowing across may face, the peaceful horizon when one look ahead. We visited the popcorn rice, coconut candy factory, beef arm and had dinner at one of the local villages place.


In the afternoon, we cycled around the village. Along the journey, one can see a variety of fruit trees like jackfruit, Longan, rambutan, mango, etc. Not forgetting the Mekong delta people are very friendly. everywhere u go there will be people waving and saying hi to us. Some kids even asked for a hi-5. Although they are not well to do, they are happy , friendly people.

Thereafter, we made a short stop at vinh long city, a town which sold tropical fruits. I bought 1kg of rambutan and it only cost 5000vnd (S$30 cents)

In the evening, after a hectic day, I continued to do some walking around Saigon square and bought an original north face backpack for 470k VND (~S$30 dollars). After shopping session, I took a taxi to Ngoc Anh spa which was highly recommended on the Internet to try out authentic massage. I tried the hot stone massage and it cost around (S$18). It was definitely much better than the one I had yesterday. The place had steamroom,sauna and shower facilities. Upon entering the entrance, you could see the brief description of their masseuses and their certificates of passing a massage course. Throughout the session, the masseuse was trying to teach me Vietnamese, I learnt around 16 words in the 90 min session.

Day 3
Morning started with a tour to the cu chi tunnel. This time round there were many Singaporeans in the tour. I could always recognised Singaporeans through the accent they carried. There was no escape. We watched a video at the place, and the tour guide showed us around the place on where were the secret entrances, exits, traps, uniform and how the cu-chi guerilla survived the warfare against the Americans.

In the afternoon, I took a long walk from my hotel, trying the hawker food at Ben Thanh market, walking to opera house, notre dame, Diamond plaza but when I reached the reunification palace, I was past the visiting hours and decided to cover that the next day.

Thereafter I stopped by at one of the places for foot massage,had dinner along the night market near Ben Thanh and not forgetting to buy cheap sport T-shirts for my family.

Day 4
I took a walk to reunification palace. There are five stories in the palace and I followed different group and figured my way into the palace. That marked the end of HCM tour as i returned to hotel for check out and waited for my return flight to Singapore.

NUS Career Fair
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For the sake of updating my friends who are interested in pursuing a career in Singapore . I am updating this blog on NUS career fair.

I made a revisit back to NUS, for 3 reasons:
1. To have a feel of the general job market outlook in Singapore
2. To revisit NUS to see the changes in the infrastructure
3. To pass my time , as I am pretty bored at home.

There were around 120 employers. However, I must admit that a majority of the employers are statutory board. There are only 2 banks: 
BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse that is present in the career fair. Naturally, I went to their booths, but it appear that credit suisse has filled their associate and analyst roles in Singapore office.

For BNP Paribas: they are recruiting fresh graduates in their corporate and Investment banking arm. However, they are not looking for MBA candidates.The rest of the statutory board that caught my interest are: EDB, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Spring Singapore. 

After visiting NUS career fair and talking to recruiters from Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas, it appears that the banking sector is not hiring aggressively. Overall,  I must conclude that the career fair is quite dissapointing, it is skewed towards one area (the government sector).

For nostalgic purposes, I made a memory walk from MPSH 1 to Yusof Ishak House then to arts canteen before walking to the business school. Not forgetting to stop by for Yong Tau Foo and light snacks along the way.

The Mac in Arts Canteen has been converted to Burger King and the business school has a new building which contained many seminar rooms.




 


My Accident Ordeal
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An accident that has disrupted my studies for 2 months, dislocated my right shoulder and broke my left hand. This is an unfortunate incident and the post is a story of this tragedy.

On that fateful day, 7/1/2010; I was cycling and in the meantime exploring the newly constructed park connector network (PCN) that connects from my house  to Jurong Bird Park. The initial plan is to explore this Western PCN network and then dropped by at safra Jurong for a relaxing swim and get some sun-tanning by the swimming pool. No one would have expected two hours later I was at National University Hospital (NUH)  Accident and Emergency (A&E) department suffering like hell from immense injuries. 



Place of accident


Above is the location whereby the accident take place. I am going from Jurong Park Connector network to Jurong West park connector network. When turning, I am cycling too fast my bicycle fell to the side drain and instead of falling towards the grass patch, I fell face down on concrete.

I tried to get up on my own but I couldn't. The moment I moved, there was excruciating pain and I could not lift up my right arm. I knew from experience, I have dislocated my right shoulder! My left hand was helpless too. I could not raised it. Something seemed to be broken as I could not moved my left arm and fingers.  Blood was trickling down my mouth. Felling face down had caused me to suffer deep bruises on my lips area. I was losing blood. I was also losing consciousness, everything around me seems to be going in circle. I was so helpless to even reach for my handphone.  I saw a few passer-bys and requested them to call the ambulance. These foreign workers....., they just walked past and looked at me blankly despite my shouts for help. I was asking myself what  was Singapore becoming to? For the moment I felt so helpless  It was until  around 15 mins later a car stopped by the road and two singaporeans alighted from the vehicle and help me called the ambulance. I was admitted to NUH. They did a CT Scan and a few x-rays. My skull was not damaged luckily, but I was rendered with the below injuries and a few bruises.



Anterior dislocation of right shoulder
(In the above picture my right upper arm bone is out of the triangular socket)

 

Broken Left hand
(In the above picture there is a gap at the last finger , I have broken the shaft of my left hand)

The consequences after this accident is that I have become more injured than ever. After dislocating my left shoulder previously and fixing it with keyhole surgery, the right shoulder is also dislocated now . My main concern is a recurrent right shoulder dislocation. 

Damages from this accident

Over S$2000 bucks in Hospital  and Surgery bills
Disruption of studies for 8 weeks ( 2 months of precious time lost)
A lost bicycle (the second bike lost, most likely stolen by foreign workers)
Increased probability of right shoulder dislocation
1 year out from Sports
Boring confinement at home ( I should be in Arizona right now)

However, not all is bad at least. On the very minimal, I get to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore and thanks to MBS and Thunderbird, I will still be able to graduate on time in September this year. One of my greatest wish this year is good health and accident-free.

For the next 9 mths until I finished my MBA, I will tried to avoid sports. A blessing is that this happened in Singapore, if it has happened overseas,  I would be so screwed. For the first two weeks, I was so helpless. My right arm is in bandage, my left arm is in cast. I need to depend on my parents to carry out  very basic activities like bathing. People said "Having good health is the greatest blessing!". Now I understand why.


General differences between a married and a single singaporean executive
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 An executive is someone who possesses skill sets and capabilities to find a decent job that earn decent income.

 Many of my friends are executives in their own fields (whether married or single) and I have observed general differences between them:

 

Married

Single

Career

 

Less likely to job hop especially after having kids

 

 
Prefer a stable stream of income because got housing to pay

 

Less likelihood to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree

 

 

Always looking for greener pastures, unless they are already earning quite a bit

 

Likely to take risks to do something that may potentially pay more or something they like

 
More likely to take a full time post graduate degree/ extra certification to increase their future earning capacity

 

Hobbies

 

 

Not much time for hobbies
( Got to fetch their kids for private tuition and swimming lessons)

 

 For those without kids, will have to accompany bor (wife) for shopping. Will engage in common activities with boh.(sadly it includes shopping at times)

   

 

Multiple hobbies will be  picked up, because some hobbies will get boring after some time (e.g. watching too many anime)

 
Always looking for hobby kakis.
(Where is my tennis and travelling kakis?)

Lifestyle

 

 

 Need to  count every dollar  spent, Got kids to support and/or housing to pay

 

 

 

Will constantly indulge in activities that give highest utility at reasonably high prices. (e.g. travelling, spa. Etc.)

Finance

 

 

After paying for housing and kids education, will have little excess for investment

 
Market got crash or not, none of my business, not much money for investment.

 

 Will have to repay hdb loan for twenty years. Will own a  flat by the age of 50, with little savings

 

 

Constantly looking for the next stock or next property(if richer) to buy

 

 Generally love market crashes unless they are vested. Time to buy value stocks.

 

Given no investment tragedies, will be half a millionaire in their thirties and a millionaire in their forties, then retire happily (financial freedom)

 

Travelling patterns

 

 

Normally travel during school holidays

 

 

Who care’s as long as my leave is approved and my kaki is free too

Common Discussion Topics

 

 

Which tuition, private lessons is good and value for money?


How is your kids doing in school?

 

 

Which stock/ UT can huat ah?

 

 Where is our next travelling destination?

 

Issues

 

How to maintain marriage?
(30% of Singapore marriage end up in divorces)
(How to not get bored with seeing my bor after some time)

 
Finances (so many commitments, who should pay what and how much?)

 
In laws (My wife not happy with my parents ang zhua kong (what to do?))

 

Where are my kakis?
(When the circle of brotherhood is getting smaller and my bro are spending time with bohs)

  

Parent and social pressure (Every Chinese new year, the same question will be asked again?)

 Concern about growing old alone 

 In Singapore, getting married is so expensive. Buying a flat and bringing up kids are expensive commitments which will affect the career, finance, and lifestyle of a young executive.

Some succumb to social and peer pressure, some continue to weigh the cons and not get married. Below are some alternatives, of course they are not perfect solutions but it seems better than the conventional means

Solution1: Married without kids and HDB. Save enough money then migratre overseas where standard of living is lower.

Solution2: Don’t get married. Always look to increase the circle of brotherhood. Stay together with your loyal brothers after early retirement.

Solution3: Married a cute foreign wife. Save more money and dun buy HDB. Migrate to her hometown after retirement


Visit to Kota Kinabalu
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Day 1

Four gungho adventurers of BTMU decided to conquer Mount Kota Kinabalu, due to much boredom in the office and got to Kota Kinabalu during the good friday week to begin their adventure.

We met early at the budget terminal for our morning flight. The flight took us 1.5 hours and upon reaching KK, we check into Jesseton hotel. Next we contact Rudy, for our first adventure in KK, island hopping and snorkelling.



The 4 gungho adventurers embark on their snorkelling trip


We reach one of the islands to have our lunch and catch some natural moments of life. The natural moments include SQ suntanning on the beach because she refuses to swim and a wild boar on that island ransack our belongings when we were doing our snorkelling. After 1.5 hours, we went to another island to do the snorkelling. There is a lot of jellybugs, and we, snorkellers suffer quite a bit of jellybug stings. The weather conditions get worse and after 2 hours, we have to return back to Kinabalu island.

After our snorkelling trip, we went for seafood dinner . The meal is sumptuous and for all the dishes on the table it cost us less than S$20pax. There's prawns, fish, calamaris, crabs, e.t.c
 
our sumptous seafood dinner at Jaya seafood restaurant

After dinner is massage before going back to our hotel and rest

Day 2 (Water rafting at Kiulu river)

Today is supposed to be a rest day before we head to Mount KK. However, we go for water rafting at Kiulu river. The water is very slow. 
In fact, it is very boring. The best and exciting part is to push each other to the water. The water is cooling and being in the water
is the best part in the water rafting trip.


 
Posing at the bank of Kiulu river

  
Next we  go to the foothill of Mount KK. We stay in this resort called the garden lodge. It is one of the best hotels i have stayed in all my overseas trips. It consist of two levels . There are 2 bedrooms, one dining room, one kitchen and a living room  thathas a fireplace for us to gather and discuss on our hiking trip. The dinner provided by the resort restaurant is also fantastic. It is buffet style and the barberqued chicken and the pasta is delicious.


Day 3 (climbing to the midhill  of mount KK)


On day 3, early in the morning, we set off for the midhill of KK (Labab Rata). At ard 9am, we are ready to conquer mount kinabalu.


At Timpohon Gate


The initial journey from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was 6km and the altitude from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was from 1866.4m to 3200m. Along the way we stop at a few of the restpoints. It was a tiring journey but one can see the vegetation of the landscape changing as one ascend the mountatin. After the 4km mark, the air is very thin and  I suffer from altitude sickness and is lacking behing the team. 

The 3 km mark (halfway there)


Around 230pm. I finally saw laban rata. There is a great sense of relief. We have reached the midlands. I  have been feeling really unwell  during the last two hours. But a few cups of borneo tea and  two panadol pills plus an hour of sleep save the day.

Laban Rata

 

Outside of the teahouse in Laban Rata
 
I felt much better  during the evening and we have dinner time and slept early to prepare for our morning climb on Day 4.


Day 4 (Conquering the summit)


We woke up at 2am in the morning and is ready for our summit climb.  The 2nd part of the climb is very steep. After two hours of journey, the landscape changed from sand and mud terrain to rocks terrain. Thereafter, at some part of the journey  we will have to hold on to the ropes, especially on the steeper portions. 



At around 615 am, we finally reach the lower's peak , 4,095.2 m above ground. The sight is beautiful , what one see is clouds all around us and when the sun comes out at around 645, the skyline is golden in color. This is a very challenging climb for me, one of the most tiring exercise that i have done, but to be able to conquer the summit and viewing the breathtaking scenery at the summit is worthwhile.
 


The summit at Lower's Peak

 

Nevertheless, the winds are especially strong and the weather is extremely cold. I am shivering most of the time during my time in the summit and hiding behind the rocks. That's my speciality. At around 730am, we start our descend from the mountatin, taking our lunch and short break at Laban rata, before continue  our final descent down to the foothill.
 


Our descent down Mount KK


During the descent there is a lot of pressure on our kneecap and it did bother me for 1 week after the descent especially when climbing up and down the stairs.  We reach the foothill at around 330pm. Our initial plan is to go to Poring springs, but we are too tired and decide to return back to Jesseton Hotel to rest.

At Kota Kinabalu city, we ate the famous bah kuh teh acorss our street. Personally I dun find the soup nice and the store-owners are quite arrogant, after paying our bill. They refuse to add any more soup for us. We went for a body massage nearby , have some beers and pack back KFC to our hotel for supper before going to bed.

 

Day 5 ( Sunday market)

Today is our last day in Kinabalu and we only have the morning to do our shopping. There are numerous stalls along the street and I have my breakfast at one of the shophouses before doing my shopping.

 


Sunday market at KK

I managed to get coffee powder, tea leaves and biscuits for my family members along the sunday market. At 12pm, we head to Kinabalu airport for our flight back home.




 



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