Hiatus (… and some work tips)

This should not be the end of this blog initiative, well unless I die the next moment and/or the internet/WordPress goes kaput (broken/dead)…

I plan to divert more of my limited time resources to my ongoing novel – The Living Wage, also on WordPress. The outcome would be less time on this site. In terms of research, I shall be applying myself to audio resources from Radio New Zealand, CBC/Radio Canada – to give my eyes more rest. They have many free podcasts for download.

Side/related note:

It is best to step away from the computer screen every 45 minutes. Look at the greenery far away, washing your face with water and dry it, ingest water, do a bit of stretching  – 5 minutes at least; and do relieve your bladder and bowels when needed, not doing so for the sake of replying email or finishing your work is in the long run not worthwhile.

In Crabbe’s book (pg 53), creators of this app called DeskTime cited research suggesting maximal efficiency at a 52:17 minute ratios – 52 work then 17 rest. From experience, observation and feedback, human attention span declines from the 45 minute point. For some, especially in this digital/instant era, it may be shorter.


Entertainment – Audio Books

I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time.

I had the privilege and joy of listening to Robert A. Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky. (1950). http://www.audible.com.au/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Farmer-in-the-Sky-Audiobook/B00FOA6T2E last year. It’s about 6.5 hours. It contains science fiction, farming, geopolitics and a vivid picture of family life and loving, helpful neighbours. Give it a listen :  )

Currently, I am listening to the abridged (at 3 hours, thankfully) version of Call of the Wild. American Jack London originally wrote the series in The Saturday Evening Post, June 20-July 18, 1903. Its main protagonist is a dog.

Well, consider giving your eyes a break and simply focus on the voices?  :  )  They are available from the NLB, Singapore and probably a plethora of other sources.

Side note:

London died at 40 from drugs and alcohol… The 100 best novels: No 35 – The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903). The Guardian. (19 May 2014).

Epilepsy – First Aid

Some of the information is from my first hand experience. But each patient is different. As a passerby or caregiver, you have to make the judgment call based on your knowledge and the circumstances.

Some suggested precautions and reaction procedures

  • If the person stays at your home, surround his/her sleeping area (especially near the head, and if possible the floor) with cushioning; remove sharp/hard or any dangerous objects from the room if possible
  • When a seizure occurs, do not restrain the person (advice from Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel, Singapore Epilepsy Foundation, Cleveland Clinic PDF poster in 2009) – the patient may struggle even more violently when restricted; you may then hurt yourself in the process
  • The patient may be confused/disoriented for hours or days after the seizure episode, so be watchful of the person and supervise (and limit his/her activities) accordingly
  • Call the emergency services if the seizure
    • lasts more than 5 minutes (Singapore Epilepsy Foundation, Cleveland Clinic PDF poster in 2009, Epilepsy Society UK in Sep 2015)
    • ‘repeats without full recovery’ or reoccurs within 24 hours
    • it is their first seizure

Related information:

Approximately 20,000 (information from Flag Day image) are afflicted with epilepsy in Singapore (Epilepsy Care Group, Singapore). A post on their book resource is found here.

Causes of the condition is unclear and varied. There is no certainty that it would run in the family. The Singapore Epilepsy Foundation records that ‘in 70% of all cases, there is no known cause.’ The Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children’s Medical Institute (KTP-NUCMI) in Singapore, states that for roughly 50% of the cases: ‘no specific cause can be identified’. Some possibilities opined by the Singapore Epilepsy Foundation,  KTP-NUCMI, and National Healthcare Services, UK include:


  • Severe head injury/trauma
  • Infections that damage the brain (meningitis or encephalitis)
  • Toxic substances that affect the brain (plausibly from drug or alcohol abuse)
  • Brain tumor and stroke
  • Hereditary disease affecting the brain (e.g. tuberous sclerosis)
  • High Fever
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Metabolism or nutrition imbalance
  • abnormalities in genes regulating nerve excitability in the brain
  • events or complications to a foetus prior to/at delivery

Foreign Language – Free !

For those who want to learn but are unable to leave the house…

BBC Languages. (2014). http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/

For French, you have https://savoirs.rfi.fr/apprendre-enseigner from RFI, a ‘French current affairs radio station that broadcasts worldwide in French and 12 foreign languages.’ RFI comes from the French words Radio France Internationale.


House Buying – Singles – Singapore

As confirmed by eCitizen (government web portal begun in 1999 to furnish ‘cross-agency, citizen-centric information and services’ to Singapore Citizens and Residents) – Singles can purchase ‘Any flat type in any town/ estate’ under Resale i.e. secondary market. (Flats for Singles, 11 Mar 2016) Nevertheless, this is subject to the Ethnic Integration Policy and SPR quotas. The sole alternative class/category is the 2-Room Flexi Flats Build-To-Order (BTO). The scheme originated in Aug 2015, according to The New Paper (6 Mar 2017 report).

The Housing Development Board (HDB) indicates more opportunities for grants. The Enhanced CPF (Central Provident Fund) Housing Grant ($20k or $25k) only applies to resales on or after 330pm from 20 Feb 2017. From the same site, if your average monthly household income (Singapore Citizen) in the last 12 months before flat application exceeds $2500, or if you are unemployed during the flat application, then you are ineligible for the Additional CPF Housing Grant (Singles). The limits th grant to $35k or $35000 (although in future there may be a Top-up Grant).

  • The lowest priced 3 room resale from research on 28 Mar 2017 was $220,000 (Lorong 1 Toa Payoh) – Sources: STProperty and SRX Property
  • On PropertyGuru, a 3(NG) at Teck Whye Avenue flat sold for $263,000 (Sep 2015); while a 3(A) in the same month and same area went for $282,000
  • A total of 4,841 BTO flats were up for purchase in Aug 2016 (comprising 2-Room Flexi, Three-Generation (3Gen), and other types). For Tampines: 385 applicants to 1,501 4-room flats; 265 applicants for 879 5-room/3Gen units. The popular area for that launch proved to be Hougang, which in the analysis of Chris Koh (director Chris International), is closer to town/central in comparison to Sembawang and Yishun.  At the time of the report by TODAY, 17,951 (BTO) had been put up for sale.
  • 87% of the 6070 (total volume at 6 Mar 2017, reported by Hariz Baharudin from The New Paper) 2-Room Flexi Flats have been booked. Demand to supply ratio varied from 1.2 to 6.1 (i.e. some flat had more than 6 bidders, in other words very oversubscribed). Unit prices correspond directly to lease duration. Slightly more than half who purchased the units were families and singles (by inference age 54 and below). The bill can be foot via cash or CPF savings. This preempts interests costs from mortgage loans. Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy, SLP International had this to say: “With this flexi scheme, the elderly get to monetise their existing four- or five-room flats by selling it and then buying another one. They still get to live in a place of their own.”

Interesting times indeed…


卖命/Selling your life – A Singaporean in Australia

The below are extracts/reflections to an article from 15 August 2012.

His Key Performance Indicators

  • ‘My standard, sleep before 10pm at least 4 days a week.’ [I recall a Chinese/Mandarin Channel 8 programme where this medical professional proposed for the celebrity audience to sleep at 930pm. This was met with laughter…]
  • ‘My standard, you should cook at least 4 days a week.’

He ends with: ‘Life is precious, don’t sell it’; implicitly to generally limit work to 8 hours a day. This involves nevertheless a radical change in priorities, and become like Chinese philosophers Lao Zi (老子) and Zhuang Zi (莊子)?

Side note:

Lu Xun (鲁迅), the famed modern Chinese author, said of Laozi’s main work Daodejing (道德经):  “不读《道德经》一书,不知中国文化,不知人生真谛。” [From SINA blog dated 28 Feb 2016]


Sleep product: Hi-SLEEP/全能睡轻易 (Q & N)

Product is unsuitable for ‘pregnant and breast-feeding women’ as stated on its packaging.

It is a Singaporean product but seems to be produced in Tianjin, China.

3 ingredients