Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HDB Lease buy back extended to Four Rooms

Source: CNA

In a summary, its no longer applicable for 3-Rooms and 3,000 income criteria. Now it's applicable (from tomorrow) for 4-Rooms and 10,000 income.

I seriously wish this should be applicable to all HDB and not 3-room, and 4-rooms. With this approach, elders can have a more stable income during their late years. After all it is the same HDB, and same HDB payments all people paid :)

Singapore Taxi - Standardization some fare components

Source: CNA

As recent as last month, I shared my frustration with the industry/situation, and today I saw the news from CNA. But I am quite disappointed with the details, and approach. Basically it is as it is today, but legalizing the approach. Why can't be there a simple system in place? Lets say two different categories - Budget, Premium ? Why can't we forgo the advance booking charges? or for that matter booking charges? Why can't we remove the credit card surcharge and link with our credit cards so no-show fee can be put in place?

I believe this is the right time we should treat Taxi as an integral part of public transport, and stop the complex charge system. 

Weird, Contradicting Airlines rules

Most of the folks would have faced this situation. Take out the laptop or ipad from the bag, remove belts, remove shoes, and jackets while going through the airport security.

Though I hate this process, initially I was kind of appreciative that it is to 'secure'me but after roaming across 4 different continents over the last decade, my feelings changed dramatically. I couldnt understand the rational, or logic behind these actions when I see it across the journey. Some of my observations goes here, but I would start with the most annoying one which is at Hong Kong airport

* No water in to the flight at all. Not even after security check, and there is a second security check right before you enter your foot in the flight. The officer will stare at you and ask you to drink or throw it off. If its a O&D airport, I could understand but HKG is one of the largest transit / connecting airport between east-west with 10+ hour flights. One may say, simply ask the hostess in the flight, but trust me this will not work with all airplanes, they wont refuse but they wont serve either.
Anyway, the observations below

  1. Why no KINDLE or iPad (flight mode) but news paper allowed during taxi/take-off/landing ?
  2. Why SQ, Asian airlines ask people to up the shades even blinding sun while United or US airlines insist on closing the shades?
  3. Why SQ takes 30 min for landing procedures and with seat belt sign on while United takes last 5-10 min?
  4. Why different rules / processes followed at different airports? i.e. some need to remove shoes, some no need? is it the technology they are using or something else?
  5. Why "highly flammable" Alcohol from Duty Free shops allowed in to the flight but no lighter (India - you to be blamed)? ...No idea, and the list goes on. 
Finally, one last one.

Why can't they normalize the volume for announcements ? Is it to show their sadistic nature to scare the shit out of sleeping people? or hurt the ears so badly, that they will not feel anything in their next flight?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Visible corruption/cheating in Bangkok - Taxi is just tip of the problem

If you happened to read this article about the taxi cheating case in Bangkok and wondering that if this is true given the positive news we always hear about thailand, or thai culture, then let me tell you. 

The cheating or the mindset is pretty common if you happened to be a non-thai or new to the place. Actually the problems starts at the moment you step down at the airport. I mentioned it previously here, and it is still a norm. i.e. as long as you go in to the priority queue with infants or kids, then you are charged 200 baht extra and without any receipt. That's not a small amount and imagine this is practised in the open day light. 

I have been to Bangkok more than 30-35 times in the last 5 years and every time I end up with some negative memory. Overall the trip experience is positive but there will be one or two cases which makes it bad. My biggest complaint is with taxi drivers is they simply refuse to stop, or refuse to go to specific place or bug on going with a fixed rate instead of meter. I face atleast once. I dont remember having a good memory that a driver is courteous or giving the exact change (i.e. meter shows 85, but no  change for 100 baht note)

My recent trip, I had an instance where taxi driver asked me to pass 75 baht for highway charges, and 50 baht for airport tax. When I asked for a receipt, (which nobody cares) his answer is dont have and a nasty look. I wish I had taken the video too. Anyway the authorities are not doing any thing because it doesnt hurt them directly. Be it the corruption at airports, or cheating tourists. 

Seriously hope, they realize that this would hurt the image of nation, and thai culture.