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Showing posts from February, 2012

DBS security head resigns - First casualty of ATM skimming incidents?

The headline of the article at highlighted the Jim Pasqurell, DBS managing director of compliance services and security, has resigned due to health reasons. 
"DBS said its managing director of compliance services and security, Jim Pasqurell, has tendered his resignation due to health issues but added that ongoing investigations will not be hampered by his departure.
Mr Pasqurell, 62, will remain with the bank until end-May to ensure a smooth transition process."
According to LinkedIn, Mr Pasqurell joined DBS in November 2010. Prior to joining DBS, Mr Pasqurell was with CitiGroup for 10 years 10 months. 
The resignation came in an awkward time when DBS, Asia's safest bank, saw unauthorised withdrawal from its customers' ATM account for the second time recently.  
You can draw your own conclusions about the real reason for Mr Pasqurell's sudden resignation.

Should retailers give instant discounts or loyalty rewards to customers?

The work at Taggo requires me to go around talking to retailers. The common question I get from retailers is that should they provide instant discounts or offer loyalty rewards to their customers?

A quick survey on Facebook showed that 17 of my friends prefer instant rewards opposed to two who said they would like the retailer to reward them on their fifth visit.

You can take the survey at
The cost of providing the loyalty reward is no different from offering an instant discount. 
Let's take a SGD5 mug of coffee for example. Say you return to the coffee shop after your 5th time to collect the free mug of coffee, you would have spend SGD25 at the coffee shop. So the free sixth cup of SGD5 coffee would out to a 20% discount from the retailer.  That would be the same if the coffee shop gave 20% upfront. 
Sub-consciously, most consumer will do the maths and ask themselves and ask, "Why can…

"Obtaining permanent residence (in SG) is a snap" says Soverignman

In an article about the four most valuable passports that anyone can obtain, Simon Black of the Soverignman put Singapore as one of the four and a country where obtaining permanent residence is a snap, though there is that National Service catch.

Wrote Simon Black,

SINGAPORE. Easily the most valuable travel document on the planet, a Singaporean can travel almost anywhere without a visa, including to the US and Europe. It takes two years of residence after obtaining permanent residency to qualify for naturalization. And obtaining permanent residence is a snap– you can simply set up a local company to qualify.

Pitfalls: Singapore does have mandatory national service, and it’s important to review the rules to find out whether you would fall within the window.

Simon Black also describe having a second citizenship like having a a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

70 years ago in Singapore....

February 15, 1942 was the day the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese during World War II.

This photo, is probably taken in 1930, is one of the many stories of the innocent lives that ended prematurely during the war . My grandfather Yeo Tiang Hoon was 8 years old (left). His older brother, Yeo Tiang Hock, 10  (right) at the time this photo was taken, was one of 25,000 and 50,000 ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaya who were rounded up by the Japanese during the occupation of Singapore.

Mr Yeo Eng Kiat, my great-grandfather,  was about 30 when this photo was taken. He paassed away in 1972 at a age of 77. 

One of the stories I heard was that Mr Yeo Tiang Hock stood in front of his uncle and took the shot for his uncle. This uncle apparently made it alive to tell the tale.

Mr Yeo Tiang Hoon celebrated his Chinese 90th birthday in December 2011.

Channel NewsAsia headlines Minister Khaw as WP member & responsible for misleading Hougang residents

Here is a lesson in the importance of punctuation marks. A missing or out of place mark would change the entire meaning of the sentence.

Channel NewsAsia original headline was Hougang residents has been misled by WP : Khaw. This story was in response to the immediate expulsion of Workers' Party  Hougang's MP Yaw Shin Leong.

For some strange httml reason with the CNA website, Facebook and Google strip away the ":" and that changed the context of the headline.

CNA web developers better look at how their html display special characters as it could cause major embarrassment, especially to those who are not so sure of the Singapore political scene.
By the way, the most common phrase that appeared on social media about Khaw's comment was "those who live in glass house should not throw stones". In this misled punctuation mark scenario, it speaks volume.

SG Blogger receives lawyer's letter to withdraw "false and scurrilous" comment

Alex Au, the blogger for popular yawning bread blog, was send a "love" letter of a different kind on Valentine's Day.

The letter was from law firm Allen & Gledhill "requesting" that Alex withdraw a "false and scurrilous" comment made by a reader by the name of scroobal.
Wrote the Yawning Bread,  Late afternoon Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012, I received a letter from law firm Allen & Gledhill, acting for K Shanmugam. It said that the allegations regarding their client mentioned within a comment I posted following the post The media and Yaw Shin Leong, are false and scurrilous. I take Shanmugam’s word on this matter.  I have withdrawn that comment as requested. The full lawyer's letter can be read here.

Singapore Land Authority "asked" blogger to amend post as "warning" is not "threatening"

Blogger, Calvin Timothy Leong, was doing his bit to increase awareness of the fund raising efforts of Boy's Town. The Boy's Town needed money "to renovate their building to have a proper upkeep", or otherwise The Boy's Town will be repossessed by $1.

However, the folks at Singapore Land Authority or SLA felt that Calvin took the "warning" letters too much of a threat and have "asked" Calvin to amend his blog post.

Tweeted Calvin,

Alright, SLA contacted me to remove the tags "Singapore Land Authority" and "SLA" from my Boys' Town post and also wanted me to amend it.
— Calvin Timothy Leong (@CalvinTimo) February 13, 2012

@longadin @daphnemaia They claim that they did not threaten to possess the land. merely sent out "warning" letters to get them to renovate.
— Calvin Timothy Leong (@CalvinTimo) February 13, 2012 Instead of asking Calvin to amend his post, SLA should have left a comment sharing with readers of th…

Citibank SG fears customer's friendly suggestion on Facebook, deletes it

If a customer spotted an error on your website and gave the brand a suggestion to improve the site, you would expect the brand to reply with a thank you.
Citibank SG social media strategy, however, is to delete the post, fearing that it could cause negative repercussion if other customers were to know of this technical error on their site.

This happened with a Facebook user found that the Citibank website does not render statements well on Macs. Instead, the administrator, deleted the post instead and told the user that the case has been resolved.

Seriously, if Citibank isn't confident that its brand name can withstand one small complain about rendering issues about bank statements on their website on a Mac machine, it has wasted the millions of dollars spend on advertising and promoting its brand. 
Plus, this is a suggestion, a thank you would have generated more social media goodwill.

Australia Bank cracks down on negative posts

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Westpac Bank is going on a delete rampage on its Facebook Page after the bank decided to retrench staff and increase interest rates.

Wrote The Sydney Morning Herald,

Negative comments posted on Westpac's Facebook page over the past week have been deleted within minutes, which has prompted accusations of a ''propaganda campaign'' by the bank. But Westpac has defended the practice, claiming that ''partisan views'' could deter customers from researching its financial products on social media sites.
Read more:

Deleting posts only generate more coverage as it creates the perception that the bank has something to hide.

One Facebook user wrote on Westpac Bank's wall,
Pity to see Westpac censoring public comments on its public media sites - as a Westpac shareholder, I believe the bank must understand th…

SMB retailers face costly barriers to get credit card facilities

One would think that if all retailers had credit card facilities to allow customers pay by credit card, the bank issuing the credit card would benefit from the more of their customers using it.

However, a discussion with my local optician showed that it isn't that easy for SMB retailers to get such facilities on their premises.

The optician told me that he had to face a barrage of questions from the bank's representative. One include asking him how much his revenue was. This was when the optician just started his business.

Next came the cost. The bank representative told the optician that he had to pay a fee of SGD1,800 upfront every three years. In addition, he had to pay a monthly subscription fee.

This was definitely not attractive for optician as this cost meant that he had to increase his prices by 20%.

As such, he chose not to use the bank's credit card facilities.

Here is a market ready for disruption..

Create simple GIF animation on your iPhone via

If you have lived through the dot com era, animated GIF was a common sight for all websites, especially when you visited Geocities sites.
GIF animation was hard to do because it requires you to take several still images and join them to create one simple GIF file. 
Now there is an app on iPhone that can create GIF animation in a jiffy, via

Here's a of my son closing his eyes hard.
It was extremely simple to make. All I had to do was record his movement via the app and then just masked over the area which I want to animate. 

The UI for is very and you can also choose four filter to ive g

When "No Comment" can be the deafening silence the Workers' Party dread

It is extremely disappointing for me to see how Workers' Party has communicated the issue regarding Mr Yaw Shin's alleged extra marital affair. 

Workers' Party Chief, Mr Low Thia Kiang, has chose the path of "no comments" and hiding behind official statements to fend off questions about Mr Yaw's alleged affair. 

This is seen in Today as Mr Low was was quoted to say, "The WP has made a statement on the matter. That's all we want to say. I have nothing more to say. That's all.".

Mr Yaw also tried to shoo away the journalist by telling them that "I don't want to waste your time. It's a precious night, so go back and spend time with your family. I don't want you all to wait because even if you wait until the end (of the MPS), I have no comment. The party has already issued a statement and I have nothing to add."

One of the biggest mistake most people have when answering the media is that "no comment" doesn't add …

Like it or not, you are already on the Cloud

This is an interesting story to share about Cloud technology.

A senior IT director was said to refuse to even consider Cloud technology because he cannot see the physical Cloud at work. He prefers to invest in physical servers so can see them at work at the data centre.

This despite the fact that going onto the cloud will cut his IT expenditure byron the 50%.

I dread to ask him about God.

But like how God works is mysterious ways, Cloud technology is already all around us.

If you are using Whatsapp or iMessage or watching YouTube, you are already engaging the cloud.

Besides the fixed infrastructure cost, Cloud technology can also negate other operation cost.

For example, when my IT guy had to be in Vietnam, we communicated through whatsapp to get a project running. As it was an app, he pushed it through a cloud hosting site so end users can easily download with a link from an email.

IDD cost between Singapore and Vietnam was totally non-existence. We didn't had to worry about b…

Facebook new photo layout returns focus on interaction

Click on a photo on your Facebook wall today and you will see a new layout.

The new photo layout puts the photo in line with the text. This is most likely to encourage more engagement with the photo, either through tagging, liking or commenting.

This new layout also gives Facebook more white space to put ads. I have seen ads appearing on the bottom of the white space.

As such, this makes photos more valuable and a key engagement tool for your fans and friends.

Is HP Singapore serious about the Home Office market?

The availability of broadband at homes has made the home office a viable alternative to renting office space. HDB rules have also made it easier for entrepreneurs to set up offices at homes, aka HDB flats, Condos.

However, an ex-IT journalist for Digital Life found that HP Singapore's delivery services felt that a office by another name would not have the same sweet smell.

Wrote this ex-IT journalist on Facebook,

Wahleow HP delivery... we can't send to you in the day coz we only deliver to office addresses in the day. We can't drop off your package at the guard house because we need you to sign it. Just a little inflexible, you think!?!!
This may not be the direct fault of HP Singapore, but the IT MNC should take a hard relook at the policies of the delivery service to ensure that office IT products can be delivered to homes as more look at these venues as home offices.

Otherwise, such home offices will move away from HP and look at competitors who do delivery to their home…

AirAsia seat allocation and eDebit bug

AirAsia tag line is "Everybody can fly", but when it comes to their call centre, it is "Everybody must wait long long".

As such, I thought I hightlight this bug so you don't have to go through this waiting game.

I did a booking online for a trip and I usually choose seat allocation so my family can sit together. This cost me an extra SGD9 per trip.

When I reach the payment summary page, the cost for seat allocation is there.

I usually choose to pay by eNets. To my surprise, the total payment for the flights have been reduced. I didn't go through the process.

However, I found that the seat allocation cost was removed from the the total eNets payment. This meant that the my seat wasn't booked.

This seamless e-booking system wasn't that seamless.

The solution to this pain is to skip the seat allocation process on your first booking of the flight. Only book the seats when you do a web check-in.

Though the solution is a bit more tedious, it is bette…

Teachers: Use Facebook Pages to connect with Students

The Sunday Times today report on the teacher-student relationship highlighted that schools here are prohibiting teachers from being friends with their students to prevent any possibility of crossing the line.

Yet to deny teachers using social media to reach out to students makes the school sounds draconian.

The simple solution is to get the school should encourage teachers to set up Facebook Pages to communicate with their students.

The Facebook Page for the teacher can be set to public so that communication between students is for all to see, even for parents.

The teacher Facebook Page can also have the principle or a parent to be administrator of the Page to ensure both students and teacher do not cross the line.

These Pages can also be liked by parents so the teacher can also update them on upcoming activities. For example, set up an event page for the upcoming test or exams.

If the student is no longer in the teacher's class, both students and parents can simply unlike the Pa…

Valentine's Day special for Fans of Cumulus Online Facebook Page

It's simple!

Just join Cumulus Online Fan Club at and purchase a "bag and wallet" combo to enjoy the 10% discount!

Now who says love is complicated?

Sales period from 3rd February 2012 to 14th February 2012.