Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CH168: Surprises 2

So much surprises this week and it's just mid-week!
[Edit: Added another surprise!]

I've booked flights to the UK. CP booked hotels, transpo, etc in the UK for when we go from June 7 (evening flight) till June 22 (arriving in SG). It will have been monetarily depressing had the visa not been approved. And just to clarify, - CP booked ahead but I sent the agreed budget per person over so the money can be transferred to a UK ATM for convenience (and preferred FOREX). So, nobody is paying on my behalf for this vacation :-). hashtagdefensive? LOL.

Fortunately, it has been approved! I was so worried since it's been 19 days since I submitted the application despite there being a disclaimer that it takes a maximum of 15 days (not inclusive of weekends). I rushed walked from my office to the visa center to get my passport and see the results! I noted my hands were shaking a bit as I was cutting the envelope where my passport was put in.

So, with all that has been said and done, the money put out, the time spent on planning, etc etc. I'll be seeing London, going down to Bournemouth and flying up to Edinburgh then taking the scenic route back by train to London! Someone has been telling me that London has got to be one of the best cities - much better than New York (this is of course a biased opinion by CP) - so I'm quite excited to make the conclusion for myself!

Another surprise that came in this week was my tax assessment! I have been checking constantly the tax portal that they have here in SG to see if my tax assessment came out. I was worried that since it's my second year, that the tax will have shot up since there are no more exemptions, etc. But!!! Surprise surprise, I still can't believe that the tax assessment is WAY WAY WAY BELOW what I was getting taxed in the Philippines! Putting it into figures, my tax here in SG is just about 1.5 times the salary I was getting when I first started working.

Dirty Dancing
Last surprise so far into the mid-week, is Dirty Dancing. CP surprised me by telling me that we're booked to watch Dirty Dancing in Marina Bay Sands this coming Saturday (May 25, 2013)!

Other Surprises
Other surprises are in place, my parents are arriving in SG 5 hours before I arrive in SG from London. From a vacation to being a tourist guide! :-) So much to look forward to! Quite unexpectedly, upon getting home from a swim at the gym, lo and behold, another surprise!

The package I ordered from ASOS arrived today while I was in the office! I'm pleasantly surprised that the delivery came not even 1 week since I ordered them! It's just been 5 days!!!!!! Because I'm so elated today, let me share you the underpants I bought! :-))) Too much information? Click for more voyeurism! hahaha

PS: Don't expect to see me wearing them as if to showcase/model them :-))) 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

[Random] Psychology of Losses

What's so hard about accepting defeat and moving on? Why is it so much easier to walk our selves into ruin rather than just walk away?

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook just now, and I can't help but agree. We are mostly taught that perseverance, determination and hard work are key to success. I think what's not taught to us is when to realize early when we should concede and move on.


Most of us know what it's like to stay in a job or a relationship after it's stopped being satisfying, or to take on a project that's too big and be reluctant to admit it. CEOs have been known to allocate manpower and money to projects long after it becomes clear that they are failing. Think of JP Morgan's "London Whale" Bruno Iksil, who doubled down on a losing bet rather than admit his losses and ultimately cost the bank over six billion dollars. Similarly there was John Edwards, who couldn't bring himself to end his losing bid for the presidency even after his mistress became pregnant.

The costs to a person who does not know when to quit can be enormous. In economics it's known as sunk cost fallacy, though the costs are more than financial. While we recognize the fallacy almost immediately in others, it's harder to see in ourselves. Why?

There are several powerful, largely unconscious psychological forces at work. We may throw good money after bad or waste time in a dead-end relationship because we haven't come up with an alternative; or because we don't want to admit to our friends and family, or to ourselves, that we were wrong. But the most likely culprit is this innate, overwhelming aversion to sunk costs.

Sunk costs are the investments that you've put into something that you can't get back out. They are the years you spent training for a profession you hate, or waiting for your commitment-phobic boyfriend to propose. They are the thousands of dollars you spent on redecorating your living room, only to find that you hate living in it. Once you've realized that you probably won't succeed, or that you are unhappy with the results, it shouldn't matter how much time and effort you've already put into something. If your job or your boyfriend have taken up some of the best years of your life, it doesn't make sense to let them use up the years you've got left. An ugly living room is an ugly living room, no matter how much money you spent making it so.

As studies by behavioral economists like Daniel Kahnemen and Dan Ariely show, people are generally loss-averse. Putting in a lot, only to end up with nothing to show for it, is just too awful for most of us to seriously consider. The problem is one of focus. We worry far too much about what we'll lose if we just move on, instead of focusing on the costs of not moving on: more wasted time and effort, more unhappiness, and more missed opportunities.

Recent research by Northwestern University psychologists Daniel Molden and Chin Ming Hui demonstrates an effective way to be sure you are making the best decisions when things go awry: focus on what you have to gain by moving on, rather than what you have to lose. When people think about goals in terms of potential gain, that's a "promotion focus," which makes them more comfortable making mistakes and accepting losses. When people adopt a "prevention focus," they think about goals in terms of what they could lose if they don't succeed, so they become more sensitive to sunk costs. This is the focus people usually adopt, if unconsciously, when deciding whether or not to walk away. It usually tells us not to walk away, even when we should.

In one of their studies, Molden and Hui put participants into either a promotion or prevention focus (by asking them to write about their goals in terms of either gains or losses, respectively). Next, each participant was told to imagine that he or she was CEO of an aviation company that had committed $10 million to developing a plane that can't be detected by radar. With the project near completion and $9 million already spent, a rival company announces the availability of their own radar-blank plane, which is both superior in performance and lower in cost. The question put to CEOs was simple: do you invest the remaining $1 million and finish your company's (inferior, more expensive, and of course less marketable) plane, or cut your losses and move on?

Molden and Hui found that participants with a prevention focus stayed the course and invested the remaining $1 million roughly 80 percent of the time. The odds of making that mistake were significantly reduced by adopting a promotion focus: Those people invested the remaining $1 million less than 60 percent of the time.

When we see our goals in terms of what we can gain, rather than what we might lose, we are more likely to see a doomed endeavor for what it is.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

CH167: Philippine Elections 2013

It feels odd and freeing at the same time how I come to a realization that I don't feel as opinionated about the recent elections (and as of the moment, partial unofficial results). Perhaps it's because I didn't get to register for absentee voting? Perhaps it's because I feel disenfranchised that I don't think I really deserve or have the right to vote. It's not apathy like before but I can see the difference in mindset from below and before: CH47: White Noise.

Right to suffrage is a democratic right. But I enjoy being in a vantage to just observe, analyse and keep quiet.

Like with the Nancy Binay issue. Before the election, and given that I don't really get to read or watch much Philippine news, I had it in mind that she'd make it in. I don't really understand why there's so much hate going on in Facebook about how they can't fathom someone as unqualified as her to get in. It's obvious. History repeats itself. We vote actors, convicted criminals (ERAP), adulterers, gamblers, drug users/dealers (Singson), and other sorts into office. Yes, I said we because, we are after all, in a democracy.

Yes, the Philippines is undergoing change - to call it renaissance would be appropriate in my opinion. I didn't vote for Aquino during the last election. I voted for Teodoro. I thought during that time that I was cheated and people (the rest of the Filipinos I differentiated myself from) made a wrong choice. But, a year or two after, and when changes and the results started coming in economic upturns and policies promoting positive pushes for the Philippines, I went back and said to myself, maybe Aquino does deserve a chance and he's living up to the expectations the majority voted for.

Chance and change. So my mindset for the current senatorial results (and also disbelief that Erap won the Manila elections) - is that, despite the results looking like a joke. Let's give the people voted for a chance to prove people wrong. Yes, we can argue that the Filipino never truly learned its lesson and that history just keeps on repeating itself. But, I thought I said the same when Aquino won, but I was proven wrong.

Chance doesn't come often to enact change. True change doesn't happen in an instant in this reality of ours. Change takes time to come to fruition. And only time will tell if the Philippine Elections 2013 was good or bad choice made by the Filipino people.

Yes, the Filipino people. ALL of US. Basing on what I see on my News Feed, I can see the need of some of the people in my network to express their disdain with the results and try and separate themselves from the majority that made the choice "Filipino, di na natuto" (Filipino, never learned). Or some say, "This election is a joke." I can understand the frustrations of some of them, but the point of the matter is, one's version of right is different from the others. Not everyone has access to information as most of us. Stop blaming the uneducated voters and trying to create a divide.

Democracy entails an inclusive growth. Give the Philippines more time to change. I'm quite positive it will come as it has.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CH166: Surprises

I'm not really good at keeping surprises secret. It's hard to keep calm and not talk about it. The last surprise or secret I managed on keeping was my plans to take up my SAP Certification. I couldn't talk about taking the exam to anybody in case I failed and that would have between deathly embarrassing...

Following my entry CH161: Excessive, I didn't get nor have any plans to travel out of Singapore for May. (CP and I have some vouchers to go to Thailand (Phuket) bought from Groupon but there are still no plans to use them) What I have been pretty quiet and nervous about are the airline tickets I bought to go to UK from June 8-21 (depart June 7, arrive June 22). What's to be nervous about? Well, the fact that I'm still waiting for my visa to be approved! Still can't go full on booking hotels and airfares (like from London to Edinburgh) because of this blockade. Such a hassle coming from a third world country that needs to apply for visa to go to places. How come Americans or Europeans don't get the same inconvenience? Anyway, still hoping the visa gets approved so I can finally relax and plan the vacation with CP full on!

Mother's Day
So, mother's day is coming soon around the corner. I figured, I owe a lot to my mum since I don't really send in remittances or what to help out. She did told me not to bother as she and my dad still works. So as a surprise, I bought her a cake and palabok to be delivered to her office tomorrow. I did a similar gesture for her last tiime on her birthday. When I asked her then what she thought about it, she hinted that the cake I ordered was not enough to share between all her officemates Hahaha! *hint hint* That's why this time around I ordered the palabok extra to be delivered around the time people have their merienda in the Philippines.

American Express
I was quite surprised to have gotten the new AMEX cc (Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend) so quickly. It took 8 days since I expressed my interest in their pop-up booth in ION orchard for them to process the application and send me the new credit card. What's even more surprising was when I called to activate my credit card last night...the credit transfer from my old credit card to the new one happened instantly! And, to add candy sprinkles (lol) to the cupcake, they even gave me a complimentary hotel night voucher in any Millenium hotels and resorts chain and 4 vouchers for SATS premier lounges in Changi and other airports! (Free hotel stay to be used for my Mom and Dad when they visit on June 22-25)

Being on a diet, I surprised myself with the idea of making stuffed bell peppers to get a protein style dinner. I hollowed some bell peppers and just stuffed it with tuna and cheese layered on. Would have been nice had there been an oven to experiment with. Putting it on microwave grill did not really cook through the cheese inside, but nevertheless, it did achieve the goal of having something filling and protein packed - minus the carbs.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

[Random] 47

I scored 47. Although I don't think that such limited questions could determine who you are exactly. It's nice to get insight every now and then. Although I'm not exactly agreeing with the whole of the result, I do think there's some truth to it.

1. When do you feel your best?
A) in the morning
B) during the afternoon and early evening
C) late at night

2. You usually walk… 
A) fairly fast, with long steps
B) fairly fast, with little steps
C) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
D) less fast, head down
E) very slowly

3. When talking to people you…
A) stand with your arms folded
B) have your hands clasped
C) have one or both your hands on your hips
D) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
E) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with…
A) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
B) your legs crossed
C) your legs stretched out or straight
D) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with… 
A) big appreciated laugh
B) a laugh, but not a loud one
C) a quiet chuckle
D) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you… 
A) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
B) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
C) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You’re working very hard, concentrating hard, and you’re interrupted…. 
A) welcome the break
B) feel extremely irritated
C) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most…. 
A) Red or orange
B) black
C) yellow or light blue
D) green
E) dark blue or purple
F) white
G) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are…
A) stretched out on your back
B) stretched out face down on your stomach
C) on your side, slightly curled
D) with your head on one arm
E) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are… 
A) falling
B) fighting or struggling
C) searching for something or somebody
D) flying or floating
E) you usually have dreamless sleep
F) your dreams are always pleasant

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e ) 1
10 (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points, check your total, and see how others see you.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should handle with care. You’re seen as vain, self-centered, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.
51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality, a natural leader, who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once, someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.
41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting, someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding, someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.
31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful, and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you, realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.
21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.
UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist. Some people think you’re boring. Only those who know you well, know that you aren’t.