Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Property curbs in Singapore for foreign buyers

Despite numerous curbs initiated by the Singapore govt, property prices in Singapore are in no way coming down, especially the new properties. Came across an article last Thursday on the Straits Times about property curbs across Asia which was kind of interesting. There was a map showing property curbs in multiple countries, Singapore being one of them.

It is a no brainer looking at this map why prices aren't falling despite curbs on loans, increases in stamp duties etc. If I were a foreigner looking for some place to park my money, a 15% stamp duty isnt going to deter me. If the govt was serious about cooling the market, they should bump up stamp duties for foreigners and PRs to a larger number like 35%. PRs should be forced to sell properties once they do not reside in the country any more. I do not have the data on this but, before you know it, half of Singapore will be owned by foreigners and foreign countries (if it hasn't happened already...).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Big Wet Taxi Problem in Singapore

I am writing this post as we speak at Changi Airport. It was raining this morning and as all Singaporeans know that spells big trouble if you are looking to get a taxi. From home, I tried in vain  to book a taxi for 30min and just gave up.

Where do these taxis go during rainy periods? Do they hibernate or more likely hide at coffeeshops and have their kopi? That and the other half of taxi drivers who just camp at the airport waiting for passengers to arrive could be the reason. I have no idea honestly. It just is frustrating if you need to go somewhere urgently.

The solution? Short of monitoring where taxis go and mandating that each taxi driver has to circumvent the island repeatedly instead of clustering around areas where an easy fare is, I really have no idea. The government should step in or else allocate more cars for everyone and start removing taxis from the road.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wilson Pro Staff 85 and variants

Since the early 80s, the Wilson Pro Staff 85 (sometimes called the Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 Original) has been winning tournaments in one form or another. Notable wielders of this racket included Chris Evert, Jim Courier (before he went to the Wilson PS 6.6 Stars and Stripes model), Stefan Edberg (after a brief dalliance with the Wilson PS 6.1 95), and of course Pete Sampras, who pretty much used this same racket albeit the much touted St. Vincent model his entire career. Much less known is the fact that the Fed Express aka Roger Federer used this racket at the start of his career beating Sampras in the process in that infamous round of 16 match at Wimbledon in 2001. Since then, Federer has gone on singlehandedly to champion the pro series 90 sq in variant of the original Wilson Pro Staff 85.

I have been using the PS 85 (how I like to  call this stick) for almost 19 years. Efforts to replace it have failed and believe me I have tried. Over the years I have tried nearly all the variants of "Federer's rackets" bar the first few models - the Ncode Six-One Tour, KSix-One Tour, the BLX Six.One Tour and the BLX Prostaff Ninety. I also got the "one off" KProStaff 88, which is honestly a really ridiculous racket - extremely powerful and extremely unwieldy at the same time. Which one did I like? Well I go back to the PS 85 nearly everytime but if I had a choice I think the newest incarnation - the BLX Prostaff Ninety comes the closest. Without lead tape it feels like a slightly head heavy version of of the PS 85 with more power but less controllable and not so nimble at the net. 

Will I be getting another PS 85 variant? I seriously don't think so. There are only so many rackets a man can have! Better to spend the time learning to master these great rackets and getting to know each of their strengths and weaknesses..