Let the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games Begin !!!!!

On the 8th of August 2008, it will be written down in history as a very significant day for the world. It is the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games !

Having experienced 2000 Sydney Olympics spirit and atmosphere, I had to say it was a very memorable experience. With the hype leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it wasn’t going to be easy for the host nation. While watching the Opening Ceremony at 2000 hrs or 8:00pm, one of the greatest Opening Ceremony came across our eyes to the rest of the world, the aura, its might, beauty and unforgettable Opening Ceremony !

This awesome Opening Ceremony, was simply mind blowing, they captured my heart and thoughts, from a sporting and world citizen perspective. The crowds were simply superb, the performances dazzling and spectacular, showcasing how the inventions and creations of China, helped to shape the world. It certainly lived up to its reputation and promise, to be the Best Olympics Opening Ceremony in history, with the whole artistic ceremony led by China’s leading Zhang Yimou.

There were many performances worthy of mention and remembrance, many deep and lasting impressions, superb performances and amazing huge amounts of fireworks (Chinese invented Fireworks !). 

Let the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games Begin ! In the name of world friendship, sporting competitions, world peace and harmony ! Let the athletes fulfill their Olympics dreams, a priceless life experience for everybody involved in one way or another at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games !

May the Olympic Fire keep burning bright and strong, for the past, present and future citizens of the world!

Books Recommendation From The Library

I was surfing through this news portal AsiaOne.com, a great site of various local Singapore news collection and I came across this article contribution on

Picks from the library: Personal Finance” by Ambika Raghavan, Senior Reference Librarian, National Library. The recommendations were :

Handbook for Stock Investors
Authors: Goh, Kheng Chuan.
Publisher: Singapore : Rank Books, 2008.
Call Number: RSING 332.6322095957 GOH
Available at National Library

Financial Bliss: a Couple’s Guide To Merging Money Styles And Building a Rich Life Together
Author: Holzer, Bambi.
Publisher: New York : AMACOM, American Management Association, 2007.
Call Number: RBUS 332.024008655 HOL
Available at National Library

Lifelines for Money Misfortunes : How To Overcome Life’s Greatest Challenges
Author: Pollan, Stephen M.
Publisher: Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Call Number: RBUS 332.024 POL
Available at National Library

I personally this initative is awesome ! This would get more people to start reading regularly and the recommended books would give people greater knowledge in managing their financial situation and thus increasing their financial literacy. Financial knowledge is wide and diversified, these three books are just part of it.

The level of financial literacy needs to be improved as Singapore surge towards to be a world class financial hub, every one of us need to raise our financal knowledge and literacy too, by growing together along with it. It’s also a very important form of overall planning for yourself, for your future.

Poor money management for couples along with communication and misaligned goals and objectives planning for the family is something that could lead to undesirable consequences. Therefore, it is very crucial and extremely important for a couple (with or without children, extended family) to sit down, discuss, plan and execute their planning for their financial future for themselves and their future generations with an independent financial consultant.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail ………………… Do you plan to fail in your retirement years without sufficient retirement funds ? Do you want to take action ?

Do You Seek to Understand the Needs ?

The best way to begin the sales presentation is to ask questions and the purpose is to allow us to gather important information, which enables us to help our clients, AND just as important when we ask questions in a professional manner, we establish the most important aspect of the sales process – TRUST!

Ethics is the foundation upon which we must build a career. What is the difference between motivation and manipulation? The difference lies in the intent of the person. Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire while manipulation often results in forced compliance. One is ethical and long lasting while the other is unethical and temporary.

By asking questions, we learn how the customer feels, we are far more likely to find out what the other person thinks. Most of us claim to make logical decisions but the reality is we make primarily emotional decisions. By combining emotion and logic, emotion makes the prospects take action now and logic enables them to justify the purchase later. Understanding and utilising the emotional AND the logical aspects of the sale will help all sales professionals become even more effective. Let the prospects see so that they will believe and let them hear so they will take action.

One of the strongest emotions we face is FEAR, fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. Outstanding sales professionals are “word merchants” and “picture painters”. Words ARE the colours of the paints we use to illustrate our pictures of life. Choosing the proper colours (words) are a beautiful and exciting way to do exactly what we are trying to do – to pain vivid word pictures.

Three basic types of questions allow us to discover the needs and wants of our clients and potential customers. These questions whether emotional or logical – fall into one of these three categories. The first is Open Door Question. With the Open Door Questions, the wants, needs, desires, ideas, and opinions of the prospects are the focal points. Ask the questions and then listen. Salespeople are traditionally poor in this area. There is a direct correlation between our commission check/dollar volume results and our ability to ask Open Door Questions and then LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS.

The second kind of question is the Closed Door Question. It is designed to keep the prospects in a certain area for clarification or embellishment. This allows the ball to be moved back into the prospect’s side of the court, and many times, the prospect’s actions, words and thoughts will surface and our information base will be expanded. This would allow us to move into a more favourable position for future business.

One of the most important (and the least developed) sales tools is the salesperson’s voice. Anyone can improve the voice and substantial improvement is not an overnight project. We can improve by reading and recording our voices, play back and evaluate our own voice and remember to ask ourselves, “Would I buy from this person?”. We must learn the ability to relax as we speak – concentrating on the throat muscles. Make a conscious effort to open our mouth because many people with poor voices do not really open their mouths. Speak in front of a mirror to be sure that you are smiling as you speak and record. The smiling voice is a warm, open and friendly voice.

The third type of question is the YES or NO question. This question demands a direct response. However, we use this question only when we already know the answer. The danger of this kind of question is that if it is overused, it may be perceived as patronising. Use our own words and work within the framework of your own personality. These questions allow you to “test the waters” and check on your progress in the sales process. Our job is to interview, explore, and uncover customer wants and needs, not interrogate.

(Adapted from “The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional – Ziglar on Selling”, Chapter 6 – Questions Are the Answers – Beginning with Need Analysis, by Zig Ziglar)

Chasing New Toys

Chasing new toys a.k.a latest technology gadgets, had always been part of my growing up life, my stories and time following the latest trends in information technology and internet improvement. 

For us techies, I believed we all faced a common problem …….. Chase New Toys and Upgrade ? Should I do it now ? Would I be stuck with technical bugs in the first batch of electronics gadgets ?

I read the following websites for more updates on the upcoming new toys 

DPReview ~ Photography related 

CNET Asia Review ~ IT related

AppleInsider ~ Apple related

MacWorld ~ Apple related

It was through reading rumours from different websites that I read the potential Apple new toys that could be coming up in the very near future. One of them was the new rumour on the current Macbook range replacement, with an aluminum base and possibly latest processor chip …. Interesting, nevertheless, should I be chasing this particular new toy ?

Oh, by the way, I am chasing some old & new toys

– Apple 3G iPhone ~ it should be here soon in Singapore …….. finally !

– Canon EOS 1D Mk 2 ~ 2nd Hand at a very good price ……. very tempted !

– 250 GB or 500 GB Portable 2.5inch HD ~ My photographs collection are expanding exponentially !

A word of caution ……….. Be Careful of the 3 Bs – BUY BUY BUY !

100th Post

A mini milestone had been reached for my personal blog, since its soft launch on 3rd January 2008 and official launch on 10th January 2008. 

8 months of blogging, not the most active of daily blogging, many different experiences shared, knowledge shared here and running tips. It was something for myself to improve, learn and breakthrough, thus able to set a good role model and mentoring for my juniors in my alumni associations especially my outside extended family network of the Dragon Scout Group.

Therefore, what did I exactly do differently today beside this 100th post ? Well, I started to get serious running in preparation for my half-marathon in 3 weeks time. We should not get complacent even though I had some form of conditioning before, time to get myself in peak running momentum for the 21km. 

Looking foward ahead for my personal blog, it will continue to grow and be a beacon of light for motivation, a true north compass direction, sharing and mentoring for all my readers.

For those who had always supported me, in my various different life journeys as an entrepreneur, blogger, businessman, photographer and “senior spokesperson”, I take this opportunity to sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart !

Have a nice National Day Celebration Weekend !

The End of an era of Singapore Food ?

The topic of food can be something special, heartwarming, bridging of cultural and language barriers. Any where in the world, there is always different types of food that is brought over from other parts of the world. 

Being a food lover, it immediately came to my attention when the Sunday Times covered a report on “EAT IT WHILE YOU CAN” on pages 24 and 25 of the Lifestyle Section. It was the dilemma or decision of the second generation of hawkers not passing down their businesses to their next and future generations. I flipped into the 2 big pages and read thoroughly in its report. 

Indeed, some of our local food would be facing “extinction”, it came across to my mind as “food for thought”. Some questions pop into my thinking mind –

  • Are the rise of capitalisation and economic growth cause us to look down on the status and stigmata of being a hawker ?
  • Do we appreciate our local food and take pride in them as part of our unique culture that we are building up ?

Well, some food would still be continued by the newer generations, based on their strong faith and belief in their legacy of their food culture and business, and continuing to safeguard their family recipes.

The future of Singapore hawker food is a question mark now, I do not wish to see my favourite food stalls slowly disappearing before long, I would be starting a special segment on my favourite local food and sharing it with people from all over the world and of course my fellow Singaporeans.  I am inspired and always get hungry reading and viewing photos from  I Eat I Shoot I Post, whereby he blogs on Singapore’s Best Food. Do drop by there and read it, I guarantee you would be hungry after reading a few posts !!

I Eat I Shoot I Post, he’s an inspiration to us locals, on keeping the spirit of the Singapore local food burning and treasured, with pride and glory, and possibly continuing the tradition going on for generations.

With so much “Food For Thought”, what are your favourite local Singapore Hawker Food ?

Short Updates

It’s now the final quarter of 2008, and the pace seems to be getting faster, responsibilities getting heavier, managing businesses just as challenging.

Been a hectic week of work, business, events and gatherings

– Undertaking projects

– Niece Charlene Birthday Gathering Dinner on 31st July

– SAJC 2S6 mini Dinner Gathering on 1st August 

– Prospecting new business deals. 

– Started Facebook (finally), do add ME !! 

– University of Queensland Alumni Ex-Co Meeting and Planning on 29th July

– Clementi North Primary School Batch of 1989 School Mates Mini Lunch Gathering on 30th July

– Gan Eng Seng School Dragon Chapter Ex-Co Events & Planning

– Client Servicing & Advisory

My life can be a little bit packed at times, sometimes got too busy too. Need to rebalance my things that I am handling, prioritise and fight to raise my level to the next higher playing level.

By the way, the army half-marathon and nike10k+ run is coming up soon, time to start training for the runs !

How to Sell Successfully

Sales professionals are open-minded (not empty headed) and willing to change. Sometimes as we change and learn, we might not make immediate progress, but if the fundamentals are correct, we can rest assured that as we “drill for skill” and start to own the procedures, our career will definitely move to newer heights (and so will our personal life).

In the world of selling, we need a plan of action that will transcend product line and situational differences. The planned selling process consists of a four-step formula and they are (1) Need Analysis (2) Need Awareness (3) Need Solution (4) Need Satisfaction.

Customer-driven (wants) and need-oriented (needs) selling begin with the sales professional doing a Need Analysis. In order for us to serve our prospects, we must clearly understand THEIR needs before we can proceed. In Need Analysis, the goal is to X-ray the prospect. As we search for needs, “wants” and desires will surface, we cannot make the mistake for discounting these wants as frivolous because prospects take action on their “want to”s” as well as their needs. We need to uncover a need that is already there and in the process, render a real service.

Today’s successful salesperson is CUSTOMER DESIRE DRIVEN AND NEEDS ORIENTED! Basically, people buy because they either NEED or WANT something. If we can give persons a reason for buying AND an excuse for buying, the chances are rather dramatically improved that they will buy. A salesperson armed with the INTEGRITY, a strong BELIEF in the product, and the DESIRE to get the product into the hands of as many people as possible is a POWERFUL FORCE with which to deal, and even more powerful when we add persuasion skills to the sales arsenal. Key Point: PEOPLE BUY WHAT THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT MORE THAN THEY WANT THE MONEY IT COSTS.

The root problems were lack of information and procrastination in the sales process and we can provide the needed information and by asking the questions that encouraged the prospect to take action. Probing begins with asking questions, we must develop an attitude of curiosity and sincere interest in the answers to the questions.

In the Need Awareness, there are two distinct parts. First, the salesperson must identified one or more specific needs that can be clearly articulated. In the second step, the prospect must understand that there is a need AND the specifics of the need. A successful salesperson must be able to listen carefully to what the prospect is saying.

In the Need Solution, this fits all sales products and services. None of us buy products, we all buy products of the product – which are called benefits or need solutions. We do not buy what the product is, we buy what the product DOES FOR US. We never lead with product, we lead with need.

In the Need Satisfaction, it is the most important step the salesperson can take when it comes to helping others. If we truly have a desire to help other people, if we truly believe in our product or service, if we truly want the prospect to benefit, if we truly want to benefit financially from our hard work and effort, we must remember “A.A.F.T.O. : ALWAYS ASK FOR THE ORDER!”

(Adapted from “The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional – Ziglar on Selling”, Chapter 5 – Sell By Design, Not By Chance – The Formula For Successful Selling Skills, by Zig Ziglar)

IT Troubleshooting Nightmare

This post almost couldn’t make it.

Last night, while I was surfing the internet, it suddenly “died” on me. Taking decisive action, I managed to revive it and continued surfing the internet and I thought everything was back to normal.

In the morning today, after waking up, everything was under control, until I switched from my Mac OS to Windows XP mode and suddenly, everything wasn’t working. I tried to troubleshoot the problem and initially thought I got the wireless router back in action. However, it wasn’t to be and suddenly, the LAN cable from the router to my 2 laptops couldn’t connect ! My online chat with the wireless product technical support earlier came to no avail. I faced 2 hours troubleshooting the router and cable modem, not being an IT expert does pose a bigger challenge to me.

Soon, I had to leave for work and was prepared for the worst, finding out my list of IT experts friends to standby and come over my home in the night and help me solve my IT troublesome shooting nightmare. I came back and give it a final test, starting with the cable modem. It worked !!!!! Moving on the wireless router, it stuttered and I switched both hardware off again, leave it off for at least 1 minute before switching on the cable modem first, followed by the wireless router.

Finally, all the 3 laptops in my home are back in action, I am keeping my fingers crossed, the problem would be solved. It can be very stressful when troubleshooting IT hardware and software, now I can go back and continue my blogging.

A Busy Life

Life is hectic and busy, in my businesses and work, and managing 2 blogs can be quite a real challenge as I set myself the standards to deliver quality content to my 2 blogs, and that will bless, benefit, enrich and help my readers, in my personal or photojournalism blog.

Besides my business and work, it’s a been a tough and very challenging economic and financial climate today, in the financial advisory and entrepreneur business environment. These are just lessons, not just in business and work, they are also valuable life lessons too. Therefore, it is very important to stay cool and calm in the midst of any crisis. 

If you head over to my photojournalism blog, there would be a number of events taking place in Singapore in the recent month of July and upcoming August. Do bookmark my photojournalism blog and have a read about the various different events that I went to in Singapore and my travel adventures too. Besides, do drop by my flickr site and view my photos collection !

I would like to take the chance to thank all my supporters in my flickr and photojournalism blog, you all are AWESOME !!!!!

As for my personal blog, it is still growing and expanding, “Rome is not build in a day“, no matter what you do or embark on, it takes time, how short or how long is determined by you. “A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step“, had I not taken the step to enter into the blog sphere, I would not be writing this sentence now.

I would be continuing my book chapter reviews, great personal development books I am reading, learning and applying the invaluable lessons learned in my personal and professional arena. The importance and virtues of learning must constantly be ongoing and must never stop. Personal development, personal growth and changes are key building blocks to a person’s growth in life and professional career.

Next up, I would be thinking of what other areas that I could write on, given my wide range of diversified knowledge, competency and experiences. It would definitely be of a worthy standard that I would be sharing.

Well, it’s time to start exercising and running more often, the SAFRA half-marathon is coming up very soon, followed by another worldwide running Nike10k Plus Run. Time to hit the running tracks !

Have a nice week folks !