Thinking Fast and Slow

While reading this book I found the concept of regression to the mean quite interesting. The idea is that before making a decision on historical records, make sure that the records span long periods.

The reason is that in the long run, things regress to the mean instead of staying outstanding. So before making a new purchase, applying to a new company, proposing a new business, to analyze the previous record, reviews, trends. Even before judging a person.

Questions to ask

  • Before about someone, how has this person behaved in the past five years?
  • Before investing in a mutual fund, how is fund return for the past ten years?
  • Before lending money to a friend, what was the average time to get the money back in past five years?
  • Before buying a new product, how are the review and how many people reviewed?
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    How to transfer ownership of Starhub broadband?

    1. Transfer of ownership is cheaper (S$20 vs S$56) than terminating the connection and applying for a new one.
    2. The new and old owner should together visit the nearest Starhub customer care.
    3. The old owner needs to carry her EP/IC.
    4. The new owner should carry her EP/IC and tenancy contract.
    5. The Starhub agent would ask you both to sign a form.
    6. There’s a transfer fee of SGD 20.
    7. It takes three days to transfer.
    8. That’s it.

    How to Rent a House in Singapore

    A house is the first priority after moving to a new country. I found it slightly difficult to find a house in Singapore compared to my expectations. Hence I am sharing tips, especially for budget conscious people, like me.

    Deciding a house

    • There are two types of house –
    • 1. maintained by the government body (HDB) 2. Private apartments (condo)
    • HDBs are less expensive. So I am focussing on only HDB houses.
    • An HDB house is well maintained, has life, daily cleaning, garbage disposal and collection, CCTVs, small kids play area and usually proximity to MRT and food courts.
    • HDB houses are well ventilated, bright and safe.
    • HDB is always an apartment.
    • The houses are usually compact. A two bedroom house is about 700 sq ft.

    Searching a house

    • Houses are easier to find with a broker. But they charge a hefty fee, usually 15 days of rent amount.
    • So use a house for rent websites such as propertyguru.com and gumtree.com. I got my house from gumtree. Go for ads that mention no broker fee.
    • House contract period is usually one or two years.
    • The broker fee is annual. So each contract renewal will cost you the brokerage.
    • You can pick a house that is 30 minutes away from your office (or kid’s school, etc).
    • Do not pick a house too from your workplace. It is simply killing time on a train.
    • If you opt for public transport, choose a house not more than 10 minutes away from MRT station.
    • The tenancy agreement will have a free-hold period that allows the tenant to call off any problem in the house.

    A travel checklist for a week

    1. Passports (old and new)
    2. Pen
    3. Toothbrush
    4. Toothpaste
    5. Tongue cleaner
    6. Power socket converter
    7. Contact lenses/ specs
    8. Sunscreen
    9. Bathroom slippers
    10. Mosquito repellent
    11. Torch
    12. Table clock
    13. Medicines (combiflam, rellispray, PCM)
    14. Bandaid
    15. Nail cutter
    16. Ear buds
    17. Hand towels
    18. Hanker chief
    19. Sanitizer
    20. Mouthwash
    21. Sun hats
    22. Power bank
    23. Dettol
    24. Inner wears
    25. Multiple pairs of socks
    26. Powerbank
    27. Mobile charger and cables
    28. Visa credit card & debit cards
    29. Portable iron

    Moving to Singapore : Things to know

    An island of dreams, perfection and human imagination – that is Singapore. The place is inimitable and nothing like any country or city I have been to.

    There is a little list of things to make your move to the land of Merlion convenient:

    • The public transport is quick, affordable and spotless, particularly MRT. Rent a house near to *any* MRT station. The travel time would be maximum an hour.
    • It’s a hot and humid place. I sweat a lot. However I noticed that after two weeks my sweating has adjusted. Always carry a handkerchief.
    • On any escalator please pick the left to stand. Leave the right of the step for people who want to step up.
    • Try to carry your Employment Pass all the times.
    • Carry an umbrella.
    • If you are budget sensitive, shop from Mustafa for electronics and food. Prefer local supermarket (non air conditioned) than air conditioned malls for groceries and eating out.
    • Every area had a cafeteria(non air conditioned), called Hawkermarket. You will find the cheapest food here.
    • Buy a MRT EZlink card from any 7×11. You will get almost 50% off on MRT rides.
    • Carry Visa and Mastercard credit/debit cards. Amex is not accepted at most of local markets. Always carry cash.
    • Buy a local sim the day you arrive. All you need is a passport. Carry your smartphone with internet to access Maps.
    • Indian food is relatively expensive so I prefer to eat Indian food at a hawker center.
    • Buy packaged drinking water till you get a RO. Water has chlorine so not good to consume directly.
    • Wet market means a non air conditioned vegetable market.
    • Teh means tea (different from Indian tea as not boiled with milk I guess)
    • Mustafa supermarket is a must visit to understand what do you want to buy 🙂

    Uselessness of interviews

    I recently attended an interview with an MNC. It was for senior software engineer profile. At a senior role you are involved in architecture, design, coding and other development tasks. However, in this interview, one of the interviewers stressed so much on coding by saying that everyone codes here! CEO, managers and all engineers.

    I appreciated the statement but did not find it worth glorifying.

    • Is computer science is all about coding?
    • Do you really need to know how to code like a machine in an hour of interview?
    •  Are creativity, lateral thinking, experience amount to nothing?

    I think, no. Anyone can code! It is just a matter of hands-on. You need a programmer for coding not a developer/designer. Computer science is about synthesizing great ideas across domains, creating better algorithms and learning the best for your product.

    Coding is a small piece in this grand scheme. Computer science is also an art, where we need to value intangible attributes along with mechanical skills.