There's absolutely no doubt that these are some of the most challenging times we have seen in generations. Almost overnight, the entire world was turned upside down, and also the traditional, predictable method of life seemed to evaporate.
Yet many experts suggest that this might be the opportunity to create a real impression. If you believe in being proactive and tend to have a positive attitude in normal life, what opportunities should you be looking for the time being, once the pressure is around?
1. Trust Precious Metals
In times of uncertainty, individuals typically flock towards precious metals. This is particularly the case now. Many people think that the scale of the present issue triggered an unusual sell-off as people attempted to free up some cash by liquidating precious metals, but standard business has been resumed.
As is normal, gold is your number one commodity at the moment, and you may expect the price to move steadily upward as the scale of the situation unfolds. Scarcity can be driving this commodity high, and there's absolutely not any doubt that gold will be among the greatest investments through the remainder of the year.
There are, of course, other precious metals to consider, such as silver. This metal might be affected, however, by a decline in the sum of industrial capacity as this will often create a glut. Industrial throughput will probably recover, however, and you could be able to buy silver at a great cost in order to hedge for the future.
2. Purchase Real Estate
In 2008, the great downturn was bad news for real estate investors. It's not the exact same that time, but since it will get much more economical to invest in a good property and especially given the relatively low yield on"safe" components, such as bonds.
It's very likely that more consumers will be pushed towards the leasing market as well. And, with private incomes in temporary decline and a great deal of pressure on economies, the home market is likely to be explosive.
Make the most of low rates of interest and an emerging market by placing your money into housing stock that can be converted into rental properties. With mid to long term aspirations, you ought to be in the ideal position to capitalise when items naturally begin to rebound.
3.Buy a (good) Business
In recent years, more people than ever have opted to take control of their own fate and start their own organization. This can surely be a fantastic alternative in hard times, but it might be more valuable to buy a business rather than starting one from scratch.
Just think about the number of baby boomers, there are at the moment and how many of them are at or above retirement age. Tens of thousands of these individuals have worked hard all their life, and they'll certainly be motivated to sell now, or even before.
Many of these business owners really are what they call "lifestyle" operators, plus they have a business that could endure their departure using a second-tier management level already set up. This means you could think of a creative solution to assist them over their company without too much cash advance in your part.
4. Or Consider an Online Business
Or why don't you begin an online business? These days, there are many chances, and there's no reason why you cannot make the most of your expertise or lifelong expertise.
Maybe you can instruct others to do what you do and get involved in the education revolution. Maybe it's possible to set up an online business to sell a niche product or promote a specific service. In the end, it's really simple to communicate with people nowadays and much simpler to accept cash using a variety of online portals.
Above All, Develop Resilience and Fortitude
Times like these, phone for endurance, and you need to look for some practical answers to power your way through. While we might encounter a worldwide recession or even a moderate economic depression as matters unfold, it is still time to concentrate on your personal empowerment.
Look for sensible moneymaking solutions while others could have their head in their hands.
Introduction to CMFAS
To adequately review ExamFight, I will first need to give a simple introduction to what CMFAS means. The CMFAS Examinations are the licensing examinations for the capital markets and financial advisory services in Singapore. After successfully completing the relevant examination modules, candidates must lodge a notification with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) before they can carry out regulated activities.
The reason why exam portals such as ExamFight exist is simply because students who are attempting these professional exams, need to find a source of knowledge, namely, CMFAS exam-related questions and answers to practice in order to get ready for the exam. There are various portals in Singapore which offers mock exam papers for students to attempt. Infact, if you check out Carousell, you will also find some vendors who are selling printouts for others to attempt questions.
What I like about exam portals is the fact that the questions are all kept in a knowledge database, and can be easily updated and adjusted. Also, online exam portals allow students to easily access the question bank from any convenient location, be it via desktop or mobile. This will help them with their CMFAS certification.
User Login into CMFAS Exam Site
The login access is also very easy. After creating a username and password, I can easily access the ExamFight exam bank. Now, ExamFight provides free access to 20 questions per module. This allows students and customers to test out their LMS (learning managment system) as well as the question content before deciding whether to make a purchase for the cmfas exam modules (there are various modules ranging from M1, M5, M6, M9, etc.).
The CMFAS Exam Format
After clicking on the "Begin Quiz" button, I was brought to a selection of 100 questions. Here, I can choose to attempt the CMFAS questions sequentially, (e.g. from 1, 2, 3... so on and so forth), but I can also choose to skip a question and then come back to try it again. Only after I am sure that I am ready to "submit" the question I can then submit the question for marking. The screenshot above shows my wrong answer and the green highlight is the correct answer. Okay I am not so good with CMFAS.
The Ability to Review Questions
Another nifty feature was the ability to mark questions for review. This is useful when you are stumped with a question, and you would like to answer it later on. By clicking on the "review question" button, you can highlight that specific CMFAS question in yellow so that you can come back to review this later. This simulates a real exam environment, and is useful if you would like to pace yourself so that you try to attempt exam within a certain time frame.
Payment and Conclusion
Paying is very easy done via Paypal. Each module costs $21 and grants you an unlimited three-month access to all the questions in the specific module. For example, for CMFAS M5 exam module, there are about 4 volumes of 100 questions each - which works out to be 400 questions to attempt! I understand that ExamFight is constantly reviewing and adding more questions into the database, which is good!
To try out ExamFight visit them at www.examfight.com
Introduction to SHR as a new form of laser hair removal
Now, when it comes to the topic of hair removal, you might be familar with the various forms of hair removal, be it shaving, epilating, tweezing, waxing and IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal. While IPL is the most permanent form of hair removal, many people are starting to pay attention to SHR (Super Hair Removal) as the better alternative to IPL. In this review, I am going to share more about Wellaholic's SHR treatment and explain why SHR is a better form of hair removal as compared to IPL in Singapore.
A Quick Introduction to IPL for Hair Removal
First and foremost, IPL uses a single pulse of energy, at high intensity, which targets the customer's hair follicles and melanin. Melanin is produced in specialised cells called melanocytes. This makes IPL more suitable for people with darker and coarser hair.
A person with fairer skin will likely require more sessions as the IPL technology is less effective on them. On the other hand, while IPL is effective for darker-skinned people, they may have more uncomfortable session (i.e. PAIN!) since their skin will be absorbing more heat energy which would then be translated into pain when the heat affects the nerves.
What about SHR?
SHR is a relatively newer technology which uses gentler pulses of energy but at a higher frequency. This allows the skin to be heated gently, but with the rapid pulses, the energy is then accumulated by the skin. While 50% of the energy is targeted at the melanin (similar to IPL), the other 50% targets the stem cells responsible for hair production.
This is a very important point to note as SHR thereby targets both fine and coarse hairs. Ultimately, this leads to less discomfort and pain, yet an improved efficacy.
Because of the gradual accumulation of the energy into the skin, there is less trauma and irritation on the skin - making it ideal and suitable for everyone, regardless of skin tone and even for customers with sensitive skin.
How Many SHR Treatments is Necessary for Effective Hair Removal?
If the hair is in the anagen phase of growth during treatment, which refers to the active (hair) growth phase, it can be easily destroyed as in the case with IPL technology. The advantage of SHR in this case is that it can work with customers during both their anagen phase and non-anagen phase, as SHR can target the 50% of the stem cells. Nevertheless, a three-to-four week recovery or "down" time is required to meet this anagen phase as well as to give the skin a recovery time before the next treatment.
Wellaholic is One of the Pioneers for SHR Hair Removal
Wellaholic is one of the first few establishments to offer SHR Laser Hair Removal since 2016. In order to help their customers with their goal of achieving a smooth skin, Wellaholic offers cost-competitive Monthly Unlimited Packages which allows customers hair removal on all body areas (including Brazilian or Boyzilian) at an affordable monthly fee.
In addition, Welalholic's SHR machines are serviced and calibrated regularly to ensure optimum efficacy. Their staff are also trained to ensure that the best experience towards permanent hair removal for our customers.
Their constantly R&D in the SHR treatment procedure has helped them clinch several awards, including the following:
Find out more about Wellaholic's SHR at this link.
Skiing is fun... even in Singapore?
I enjoy skiing. My fondest memories of skiing were at the slopes of Chambery, Southeast France. I also had great memories at the popular Niseko as well as Nagano, Japan. Hence, when there was an opportunity to try out Summerski in town, I agreed without any hesitation. Sounded like fun!
More about Urbanski
There are about 120 million skiers worldwide, and 17% of them reside in Asia. The most popular ski destinations would be USA, Europe and Japan. Nevertheless, skiing is seasonal and requires not just snow, but enough snow to ensure a great skiing experience. Too little snow, and the pistes will start to get quite icy. This is because skiers and snowboarders keep going over the layer of snow compacting it more and more until it becomes very solid. Ice does not allow skiers to dig their edges into it very well, and the experience becomes muted. Hence, with Urbanski, enthusiasts would be able to ski anytime and anywhere.
My Virgin Experience with Urbanski
I arrived at the try-out area at the open area near Dhoby Gaut MRT station. There was an instructor guiding me, and my initial impression was that Urbanski seemed similar like roller blading. While roller blades requires one to slip into boots with solid-hard wheels, Urbanski allows one to slip into the gear with one's shoes on. I was able to fit my shoes into the gear and then strap it on. It was definitely easier to wear this. Also, the wheels were softer. I easily got up and was able to move around easily. With Urbanski's proprietary ability-calibrated equipment, I realised that I was able to get myself up on the slope and not slide down -- this was large due to the smart braking system that locked the wheels once I leaned back. In order to move forward all I needed to do was to lean forward.
Try Urbanski with Three Levels
Depending on your level of expertise, you can configure Urbanski into three levels of difficulty:
How to Experience Urbanski or Summerski
The Urbanski experience ends on 8 September at Dhoby Gaut Green and is free to try. You can also experience Urbanski by heading to Batam or Malaysia. Urbanski can be found at the following resorts: Urbanski Palm Resort, Urbanski Palm Springs, Urbanski Starhill and Urbanski Tamarin. You can either purchase a day-trip pass or a term entry pass (3 months) to a specific resort, or purchase an annual unlimited entry worldwide pass to try Urbanski at difference environments.
Introduction to Bors Bergen
As a quick background, I was allocated Bors Bergen as part of the premium accommodation package of Norway in a Nutshell. I stayed at Bors for a couple of days, and would like to share some personal insights to Bors. Bors Bergen was converted in 2017 from the former stock exchange building, and is not only impresssive in its design and architecture but also its central location and quick access to all of Bergen's attractions, be it the Fish Market, the Harbourside, the Funicular, or the KODE Museums.
Quick history and background to Bors Hotel
Despite the traditional looking exterior, the interiors of Bors Bergen was stylish and modern. The ceiling was a little low, though, and the designer tried to hide this by cladding the ceiling with mirrored tiles, creating an illusion of height.
There were two persons manning the reception. Now, because Bors is a modern hotel refurbished from a really old building (and the adjourning building), the layout is a little peculiar. The reception typed on her keyboard, and then told us that "due to high occupancy at the moment," there were only two room. The first room (201) was a more spacious one, with a study area, but it would be facing the city (i.e. not facing the harbour). The second room (2??) faces the harbour, but would require going up to the third level and then crossing the cafeteria and bar and then going down a flight of steps.
Hotel Interior -- Thoughts
Fortunately, we were given the key cards to both rooms so that we could take a look and decide. We ultimately decided to take the larger room which was also more accessible from the elevator (and possibly quieter and away from the road noise). This turned out to be a good choice.
The room had a Nespresso machine (but not hot water kettle), so it was ideal for coffee lovers. We checked and realised that there was a bottle of white wine that was expended but with the cap screwed back, and we quickly notified the receptionist.
The bathroom was spacious and came with a bathtub, but there was no separate shower facilities. No shower curtains -- this meant that one would need shower carefully to avoid splashing and making the entire bathroom wet. I personally do not like wet bathrooms.
Breakfast (which came included) was a lovely affair. While the selection was not as spectular as the one I experienced at Thon Opera Oslo, Bors Bergen had a reasonably good spread.
There was a great selection of the traditional teas and also fruit teas, including hybrid blends which were a little quirky in taste. Of course there was coffee too.
The cold section included the usual salmon, pate, cheeses and some salads while the hot selection included baked beans, sausages, etc. I remember enjoying the yoghurt with fresh fruits
Some quick tips on Bors Bergen
Personal Introduction to Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo
I was assigned Thon Hotel Opera as part of the "Norway in a Nutshell" plan. There were two classes of hotels to choose from, and we chose the more premium option for an additional fee. First impressions were:
The Interior of the room
Colourful interior, and I was fortunate to be assigned a room that overlooked the waterfront (partially) as well as the Oslo cityscape. There was adequate space for 2 large luggage. There was the usual hot water kettle, as well as the mini bar. Thon Hotel must be popular with business travellers as well since there was an iron and the ironing board too. The bathroom was also very modern and covered with white tiles. Thon Hotel also provided Morton Brown shampoo and soap, and guests can make a purchase at the lobby reception if they wished to.
Amazing Breakfast Spread
The highlight was probably the amazing breakfast spread. Now, you must remember that the cost of living in Norway is exorbitantly high. A simple breakfast at the nearby Burger King will cost about 120 NOK, equivalent to about SGD 20 or 20 Singaporean Dollars. A typical BK meal in Singapore would likely cost only about SGD7.
Hence, it is certainly worth it to have a hearty breakfast in this impressive buffet spread. There was a machine that freshly squeezes oranges for your "freshly squeezed orange juice". There was also mango and strawberry smoothies, and also apple juice. You can also have a full range of coffee as well as teas (more than eight types of tea), and if you prefer to brew it in a teapot, that's also provided.
For the cold section, besides the salad section, there's the delicious pate, the gravlax salmon, herring, etc, with scampi salad, potato salad, etc, and a variety of hams. For the hot section, there's the omlette section with hard boiled and soft boiled eggs. I saw a huge heap of bacon, and then there's the tomatoes and mushrooms. I particularly enjoyed the pancakes, which was crispy around the edges, and was really delicious with the maple syrup. There's also the yoghurt section, with a variety of fruits such as pineapples, cantoloupes, melons, watermelons, etc. In short, there's so much to choose from that you would be spoilt for choice.
All in all, I enjoyed the convenience of Thon Hotel Opera as well as its impressive buffet spread. It's no wonder Thon Hotel Opera is also ranked highly in TripAdvisor.
Review of Dinner at Jaan at the Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore
Date: 18 Feb 2019
Venue: Jaan, Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore
Background to Jaan
It was more than a decade ago that I visited Jaan, and hence when the birthday boy suggested that I give him his birthday treat (for a special birthday milestone so it's all worth it) at Jaan, I made the booking immediately.
Ranked #38 of 11,477 Restaurants in Singapore on TripAdvisor, JAAN is an intimate, 40-seat restaurant dedicated to showcasing the finest in modern British dining in Singapore. The artisanal menu by Chef de Cuisine Kirk Westaway - winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 for Southeast Asia, is built around a passion for showcasing the freshest ingredients through simple but beautiful dishes that reflect both culinary tradition and creativity.
Jaan is actually a Cambodian (or Sanskrit) word for "bowl". This private and intimate restaurant, with about 40 seats and less than 20 tables, is perched on the near-highest floor of the Swissotel The Stamford. Its stunning Murano crystal and silver free-form chandelier is matched by the breathtaking view of the eastern perspective of Singapore's cityscape.
Julien Royer first madehis mark at Jaan before creating yet another milestone at Odette. Julien helmed Jaan for four years from 2011, and brought Jaan to the 11th place in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list and World's Best 50 Best long list before departing to Odette. This made way for Kirk to take over the reins of Jaan to make it his own, earning a Michelin Star consecutively year on year till 2018 (latest to date).
More about Kirk Westaway
Kirk Westway was born in South West Britain, in the Devon county. With this attachment to his home country and county, Kirk applies the philosophy of "Reinventing British" to his menu, as it evolves season to season, to showcase British dining in a modern yet refreshing light, and full of surprising flavours.
Jaan Menu and Food
Being the second group of guests to arrive, we were fortunately to be placed at a window table. As the menu at Jaan was fixed, we opted for the main menu SIMPLE BUT COMPLEX:
Starting off strongly was the beetroot meringue, which was really soft and full of beetroot flavours. This was followed by the Devon cheese ball, which was a reflection of the chef's roots. Next was the interestingly-named "Fish & Chips", which was Chef Kirk's interpretation of fish and chips.
Roast Potate Truffle Soup
The truffle soup was my favourite part of the meal. The truffle was not overpowering, and gave the soup an earthly base flavour. In the soup were some macadamia nuts, which was unusual but gave a nice clean crunch.
Majestic Irish Oyster
This delightful dish was served with the can closed. The server opened the can to reveal the name of the dish on the underside of the lid, which was another pleasant surprise. I would say that the attention paid to details is one of the plus points of Jaan. The dish itself was nice, with North West Irish oysters and some caviar.
The next course is an aesthetically-pleasing spread of individually-treated vegetables and flowers, aptly named "English Garden". This is Kurt's signature dish and has been well-covered by the media as well. If you notice the watering can (filled with rosemary herbs) in the background, this is part of the theatrics of this dish too. In the watering can is a small amount of dashi stock which the diner is requested to "water" over the "English Garden". This interactivity, as well as the burst of colours and flavours made this dish a gastronomic delight. You could choose to eat each of the vegetable individually or mix them up as what you would do with a salad.
This was served with the gravy separate; the server, after introducing the dish poured the gravy stock over the langoustine. While we would rate almost all the dishes serve as 4 to 5 out of 5 stars, both myself and my guest agreed that this was probably the best dish of the menu (though I really liked the truffle soup too). It was all in the taste - the richness of the gravy stock matched the succulent flesh of the langoustine, and the sour crunch of the celeriac matched perfectly.
Eggs in an Egg
This egg custard dish was served in a giant egg ceramic bowl (of sorts). I was amazed by how the server was able to lift up the top part of the bowl in one hand! The dish was smoked with rosemary, such that when the lid was lifted, the smokiness of the rosemary saturated not only the dish but also the dining area. The flavours of the mushrooms were apparently and again made this dish both complex and enjoyable, in terms of taste as well as aroma.
Just when we thought that the langoustine was the best dish, it was easily surpassed by the Scottish Scallop. The star of this dish was not only the scallop by the small morsel of pasta, which was really rich in umami taste -- our only regret was that there wasn't enough of the pasta. All in all, we decided that this was the best dish of the menu (after some deliberation).
Line Caught Kinmedai
Another seafood dish, the Kinmedai or the splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens) is an alfonsino of the genus Beryx, found around the world at depths between 25 and 1,250 metres (82 and 4,101 ft), usually between 400 and 600 metres (1,300 and 2,000 ft). Although its most common size is 40 centimetres (16 in), it can reach lengths of up to 70 centimetres (28 in). It is known as kinmedai (金目鯛) or "golden eye snapper" in sushi and Japanese cuisine -- in sushi or sashimi terms it is usually known as the "tai".
The kinmedai was cooked to be more firm, and some nice crunch was added on top of the fish to give it more texture. The pumpkin was mixed with light curry to give it an almost japanese-curry-like sweetness. The shredded pickled carrot helped to balance the richness of this dish.
At this juncture, we were already feeling rather full. The main course was the Roasted Pigeon with blackberries. The pigeon was likely cooked via sous vide and was extremely tender and retained its rich juices. As this was a rather rich dish, the raspberry puree and the blackberries helped to again balance the taste, and the portion of the pigeon heart and liver also provided an assortment of texture to the dish.
I forgot to take down notes for this palate cleanser but it had produce of lemons and blood oranges and limoncello from various parts of Italy, Very sour-sweet and tasty and I could certainly have more of this as well. We were then served with Ivroy Caramel dessert by none other than Chef Kirk.
All in all, it was a very pleasant dining experience at Jaan. I have had dinners (even at Michelin-starred restaurants) where I wasn't surprised by either the presentation, the taste or the concept of the dishes. Chef Kirk managed not only to keep us entertained and engaged with the presentation of the dishes but give us new gastronomic experiences in the taste category. 4.8 upon 5!