Archive for September, 2007

Private home rents jump by 8% to 10%

From Straits Times – September 27, 2007:

“RENTS of private homes continued to rise strongly between July and September.

They jumped 8 per cent to 10 per cent islandwide over the previous three months, estimated property consultancy Knight Frank.

This was on top of a record 10.4 per cent growth in the second quarter, added Mr Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank’s director of research and consultancy.

Rents in the Woodlands and Mandai area saw some of the highest growth rates in the third quarter. They surged between 25 per cent and 30 per cent, largely because of the draw of the Singapore American School in the area, said Mr Mak.

‘This is an indication that although expatriates are concerned with rising housing rentals and costs, they are still willing to pay a premium to stay near international schools in Singapore,’ he added.

For the last three months of the year, Mr Mak expects rents to rise slightly less, by 5 per cent to 10 per cent. This would bring full-year rental growth to between 30 per cent and 40 per cent, he said.

Knight Frank added that market activity is expected to pick up in the last quarter, as developers step up launches to meet year-end targets.

Another 3,500 to 4,500 units are likely to be launched for sale, and home prices for the whole year are expected to grow by up to 25 per cent.”

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What to do, where to go

It seems to be another “golden age” of video games for me. Recently I’ve had the fortune to play Bioshock, World in Conflict, Stranglehold, and Halo 3 (which was just released yesterday!). Bioshock is one of the best games I’ve played in over 2 years… immersive storyline, beautiful environments, and the creation of a world that sucks you in. I highly recommend you go get it if you like first-person shooters.

World in Conflict is a strategy game – similar to Command & Conquer, Company of Heroes, and Warcraft 3, except that it does add some novel gameplay. Gone are the standards such as base construction and resource gathering, instead you focus primarily on the fighting. It takes place in 1989 with the premise being that the Cold War never ended and the USSR invaded America and Europe. Let the weapons fly and the cities be destroyed.

Stranglehold is a John Woo movie come to life. If you can remember the action scenes from “Hard Boiled,” you basically know what this game looks like. White doves flying into the air, bullets flying in slo-mo, and furniture and glass shattering all around you. Even better they have Chow-Yun Fat voicing the lead character.

Halo 3 – well… you all have probably heard about this one. Tons of hype about it, they’re expecting the first day sales to exceed USD 150 million! More than Spiderman 3 took in on their opening weekend. It’s fun, fast, furious action (another first-person shooter). Multiplayer is where I think it really shines as being able to play online with others, through all the various match types is great. Even better is yelling insults through the microphone at whomever you’re playing against. (Last night I played against people from Croatia and Taiwan at the same time… I don’t think any of us knew exactly what we were saying to the other person, but the intention and emotion was still conveyed).

Anyway… my birthday is coming up soon! So I had been thinking about what I should do for it. I’ve had parties and gatherings in the past – one memorable year was when we all dressed up as golfers and went on a pub crawl to different bars under the guise of playing “pub golf.” Naturally, as people had drinks any semblance of “pub golf” went out the window and it was just a group of people drinking while dressed in ridiculous outfits. A fun time. Another year I had a barbecue at my apartment.

This year I have decided to run away. It’s pleasant to escape the trappings of urban life once in awhile. The glass and steel skyscrapers of Singapore, the always-on-the-go mentality, the MRT trains roaring beneath the feet, SBS Transit buses plastered with smiling people advertising toothpaste or hair growth formulas… the cascade of e-mails and inquiries, blitzing lights along the waterways, construction sounds, fouled taxis, and crush of people that move you along…

Yes, sometimes it’s nice to go away.

I am going to East Timor for 10 days. On my birthday I hope to be at one of the lazy seaside towns, sipping a beer, laying in a hammock, wearing shorts, flip flops, and feeling the sun streaming down on me. All the while having absolutely nothing I need to do or anywhere to go.

Studies

Two studies were released today that indicate I am going to die young.

From a study by University of Warwick:

“A 17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleep from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk of death from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.”

From Leiden University Medical Centre:

“The absolute risk of getting a blood clot while sitting in a cramped airline seat – one in 4,656.”

 

Combine the two of those together and I am going to die of a heart attack the next time I get on an airplane.

The life of a vending machine

Ah… odd hobbies.  One must love them.  Trainspotting, airplane watching, duck counting… and tracking the changes in a vending machine.

For 2 years a man in Japan has taken a daily photo of a vending machine.

I find this very inspiring.

Explanation

Saving the world…

Bill Gates on how treatable diseases in developing nations in the world can be prevented.

Saving the World is Within Our Grasp

There will also be a Newsweek article where Bill Gates answers readers’ questions. Submit yours.

More reasons to rent instead of buy a house

When you rent, most people mistakenly assume the decision is made out of necessity, not rationality. But there is a very good reason to rent in today’s bubble-stricken market: median incomes do not support median home prices.”

Read more…

Halo 3 and Wesley Snipes

Halo 3 arrives tomorrow.  One of the first reviews by a major gaming publication gives it a 9.5 out of 10.

I know what I will be doing for the rest of the week… (hint: Multiplayer gaming)

And what else is as bad-assed as Halo 3?  Wesley Snipes!  Check out his words of wisdom.