First-time buyer: HDB resale or BTO?

October 14, 2016

TODAY, 14 Oct 2016, First-time buyer: HDB resale or BTO?


A young couple with a combined household income of S$5,000 is considering a three-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh. One option is to apply for a unit in the Bidadari BTO estate, Woodleigh district, which is scheduled to be launched next month. While the HDB has not announced its prices, if the Bidadari project launched last February is any indication, the median price should be around S$350,000. Based on this, it is possible to calculate the cash out-of-pocket required to service the couple’s mortgage.

As Table 1 illustrates, the cash payment required to service the mortgage is S$256 per month. This cash outlay translates to a mortgage servicing ratio of 28 per cent.

In contrast, if the young couple buys a resale HDB three-room flat in the same location as a BTO Bidadari unit, the cash outlay is zero with a mortgage servicing ratio of 20 per cent. Given this information, the decision matrix can be seen in Table 2.

Let us look at a second example. Another young couple has a combined income of S$7,000 and would like to buy a four-room HDB flat. The numbers are reflected in Table 3.


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Private surgeons’ fees to be publicised

October 6, 2016

TODAY, 6 Oct 2016, Private surgeons’ fees to be publicised


SINGAPORE — The public can now get a sense of how much private hospitals charge for various surgical procedures, down to the surgeons’ and anaesthetists’ fees, with the Ministry of Health (MOH) now including total operation fees of the private sector among the data published on its website.


For the private sector, the total operation fees are broken down into three components — surgeon fees, anaesthetist fees and procedure-related facility fees. The MOH said there is no equivalent breakdown for public hospitals, as surgeons and anaesthetists in public hospitals do not charge a separate fee.


But the data published are not fee guidelines, and while they are “usually helpful” for common elective conditions when patients have the time to choose, they may not be helpful in emergencies, said Dr Wong.

Total Operation Fees – By Procedure
Total Hospital Bills – By condition/procedure


LearningIn10 Portal

September 25, 2016

Called LearningIn10, the portal features around 150 videos on 15 topics such as paediatrics, infectious diseases, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology. The videos run for 10 minutes and feature mainly slides and a voice-over explanation by a medical specialist or a faculty member from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre.


Private school players weigh in on job survey

September 25, 2016

ST Paper, 24 Sep 2016, Private school players weigh in on job survey


Private schools should not be lumped together when considering employment rates for the sector.

This was the response from the more established private schools, such as the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), to a survey released yesterday which found that employment rates of graduates from nine private schools compared poorly to those from public institutions.

The Council for Private Education (CPE) survey found that 58 per cent of those who graduated from nine private schools in 2014 found full-time jobs within six months of completing their studies.


The CPE survey looked at nine schools of varying repute. In addition to the more established players such as SIM, MDIS and Curtin Education Centre, the survey included ITC School of Laws and Trent Global College of Technology and Management, which are less well known.

James Cook University Singapore, the first of two private schools to win the EduTrust Star – the highest quality mark given to private education institutions here, said its own survey of students who graduated at the end of 2013 and in 2014 found more than seven in 10 were settled in jobs within six months.


Government’s Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) guidelines

September 25, 2016

The Government’s Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) guidelines state that personal mobility devices (PMDs) – a category of motorised devices that includes e-scooters – should not be used on roads. They are allowed on footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths. AMAP guidelines state that PMDs should not be capable of travelling faster than 25kmh.

The LTA maintains a list of non-compliant devices on its website.

LTA News Releases 12 Apr 2016

Recommendations on the Rules and Code of Conduct for Cycling and the Use of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)

The recommendations pertain to the following areas:

• Types of device to be allowed on footpaths, shared paths and cycling paths;
• Rules and code of conduct for users; and
• Criteria for the types of device to be allowed in public spaces.

Please refer to the Annexes for details on the above recommendations.

[Image Source (pdf)]

CPI designed to reflect collective inflation experience of all households

September 16, 2016

TODAY paper, 12 Sep 2016, CPI designed to reflect collective inflation experience of all households


We refer to Mr Narayana Narayana’s letter “Make CPI more meaningful to the average Singaporean” (Sept 7).

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average price changes of a fixed basket of consumer goods and services commonly purchased by households.

As an indicator that summarises consumer price changes in the economy, the CPI is designed to reflect the collective inflation experience of all households.

It may not correspond exactly to the experience of any particular household since every household’s expenditure pattern is unique.

Mr Narayana suggested that inflation experiences of consumers would be better conveyed in dollar terms.

The Department of Statistics (DOS) publishes the average prices of selected consumer items every month in the Monthly Digest of Statistics, which is available online.

Based on the price data published by the DOS, the average price of 95 octane petrol has fallen by 15 per cent, from S$2.13 per litre in July 2014 to S$1.81 in July this year, as a result of lower global oil prices.

Moreover, the cost of “fuel and utilities” in the CPI basket, which includes the cost of gas and electricity paid by households, has fallen by around 17 per cent since mid-2014. These data show that consumers have benefited from the fall in oil prices.

Mr Narayana also suggested that accommodation costs should not be included in the CPI because most Singaporeans own their homes.

While the overall CPI (CPI-All Items) includes owner-occupied accommodation costs, the DOS publishes a CPI series that excludes imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation, given that such costs do not entail cash expenditure.

Between January and July, CPI as measured by this indicator fell by a smaller 0.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis, compared to the 0.8 per cent decline in CPI-All Items.

We thank Mr Narayana for his feedback.

[Related News]

Headline CPI falls for 21 straight months


5 free resources to start learning how to code

September 13, 2016

1. Touch Develop is an interactive development environment and a visual programming language used to develop application programs for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.

2. Kodu Game Lab  allows users to create games on the PC and Xbox via a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game – young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills.

3. CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. CS Unplugged is suitable for people of all ages, from primary school to seniors, and from many countries and backgrounds. Unplugged has been used around the world for over twenty years, in classrooms, science centers, homes, and even for holiday events in a park!

4. Small Basic is a project that is focused at making programming accessible and easy for beginners. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases both kids and adults into the world of programming.

5. Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial introduces players to basic coding within the fun and popular “Minecraft” environment. Use “blocks” of code to take your character on an adventure through this Minecraft world.


September 13, 2016

总结宪法委员会建议: 如何成为新加坡总统?
2016年9月7日 星期三 03:09 PM
文/王昀诗, 赖彦志动画/何健伟



• 若五届总统选举都没有某个族群代表当选,第六届选举就保留给他们的候选人竞选
• 如果这特定族群没有合格候选人,才开放给各族参选

• 自动符合参选资格的人选,在公职或私企担任最高职务的年数,从3年增至6年
• 来自私企或法定机构的人选,必须是或担任过主席或总裁之类最高职务
• 私企原本须拥有1亿元缴足资本,改为有5亿元股东权益

• 理事会成员从六人增至八人
• 所有涉及动用储备金的决定,总统必须征询理事会意见
• 总统如果否决政府的决定,理事会却不支持,国会可以推翻总统的否决


August 2016 update rollup for Windows

September 4, 2016

August 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

August 2016 update rollup for Windows Server 2012
August 2016 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Update Troubleshooter

How do I reset Windows Update components? 

A faster way to check for new windows updates

iOS 9.3.5 to fix a critical security vulnerability

September 1, 2016

Apple last week (25 Aug 2016) released a patch for three bugs that could allow hackers to remotely jailbreak iPhones and steal messages, call information, emails, logs, and more—a dangerous threat for enterprises with sensitive data.

If you value your privacy, and you should, it would be a good idea to move to the iOS 9.3.5 update right now.

How to update the iOS Version (iPhones & iPads)

Open the Settings → General → Software Update → Download and Install