Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Bus Collective Daycation Review

Happened to see this article a few months ago where they upcycled old decommissioned SBS buses into hotel rooms. I was thinking it was an interesting concept and experience to bring *OEE* for a daycation and visit the far east (Changi Village) at the same time. This was finally put into action yesterday.

The Bus Collective (Newly Opened Dec 2023)
5 Telok Paku Rd, Singapore 508883

Point to note: The CDG Taxi GPS navigation system is wrong. It will point to somewhere inside the Changi Village Hawker Center. If going via CDG taxi, you will need to remind the driver the correct entrance. Google map navigation is correct. 

The staffs are friendly and accommodating. Check-in was fast and soon, we are done to tour the site. While each room is "close to nature", we do expect to see some ants around. However, if you don't bring food into the room, I guess you will do fine. For us, we followed strictly no food policy inside the room and the few ants we came across are just restricted to around the door area. For room service, there is no phone inside each bus. Instead, you will need to scan a QR code and all request will be submitted to the front desk.

Our room - Bus 108 (King George)

Each room come with a patio with a BBQ pit

All drinks in the fridge and bar table are complimentary

The iconic bus driver seat, where *OEE* likes to play

Once you are done with photos taking, you can explore the surrounding area. Right outside one of the side gate that provide you access to the Changi Village Hawker Centre, there is a playground for kids 5 - 12 years old. If you feel like taking a short walk, you can cut across the blue bridge next to the Changi Ferry Terminal to get to the Changi Beach for some sea breeze.

Food is even less of a concern. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, the variety of stalls at the Changi Village Hawker Centre is there for you to choose from. If you are not so keen to explore, there is a Thai theme eatery onsite - BUSKing by 555 Villa Thai (Pic below).

Changi Beach

BUSKing by 555 Villa Thai

Menu on offer

Prices by BUSKings is just slightly more expensive if you compare with the Changi Village Hawker Centre. For example: Basil Chicken Rice with cold drink. Changi Village Hawker price is about $7.30, while BUSKing is $8.80. For breakfast, we chose the Rise and Dine option when we book the room, so we get a breakfast set for 2 adults @ $10.00++ per pax. If you order onsite, it will be $13.80++.

Ah Ma fried Bee Hoon (Taste not bad!)

Ah Bang Nasi Lemak (Chicken is a bit blend)

Enjoy a view of airplanes taking off while you enjoy the breakfast

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

First Bird Paradise Visit Review

Visited the new Bird Paradise on 27-Dec-2023 for the first time together as a family together with 大舅 and 外婆. On the whole, I felt the area of the new Brid Paradise, compared to the old Jurong Bird Park, is smaller, but more compact. There are boardwalks meandering throughout the different theme areas where they tried to allow birds to free roam fly around on their own, so that visitors can get up close with these flying creatures. There are only 2 tram stations in the park - one at the entrance, and the other at the amphitheater where the shows are conducted. It is just a short ride, and you can get there in 10mins via walking. Cafes, restaurants and food court wise, there are plenty located within the park. You can get yourself easily a seat if you go during the time when the shows are conducted at the amphitheater. This is one big improvement compared to the Old Jurong Bird Park, where there are only a few eateries located and you need to spend some efforts to get to them.

Personally, I will recommend to visit in the morning to catch the first show time, so that you can spend the rest of the day roaming around the park and get out by 3-4pm. Breakfast wise, not to worry, there are shops open outside the entrance where you can get a good breakfast. All you need to do is look out for shops that open between 8-9am.

Man-made waterfall at the entrance

Breakfast at Coffee House by Old Chung Kee

Breakfast Menu

First Show - Predators on Wings

Birds plenty flying around the boardwalks

No idea what this guy is doing but the wire wont last long...

Flamingos at the Wetland

Feeding Time

Second show - Wings of the World

Penguins - Up closer compared to the Old Jurong Bird Park

Sunday, December 31, 2023

4Q 2023 Investment Strategy Update

Finally, we can start breathing a sign of relief. US Fed finally has indicated they are not looking at increasing the interest rate further and instead projects 3 rate cuts in 2024 as the economy cools down and start losing steam. Who will be the winners in a decreasing interest rate environment? For Singapore, it will be non other than the Reits (Especially Reits with US market exposure). Less $ spent on interest payment = more distribution to unitholders and higher property value. The losers in a decreasing interest rate environment? It will be the banks of course as their Net Interest Margin shrinks = lesser profits. So for 2024, it will be bearish on banks equity and bullish for the Business Trust and Reits. Market has already start pricing in this information as it can be seen in the rally in Reits with USA exposure at the start of December. For me, I can finally start reaping the rewards for accumulating Prime US Reit and Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit for the past1 year.

DJI ended at 37689, an increase of 4182 points (+12.48%) compared to 3Q 2023. For Singapore, STI ended at 3240, an increase of 23 points (+0.71%) compared to last quarter. While investors has poured into the USA market with the Fed signaling they are done with the interest rate increase in the last 2 months; however, there is not much movement in the Singapore market partly due to investors holding their ground against buying into the banks counter (consisting of 46.65% STI weightage) as banks are typically bearish due to their shrinking NIM in a decreasing interest rate environment.

Manchester United has finally announced on Christmas Eve 2023 that Sir Jim Ratcliffe had acquired a 25% stake in Manchester United and would be taking control of the club's football operations. The acquisition will consist of 25% from the Glazer family and 25% from public unitholders in the form of tender offer at $33/share. Once he pass the director test, which is said to take anywhere up to four weeks to complete, although usually takes closer to a fortnight; he can then officially start the tender offer. I cannot wait to cash in when that time comes.

With 2023 drawing to a close, it is time for the annual review against my 3 year plan (Next 3 years (2023 - 2025) Investment Plan) set back in Nov 2022. Below are my result:

Original 2023-2025 plan: 

  1. 50% Equity, 50% Reits/Trusts 
  2. Portfolio Dividend Yield to be 3.80% in 2023, 4.30% in 2024, 4.80% in 2025.
End 2023 result: 
  1. 50.16% Equity, 49.84% Reits/Trusts 
  2. 80.74% SG Equity, 19.26% USA Equity 
  3. Portfolio Yield at 3.58% in 2023 (+0.00% from 2022, but miss 2023 3.80% target)
Verdict: Miss Target

Below is my end 2023 portfolio snapshot:

Total dividend received in 2023: $6,478.37 (~$539.86/month)

For this quarter, not much activity from me, except accumulating Prime US Reit, Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit and Mapletree Industrial Trust as I feel the SG market has over reacted to the Manulife US Reit and interest rate increase saga.

Transaction 1: Bought 1 batch Prime US Reit shares in October. 

40+% yield is just too tempting to be missed. Load up more as I don't think it will fold like the Manulife US Reit. Manager is quite prudent in controlling debt, carefully avoiding borrowing more to maintain dividend.

Transaction 2: Bought 1 batch Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit shares in December.

Maiden investment in this counter at 20+% yield. I find this counter the strongest out of the 3 Singapore US Reits. Property price of the portfolio has not decrease much and management has worked hard to maintain the building high occupancy rate.

Transaction 3: Bought 1 batch Mapletree Industrial Trust shares in December.

Investing more due to the exposure to USA data center portfolio, which will benefit the trust in a decreasing interest rate environment and long customer tenancy time. 
That is all for now. See you all in Q1 2024 update and thank you for reading thus far.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

India Work Trip - Exploring Delhi & Taj Mahal Part 2

21 Dec - Extended 1 day from my business trip to visit the Taj Mahal, which is a 3 hours drive away from Delhi. Initially wanted to catch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, but with recommendations from the guide that driving at night is dangerous given the low visibility condition in winter, we delayed the set off time by 4 hours. Eventually, we reached the Taj around 10am in the morning.

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the right bank of the river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was commissioned in 1631 by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (r. 1628–1658) to house the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of her 14th child; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. Truly a wonder in its own right. 

Taj Mahal Entrance


India Work Trip - Exploring Delhi & Taj Mahal Part 1

20 Dec - Found some time to explore Delhi during the last day of my work trip and went on a tour with YB to visit the touristy places that the city has to offer. Delhi, which has a rich cultural history most known by the rule of the Mughal Empire (1526 - 1858), has left many significant tombs of its emperors till this day. Half of the trip was spent on visitation to the tomb of the emperor. 

First stop: The Qutb Minar, is a minaret and "victory tower" that forms part of the Qutb complex, which lies at the site of Delhi’s oldest fortified city, Lal Kot, founded by the Tomar Rajputs. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of South Delhi, India and one of the most visited tourist spots in the city, mostly built between 1199 and 1220.

Second Stop: The Lotus Temple is a Baháʼí House of Worship that was dedicated in December 1986. Notable for its lotus-like shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Bahá’í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. As the queue to the insides of the building is too long, we just took photos of the building and left (Save time as daylight is short during winter).

Third stop: Isa Khan Tomb. The mausoleum houses the tomb of Isa Khan Niazi, who was a noble at the courts of Sher Shah Suri and Islam Shah Suri. It is situated south of the Bu Halima's garden in the Humayun's Tomb complex. This building is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Same Third stop: Humayun's Tomb. This is the tomb of the Mughal second emperor, Mirza Nasir al-Din Muhammad commonly known as Humayun. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum under her patronage in 1558, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad, Persian architects chosen by her. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent and was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Our trip ended with a drive pass of the famous India Gate. It is a memorial to 84,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the First World War, in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Near and the Far East, and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. 13,300 servicemen's names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the gate evokes the architectural style of the ancient Roman triumphal arches such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome, and later memorial arches; it is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

18th Year Blog Anniversary

18 years of keeping this blog alive, time really flies. Been busy the whole year with *OEE* coming to 4 years of age + company throwing more ad hoc projects (Regional Sustainability, new factory construction) coming my way. Before I know it, the year is already over. Will be taking a break from part time teaching next year to focus on the upcoming projects. Finally, give thanks to God whom have bless us with everything we need and pray that may He continue to guide us in guiding *OEE* to know Him and to lead a Christian life that He has plan for us.

Some Statistic: 

Page Count: 82034 +4386 

Year on Year increase: +16 +0.36% 

Side note: Manchester United Glazer stake sale is finally coming to an end after 1 year. Ratcliffe has emerged the winner of the saga with an initial 25% stake purchase, with the understanding that this is "a foot in the door" with the full sale to proceed progressively in the future. Sale price is reported around $33 a share, placing Man Utd at a valuation of 6.5 billion USD, reportedly to sign off early next week. Finally, it is time to offload all my Man Utd shares.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Bon Voyage Le Le

Thought of bringing *OEE* to River Wonders to have a last look at Le Le before he officially returns back to China for good. So here we are on 24-Oct and Thank God for making the trip happens! Little did we know that *OEE* will be down with mumps, fever and a swelling cheek the very next day! Little has changed in River Wonders....performances are still the same....and we get to see quite a lot of pandas actions! Well, the viewing quarters of the pandas do need a fresh coat of paint as we see lots of areas where the paints are peeling off the walls. Here are the pictures to document the trip.

*OEE* looking at fishes

Once Upon a River Show

Once Upon a River Show

Le Le

Jia Jia

Kai Kai - zzzzz

Le Le again!

Food wise, do not get the Chicken Cutlet Panda Bao Special at the Mama Panda Kitchen. The chicken cutlet is paper thin and hard, not worth the price to pay. You will be better off at ordering the chicken karaage instead! Other than this, all else is fine.