Monday, 18 June 2012

At the age of 17 to 23 years old: V-MAD

It has been quite a while that I updated on my life stories. Although I have been blogging about some interesting encounters I met recently, it will be very irrelevant if I just skipped some point of my life. Here it is, sit back, enjoy and relax.

In my earlier posts, I mentioned that I made it to one of the local polytechnics (no secret, its Singapore Polytechnic or SP aka Sure Pass). I took the Diploma of Banking and Financial Service, specializing in Financial Trading. It was one of the most sought after course at that time.

I was 17 when I studied the the first year of the course. Although my mum did gave me allowances for the studies, it was not enough for me as I was a high spender. I wore branded stuffs, enjoying some of the finest things in life. This also means that I need to work to get the extra cash. I studied and work at the same time. It was a very difficult time for me to concentrate on my studies and work at the same time. That year, opportunity came.  MINDEF is going around schools to recruit new soldiers under the Joint Diploma Scheme (JDS). Under the JDS, it doesn't matter which course you were in. They will offer the scheme to whoever are interested and eligible. JDS will pay for all fees and also gave us a monthly allowances (about $1000). The only catch was during weekends and holidays, we need to report back camp and also serve a 6 years full time contract upon graduation. The terms was quite tempting. I applied for the NAVY JDS and got into it.

I remember going through Basic Military Training (BMT) in one of my semester break. I was "tekan"  in camp while my friends were enjoying their holiday. Still, I made it and passed out as a "PRIVATE".
I still maintain contact with the friends I made during BMT although most were from different schools. Its true that birds of the same feathers flock together. I got into the company whom like frequenting night spots, clubs and bars. This was also the time that I got very engaged into the night spot activities.

Time flew. In 1998, I graduated from the course and started serving my 6 years bond. I was 20 year old. My night activities was cut down as I was undergoing various courses from the Navy before going onboard ship. This took about a year and I was also promoted in rank upon the completion of courses. I was also given a pay increment. That time, my pay was around $2000+, which was considered very good compared to my classmates.

The moment I turned 21, the first thing I did was to apply for some credit card. It was one of the 5Cs during that time. Every man will want to own a few of these. This is the beginning of troubles. The title V-MAD is not Very Mad. It means Visa, Master, Amex and Diners card. I applied for a dozen and got a dozen of them with credits ranging from $4000 to $6000, with a combined credit limited of more than $70,000. That was a lot of money.

In camp, I heard a lot of stories on how someone got into debts through spending beyond limits. I constantly reminded myself not to fall into the same mistake. I was very careful when I spent. Whenever I made a purchase with the cards, I will draw the same amount of cash and put it into an envelop so that I can pay with it when the bill came. I was very discipline in doing so initially.

My lifestyle started to change after my course. I begin to meet and mingled with"old bird" in the Navy. They brought me to nightclubs to "experience" life. This was the period which I begin to frequent nightclub. The patronization range from once a week to thrice a week. Most of the time, the bills were all settled via credit card as its more convenient. Initially, I still keep my habit of withdrawing cash for the credit spent. However, in one occasion, due to some reasons, I forgot to withdraw the cash for the spending but I reminded myself about the amount. I managed to keep myself at bay and paid the bill in full, in time. It was much more convenient than to withdraw cash every time I spent. This progressed to become my habit and this also proved vital.

I have lost tracked of how much I spent. When my salary could no longer pay for my spending, I rolled to another card through cash advance faciities. This snowballed and end up became a mountain of debts of more than $30000 in less than 2 years. I can no longer repay from my salary. I was only 22 yrs old. The debts was more than I could handle.

On top of the credit card debts, I had to pay for my study loan as well. I took a study loan in 1999 to study a part time Degree course via distant learning which i subsequently I graduated with a Bachelor degree, Double major in Marketing and Ecommerce in 2001. The study loan was about $20,000. I have a combined debts of more than $50,000.

At 22 years old with a mountain of debts to clear, I met a wonderful teenager studying in Temasek Poly. She was turning 18 years old when we met. I just kind of know she is the one for me as a life partner. We started dating. This was when I came to my senses to stop all night activities and concentrate on repaying the debts as I was serious over her. I cannot let her marry a a bankrupt. It was too late, the debts was overwhelming. I just couldn't handle it. I pay whatever I can and hopefully I can repay. All my bonuses actually went into repayment.

I kept my debt a secret to her. We got married that same year. About my debts? When I left the Navy in 2004, I still couldn't clear and it went from bad to worst after I got married and gotten my flat.

My reflection: Being in debts is no fun. I became a slave to the banks. Its easy to spent but difficult to earn. Keep your finance in control. DO NOT OVER SPENT.

My friend, if you are also in my situation, do not despair. Bankruptcy is not and never an option. No need to run away from it also. 3 steps to help you. First, you must acknowledge and admit. Second, make plans to pay. Thirdly, be committed. What banks want is money, not your live. Feel free to contact me if you want to her from me personally how I clear the debts.

Continue to follow my blog. On my next post, I will share my last love story, the woman who share my rags and riches. Be ready for a touching moment.

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Monday, 4 June 2012

HTC One X - Great on essential functions!

My life experience is getting more and more interesting. It is never still.

2 weeks ago, while I was shopping with my family in Causeway Point, I was attracted to one of the poster advertisement. Its the HTC ONE X. I was mesmerized by it. My first thought was to buy it. But wait, its $900+... I better consider again and started to recall if any of my friends works in any telco so that I may be able to get some discount through them. After a few phone calls, I managed to link up with the head of Social Media, HTC. He gave me an opportunity to test the phone and to write a review about it. The phone will be mine to keep. I grabbed the deal and within a few days, the phone arrived at my office.

First opened
I must admit that this is my first ever HTC phone in my life. The phone was nicely packed into a capsule-like card box. From the packaging alone, anyone can tell it must have contain a gem in it.

I am not a professional techie who does reviews of phones for a living. I will leave it to the expert for technical comparison and comments.

When I first hold the phone in my palm, the phone was light but yet solid. The bends on the side of the phone make it comfortable to grip and it provides a good friction.

Overall, I think that the phone was very ergonomically designed. The design is modern and have a futuristic feel.

What's beat?
Flipping over the phone, I notice a small log "beatsaudio" right at the bottom of the phone. What was that? I did a search on the web found out that Beats, in short simply means "hearing our favorite artists the way they want to be heard". I am very anxious and curious to find out for myself the different. I linked up the phone on my iMac and transferred a Jacky Cheung concert number "爱是永恒"to listen to the different. All I can say was, there is a different and the different is great. Its really pure enjoyment of listening to music.

Like I said, I am no techie. I am only interested in the functions of the phone. HTC ONE X has a big screen. I always watched movies and youtube on my phone. The huge screen added my enjoyment of gym-ing. The screen was so huge that I actually place it on a treadmill, watching and jogging at the same time. Not bad right?

Perfect screen size
One feature of the phone that makes it outstanding will be the camera function. Photos taken from the camera were very sharp. Most importantly, this phone can actually take photos while you are recording a video. I happened to find out about this feature when I was video recording my daughter and just so happen to press on the soft button and photos were taken instantly. That easy! The shots were great too. Just to show you some examples.

Capturing the precious moments
Overall, the phone is great. Sized right for mobility and great on essential functions. Give it a try before you decide on your next phone.

This review was written solely based on my own personal experience with the phone.

Continue to follow my blog.

Follow me on my blog as I journey into the different stages of my life.
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