Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Family, Friends and Taxes

Pray Along

My girlfriend's father went to Singapore last week to undergo an operation. It was quite major, hence the decision to perform it in Singapore instead of Malaysia. So far, he is recovering really well, which is great news for everyone.

Can't wait to see him up and about on his feet again.

I went down over the weekend to visit and to lend some support. Although the bus ride to and fro was horrendous, I'm really glad I did. It's at times like this that you truly realize the importance of having family and friends.

A blinding flash of obvious? Perhaps, but it's one of those things which we think we know, but honestly, do we actually really know it?

Walking along the streets of Merlion

I didn't spend much time sight-seeing, not that I'm complaining. Most of my time was spent in the hospital and in the serviced suite which we were all bunking in.

I did however manage to catch up on some much-neglected-clubbing by paying a visit to Attica on Saturday night.

Oh, and I also visited the Night Safari. It was my second time actually, the first was several years back. It was still as fun and entertaining as I remember it to be. Now why can't we in Malaysia, with our abundant flora and fauna, come up with something equivalent, if not better?

Maybe its coz we Malaysians are just not 'civilized' enough to sit quietly in the tram while the safari guide narrates. We don't like being idle. That coupled with our total disregard for personal safety (as evidenced by our road... *ahem* ...manners) would probably see us leaping right off the tram, into a pit of wild hyenas in a heroic effort to get a closer shot for a photo with which to show off to our friends.

Malaysians are funny in that way.

Death and Taxes

On another note, I recently appointed a personal tax consultant to handle my tax related issues. Yeah, I know it's a bit too late to help with my 2007 taxes, which by the way are in the process of sucking the life force out of me, but based on the tax bracket which I am so 'privileged' to fall under (urk!), it is a must for 2008.

Hopefully with some expert guidance, I can trim down the amount of my hard earned moolah which has to go into the pockets of the tax man.

Paying unreasonable taxes pisses me off.



Friday, April 04, 2008

The Curse of Shopping

Guy go shop *grunt grunt*

Let me first say that throughout most of my life, my shopping habits were that of a typical male. And by 'typical male' I mean half-yearly trips to the shopping mall where we'd proceed to blow several grand of our hard-earned moolah on enough shirts, pants and shoes to see us through the next 6 months.

We'd then proceed to spend the next half a year doing whatever it is 'manly' guys do (burt, fart, tweeze each others nips) before repeating the whole shopping cycle all over again.

That was all there is to it, simple.

I didn't see the need to have a zillion pairs of shoes, nor did I see the need to desperately refresh my wardrobe everytime GQ featured yet another impossibly-sculpted model wearing yet another gay-looking outfit which wouldn't look out of place on Elton John.

That was then though....

It starts...

It all started innocently enough.

In a rare stroke of 'genius', I thought that instead of spending a huge chunk of money every 6 months on clothes, I'd spread out my shopping throughout the year. I figured that by doing so, I won't end up buying lots of stuff which I do not need, instead limiting myself to just one or two critical items a month.

Surely such an approach would allow me to save more money right?

The first trip started pretty well, I got myself a new belt to replace the ratty old, limp mee-hoon impersonating leather strap that I was using as a belt and a couple of new cuff links to go with some of my other shirts.

On the way out however, I noticed a sign saying that some of the shirts were marked down by 50%. Oh wellllll, since it's alreadyyyy on sale, I might as well take advantage of it. Why, by buying it I am actually saving money! Who can argue with logic like that?

As I was paying at the cashier, I spotted a nearby rack of jeans with one particular pair which I thought will look great with my new shirt. Hmmm...something to aim for next month then.

...and grows...

As any girl can tell you, once you've spotted an item you like, it will bloody dominate all your waking thought! Haunting you for every second of every hour until you take the plunge and actually purchase the bloody thing.

Needless to say, I didn't even last through the month. The very next week, I was back ringing up yet another purchase on my Amex. Oh, and since I'm here, I might as well pick up some t-shirts as well. And that cool looking pair of slacks too.

True, I may have spent more than I intended to, but I figured that I'll just treat it as an 'advance' of next month's clothing budget.

Feeling pretty good about my superb budgeting skills, I went home.

Guessssss what I have for you!

Only a couple of days have passed when a friend asked me whether I wanted this special discount card which entitled me to a discount for any item purchased at a certain boutique in Pavilion. Although I didn't intend to buy anymore stuff this month, I thought that since this card was still valid, I might as well make use of it.

Why, am I not saving money by using a discount card? I am right? Alrightey then!

After selecting a few pairs of pants, shirts and the odd bag, I realised that the total figure was a bit steep. Ah-hah! Nothing a discount card can't fix!

Brandishing my card triumphantly, I cackled gleefully as the figure was revised.

Bernard Yong - 1, Big multinational retailer - 0!

I am becoming a woman!

The very next day, I realised that I didn't have any shoes to go with my new pants.

As I rushed back to the shopping mall in a shoe-buying frenzy, I suddenly stopped and realised that I was becoming one of those obssessed, crazy-eyed woman you usually see hanging around Isetan during the Christmas sale, arms loaded with shopping bags with smoke wafting from their purses as a result of overheated credit cards.

This is ridiculous.

As I now sit in my room, looking at all the paper bags lying around filled with stuff which I probably will only wear once or twice, I saw how far I had fallen. I needed to redeem myself! I needed to nip this in the bud!

And I will!

.... as sooooooonnnn as I get that black jacket which will look absolutely snazzy with some of my new threads.