Goo Goo Dolls

There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years.

They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents.

“When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling all the dolls.

The moment that breaks, it's gone

“In a different world we need to find a niche for ourselves, little corners where in spite of our small size we can perform a role which will be useful to the world. To do that, you will need people at the top, decision-makers who have got foresight, good minds, who are open to ideas, who can seize opportunities like we did… My job really was to find my successors. I found them, they are there; their job is to find their successors. So there must be this continuous renewal of talented, dedicated, honest, able people who will do things not for themselves but for their people and for their country. If they can do that, they will carry on for another one generation and so it goes on. The moment that breaks, it’s gone.”

Lee Kuan Yew, in an interview with CCTV, June 12, 2005

Peacekeeper

LGM-118A Peacekeeper missile system being tested at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Peacekeeper was a land-based ICBM deployed by the United States starting in 1986. Each rocket could carry up to 10 re-entry vehicles, each with a nuclear warhead with the explosive power of up to 300 kilotons (twenty-five times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II).

Life's Little Instruction Book

Have a firm handshake.

Look people in the eye.

Sing in the shower.

Own a great stereo system.

If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.

Keep secrets.

Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.

Always accept an outstretched hand.

Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.

Whistle.

Avoid sarcastic remarks.

Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.

Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.

Lend only those books you never care to see again.

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.

When playing games with children, let them win.

Be romantic.

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters.

Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.

Be a good loser.

Be a good winner.

Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.

Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.

Keep it simple.

Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.

Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.

Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets.

Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the one’s you did.

Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.

Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.

Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital, you need to only stay a few minutes.

Once in a while, take the scenic route.

Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’

Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.

Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.

Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.

Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.

Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.

Become someone’s hero.

Marry only for love.

Count your blessings.

Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.

Wave at the children on a school bus.

Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.

Don’t expect life to be fair.

Insurance and Risk

The purpose of insurance is protection against financial disaster. In this regard, there are usually 3 areas where disaster can strike:

1. Loss of income. Not many people realize that their greatest financial asset is their ability to earn money. A disability, whether physiological (e.g. loss of one hand) or psychological (e.g. mental illness), results in an inability to perform productively. This means that you will either lose your high-paying job or become unable to operate your business effectively. Either way your income falls.

2. Loss of health. A major illness or accidental trauma can run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, in addition to the loss of income during hospitalization.

3. Loss of life. This is actually a variation of a loss of income, since it’s not the life itself but the income associated with the lifespan that can be valued in monetary terms. However insurers distinguish between loss of life and loss of income since you can be alive and kicking but totally unable to earn your previous level of income.

Comparing your lifetime earnings and the typical rates quoted by an insurer, there is no excuse for not insuring your ability to work. A disability income policy will pay a percentage, usually 75% of your last drawn pay, should you become unable to work. If you suffer a pay cut it pays a percentage of the pay cut. A typical 25 year old fellow in Singapore earning say $30,000 annually would likely earn at least $900,000 over the next 30 years, excepting increments and bonuses. Yet the cost of providing 75% replacement income ($650,000) is $400 or less annually. It is the most cost-effective coverage you can buy – ‘leverage’ is over 1,500 times.

The average person gets sick 4-5 days a year, but that’s small things like a cough, cold or the flu. 1 in 3 men will suffer a heart attack, stroke or cancer before age 65. For women, it’s 1 in 5. There are other alarming medical statistics freely available that demonstrate that the likelihood of living out a full life without a major medical incident is rather low. The local Medishield and its variants offer extremely limited coverage – there are dollar caps on every item, plus a significant deductible. At a minimum, all locals should move to IncomeShield (best of the Shield variants), but it’s not enough.

A third-party hospital and surgical plan offers better coverage (no deductible, much higher dollar caps). Premiums are in the mid-hundreds to low-thousands per year, meaning you’ll likely spend $20,000 over a lifetime. But one medical claim alone can hit $20,000, and a major operation like an organ transplant can cost $200,000. So one claim, and you’ve recovered your premium costs. Of course, ideally you don’t want to have to claim at all! Insurance is one bet you always want to lose. Critical illness plans (which pay a lump sum on diagnosis) are a nice-to-have option, although their coverage overlaps with health and surgical plans (which work via reimbursement).

Loss of life is actually only an issue for those with dependents (young children, aged parents etc). For those without dependents, life insurance is actually a waste of money, because nobody suffers a financial loss if you die. All you need is enough coverage to pay for funeral expenses – and most locals are covered in this respect by the Dependants’ Protection Scheme (automatically paid from CPF unless you opt out). But for those with dependents, it is prudent to have sufficient coverage to cover the loss of income – disability coverage usually doesn’t pay much on death.

In financial terms, when facing a risk, one should, in order of preference:

1. Avoid it.
2. Minimise it.
3. Transfer it.
4. Absorb it.

As far as health/life is concerned, you can’t avoid getting sick. You can minimise the risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You can transfer the risk of major bills to an insurer. You can absorb the risk of small bills from seeing your general practitioner.

Where income-earning ability is concerned, you can’t avoid getting injured or dying in an accident. You can minimise the risk of death or injury by choosing a less hazardous occupation. You can transfer the risk of consequent financial loss to an insurer. You can’t absorb the loss of income by saving enough money during good times.

Everyone but the extremely rich should have medical insurance to pay for bills and disability insurance to replace lost income. Only those with dependents should bother about life insurance.

Investment is a game of greed where you give up small known losses (in inflation and opportunity cost) in order to get large unknown gains. Insurance is a game of fear where you give up small known losses (in premiums) in order to avoid large unknown losses. Fear and greed are distinct; do not mix the two. Yet both are vital to any financial plan and must be adequately addressed.

Study: Milk dilutes benefits of tea

POSTED: 2239 GMT (0639 HKT), January 9, 2007

• Milk in tea eliminates protective effect against heart disease, study finds
• Researchers compared health effects on 16 healthy women
• Tea is second only to water in worldwide consumption

LONDON, England (Reuters) — Drinking tea can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke but only if milk is not added to the brew, German scientists said Tuesday.

Research has shown that tea improves blood flow and the ability of the arteries to relax but researchers at the Charite Hospital at the University of Berlin, Germany, found milk eliminates the protective effect against cardiovascular disease.

“The beneficial effects of drinking black tea are completely prevented by the addition of milk, said Dr. Verena Stangl, a cardiologist at the hospital.

“If you want to drink tea to have the beneficial health effects you have to drink it without milk. That is clearly shown by our experiments,” she told Reuters.
Continue reading Study: Milk dilutes benefits of tea

The Centre of Love

When the human race learns to live as a family, then the world will finally attain the next stage of civilization and enlightenment. Families are meant to be centers of love, which radiate their love outward to other families. When people understand this purpose and can share the experience, then they can create joy and peace throughout society. When peace reigns, there will no longer be hatred or disturbances between people, and the human mind will automatically be led upward, toward the highest center of consciousness.

Swami Rama