Better to be attractive or not?

Originally Posted by Rouge

I was ugly when I was a kid. My family struggled financially, so I was skinny as a beanpole and had thick glasses, bad hair and hand-me-downs that didn’t fit. I had no confidence, few friends and considered myself a social retard. Up till now, I’m still scarred by how the other kids teased me.

When I was 18 or 19, I blossomed. I started wearing contact lenses, light make-up, flattering clothes, heels. Suddenly, people started being nicer to me.

But life as an “attractive person” is not always a bed of roses:

– People may have a more positive impression of you in the beginning. But since they have higher expectations of you, they also become more critical of you if you fail any of these expectations. You’re twice as likely to be considered “stupid”, “superficial” or “arrogant” than someone they had a poorer initial impression of.

– I probably got hired in a couple of jobs thanks to looks, but I later paid the price for it when the (male) bosses tried to hit on me. Some male clients also tried to get cheeky with me. I couldn’t afford to offend these people and had to manage my relationships with them. All these created additional stress at work.

– I have the opposite problem with female bosses. They didn’t want to hire me. That’s the rule for working for a good looking woman- you can’t be more good looking than her. The office is her kingdom, she will not want any competition for male attention.

– Some female colleagues took convenient swipes at me for being a bimbo when they caught me making mistakes. Since this stereotype fitted, they got away with it a couple of times, especially with people in other departments who had not worked with me.

– Some women hate me. They hate me without allowing themselves to get to know me. Enough said.

– I’ve also had to manage my relationship with female friends very carefully. Gal pals are great for a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. But a few of them turned into absolute monsters when I dated a highly eligible guy. One tried to sow doubts into me by convincing me that the guy couldn’t be serious about me. Two tried to accidentally run into me to get an introduction to him when we were out on a date. I can’t tell you how how disappointed and hurt I felt. Despite the good times and bad times we’ve been through, they’d sell me out for a guy at the end of the day. These days, if I were to date anyone “hot”, I’d downplay how attractive/well off he is. I don’t have the stomach to subject all my friendships to such tests.

– My platonic friendships are often problematic. Maybe the guys didn’t befriend me because they were attracted to me. But some of them couldn’t maintain a friendship with me when they started liking me and I didn’t feel the same way back. The successful platonic friendships I’ve had are mostly with much older men who are happily married and totally crazy over their wives.

– I’ve received pressure from some of my boyfriends on maintaining my looks. One even messaged me to find out whether I’ve been going to the gym when he was away on a business trip. I’m sure they liked me for qualities other than my looks. But they were sold on an image of me and couldn’t accept it if this were to change.

After being on both sides of the fence, I can’t say whether it’s better to be attractive or not. Each side has its disadvantages. Maybe being average is best. You might not believe it, but you’re more likely to have more friends and better relationships this way than if you were to be more good looking.

Zouk may shut by year end

Iconic club to close if it can’t secure 3-year lease

Published on Jun 18, 2014 6:13 AM
Zouk founder Lincoln Cheng, 67, says he will close the iconic nightspot for good by the end of the year if he does not get a three-year extension on the lease. He said he had no desire to retire, but that he also felt the need to be responsible to his staff, who have been asking him for his decision as to what to do with the club when the lease expires. — ST PHOTO: JOYCE LIM

The founder of Zouk, Mr Lincoln Cheng, says he is tired of getting short lease extensions for the popular dance club’s Jiak Kim Street site.

If he does not get a three-year extension he is now requesting, he will close the 23-year-old iconic nightspot for good by the end of this year.

Mr Cheng, 67, revealed this to The Straits Times earlier this month, ending recent speculation as to what will eventually happen to the much-loved Singapore club.

Currently ranked No.7 in the world by DJ Mag, an influential UK music magazine, Zouk has become an internationally recognised name on the global club circuit.

Each week, the club’s five outlets – Wine Bar, Phuture, Velvet Underground-Dance and Velvet Underground-Lounge and the Zouk main dance hall – draw more than 10,000 revellers from Singapore, Asia and other parts of the world. It is the only club that has won the prestigious Best Nightspot Experience award from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) a record nine times.

Last year, financial audit firm Ernst & Young valued the home-grown brand and its business at $40 million.

When the club first opened in 1991, the land around it was largely vacant. But today, the club – which is situated within three recently conserved riverside warehouses – is dwarfed by neighbouring condominiums and hotels. It was no surprise, therefore, when questions about the fate of Zouk started making the rounds in 2012.

In the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) latest Master Plan, which governs Singapore’s development over the next 10 to 15 years, Zouk’s premises are within a larger site zoned for residential use, with commercial activity on the first floor.

The site has not yet been listed for sale under the Government Land Sales Programme.

It has been reported that its lease was extended till last June, when it first expired in 2012, and once more until June 30 this year.

Last month, the authorities gave a third extension – this time for only six months until the end of December.

A URA spokesman said: “The site was first leased to Zouk in 1990 for interim use as the surrounding area was not fully developed and there were no firm development plans for the site at that point in time. The lease was extended subsequently as there were still no firm plans to develop the site. Over time, the surrounding area has become an established residential precinct. As such, the use of the site by Zouk has become incompatible with the residential nature of the area.”

Mr Cheng said: “We can’t live with six months’ extension. It takes three years to set up a new club. We wanted the new Zouk to be ready when the old Zouk closes.”

Speaking candidly to The Straits Times, Mr Cheng, an avid music lover and art collector, said: “Zouk is like my baby. It is like losing my child, like losing a family member. I am still active. I have no desire to retire.”

But the entrepreneur said he also felt the need to be responsible to his staff, who have been asking him for his decision as to what to do with the club when the lease expires. “If no other options present themselves before the lease expiry, it will make it necessary for the club to bow out of the Singapore entertainment scene,” he said.

He added that Zouk will soon make the necessary preparations in the areas of hardware, administration and human resource for its closure. Mr Cheng plans to have a series of farewell parties and a final instalment of the 2014 ZoukOut festival to thank the club’s loyal fans.

The veteran entrepreneur said he had started a search for a new home for Zouk as early as 2010, and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) showed him four sites in Sentosa. “We didn’t like Sentosa because it is a one-way road out,” said Mr Cheng.

The “stunning-looking” building that housed the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station caught his eye. “But we were told by URA that piece of land is not available. It is too political still, so don’t even think about it,” he said.

An STB spokesman told The Straits Times that the board has been facilitating talks between Zouk and various organisations, including various commercial entities and fellow government agencies such as the Singapore Land Authority and the URA.

It said it wanted to help Zouk identify alternative locations beyond its current tenancy at Jiak Kim Street, but its spokesman declined to reveal details of the sites “due to business confidentiality”.

Meanwhile, Zouk’s head of business development and public relations, Miss Sofie Chandra, 31, told The Straits Times that the closure of Zouk Singapore will not affect its sister club in Kuala Lumpur. The 10-year-old Zouk KL, a seven-room nightspot currently located in Jalan Ampang, has found a new site, and it will be relocating to TREC, a new lifestyle and entertainment precinct in downtown Jalan Tun Razak next year.

When told of the news, celebrity presenter and Zouk regular Najip Ali said he was shocked.

“When Zouk opened, it was ahead of its time. In the 1990s, Zouk put a stamp on the kind of nightlife that didn’t exist.” It was where he learnt about music and deejays. “Zouk has been and is still an institution,” he said.

Zouk may shut by year end

Iconic club to close if it can’t secure 3-year lease

Published on Jun 18, 2014 6:13 AM
 56.8K  4108  6  6 PRINT EMAIL
Zouk founder Lincoln Cheng, 67, says he will close the iconic nightspot for good by the end of the year if he does not get a three-year extension on the lease. He said he had no desire to retire, but that he also felt the need to be responsible to his staff, who have been asking him for his decision as to what to do with the club when the lease expires. — ST PHOTO: JOYCE LIM

The founder of Zouk, Mr Lincoln Cheng, says he is tired of getting short lease extensions for the popular dance club’s Jiak Kim Street site.

If he does not get a three-year extension he is now requesting, he will close the 23-year-old iconic nightspot for good by the end of this year.

Mr Cheng, 67, revealed this to The Straits Times earlier this month, ending recent speculation as to what will eventually happen to the much-loved Singapore club.

Currently ranked No.7 in the world by DJ Mag, an influential UK music magazine, Zouk has become an internationally recognised name on the global club circuit.

Each week, the club’s five outlets – Wine Bar, Phuture, Velvet Underground-Dance and Velvet Underground-Lounge and the Zouk main dance hall – draw more than 10,000 revellers from Singapore, Asia and other parts of the world. It is the only club that has won the prestigious Best Nightspot Experience award from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) a record nine times.

Last year, financial audit firm Ernst & Young valued the home-grown brand and its business at $40 million.

When the club first opened in 1991, the land around it was largely vacant. But today, the club – which is situated within three recently conserved riverside warehouses – is dwarfed by neighbouring condominiums and hotels. It was no surprise, therefore, when questions about the fate of Zouk started making the rounds in 2012.

In the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) latest Master Plan, which governs Singapore’s development over the next 10 to 15 years, Zouk’s premises are within a larger site zoned for residential use, with commercial activity on the first floor.

The site has not yet been listed for sale under the Government Land Sales Programme.

It has been reported that its lease was extended till last June, when it first expired in 2012, and once more until June 30 this year.

Last month, the authorities gave a third extension – this time for only six months until the end of December.

A URA spokesman said: “The site was first leased to Zouk in 1990 for interim use as the surrounding area was not fully developed and there were no firm development plans for the site at that point in time. The lease was extended subsequently as there were still no firm plans to develop the site. Over time, the surrounding area has become an established residential precinct. As such, the use of the site by Zouk has become incompatible with the residential nature of the area.”

Mr Cheng said: “We can’t live with six months’ extension. It takes three years to set up a new club. We wanted the new Zouk to be ready when the old Zouk closes.”

Speaking candidly to The Straits Times, Mr Cheng, an avid music lover and art collector, said: “Zouk is like my baby. It is like losing my child, like losing a family member. I am still active. I have no desire to retire.”

But the entrepreneur said he also felt the need to be responsible to his staff, who have been asking him for his decision as to what to do with the club when the lease expires. “If no other options present themselves before the lease expiry, it will make it necessary for the club to bow out of the Singapore entertainment scene,” he said.

He added that Zouk will soon make the necessary preparations in the areas of hardware, administration and human resource for its closure. Mr Cheng plans to have a series of farewell parties and a final instalment of the 2014 ZoukOut festival to thank the club’s loyal fans.

The veteran entrepreneur said he had started a search for a new home for Zouk as early as 2010, and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) showed him four sites in Sentosa. “We didn’t like Sentosa because it is a one-way road out,” said Mr Cheng.

The “stunning-looking” building that housed the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station caught his eye. “But we were told by URA that piece of land is not available. It is too political still, so don’t even think about it,” he said.

An STB spokesman told The Straits Times that the board has been facilitating talks between Zouk and various organisations, including various commercial entities and fellow government agencies such as the Singapore Land Authority and the URA.

It said it wanted to help Zouk identify alternative locations beyond its current tenancy at Jiak Kim Street, but its spokesman declined to reveal details of the sites “due to business confidentiality”.

Meanwhile, Zouk’s head of business development and public relations, Miss Sofie Chandra, 31, told The Straits Times that the closure of Zouk Singapore will not affect its sister club in Kuala Lumpur. The 10-year-old Zouk KL, a seven-room nightspot currently located in Jalan Ampang, has found a new site, and it will be relocating to TREC, a new lifestyle and entertainment precinct in downtown Jalan Tun Razak next year.

When told of the news, celebrity presenter and Zouk regular Najip Ali said he was shocked.

“When Zouk opened, it was ahead of its time. In the 1990s, Zouk put a stamp on the kind of nightlife that didn’t exist.” It was where he learnt about music and deejays. “Zouk has been and is still an institution,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/zouk-may-shut-year-end-20140618#sthash.GzBOcETu.dpuf

My Singapore Credit Card Spending Strategy (Update: 23 April 2014)

Rule 1

Groceries – All Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice, Guardian Pharmacy, Unity Pharmacy, Popular Bookstore, Pizza Hut and McDonalds delivery spending to charge to Maybank Platinum Family and Friends Mastercard.
5% cash rebate
Source: info.maybank2u.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/family-friends-platinum-mastercard.aspx

Fuel – All petrol to be filled at Esso using Citibank Dividend Platinum linked to Esso Smiles Card.
18.3% discount/cashback
Source: www.citibank.com.sg/gcb/credit_cards/citi_esso_promotions.htm

Dining – All dining charge to UOB Preferred Platinum American Express.
Get 10xUNI$, i.e. $1 = 2UNI$
= 4 Krisflyer miles

Source: www.uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/uob_preferred_platinum.html

Online Transactions – All transactions with “online merchants” charge to UOB Preferred Platinum Visa.
Get 10xUNI$, i.e. $1 = 2UNI$ = 4 Krisflyer miles
“Online merchants include bookstores, cinemas, entertainment, electronics, fast food, music and retail shopping, BUT excludes all airlines, travel, transport, top-ups for any pre-paid card,
government, utilities, telecommunications, brokerage/securities, insurance, education/tuition,  online money transfers and online gambling websites.”
Source: http://www.uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/preferred_platinum_visa_card.html

Paywave Transactions – All Visa Paywave transactions at these merchants charged to UOB Preferred Platinum Visa.
e.g. 
ANDERSEN’S OF DENMARK
CEDELE
CHALLENGER
COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF
COLD STORAGE
DIAN XIAO ER
FAIRPRICE SUPERMARKET
GIANT
HOME-FIX D.I.Y STORE
JASON’S MARKET PLACE
SHENG SIONG 
STARBUCKS 
SUSHI-TEI 
TAKASHIMAYA DEPARTMENT STORE 
TOAST BOX
WATSON’S
ZOUK
Get 10xUNI$, i.e. $1 = 2UNI$ = 4 Krisflyer miles
Source: www.uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/preferred_platinum_visa_card.html

10xUNI$ worked examples:
– Spend $7,500 = 30,000 Krisflyer miles = Economy SIA ticket SIN-HK-SIN worth $696 (excl. taxes)
Effective cash rebate = $696/$7,500 =9.28% rebate
– Spend $13,750 = 55,000 Krisflyer miles = Business SIA ticket SIN-HK-SIN worth $2,156
Effective cash rebate = $2,156/$13,750 = 15.7% rebate
Source: www.krisflyer.com

Overseas Transactions – All overseas spending charge to UOB One Visa (subject to spending cap of $5,000 per calendar year)
2% cash rebate
Source: www.uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/uob_one_card.html

Rule 2
Subject to Rule 1, all monthly recurring expenses (GIRO payments, Straits Times, phone bill, internet bill, gym membership, utilities bills etc) and any additional expenditure up to $1,500 to charge to UOB One Visa.
3.33% cash rebate (provided that at least $1,500 is spent for 3 consecutive months)
Source: www.uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/uob_one_card.html

Rule 3
All expenses that are not caught by Rules 1 and 2 above will be charged to DBS Altitude Visa.
1.2 miles per $1 spend below $2,000, 1.6 miles thereafter
Source: www.dbs.com.sg/personal/cards/credit-card/visa-altitude/default.page
DBS Altitude Visa worked examples:
– Spend $25,000 = 30,000 Krisflyer miles = Economy SIA ticket SIN-HK-SIN worth $696 (excl. taxes)
Effective cash rebate = $696/$25,000 =2.78% rebate
– Spend $45,833 = 55,000 Krisflyer miles = Business SIA ticket SIN-HK-SIN worth $2,156
Effective cash rebate = $2,156/$45,833 = 4.7% rebate
Source: www.krisflyer.com

Q&A
Why don’t you use the Citibank Dividend card which gives a 5% cash rebate for all groceries/pharmacies or a 2% cash rebate for dining outlets?

Because there is a minimum spend of $50 for each transaction, so if your bill falls below $50, you don’t get the cash rebate.

How about the UOB Visa Delight card which gives 10% cash rebate for groceries?
Because you need to have a minimum total qualifying spend of $1,000 per calendar month to be eligible., Plus the 10% rebate drops to 5% after 30 June 2014 (read the fine print).

SCB Singpost Platinum Visa for 5% cash rebate for groceries and 2% for online merchants?
Minimum monthly spend of $500.

This post supersedes the original post: nicolastang.com/2013/06/11/credit-card-spending-strategy/

Quote of the Week

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien