Baby Nursery Storage Ideas and Hacks to Save Space

Taking your little bundle of joy home comes with a lot of responsibilities and a long shopping list of items to take care of the baby. Therefore it becomes quintessential to organize all these items so that they can be used effectively. 

While arranging and organizing the nursery for your newborn you may stumble upon space constraints. This calls for utilizing the available space in the most efficient way possible. Worry no more, because we are here to help you with some storage ideas and hacks to organize your nursery better. 

  1. Use convertible furniture

Convertible furniture as the name suggests can be converted and used for more than one purpose. Also, you should invest in convertible furniture because it grows with the baby and can help you avoid future investment. For example, you can invest in a crib that can be converted into a toddler bed and can be used later when your baby outgrows the crib. 

  1. Use space under the crib

When faced with the scarcity of space, it becomes important to utilize every square inch of space available. You can store less frequently used items under the crib. For a more organized look, you can use a crib skirt to cover the area under the crib. You can also use decorative baskets to store items and to enhance the overall look of the nursery.

  1. Use dividers for hanging clothes

Dividers can be used to segregate baby clothes based on size and season. This helps you to manage the outfits for your little ones better. It also saves you time as you know exactly where each item is kept and you don’t have to waste your time searching for them.

  1. Use dividers for drawers

Dividers in a drawer will help you utilize the entire space effectively. Necessities for your baby can be tiny and thus it becomes imperative to organize them based on categories and using dividers ensures that the entire space is utilized.

  1. Maximize floor space.

While managing the space in a small nursery you should use tall and thin furniture. This will take up less floor area but will still help you store a lot of space because of its height. We recommend choosing furniture with adjustable racks and dividers.

  1. Using baskets

Using baskets for necessities like toys, towels and diapers helps you organize stuff and also ensures a faster clean up.

You can also use tiered baskets to save up more space.

  1. Use wall storage

While saving floor space, using wall space becomes inevitable. Use wall hangers with pouches to store necessary items. They not only help you keep essentials handy but may also enhance the entire look of your nursery. Wall hangers can be placed near the crib or bed for easy access.

  1. Use racks

It is always advisable to go for vertical storage in case of limited floor space. You can use the unused corners of your nursery for racks. These racks can be used to store baby shoes, toys, and other essentials.

  1. Keep extra items out of the nursery

Being a parent you must have stocked extra items that may come handy in case you run out of them. This saves you an unexpected visit to the store.

You should keep your emergency supply out of the nursery to save up space in the nursery.

These are some of the storage ideas and hacks to keep your nursery more organized while managing space.And in case you need help with your long shopping list you can use valid My 1st Years Voucher Codes for exciting discounts.

Chinese Oral O Level

Chinese Oral O Level Mark Weightage

The weightage for Chinese Oral for O Level (classified under Paper 3) is quite high, at 25%. The duration of the Chinese Oral exam is only 15-25 minutes in total, hence this short period of time determines quite a lot of marks!

Chinese Oral O Level Topics

There is a wide variety of topics that can be tested for the Chinese O Level Oral in the “Daily Conversation” section. The old format used to be based on a picture or photograph, but nowadays students view a video clip and answer or discuss questions based on the video clip.

For an extensive discussion of Topics for Chinese Oral (口试话题), check out this page on Popular topics are those that are important to Singapore, such as saving water, fake news, inclusive society, and 个人代步工具 PMD (personal mobility device).

Chinese Oral O Level Tips

Firstly, one common problem for some students is talking too little. Clearly, the content marks is proportional to the amount of relevant content the student says. Hence, ideally, the student should keep talking until the time is up or the teacher says stop. If only a few words are spoken, the content marks cannot be high. This is the same concept as in Chinese composition, basically if the student only writes one page, his/her composition marks will be low.

Secondly, another problem is peppering of the speech with English words like “then”, “but”, or acronyms like MOE. Even names like “Joseph Schooling” should ideally be translated into Chinese (约瑟林). A few of these English words are not fatal, but too many English words would indicate a lack of mastery of Chinese vocabulary. Hence, students are advised to memorize a key list of Chinese terms that have high chance of appearing in Chinese O level exams.

List of Ministries in Singapore (Chinese)

  • 新加坡国防部(Ministry of Defence (MINDEF))
  • 新加坡环境及水源部(Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR))
  • 新加坡教育部(Ministry of Education (MOE))
  • 新加坡律政部(Ministry of Law (MINLAW))
  • 新加坡贸易和工业部(Ministry of Trade and Industry ( MTI))
  • 新加坡人力部(Ministry of Manpower (MOM))
  • 新加坡社会及家庭发展部(Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD))
  • 新加坡通讯及新闻部(Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI))
  • 新加坡卫生部(Ministry of Health (MOH))
  • 新加坡总理公署(Prime Minister’s Office)
  • 建屋发展局(Housing and Development Board、简称:HDB)
  • 国家传染病中心(National Centre for Infectious Diseases,简称NCID)
  • 新加坡文化、社区及青年部(Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY))

Lastly, one tip would be to memorize a list of “powerful Chinese idioms and proverbs”, for instance sayings of Confucius or Tang poetry. If any one of them are used appropriately, it is an instant boost to your vocabulary score and place you in the top 5% of the student cohort. Imagine if a student uses the phrase below correctly, the examiner will be impressed beyond words:

天将降大任于斯人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空乏其身,行拂乱其所为,所以动心忍性,增益其所不能.  In English, Mencius is saying that, “whenever heaven invests a person with great responsibilities, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his muscles and bones with toil. It exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty. In this way his patience and endurance are developed and his weakness is overcome.”

A list of 500 proverbs (including many by Confucius) can be found in the book below, in Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin and English translation. The author, Qin Xue Herzberg, is a native speaker of Chinese and a graduate of Beijing Normal University in Chinese Language and Literature.

Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language

O level Chinese Oral Marking Scheme, Grading and Format

The official information on the O Level Chinese Oral Marking Scheme and Format is found on the SEAB website:

试卷三:口试 10 -15 分钟 50 分/25%

这份试卷包括朗读短文和会话。在考试前,考生有 10 分钟的时间默 读短文和观看录像短片。考生在限定的时间内,可以多次默读短文和 观看录像短片。

第一部分 (Reading):朗读短文 考生必须朗读一个短文。

第二部分 (Conversation):会话 考生针对所提供的录像短片,以及主考员的提问,跟主考员进行一段 对话。

Basically, the Reading portion is 10 marks (5%), while the Conversation portion is 40 marks (20%).

Within the Conversation portion, the official marking scheme does not mention how the marks is broken down, but traditionally it is common that 20 marks (10%) is for Content while another 20 marks (10%) is for Vocabulary/Proper usage of Chinese Language. Alternatively, the 20% could be allocated evenly among the 3 or 4 questions asked (but note the Vocabulary is still important as it contributes to Impression Marks 印象分 that is subconsciously applied by the examiner).

How to Improve Chinese Oral O Level

As mentioned above, the key aspects to improve Chinese Oral (O Level) are in the aspects of Content and Vocabulary.

For Content, students are advised to watch more Chinese television, especially news broadcasts on current affairs. Also, students can read more Chinese newspapers to improve their general knowledge. For example, Dengue Fever is a common O Level Chinese Oral topic, at minimum students should know that Dengue is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes (some students thought that it is transmitted by houseflies).

For Vocabulary, students should aim and target for speaking in Chinese 100% without usage of English words. To achieve that, a list of common Chinese terminologies should be memorized, especially words that are unique to Singapore (see the list of Singapore ministries listed above). To achieve the highest distinction, students should in addition memorize a list of “powerful” Chinese idioms and proverbs to further improve their vocabulary score.

This book below has over 500 powerful Chinese proverbs in Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin, as well as English translation, including proverbs by Confucius. Proper usage of such proverbs have a high chance of impressing the examiner in Chinese Oral and even Chinese composition.

Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language

Do read more on O Level Chinese Oral Tips at:

H2 Math Tuition 2020

H2 Math can prove to be quite challenging for many students. Historically, the distinction rate is 50%, meaning that half of the student population will get an ‘A’ grade.

However, note that those 50% can be heavily represented by the top schools RI, HCI, NJC where almost all students get ‘A’. At the end of the day, the ‘A’ level students are facing heavy competition from the IP cohort (who were absent from the O levels).

Tough topics in ‘A’ level H2 Math:

Case study: I tutored a student (from China) studying in NJC for H2 Math. Although she was quite a strong student with good Math foundation (definitely above average), nevertheless the NJC H2 Math paper was set so tough that she only scored 50+ out of 100 in the prelims. Many students in her NJC class outright failed for the prelims (below 50 marks). There were some weaknesses in her H2 Math skills, for example certain topics like Integration and P&C, and also carelessness issues. After several months of tutoring, noticeable improvements were observed. In the end for the actual ‘A’ levels, she managed to score A grade for H2 Math.

Read more on student testimonials here: Testimonials

For H2 Math tuition, contact our experienced tutor Mr Wu at:



Rasbora88 Pet Supplies Store

Do check out this online pet supplies store Rasbora88, currently with fish aquarium supplies in stock!


Currently there is a Free Shipping promotion to all international locations.

Recommended product: Sponge filter with suction cup

The benefit of this kind of sponge filter:

  • Creates horizontal water movement for better water circulation (avoid dead spots).
  • Attaches to glass via suction cup, so it takes up less valuable ground space which can be used to grow plants.
  • Shrimp and fry safe, it is impossible for shrimp or fry to get sucked into the filter.

An example of this type of sponge filter:

IP Math Tuition (Integrated Programme)

IP, or Integrated Programme, is well known to test more advanced mathematics than ‘O’ level.

For example:

  • For partial fractions, IP schools like to test improper fractions. Most of the time, ‘O’ level schools test the easier version of proper fractions.
  • IP schools like to test half-angle formula in trigonometry. This will absolutely stun students who have not encountered or learnt it before, since teachers rarely teach it in school.
  • IP schools like to test “area to the left of the curve“, or the dy version of the usual “area under the curve”. Again, this is something that is quite tricky and not usually tested in ‘O’ levels.

Even though IP students do not have ‘O’ levels, they still have to maintain a grade of around 60% (depending on school) in order to promote successfully and avoid the scenario of being transferred to the ‘O’ level track.

One problem in IP schools is that the teachers like to teach a very strange and impractical version of the syllabus. For example, they often teach stuff that are not tested, whilst things that are tested are often not taught. This leads to weaker students being totally lost in class. Also, there are many fancy extracurricular programs in IP schools that further distract the student from the actual important tests.

Hence, many students (even those who score above 250 in PSLE) cannot cope well with the IP syllabus, due to the above factors.

For IP Math Tuition (Upper secondary), contact our tutor Mr Wu at:



Online Math Tuition Singapore

We provide online Math Tuition using Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts for the following subjects:

  • E Maths (Sec 3 & Sec 4)
  • A Maths (Sec 3 & Sec 4)
  • H2 Maths
  • H3 Maths
  • University Maths (selected modules)
  • Olympiad Math

Do contact our tutor Mr Wu at:


Phone (WhatsApp/SMS preferred):

Face-to-face home tuition is also available at West region of Singapore (near Jurong East/ Clementi/ Bukit Batok).

How much to feed betta?

“How much to feed betta” or “how much to feed a betta fish” is a question that has puzzled me for a long time. I did not find any definitive answer online. I believe the rule “feed the size of the fish’s eyeball” leads to underfeeding, based on my experience. Also, it does not quite make sense to me that “a fish’s stomach is the size of its eyeball”, which is another commonly quoted guideline.

Hence, I create my own modified rule:

#1) Feed twice the size of the fish’s eyeball (eyeball includes the entire “sphere”, not just the exposed part).

#2) Adjust accordingly based on the size of the fish’s stomach. A healthy betta should have a round belly (especially after feeding) and a streamlined look at the same time. This is a bit subjective and requires experience of looking at hundreds of betta photos online to get a sense of what is a normal betta shape.

Following the above rule, I am currently feeding 3 to 4 pellets of Hikari Betta Bio-gold daily. That is a Hikari fish food specially formulated for bettas. Betta are carnivorous and require more protein.

How much do you feed your betta? Do you think I am underfeeding or overfeeding? Please comment below!

Betta Tank 2 Gallon (female betta)

New fish! A female betta from the store.

I put it in my 2 gallon planted tank, with Java Ferns and Anubias. I chose female betta as I wanted a short fin betta, and there were no “Plakat” male bettas available. The colors of a female betta are more pale and muted compared to male bettas.

The name of the female betta: Charlotte.

In the store, there was a pair of wild bettas (Betta Mahachai) which were very beautiful. However, they were quite expensive so I did not buy them in the end.

Female wild betta (Betta Mahachai) at the store.
Male wild betta (Betta Mahachai) at the store.

Free Seed Pack (Edible Vegetables)

Do check out this website to sign up for a free seed pack (for Singapore addresses only).

Quite interesting to see what vegetables are included in the seed pack. Hopefully it is a small plant that can be grown in a small pot.

Seed Pack Registration (Source from NParks)

You can sign up to receive 2 species of vegetables and begin your gardening journey with us. We hope that the seeds will spark your interest in gardening.

As the seeds grow and you see the fruits of your labour, we also hope that you will share the harvest and your interest in gardening with neighbours and friends. Do share your stories with us on social media with the hashtag #GrowingwithEdiblesSG!

Join us in this journey of Growing our City in Nature! Click here to register for your seed pack today, while stocks last. Registration will open 18 June, 12.00pm (Thursday) and will close on 30 June, 11.59pm (Tuesday).

4-day work week among ideas to improve work-life balance (Singapore)


Sounds like a good idea, to improve work-life balance and potentially solve several other problems like low birth rate (which will alleviate the problem of aging society).

Many people have the illusion that industrialization and technology have improved the work-life balance of ordinary workers, however the reality is quite the opposite.

Before industrialization, workers worked less hours and had more leisure time.

Before capitalism, most people did not work very long hours at all. The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely; the pace of work relaxed. Our ancestors may not have been rich, but they had an abundance of leisure. When capitalism raised their incomes, it also took away their time.


The worst period seems to be right in the middle of the industrial revolution, the mid 1800s. Workers worked up to 70 hour work weeks (with low pay). Most of the profit went to the rich capitalists.

One of capitalism’s most durable myths is that it has reduced human toil.

Jack Ma once said:

People could work as little as three days a week, four hours a day with the help of technology.

Jack Ma (Economic Times)

Will this age ever come? Note that Jack Ma in another speech endorsed China’s 996 culture, which is to work from 9am to 9pm six days a week (CNN).

Philosophically, it seems that no technology will be able to eliminate work? It is the so called “Adam’s curse”:

He told the man, “Because you have listened to what your wife said, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you. You’ll eat from it through pain-filled labor for the rest of your life.

International Standard Version

Ghibli Ojisan Wikipedia

Ghib Ojisan Wikipedia

Ghibli Ojisan, also known as Ghib Ojisan is a Japanese YouTuber currently living in Singapore. His name, Ghibli, is a reference to Studio Ghibli which is a Japanese animated film studio producing excellent animated movies. “Ojisan” means uncle or a older male in his 40s or 50s in the Japanese language. Hence, Ghib Ojisan means “Uncle Ghibli”.

Some of the most popular videos of Ghib Ojisan include his “finger style” guitar busking in various cities around the world. Many of his guitar music feature music from Studio Ghibli films, for example Totoro or Spirited Away.

Ghib Ojisan is born in Osaka Japan, raised in the United States (which explains his excellent English), and now based in Singapore. Ghib Ojisan also goes by the name of Mr Ken.

Ghib Ojisan Occupation

As far as we know, Ghib Ojisan is a full time YouTuber, though he did mention in his videos that he has worked before in corporate firms in Japan as well as in Singapore. According to his Social Blade profile, he has 157k subscribers and can make an estimated $577 – $9.2K per month.

Ghib Ojisan is also known for making a video on the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. His coverage was unbiased and was generally well received by both Singaporeans and Japanese, according to this article on Mothership. He has covered the facts mostly correctly regarding the event, and he feels “terrible” that so many innocent lives were lost.

Ghib Ojisan Singlish

Ghib Ojisan’s signature Singlish opening phrase is “Huat ah! Jippun Lang Lai Liao!”. He has immersed himself very well into Singaporean society, for example he appreciates and likes the taste of durian (most Japanese don’t). He also knows many other Singlish phrases like “paiseh”.

Personally, I find his videos quite entertaining and educational. Do check out his YouTube videos! For example, he interviews his landlord who lived in a kampong to learn more about the kampong life in Singapore during the 1960s.

Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

This is one of my favorite Christian books. The Imitation of Christ is a Christian devotional book by Thomas à Kempis, first composed in Latin (as De Imitatione Christi) ca. 1418–1427. (Wikipedia)

Despite being written centuries ago, many of the words still apply perfectly. Human nature hasn’t changed over thousands of years. I find the book particularly suitable for those facing troubles, depression, or problems in life.

Some Quotes:

  • “When a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace.”
  • “Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.”
  • “So long as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation.”
  • “If man had but a spark of true charity he would surely sense that all the things of earth are full of vanity!”
  • “Be not troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help.”


For five hundred years, this gentle book, filled with the spirit of the love of God, has brought understanding and comfort to millions of readers in over fifty languages, and provided them with a source of heart-felt personal prayer. These meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, written in times even more troubled and dangerous than our own, have become second only to the Bible as a guide and inspiration. It is now available in a modern translation that retains the flavor of the original English translation.

Free Download of Imitation of Christ Book

There is a free download of the book here:

There is also a Chinese translation available for free, in HTML format. I did check briefly that the translation seems fine.

For a printed leather bound version, check out the book on Amazon below.

The Imitation of Christ

Musang King (King of Kings) Durian 王中王榴莲

Premium Musang King (King of Kings) Durian unboxing video, as well as feeding some to Charlie the toy poodle dog!

The durian is “King of Kings” durian (王中王榴莲, Wang Zhong Wang), which is actually more expensive than the usual Musang King (猫山王榴莲 Mao Shan Wang). I read somewhere that it is the original Old Tree version of Musang King, other sources simply say it is a higher grade (AAA grade) of Mao Shan Wang. The major durian season is between June and September. There is a minor durian season during December to February.

Just feeding Charlie a little bit of durian, too much durian seems to be not good for dogs (due to it being too sweet). A little bit of durian is not harmful or poisonous to dogs though, dogs can eat it. Just be careful not to let the dog swallow the seed. Charlie once accidentally swallowed a small durian seed, fortunately he vomited it out.

Review: The taste is very creamy, thick, rich, and bittersweet. It is more sweet than bitter. I would rate it 4.5/5. The worst durians in my opinion are those that are either too watery or too dry and rubbery. This King of Kings durian is neither!

Bought at: The Durian Tree (

I compile some sources on the Wang Zhong Wang (King of Kings) Durian:

  • DrChansKitchen (The stallholder recommended me 王中王 which he claimed to be the best of 猫山王.)
  • TimeOut (Looking for something even better than MSW? Then you have to try Wang Zhong Wang, which literally translates to the king of kings. The triple-A grade MSW durians are set apart from the pack for its well-balanced bitterness and velvety smooth)
  • AvenueOne (While Mao Shan Wang is arguably the most well-loved in Singapore, there is actually a type that is arguably even better – Wang Zhong Wang (translates literally to ‘King of Kings’). The smooth texture and fine balance of bitter flavours are definitely worth the higher price tag.)

Relaxing Rasbora Schooling Fish Video

Just some relaxing video of Rasbora fish (Phoenix rasbora) schooling together in a group of 8.

Some rare footage of my Boraras Merah (close relative of Chili Rasbora) schooling in a tight formation. They don’t do this very often. Most of the time they school loosely, or even do their separate stuff. In the middle of my filming, Charlie the poodle is curious and watches as well!

Some Trivia: 7 of the Rasbora were bought in the same store, but 1 of them was from another batch. It took a few months for the 1 sole rasbora to familiarize and join the 7 other rasbora as a team. Quite interesting!

Homeschool Math Challenging Puzzles

The questions listed are also very suitable as PSLE Challenging Math Problem Sums.

Basically, for Grade 2-4, they are very challenging.

For Grade 6 (Primary 6, 12 year old students), they are challenging math questions.

Do give it a try and see if your child can solve it!

Singapore Maths Tuition

Homeschool Math Challenging Questions

Mathtuition88 will be starting a series of Homeschool Math Challenging Problems, aimed at age 8 to 10 (Grade 2 to 4).

This series is targeted at kids age 8 to 10 who are strong / gifted at mathematics and wish to further stretch their potential. It is also useful for children who may not be strong in math at the moment, but have a keen interest in math nonetheless.

In particular, it is very suitable for the following purposes:

  • Homeschooling for gifted kids
  • Preparation for GEP (Gifted Education Programme) screening and selection tests
  • Preparation for Math Olympiad
  • Puzzles for kids interested in math but find school work too easy.
  • PSLE challenging Math problem sums. The questions are also well within the PSLE Math Syllabus, and will be challenging to Primary 6 students as well.

This series of questions will follow the Singapore Math syllabus for Grade…

View original post 66 more words

Miu Miu Guitar Girl Wikipedia

Miu Miu Guitar Girl Wiki

Miu Miu Guitar Girl is a young six year old girl who is expert at playing the guitar. Her YouTube channel has amassed a huge following (174k subscribers) within a very short time.

Currently, there is no Wikipedia page on Miu Miu Guitar Girl. However, there is quite a lot of information on her (in Chinese) online. We summarize as much on Miu Miu Guitar Girl in this short Wiki page as possible.

Real name:
Zhou Zhaoyan 周昭妍

Stage name:
Miu Miu Guitar Girl

China, Nanjing

6 years old (2020)
6 and a half years old in April 2020 to be more precise.

Most famous video:
Fly me to the moon (This is also my personal favorite)!
5.2 million views

Special traits:
She has an elf ear (pointy right ear).

Instruments she plays:
Guitar (Acoustic, Classical and Electric), Ukulele, Piano, Drums, Bass, Vocals
Miu miu has passed the highest grade certification for acoustic guitar in China (Grade 10 Guitar). She has learnt guitar since the age of 3, and since then has racked up over 2000 hours in practice time! She can practice 5 or 6 hours (maximum up to 7 hours) in a single day, especially during the lockdown period where she stays at home.

Even for her secondary instrument, the piano, Miu Miu has obtained a grade 4 certification.

Miu miu aims to be a doctor in the future.

Miu Miu Guitar Girl Parents:
Her father, Mr Zhou, is a guitar teacher.

Miu Miu’s father is a guitar teacher.

“Practicing guitar is hard, but it’s easier than doing homework.”
– Miumiu

Miu miu calls her fans “icy candy”, “icy cookie”, “frozen lollipop” or “frozen strawberry”. She likes the movie “Frozen”, as well as eat the above types of food!


Grab food vs Foodpanda Singapore

Do vote above whether you prefer GrabFood, Foodpanda, or Deliveroo (or others)!

Personally, I prefer Foodpanda for this one single reason:

  • You can order ahead of time (e.g. when the store is not opened yet, or order the lunch menu when it is still breakfast hours).

GrabFood seems to have this limitation that you can only order when the store is open. For example, if a restaurant opens at 11am, you can only start ordering at 11am. Also, during breakfast hours, you can only order the breakfast menu.

I have not tried Deliveroo yet. Do comment below if you find it better, or worse, than GrabFood and Foodpanda.

Grab food vs Foodpanda Price

Pricing wise, the price seems similar between GrabFood and Foodpanda. By the way, it is certainly not the case that GrabFood, Foodpanda only earns the delivery fee! It is well known that the prices are often “marked up” and the delivery companies will earn the difference in price as well. For example, if a plate of chicken rice costs $3 in the hawker center, in the app it can be listed as $5. Read more in this Mothership article.

Nevertheless, the amount of “mark up” seems similar or even exactly the same between GrabFood and Foodpanda, according to my experience.

Grab charges a 30% service fee to the merchants (the food sellers). This is charged on every order received through Grab, for both Delivery and Self Pick-Up orders. (Please note that this service fee is subject to prevailing GST rates.)

Hence, it is logical that most merchants (hawkers, restaurants) will pass on the cost to the customer, marking up the price by 30%.


Expenses incurred from working at home qualify for tax deductions (Singapore)

Source: Business Times

Firstly, note that Business Times is part of SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) and hence is a rather reliable source.

This is quite a good news for large families or large households. For small households, the total expenses saved may be quite negligible (maybe just $10 per month). Another thing is that the calculation seems quite difficult and hard to justify (for example whether increased air con usage due to work from home is justified as electricity expenses).

Another scenario where it is useful is maybe those telemarketers who use their own phone to call at home.

Currently, this source from Business Times seems to be the sole source of information. Probably when more official sources appear, there will be more information on how to calculate and provide justifications for the tax expenses savings. Some worked examples would also help, for people to gauge what is the typical amount they can claim.

WORKERS working from home can claim deduction against employment income for charges such as electricity and telecommunication expenses not reimbursed by employers.

An Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) spokesperson told The Business Times: “Tax deduction against employment income is allowable for expenses incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of employment income. ”

To qualify for deduction, the expenses must be incurred while carrying out official duties, not reimbursed by the employer, and not capital or private in nature.

These expenses include the additional power and telecommunication bills incurred when employees are required to work from home. This is not limited to the “circuit breaker” period, the taxman said.

The Business Times

Homeschool Maths Puzzles with Answers: The “Average” Question

The average of 5 numbers is 73. When 2 numbers were removed, the average decreased by 3. What is the average of the 2 numbers that were removed?

This is part of a series on Homeschool Math Challenging Puzzles, suitable for Grades 2-4. (Of course, students of other grades are also welcome to try them out.) The questions are suitable for:

  • Homeschooling for gifted kids
  • Preparation for GEP (Gifted Education Programme) screening and selection tests
  • Preparation for Math Olympiad
  • Puzzles for kids interested in math but find school work too easy.


This is literally an “average” question. 😛 The word “average” appears 3 times.

The trick is to focus on the total instead.

The total of the 5 numbers is: 73×5=365.

After removing 2 numbers, the average is 73-3=70.

Hence, the total of the 3 remaining numbers is: 70×3=210.

We can then conclude that, the total of the 2 removed numbers is:


Hence, the average of the 2 removed numbers is: 155/2=77.5 or 75 1/2.

Adaptil Collar Reviews

There is this relatively new product called “Adaptil” Calm Collar for dogs. Apparently, it is supposed to contain pheromones mimicking those from a mother dog to calm the puppy. The scientific name for the active ingredient is DAP or Dog Appeasing Pheromone.

Reviews on Amazon are quite mixed, there are as many 5 star reviews as 1 star reviews. I think this shows that dogs are complex creatures, it is unlikely that one product works universally for all dogs. Similarly, for humans, there is no single medicine that can “calm” a person down.

If you have any experience with Adaptil with your pet dog, for example how long it takes to show results, please comment below!

You may check out the Amazon reviews below:

ADAPTIL Calming Collar for Dogs | A Constant Calm Anywhere You Go

Hardest Questions in Additional Mathematics (A Math)

Additional Mathematics questions can range from standard all the way to super challenging among the secondary schools in Singapore.

Certain schools (such as IP schools), and also some schools such as Anderson, Chung Cheng High School, are well known for setting hard A Math papers.

Note that even though top schools set hard A Math papers, it is not often the case that top schools teach or prepare well their students for the tests! Often, the teachers in school teach at a basic level (due to time constraints or other factors), but still test at an advanced level. Hence, many students in top IP schools are not well prepared for their school’s tests (unless they have excellent self study skills or have a parent or tutor to guide them). It is not uncommon for a student in a top IP school to be failing his/her math tests due to the above phenomena (difficult tests which do not match what is taught in school).

Some of the more difficult types of questions in the A Math syllabus are listed below.


  1. Conditions for ax^2 + bx + c to be always positive (or always negative).
    This type of question has potential to be very tricky. Somehow, many students will assume wrongly that b^2-4ac is always positive as well (where it should be the opposite).
  2. Partial Fractions with Improper Fractions.
    Only top schools tend to test improper partial fractions. Many students will miss out long division or make mistakes along the way.
  3. Binomial Theorem.
    Many students have serious problems with this topic. Also, not many seem to know that {n\choose 2}=\frac{n(n-1)}{2}.



  • Sketching of Tangent graphs.
    90% of all sketching questions are on Sine or Cosine. Only top schools will set tangent sketching questions, and many students will be caught unaware.
  • Half-angle formula sin(x/2) or Quadruple angle formula sin(4x)
    Top schools like to test half-angle formula, many students who have not seen such questions will be stuck.


  • Finding area to the left of the curve, i.e. \int x\,dy.
    Most schools kind of brush off this type of questions during teaching. But it is a hot topic for testing among top schools. Hence, students will have a hard time solving it if they lack practice for this type of questions.


I realize that many students from top IP schools don’t know these formula. In fact many students have not even seen or heard of these formula in school! (Not entirely their fault since the teachers don’t teach/emphasize it.)

Nevertheless, they are often tested in the harder A Math Trigonometry questions, it is a must to know if you are aiming for A1.

  • Negative Angles Formula
  • Supplementary Angles Formula
  • Complementary Angles Formula

Click on the link “View Original Post” below to see the original post with the formulae.

Singapore Maths Tuition

Trigonometry Identities

all science teachers crazy maths tuition

Negative angles:

  • $latex sin (-x)=-sin x$
  • $latex boxed{cos (-x)=cos x}$        (Still Positive!)
  • $latex tan (-x)=-tan x$

Reason: $latex -x$ is in the “C” quadrant so Cosine is still positive.

Supplementary angles:

  • $latex boxed{sin (180^circ -x)=sin x}$        (Still positive!)
  • $latex cos (180^circ -x)=-cos x$
  • $latex tan (180^circ -x)=-tan x$

Reason: $latex 180^circ -x$ is in the “S” quadrant so Sine is still positive.

Complementary angles:

  • $latex sin (90^circ -x)=cos x$
  • $latex cos (90^circ -x)=sin x$
  • $latex tan (90^circ -x)=cot x$

Reason: right angled triangle 90-x

  • $latex sin (90^circ -x)=cos x=a/c$
  • $latex cos (90^circ -x)=sin x=b/c$
  • $latex tan (90^circ -x)=cot x=a/b$

View original post

How much to retire in Singapore? (Reliable Sources Only)

A popular question (which is also related to financial Math), is how much money does it take for a person to retire in Singapore? We will collate reliable sources and their calculations in this blog post. By reliable, we mean that we will only select sources posted by major banks (POSB, OCBC, etc.), as well as those posted on major Singapore news outlets (Straits Times, Today, Channel News Asia etc.). Major insurance companies (AIA, Prudential) etc, can also be considered. Lastly, we also consider famous blogs like Mothership, Seedly, MoneySmart.

We will also post the relevant “metrics”, which include Retirement Age, Retirement Monthly Income, Years to Retirement.

Note that the Straits Times has estimated that a recommended Retirement Monthly Income is $1379, or around $1400. This covers mostly necessary items only, with just a few small “luxuries” like “occasional inexpensive meals out with family or friends, homes that are safe and comfortable, and an annual holiday to a nearby destination”. Note that air-conditioning and owning a car is excluded from the budget.

(Note that this list is not finalized, we will continue to add new sources here when we encounter one.)

1) OCBC: S$1.3 million

OCBC has a very interesting “fishing video” featuring a talking fish. In it, it is calculated that “to retire in 20 years and live on S$3,000 monthly, you need S$1.3 million”.

Retirement Age: 62

Retirement Monthly Income: $3000

Years to Retirement: 20

Talking fish from OCBC Video and its retirement calculation!

2) Mothership: S$720,000

This plan is worked out by Daniel, 29, and featured on Mothership. His retirement plan is to spend “30 years on a piece of farmland bought overseas, where he will build a ranch, and live off the earth surrounded by free-roaming livestock”.

Retirement Age: 50

Retirement Monthly Income: $2000

Years to Retirement: 21

The $720,000 can be broken down into S$360,000 cash and S$264,000 in his CPF Retirement Account at age 55 years old. Note that the above doesn’t quite add up to $720,000. That is because the CPF amount is for ensuring that he will “receive a steady stream of monthly payouts of around S$2,110 from age 65 for as long as he lives”.

3) Mothership: S$360,000

This is another plan from Mothership, by Melanie, age 25, female.

Retirement Age: 70

Retirement Monthly Income: $3000

Years to Retirement: 45

Again, the magic number seems to be “S$264,000 in her CPF Retirement Account at age 55”. Melanie can then defer her monthly payouts to 70. She will then receive around $2,600 per month for as long as she lives.

4) Seedly: $228,960 to $473,760

The Seedly blog calculates that one would need $228,960 to $473,760, depending on the age of retirement. It is summarized in the table below.

Retirement AgeAverage Life Expectancy Of SingaporeansYears Left To Enjoy RetirementRetirement Savings Required

The above is based on:

Retirement Monthly Income: $1,200

This is on the low side considering the Straits Times article that recommends $1379 for monthly retirement income. Nevertheless, the amount of total retirement savings required seems quite low compared to OCBC and Mothership.

Stanley Ho’s son Mario is a Math Genius

Recently, a well known news is that Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho dies at 98. Everyone knows that Mr Stanley Ho is rich (net worth of at least 2.5 billion USD). He is also a philanthropist, well known for purchasing and donating two precious Qing Dynasty relics (worth millions) to China’s museums. These two relics were previously looted by French and British armies from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing in around 1860. Hence, his donation is very important and symbolic indeed. Rest in peace, Mr Stanley Ho.

Stanley Ho was descended from great-grandfather Charles Henry Maurice Bosman (1839–1892), who was of Dutch Jewish ancestry, and his Chinese mistress Sze Tai (施娣) a local woman of Bao’an (present-day Shenzhen and Hong Kong). His grandfather was Ho Fook (何福), brother of the great merchant Sir Robert Hotung. (Wikipedia)

Mario Ho, son of Stanley Ho & Math Genius

What is less known is that Mario Ho, one of Stanley Ho’s 17 children, is a Math Genius as well.

Here are some of his accomplishments (from his official LinkedIn page):

  • Graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was the youngest graduate of the school’s history in finance.
  • In 2008-2013, he won the Hong Kong Championship of the World Mathematics Open twice.
  • Won five gold medals in the National Mathematics Competition in UK.

British National Mathematics Open 英國全國數學公開賽
Gold Medal 金牌

British National Mathematics Open 英國全國數學公開賽
Gold Medal 金牌

British National Mathematics Open 英國全國數學公開賽
Gold Medal 金牌

British National Mathematics Open 英國全國數學公開賽
Gold Medal 金牌

World Mathematics Open, Hong Kong 世界數學公開賽香港
Ranked first 排名第一

British National Mathematics Open 英國全國數學公開賽
Gold Medal 金牌

World Mathematics Open, Hong Kong 世界數學公開賽香港
Ranked first 排名第一

He can also speak 5 languages at native proficiency: English, Chinese, Cantonese, French, Korean.

Mario Ho (何猷君) also participated in the Super Brain contest (最强大脑), where he came in first in the “Sam Loyd 15 puzzle” section among hundreds of other geniuses from top universities in China.

Other Math Accomplishments

This is taken from the Baike Baidu website.

2011年3月,获得全英国数学 Olympiad test 中以 109/120 胜出,代表学校参加更厉害的 Mclaurens 数学比赛。

In March 2011, he scored 109/120 in the British Mathematics Olympiad test, representing the school in the more challenging Mclaurens mathematics competition.

“赌王”何鸿燊梁安琪的儿子何猷君是数学精英 ,这位小六学生连续两年在“世界数学测试”邀请赛中获奖。10日何鸿燊夫妇任颁奖嘉宾,亲自将奖状颁给自己的儿子。何鸿燊难掩心头喜悦,在台上致词时说,他和获奖百多位小朋友的家长一样,为子女的成绩感到骄傲。

“Gambling King” Stanley Ho Hung-sun and his son Mario Ho (He Youjun) are both excellent at mathematics. The sixth grader won the “World Mathematics Test” Invitational for two consecutive years. On the prize presentation ceremony, Stanley Ho and his wife served as awarding guests and personally presented the certificate to their son. Stanley Ho couldn’t hide his joy. When he spoke on stage, he said that he was as proud of his children’s achievements as the parents of more than one hundred children who won the prize.

Explore Macau: A Walking Guide and History

Is CCA important in JC?

CCA enhances the overall portfolio of the student, but at the end of the day, the foundation of the portfolio is still ‘A’ levels.

Especially for local uni admission, CCA is not really taken into consideration.

For top tier scholarships / top local courses, it would require good ‘A’ level results + good CCA though.

Question from JC1 student on Kiasuparents: “but the school focuses a lot on other areas of development like CCA and etc so i want to know that is it really that important cos i don’t feel like taking part in all these activities anyone got experience in these areas??”:

I would think for majority of students, it would be better to prioritize to get:
Good ‘A’ level results & Mediocre CCA
rather than Mediocre ‘A’ level results & Good CCA.

Of course, if one is all-rounded, one can aim for the ideal goal of:
Good ‘A’ level results & Good CCA.
(To be realistic, not everyone can achieve that…)

The only exception is if one’s CCA results is so excellent (e.g. win top award at national or international level), it can potentially lead to special case arrangements for university admission even with poor ‘A’ level results. Note that this is probably a 0.1% case scenario for top CCA performers, a typical “President of CCA group” position may not suffice, let alone an ordinary member of the CCA.

CCA training hours can vary widely among different CCAs. I have seen students with CCA that can last up to 9pm or later on weekdays. This can be extremely tiring considering that school starts at 7am next day. Someone succinctly summarized on Kiasuparents that: “In conclusion, the minimal you need to do is to choose a CCA with only one session per week and make yourself physically present on that day.

Physics Exam Papers

Free Exam Papers (Physics)

Do check out our main page on Free Exam Papers as well!

‘O’ Level / Prelim Physics Exam Papers

  1. Maths Physics Hub
    Quite a large collection of recent (2017) Physics Exam Papers, ranging from top schools (ACS, Nan Chiau, etc.) as well as neighborhood schools (Fuhua, Zhonghua, Xinmin, etc.).
  2. Test Papers Free
    A large collection of Pure Physics as well as Combined Science (Physics) exam papers. No login is required, however the interface is a bit messy. But you should be able to find quite a few Physics Test Papers.
    A treasure trove of school papers (including Physics Pure and Combined, Express and Normal Academic (NA)). Needs login to download.

‘A’ Level / Prelim Physics Exam Papers

    This weirdly titled Google Drive (“Electric Boogaloo”) contains a mega-database of JC Prelim papers for Physics. Exam papers ranges from H1 to H3, and from the years 2008 to 2019.

Note: The Free Physics Test Papers listed above are hosted on external sites independently. Sometimes, the site may be down or the link may be broken.


Poll Results: How many marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math

Almost 100 people have voted on the poll on “How many marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math“.

The results show that the majority (57.6%) of voters think it takes at least 75 marks to get ‘A’ for H2 Math. Notably, a significant percentage (27.17%) think that it takes 80 marks and above to get ‘A’ for H2 Math.

Students who have taken the H2 Math exam can actually estimate the cut-off point for ‘A’ grade quite well. Basically, the worked solutions are typically released by seniors/tutors, and students can estimate their own marks rather easily. Then, they can compare with their actual grade received.

Nevertheless, the above is just a poll, it may not be 100% accurate and it also depends on the difficulty of that year’s exam. An easier exam would naturally lead to a higher mark required for ‘A’ grade for H2 Maths.

Is there bell curve for ‘A’ levels?

This is a tricky question. The technically correct answer is that there is no bell curve, but there is a similar thing called “grade boundaries”. It is like certain schools saying that they have no Midyear Exam, but there is a “Block Test”. Read more about whether there is bell curve for ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels.

WordPress New Editor Review

WordPress has released a new editor called “Gutenberg”. While WordPress should definitely be applauded for its new innovation, personally I find it more convenient to just use the Classic editor instead. Perhaps it is just a matter of habit. Basically, I find the learning curve not justified for basic blog posts. I would need to see a truly impressive application of the “blocks” in order to switch over to the new editor.

WordPress New Editor Disable

If you search on Google, one of the most popular search terms is actually “wordpress new editor disable”! This shows that many people are actually trying to disable the new WordPress editor completely! Personally, what I do is I first create a new post (by default it is the new editor), save post, and then edit it using the Classic Editor.

Do vote in the poll above and it would be interesting to see the results!

Aquatic Avenue Review

Aquatic Avenue Facebook:

I have been there personally once. Had a good impression as they had exotic fish not commonly found elsewhere. (For example, Gertrude Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil gertrudae), Celestial Pearl Danio, etc.) They are also specialized in shrimp and plants. It was my first time seeing the Gertrude Rainbowfish, and I was absolutely fascinated.

The guy (not sure of his name) there was clearly knowledgeable about fish (much more knowledgeable than me). Taught me a bit about how to keep Celestial Pearl Danio. The owner was friendly, and can see that he is passionate about the fish and aquarium hobby.

Also, ordered plants online from them. Their plants are of good quality, and labelled correctly. For example, my Ludwigia Super Red was bought from them. It was grown submersed (underwater), and was of good quality (had roots, leaves are bright red color).

For comparison, many other aquarium shops in Singapore don’t label their plants, as well as sell non-aquatic plants. (I as a beginner was “scammed” twice, once with Malayan Aqua Fern, and another time with Alternanthera Sessilis.) Had they been labeled, a simple Google check would suffice to know that they are non-aquatic.

Currently, they do have a free delivery promotion (no minimum purchase), so do check them out on their Facebook or online store.

Overall, I would say that they are more of a premium aquarium store, they have great quality and range of rare exotic fish and plants.

There is one negative review of them in a blog online (dated 2014), that was certainly not my experience in 2019. In 2019/2020, my review of Aquatic Avenue is definitely positive.

Overall Review of Aquatic Avenue:
Very Good!

  • Exotic and rare fish
  • Exotic and rare plants (properly labeled and grown)
  • Quality fish and plants
  • Premium high-end aquarium shop, prices are still affordable
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff

If you decide to visit them (after the virus situation stabilizes), do check out the nearby Redhill coffeeshop as well. There are many vintage hawker food there which are of good quality, and at very affordable prices.

Easy Floating Plant: Salvinia

This plant Salvinia (to be precise Salvinia Molesta or Giant Salvinia) is a super easy floating plant. It has 3 forms: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Forms. I started with Tertiary Form Salvinia, and now have a lot of Primary Form Salvinia, as well as a few Secondary Form Salvinia.

I find that Salvinia is an easy floating plant because:

1) It only requires medium light

2) It has 3 forms and will evolve to the form that is most suited for your tank. The Tertiary Form is usually for outdoor ponds.

3) It is ok with getting a bit wet. Many other floating plants must be completely dry or else they may rot.

4) It has short roots. Hence, there is no need to trim its roots.

5) Easy to remove if you don’t want it. Most of its leaves are linked together. Hence you can remove all the leaves in a few grabs. This is in contrast to duckweed, which is notorious for being hard to remove.

I find that the Primary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Minima, and the Secondary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Natans! Could they be the same species?

Tropica also sells this version of Salvinia which they call it Salvinia auriculata.

24 Water Spangles (Salvinia Minima), Live Aquarium/Aquatic/Floating/Pond/Beginner Plant by G&Z

Key Topics for IP Additional Mathematics

The following are some of the most important topics for Integrated Programme (IP) Additional Mathematics. Also applicable for the usual ‘O’ level Additional Mathematics.

Notice that Secondary 3 topics are very important as well, for the final Promo or ‘O’ levels. This can be a major problem for students who only start to study seriously in Secondary 4 — it can be a tough job to catch up with the important Secondary 3 topics.

Secondary 3 topics

  • Binomial Theorem
  • Indices and Logarithms
  • Coordinate Geometry of Circles
  • Linear Law

Secondary 4 topics

  • Trigonometry: R formula and Graphs
  • Differentiation and its Applications
  • Integration and its applications (including area under the curve)

Motivational Quote: Work can never be completed

The following are some motivational quotes by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India. The source is from Pinterest. I have also translated some of the quotes into Chinese.

I believe the quotes make perfect sense! Hope you find it motivational and useful as well.

Love your job but don’t love your company, because you may not know when your company stops loving you.


Work is a never-ending process. It can never be completed.

工作是一个永无止境的过程。 它永远无法完成。

Interest of a client is important, so is your family.


If you fall in your life, neither your boss nor client will offer you a helping hand; your family and friends will.


Life is not only about work, office and client. There is more to life. You need time to socialize, entertain, relax and exercise. Don’t let life be meaningless.

生活不仅是围绕着工作,办公室和客户。 生命还有更多意义。 您需要时间进行社交,娱乐,放松和锻炼。 不要让生活变得毫无意义。

You did not study hard and struggle in life to become a machine.


Easy Red Low Tech Plant: Ludwigia Super Red

Ludwigia Super Red, also known as Ludwigia Palustris or Ludwigia sp. red (mini) is one of the easiest low tech (No CO2) red plants. Due to its small size, it is suitable for nano tanks (with trimming).

It is rated “easy” by Tropica. In comparison, most other red plants are rated “Medium” or “Advanced”.

I am trying out this low tech easy red plant without CO2. Future updates will be posted on this page as well.

Day 1 (May 22, 2020):

Ludwigia Super Red 1st day in low tech tank!

Day 2:

This is the second day of growing Ludwigia Palustris, also known as Ludwigia Super Red (sp. red mini). I think new growth has already appeared at the top of the stems! The new growth seems not so red though, maybe my light is not strong enough.

Day 4:

Currently, it is day 4 of growing it. I dose basic fertilizers like Tropica Premium, Seachem Potassium (weekly) and also Seachem Root Tabs (once every few months). I think the plant is adapting to the new environment, I did notice a bit of melting going on.

Day 8:

Still surviving on Day 8! The new leaves are quite cool, they are mixed red and green in coloration, with red mostly at the tips. I wonder if they will turn red completely eventually.

Day 13:

We continue with Day 13 of growing Ludwigia Palustris (aka Ludwigia Super Red) in low tech without CO2. Seems to be surviving! There is a bit of “fungus” problem after feeding Hikari frozen brine shrimp, hopefully it clears after the water change.

Stay tuned for future updates. If you have any experience on growing Ludwigia in low tech tanks, please comment below!

New Ludwigia sp. Mini ‘Super Red’ Live Aquarium Freshwater Plants Rare Repens Rubin

Mainam Ludwigia Repens Super Red Freshwater Plants Bundle Tropical Aquatic Plant Decorations

Ludwigia sp. red vs Ludwigia mini sp. red

Xiaozhuang Wong, also known as Dennis Wong (an expert aquascaper), has demonstrated that Ludwigia sp. red is actually the same plant as Ludwigia mini super red. It is the same plant, except that it grows smaller adult forms under lean fertilization regimes. This is similar for many plants. The below image shows Ludwigia plant taken from same cutting, grown under 2 different tank nutrient regimes. (Source: Xiaozhuang Wong Facebook)

Experiment done by Xiaozhuang Wong. Image from his Facebook.

Deviated Septum Natural Treatment and Remedies

Deviated Septum refers to the condition where the nasal septum (the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half) is slanted or tilted to one side. The symptoms are typically nasal congestion or stuffiness in one side of the nose. Mild deviated septum is actually very common, 80% of people have it. Moderate to severe deviated septum may lead to nasal problems.

Deviated septum can be typically diagnosed through an X-ray or by nasal endoscopy. Currently, the main treatment for deviated septum is septoplasty, which is a surgical procedure. Due to the surgery involved, quite many people with deviated septum are not keen to undergo the procedure unless it is really serious.

Deviated septum is not a major illness, but the symptoms (of nose congestion) can be very annoying, and also may lead to related problems like sinus infections.

In my personal experience, the deviated septum itself is not the main cause of nose blockage. After all, air molecules are tiny, no matter how narrow is the nose passage, definitely air can pass through it. It is the associated problems of nasal turbinate swelling, and also other nose tissue (such as polyps) swelling and blocking the nose passage that causes the main problem of nasal blockage.

I have compiled a list of natural treatments and remedies that I have personally tried and found to relieve the symptoms of deviated septum. Hope it helps, and if you have other tips, you are welcome to leave a comment below.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding deviated septum or other medical conditions.

1) Nose Unblocking Exercises

I have previously blogged about this on Amazing method to unblock stuffy nose. This should be the first method you try since it is totally free and does not require any special equipment.

Basically, pinch your nose and sway, until you are almost out of breath, then breath in through your nose. This has scientific basis, by allowing carbon dioxide to build up and naturally clear your nose by constricting the blood vessels in your nose.

Another method is Nasal Septum Mobilization invented by Dr Alan Mandell. It is quite a novel method, so far I have only seen it on his YouTube channel and not anywhere else. I think it may work for people with Deviated Septum as a natural remedy. Basically, the way it works is by moving the septum so as to create a “motion” to unblock the nose.

2) Nasal Sinus Rinse or Spray

Due to deviated septum, there is a high chance that mucus / dust particles can get “stuck” on the side of the nose that is narrower. Without help, it can be stuck there for a long time and lead to sinus infections, nose blockage, or allergic reactions.

One way to loosen the mucus and wash away the dirt particles is via Sinus Rinse. This is actually a modern version of Neti Pots, which is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic treatment. The classic brand for Sinus Rinse is NeilMed, which is very convenient with pre-packed saline salts for the sinus rinse. (Rinsing with pure water is not recommended as it will be painful. Adding saline salts will make the rinse more comfortable as it has the same osmotic pressure as the human body.)

NeilMed Sinus Rinse – A Complete Sinus Nasal Rinse Kit

A related method to sinus rinse is sinus spray. It is a low-volume method of spraying salt water into the nose. The advantages is that it is more convenient to perform (no need to be near water source or sink). The disadvantage is that it may not be as effective as the high-volume sinus rinse in terms of dislodging particles in the nose.

Stérimar Nasal Hygiene Set of 2x100ml

3) Vicks Inhaler

Vicks inhaler is a menthol-based scented stick, that has the effect of creating a “cooling” effect in the nose, hence immediately creating a sensation of the nose being unblocked. It also has mild decongesting properties. I find that it does reduce the symptoms of nose block due to deviated septum.

Vicks Vapoinhaler Portable Nasal Inhaler, 2 Count – Non-Medicated Vapors to Breathe Easy

The above 3 methods are considered non-medical in nature. Basically, safe to try as long as you follow the instructions in the labels.

4) Decongestants / Anti-histamines

When the nasal blockage is serious, one may try decongestants, which can typically be found in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. An example is pseudoephedrine, which can be found in medications like Robitussin, or Clarityn-D.

Anti-histamines can also help to reduce nasal turbinate swelling due to allergy. (Nasal turbinate swelling, also known as nasal turbinate hypertrophy, makes deviated septum worse by making the already narrow nasal passage even more congested.) Clarityn-D also contains the anti-histamine loratadine.

Not Recommended

It is usually not recommended to use Afrin nasal sprays or similar products. It is well known that it can lead to “rebound effect”, meaning that your problem becomes worse when stopping the spray.

The above are just personal natural remedies that I have tried, and found effective in combating deviated septum symptoms. Hope it helps!

Simple Powerpoint Templates White Background

I am a huge fan of simple, minimalistic Powerpoint templates with white background.

Why white background: Basically it is more convenient for printing (save ink), as well as it looks more elegant and professional.

However, most Powerpoint templates are too “flashy” or “colorful”.

On the other hand, the most basic template (just pure white background) is too dull and boring.

Simple Elegant Powerpoint templates

Actually the official Microsoft website has quite a few nice templates. The problem is that less than 5% of them satisfy the criteria of being simple, elegant, and white background.

Two that I found are:

  1. Echo design template
  2. Eclipse design template

If you know other good Powerpoint templates, please share in the comments below!

Diary of a PhD Taxi Driver: True Stories From Singapore’s Most Educated Cabdriver

I recall that this was very big news around 10 years ago. Basically, the author Dr. Cai Mingjie was a research scientist with a PhD from Stanford, specializing in Life Sciences (biochemistry and cell biology). However, he was fired/retrenched at the height of his career, for reasons that were largely unknown. He did not manage to find a job initially and became a taxi driver in November 2008, which he persisted for around six months. (He managed to find another job, though non-academic, subsequently.)

He started a blog called “A Singapore Taxi Driver’s Diary” (now deactivated), which became hugely popular. Subsequently, he published his blog as a book which is featured below.

For a free preview of his stories, one can actually click on the Amazon book preview to read a couple of the short stories. The stories are quite insightful, and motivational in a way. Taxi drivers have a unique perspective since they are able to observe all strata of society on a daily basis.

The free preview on Amazon has the following stories:

  • Day One (first day of working as taxi driver)
  • Broken Barrier and Two Unforgettable Customers
  • Preface & Epilogue (which describes the interesting background of the author)

Diary of a Taxi Driver: True Stories From Singapore’s Most Educated Cabdriver

Overall, the author deserves deep respect for being 能屈能伸, being able to take temporary setbacks; able to bow and rise at will. After all, being a taxi driver is a honest job.

I think the above book and news represented the start of the “bursting of the bubble” of Life Sciences, at least in Singapore. (If a life science researcher with Stanford PhD has problem finding jobs, how about those with lesser qualifications?) For those who recall, life sciences was hugely popular as a major around 10-20 years ago (2000-2010). Many JC students, including many of my classmates/acquaintances would choose it as their major in University. The life sciences department was one of the largest compared to other sciences like Physics or Chemistry. It turned out that the job opportunities in Life Sciences was not that plenty, and many would end up in careers totally unrelated to Life Sciences / biology.

Read also:

iMovie Transition Glitch

iMovie “Corrupted” Frames between two video clips

iMovie is a great free movie editor for Mac. However, an annoying bug is that when two video clips are put together, there can often be “corrupted” frames, glitch, or even choppy video between the two clips.

Simple solution to iMovie Transition Glitch

There are some complicated solutions online, such as re-importing the video clips in certain formats.

However, a simple solution that I tried and tested to work in most cases is to try trimming off a few seconds from the start of the affected video clip. Or even adding a transition effect where the problem arises may work.

To explain more precisely, suppose the problem arises in between A -> B, where A and B are video clips. Then, you can try trimming off a few seconds off the start of video clip B, or adding a transition effect between A and B. (If there is already a transition from A -> B, try removing it!)

Another solution to iMovie Transition Bug

Another solution that I tried and works in some cases, is to export the movie via File -> Share in Best (ProRes) Quality, with Better Quality Compress.

Best (ProRes) Quality and Better Quality Compression may solve your iMovie glitching bugs.

Other solutions to iMovie Bugs between Video transitions

If you have other solutions that you have seen or tried out, please share it in the comments below!

Eheim Air Pump 200 Review

Recently upgraded my air pump to the Eheim Air Pump 200, with dual output. My previous air pump was not strong enough to power 2 sponge filters simultaneously.

This Eheim Air Pump is very strong. In fact, it is almost too strong, I had to lower to the lowest setting for my 2 gallon nano tank. For the 5 gallon tank, I select the medium setting, and angle the output towards the wall. The sponge filter output was made to be above the water level (there is less turbulence this way).

Overall, this air pump is very good and quiet. Do expect some noise though, it is not totally silent. I would say it has the same noise level as a fan, which is totally acceptable. Also, I find that the 2 adjustable valves are not totally independent, when I adjust one valve it will affect the other output as well.

Review: The Eheim Air Pump is a highly recommended air pump for fish keepers with 2 aquariums.

The Eheim 200 Air Pump is also labelled as Eheim PHL207184. There is a more powerful Eheim 400 (twice the output), but based on my review most aquariums under 50 gallons should not require such a powerful pump (maybe 50 gallons and above may need it).

Eheim PHL207184, 4.00 x 6.00 x 4.00 inches, Black

Interesting Linear Algebra Theorems

Diagonalizable & Minimal Polynomial

A matrix or linear map is diagonalizable over the field F if and only if its minimal polynomial is a product of distinct linear factors over F.

Characteristic Polynomial

Let A be an n\times n matrix. The characteristic polynomial of A, denoted by p_A(t), is the polynomial defined by \displaystyle p_A(t)=\det(tI-A).

Cayley-Hamilton Theorem

Every square matrix over a commutative ring satisfies its own characteristic equation:

If A is an n\times n matrix, p(A)=0 where p(\lambda)=\det(\lambda I_n-A).

Stray Feeding Drive May 2020 (SoSD)

Official URL:

There are indeed more stray dogs than you imagine in Singapore. With the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TNRM) Programme, we aim to reduce the number of strays out there over time. SOSD works closely with stray feeders in different parts of Singapore, in order to trap the dogs, especially the feral ones. Very often, these dogs have learnt to trust their feeders, and catching them would only be possible with the help and cooperation of the feeders who feed them daily.

Amidst the fight against COVID-19, we hope to extend a helping hand to our thankless stray feeders. 365 days a year, the stray feeders painstakingly prepare the daily meals for the stray doggies that they feed, before making their rounds around industrial areas, construction sites or forested areas to deliver food straight to the doggies’ bellies.

If you’ve been wondering how you can chip in during this difficult period, why not make a contribution to ease the pockets of the feeders?

For $98, you can purchase 1 large bag of dog kibbles, to feed 1 stray dog for 40 days.

Simply place your order below, and make payment via PayPal. Orders will close at 2359hrs on 31 May 2020, Sunday. When the donation drive ends, SOSD will coordinate the collection directly with the stray feeders at our supplier’s warehouse.

Please note that tax deduction is not applicable.

Read more at:

WordPress Twenty Ten Theme Replacement

WordPress Twenty Ten Theme Retired

The WordPress Twenty Ten Theme was my favorite for a long time. However, it is now retired, meaning that it is no longer updated or supported by WordPress. Hence, it is recommended to switch to a newer theme.

WordPress Theme similar to Twenty Ten

I find that the Twenty Sixteen theme is quite similar to Twenty Ten in terms of layout. It has the signature top header as well as right sidebar classic layout. After much consideration and testing out other themes, I decided to switch to the Twenty Sixteen theme!

It does take some time to get used to the theme. The theme has a very clean and minimalistic look. In fact, the only downside I would say is that the 2016 WordPress theme is a bit too minimalistic, there is not enough colors other than white.

Loki the dog euthanized

Recently, there is a sad news in Singapore about the euthanasia of a perfectly healthy dog called Loki, for purported “aggression”.

To read more, just google the following keywords:

  • loki dog
  • loki dog singapore
  • loki dog euthanasia
  • loki dog put to sleep
  • #justiceforloki hashtag on Twitter

You can also find more information on the Exclusively Mongrels Limited Facebook page. Exclusively Mongrels was the organization that Loki came from (Loki was a stray dog). One of the volunteers at Exclusively Mongrels was brave to speak out about Loki’s euthanasia, but unfortunately he is now being accused by the owners for “doxxing”.

Do sign this petition on “More stringent regulations for putting dogs to sleep in Singapore“!

#JusticeForLoki: Help Exclusively Mongrels Raise Funds for Loki

Mega Database of JC Prelim Papers

Just to reblog this post on where to find “A Level Free Exam Papers”. The link below is literally the biggest collection of JC Prelim ‘A’ level papers I have ever seen. Both H1, H2 and even the occasional H3 exam paper can be found, for multiple subjects. Do download while it is still available!

Singapore Maths Tuition


This weirdly titled Google Drive (“Electric Boogaloo”) contains a mega-database of JC Prelim papers for most if not all subjects, even esoteric subjects like “Theatre Studies and Drama”. Exam papers ranges from H1 to H3, and from the years 2008 to 2019.

Do download in advance if you need the material, from experience such Google Drives tend to “disappear” from time to time.

We have included the above link in the Free Exam Papers / Free Test Papers page, containing other large sources of Free Exam Papers.

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Cool Math Games

Some games are fun but not educational.

On the other hand, some games are educational but not fun!

This very popular website Cool Math Games is a combination of fun and educational!

Benefit of Cool Math Games

  • Their games are all browser-based, there is no need to download anything. It can be played on your Internet Explorer or Chrome browser.
  • They have a wide range of different games, ranging from Numbers, Logic, Trivia, and Strategy.
  • Their games are kid-friendly and educational.

Cool Math Games Example

This games “Swap Sums” is suitable for lower elementary school kids (age 5-10). It starts off easy, but the later stages are actually quite challenging. For example, the stage below actually requires some thinking to get it right.

This is the Swap Sums game from Cool Math Games.

Cool Math Games Review

Children naturally love to play games. When I was a child, my favorite activity was to play computer games. Hours can just fly by when playing games. When playing games that are educational at the same time, it can hugely benefit a child in terms of increasing his/her interest in the subject.

Hence, parents are encouraged to let their child play educational games, such as Cool Math Games, to relax as well as to learn. Most children learn better when the content is fun and engaging.

Fake Micro SD Card!

Recently, bought a suspected fake SanDisk Micro SD Card on Qoo10 (Singapore online retailer).

Apparently, fake Micro SD cards (used for cameras as storage) are very common, even on Amazon and eBay. A popular estimate is that 1/3 of all micro SD cards on the market are fake!

The one I bought was a 16 GB SanDisk microSD card. Basically, according to this website, “The 16GB SanDisk branded item is a fake. There is no 16GB micro SD product in the SanDisk product line — it is a fake.

What made me quite angry is that not only it is fake, it couldn’t work as well! (If it were fake but worked well, I could close one eye…) Both my Xiaomi Camera and also the card reader I got could not even detect it. The card reader with the fake microSD card could not be detected by either PC or Mac.

I think the main visible difference between the real SanDisk Micro SD and the fake is that:

  • The real microSD card has a imprinted rectangle box on its flip side (see the 1st video below for more details, the real one is on the right).
  • If you shine a light on the front face, it should say “Made in China” for the real Sandisk microSD card (see the 2nd video below).

Other differences include:

  • The fake microSD card has lower speed and volume (for example it could be rated 64GB but only has 2GB space!)
  • Lower printing quality on the fake microSD card

The authorities should really crack down on these fake SD cards. It is getting harder and harder to distinguish between the real and the fakes, some of the fakes replicate 99% of the real product up to the design of the packaging.

中学快捷华文O-Level 试卷二答题注意事项 (Tips for O-level Chinese Paper 2 answering techniques)

Chinese Tuition Singapore


综合填空中需要从4 个选项中选取答案正确的那一项。选择正确答案时,需要考虑以下因素:

1,词义: 词的意思是不是符合题目。词义要通顺。(这是最基本的)


3,搭配:注意一些词语的常见搭配和固定搭配。比如:硕果+累累 或者累累硕果,严峻的考验,顽强的毅力等。还有一些词语是有特定范围的,比如,毛毛虫蜕变成蝴蝶。


阅读理解 (MCQ)







理解问答(reading comprehension)



阅读理解中解释划线句子的意思 Tips for Rephrasing in Reading Comprehension





















体现人物的身份、地位 ;反映人物心理活动的进程;表现人物的性格特征;推动情节的发展。























常见的修辞手法 Figure of Speech in Chinese








3)、比喻论证: 就是通过形象的比喻来证明论点的方法。这种方法可深入浅出地把道理讲得通俗形象,容易被人接受。











这类题目通常是5 分。

表明态度:赞成/不赞成,同意/不同意 (1分)

原因:(2分)为什么赞成/不赞成. 原因部分不可以只说一句话就结束,要尽量解释详细。可以从正反两个方面去论说。这样做为什么好,会取得什么样的好效果。不这样做又会有什么样的后果。比如,作者认为“兴趣是最好的老师”,你同意吗?答:我同意。因为若是一个人对某件事情产生兴趣,他就会在这件事情中投入极大的热情和精力,而且会让他去自觉主动的学习,这样,学习的过程对他来说充满了乐趣,兴趣推动着他不断进取,不停吸收新的知识。(正面)若一个人对某件事情没有兴趣,那么做这件事情对他来说就是一种痛苦和煎熬。即使让全世界最好的老师来教他,他也不会有想去好好学习和钻研的欲望,再多的苦心都是徒然。(反面)





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Ex-Actress Evelyn Tan Supports Her Kids Pursuing Entertainment Careers Without A Degree

Quite interesting, and makes a bit of sense too. In this new age where almost everyone has a degree, not having a degree may in fact stand out (for unique career paths)! It carries risk though, naturally.


Son planned his career as streamer

When her son Jairus, 12, said he wanted to be a Twitch streamer, Evelyn was confused. According to Toggle, she did not know about the online streaming platform for gamers.

She called him a “thinker” — he had told her that if he started his career now, it would be established enough to be profitable by the time he turns 21.

Her son then pointed out that a degree would be irrelevant to his career, which Evelyn said was fine.

Evelyn Tan majored in Math in NUS

Not many people know this, but actress Evelyn Tan once majored in Math in NUS, and graduated successfully. “Upon graduating from the National University of Singapore with a degree in mathematics, Tan joined the fifth edition of Mediacorp’s Star Search in 1997.”

Read more at:

See also (famous actors/ newscasters/ singers who majored in Math):

School holiday activities for children stuck at home

Due to the circuit-breaker, most children are unfortunately stuck at home during their school holidays. Other than playing computer games, this article suggests other educational and fun activities for children and their parents: School holiday fun at home: Kids can go online to stargaze, study about animals, do science experiments.

The live stargazing activity of Science Centre sounds quite fun:

Most of the activities are open to children outside Singapore as well!

Motivational: Take it one thing at a time


Just saw this article on Medium. Quite motivational and applicable to students and even working adults. There are 4 tips on the original website. We just quote one of the tips here. The Chinese equivalent, would be 千里之行,始于足下, or “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Enduring Work Ethic Stems From The Moment

I had an interesting conversation with him about Hell Week (some US SEAL army training week) a few years back.

For those who don’t know — Hell Week is ridiculous. You wake up on a Sunday to gunfire. You then work out until Friday with no sleep. Hell Week is the bottleneck that breaks a lot of talented people. It’s where the top 20% are whittled down to the top 5%.

I remember him saying, “Tuesday morning was the worst.”

It was a bizarre response. Tuesday? Wouldn’t Thursday be the worst? Or Friday morning? Then he explained and it made total sense.

You wake up on a Sunday morning at ~2 AM to gunfire. You run around getting yelled at. You are doing pushups, carrying logs, rolling in the sand. This continues all day, then into the night.

As people are sleeping in their warm beds, you continue exercising, shivering, and getting shouted at.

Monday morning comes. The drills repeat from sun up to sun down with non-stop exercise and physical torture. Then, all through the night, you do it again.

Then, Tuesday morning rolls around. You’ve gone more than two full nights without sleep. You’ve endured intense stress, cold water, and difficult exertion the whole time. By Tuesday morning, you’re more tired than you’ve ever been in your entire life.

That’s when you start to feel sorry for yourself.

“Oh man, it’s only Tuesday. How am I going to get through all of this?”

“If I’m this tired already…and I’m not even halfway through…”

The people that start thinking like this are the ones that quit.

The people who succeed — only look a few minutes in front of them. They don’t worry about Thursday or Friday. They are only focused on each individual exercise. They get through it one thing at a time.

You can apply this to many aspects of your life.

If you are studying for a massive test, take it one page at a time. Working on a huge presentation, one slide at a time.

For example, I swam in college. Our training was very grueling, 5 to 6 miles of swimming a day. Sometimes the coach would put a set on the board that made me think, “You’ve got to be f#$king kidding me. I’m going to die.” I just took it one lap at a time and got through it.

Lower your vision and piecemeal those big hurdles. It reduces the perceived mental weight of the tasks. Take it one thing at a time.