Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What An Inconsiderate Cabby

I was on my way home from work yesterday evening, travelling on SBS Bus Service 54.

When the bus was travelling at Thomson Road, turning into Newton Road, near Revenue House, we saw an accident, involving a taxi, private bus and car. The taxi involved in the accident had occupied the turning point where my bus was supposed to be heading. I think the accident had just happened then, as the cabby was busy taking photos with his phone, and busy arguing with the other parties involved. This went on for 10 mins.

As a result of his inconsiderate action, he caused a massive jam in front of the zebra crossing which my bus had to turn left, to continue his journey. The bus captain, who was already late, went off the bus to advise the cabby to move his taxi to the left lane, further up. The cabby was a little angry at first when being asked to do that. He wanted to whack the bus captain, but fortunately, it didn’t happen.

I guess the passengers on the bus that I was in were exasperated as well, but was glad that our presence meant that the cabby did not hit the bus captain.

I feel disgusted by the cabby’s action. Although you are involved in an accident, your taxi is still in a condition that can be driven. All the photo taking and exchange of contact could be done when the vehicles are moved to a convenient spot.

I guess all our courtesy campaigns have been done in vain.   

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Swindle Case Update

I had received a letter from the Subordinate Courts stating that I will need to attend a meditation session with them on 30 July.

Finally, they managed to get hold of the culprit, and the end is in sight.

Mum was wondering if I may want to ask my close friends to attend the session with me. I still have not given a thought about it. But she has said she would accompany me for the session.

Let’s hope all goes well. I want this settled soon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toy Story 3

It has been a while since I last caught a movie. I was asked by my fellow volunteer friend, Wendy to join her for lunch and this movie.

Lunch was at Sakae Sushi at her request, while the movie, we watched it in 3D format as the 2D format tickets were sold out.

I must say that the movie was quite meaningful.I recommend you guys to catch it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Surprising End to The World Cup Group Stages

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This year’s World Cup’s group stages have thrown up many surprises and shocking results.

Who would have expected Italy’s exit from the World Cup? They were the World Cup champions in 2006.

Who expected Argentina to do so well, with Maradona’s suspect tactics? They were the 2 teams to qualify with 3 wins.

Who expected Japan’s and South Korea’s qualification for the Round of 16?

Who expected the lesser lights of Slovenia, Slovakia, Ghana & Switzerland to beat the big guns?

Like my friend say, this is a strange tournament this year, thus we could see 2 surprise finalists this year.

Hope that this would be an exciting knockout stage, as goals have been lacking a little in this tournament. :-)

Brother’s 22nd Birthday Celebration

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24 June was my brother’s 22nd birthday, but we had to celebrate his birthday 2 days in advance as he was on night shift that day.

I ordered pizzas from Pizza Hut and got him a replica Netherlands football jersey, while my mum got him the fruit cake.

I am glad that he likes the gift since he always liked the Netherlands Soccer Team. I hope that his birthday wishes can come true. :-)

Pleasant & Nasty Surprise

I had a mixed week at work this week, thanks to my senior partner who gave me an additional reward for my hard work, on top of the usual paycheck that I usually receive, together with the 2nd part of bonus. It was unexpected, but I was just surprised that she asked me the other day if I had recovered the “bad debt” from the swindler. I am glad that she recognises the effort that I put in my work for the good of the company. Maybe she hopes that I will give my family a treat, which I already did, as my brother’s birthday was before my payday.

However, the same can’t be said about the audit partners. They have stressed me again over a case that was promised by the audit partners that it would be finalised yesterday. The case was only given to me to work on on Wednesday, without audit schedules done by the auditor. Knowing the auditor would not help us get the schedules, since I started doing his cases, & got into a nasty spat with him around this time last year, I asked my manager to help me to ask the client to get the schedules done by the client. What I didn’t expect was the number of revenue schedules and expenses schedules that I do. My boss was saying that we are going to spend a lot of time to do these schedules, by then Paul need not sleep, let alone watch World Cup. Haha. :-)

Therefore she suggested that the client should do up all the schedules, or we are going to charge a high tax fee as a lot of time is spent. Luckily the client is agreeable to it. Let’s hope the schedules can tie up with the figures of the accounts prepared by the useless auditor, who sat on the case for 2 months before passing the case to me to work on.

Leaving you with this song, which I think is quite meaningful!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Do You Know How To Co-Operate With People

I had been quite frustrated with my work recently, as there was this colleague who did his audit without proper referencing and obtaining schedules needed for tax purposes.

Fortunately, the client and my manager were helpful to let me have the general ledger and guided me on how to present the tax schedules respectively. This is a new client, therefore I certainly want to do my best.

I just wonder why some people do not know the meaning to co-operate. Co-operation will make our jobs easier.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup With Surprises

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This year’s World Cup tournament only started for me after my exam ended on 14 June, as even though I caught the matches that happened during my exam period, I was not really paying much attention as my heart & mind were with my paper.

There has been many surprises since then. Like what one of my friends say, this tournament may have surprise finalists this year.

Hopefully, may the best team of the tournament wins. :)

New Blog Theme

I decided to try out the new Blogger designer theme and refresh the theme of my blog.

It has been a while since I updated the the theme of my blog. Although it meant that I had to make some changes to the previous customizations of my previous theme, I hope that my readers will like this new theme. :)

Why Some People Just Like To Act Clever?

I have been a little frustrated with my work since I got back from my exam leave on 15 June.

There is this person, who is a person that is part of the management team of the company, who brought in a new group of clients recently. Apparently, this client had some problems with the payment of their taxes, and had wanted to pay the tax assessed by instalments. He went to tell the client that he was able to help. It left me wondering, if this group of client has been a good paymaster as claimed by YOU, why would the negotiation to pay taxes have to be done? Secondly, you are not in charge of the tax department or IRAS, how can you anyhow promise people without consulting us?

It made me have to make several phone calls to IRAS just to negotiate the instalment plan for them. Lucky, my tax partners are understanding, they just asked me to try my best. In the end, I managed to get the instalment plan for the client.

The moral of the story, “Don’t act smart, when your knowledge of something that you are unsure of is zero, and don’t make promises to people on things that you need other people’s help to accomplish it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Photos from the VES Ceremony

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I have received these photos from the IRAS official photographer through IRAS Corporate Communications Officer, Ms Rena Soon on Tuesday, but was too busy with my work and catching the World Cup to put these up.

Thanks Rena for the photos.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

IRAS VES Appreciation Ceremony 2010

I know some of you are happy for me that I won the award for the 6th consecutive year, and are waiting for me to share the photos. I am sorry that I was only to do so this morning on Facebook as I had been busy with my revision for my exam tomorrow and had been tired out with the events happening these two days.

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This year was rather different as my volunteer mates and I were mentioned in the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr. Moses Lee’s address. I guessed he could have picked out a few of the e-filers’ comments or the liasion officer’s comment about our great service. I was rather stunned by it at first, but if you were to tell me how to work through the situation at that time again, I would have done the same way again! This was also the first time the Serangoon CC, the centre that I was attached to, had won the top VES Centre Award, which came with $500 for the CC.

Mum, who accompanied me to the ceremony had complained that my thoughts for the exercise were a little lengthy and the powerpoint video show had only a short while to flash it, therefore people may not be able to read finish what I wrote, before it moved to the next screen.

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Our team comprising of myself, Haris, Zhihao & Samira also got ourselves the outstanding volunteer award & commendation award for our hard work and effort.

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List of Award Winners

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My Outstanding Volunteer Award

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The Awards for the Award Winners

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Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr Moses Lee in his opening address

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Ms Angie Lim, Liaison officer for the Serangoon CC receiving the award

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Me receiving my award

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Group Photos with the Volunteers

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Me with Ms Wendy Lim, fellow volunteer from Yio Chu Kang CC, Ms Clara Ng , Iras Principal Corporate Communications Officer, Ms Angie Lim, Haris, Samira & Zhi Hao

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The Passing of My 表姨

I was at home doing my revision on Friday morning when an admin staff of  the old folks home called up and informed me that my 表姨 had left us.

Her passing was expected as since Chinese New Year when my mum brought her home to celebrate Chinese New Year with us, she was considerably weaker than last year. That was when my mum felt that she was not able to last through this year.

Although she had not been working since she lost her leg to diabetes 7 years ago, and had been staying in the old folks home since then, she never fails to give me an ang pow for good luck.

Through her I see that she is one strong character despite her amputated leg, she is pretty independent. I guess the only sad part was she was not able to locate her long lost child, which was given away as she was poor.

Rest In Peace, Aunt Kuee Eng !!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup In South Africa

My interest soccer started in the 1990 World Cup, which was hosted in Italy. The Italian National Soccer Team became my favourite team from then on. I particularly liked the defensive pairing of Paulo Maldini & Franco Baresi then.

For this World Cup, it will be an interesting experience for me and my family again. I have bought the Netherlands team jersey and was given my favourite team’s jersey by my uncle.

Here are my family predictions on the teams that may win the World Cup this year.

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Italy: Although they won the last World Cup in 2006 for the 4th time, and the team is considered as an old man’s team as most of the players who played in 2006 are still playing, I believe that experience counts in such a major tournament like this. Not forgetting the coach, Marcello Lippi, who led them to World Cup victory in 2006. He is an experienced coach that has won many titles in the Italian Serie A with Juventus.

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Netherlands: A team with a bunch of talented footballers, but have always underachieved due to players’ infighting. If this team can overcome the problem, it won’t be a surprise to see this team win the competition, come July 11

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Brazil: A surprise from the team that plays samba football. My brother and I feels that this Brazil squad has a good defence and solid midfield this year. A good team’s foundation should be based on this.

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Germany: Dad was saying this team will win this year. I was thinking he may be right, as even though Michael Ballack is out, I am sure the team will want to win it since the last World Cup they won in 1990 as West Germany. The team has the squad of players to do so.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sharing Of Experience

I was asked by Ms Stacey Wong, IRAS Corporate Communications Officer, to share my e-filing volunteer experience in writing this year. Since I thought it was good to share and banish away the bad publicity that the exercise was subjected to recently, I decided to do it.

Here is the full text of what I wrote in my email.

Dear Stacey,

As spoken and requested, here are my thoughts about this year's e-filing exercise. I have enclosed my photo in this email as well.

I have started volunteering for the exercise since the year 2004. The reasons that prompted me to do so are as follows:-

1. There are not many people who are as experienced as me to help these people who do not how to e-filing of their taxes, since I am a tax senior in an audit firm myself. It is therefore good to share my tax knowledge with taxpayers, so that they can know how to do it.

2. I am physically challenged myself, but I do not like people to look down on me. I prefer to look at the positive side of things and let people know that even though I am physically challenged, I am still willing to help wherever I can as I do not know when I would need help from people next time.

3. As the years went by, the people whom you have helped to e-file, become familiar with you. They would usually look for you and treat you as their friend. I have came across instances, where taxpayers who came and ask you for help in e-filing, and they would buy you coffee or snacks later. There were also instances where some taxi drivers, whom I have helped to e-file, would give me discounts off my taxi ride when I take their cab. There were also instances where the people who come to e-file, would ask you when is the CC starting to help people to e-file their taxes, or "are you helping out at the CC this year for the e-filing?"

All these have prompted me to volunteer my services year after year, for the past 7 years. It certainly gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement when I am able to help these taxpayers.

Volunteering is certainly not about getting the outstanding volunteer award or certificate of appreciation. It is about how willing are you going to give to the society, and those people who need it? If you are willing, you will be happy and satisfied with what you do.

I hope my thoughts is not too long for you to summarise.

Thank you.

Paul

I hope she does not find my email too hard to summarise. How do you guys find it?

Identification Process

I had taken half day leave to go to the AMK South Neighbourhood Police Centre to identify the culprit. This was the 1st time that I was doing such a thing and I was a little nervous.
I was escorted to a room when I reached the NPC and was asked to wait for the police officer in charge, who arrived shortly with some photos. I managed to pick out the culprit at the 1st time of asking.
The officer told me that about 3 weeks is needed for the court to decide what to do with this case. I guess the only thing I can do now is wait. Anyway, I have given up hope about getting the money back, but just hope that the culprit can be brought to justice soon.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Identification Time

I got 2 phone calls today while I was at work today. The 1st one was from Ms Stacey Wong, IRAS Corporate Communications Officer. Apparently, she had wanted me to assist her to get the e-filers that I have helped over the past few years  to give some feedback on my service. I very much would like to help, but unfortunately was not able to as I had helped so many taxpayers over the past few years. I did mention to her that I would give my views about the exercise if I am asked to do so.

The second call was a surprise. I had not expected this call since I have decided to focus my energy to my upcoming exams. A police officer had called me to ask me to go down to the nearby police station to do an identification of the culprit tomorrow.

Hopefully all goes well tomorrow, and I can get this out of my mind soon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Why Are Some People Like That?

I was quite surprised to read from The Straits Times Forum Page yesterday. The sight of this line, “Iras, PA sorry for volunteer's unpleasant experience” made me wanted to read the article online immediately, as being a long time volunteer of the exercise, this was the first time, such negative publicity has been made about the exercise.

I managed to find the letter that Mr Tan  wrote to the Forum Online, which was published on Monday. I was just surprised and shocked that he just dished out the unhappiness he had on the online forum as I felt that the issues that he raised could be solved if he had gone through the proper channels, IRAS & PA directly. I am sure that the IRAS Corporate Communications Officers would be able to assist him on this, even if Fuchun CC manager or its staff refuses to help him out.

As for the lack of organisation at the CC, it will be good for him to e-mail directly his suggestions to the CC manager directly, rather than pouring it out directly to the online forum. This was what I did for this year when I highlighted the problems that we have faced at the Serangoon CC to the manager, Ms Angie Lim & IRAS Corporate Communications Officers, Ms Stacey Wong & Ms Clara Ng. They have been very prompt with their email replies, I must say, as they usually reply by the next day when I email to them.

Finally, I just want to add that everyone has his or her 1st time in volunteering in the VES exercise. We must understand that it is already not easy to get people to come forward to volunteer. Everyone has got their own jobs or studies to look after. Besides that, I dare say, not everyone works in the taxation line like me, therefore it is already good enough that they are coming forward to volunteer as all these activities need time and effort. No one is perfect.

Your actions may cause people who may wish to volunteer their services for next year’s exercise have second thoughts about it.

Volunteering is not about getting recognised with awards. It should give you a sense of satisfaction that you are able to play a part to help the community and at the same time, learn about what tax filing is all about.

Best Of Luck For Your Exam

This post goes out to myself and all my friends who are taking their CAT, CFA & ACCA exam this week.

Wishing them and myself the best of luck. Let’s hope our efforts to study and cramming will not be wasted. :-)

Really feel like a homeboy in the past few weeks. :-(

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Eventful Day

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I was on my way to work this morning on my usual bus, Service 74e (SBS 2721R) with my long time bus captain friend, Kumar.

Just as the bus had stopped at the bus stop at AMK Hub, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student boarded the bus. He appeared to be fidgeting for his ez-link card. Just in case, some of you may not know, bus concession pass are not allowed for use on express bus services or fast forward bus services. Then he approached me, and asked me if I had change for a $50 note. I was wondering if he was still asleep, as people in the right frame of mind would not have brought $50 as spare change to take a bus. I told him I didn’t have and offered to pay for him as I knew the next bus would only arrive in 10 minutes, as it is the school holiday. I was a student before, therefore I knew the feeling of being late for class is not good. He thanked me after I paid for him.

In the afternoon, there was a client who came into my office and he really caused a stir with his mannerisms that caused my bosses to step in to diffuse the situation. Apparently, my young boss was so angry that he nearly wanted to tear up the documents that was supposed to be given to the client for signature.

This incident made me realise the good character of my bosses and manager. My bosses are people who really can’t stand clients who coerce or bully their staff and would stand up for us, when we are in need. My manager is one who is still able to keep her cool, despite being yelled at. This is a marked difference from my previous job. Apparently, my boss was so relieved when the situation was diffused that he bought us some pies before he headed off for his short holiday.

I was asked by my brother and mum this question. For example, a lady friend had asked you, a guy out for a swim, would you accompany her?

My answer is “Yes”, as :-

  1. The gal trust you that you would not take advantage of her in public.
  2. The gal may be interested in you, otherwise she would not take the opportunity to date you and observe your mannerisms.
  3. The gal needs company of a guy to fend off people who may have other ideas at the pool.

What is your opinion on this?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Full Program During Exam Preparation Week

I thought the leave that I was taking on next Thursday and Friday was to tidy up my exam in 12 days time. But it seems like other unexpected events have threatened to eat into my revision time. The fortunate thing is that I managed to start my revision early, as my lecturer have advised, and I have managed to cover 75% of the important topics.

Hopefully the remaining 25% can be well covered, within these 12 days. 

Flu virus be gone!!!

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There It has once again been a while since I last blogged as I was a little busy with my work and other...