Author Archive

Sugee cookies at Indian Muslim coffeeshops

26/05/2017 Leave a comment

Sometimes, when I can, I always drop by an Indian Muslim coffeeshop near my workplace to have a snack. It is normally a cup of ginger tea and a snack. They have everything from savoury snacks to these sugee biscuits. It is quite difficult to explain the taste of these delicious cookies to people who have not tried them before but all I can say is that they are really delicious. The cookies I am referring to are the cookies at the left of the photo above. The other cookies on the right and the middle I have yet to try but I am pretty sure that they are good as well. I always make it a point to get a ginger tea and a biscuit for teatime around 4 pm

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Ajax – 0 Manchester United – 2

25/05/2017 Leave a comment

The final was held in Stockholm and saw two sublime goals. One in the 16th minute by Pogba and one shortly after half-time by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Two splendid goals in this Europa League final make it Champions League soccer next year. And not only that. In winning 2-0 we could set a record that rivals Liverpool will never be able to beat. Because with United’s Europa League success, we have become just the fifth team in European football history to win all three of the continent’s major trophies – the European Cup/Champions League, the UEFA Cup/Europa League and the Cup Winners’ Cup.

We did it! Glory Glory Manchester United

Wynns wallboard saw

24/05/2017 Leave a comment

There have been many times when I have seen contractors cutting holes in the ceiling to install speakers and the like, to say nothing about cutting through plasterboard partitions. So I went out a couple of days back and bought one for my toolbox. This Wynns boardsaw also contains and auger bit to cut a small hole before you begin sawing. I need too cut away some old panels in my kitchen and I think that this will suit me just fine

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Rest in peace Roger Moore

23/05/2017 Leave a comment

I had the shock of my life when I found out just now that Sir Roger Moore had died. There were many who played James Bond but there were few who were loved so much like he was for his witty and funny demenour, making them feel relaxed on set. Rest in peace Sir Roger. Thanks for being quintessential Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me

AIA Insurance in the news, for all the wrong reasons

23/05/2017 Leave a comment

This photo is the mother of Ms Linda Ting, who had a sad…no…make that tragic story to tell about her poor mother who did not get her insurance payout from American International Assurance aka AIA. It is a story that I know is true because I am facing something similar with Great Eastern Life with regards to my late dad not being paid by them after he had been diligently paying his premiums all those years. Here is Linda’s story, taken from her Facebook post:

All my life I have believed in the concept of insurance, and that it can help when I am have falling ill or provide relief for my children when I finally leave this world behind.

I am writing an utterly bitter experience with AIA so those of you who consider insuring yourself with them, can hopefully benefit from my unfortunate incident.

Let me share a little bit about my mother with you. She used to make coffee for a living, not rich but very thrifty; supporting the livelihood of 7 children. She loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart.

Around 15 years ago when she was finally retired, she was unfortunately diagnosed with dementia. It was extremely painful to watch my mother become a shell of strong independent woman she was. During the last few years of her life, she was immobilised and had to be sent to a nursing home for the adequate medical care she needed. She passed away in February 2017 from gangrene poisoning and pneumonia at the age of 92. It was excruciating to watch her final 8 months of struggle, but the only comfort was that she no longer needs to feel physical pain.

Around 30 years ago, my mother has signed up for 3 AIA policies in her 60s. During that time, despite insurance being largely unpopular, she wanted to leave a legacy with whatever little she had for her children. As she was illiterate and never received any education, she had trusted the agent and AIA to provide comfort for her family when she is no longer around.

When dementia took whatever consciousness was left in her in late 2000s, I took up the responsibility to maintain the routine payments of the premiums for the policies. There was no way I was going to let the legacy of my mother lapse.

With her passing, all three policies became due for payout. On top of coping with the loss of a kin, AIA’s claim process began a nightmare we cannot wake up from. All three policies had pay out terms with extremely deflated values that me and my siblings do not agree with. It might be too confusing to share all the cases here, so I shall discuss just one.

One of the policies was an AIA Financial Guardian whole life (participating) policy she purchased when she was 64 in 1988. The sum assured is $30,000, and the projected death benefit at this point (30 years by 2017) is $67,140. We have paid $48,362 in total premium over 24 years where premium was payable. For this policy, AIA is paying a death benefit of $49,731! While I understand the $67,140 is a projection, this discrepancy is close to 25%. Are those projected numbers we are presented with when we purchase insurance policies nothing but a mere inflated dream so that insurance agents can close the deal and line their pockets? AIA seemed to benefit most if this was the case.

I called up the AIA call centre in late March l hoping to get a clarification and a review. “I will look into it and call you back,” the claim department said. That was a promise that was made but never kept. Three weeks later, I called back, hoping there was an update. Nothing.

Finally on 12 April, Hendry Ang from the customer service team called back to ask me what the issues were, clearly indicating that few or no notes were passed to him. I reiterated our dissatisfaction with the payouts and he assured me he would look into the matter.
No news after a week, except a letter sent addressed to my deceased mother asking her to inform them of the change in address…

So I spoke with my siblings and we decided we should try to meet up with the AIA team to understand the situation. I got a few of my family members down to AIA customer service center to speak with the service team on 20 April.

The same Hendry whom I spoke to sat down and asked us, “So, what is the issue with the payout terms that we are unhappy with?” I had thought he was already looking into the issues, but I guess that was wishful thinking on my side. Our problem was but a hot potato passed around from department to department.

He was unable to offer a proper justification, and was just blindly reading off the policy. We were not placated, and he got us to wait for 45 minutes as he escalated the case to his manager, Melissa Liew. When Melissa came into the meeting room, no one would have expected she came in with absolutely no idea what was discussed before. She started with a whisper to Hendry, “So, what is the issue?”

The 2-hour meeting with them yielded nothing and Hendry was stuck with the first policy, being clueless about the remaining two my mother had bought.

All we got from the session were answering-machine responses like ‘we will reflect your requests to our top management’ and ‘we are still investigating.’ In the end, we accepted that they could get back to us after two weeks for a soulful resolution.

Two weeks later. Nothing.

Three and a half weeks later, I received letters in my mailbox stating that AIA will not accede to the request and they have proposed all proceeds in accordance with the policy terms. Claiming that since my mother has signed and added her thumbprint to the policies indicated that she understood the terms, and that since we mentioned no one was around her when she signed these policies, she must have understood the policies. “Since none of you were around when she signed the policies, we cannot ascertain for what reasons she bought the policies and what they are for.” and “The claims are paid in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy contract.”

The pain of losing my mother is still fresh and AIA is not making it easier to cope. Saving up every cent she earned and entrusting them to AIA only to have her legacy eroded.

Since AIA has given their ultimatum here, my siblings and I are left stranded helpless. I do not know what else I can do to have a proper review done. We understand insurance is not an investment tool, but we need a fair claim amount that was promised to her.

I have certainly lost faith in insurance and definitely AIA.

So if it is any consolation Linda, I know how you feel. I was ignored. That is right…ignored by Great Eastern Life after my dad passed on, despite calling them and writing them emails. Don’t give up the fight. I know I am still fighting. Good luck.

Facebook Open Computer Project server

22/05/2017 Leave a comment

Some time back, in a previous post, I showed you the server used by Google, and how I was happy with the fact that they chose to use all off-the-shelf components in their servers. It is almost as if they were telling us that we could do it ourselves like them. Much time has passed since I wrote that old article. Check out the next generations of servers, this time used by Facebook. Many are adopting the OCP or Open Compute Project, using ODMs (Original Design Makers) to manufacture for them. Dell and HP have offerings that are not relevant to them. One example quoted was that the plastic bezel in front of HP’s and Dell’s offerings impede airflow and thus, are not very efficient.

I am excited for this. Looks like the way to go as far as servers are concerned. Looks like if push comes to shove, this might be a viable option.

Refreshing sangria

21/05/2017 Leave a comment

It was Mother’s Day one week ago and so I took my mum out for a lunch. While waiting for her, we were served a delicious sangria by the restaurant we took her to. I mean, I have drunk sangria before but I always wanted to know how to make it. So I went on the Internet and found a recipe and here it is from The Spruce

  • 1 750 ml bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja reds, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Shot brandy
  • 2 Cups ginger ale or club soda

Their’s is a great recipe but I will also throw in some apples cut into wedges as well. There is something about the crunchy taste of apples to complement the sangria. In any case, The Spruce has said that it is a very basic recipe so I suppose that there is room for experimentation. The method is pretty simple, according to their article:

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.

The best sangrias, according to them, are the ones that are allowed to chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours. That will allow the cut fruits to marinate for 24 hours and bring out the taste.

Categories: etcetera Tags: ,