3 Top Virtual Private Networks for undisturbed internet surfing

Perhaps you want to watch TV shows, serials or dramas only meant for certain regions, the United States ( USA ), Korea. Or you might want to keep your internet surfing private.

1) Flyvpn

With FlyVPN you simply pay using PayPal, download the client and start using it!

Cost: $10 USD per Month per device

Reliability: 4/5

Go to FlyVPN.com

2) Expressvpn

With ExpressVPN you simply sign up, pay using your credit card and start using it!

Cost: 12.95 USD per month per device

Reliability: 4/5

Go to Expressvpn.com

3) Hidemyass

Hidemyass.com is a free web based Private Network. Simply go to the website, key in your address in the bar and start surfing through the Hidemyass website.

Cost: Free

Reliability: 2/5

Go to Hidemyass.com

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3 Things about Business in Africa

2013 has been a kind year to me and I had the opportunity to do business in East Africa; miles away from home. Well it has opened up my eyes and changed my perception of things quite a little, here’s 3 things about conducting a business in africa

3) Time is important but not of the essence

The problem

Timeliness is often the no. 1 factor of businesses in Asia; Japan, Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations.Time in Africa though, is a whole different affair altogether. Meetings are often delayed anywhere from 1 – 3 hours if you’re lucky; they might be delayed or put off by weeks at a time.

The Solution

Send reminders about meetings a day before and on the day itself to try to avoid the situation. Patience as well in this case is important as often attendees will try to wriggle their way out of meetings with the worlds worst excuses. Logically, it also makes sense to try to adapt to their culture and work around it, i.e planning for buffer periods in your lead time and timeline. Risk cutting deadlines close at your own peril, especially if you are performing government tenders and projects, the incidence of blame will always fall upon YOU. 

2) Relationships are more important than delivery

The Problem

Business often cannot be separated from relationships. You have to take the time and make the effort when you are looking to develop a business. In Africa, this is amplified and often nothing is given to the best bidder or service provider, this is true no matter how professionally apt you think your firm is. Priority is always given to someone with a relationship to the decision maker and of course there is also the factor of reputation of an individual/entity, which is key, losing it means never coming back.

The Solution

Outlay some costs on business development, and by costs it means you have to spend both time and money. Either one on its on will not yield very much returns. Often, before doing business you have to do the whole wine & dine affair, often spending hours chatting and getting to know each other. Lunches and dinners over there can span over 3 – 5 hours per time. Do also get someone with good public relations and business acumen to handle your meetings, as people there often take offence of certain views or statements.

1) Don’t mean what you say, Don’t say what you mean

The Problem

In Africa, you can be promised one thing and given something else entirely during a business transaction; this is commonplace in quite a few economies, including Central Asia. People are cautious with the conducting of business and often, you will find that you face problems if you are completely honest about the business that you are conducting over there. This can be attributed to a host of differing subjective reasons; lack of potential, lack of funding, etc.

The Solution

Answer questions intelligently. When someone asks questions, do not listen to reply, listen to understand what their underlying queries are. Try to preempt these as much as possible by planning and giving specific responses that are secure in nature. Do not always mean what you say, and do not always say what you mean; even where they are potential clients or potential vendors, it does not matter. Framing your pitch or discussion is of utmost importance as once you lose your credibility over there, it is almost impossible to come back to the business scene.

A Photo Diary of My Time in Africa Part 1

A photo gallery of the time I spent in Africa, with captions. Part 1. If you like any of the photos in the gallery, feel free to use them, however, please credit with a link back to my site! Thanks!

Johor Bahru Malaysia & Singapore Customs Jam Time!

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Photo taken: 11/05/2013 18:29

Been looking around the web for a list of bad timings to enter Malaysia from the Singapore Customs. Can’t find any, so I guess I will compile a list of timings for jam periods and their intensity, because as we all know Singaporeans and Malaysians working in Singapore often enter Malaysia for their great prices for (2.20 RM per liter for 97 and 1.90 RM per liter for 95) petrol as well as food! 😀

These are the bad timings for going in:

Monday  to Thursday 4:45 – 7:30 p.m Squeeze
Monday  to Thursday 9:30 – 10:30 p.m Slow
Friday 3:45 – 8:00 p.m Squeeze
Saturday 7:30 – 12:00 p.m Slow
Saturday 5:00 – 8:30 p.m Squeeze
Sunday 7:30 – 12:00 p.m Slow
Sunday 5:00 – 8:30 p.m Squeeze

This will be updated and soon it will include the timings for coming back as well! =d stay tuned.

Words: Muslim Patrol?

Muslims today seem to have forgotten why Syariah Law exists, for it has been convoluted and sometimes practiced or enforced as actual “laws”. Religious laws often are more morals than laws, they are aspired behaviours and not prescribed behaviours.

For starters, simply, the Muslim patrol is a group of vigilantes patrolling the streets of East London and basically harassing individuals whom are perceived to be not abiding by Islamic law. You can view the stream article here.

Why this is fucked up

The Muslim Patrol has one clear objective, to create “Muslim Zones” in different areas. What does this achieve really? Lets take it to the extreme. If it is successful, it creates areas within a country where certain behaviours will be punished/deterred; i.e. Behaviours that are not “Islamic” in nature.

Notwithstanding, Islam is a religion, and Syariah Law or Islamic Law is a law that arose from the religion. It is uncalled for to basically hold free individuals to such law, whether or not they are of Islamic faith. Even if they are Muslims, no such individual should be held up to the law of the religion.

Why should individuals not be held to the law of religion?

Secular laws are passed after going through many rounds of checking and refining, through parliament or other channels that do represent the basic or lowest level of ethical behaviour, basically, fall below that expected line and you’re punished. It may not be 100% democratic and put to vote, but it still more or less represents the moderates.

Religious law/Syariah Law are laws that are taken and re-adapted from a book that is well, basically put it this way, centuries old. Laws need to be updated from time to time. Further more, religious laws represent a standard of behaviour that is to be aspired, not prescribed. Again, religious laws often are more morals than laws, they are often very dutiful in nature and they are basically set as a moral benchmark; for one to aspire to be a better human being.

I hope that in the coming days, Muslims that have been tarnishing the image and name of Islam would realize the err in their ways and help to instead create and flourish a community that is beautiful and supportive.

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Words: Singapore; on smoking bans and areas

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As many of you may now know, the smoking blanket ban craze that the authorities have put out this January have extended to include HDB staircases and void decks as well as a host of other locations which can be found here.

in this post I will attempt to deliberate the period and cons of such a blanket ban in Singapore and perhaps a better alternative to the ban.

As I was discussing recently with a friend of mine, visakan, these smoking bans may actually make smokers more irresponsible. This is due to the fact that smokers are going to need to smoke. The ban actually stops smokers from smoking in certain public areas. This creates a problems

The problems:
Enforcement of such bans are difficult to carry out. I do not know the exact number of NEA officers employed however it is possible to estimate that (disclaimer: this is a rough estimate) it is about 400 people including the sub-contracted Cisco officers. If each officer is paid 2000sgd per month; a reasonable figure, that amounts to 800,000 per month and 9.6 mil a year just spent on enforcement units. This is a Ludacris amount when you consider that 400 officers cannot possibly enforce the blanket ban which creates a hit and miss strategy, i.e unfair judgement.

The simple and elegant solution:
Instead of creating blanket bans and having a large amount of enforcement, the welfare of the entire community, smokers and non-smokers alike stands to benefit from an increase in smoking areas. Containment is better than condemnation. Singapore has red light districts to contain the problem of prostitution so why can’t we have smoking areas in convenient locations around so that the smoking problem can be contained? This way enforcement can be lowered and smoking areas are one-off costs that would last longer. Besides that are many air filtration systems and technologies available to reduce the smoke percentage in the air in smoking areas.

Bottom line, smokers are not bad, irresponsible people, we will use the smoking areas if presented the chance and if the smoking areas are made accessible. So hell? Why not?