Long distance rates – a barometer of economic progress?

At a small Asian mall where I normally have my monthly haircut I saw a sign at a store window  : “ FREE OVERSEAS CALL – 30 MINUTES”. It was a promotion for a startup company competing in the VOIP ( Voice Over IP ) or voice over the internet space. The ad was true and you can call for free to any of the 20 countries the company covers under its unlimited overseas plan. Unfortunately, RP was not included in the list. I already got a sense that RP is a long shot, considering the ludcirous long distance rate it charges compared to other countries. I blogged about this issue in 2007 and things haven’t changed. After a couple of years, RP rates have just gone down a tad 2 cents per minute on the average, from 13 cents down to 11 cents. Pretty pathetic considering that other countries have opened up, making their countries accessible for business.

This company offers 9.9 cents per min for cell phone but 11.9 cents for landline. Still high. Moreover, businesses use landlines more than cell phones.  Very high compared to India, where the rate dropped from 7.9 cents to 1.9 cents over the last 2 years. Now this tells me that India is open for business. True to India’s reputation of being the world’s largest call center outsourcer, its cheap long distance rates certainly helps in promoting the business.   Contrast this with the high rates to RP  because  a clique of RP telecom carriers are playing their selfish game of enriching their treasure chests, trying to hold on to their monopolistic practices.  Blame the government for its lame policies, reneging on its mission to promote the interests of the country first, allowing itself to be manipulated by the powerful bigwigs of the telecom industry.  While the rest of the world are opening up and embracing deregulation, RP is acting only on the interests of  a  couple of telecom providers,  whose main mission is the preservation of their obscene profit margins and the systematic decimation of potential competitors.
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Valentine’s Day Thoughts

I came across this ad in one of those free daily papers the other day :

“Plan to be spontaneous this Valentine’s Day. Come and get a payday advance and treat your loved one to something truly special “

Now that’s ripping your pocket off with some usurious interest rates – isn’t it ? 😯 What do these folks charge you, 20 % of the amount or even more ? It is good news that in 2009 this province declared Feb 15 as Family Day, an official holiday. Those who get paid on the 15th of Feb will get their salaries earlier, hopefully early enough to celebrate Valentine’s with a bang 🙂 This new holiday declaration extends Valentine’s into a family celebration more so if it falls on a long weekend. That’s swell. For those without children, Valentine’s will be a 2 day affair 😉 Valentine’s is one day when lovers reflect on their relationship and impress one another with cool gifts. Others simply go with the flow and celebrate the day with a nice dinner or a date to a movie, play or a concert. Incidentally, we had our pre-Valentine celebration to a Mariah Carey concert last Tuesday. Dang, Mariah showed up almost 2 hours late – I’ll blog about this later 😦 No elaborate plans for Valentine’s this time except for a dinner with the wifey and the daughter and a short trip up north to enjoy the long weekend. We’d be cruising the malls for a bit too so I won’t be surprised if we pick up something dandy for each of us 😎

Here’s some cool Valentine’s jokes from my jokes folder 🙂



My boyfriend and I met online and we’d been dating for over a year. I introduced Hans to my uncle, who was fascinated by the fact that we met over the Internet. He asked Hans what kind of line he had used to pick me up. Ever the geek, Hans naively replied, “I just used a regular 56K modem.” 😆



There once was an old couple who had been married for thirty years. Every morning the old boy would wake up and give off an enormous fart, much to his long suffering wife’s annoyance. “You’ll fart your guts out one of these days,” she always complained. After a particularly bad week the wife decided to have her revenge and got up early, placing some turkey giblets in the bed next to the old boy’s arse. While making breakfast downstairs she heard his usual morning fart reverberate through the floorboards followed by a scream. Twenty minutes later a rather shaken man came downstairs. “You was right all along Missus,” the old man says, “I finally did fart my guts out, but by the grace of God, and these two fingers, I managed to push ’em back in!” :mrgreen:


A woman standing nude in front of a mirror says to her husband: ‘I look horrible, I feel fat and ugly, pay me a compliment.’ He replies, ‘Your eyesight is perfect.’ 🙂
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Last week I ordered a wooden filing cabinet with 4 drawers. I wanted a sturdier cabinet for my files that had been cramming into a couple of fully packed 2 drawer low-end steel cabinets. I was glad that the shop offered free delivery. It would save me the hassle to hauling up the cabinet upstairs, to my home office. One weekday night the delivery came and guess what – the darn cabinet was in a big box, still be be assembled. The delivery man was instructed to deliver the box at my doorstep period, no more no less 😦 I was disgusted but had no choice but to assemble the cabinet piece by piece at the room where it was supposed to go. The instructions weren’t bad and all the materials needed – screws, bolts, glue, allen wrench – were inside the box. No hammerring and nailing required, just a standard screwdriver to bolt everything up . I did the assembly one Saturday afternoon and I was finally wrapping up, inserting the last drawer into the bottom part cabinet, it wouldn’t fit ! I found out that I inadvertendly reversed a piece of wood at the very bottom. I needed to take out all the drawers, detach one of the sides of the cabinet so I can get access to the piece that was wrongly positioned. I did fix it and I was lucky the glue hasn’t totally dried up on the wooden joints. Man, I cursed myself for messing up such a simple step. I swear if I had a chisel I could have just cut the errant piece and couldn’t care less how the cabinet looked 😯 It was a real drag and when it was over asked myself – “self, how could you possibly bungle such simple thing you stupid SOB ” ? 😡

I hate it when I mess up with simple things but no matter how embarrassing, I would take it anytime over a major screw up. Nothing in life is risk free and I’m not about to turn myself into a recluse, holed up in a little cave so I can eliminate any danger to my existence. Like is about taking risks ,of being brave enough to trust your abilities, smart to recognize and mitigate risks when you perceive them. Last week I saw a 20 year old Asian dude accompanied by both his parents to the walk in clinic for consultation with his doc for flu symptoms. Common’ now – that’s frigging babysitting an adult 😡 When will he learn ? No pain no gain they say and in my opinion, what we are today is the product of how we viewed and handled risk and learned from the mistakes we committed.


Here’s an excerpt from the book Rules of Life. We all seem to think that we become wiser as we grow older. Experienced perhaps but that does not exempt us from goofing up once in a while.Rule No. 2 – You’ll Get Older But Not Necessarily Wiser dispels the notion that getting older means getting wiser. I totally agree with the author when he says that ” wisdom isn’t about not making mistakes but about learning to escape afterwards with our dignity and sanity intact”. It is a nice way of describing survival – getting badly beaten but somehow finishing the 12 rounds 😉 That also means not putting a bullet in our head because we screwed up 😯 As one saying goes – mistakes are totally useless if we learn nothing from them. True, safety first would reduce the probability of making mistakes but it will also reduce our chances of achieving greatness. Ironically, life is all about the business of taking risk to get rewarded. Somewhere along the way, we are bound to make mistakes to gain experience. Now to complete the irony, they also say experience is a hard teacher because it gives the test first, the lesson afterward 😉

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