Of Swiss Nuclear Waste & Money

Ori and Rom Brafman recount an interesting episode that sheds light on the psychological effects that monetary incentives have on us. In Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour, they visit Switzerland in 1993, where the Swiss government was planning to designate either one of two small towns as nuclear waste repositories. Two researchers were interested as to how the townspeople would react and went out to get some answers.

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Top Students from Heartland Schools

Neighbourhood schools have proved their mettle in the Primary School Leaving Exams (PSLE) this year. If you’re worried about the quality of education in the heartlands, then the fact that they produced 7 out of the 13 top pupils should put your mind at ease. Those schools are:

Qifa Primary West Coast School Website Area Map
Rulang Primary Jurong West School Website Area Map
Greenridge Primary Bukit Panjang School Website Area Map
South View Choa Chu Kang School Website Area Map
Gongshang Primary Tampines School Website Area Map

Rental Basics (HDB): First Payment

Let’s say that you’re thinking about renting a place. You’ve called an agent, viewed a couple of places and found one that you can actually imagine yourself staying in. What do you have to pay?

Generally, your first payments would include:

  1. A security deposit equalling a month’s rent
  2. One month’s advance rent
  3. Agent commission, which is half a month’s rent including GST

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Real Trouble in Singapore?

Rising property prices have caused the real estate profession to come under the spotlight in recent months. This is expected, of course, because when a company or industry begins to report record prices or profits, then it risks being placed under the political microscope.

The Singapore government recently launched a public consultation exercise for a new regulatory framework for the real estate industry (which apparently received only 200 suggestions). One of the more popular suggestions was to require real estate agents to pass a standard test before they’re allowed to practice. That seems long overdue. While most people don’t expect their agents to be real estate geniuses, I’m sure they expect agents to have at least some comprehension of the industry. I mean, this is probably one of the more important decisions in your life, right?

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Listings Blog

For a while now, I have been grappling with the best way to post some of my listings without it getting too boring in here. It seems that would be to link it to another site so that it won’t get too cluttered. Argh, and I thought I could avoid that. Well, so far I’ve managed to post a few rental listings up. You can get them here. Alternatively, you can click on Agent Fai’s Rental Listings in the Blogroll column on your right.

Health Warnings Cause Smoking

Did you know that those gruesome images on cigarette boxes actually stimulate smokers’ cravings?

There’s a new brand of marketing research starting to gain momentum called ‘Neuromarketing’, which I find very illuminating. This entails researchers placing respondents inside fMRI or EEG machines (if you’re a big fan of House, you’d probably seen them before) to gauge their actual responses to certain stimuli. If I’m not wrong, machines like the fMRI identify the flow of oxygen to certain parts of the brain to gauge a person’s neurological response. For example, if you’re feeling guilty, there will be an increased flow of oxygen to your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that controls that particular emotion. I’ve never liked using questionnaires, you hardly ever get a genuine response – well, at least I hardly ever give a genuine response (oops!). Neuromarketing circumvents this problem because well, want to bluff also cannot bluff.

Apparently, these researchers found that health warnings stimulated smokers’ nucleus accumbens, generally known as the ‘craving spot’. So, images of cancer-ridden lungs actually promote smoking! Who would have thought? Martin Lindstrom’s book, Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, is an excellent account of neuromarketing’s rapid progress. I find it fascinating, don’t you?