Friday, March 25, 2011

CRNBC IEN SEC assessment result

I have just received the CRNBC letter on its decision based on the IEN SEC assessment. I will have to attend a 1 year full-time nursing re-entry course. [Addendum 03-Aug-2011: See also my initial assessment report from CRNBC here.]

There are lots of things to be done meanwhile to arrange for the course. Will post more as I go along.

I am glad that my Singapore nursing training and experience count for something -- that I do not have to attend a full 3 to 4-year Canadian nursing degree program. I must thank my Singapore nursing teachers for their hard work and support.

[Addendum 03-Aug-2011] Please see my "CRNBC IEN SEC assessment possible outcomes" blog entry if you're looking for the possible results of an IEN SEC assessment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lady Einstein

I have a confession to make. I only just realized that I may share Einstein's IQ.

2 days ago, I came across the Mail Online news about Little Miss Einstein, 11 year-old Victoria Cowie, in UK. The news article stated that the girl was tested by Mensa and it put her IQ between Einstein's and Descartes'. I guess it implies that Albert Einstein's estimated IQ is based on a scale with a standard deviation (S.D.) similar to the Cattell IQ scale with a S.D. of 24.
  1. UK's Little Miss Einstein was tested by Mensa which uses the Cattell IQ scale for scoring.
  2. Einstein's score is only an estimated one, not one based on actual IQ tests.
  3. I was tested by Mensa almost 20 years ago as an adult. I am not sure, but I think it may have been the Cattell Culture Fair III A.
I have heard of Einstein's IQ score before -- when my nursing classmates' group did a presentation. Given that there are many IQ score scales, I simply assumed that Einstein IQ of 160 is based on a scale with a small standard deviation. I didn't think that I would be anywhere near his level. Here's what my Mensa Singapore test result letter actually states.
Congratulations! Your supervised IQ test has now been marked and returned to us from Mensa International, and we find that according to this evidence your intelligence quotient appears to be [number], which is higher that 98%/99% percent of the population. ... blah blah blah. [Note: The number was handwritten and 98% was canceled by hand with the same ink.]
When I received the above result, I thought 1 in 100 is not that rare. [My sister, who did the test at the same sitting as me, had the same score too.] At that time, I was working in a mid-sized company which had around 300 staff locally, so theoretically speaking there would be around 3 in the company itself. Thus, I didn't think that Einstein would belong to this not-so-rare group.

Tonight, I checked out the Normal Distribution Z table calculator online. Yup, entering 100 for mean, 24 for SD and somewhere around 0.01 (i.e. 1%) for the shaded area, gives my reported IQ.

What does all the above mean? Not very much when it comes to achievements in life according to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. It cites the example of Christopher Langan whose IQ is reportedly between 195 and 210. [Read the book or the link here for more about Christopher Langan.] I am inclined to agree with Malcolm's suggestion that beyond having enough intelligence to qualify for a college education*, IQ is far less predictive of life achievements.

*Note: Typically estimated to be around 1 standard deviation away, i.e. an IQ score of around 124 and above.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Akan datang - Coming soon

Remember the good old days in the movie theaters (in Singapore) where the movie previews are preceded by the "Akan Datang - Coming Soon" message?

It has been 6 weeks after my IEN SEC assessment. Today, I received a response from CRNBC that my file is being assessed and that a letter with instructions on my next steps will be coming soon. Akan datang.

Somehow I feel relieved. At least it means that my assessment file did not get lost in the mail nor meet with some other "minor disaster". OK, so it is back to waiting. Once again, waiting with no firm dates for further news yet.


[Addendum on 15-March-2011]

Still no news yet. I will send another chaser email next week on the 22-March-2011 if still no news by then. Maybe they are overloaded with cases to process? Afterall, the June-2010 12-month quota for 1,000 "Registered Nurses" under the Federal Skilled Worker class of PR immigrants is already maxed out.

[Addendum on 28-March-2011]
In the end, I sent the 2nd chaser email in the wee hours of 25-March-2011 morning, highlighting that I needed an estimate of the expected waiting period so that I could decide on interim employment options. By afternoon, I received the reply.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Managing personal finances

DECLARATION AND DISCLAIMER: The following are my personal opinion. I am not a financial analyst or in any way qualified to give financial advice and thus any content from me shall be construed as a sharing of personal opinion, not financial advice. I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided by me. Under no circumstances will I or anyone related to this content be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from any reliance on the information or other content posted or linked by me.

Recently, a friend who originated from China asked me how to learn about investment and personal financial management. Just 2 days ago, I chat with my landlady, who also originated from China, and she asked the same question.

This entry has 2 main sections delimited by long dash-lines. Feel free to skip the stuff that doesn't interest you.
(A) My financial training journey
(B) Online resources



I didn't think much about my early days of learning about financial management until at a discussion at the [free Canadian federal-sponsored] Financial Literacy Program for new migrants. The lecturer asked, "When was the first time you were taught about money?" As it turns out, I had an early exposure to money. I was collecting small payments, returning the change, and counting the daily revenue at my grandfather's shop even as a kindergarten kid.

In my teens and tweens, I eagerly read articles on personal financial management and stock market analysis. It is understandable, given that my parents often quarreled over money.
[Aside: I had thought then that if the money problems get fixed, the other problems will fall into place too. What I did not understand back then, though, was that the money quarrels were just a proxy to bigger problems in their marriage. But that's another story.]
As luck would have it, my previous career landed me into projects which taught me about diverse aspects of the financial market. My first job after graduation was with a company that sells financial news. My first project was to automate the faxing of Bunker reports to clients (i.e. a commodity trading information system) -- my preceptor gave me my first lessons on commodity trading. Thereafter, I handled projects on stock information systems -- colleagues taught me about the stock market. At a subsequent job, I was supporting forex traders -- and thus I learn about forex trading (i.e. currency trading), settlements and risk management. At another job, I created an information system for private bankers -- and my clients taught me about private banking, stock/equity and related derivatives, bonds/fixed-income trading, and portfolio management. At yet another job, I handled credit rating and other derivative information systems -- and ... (you get the drift). I am incredibly lucky to get a free education on financial markets along with my previous career.

Other teachers include my insurance agents -- about insurance rules-of-thumb -- and my lawyer and IRAS [Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore] -- about wills and Singapore estate duty. In the early-2000's, I attended a seminar from the Stock Exchange of Singapore about analyzing and investing in stocks and its derivatives. It was a rewarding experience, in more ways than one. Once again, I am incredibly lucky to meet people willing to share their expertise.

Nowadays, there are lots of online resources on investing and personal financial management. IMHO, one can get a solid education online with some effort.



Here are some of the online resources that I currently refer to. In addition I also read some blogs (e.g. Lucky Singaporean) that comment on such matters.

Category I - Canada specific resources

Canada Revenue Agency - Information about government taxes and financial related policies affecting individuals in Canada.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada - Information on managing personal finances in Canada. Tools and advice to guide you from choosing bank accounts, mortgages to analyzing one's budget.

Category II - Financial terminology and learning about investing

Berkshire Hathaway - Glimpse into the mind of one of the world's best investor - Warren Buffet

Canadian Couch Potato - The Canadian lazy investors' guide

Canadian Money Forum - Read about how other Canadians manage their finances

Investopia - Very good dictionary for financial terminology with links to related terms.

Money Sense (from Canadian Business) - General investment advice

Money Ville (from Canadian - Another general investment website newly launched in 2010 Personal Finance - Read about how other North Americans manages their finances

Wall Street Journal Online - Personal finance articles
[Added on 4th March 2011 at 05:15am Singapore time. Sorry, missed out this earlier.]

Category III - Learning about the market trends

[Addendum: 27-March-2011. How could I have missed out The Economist!?!]
The Economist - Covers "world news, politics, economics, business & finance"

Questrade - Market data from the online trading platform

Reuters - Business and Financial News

The New York Times Business Day - Read about business trends worldwide from New York's perspective - Currency exchange

Yahoo Finance - Catch the financial trends in North America


Although I read the above online resources every now-and-then, I am inclined to agree with the following Chinese proverb when it comes to factors affecting personal wealth.
First fate, second luck, third Feng Shui (i.e. harmony with environment), fourth doing good deeds, fifth studies (or hard-work)

No news is good news?

I still have not received any news from the CRNBC regarding the result of my IEN SEC. Someone at the IEN assessment centre mentioned to me that it would take around 3 to 5 weeks. It is now just over 5 weeks. Yesterday, I sent an email to CRNBC requesting for a status update. I am still waiting for their response.

Let's hope that "No news is good news" in this instance.