Friday, October 26, 2012

3 best cold weather advice

Here are the 3 best cold weather advice that I have received, on how to adjust to Canada's cold weather.

"Lather yourself with LOTS of moisturizer during the cold and dry months."
From my elder sister when I was collecting luggage bags from her back in end-September 2010,
"Keep your head and neck covered and warm. Always wear a hat and a scarf, you'll feel warm that way."
From an acquaintance (who is my younger sister's colleague's aunt), a Singaporean living in Canada for decades, (as she chatted with me over the phone around Nov/Dec-2010 on the traditional Chinese health-system)
"People assume that in the cold weather they should it more heaty food to keep warm. In fact, the reverse is true. During cold weather, a lot of people fall sick because when exposed to the cold, the body goes into an overdrive to compensate, and thus becomes too heaty. Therefore, it is important to eat cooling foods in winter to maintain good health. Drink lots of 凉茶 [cooling tea]!"
This post is for folks like KC and his wife who will be landing in Canada soon. [Note: January is still the winter period.] Welcome and I hope you'll find the above advice useful too.


  1. Hi WD,

    My wife and I are thinking of migrating to Canada as semi-retirees, any idea what is the best course of action? (I am my early 50s and she, late 40s.)


    1. Hi TT,

      First off, I have to declare that I am NOT an migration agent nor do I have any education/training/experience in this or related fields. So take what I write here as sharing of personal opinions, not immigration advice. Do not make any decisions based on these opinions. I do not guarantee their accuracy, completeness, or usefulness. 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 herewith.

      As far as I understand, the Canadian immigration rules are being revised (a.k.a. tightened) for almost all classes of immigrants. In fact, the Family Sponsored Parents/Grandparents, Federal Investors, Federal Entrepreuner, and Federal Skilled-Worker classes have been suspended pending review. Given that the North America economy is struggling along and Canada's social system takes care of its residents/immigrants, each additional immigrant that cannot land on his/her feet immediately contributing to the Canadian economy is a cost to the system. E.g. There have been a backlash against immigrants, often Asians, sponsoring their elderly retired relatives who add demand to the already strained Universal Healthcare System -- thus the Family Sponsored Parents/Grandparents is currently suspended.

      Since you clearly can read and write English, my suggestion is for you to get the full information directly from the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website. The Canadian immigration system is transparent (unlike Singapore's) and does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of ethnicity or country of origin. IMHO, as far as I know, going through an agent will not help you "speed things up" nor "have access to hidden immigration quota" (which does not exist) -- so no point throwing your money on that. I have friends who threw good money at agents only to find that it would not make any difference if they had handled the matter themselves.

      To be frank, based on what little information you've provided, (you're in your early 50s and your wife is in late-40's, you aim to continue semi-retirement in Canada), you're not the type of immigrant that Canada wants to attract. I assume that you're not currently living in Canada, nor are you a "temporary foreign worker or a foreign student who graduated in Canada", so the Canadian Experience Class is not for you. Let's take a quick look at the other open options. Are you or your wife...:

      1. An "international student enrolled in a PhD program in Canada"? [Federal Skilled Worker, under the PhD scheme]

      2. A French-speaking skilled worker with skills in-demand by Quebec and prepared to live in Quebec? [Quebec-selected skilled workers]

      3. A self-employed world-class cultural-participant/athlete? Have experience in and plans to be self-employed in farm management, cultural/athletic activities? [Self-employed category]

      4. Able to convince a Canadian Province to nominate you as an immigrant? [Provincial Nominee]

      5. Willing and able to find work as a live-in caregiver (a.k.a. live-in maid) for a family with the positive Labour Market Opinion (approval) from the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC)? [Live-in Caregiver]

      6. A refugee? [Refugees]

      You see, Canada does not want to attract retirees. For retirement, you may want to check out Australia or New Zealand instead.

      Australia Retirement Visa

      New Zealand Retirement Visa

      Hope the above information is of some use.

      Best Regards, WD.

    2. I'm going to sound very snarky here, but I've had enough of people who want to migrate but cannot be bothered to do a basic search on Google.

      It would help a lot if the above poster had included the profession(s) he and his wife are in, and/or how much $$$ they have.

      Oh I have so much more to rant about but I respect that this is your blog winkingdoll and I will zip up. My apologies.

    3. Hi CK,

      Thanks for visiting and your comment.

      To be honest, when I first decided to emigrate from Singapore, I went to the Sammyboy forum (then perceived as an "underground forum") because I heard that there were people there who shared about their emigration experience. It was from there that I learned about the various countries' immigration boards and then went on to Google to find out more.

      Even back then (mid-2000's) the culture in Singapore is that if you're a citizen looking to emigrate, you're akin to a "traitor" of your country, your fellow citizens, your friends and family. The late Singapore Serf captured that feeling of secrecy and shame very well in his blog entry.

      So perhaps the fear/shame of being seen as a "traitor" combined with ignorance (due to lack of open discussions about emigration) result in people posting anonymous questions to strangers instead? I will give them the benefit of my doubt.

      Cheers, WD.

    4. You missed out that the poster can qualify for a Business visa if he has $800,000 to invest.

      Look, I have no problems with people asking SPECIFIC questions about migration, but not general ones like "Oh I want to migrate to xxx, what to do ah?".

      And then good people like yourself spend 10 - 15 minutes looking up the information for them, following which another set of questions would be asked. WHEN ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED ARE ON THE WEBSITE OF THE COUNTRY THEY WANT TO MIGRATE TO.

      It's this spoonfeeding mentality that I don't like. 50 years ago you can be excused for wanting to be spoonfed, because there was no such thing as the Internet. Today, whatever information you want is just a Google search away.

      We're doing such potential migrants no favours, because they don't learn to do things for themselves. And when they are successful in getting their visa, they will find adjustment to the new country difficult because the government doesn't tell them what to do, and there are no maids to do things for them.

      And by the way, NZ is full so piss off to Australia. ;)

    5. Hi CK,

      > ... they don't learn to do things for themselves. And when they are successful in getting their visa, they will find adjustment to the new country difficult ...

      I totally agree with you on that. That is why I suggested for them to get the full information directly from the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship (CIC) website. This self-initiated process of procuring information, answering to the CIC requests/instructions is in-and-of-itself an introduction to the Canadian culture -- the Canadian way of doing things.

      You're right. Ever heard of PRCs* who pay migration agents to get their visa, pay housing agents to find them a roof. Then next thing, asking if there are job agents that they can pay to get them a job, or business agents for them to buy over a business. Every little "cock-up" in their migration process, they have to run back to their migration agent for assistance (mainly because their English suck and also because they are so fearful of talking to authority figures). Not a good way to integrate into their host country -- and often they don't. [*Note: I am citing PRCs as an example here because I have seen more of those. The same may be true of people from other countries of origin, but I don't know enough to comment here.]

      But then, someone (an El Salvadorian who had worked with people from all over Asia, including Singaporeans) just told me today that I am not a typical Singaporean. Yes, another reminder for folks aiming to get out of Singapore. IMHO, if one wants to emigrate and integrate successfully into one's host country, one have to do things that Singaporeans typically won't do. That said, give yourself a pat on the back for each little step you take. It is a challenge to breakout of decades of cultural/social-norms.

      Cheers, WD.

  2. Hi WD,

    Thank you for your detailed reply and valuable insight. I did visit several times during the past few months, and I posted my question to you out of "desperation" because of this brick wall I saw there (hoping you might know something Mr. Google doesn't), "Note: As of July 1, 2012, CIC has temporarily stopped accepting applications for the federal Investor program to focus on processing the applications we already have while the program is reviewed. This pause on new applications will continue until further notice."

    My hope wasn't in vain, otherwise, I would not have given too much thought that retirees are not the type of immigrants Canada wants to attract. Since we'll be coming into C$2M soon, all we could think of are, "me, me, me"... cheap cars, cheap housing, lots of space and great healthcare in Canada.

    Also, after reading what you wrote about those PRCs paying agents for nothing but false hope, it confirmed my suspicion those agents/law firms are a waste of money and time.

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi TT,

      You're welcome. Congradulations on coming into money.

      You probably already know it, but just to mention that the 1st priority isn't where to relocate, but how to generate multiple sources of passive income such that your CAD2million will not run dry. Once you've ensured yourself and your wife a steady stream of income, there are many places where you can retire, choose one that fits your budget (i.e. costs below your steady stream of income) and comfort level.

      Google for the "best countries for retirement" or "best places to retire" and you'll find that the world is your oyster. There are many places where the middle-class Canadians (who don't have millions) spend up to 6 months yearly overseas for their retirement -- mainly to escape the worst of Canadian winter.

      Yeah, Canada does discriminate against older immigrants because it cares about the quality of life of its citizens/residents. Every baby-boomer or elderly it invites onto its shores equates additional long-term strain on its social support systems; and there are already a lot of elderly baby-boomer Canadians around.

      As for the PRCs, some of them have loads of money. To them, as long as they achieve their objective of getting the visa, house, etc, it is money well spent. They don't care about adapting/integrating into the Canadian culture. Which is why it is understandable that some Canadians (including ethnic Chinese Canadians) resent their presence.

      With regards to the CIC brick wall, yeah, welcome to the Canadian bureaucracy. Looking on the bright side, you have experience Canadian bureaucracy firsthand for yourself. That said, I much prefer the transparency of the CIC than the (IMHO) "no, we don't discriminate base on race" lies of a certain country. In addition, when CIC realized, "we've got a problem", they take steps to close the immigration floodgates; unlike you know where.

      Cheers, WD.

  3. Why stick to one country when you have money?

    If you can find a way to generate $75,000 per annum in passive income, the world is your oyster.

    And Mr Google knows everything. How to fuck, how to build a bomb, how to do an open heart surgery.

    1. Hi CK,

      Thanks for the link. I've read the article. Interesting option.

      So true about Mr Google! Haha! Wonder if he can find me a suitable lifelong mate -- just kidding :P

      Cheers, WD.

    2. Why have one suitable lifelong mate when you can have many?

      And mates are overrated. If you want drama it's better to watch it on TV!

    3. I suppose since landing in Canada you have had bouts of wistfulness, loneliness, and how wonderful it would be if only we could share our new lives and explore new things with someone else.

      I've had that too.

      But we're no longer in our teens, we know through experience and observations how difficult relationships are (it doesn't have to be) and how shallow people can be (our lizard brain is still controlling us all, despite all those years of evolution).

      So why then do we keep wishing for that one lifelong mate?

      Is loneliness that difficult to bear?

      I love my solitude. I have learned to be contented with my own company. I do not want what other people have because you don't know the stress and headache that they have as a result having it.

      Attachment is the root of all suffering.

      Learn to be free.

    4. Haha, CK, "many suitable lifelong mates" is too complicated for me -- I am a simple person who only want a simple life. More than 1 mate equals drama, something I can do without in life. Yeah, TV drama is way better than real-life drama. :)

    5. Hi CK,

      Yeah, given the choice between solitude and drama-king, definitely I would choose solitude. If I meet the right kind of person, yup, I would consider. Otherwise I agree with you that I would prefer to fly solo than with an unsuitable co-pilot.

      That said, recent discussions seem to bring the topic of "finding a partner" back in the forefront. E.g. I have several persons asking me why I don't bother to dress-up (e.g. wear make-up daily) to impress guys, followed by their conclusion, "You'll have no problem attracting guys if you dress up." Then I think about my motivations behind why I "undersell" my looks and explain my experience to them.

      Cheers, WD.

    6. I guess our problem is that we want people who are attracted to us when we are not dressed up! ;)

      And that's what I meant by people being shallow.

    7. Well, CK, I don't think we can escape the laws of physical attraction -- i.e. we are drawn (be it consciously or unconsciously) towards those we find physically attractive; and being dressed up increases a person's attractiveness. I am probably guilty of "being shallow" too.

      I think the real reasons why I don't dress up are simply to reduce drama in my life -- have had bad past experience of unwanted attention and gossips. I would rather focus on establishing my career in Canada at this moment.

  4. Click the interactive graphic on the left for a breakdown in budget.

  5. Hi WD,

    I am happy to hear you are feeling better so fast, good for you.

    Since we made our money the old fashioned way -we inherited it (haha), if you have any good stuff to share on generating multiple sources of passive income or just ONE steady stream of income, I am all ears! Pray tell.

    Seriously, we suck at making money business-wise, and oh, we tried like crazy too! More hare-brained ventures than we can count on both hands!

    1. Hi TT,

      Congrads again on coming into money, old-fashioned or new-fashioned way doesn't matter. Money buys you opportunities and/or options, lots of money buys you lots of those.

      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.

      Rule number 1: Do not lay all your eggs in 1 basket. That is "just ONE steady stream of income" is not a good idea. Diversity is key to stability in a rapidly changing global economy.

      Rule number 2: The best person you can count on for financial investment is YOURSELF. You heard it right. All financial advisors work for a fee; especially the so-called "free" ones, because they earn kick-backs/commissions for products they recommend.

      Rule number 3: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. E.g. A friend of mine recently suggested that I join him in this scheme which promises to pay out 2% per day. It works out to be 80% interest in 30 days (1 month), or multiplying your principal about 13-14x in 365 days (1 year). Please, if the return is that good, why would the banks even go through the trouble of running credit card businesses which earns them (only) around 2% per month or 26.8% per year interest? When you smell a fish, just walk away, DO NOT EVEN BE PERSUADED to put in any small amount that you can "afford to lose" -- better to lose it buying lottery.

      The best investment you can make is in yourself -- learn about personal financial management. You can start with some reliable online resources, see my blog entry below for some urls.

      I also suggest that you give yourself ONE FULL YEAR to get over the initial joy of unexpected wealth. I recommend that you do not tell anyone, not even relatives and/or close friends about your new found wealth during this period. Not until you have gained enough personal financial management skills/knowledge and used those skills/knowledge to set-up your reliable multiple sources of passive income. Then and only then, are you ready to share/give-away some. This is what I learned from reading about those who land a windfall and the difference between those who retain the windfall and those who ended up broke (some even more broke than before getting the windfall).

      If you cannot wait, and itch to enjoy some of that new found wealth immediately, the rule of thumb is to withdraw no more than 4% of it for your short-term enjoyment. Put the remainder into a safe investment with a time-lock so that you will not touch it until you are ready (e.g. Guaranteed Bonds for a 1-year fixed duration).

      The above assumes that you are in need of financial savviness. Of course, if you are already financially savvy, then go ahead, put your plans into action. :-)

      Cheers, WD.

  6. Hi WD,

    Thanks a bunch again for all your help! Sound and practical advice indeed.

    Too bad for SG another intelligent and helpful person like you is gone to benefit another country and their citizens.

    When I visit B.C. again (hopefully soon), I would love the opportunity to buy you kopi or dinner, till then...

    Warm regards,

    P.S. I am much clearer now (after these exchanges) about migrating or not.

    1. Hi TT,

      You are welcome. I'm glad to be of help. Btw, do check out CK's link above -- it talks about another retirement option.

      As for kopi or dinner, I would prefer to remain anonymous. 随缘吧! [Go with fate.] Enjoy your early retirement with your wife.

      Cheers, WD.

  7. Hi WD,

    Yes, I have checked out that link provided by CK, that option sounds good. In fact, it is eye-opening and we plan to do 30-40% what that couple is doing.

    My wife and I would miss too many SG & MY foods to be away for so many months each year. Two dishes that rush to mind are Swee Tin's fried hor fun @ Maxwell hawker centre and that famous mee pok stall @ Hong Lim HC.

    Hope I didn't make you miss PAP too much, hehe.

    You have a great life now, WD.

    All the best,

  8. Can you tell me more about your business experience?

    1. Hi Asingaporeanson,

      Here are some previous post giving peeks into my (short and limited) business experience.

      Cheers, WD.