Monday, 21 August 2017

Reverse Osmosis Water treatment Systems (Pros and Cons)

Reverse Osmosis
The semi-permeable membrane used in reverse osmosis contains tiny pores through which water can flow. The small pores of this membrane are restrictive to organic compounds such as salt and other natural minerals, which generally have a larger molecular composition than water.

  • The membrane pores are restrictive to bacteria and disease-causing pathogens to avoid waterborne diseases. 
  • Can filter/ reduce 
  1. Radioactive substances like radium and uranium, 
  2. Heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and lead
  3. Microbes; virus and bacteria, etc. 
  4. Nitrate, fluoride 
  • Incredibly effective at desalinating water and providing mineral-free water for use in photo or print shops.
The reverse osmosis process contains several downsides:
  • The small pores in the membrane is unable to block more dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine which are molecularly smaller than water (Binnie et al, 2002). For this reason, a carbon filter must be used as a complimentary measure to provide safe drinking water from the reverse osmosis process. Such chemicals are the major contaminants of drinking water after municipal treatment.
  • The removal of healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water. The membrane of a reverse osmosis system is impermeable to natural trace minerals. These minerals not only provide a good taste to water, but they also serve a vital function in the body’s system. Water, when stripped of these trace minerals, can actually be unhealthy for the body. HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER by World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Reverse osmosis also wastes a large portion of the water that runs through its system. It generally wastes two to three gallons of water for every gallon of purified water it produces. Reverse osmosis is also an incredibly slow process when compared to other water treatment alternatives. 
  • The are some precautions on drinking RO water though:
    1) Don't fill RO water in plastic bottle because of leaching effect. It's best to fill RO water in glass or stainless steel bottle.
    2) It's not recommended to drink RO water immediately after exercise. Isotonic drinks like 100plus can replenish the salt lost through sweat.
    3) Maintain a healthy diet or take nutrient supplements if you're to drink RO water.


Elken Bio Pure


Using Elken for 11 years. No problem. Just need to change the filter every year during our CNY clean-up. Elken is by far the best, but costliest too in terms of maintenance. R.O. home water treatment are not cheap. In fact, pretty expensive. So I see no point in using such system when other systems which does not remove minerals exist.

Coway bestest. After sales maintenance service toppest

I agree that RO system is not cheap. Chemicals are generally categorized into organic chemical or inorganic chemical. To know which chemical is organic or inorganic, you can Google the name of the chemical and if the chemical structure has a carbon atom or 'C' in it, then it's an organic chemical.
Most of the system in the market I've seen which allow good minerals to bypass are activated carbon filter. Organic contaminants contain carbon molecules which can bond to the activated carbon filter. A well designed activated carbon filter can filter organic chemicals and some inorganic chemical such as chlorine, lead and mercury. The disadvantage of activated carbon filter is it's not effective in removing most inorganic contaminants such as arsenic, nitrate, or heavy metals like chromium and cadmium. RO membrane can filter these inorganic contaminants. Most RO system also have pre- and post-activated carbon filter to filter organic contaminants. So a well designed RO system can filter both organic and inorganic contaminants.
There is no filter in the market which can differentiate between good minerals and bad minerals. This is a marketing gimmick. If the filter can retain good minerals in the water, chances are it also retains other inorganic chemicals in the water.
I do not deny the fact that some minerals in the water are essential to our health such as calcium and magnesium. Individuals who does not maintain a healthy diet can benefit from the calcium and magnesium content in the water to prevent certain illnesses. For those who drink RO water, the lack of minerals in the water can be supplemented from food intake.
Between a choice of drinking filtered water containing good minerals plus inorganic contaminants, or RO water which doesn't contain organic and inorganic contaminants while lacking good minerals, I personally choose RO water and supplement the minerals from food and nutrient supplement intake. A glass of milk contains more calcium than a glass of water.

Don't use any marketed brand. Water systems are simple and the technology is cheap and easily available. Just go to a water filter place. They usually have cheap, custom assembled RO systems. Tell them what you want an they will quote you. You can buy the filters anywhere.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Casa Green Condominium Cheras

Add: Jalan Seri Minang 4 Off Taman Seri Minang, Batu 9 Cheras near Bandar Tun Hussein Onn about 20 km from KLCC.

This is a high-rise condominium development built on freehold land. There are 326 units with built-up areas ranging from 1,765 to 3,380 sq ft. Some of the facilities featured in this condominium are covered parking lots, swimming pool, wading pool, gymnasium, reflexology path, picnic terrace, barbecue pit and more. This property is safeguarded by 24-hour security services.

Residents are within easy reach of many amenities such as shop lots, restaurants, clinics, offices, banks, petrol stations and more. Bandar Tun Hussein Onn Primary & Secondary Schools are within walking distance. Giant Cheras Mall and AEON Big Bandar Tun Hussein Onn are a short drive away.

This condominium has easy accessibility ot Persiaran Minang 4, Jalan Alam Damai, SILK Highway, Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) and Cheras-Kajang Highway. Public transportation in the neighbourhood includes buses and taxis.

Current price at iproperty: 1820sf at RM650k. 1797sf at RM628k. It has very comfortable big space for medium size family. The problem is the distance from the city (20km) and the surrounding older shops. There will be newer shops in about 4km at C180 Balakong.  

Floor plan: 1797sf - 3 bedrooms, 1 study (without door) and 1 utility room (at the back of the wet kitchen)
1797sf - 3 bedrooms, 1 study and 1 utility room



Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay is a very popular tourist attraction in Singapore which I have visited twice. I love the comfortable temperature (in the 20s°C), tourist friendly walkways, interesting flower and plant species, refreshing huge waterfalls and many more.

Flower Dome Conservatory is the largest glass greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records! Be amazed by changing display of flowers and plants from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. Indoor temperature Range: 23°C - 25°C. The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy.

It has walkway that goes around and elevates up the dome, or you can use the stairs for quicker access. There are other small corners where you can enter for photo sessions along the way.

Very nice, comfortable indoor garden.

The Flower Dome is filled with people taking photos and walking leisurely, appreciating the beauty of the flora there.

The Cloud Forest Conservatory showcases plant life from tropical highlands. It features a 35-metre-tall mountain covered in lush vegetation, shrouding the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Take the lift to the top of the mountaintop to discover the unique biodiversity and geology of cloud forests, and then take a stroll along a walkway in the clouds for an aerial view of the canopy and mountainside below.
Mist Timings:
10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 4.00pm, 6.00pm, 8.00pm daily

During the stroll down, you get one level of stroller/ wheelchair friendly walkway/ ramp then followed a descent by escalators (or lift), then another ramp and then escalator, repeatedly. The  wheelchair-friendly ramp downwards is not all the way. Before exiting, there is a big screen showing global warming threats the world is facing now and in the future.

The world's tallest indoor waterfall. It is quite wet there, beware of splashes.

Interesting sighting. Rafflesia made of Lego.
Take the lift up and the walkway down the mountain.

Open daily:  9.00am - 9.00pm. Last ticket sale: 8.00pm. Last admission: 8.30pm
Local Resident Rate - Double Conservatories (Flower Dome and Cloud Forest)
Adults: $20. Senior Citizens (≥60 years old): $15. Children (3-12 years old): $12
Standard Rate - Double Conservatories
Adults: $28. Children (3-12 years old): $15
Discount: Klook price- S$22 (RM69)    

Supertree Grove
Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, these iconic tree-like vertical gardens are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with display of light and sound at night. Of the 18 Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay, 12 of them can be found here. Varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on the Supertrees.
Open daily: 5.00am - 2.00am | Free admission
Or, stroll along the 22-metre-high OCBC Skyway (chargeable), a 128-metre aerial walkway that connects two of the Supertrees, and see the Gardens from a different point of view.

Man-made Supertrees

Gardens by the Bay
Add: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953

Parking Rates (Visitor Centre, Satay by the Bay, Meadow, Bay East Garden Carparks): SGD 0.03 per minute


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Opening A Bank Account for Liability Partnership (LLP)

Let me share my experience. I decided to open the LLP account at OCBC after researching and considering:
  • Requirements (A current account holder to be your introducer who is required to sign the form as well, LLP's official stamp for the application)
  • Banks that offer online banking for LLP accounts: CIMB, RHB, Public Bank, HongLeong, UOB, OCBC 
  • Number and location of branches 
  • Min deposit amount
  • Customer service
My experience:
  • OCBC: Excellent customer service. Just one call, I got all my questions answered. No introducer or company stamp (signature is sufficient) required. It has to be a current account for business. Velocity@ocbc (business internet banking) available (fee: RM21.20 per month). Not many branches. The team that takes care of business banking is mobile, so they will come look for you. Good service comes at a higher price.
  • Hong Leong Bank: Email inquiry; the reply I got was they will provide me with the contact no. of my preferred branch for me to ask them directly (🤦). Called many times, either the PIC of LLP was not free or the call was not picked up at all.
  • Public Bank: My email inquiries were replied promptly.
Documents Required (for example: OCBC Bank)
  • Business Account Application Form
  • Minimum Initial deposit RM500. Min monthly avg. balance RM1000 (otherwise, half-yearly service fee of RM10 applies)
  • Certified true copies of NRIC / Passport of All Authorised Signatory(ies), Authorised Person(s), and Compliance Officer
  • NRIC / Passport of Partners – Original Sighted
  • Certified true copy of LLP corporate profile
  • Notice of Registration or Certificate of Registration from Registrar of LLP
  • Certified Extract of the Resolution for the LLP – certified by Compliance Officer & 1 partner. This is usually in the form provided by the bank.
The catch is there is a fee for using their business internet banking (Velocity) which comes with a security token: Basic (view statement only): RM10.60 per month. Basic Plus (view and transact)-RM21.20 per month. Minimum Security tokens required: 2 (first one is free, you have to pay RM53 for one token).

If you take the package that requires a minimum of RM50k in the account per month, then it is free. Mhmm... now I am thinking of changing bank after 3 months.
If applicable/ available:
  • Certified True Copy of LLP Agreement (if available) (If this is not available, Second Schedule of the LLP Act applies)
  • Practicing Certificate and Letter of Approval from Governing Body – Original Sighted (for a professional practice e.g. lawyers, accountants and secretaries)
  • Annual Declaration of LLP (if available)
Other Banks:
Public Bank
You can approach any of their branches and furnish the following for the opening of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) account (with Cheque Book):-
  • Notice of registration of the LLP,
  • Register of the name and address of each partner and compliance officer of the LLP,
  • Approval letter from the professional governing body to form a LLP and a valid professional indemnity insurance certificate (applicable to Professional Practice LLP only),
  • A copy of the LLP agreement, and
  • A resolution passed according to the terms stated in the LLP Agreement OR by a majority of the partners of the LLP (as per item 8 the Second Schedule of the LLP Act) resolving the following:
  1. the opening of the LLP with the Bank;
  2. the names of the authorised signatories and their specimen signatures; and 
  3. the mandate for the operation of the LLP account.
  • At the same time, an introducer, who is a Public Bank Current Account holder is compulsory for the said opening. However, in the event that no introducer is provided to the branch, the customer must have a satisfactory 6 month track record either with the Bank or other banks as follows: An average daily credit balance of RM5,000-00 in either savings or current account, or Fixed deposit of a minimum of RM5,000-00, or Any loan account with good repayment records. 
  • All the authorised signatories and partners are to be present at the branch for the above opening.
  • Original Identity Cards of Partners
  • Original Business Reg. Form A or B + D
  • Bank’s Partnership Mandate Form
  • Initial deposit of RM1,000.
  • Introducer who is a current account holder with CIMB Bank.
Business internet banking (bizchannel): LITE Package- No monthly fee. No security token.

Hong Leong Bank (Business account procedure and application form)

Charges for business internet banking here.
Business current account fees here.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Which Brand of Essential Oil (EO)?

Dr. Robert S. Pappas (aka "Dr. P"), founder and CEO of Essential Oil University (EOU, is a PhD chemist who specializes in GC/MS (Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) analysis and reporting the chemical breakdowns of hundreds of different essential oils, CO2s and absolutes. EOU hosts The Essential Oil Chemical Reference database, containing thousands of literature references and GC/MS reports (with comments) for almost any oil- which can be made available to you for a nominal charge.

Dr Pappas' lab can detect synthetic substitutes and chemicals with the desired active ingredient effectively to determine the purity of the EO. Purity is important in aromatherapy because additives that are used to dilute or imitate an essential oil could trigger allergic reactions and impact the effectiveness of the oil. It is not as important to the flavor and fragrance industry for example which prefers specific rather than pure chemical profiles.

However purity does not mean safety. You have to abide to the safety guidelines (such as the amount, how and restrictions of usage) when using EO to avoid health risks and to achieve the best results.  

Factors that determine EO Quality:
  • Processing - Distillation, equipment, packaging, handling, storage. Sometimes they are adulterated, contaminated or diluted (to save cost, achieve the desired aroma, etc.)
  • Plant used to obtain the oil - species, which country it is cultivated from, environmental conditions, use of chemical etc.
EO is scored/ graded based on (according to The EOU Score for Essential Oils):
  • Odor
  • Purity - GC/MS detailed chemical breakdown (Detect desirable Major and Minor components to determine purity and undesirable components to detect adulterant, contaminant or diluent)
  • Physical constants of the oil  
Other non-profit organizations have also compiled test reports based on the most popular requests from their members for example, free of charge. Though not complete, their databases are growing. They are meant for educational purposes, and for people to make educated buying decisions. You are strictly NOT allowed to copy and paste/ share the reports somewhere else.
  • The Essential Oil Analysis (EOA) Foundation ( is a non-profit organization founded in an attempt to bring accountability into the industry through competent GC/MS testing made available for free to the consumer, using only labs that specialize in essential oil analysis; Essential Oil University (EOU) in the USA and Phytochemia in Canada. Test Reports on Essential Oil Analysis database.
  • Essential Oil Consumer Reports Facebook Group (Closed Group) - Discussion, Analysis and Education in Essential Oil Chemistry and Quality.
Popular brands of Essential oil used in Malaysia: Young Living, doTERRA, Plant Therapy, Malaleuca, Oshadhi, Rocky Mountain Oils, Soul, etc.
Peppermint Essential oils from Lazada

Go through the test reports and you will have a better idea of how to choose the right oil. It consists of the detailed list of identified compounds and their intensity then followed by a conclusion/ summary/ comment. There are hits and misses.

Terms used:
  • Adulterated - The adding of another substance (for example synthetic molecule/ compound) that reduces/ changes the quality of the EO.
Examples of Comment:
  • The analysis of this x batch sample meets the expected chemical profile for authentic essential oil of x origin. No contamination or adulteration was detected.
  • No adulterant, contaminant or diluent were detected using this method.
  • The relatively high amount of x are proof that this oil has been cut with a significant amount of x. DEP contamination was also observed in the sample. ☓
  • No trace of actual x oil was found in the sample which comprised mainly of synthetic x. ☓
  • This sample is a complete synthetic fragrance compound. ☓