Buying Scenario: Holiday – Buying a Landed House in Singapore

Transactions involving the buying of a house with land is more complicated than the purchase of a condo, executive-type apartment, or HDB flat. Landed housing may have several owners or are owned by whole families, and there are restrictions regarding the sale and purchase, especially regarding foreign ownership.

With the exception of Sentosa Cove, foreign individuals are not permitted to buy land in Singapore without permission from the government.

Foreign individuals from countries that have a free-trade agreement with Singapore are exempt:

United States, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein

Processes and costs

An agreement between a seller and buyer as to the price of the house with land commences a series of actions that will culminate in the passing of the title of the house with land from the seller to the buyer. These processes consist of the following:

Appointment of an estate agent

The first step that a purchaser needs to take is to appoint a very competent real estate agent. He will act as a mediator between purchaser and seller during the whole period of the transaction. A competent agent can also act as a consultant for offering legal and financial advice.

Appointment of a solicitor

To deal with the drawing up of legal documentations and other legal requirements related to the transaction.

Option to Purchase

This is an agreement entered into by the buyer and the seller, which gives the buyer priority over others in purchasing the house with land property.

The buyer is given 14 days to make a decision regarding the purchase.

A 1% of the agreed sale price is paid as a deposit on the intended purchase.

The option can be lost along with the deposit if the purchaser chooses not to proceed with the purchase.

Sale and Purchase Agreement

This is an agreement drawn up after the buyer has decided to accept the seller’s OTP, after paying an additional 9% of the agreed sale price, above and after the lawyer has conducted a thorough search on the seller’s Certificate of Title and bankruptcy status.

Inspection of the Certificate of Title

This is the only legal document that proves real-estate ownership and needs to be inspected by the purchaser’s lawyer.

The seller hands the document to the buyer’s lawyer for inspection and is kept by him or her for surrendering to the Singapore Land Authority when a new Certificate of Title is issued to the purchaser.

Completion of legal requirements

Once a CPF withdrawal or a mortgage is approved, the buyer’s solicitor will commence to prepare the following documents:

Completion statements: these statements are submitted to the bank providing the mortgage for needed funds, to the seller for finalizing the amount of down payment required, and to the purchaser stating the balance of the sale price (which the purchaser must pay, excluding the deposit already paid).

Transfer document: the purchaser pays the outstanding balance of the purchase price on the legal completion date. The seller’s lawyer hands over the house keys to the buyer and the Transfer Document to the buyer’s lawyer. The document records the transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

Certificate of Title: this is a certificate that testifies to the ownership of the house with land by the purchaser, which is handed over to the mortgagee bank as security against the loan taken out by the purchaser.

In addition to the 10% down payment made to the seller, the purchaser has to pay for the solicitor’s fees, mortgage and stamp fees.

Survival – Always Be Prepared For the Worst Case Scenario

The summer is here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I know many of you will be out enjoying what God created for us. Be prepared when out in the wilderness, and always carry the essentials in survival equipment. The basics include fire starting tools, first aid kit, fishing line and hooks, heavy string or rope, thermal blankets and some other basic items. It is very little to have to carry, to greatly increase your chances for survival in the wilderness.

For example, some friends of mine took their family camping on Mount Hood in early March. They had planned 9 wonderful days enjoying the hiking and fishing on this glorious mountain. They had checked the weather conditions prior to the trip, and all looked good for a great vacation. When they arrived, they set up camp. They had found a remote site to camp at that was about 22 miles from the nearest town. The site was located next to a small creek that fed into a small lake. My friend always boasted about how prepared he was for camping, and thought he had it down to a science. The first day of the trip was all about preparing the camp site and getting everything set up for the perfect vacation. On the second day the weather had turned and a storm was blowing in. Everyone remained at camp that day and awaited the passing of the storm. That night the storm intensified and over a 4 hour period the temperature dropped drastically and snow began to fall. By morning there was 18″ of snow on the ground and the snow was still falling hard. At that point my friend knew that there could be trouble if he was unable to get out of the snow. Several hours into the day there was no signs of the snowfall slowing and nearly 22″ of snow on the ground. After hearing a weather report on the radio, and finding out that the storm could last for 4-5 days, they realized that it was time to end the vacation and figure out how to get out of there. My friend retrieved his shovel and started removing snow from the front of the vehicle. After clearing the majority of the snow from the front of the vehicle, he then cleared the snow between the truck and the trailer. He hooked up the trailer, and slowly tried to move forward… but nothing, the vehicle and trailer were stuck! They went back to the trailer and attempted the contact someone on a cell phone but no reception. My friend then realized he had no survival equipment. He had thought of everything needed from pots and pans, extra pillows, horseshoes, games and all the amenities needed for a fun vacation, but no equipment for survival in an emergency situation. He had two choices at that time, try to go out and find help, or wait for help to arrive. However, without survival equipment, he would not stand a chance in that harsh frozen environment. As they all sat in the trailer trying to think of ways to get help, they heard the sound of an engine off in the distance… it was a man on a snowmobile who had been camping several miles away. He had seen the family pass by his camp two days before, and thought he would check in to see if they were safe after the snowfall had slowed. If it were not for the man seeing them enter that area, no one would have known they were there. Without the proper survival tools, their chances of survival were not good.

When you are out in the wilderness and something goes wrong, you need to have the equipment and tools necessary to survive. There are many websites with resources to finding everything survival related. I want to make sure that people all around the world are aware of the possibility of disasters or emergencies that can strike without warning, and those events can and will take lives if we are not prepared! In this day and age we have the resources to prepare for just such emergencies! We have to be prepared!

Survival tools and equipment are essential when you are out in the wilderness. Without the proper equipment, being in the wilderness in an emergency situation can be frightful to say the least. There are several items that are considered to be essential, and take up very little space.

– A fire starting kit. (even if you just have a flint and your pocket knife)

– Thermal space blanket. (this could be the difference between life and death)

– fishing line with hooks. (meals of high protein content are great!)

– 60″ of small wire. (great tool for trapping. gotta eat!)

– Knife w/compass

– 25′ of medium nylon rope.

These are just a few of the essentials, but even having just these items will greatly increase your chances of survival in case of emergencies. However, always remember to carry a first aid kit as well.

There is much more to consider, your environment might dictate modifications in gear (i.e. desert, snow, mountain etc.) With the decision on where you are going, comes the decision on what gear to bring. Remember to always think about worst case before you go on the trip! Have FUN and be SAFE!

Your Hard Drive Is Dying, Here Are Several Reasons Why!

How depressed do you think you would be if all of your pictures, music, movies, documents and more just disappeared into thin-air one day, NEVER to be recovered?

If you’ve never asked yourself what you would do in such a scenario, chances are you are unprepared to experience your hard drive dying! The first thing you should know if you don’t already, is exactly what a hard drive is. It’s a hardware unit that is built with disks called “platters.”

Platters are stacked on top of each other, and have heads that are below and above each hard drive platter. When these platters spin, the heads of the drive move “in and out”, toward the center of the platter, then towards the edge; in order to access the actual surface of each platter. To summarize, a hard drive is made of moving parts that contain electromagnetic energy and circuitry.

In other words, a hard drive is constantly creating friction that will eventually destroy it. Yes, EVERY hard disk will fail at some point, the main concern is WHEN?

Here Are The Top 5 Warning Signs Of Your Hard Drive Dying:

Grinding noises, rubbing sound, scrubbing and clicking sounds

A good way to tell if your hard drive is dying, is noises coming from the computer that resemble rubbing (check to ensure the rubbing isn’t a computer fan or ROM drive). Noise is a symptom of a mechanical issue in a drive which will eventually lead to data loss. Clicking sounds are warnings of a mechanical issue with a drive, and may

drives fail prior to the clicking sounds beginning, or simultaneously.

Another indication of a hard drive dying is grinding, since the arm containing the head of the drive, literally touches the platter at that point. This creates extra Friction and substantially harms the “read” surface of the drive containing the data.

Please don’t forget that hard drives can create sounds that one may mistake for grinding, but normal hard drive operation does not make a grinding, or scrubbing or clicking sound. I highly recommend that you learn how your “healthy” hard drive sounds, so you can recognize any strange sounds and get help immediately!

Your files vanish “into thin air” for no reason

Another big sign of your hard drive dying, is your files disappear without you deleted them! A failing hard disk usually will have “read and write” errors, which are definite causes of data that disappears or becomes corrupted.

It is important to remember that malware (Trojans, viruses etc) can cause corrupt or deleted files, BUT you should always check for virus infections (when data is deleted), with good software BEFORE you begin to suspect your hard drive dying.

Your hard drive is not being detected by your PC

Here is another sign of your hard drive dying; when your computer can’t detect your drive at all. Let’s imagine to power on your PC, then the logo screen (POST) appears immediately after turning on the computer and reads “Hard Disk Failure”, or a related error.

In that situation, your hard drive could have loosened or isn’t fully connected, or it could have the wrong “jumper” setting or configuration settings (in BIOS), OR the drive could have totally died and is no longer being detected for that reason.

Here’s another scenario; your PC powers on and loads perfectly well. All of a sudden, you see a black screen that has a blinking cursor. You try everything that you know, to get your computer to boot. You try to do a “system recovery” to restore your PC back to the factory defaults but the computer won’t start the process.

In this case, your hard drive may have physically failed, or it needs a reformat to restore damaged partition tables, or deleted partitions, or even a damaged Master Boot Record, among other possibilities.

Your computer randomly shuts down or “blue screens”, quite often

If you have a computer that is crashing often that isn’t overheating, isn’t infected with viruses, has no software compatibility issues, has a good power supply and motherboard; may have a dying hard drive.

Data flow interruptions (I/O) can result in a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), a shutdown of the computer, random restarts and more. If your computer suddenly powers off without warning, after an event such as a lightning strike or power surge (to name two), your drive just might be dying.

Hard drives are programmed internally, to shut a computer down instantly in the event of an event that caused damage to the drive. Many hard disks die soon after the “instant shut down” so if that occurred with YOUR computer, have your drive checked asap, to ensure all is okay.

Let’s say you have a healthy hard drive that works perfectly, but something else is causing your PC to start rebooting at random, and shutting down instantly. Did you know that improper shutdown and rebooting can actually cause your drive to become corrupted or to contribute to its premature failure?!

In the event that your computer experiences those problems, always have a professional tech or consultant diagnose your computer BEFORE you suffer data loss or file corruption. You can NEVER put a price on the value of your precious data!

Your drive’s access time becomes super slow (read/write time)

When a drive is taking long periods of time to access data, save data etc, it most definitely could be on its way out (or the “mode” it is running in is incorrect). Drives are measure for their speed, in RPMs otherwise known as “Rotations Per Minute.” Older drives (and may laptop drives) boast a speed of just 5,400 RPM while newer units run at 7,200 RPM and up to 10,000+ RPM for “high performance” drives.

Seek and access time is another measurement of a drive’s speed, which is measured in “nanoseconds”. One thing to remember is ALL drives have certain access times and this is the time that you need to “wait” while the drive is retrieving or storing data. As you save more data (or fragment more data) on your drive, access times will increase.

But wait….

A PC that takes a long time loading files such as documents, pictures, spreadsheets etc, could have issues and should be checked for proper operation. If your PC is super duper slow and clicking on icons etc takes literally minutes to load, suspect your hard drive as the culprit AFTER you have weighed out malware infection.

Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will show you how to test your hard drive using FREE software, and how to fix problems that may arise.

Commercial Hard Money Loan Scenarios

A commercial hard money loan is a non-conventional commercial real estate loan that is not made by a traditional bank. This type of commercial financing has been in use for over 50 years. Such loans usually have a first lien on commercial property. If a loan has a secondary lien, it is known as mezzanine financing.

Three Business Mortgage Loan Choices

There are three financing options for most commercial real estate scenarios: traditional banks, intermediate lenders and hard money lenders. The primary rationale for a small business considering a commercial hard money loan is that traditional or intermediate commercial financing options are not viable.

In those situations where traditional banks and intermediate lenders both say “No,” it then makes good business sense to explore under what terms an alternative commercial loan might be available. Many viable small business projects can be funded only via a hard money lender. Before accepting “No” from the traditional banks and intermediate lenders as the “Final Answer,” a prudent small business borrower should determine if another lender will say “Yes.”

Commercial hard money loans are typically completed more quickly than a traditional commercial loan. Compared to traditional bank business loans, this alternative financing will generally involve a higher interest rate (prevailing range of prime rate plus 4-8 percent for typical scenarios), higher fees and shorter-term financing (one to three years). However, because many of these loans offer interest only terms, the payments can be lower than a fully-amortized loan with a lower interest rate.

Funding Scenarios

Three common commercial financing scenarios using alternative loans are described below.

Scenario # 1: Low Credit Scores

Most traditional commercial loans have very strict standards for acceptable credit scores by the guarantors for a commercial real estate loan. Alternative loans are more flexible and low credit scores are often acceptable.

Scenario # 2: Need to Obtain Commercial Financing Quickly

Traditional business financing will normally require several months to complete. A hard money loan can be obtained within a few days in some situations. This difference will be critical if commercial financing is required within a short time frame.

Scenario # 3: Special Small Business Situations Not Easily Understood by Traditional Banks and Intermediate Lenders

  • Foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
  • Special Purpose Properties
  • Tax Liens
  • Business Losses
  • Negative Net Worth
  • Less than one year in business
  • Environmental Requirements

For each of the three scenarios described above, an alternative source for a commercial loan will involve shorter-term financing, higher fees and higher interest rates than a commercial mortgage from a traditional bank or an intermediate lender. However, the critical point which must not be overlooked is that for most situations covered by the three scenarios, commercial financing would be declined by either traditional banks or intermediate lenders. It is under these circumstances that a hard money loan becomes a practical and viable solution for many small business owners.

What If the Bank Says No?

The primary rationale for business borrowers to consider other sources for funding is the lack of alternative funding strategies. In most cases hard money loans can be viewed as “Plan B.” However, if “Plan A” is to obtain a conventional bank mortgage and the bank says “No,” then “Plan B” must be reviewed and considered by commercial borrowers.

The Domestic Scenario of South Asian Regions

There is no denying the fact that out of the countries of South Asian Regions, India as a mainstay power of South Asia articulate a premeditated unity of the region and regard as the safekeeping of the diminutive regional actors as essential to its own safety measures. It takes into consideration the latter to be the exclusive strategic backyard of India. On the other hand, the small states tend to recognize India as the most important source of peripheral menace to their defence.

The miscellany in law-making systems customary problems in South Asia. India and Sri Lanka have conventionally accomplished sales rep democracy. The Indian know-how of democracy has had severe tests in recent years, since the urgent situation in respect of the period of 1975-77; while Sri Lanka has had to conciliation democratic norms more recently as a result of ethnic crisis. The two are even so considered relative success stories among Third World democracies. Pakistan and Bangladesh, predominantly the latter, have in the commencement of the 1990s witnessed sweeping democratic changeover in their domestic scenario. However, in a longer term standpoint, both of these countries have always been vacillation between military dominance in politics and democratic conducting tests. Nepal’s transition to democracy is also perceived yet to be firmly rooted.

Bhutan has been go-getting to retain the authority of dominion as the dominant foundation, while the Maldives has been practising one-party rule and in due sense inconsistency in classes of people is manifested in values and ideology pursued in governance and statecraft. The Indian political system is professedly a blend of democracy, socialism and secularism, though these lofty ideals have remained far from fully translated into reality. Most significant is the recent trend towards increased influence of Hindu fundamentalism in Indian politics. Bangladesh started off with more or less same principles as the fundamentals in statecraft, but it later changed course towards increasing influence of religion, an issue on which a national harmony has yet to materialize. Pakistan has Islam as the basis of its opinionated system, while the Maldives is an Islamic culture with moderately less sway of religion in politics. Nepal remains under Hindu sway whilst Bhutan and Sri Lanka are Buddhist societies.

The argument as has been fashioned advantageously among the South Asian states is diverse too and as such the nature of the conflict between India and Sri Lankan is different from that of the conflict between India and Bangladesh, Pakistan or Nepal. Some conflicts are ethnic, others are religious, location or border related. For this reason India’s insistence on bilateralism gets priority, and India takes advantages of settlement of those conflicts as per its wishes. One important dimension of the conflict is that all are Indo-centric. Pakistan has accepted the superior military strength of India; it has shown no readiness to curtail its freedom of action as an independent state. Although Bangladesh has limited scope of independence, for Nepal and Bhutan it is more difficult to resist or say anything at all about such regional security doctrine. For example, Sri Lanka failed to resist Indian hegemonic attitude when in 1977 the Jayewardene government opted for a free-market economy, making Sri Lanka increasingly receptive to western capital and technology. At that time the relationship with Pakistan improved dramatically. The Jayewardene government virtually tried to distance itself from India. India then took the opportunity of the Tamil separatist issue to put pressure on Sri Lanka. Apart from sheltering and arming the Tamil militants, the Indian ruling class blew out of proportion some of the features of Sri Lanka’s relationship with United States and Pakistan. India cannot apply this type of hegemonic attitude towards Pakistan. For India, SAARC has been both a challenge as well as an opportunity.

In view of the above, it is evident that the challenge has lain in the communal pressures of the neighbours, and the chance in the potential of making the neighbours look inward, into the region, for their developmental and safety needs. India has pursued a two-pronged stratagem to press forward its regional targets through SAARC. One has been to slowly but surely push the growth and deepening of the Integrated Programme of Action so as to cover core economic areas like trade, industry and investment. The idea was to expand and consolidate infrastructure and social linkages at various levels in the midst of South Asian countries and to create a basis for interdependence. This in the long run could weaken the centrifugal tendencies of its neighbours and thus narrow down the discrepancy towards SAARC’s ties with other regional organizations.

If Your Loved One is Severely Depressed, Look at These Scenarios on How to Help Them

People who are severely depressed will rarely be able to help themselves so recommending some self help advice is practically useless. Similarly, telling them to snap out of it is equally unhelpful and ineffective. The only thing that will do will give the impression that you are not even vaguely aware of what is going on. We are after all dealing with a severe mental illness here. It would be great if things were that simple! The first scenario is that we recognize this fully and frankly and that we are prepared to help in a practical way.

The second scenario is where we can find out all about the symptoms and try to understand what a severely depressed person is actually going through.

We will learn that the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness are so strong that they shut out the light and that is why we describe the severely depressed as being in a dark tunnel. The normal feelings of well being and self confidence do not exist and negative thoughts plus thoughts of suicide seem to predominate.

A person with severe depression will not be able to recognize the problem and will certainly not be able to get help or even if they should get advice. Usually, medication with prescription drugs for anti depressants can help a person to start to get out of the tunnel. But these are a very temporary measure and yet I know scores of people who have been on these for years and they are prescribed one drug after another. Some of them have tried counselling and therapy without any success.

The third scenario is helping the person to acknowledge that there is a problem and also staying close to them and advising them on what sort of help is available. Looking at CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is a possibility. To put it simply, the severely depressed person is helped through a series of exercises on how to retrain his or her thoughts. That means being able to control the mood they are in, rather than the mood, emotions and feelings that are controlling them. Once they can learn to stop the negative downward thoughts spiral, then there is hope that this sort of therapy will be really useful.

These are three possible scenarios. There is also the scenario where anti depressants may be prescribed by the doctor or psychiatrist. Being aware of the side effects and the benefits is important.

Dealing with anxiety and depression can be very difficult. There are various options available and you may want to study these before offering to help your severely depressed partner or friend. I have set out the various options on my website. Why not check it out?

Commercial Hard Money Loan Scenarios

A commercial hard money loan is a non-conventional commercial real estate loan that is not made by a traditional bank. This type of commercial financing has been in use for over 50 years. Such loans usually have a first lien on commercial property. If a loan has a secondary lien, it is known as mezzanine financing.

Three Business Mortgage Loan Choices

There are three financing options for most commercial real estate scenarios: traditional banks, intermediate lenders and hard money lenders. The primary rationale for a small business considering a commercial hard money loan is that traditional or intermediate commercial financing options are not viable.

In those situations where traditional banks and intermediate lenders both say “No,” it then makes good business sense to explore under what terms an alternative commercial loan might be available. Many viable small business projects can be funded only via a hard money lender. Before accepting “No” from the traditional banks and intermediate lenders as the “Final Answer,” a prudent small business borrower should determine if another lender will say “Yes.”

Commercial hard money loans are typically completed more quickly than a traditional commercial loan. Compared to traditional bank business loans, this alternative financing will generally involve a higher interest rate (prevailing range of prime rate plus 4-8 percent for typical scenarios), higher fees and shorter-term financing (one to three years). However, because many of these loans offer interest only terms, the payments can be lower than a fully-amortized loan with a lower interest rate.

Funding Scenarios

Three common commercial financing scenarios using alternative loans are described below.

Scenario # 1: Low Credit Scores

Most traditional commercial loans have very strict standards for acceptable credit scores by the guarantors for a commercial real estate loan. Alternative loans are more flexible and low credit scores are often acceptable.

Scenario # 2: Need to Obtain Commercial Financing Quickly

Traditional business financing will normally require several months to complete. A hard money loan can be obtained within a few days in some situations. This difference will be critical if commercial financing is required within a short time frame.

Scenario # 3: Special Small Business Situations Not Easily Understood by Traditional Banks and Intermediate Lenders

  • Foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
  • Special Purpose Properties
  • Tax Liens
  • Business Losses
  • Negative Net Worth
  • Less than one year in business
  • Environmental Requirements

For each of the three scenarios described above, an alternative source for a commercial loan will involve shorter-term financing, higher fees and higher interest rates than a commercial mortgage from a traditional bank or an intermediate lender. However, the critical point which must not be overlooked is that for most situations covered by the three scenarios, commercial financing would be declined by either traditional banks or intermediate lenders. It is under these circumstances that a hard money loan becomes a practical and viable solution for many small business owners.

What If the Bank Says No?

The primary rationale for business borrowers to consider other sources for funding is the lack of alternative funding strategies. In most cases hard money loans can be viewed as “Plan B.” However, if “Plan A” is to obtain a conventional bank mortgage and the bank says “No,” then “Plan B” must be reviewed and considered by commercial borrowers.

The Domestic Scenario of South Asian Regions

There is no denying the fact that out of the countries of South Asian Regions, India as a mainstay power of South Asia articulate a premeditated unity of the region and regard as the safekeeping of the diminutive regional actors as essential to its own safety measures. It takes into consideration the latter to be the exclusive strategic backyard of India. On the other hand, the small states tend to recognize India as the most important source of peripheral menace to their defence.

The miscellany in law-making systems customary problems in South Asia. India and Sri Lanka have conventionally accomplished sales rep democracy. The Indian know-how of democracy has had severe tests in recent years, since the urgent situation in respect of the period of 1975-77; while Sri Lanka has had to conciliation democratic norms more recently as a result of ethnic crisis. The two are even so considered relative success stories among Third World democracies. Pakistan and Bangladesh, predominantly the latter, have in the commencement of the 1990s witnessed sweeping democratic changeover in their domestic scenario. However, in a longer term standpoint, both of these countries have always been vacillation between military dominance in politics and democratic conducting tests. Nepal’s transition to democracy is also perceived yet to be firmly rooted.

Bhutan has been go-getting to retain the authority of dominion as the dominant foundation, while the Maldives has been practising one-party rule and in due sense inconsistency in classes of people is manifested in values and ideology pursued in governance and statecraft. The Indian political system is professedly a blend of democracy, socialism and secularism, though these lofty ideals have remained far from fully translated into reality. Most significant is the recent trend towards increased influence of Hindu fundamentalism in Indian politics. Bangladesh started off with more or less same principles as the fundamentals in statecraft, but it later changed course towards increasing influence of religion, an issue on which a national harmony has yet to materialize. Pakistan has Islam as the basis of its opinionated system, while the Maldives is an Islamic culture with moderately less sway of religion in politics. Nepal remains under Hindu sway whilst Bhutan and Sri Lanka are Buddhist societies.

The argument as has been fashioned advantageously among the South Asian states is diverse too and as such the nature of the conflict between India and Sri Lankan is different from that of the conflict between India and Bangladesh, Pakistan or Nepal. Some conflicts are ethnic, others are religious, location or border related. For this reason India’s insistence on bilateralism gets priority, and India takes advantages of settlement of those conflicts as per its wishes. One important dimension of the conflict is that all are Indo-centric. Pakistan has accepted the superior military strength of India; it has shown no readiness to curtail its freedom of action as an independent state. Although Bangladesh has limited scope of independence, for Nepal and Bhutan it is more difficult to resist or say anything at all about such regional security doctrine. For example, Sri Lanka failed to resist Indian hegemonic attitude when in 1977 the Jayewardene government opted for a free-market economy, making Sri Lanka increasingly receptive to western capital and technology. At that time the relationship with Pakistan improved dramatically. The Jayewardene government virtually tried to distance itself from India. India then took the opportunity of the Tamil separatist issue to put pressure on Sri Lanka. Apart from sheltering and arming the Tamil militants, the Indian ruling class blew out of proportion some of the features of Sri Lanka’s relationship with United States and Pakistan. India cannot apply this type of hegemonic attitude towards Pakistan. For India, SAARC has been both a challenge as well as an opportunity.

In view of the above, it is evident that the challenge has lain in the communal pressures of the neighbours, and the chance in the potential of making the neighbours look inward, into the region, for their developmental and safety needs. India has pursued a two-pronged stratagem to press forward its regional targets through SAARC. One has been to slowly but surely push the growth and deepening of the Integrated Programme of Action so as to cover core economic areas like trade, industry and investment. The idea was to expand and consolidate infrastructure and social linkages at various levels in the midst of South Asian countries and to create a basis for interdependence. This in the long run could weaken the centrifugal tendencies of its neighbours and thus narrow down the discrepancy towards SAARC’s ties with other regional organizations.

If Your Loved One is Severely Depressed, Look at These Scenarios on How to Help Them

People who are severely depressed will rarely be able to help themselves so recommending some self help advice is practically useless. Similarly, telling them to snap out of it is equally unhelpful and ineffective. The only thing that will do will give the impression that you are not even vaguely aware of what is going on. We are after all dealing with a severe mental illness here. It would be great if things were that simple! The first scenario is that we recognize this fully and frankly and that we are prepared to help in a practical way.

The second scenario is where we can find out all about the symptoms and try to understand what a severely depressed person is actually going through.

We will learn that the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness are so strong that they shut out the light and that is why we describe the severely depressed as being in a dark tunnel. The normal feelings of well being and self confidence do not exist and negative thoughts plus thoughts of suicide seem to predominate.

A person with severe depression will not be able to recognize the problem and will certainly not be able to get help or even if they should get advice. Usually, medication with prescription drugs for anti depressants can help a person to start to get out of the tunnel. But these are a very temporary measure and yet I know scores of people who have been on these for years and they are prescribed one drug after another. Some of them have tried counselling and therapy without any success.

The third scenario is helping the person to acknowledge that there is a problem and also staying close to them and advising them on what sort of help is available. Looking at CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is a possibility. To put it simply, the severely depressed person is helped through a series of exercises on how to retrain his or her thoughts. That means being able to control the mood they are in, rather than the mood, emotions and feelings that are controlling them. Once they can learn to stop the negative downward thoughts spiral, then there is hope that this sort of therapy will be really useful.

These are three possible scenarios. There is also the scenario where anti depressants may be prescribed by the doctor or psychiatrist. Being aware of the side effects and the benefits is important.

Dealing with anxiety and depression can be very difficult. There are various options available and you may want to study these before offering to help your severely depressed partner or friend. I have set out the various options on my website. Why not check it out?