Archive for December 2012

SingTel or StarHub…which one :)

There are 3 main suppliers of Internet, TV, landline and mobile services in Singapore – SingTel, StarHub and M1.  Apparently, M1 is the last of the 3 in terms of everything, so this really leaves the choice between Singtel and StarHub.  There doesn’t seem to be much between them price-wise, but I’ve heard that SingTel is pretty good (and I used their prepaid mobile services previously).  Haven’t said that, StarHub is more of a cable supplier, rather than SingTel who use the telephone line to supply their Internet broadband services (similar to Sky versus BT in the UK, respectively).  StarHub also seems to have the BBC channels and a few more of the movie and although SingTel had obtained the non-exclusive rights for the UK’s Premiership footie matches, so I think SingTel has the edge.

We visited both shops in the Plaza Singapura shopping mall in the Dhoby Ghaut area, and whilst StarHub was slightly cheaper by a about 5-6 dollars a month (and had the BBC News channel), the waiting time was about 10 days, whilst SingTel was about 7-8 days – and the guy at the store was far more supportive.

Ideally, I wanted to get a quad-package, home-line, broadband, TV and mobile – ideally, I could forego the home-line, but knew it came as default and in most cases was a prerequisite for the broadband, but the two suppliers generally bundled (and were pushing for) the TV, home-line and broadband set, versus the alterative (and more costly) home-line, broadband and mobile set.  I think it’s because they were promoting offers to push their TV services, so without this, there was limited incentive and as such monetary benefit to forego the TV service.  So I decided to play-ball with them and go with TV, home-line and broadband – with mobile as an additional service – the beauty is that you get a discount on the mobile service subscription too, so it worked out okay in the end.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (Android)

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (Android)

I got the cheapest handset possible, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 – it is a Google Android handset, my first Android device, and seems okay.  I just have to get used to it, I guess, having had iPhones for the past 4 years.  Either way, it only cost me S$18 as I received a S$50 discount from SingTel.   If I don’t like the phone, I can always switch the SIM card to my unlocked iPhone 4S, and then use the Samsung one for my UK SIM – which I will only check to see if there are any messages received :)  I will see how it goes…hehe!

The good news is that SingTel are giving the 4G (LTE) service upgrade for free on new mobile contracts, the challenge is I don’t have the phone that can receive it (boo-hoo)…BUT I get a S$300 free upgrade after 12 months, so can make the 4G plunge then.

At least I have a local number and can stay in touch with family friends and work colleagues using a local Singapore mobile now!!

New Apartment – Picking Up the Keys

Suites@Shrewsbury

Suites@Shrewsbury

Today is the day that I can finally pick-up the keys to my condominium – hooray!

I’ve arranged to pick-up the keys (and key-card) for my new apartment early in the morning – meeting up with the agent at my apartment.  It is located at Suites @ Shrewsbury, 84 Shrewsbury Road, Singapore, 307842.  It is opposite a Chinese Temple and Buddhist Monastery – as well as nearby to a Christian Church – so I hope this means I am under the fortune of good luck and prosperity.  Well one can but hope :)

As soon as I pick-up the keys and sign the original copy of the lease, I can then look at what I definitely need to buy to make sure I’m sorted in my apartment for good.  It ended up being a partial furnished – so white goods (fridge/freeze, microwave, washing machine) are supplied, as well as the TV and bed – but the dining room and lounge furniture aren’t (so I do feel a trip to Ikea is in store!).  In fact, I’ve agreed to “look after” the previous tenants furniture until 15th January, so they have permitted me to use them until then, but I still need to window shop before then.

I just need to wait for the TV, Phone line & Broadband services to be installed – and then I will be at home.  The agent kindly arranged for the supply of water/waste & electricity to be activated on 24th December (the actual day that my lease starts) – so everything seems to have been in working order as soon as I entered the place.

Photos of my new humble abode will appear here soon :)

Return to Singapore – time to settle into my apartment :)

Well, after a very relaxing trip to Hong Kong, eating, drinking, sightseeing and shopping (repeating this continously!), it was time to say goodbye to the cooler climate (that is “cooler” than Singapore – but “warmer” than the UK) and enjoy the time back in my new location.  I should really start calling Singapore my new “home” location – hehe.

Anyway, having arrived late on Friday, 28th December – the JetStar flight was quite uneventful, although slightly more turbulent than last time.  I decided to book the Hotel Re! at Pearl Hill (in Outram Park district) for the night, as I wasn’t sure I was able to pick-up the key of my new apartment on Friday from my agent.

It was nice being back at the hotel – and we had one final meal in and around China Town, before making it back to the hotel.  On Saturday, we decided to make those final purchases around China Town before returning back to the hotel to collect our luggage to go to the new Condo Apartment.  I think I’m getting there with all of the purchases – but until I move in and unpack, I really don’t know what other things I need to buy (apart from things for the kitchen and lounge area).

Going to definitely be a bit stressful for the next couple of days before I start to prepare my mind for my first day of work in the new team.

One word to remember about HK – FOOD!!!

Everything in HK is about food, food and food (maybe with a sprinkling of shopping inbetween too!) :). And yes it is in this order. After spending a few days reminiscing the good ol’ days, we end up frequenting eating establishments often. I think it is generally, eat lots and often – but just make sure you never are full full, as you don’t know when the next eating episode is (for sure, it isn’t too far away!! Haha!!)

I am definitely sure that I am putting on weight. And most of the time we have been eating feasts, which in Asian style, means great food, a nice variety and plenty of it. It really is tough going, as you can imagine.

And this is in-between the shopping to find some items for my new apartment…ranging from rice cooker, kettle and iron (all of which is actually cheaper here than in Singapore … )

Right enough writing, best get back to the eating :)

Eventful flight to Hong Kong

The flight out was quite “interesting”, as a fight broke out about 3 hours into the flight. I think it started because the passenger in front moved her chair back, and it hit the other passenger behind, who was sleeping forward. Well what do you expect on a cheap airline flight, where the seats pitch isn’t that much between seats. Anyway, the lady in the back threw some punches after lady in the front swore at her (in Cantonese). It was quite amusing, and the it took all 3 of the cabin crew to calm things down. Even the pilot came out at the end of the bout – and I did overhear him say FFS and that he would call the police for our arrival. The passengers were split up with the front ones moved to the back of the plane.

After things returned to normal, we arrived at HK, and we were instructed to remain in our seats whilst a dozen or so police entered the plane, and took off the 4 people involved in the facade! What a flight – talk about creating ones own flight entertainment :). Hahaha…I’ve never quite seen anything like this before.

singapore_backdrop

20121220-214357.jpg

Holiday in Hong Kong

Having now sorted out my apartment, the last thing to do was to have a relaxing holiday abroad somewhere… Having looked around at the flight and resort prices – the options of Langkawi, Bali, Phuket etc were all starting to go up in the price, so we decided to visit Hong Kong and my mum’s family this year.

The flight prices on Tiger Airways weren’t too bad – about £475 return, and at least we saved a little bit on the cost of the holiday accommodatio, by staying with our family in HK instead. We left on Tuesday, 18th with the intention to spend Christmas in HK and returning back to Singapore on Thursday, 28th December – to allow me to sort out the apartment and make the final purchases, ahead of starting work on 2nd January.

I knew my apartment activities will continue after I departed, mainly the 2-month deposit transfer and the commission payment to the agent. I did make a request for my agent to manage the transfer on 24th December in my absence and pick up the keys – the agent will also sort out all of the utilities – except the telephone/Internet, which I can do when I return. Hopefully, it all goes well.

I don’t mind what we do in HK, I know my cousin and aunt will look after us, and hopefully we will have some good food, see some sights and sounds around HK, relax and re-charge our batteries :)

Note: apparently…”Hong Kok” is the new Hong Kong :) Must be an attempt of humour at Tiger Airlines (or just that they are illiterate!) – see photo:
Hong Kok - the New Hong Kong

Condo Hunting – How joyful!

Apartment (condo) hunting is very tiring work – after seeing about 10 or so places from a couple of different agents, I think I’m condo’ed out!

I think I started really badly because I set my rental range too high – about S$4,000, my mum suggested that I reduce the range to S$2,500-3,000 to ensure I don’t spend more than I should on the accommodation. I think this is wise, as part of the purpose of coming to Singapore is to continue to enjoy the lifestyle and region. What made this decision more difficult is that I did so after seeing a few really nice apartments at the original S$4,000 range – hey-ho.

After short listing a few – I think Newton Edge, Alexis, 8-Woodleigh and One-North Residences were the apartment condos that’s I was very interest in, I continued to search on www.propertyguru.com.sg and found one at Novena called Suites@Shrewsbury. It was pretty reasonable at the S$2,900 rental range and was located at 84 Shrewsbury Road. It was a bit cramped inside, but suitably located near the local facilities and amenities in the Novena area – walking distance from the Novena MRT, so the red North-South MRT line to Marina Bay.

So I went for this – hopefully it means my needs. It was only partial furnished, so I sense a visit to Ikea is needed once the lease agreement has been signed. I now need to sort out the deposit, paperwork and then I will have an official base in Singapore :). Saved money to spend on Guinness too – hehe…

Fanastic Wedding Banquet

We received a spontaneous phone call for a family friend’s wedding a couple of days after my mum and I arrived in Singapore…and it was certainly a great event – held at the Grand Copthorne Hotel, my first ever Singaporian Chinese wedding.

The bridge and groom looked fantastic – and the food was…well delicious indeed!  We were very fortunate to know some great friends in Singapore!

Oh and what was so special about the timing – well it was the 12th day of the 12th month of the 2012th year, of course…a truly 121212 wedding (I presume the wedding ceremony itself was held at 12:12 :)

I wish Daniel and Felicia a magical life together!

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
Tel: +65 6733 0880

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