Tag Archive for Singapore

Christmas 2014 and New Years 2015

Well they say that if you blink you miss it, and this has certainly been the case of 2014, as it has certainly flown by. It has been a bit of a topsy turvy year – quite a bit of highs, but a couple of low moments.

The highlight has to be the bits outside of work, both my continued adventures in and around South East Asia (holiday), and the personal scene (romance). I’ve been fortunate to visit the UK in March this year – visiting my family, friends and ex-colleagues – and it was a great trip… I also decided to do a holiday in Phuket to relax and enjoy a bit of ‘me’ time, I went to Kota Kinabalu with a work colleague – which was quite enjoyable indeed, went to Hanoi on business, enjoyed an amazing adventure with some great friends to Myanmar (Burma) which was something I definitely wanted to do whilst I was in the region, a Bali holiday and then a final trip to Sri Lanka. Wow! What an adventure it has been. But the highlight has to be making the acquaintance with a special lady here in Singapore – she is one amazing lady, a great smile, a great character, great humour, great companion and a great body. This happened in late May 2014, and we have spent some enjoyable weeks and months since then with each other…I really wanted a great companion that I can chat too, have some similar interests and tastes, and more importantly share life’s adventure with…we went to the Bali together and then did a group=trip to Sri Lanka holiday together with 2 others.

The work side of things is pretty much same ol’, same ol’, it has been a bit challenging because of the projects and partnerships that I am leading – I’ve definitely got to really reflect on some of the issues that I directly or indirectly faced during a project – and observed how people dealt with these…I’ve definitely seen some interesting approaches, and personally some which I would say I am not that comfortable with – I have had to provide timely feedback a few times. I am still pushing for my new promotion, and feel that this is getting more tricky here in Singapore, especially when many opportunities dried up over the past few months…but lets see what 2015 has in store – there is always the opportunity to look outside, as I’ve now been in Amex over 11 years now (wow!).

It has been great to see my family twice, when I was in the UK, and around November/December, as both of my parents had the opportunity to visit me in Singapore. This was great fun, and I am so happy to have been able to spend some time with both of them. I am hopeful that I am able to visit the UK again in 2015, so fingers crossed it happens 🙂

I really want to focus on the fun bit next year, and maximise the adventure whilst I continue to broaden my horizons during my Singapore adventure. The future is new, the future is unknown, the future is what you make of it – so lets make it even better than before!

Mastercard Masterpass – Free $50 Prepaid Card

I never say no to freebies, so it was great to see some companies do some nice gestures as we approach the festive Christmas season…and no, I’m afraid this doesn’t include Amex!

Instead, it is MasterCard’s Wallet solution (called Masterpass) who have partnered with EZ-Link to offer a free $50 prepaid card for registering for their Masterpass service…so why not 🙂 MasterPass by MasterCard is a digital wallet service that makes online shopping safe, easy, and convenient. MasterPass stores all your payment and shipping information in one central, secure location. With MasterPass, you can shop, click, and checkout faster online.

Free $50 EZ-Link Fevo Prepaid Card

Free $50 EZ-Link Fevo Prepaid Card

Masterpass are really blitzing the island, with full-page ads in the various newspapers, billboards and bus-stop advert boards, not to mention these types of expensive promotions. So I managed to sign up and become one of the first 3,500 CMs and registed from 12th November (to 31st December – although I think it will be fully redeemed in a few days!) – and voila, an email confirming that I registered succcessfully, and a few days later, an email to confirm that I was indeed one of the first 3500 new Masterpass registrations! Yay baby! The great thing is that it can be used anywhere in Singapore where there is a Mastercard sign – at a bricks and mortar establishment or online store. I am sure I can buy myself something nice! Ha!

Dad’s Marina Bay Tour (25th Oct)

It was great that my dad was able to enjoy his Singapore holiday so far whilst I was away, but now that I was back, I decided to take him for a tour of Marina Bay and the area where I work.

I met them at my place, and then we took the MRT from Novena to Marina Bay, we then visited the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) complex and visited Tower 2 – where I work. We rested for a few minutes, before venturing into the Marina Bay Link Mall, and then across the road to the Marina Bay walkway. We took a few photos, and then we continued walking around to the Marina Bay Gallery, which gave an insight of what the vision is for the Marina Bay and new Financial Business District area – it implies that every bit of grassland in the area will be a skyscraper within the next 5-10 years. It is amazing how much the area has changed, and how much it will continue to change, and I am glad we were able to enjoy the vision as it stands today.

We continued the tour and then headed to the Lau Pa Sat market, and we rested with a drink. After some time we decided to go to Satay Street alongside the market, and enjoy a nice Satay dinner – with nice vegetables and sting-ray fish – what a delight to enjoy it with both of my parents.

Dad Arrives in Singapore (25th Oct)

Well whilst I was on my way back from my holiday, my dad arrived in Singapore.  I arrived back on 25th October, and was able to meet my mum and dad and start the Singapore Tour with them both.

I took my dad around the Marina Bay area, visiting my office location and taking the sights and sounds of the area, as well as visiting some well-known landmarks in the area.

I didn’t want to venture too far, as it would involve a lot of walking, so after a couple of hours venturing around, we decided to go to the Lau Pa Sat (Telok Ayer) market, to relax, grab a drink and chat a bit.  After this, we then went to get some food – so we decided to try out the Satay Street, and get some sting ray, and a selection of delicious satay to enjoy and watch the world go by.  It was a great occasion, and it was a nice way to spend the weekend.

New Apartment Visit – Same Condo, Different Unit

After 2 years in my current condo, my rental lease agreement was up for renewal – so I was keen to see what was available on the market – noting that the ‘housing conditions’ had put the market in the favour of the rentee rather than then landlord – lets see whether this will be the case for me.

I started but trying to negotiate with my current landlord, but I was keen to only renew for one more year (rather than another two years) – he was keen to keep the rent at the same level – he commented that it was a good price having been low to start with, and because I had asked for one year only.

Potential New Option

Potential New Option

I was not that convinced, so started to look around before I responded. I noted that in my current condo, there were a number of smaller units between $2400 – $2800 – so I knew I couldn’t push lower by much, but then I saw that there was a similar sized unit (570 sq ft) for rent – that was priced at $3000 a month. I asked to check the place and went up to have a look – I asked what was the best price he could offer, and he suggested he could push for 2800. I was quite shocked that they were willing to reduce $200 a month to easily, so the landlord must have been keen to rent it out. Anyway, I said I would think about it for the weekend, and then decided to email my current landlord’s agent, who stated that $2900 (current rental) was the best and the landlord would not go lower. I decided to take a risk and email the landlord directly, who responded in a day to state that he was willing to go down to $2800 – a bit interesting that I get a different result when I liaise with the landlord directly isn’t it? 🙂

I started to think about staying, but I decided to visit the new condo unit again with my girlfriend. There were a few pros and cons in both apartments. Lets start with my current one:

Current Unit – Pros:

  • Don’t need to move
  • Don’t need to dry-clean curtains
  • Don’t need to worry about changing addresses in everything
  • Landlord seems pretty nice and responsive
  • Lots of wasted space with the staircase

Current Unit – Cons:

  • Agent is a bit annoying and seems to not communicate effectively or accurately
  • Only partial furnished

And now the new one for comparison…

Potential New Unit – Pros:

  • Cheaper unit
  • A higher floor
  • Fully furnished – also a con due to furniture I’ve purchased!

Potential New – Cons:

  • Need to move
  • Layout is worse than current, bomb shelter is on ground floor
  • No ground floor wash room
  • Staircase location wastes space

The new agent then contacted me for a decision, and I said that I will likely renew with my current unit – and I then preceded with the confirmation. The new agent then stated that the landlord was willing to reduce to $2700 – wow – what a quandary…save another $100 a month. I then presented this to the existing landlord, who then responded saying ‘now what?’ – as the documentation was being prepared. I asked him that I was very keen to move due to the price reduction, but had decided to stay as I preferred to stay with him as the landlord (better the devil you know, as they say). He then responded stating that he will match that price – so I got the same unit, for 1 year renewal, at the $2700 rate – a $200 reduction per month – not bad methinks. I think I could have gone lower, but at least it is a saving.

I now need to sort out the new repayments and get part of my deposit back, as I only need a month’s deposit of the 2 month’s that I currently have settled with the landlord – he owes me $$$ for a change (all of $3100) – haha!

ROWAS 2014 Event (29th Aug)

ROWAS 2014

ROWAS 2014

Well another year, another Reach Out With A Smile (ROWAS) event – where we intend to visit as many merchants as possible, and refresh the POP and Decals and give the opportunity to re-enforce our Value Prop, obtain any merchant feedback and identify any new merchant leads or issues with merchant suppression.

This year, we meat at the Mapletree Business Centre, and then we registered – mine was at the Marina Square complex, so by 1pm, I made my way there with 2 other peoples, and we blasted the mall with decals, POPs and materials etc.

After finishing, I met up with a colleague and the g/f at the Black Swan – and we enjoyed the Friday evening at this quite pleasant establishment.

Another week finished…and now onto September 🙂

Cook and Brew, Level 33, Westin Hotel

Well after a hard week at work, what better way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore from up above.  A group of us went to the Cook and Brew bar at the nearby Westin Hotel (Tower 2 of Asia Square) – another one that is located on Level 33.

Panoramic View

Panoramic View

It actually was quite a nice place, and it certainly was a great view.  It is amazing to think that over the next few years, all of the green land around this area will have skyscrapers…and more amazing to think that all of this was water before…so I guess it is good to enjoy the greenery and scenic views, whilst it lasts…!!

Cook and Brew
Westin Singapore Hotel
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6922 6948
E-mail: cookandbrew.singapore@westin.com

Drumming at Raffles Town Club

We had our annual team meeting, which involving joining our Marketing team at a seasonal off-site team build, this time located at the prestigious Raffles Town Club – a members only club near Tanglin and juts down from the Botantic Gardens.

It was a nice venue, very intimate, and looked very relaxing indeed. It was also good to mingle with the team from the various locations in Singapore again…always a pleasure!

Anyway, we performed some nice drumming – from Drum Cafe, an events company based in Singapore. It was a great idea, to bring the harmony of everyone together. We did a similar thing in the Las Vegas global town hall where we had all of division playing instruments together – and that was fun indeed…it certainly did come together!

We played 4 type of drums (or originally from Africa) – each one with a set melody to play, which seemed pretty boring on its own…you then bring the other groups together and it sounded like a fantastic sound coming out of the room. As they say, the sound of an orchestral playing in harmony is truly inspirational and beautiful!

I definitely would recommend something similar, if you are looking for team build ideas…a great experience, and a great laugh – definitely a great way to get to know your colleagues better.

In fact, the Drum Cafe website, the benefits of drumming has the following 4 benefits:

  • Break down barriers to create a more open organization.
  • Align to a common goal, mission or vision.
  • Improve Communications through accurate feedback.
  • Accelerate Productivity by motivating staff and getting them to listen to each other.

I certainly do agree on all four-fronts!  Great fun indeed!

We finished with a team dinner at Sentosa – Jumbo Seafood Restaurant – for Black Bean and Chili Crab – and a steamed fish. What a yummy way to end the busy afternoon!

Drum Cafe
05-01 Kingly Building
46 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058679
Tel: +65 6438 8949
Email: info@drumcafe.sg
URL: http://www.drumcafe.sg 

Shangri La Reunion Dinner

The Reunion Night is a big feast for Chinese New Year – as a way to celebrate the new year and have a big feast with the family. We had been invited to attend one at the Shangri-La Hotel – a very nice hotel indeed.

It was quite a grand event – inside one of the ball-rooms, and there was plenty of entertainment both on and away from the table. We started with the infamous Yu Sheng.

Yu Sheng is a dish to celebrate Chinese New Years, and wishing years of joy, good luck and abundance.  

The rest of the courses followed, with the Shangri-La also putting on some other entertainment within the room. It was full of acrobats, trapeze artists and live music – although the music and sound was a bit too loud.

The meal cost $138++ – but it was certainly quite enjoyable, and we certainly ate a lot of food and drink.

I think I just need a couple of days to recover now 🙂

Shangri-La Hotel
22 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 258350
Tel: +65 6737 3644
URL: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/

Molly Malone – Drinks and Freebies

Last time I went to Molly Malone, they were offering free Guinness T-shirts as part of a 3-day promotion. Unfortunately, they ran out on the evening of the first day – which was a slightly poor show.

After I complained to them, they admitted that they didn’t plan the promotion that well, although stating they were on a first come, first serve basis. Either way, they invited me to join their 18th anniversary drinks, and offered to have a few drinks on the house – wow that’s amazing to celebrate the success of another Irish pub that has been in Singapore for that long! Although 1995 felt like yesterday, it was certainly a life-time ago now 🙂 haha!

Anyway, I went to Molly with a mate, and we enjoyed a few round of drinks on the house – as a way of apologising over the offer glitch.

It was quite a nice session, a great location, I just wish it was slightly closer to the office – haha!

Molly Malone Irish Pub
56 Circular Road
Singapore 049411
Tel: +65 6536 2029
URL: http://www.molly-malone.com

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