31 March 2014

Blogging As Additional Source of Income

Today while having nothing much to do at work, I looked back on my blogging history and realized that I started this blog in Feb 2011, slightly over 3 years ago. Then I looked at my Adsense monthly earnings, it was miserable, first 6 months was $0 because I hardly blog at that time, then following few months was a few cents, $1+, then a few cents, still pathetic but at least there is improvement, a few cents is still more than $0!

Then I made a lot of posts last year, in fact I made 257 posts in the year 2013! Wow, I surprised even myself, and with the increased posts, I noticed that my monthly earnings increased as well, from a few cents to $2+, to $3+ and to $4+! That's a lot of improvement, I know it's still pathetic but hey, at least I don't see a few cents anymore!

And in Jan 2014, I broke the $8 mark, and this month of March, I broke the $9 mark! I wasn't even thinking of breaking the $5 mark but look at me now, I crossed $9, I think if I keep blogging and bring interesting contents to people, blogging as additional source of income is very much possible. I think I might even be able to collect a cheque from Google this year, I thought I might have to wait for 2 more years but looking at my progress, this year is possible.

Why Do Smokers Knock (or Pack) on a New Pack of Cigarettes?

I bet you have seen it so many times and you have no idea why they did it, as a smoker myself I can tell you there is no benefit to knocking unless you are talking about a pack which has been opened for a while, and as you carry on with your daily activities, the tobacco on each stick becomes loose so you need to knock on each individual stick before lighting up to bring the tobacco together, and that's in order to get the best smoking experience. As for new pack, there is no need to knock because the pack itself is airtight and is very compact, even if you move around, it won't become loose, in fact the act of knocking actually causes the tobacco to drop off, if you don't believe, check the inside of your empty pack and you will see plenty of loose tobacco at the bottom, in my pack, there's hardly any loose tobacco because I don't knock, so you see knocking is a waste of tobacco.

So why do they do it anyway? Well, when I started smoking at 13 years old, I knock because I see my peers doing it, if you ask me why I do it I will probably give you a reason such as to compact the tobacco in each stick, but it's bullshit, more like wasting tobacco. So you see, smokers got to learn how to smoke from someone, got to learn to knock the pack from someone, it's more like a virus, spread from one to another and nobody questions why, just do it anyway since everyone is doing it, if you don't do it you become unusual, nobody wants to be the outstanding one, everybody wants to be like everyone, it's herd mentality.

29 March 2014

Finally Received My POSB Everyday Card (Update)

Previous post.

Now I know how to use my credit card! I went to Sheng Siong, trying my best not to look stupid and told the cashier, "charge to this card", she took the card and did her stuff, then she took out a small writing pad with a pen, I asked, "sign here?", she smiled and said wait for the receipt haha, nabehz, first time use kena caught by her! Anyway next thing she took the receipt and asked me to sign on it and that's it, my first credit card payment completed.

And regarding the EZ-Reload feature, I checked the terms and conditions and found that the auto-top can only happen once every 24 hours, quote:

2.3  Notwithstanding  anything  to  the  contrary  herein  contained,  the  Account  Holder  agrees  that  a minimum period of 24 hours must elapse between each Revaluation for each EZ-Reload by Card Enabled ez-link card. EZ-Link shall not be obliged to revalue the EZ-Reload by Card Enabled ez-link card with another Revaluation Amount until after the Account has been successfully debited for any previous Revaluation Amounts.

And let's say if I lose my card, they will cancel it within 48 hours after I report the loss:

6.2  EZ-Link  shall  cancel  the  Lost  ez-link  Card  within  48  hours  after  a  Lost  ez-link  Card  has  been reported  in  accordance  with  paragraph  6.1.  EZ-Link  shall  refund  to  the  Account  Holder  the remaining Stored Value on the Lost ez-link Card (if any) within 4 weeks of the date of cancellation. EZ-Link shall not be liable to refund to the Account Holder for any monies deducted from the Lost ez-link Card within the period of 48 hours after the Lost ez-link Card has been reported lost:

And seems like they have a free insurance to cover up to $10 loss:

17. Upon registration for the ACTIVATE! Programme, you will automatically be extended complimentary insurance cover from ACE Insurance Limited to protect you against unauthorized usage on your registered card that has been reported lost. The cover is up to $10.00 of unauthorized usage, and you may only make one insurance claim per policy year in relation to one of your registered ez-link cards . Please call our customer hotline at 6496 8300 to make your loss report and to invoke the insurance claim for the lost card. You will also need to file a police report and submit it to customerservice@ezlink.com.sg within 7 days after you report the card loss before we can proceed with the insurance claim.

Still sounds risky because they can take up to 48 hours to cancel the card, 2 days a lot of things can happen, let's say I set the auto-top-up amount as $50 to maximise the rebates, my card still have say $50 because I top-up yesterday, and today I lose my card and I go report, the person who picks up use up the $50 and it auto-top-up another $50, he also use finish, tomorrow he still can use another $50, so in total I can lose up to $150! The rebates and $10 insurance cover also not enough to cover the loss! And also their reporting hotline seems to be available from 8am to 6pm only, I think it's daily excluding public holidays:

Contact EZ-Link

For queries on the EZ-Reload by Card, EZ-Reload by GIRO and EZ-Online,
please call 6496 - 8300.
Operating Hours: 0800 - 1800 daily except public holidays.


Compared to credit card loss, I am not liable for any transactions from the date and time of report and reporting is very easy because their hotline is 24 hours, you report the loss they immediately cancel the card:

How do I cancel my card if it’s lost or stolen?

If your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, you should report it immediately. We’ll cancel it and arrange a new card for you.

Once you report that your card is lost or stolen, you will not be liable for any fraudulent transactions on your lost or stolen card from the time you notify us:

    In Singapore: Call our Customer Service Centre on 1800 111 1111.
    From overseas: Call +65 6327 2265.


So my conclusion is I will not use the EZ-Reload service, I find it too risky, anyway topping up the EZ-Link card is not difficult, just top up once a week and that's it!

Finally Received My POSB Everyday Card

There's a whole bunch of documents that came with it, terms and conditions, guide on credit cards to tell me to use it carefully, some notice saying to safeguard the Singapore financial system bla bla bla, but they never show me how to use a credit card, but I guess I just need to charge it to the MasterCard, they also gave me a PIN number, I wonder what it is for, when I make payment I have to press the PIN number? The way other people pay by credit card is they give the cashier the card and sign on the receipt, now I'm confused, so how do I charge to my credit card? Haha, sigh really sua ku...

I was surprised that they gave me $18,500 for my credit limit, wow, that's so much money, I don't even earn that much in a month, and that's more than 4x of my monthly income! No wonder so many people get into credit card debt, they give you more than you earn and with so much money at your disposal, it's really tempting to spend, I have to admit I felt tempted to go and buy something that I want, some more today is a Saturday, a good day to spend money BUT no, I have read enough credit card horror stories.

And then first thing I did was to fill in 2 forms, one is to link it with my bank account so I can use the card as ATM card and also for NETS payment, the other form is to apply to have my Starhub bills charged to my card so I can get 1% rebate. I also setup GIRO for my card so as to have whatever I charge to my card be automatically deducted from my bank account in case I forget to pay or away for trips or whatever.

Now I'm thinking whether I should apply for EZ-Reload, seems very useful but the auto-reload features worries me because whenever the balance is not enough, it will auto-deduct from my bank account, what if someone misuse my card, that person could wipe out my bank account in a few hours? Possible?

28 March 2014

Still No News on Wife's PR Application

I went for the appointment with my wife on 08 Oct 2013, until now it's almost 6 months and still no news, the application is still shown as Pending in iEnquiry.

Permanent Residence Pending

Wonder when I can get some update...

27 March 2014

Nursing Home Damn Jia Lat

Source

Got bug in the vegetables! Like that also can, I heard nursing homes are not cheap and this is the kind of standard that they give?!? I did a quick search on the internet and found a document which seems to be published on Dec 2007, the charges for Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged and Sick:

Sree Narayana Charges

In 2007 one month is $1,500! I hope there is subsidy from the government to help these elderly and their family. By the way the different Cats just mean the level of care that the patient needs, Cat IV is the most dependent, price is the same though. I wonder how much it costs today, bloody hell so expensive and the standard so terrible, see the mug is so dirty, they don't even bother to wash properly, I bet they also don't wash the vegetables, really black heart, it's for human consumption, not for animals! But seriously our healthcare standard really terrible, jia lat, so expensive and so bad.

Sigh but such is the sadness of our society, when you get old, you can only hope your children can take care of you but given the high stress of this country i.e. no money no talk, everybody will be focused on earning as much money as possible, more never mind but don't less, all to pay for housing loan, care for children, what's left to care for parents? Lucky my parents still have a 3-room flat to their name, anything happen they still have their retirement nest, some elderly not so lucky. I think next time when I'm old I also better have some fallback plan, I won't want to depend on my child, life is only going to get more and more stressful here in Singapore.

Starhub Fibre Suddenly So Slow

I think it all started yesterday, sometimes the page won't load and I need to refresh it once or twice, today is worse, sometimes won't load at all, even accessing blogger also difficult, and when watching videos on Youtube also damn bad, sometimes it will show error encountered and I have to reload, sigh what happened. I think this is the second time I kena such problem, other than that Starhub is reliable but I hope they can resolve the problem as soon as possible, I go to their Facebook page and saw so many complains today, I think something major happened.

26 March 2014

Songkran in Singapore?

Source

Haha, and it's going to be a dry Songkran, what the hell, according to my wife, splashing water brings luck and washes away bad things, now what would a dry Songkran mean? And the dates don't tally, Songkran is from 13 Apr to 15 Apr, this dry Songkran is 12 Apr to 13 Apr, what the hell again?

I know there is a dry spell in Singapore recently, so I think they might as well cancel the thing, at least they only disappoint the participants rather than make everyone unhappy because there will be the environmentalists saying what a waste of water while people like me will say what's a water festival without water.

And even if they run a water Songkran, don't think I will participate, the feeling is just different, you cannot replicate that kind of culture here in Singapore, no way, everything here is too controlled, if you think you can drive a truck with a huge barrel of water and go around splashing everyone you see, sorry no, it will never happen in Singapore, somebody will probably call the police on you or stomp you, or grabbing some of that white powder and rub it on a stranger's face, you'll probably end up in a molest case, and get stomped anyway, I think what will happen here in Singapore is they will give you a small space and you can have fun in that space, that's it, just like how the government allow people to protest legally at Hong Lim Park, same concept, within their control, boring, might as well fly to Thailand and experience the real thing.

25 March 2014

Before Going for Resale Flat Viewing

Just want to share my experience, if you are planning to buy a resale flat, before you contact any seller or agent, get the Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter from HDB or Letter of Offer from bank first, this is because according to HDB, buyer is not supposed to make an offer without the letter, but even if you go ahead and make an offer, I doubt the seller or agent will believe you, ultimately black and white speaks louder than anything.

And there are agents who will first ask whether you have the letter, if no letter, they will ask you to apply first, those who are nice will tell you nicely, I heard some don't even bother to entertain you if you don't have the letter, bad attitude though.

Anyway applying for HLE is free and according to HDB, it takes about 2-3 weeks, but I got it in 3 days, as for bank loan, not so sure, someone who knows please feel free to leave a comment.

And also for HLE letter, you can choose soft copy or hard copy send to your address, I choose soft copy and it ended up useful because when submitting the resale application, you need the loan information, so I emailed to my agent and he submitted for me, and you can print it out anytime you want, and you don't have to wait for HDB to send it to you.

Do your calculations properly and know how much you can afford to offer, also take note that for flats with lease lesser than 60 years, there is a limit on how much total CPF you can use for the flat purchase, including loan repayment, also note that housing grant will also expend your limit, for example you can use a maximum of $130K on a flat, you got a $15K singles grant, now you are left with $115K, which means after you use up the $115K, every month you MUST pay by cash. You can calculate here.

And also, before making any offer, check the recent transactions for the unit and get a rough idea of the prices to help you decide, you can find this information using this HDB service, you don't want to end up having to top an unexpectedly large amount of cash, but you also need to have some spare cash just in case, also considering the amount you need to pay for renovation and furnishing after the purchase, try not to loan too much, personally I don't loan, just slowly renovate and stock up, but ultimately it depends on your financial situation, everybody is different.

Happy house hunting!

24 March 2014

Sichuan Cold Dishes

Just now went dinner with wife at the coffeeshop at neighbourhood, there is this newly-opened shop selling Sichuan food, mainly the cold dishes like Liang Pi, Hai Tai, Mu Er, Dou Pi and some other dishes.

Liang Pi is like our Kway Teow and unlike those I've seen on the internet where they put chilli oil, this one is white, I think there is white vinegar that's why it has a sour taste, there's also something like our Tau Pok (fried bean curd) but it's white in colour, also small cuts of cucumber, quite tasty.

Hai Tai is seaweed, I think it's boiled and then mixed with small bits of garlic and slightly salted, also not bad.

Mu Er is black fungus or wood ear, didn't expect it to be such an appetizer, only added black vinegar and bits of garlic and it goes really well with rice, tastes good by itself too, my wife loves this.

Dou Pi is the kind of hundred fold bean skin you can see in supermarket, cut into long slices and mixed with chilli oil, I like this one, didn't expect it to be so nice.

Other than Ma Po Tou Fu cooked by my mom, I don't eat Sichuan food at all but this was a refreshing experience, I think other than the chilli oil, the method of preparation is very healthy, no frying and eat with plain rice, maybe I should try those in Chinatown, I see plenty of such stores there but didn't really try it, no wonder I see the people from PRC eating until so shiok, I also think these cold dishes will go really well with beer.

23 March 2014

Gwiyomi paling ganster- mesti tengok!!

This is madness!


Raja Bomoh Parody

Lol coconut and flying carpet!


Just Received First Appointment Letter from HDB

They sent the letter by post, it has the details of the appointment date, what to bring for seller and buyer, important notes and a notice to ensure windows are properly maintained, damn, the unit's windows looks really lousy and might fall of anytime, I think might have to spend money to change it!

22 March 2014

Housing Affordability: Singapore Versus Shanghai

I have a colleague from China, sometimes we like to compare Singapore with China or vice-versa, this time we talked about housing price, I told him that I bought a 2-room resale flat for $250K, also told him the size is 46sqm, he paused for a bit, and told me if calculate by price per sqm, the price is about the same as in a first-tier city (一线城市) in China. Mine is $5434 per sqm, so he said Shanghai is about 25,000 Yuan ($5115) per sqm, but he stressed that it's much more expensive for Chinese.

He went on to explain that the average white collar worker in Shanghai earns about 8,000 Yuan ($1637) a month, and one house is usually 60sqm (he highlighted that sqm in China is smaller than Singapore, think the measuring method is different?), which should cost about 1,500,000 Yuan, that is
187.5 times the average worker's monthly income. He also mentioned that the average monthly income includes bonus. For my case, my monthly is $3480, it does not include bonus, so for a $250K house, it's about 71.83 times my monthly income and if I include my bonus, it will be much lower. He also mentioned that there is no such thing as government housing loan and the banks in China typically charge 6%+ interest per annum for housing loan, that is crazy, then I told him it's impossible for one person to be able to afford a house, he agreed and said usually a couple will buy together.

So assuming an average male worker and an average female worker buys a house together in China, their combined income would be 16,000 Yuan, and assume they bought a 1.5M Yuan house, it will be 93.75 times their income, still much higher than me who buys with a single income! But note that their house is bigger than mine, I'm not sure if they can choose a smaller one though, according to my colleague, 60sqm is the norm for couples.

Now let's talk about loan, in Shanghai, they can loan up to 70% of the housing price, max repayment period is 30 years, as for me, I can loan up to 90% via government loan i.e. HDB, max repayment period is 25 years.

70% of 1.5M Yuan is 1.05M Yuan, they need to cough up 0.45M Yuan cash or CPF (don't know what it's called there but they do have a system similar to our CPF).

90% of $250K is $225K, me is $25K cash or CPF.

And don't forget their interest rate is 6%+! And by the way, when couples in China buy a house, they usually borrow money from relatives or parents will chip in to help them with the down-payment. I know it's not a good comparison but this does give a rough idea of the housing affordability in Shanghai, it's crazy, I wonder how people there survive, if Singapore is stressful, then Shanghai is madness!

21 March 2014

Tie Land to Thailand!

Today while thinking about my future and suddenly I thought maybe someday I can move to Thailand, then I found this very interesting blog, it is about a young American couple who gave up almost everything and moved to Thailand, wow, I must say they are really brave, I know it is not an easy decision because there are many things to take into consideration, seriously, I don't think I have the guts to do something like that, furthermore I just committed myself to a HDB flat, maybe in 5 years time I might consider again.

Anyway, as a number person, first thing I did was go to their budget section, I found a budget that they did last June and seems like they were spending $1180 USD ($1503 SGD) each month, note that the amount is for Chiang Mai and for two adults, now that lead me wondering what my budget will be if I am to stay in Udon Thani, let's compare!

By the way I got the Udon Thani numbers from my wife, very rough estimates though, also for two adults, and also note that I assume 1 USD = 30.61 THB and 1 USD = 1.27 SGD.


Chiang Mai Budget for TwoUdon Thani Budget for Two
Remarks
THBUSDSGDTHBUSDSGD
Rent15,000490622000No rent because wife's mom owns the land and house.
Electricity1,53450643001012Range between 200 to 300 without aircon.
Internet/Phone1,22740518002633Internet is 700, mobile is 100.
Laundry3071013000Wife can wash laundry by hand or washing machine.
Drinking Water307101315056Range between 100 to 150 (10 baht for 20 litres).
Food5,5231802296,000196249One day 200 baht, buy and cook at home.
Adult Beverages3,3751101401,10036461100 baht for 10 bottles of Thai whiskey (620ml), wife don't drink, probably for me and visitor.
Petrol/Gas/Taxi61430381,95064811500 for petrol (bike, 2 days 100 baht), 450 for gas (last 4-5 months), no taxi in her hometown.
Groceries3,069100127000Already counted under Food, people there RARELY eat out, anyway the town is about 20KM+ away!
Household Items3,0691001271,0003341Shampoo, shower foam, facial cream, toothpaste etc.
Personal Care/Haircuts/Massages6142025000Wife cut her hair by herself, wife can cut for me.
Entertainment1,22740511,0003341Not much entertainment in her hometown, people there mostly drink after a hard day's work.
Total35,8661,1801,49912,300402510

Hmm, seems like the rent and cooking at home made the most difference, looks kind of crazy but we can get by each month with only $510 Singapore dollars in Udon Thani?!? Maybe it does seem quite viable for me, maybe I can save some money, buy some land there and grow some potatoes and spend my time tending to the fields!

Alamak! Now Then Call me

I received a call about 15 minutes ago from the agent representing the Jalan Kukoh unit that we saw last month, he told me the owner is now selling at $265K, I told him I already got a unit at Commonwealth, then he said "wah so fast", haha, aiyah, actually I still like the Jalan Kukoh unit more, the location is very good, I can walk to work and save on transport and it's 10 minutes walk to Chinatown. Sigh, too bad I have already paid deposit and submitted resale application, if I back out now, I lose the $5000, no point, anyway the Commonwealth unit is much more affordable at $250K, but the Jalan Kukoh unit is bigger at 53sqm, so actually it is cheaper if calculate by price per sqm.

Commonwealth
$250K
46sqm
$5434.78 per sqm

Jalan Kukoh
$265K
53sqm
$5000 per sqm

But anyway, I asked my wife and she say she likes the Commonwealth unit more, haha, well, what's done is done, no point for me to think too much, I think both are good la.

Police alert: Counterfeit S$1,000 Portrait Series Note

Police alert: Counterfeit S$1,000 Portrait Series Note

Please be careful when you receive $1000 Singapore dollar note, check carefully!

20 March 2014

Interior Designer Quote Me $900 for 2 Toilet Bowls!

I finally received a quotation, the entire quote looks okay except the toilet bowls, $900 to replace 2 toilet bowls, can you believe it? Anyway I haven't clarify with the ID but I know it doesn't cost that much, but anyway, me and wife decided not to do anything hacking, we will just mostly DIY and get the IKEA kitchen set to save money.

Anyway a few other IDs contacted me and I provided them with my floor plan anyway, no harm getting more quotes, who knows one of them might quote something that we like, see how, will keep you guys posted.

Sigh, Feel That I have Lost My Smile

Long long ago when I just finished NS, I was so full of hope for the future, I had so much energy, I felt so motivated, but after hanging around in the "system" for nearly a decade, everyday seems to be so repetitive, wake up, go to work, lunch with colleagues, come home, eat, shower, see movie, sleep, repeat, all for what? Money to pay bills and in order to be able to keep paying my bills, I have to keep the cycle going, sigh, sometimes I feel like throwing everything aside, don't give a shit about anything or anyone, just buy a ticket and fly to Thailand with my wife.

Unfortunately, "I can't afford to do that", which will also be what most people here will say, seriously, we are all "stuck" in the system, well unless you are filthy rich then it doesn't matter to you. Sometimes I really envy those people who are born rich, they don't have to do anything, they don't have to be wary, everything falls in place for them anyway, people like me have to "try our best" in order to get what we want, or need, I call it unfair, people will call me a loser, but heck, who doesn't complain.

Then again, comparing, complaining, at the end of the day still the same, doesn't help to change my life in any way, perhaps I should find something meaningful to do, or find myself a new challenge, I have already forgotten the feeling of being thrilled about something new, you know when I first came into contact with programming language, you have no idea how obsessed I was, I could spend hours studying the thing, reading books, doing research, or the kind of feeling like when I was a young boy, whenever I got a new Sega game, I could sit down in front of the TV and play non-stop for 5 or 8 hours, yeah, not even stopping to take a drink or anything, can you believe it? My mom had to switch off the power to force me to stop, that kind of feeling, I have no idea how to get it back.

How Much is Starhub Rewards Points Worth?

I logged in and noticed that I have 3851 points, then I checked out the rewards, nowadays they have so much more options, last time their rewards kind of sucks. Anyway, how to determine how much each point is worth? Easy. First of all, Starhub customers get 1 point for every dollar spent i.e. if your mobile bill is $100, then you get 100 points, but that doesn't mean your 100 points are worth $100.

Ok, now log in to Starhub Rewards page, under Filter by, select Bill Rebates and click Search.

Filter By Bill Rebates

Now if you observe the different denominations and the points required to redeem, you will notice that the rebate to points ratio is the same, so basically every 7 points is worth $0.10, or you can also say for every $7 dollars you spend, you can save $0.10, which is about 1.42% savings, not bad.

Bill Rebates in Different Denominations



19 March 2014

Finally Applied for My First Credit Card: POSB Everyday Card

After such a long time in the workforce, I finally have strong enough reasons to get myself a credit card, I didn't apply for one earlier because I was not sure whether I could control my spending. I have seen my friends overspend or spend on unnecessary items, but right now, I am ready to be responsible for one, and I think I've read enough articles about people with varying levels of credit card debts to fully understand the risks of spending "future money", but I know I will be fine as long as I spend within my limit, not the credit card limit but my personal spending limit, which is the amount after considering expenses and savings, and also to make sure I repay the amount in full before the due date.

So with my flat coming soon, I expect myself to spend a large amount money on furniture, appliances and etc, it would be really stupid to bring along cash for whatever I need to buy, seriously I am really afraid of dropping the money or losing it due to theft or robbery, that day when I brought along $5000 cash to pay for the option and exercise fee, you have no idea how worried I was, that is my hard-earned money, I would hate myself if I lose it.

So anyway I choose POSB because I have a POSB bank account, been with them since I was 11 or 12 years old, and their Everyday card seems to be very useful, the best part is the 5% Sheng Siong rebate (up to $1000 monthly), me and wife like to shop at Sheng Siong, and there is one outlet about 10 minutes walk from our future home. And also I can charge Starhub and utilities bill for rebates, and I can earn points to offset future purchases or even offset my credit card bills, so if I spend more, I save more, sounds like a great deal right.

18 March 2014

Selling Tissue is Good Money

I am a regular visitor to the food centre at Chinatown Complex, I usually have lunch there with colleagues for 3 to 4 days of a week. Recently I noticed that there were PRC selling tissue there, I don't think I saw them before, why I know they are PRC? By their accent, it's very obvious. I saw an old man and two middle-aged women.

Anyway like the rest of the tissue selling uncles and aunties, they were selling 3 packets for $1, that lead me thinking, are they tourist or resident? Actually not just selling tissue, I even noticed that nowadays even PRC are picking empty cans, what exactly is their identity? Very curious.

My Resale Application has been Registered!

Yesterday my agent submitted my resale application, then the seller side also submitted shortly after and booked the first appointment and today when I checked back at HDB website, saw the following:

Resale Application Registered

Resale Price $250K

So at this stage I think the sales is more or less confirmed as long as seller side no problem, my side also no problem then should be fine. Today I even called in to CPF to confirm, they say I can use the full amount in my OA, and I have HLE ready, so I think should be fine.

16 March 2014

Use Magic to Find Plane

I'm sure he was trying to help...

Coconut Magic


Beer Price Hike

Source

Beer price at Kopitiam shot up by $1.30! Might as well buy one carton at Sheng Siong and drink at home haha, don't let these evil merchants earn, government say increase 41 cents, they increase $1.30, I never like to dine at Kopitiam anyway, actually I don't like these big brand food courts, their prices are ridiculous, why pay for the aircon, the food is so-so, food centres are the best.

Speaking of food court, yesterday after settling the deal for my resale flat, me and wife went to Kou Fu near Commonwealth MRT station, we bought 3 cans of coconut water at Sheng Siong and then I went to buy a cup of ice, the counter girl told me they only sell water but don't sell ice, I said I will pay for it and she still don't want to sell, what the hell man, I ended up buying a cup of iced water for 30 cents, iced water can sell but ice cannot sell? What cock logic is that? Sell me the ice for 30 cents they also earn.

But lucky my place is near central area, if I want to I can always take a train to Outram and eat at my favourite Chinatown Complex, there's also a food centre at Tanglin Halt, I think there's 2 if I'm not wrong. Or I can also go to Mei Ling Food Centre and eat the Sin Kee Chicken Rice, hahaha, I didn't pick the location for nothing! So screw the Kou Fu, hope they close down soon, then open a KFC or something, boycott Kou Fu and Kopitiam!

15 March 2014

Paid Option Fee and Exercised Option

The deal went through smoothly, everybody very cooperative, now waiting for my agent to confirm the first appointment, should be around 14 Apr to 16 Apr. Oh by the way I also have to pay for the valuation report, it's $133.05, my agent paid for me, told him I will pay together with the agent fees.

I also purchased the floor plan online at HDB website, very fast, just pay $5 online and they emailed me immediately.

2S Floor Plan

Now I'm looking for people to help me renovate the kitchen, change toilet bowls, hope can get it done below $10K, still have to buy stuff, don't know enough money or not haha.

14 March 2014

Changes for Resale Procedure (Update)

Previous post.

So previously I said I emailed HDB to confirm whether I can proceed to pay for the option and exercise it tomorrow, they say can, following is the response from HDB:

We refer to your email of 11 March 2014.

2 If the sellers grant you the Option To Purchase on 15 March 2014, you may use the existing valuation report which was obtained before the announcement on 10 March 2014 @ 5pm for your flat purchase. This is provided that you and the sellers submit the complete resale application to HDB within the 3 months validity period of the valuation report (i.e. before 24 March 2014).


Very clear, so tomorrow I will meet the seller and hand him $5000 cold hard cash, hehehe, never in my life have I carried so much money, hope I don't get robbed.

NS Pay is Taxable!

After all these years, now then I know! But I didn't bother since in my early years I didn't earn enough to actually need to pay tax, I only discovered it after my company submitted my tax returns for this year, since I was free with nothing to do so I kept myself busy by looking through my previous years returns and found that in the year of assessment 2013 (for 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012), the assessable income shown in my notice of assessment is $514 more than what my company reported in my IR8E. I am very sure that I only worked for my current company for 2012.

Curious, I emailed IRAS, and their reply was that the difference was submitted for my NSman pay, so obviously should be submitted by Mindef. And then after searching the internet a bit, I also found that IPPT award is taxable! WTF man. Basically my service pay is taxable, which includes the $12 or $13 received when I attended RT sessions, IPPT sessions, or when my unit called me back for one day, my company didn't claim, not sure why, then Army paid me about $30+, it's all taxable because Army is considered my employer, in IRAS eyes, any money paid by employer is taxable. Sigh, really lame, but whatever, not going to make a lot of difference to my payable tax amount anyway. Speaking of paying tax, bloody hell have to $550+ this year, sigh...

13 March 2014

Still No News of Plane

So ever since yesterday, I have been keeping track of this story, I keep thinking about how the plane could have gone missing, how come with so many nations searching and they still can't find the plane, and then the news is full of Malaysia information inaccuracies, I think they should just stop responding to the media, actually they just need to update the family members and the search and rescue teams, why bother talking to the media? If in doubt, just shut up, don't say anything, why embarrass the whole nation.

But I can imagine how worried the family members are, just look at myself, if I lose my key and I can't find it for almost an hour, I would get frustrated, not to mention people went missing for days. I hope the plane managed to crash land on some island and there is plenty of fruits to eat, I think with that they should be able to survive for a while until the search and rescue teams find them.

12 March 2014

The Missing Plane

There is a lot of buzz on it and as usual I thought it is just another over-hyped story and probably isn't real, how can a Boeing 777 go missing? I shrugged it off until today when I still hear people talking about it, yeah, people were talking about it on the streets, in the food centre, my colleagues were talking about it, even the old man who sometimes smoke together with me was talking about it, wow, it's like a virus.

So I took some time to read up about the story, it was shocking, a plane indeed disappeared and is nowhere to be found, several nations are searching for this one plane, even Singapore is involved. And as I read on, there are so many rumours, from the ridiculous to the rational, my colleague said he read somewhere that people were saying that the plane flew into another dimension, I think that is just plain stupid.

Anyway I think people should stop guessing and especially stop spreading useless crap, let the experts do their job, and I think the Malaysian authorities should verify their information before releasing to the public, like how their minister said the holders of the two stolen passports had Asian features, those two guys turned out to be Iranian, it is so embarrassing, if in doubt, don't talk to the media, if need be, just say still investigating.

Haze is Back

Noticed that the haze today is thicker than last few days, don't tell me Indonesia is burning things again, but who else could it be, after telling them for years, for decades, they still continue with the burning, sigh, do they really have no other way to do whatever they need to do without burning?

Ok, I think I could be wrong, after googling a bit, I found this article, seems like the burning occurred due to the recent dry weather, that is true, our grass patches have turned brown, all dried up, I can't remember when was the last time we had rain, if our place is dry, I think it could be worse in the forests of  Indonesia and Malaysia.

But I think the best solution is for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to form a forest fire fighting council, each country should take turn to lead the council for a certain period, and each country should commit a reasonable amount of resources for the mission, currently what I can see is the forests of those two big countries are really big, if all 3 nations can work together to solve the problem, I'm sure it will be no problem, all of us need to compromise for the greater good.

11 March 2014

KNN Low Key Training Again! WTF! (Update)

My previous post.

So this morning someone from the army called me, not sure who he is but he sounded like a polite lad and he told me that my coming in-camp training should be a high key instead and sounds like there is some sort of a cock-up, my ICT should be 8 days instead of 6 days, I guess somehow the wrong dates got released to the notification system. After that he told me they haven't decided yet on how to inform us, maybe they will update ns.sg or they will send everybody a paper notice.

Then later in the afternoon someone from the army called me again, he sounded like the same guy from morning, this time he sounded like the notification system, he told me my annual ICT is high key and it's from XX day to XX day and I asked him whether I will receive any official notification because I need to update my company, I was thinking how come army so cheap have to get someone to pretend to be the notification system, then he told me they will update ns.sg, great. Very humorous guy, anyway I think he can understand how fed up I was, come on, basket I have so many low keys and still give me low keys for fish, doesn't make sense right, but I'm just glad it's a high key.

Changes for Resale Procedure

Source

I was very surprised by the change, the best part is I only know about it today, and they announced it only yesterday, the change also went into effect yesterday at 5PM! I thought this kind of change they should announce earlier?

Anyway the part that seems to affect me is as at 10 Mar 2014 5PM, seller can no longer apply for valuation report, what will happen is buyer and seller will negotiate the price based on the latest transacted price, which means no more COV in play, but don't go ahead and think that no more cash top-up is required, you are so wrong, will explain later, and somehow they will agree on XXX amount, then seller will grant the buyer the Option to Purchase (OTP), range between $1 to $1000, then buyer will pay money to "buy" the OPT and then proceed to apply for valuation report. See what I'm saying now? It is only after buyer pay OTP then he will know how much the flat is "worth", the key thing is HDB or bank will only loan based on the valuation price or negotiated price, whichever is lower, so if the negotiated price is $300K, end up the valuation price is $250K, the buyer will need to top-up the difference of $50K in cash OR he can choose to forgo the OTP, so one thing for sure is the practice of $1000 option fee will be changed, buyer will be more wary, seriously which buyer will want to risk $1000 to end up having to cough up more cash than he can afford.

Technically they did remove COV but it's still there, it's just that you used to know the price first and then you decide whether you want to commit, now you have to commit before you decide whether you want to commit?!? Confusing huh.

So how it may affect me is because currently I'm trying to purchase a resale unit and I have not paid for the option yet, and the seller's valuation report is going to expire in 2 weeks time, we had originally planned to meet the seller and his agent this coming Saturday to purchase and exercise the option i.e. pay $1000+$4000, then today I saw the news, damn shocked, quickly called my agent, he assured me that as long as the existing valuation report is valid, we can still proceed with the purchase, but to be very sure, I called HDB to confirm and they told me the same thing, it doesn't matter whether you have paid for the option or not, as long as the report is valid, you can use it, phew, I just hope everything will go smoothly this Saturday, hope the seller won't decide to do something funny because of the new ruling. But the HDB staff sounds a bit unsure, that made me feel weird, and so to be ultra safe, I emailed them my doubts, it's always good to have black and white, will update once they reply.

10 March 2014

KNN Low Key Training Again! WTF!

The moment I heard the automated voice message say it's a low key my blood instantly boil! I have served more than enough low keys, actually I just need to clear 3 low keys but I have already served more than that, and I need 7 high keys so currently I only have 4 high keys so I need 3 more, so why the heck did they give me low key again? What is the point? They give me low key and it only serves to delay my MR date, so what happens? I have to keep coming back until who knows when, which means every year MINDEF have to pay me my civilian pay for the days that they call me back, and where does the money come from? Taxpayer's money, I'm also a taxpayer and this is how they spend our money?

And what happened to the 10 years ORNS? I ORD in Jan 2004, until now it has already been 10 years, so why the hell am I still in the army and still owing them 3 high keys? Sigh, fucking waste of time. Not that I don't want to serve, at least don't make it so pointless. But seriously, what are we as uncle-to-be going to contribute? Run also cannot run like those 18 or 19 years old, army also scared that we kena heart attack and suddenly drop dead so nowadays our commanders also don't want to risk shagging us out.

I have emailed my unit, I told them to let me come back early, I also told them that I don't even mind if they ask me to book in and sleep in camp on weekend, I just want to clear this shit ASAP. I'm sure anybody can understand that, so how come the Army cannot understand that? Not that in wartime I won't fight, I tell you, in wartime, even if they don't call me back, I will still volunteer, I am sure many Singaporean men will do that, but wasting time in a never-ending fucking ORNS is fucking bullshit.

08 March 2014

Now Thinking About Renovation

This step is more difficult than I thought because after surfing RenoTalk these few days, I realized that the renovation industry is extremely competitive i.e. too many players, big and small, from interior design firms to renovation contractors, can be difficult to decide on which to use, even if I decide on using renovation contractors instead of design firms, I still have to determine which are the reliable ones. The worst part is there are plenty of dubious forum members, sometimes it is quite difficult to tell who are the real homeowners who are there to share.

So far I have one recommendation from a member in RenoTalk but I haven't contacted the contractor yet because I still don't know when I can get the keys, anyway let's look at some pictures, we are still thinking of how to do it, feel free to chip in some ideas if you have. By the way nobody is living in the flat but the owner's stuff is still there.

Kitchen Entrance

As you can see, the living room looks alright, the kitchen tiles is okay but problem is they are sharp and I feel that it is quite dangerous, furthermore this kind of tiles not easy to clean. So I intend to change the kitchen tiles. After owner removes those two cabinets, I think we want to put our fridge at the corner. As for the leftover space until the end of the lower cabinet, we will put our own tall cabinet, the movable type, don't like built-in cabinet.

Kitchen Rear

So this is the rear view of our kitchen, you see the small newer looking area where the washing machine stands, that part was added via HDB Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) in 2001, you can't see from this angle but they also added a toilet there, anyway we don't intend to change anything in that new area, maybe just change the tap and toilet bowl, floor and walls are acceptable so no need to change.

Toilet, Stove and Sink

Now comes the worst part, this is the original toilet, see the entrance is so narrow thanks to the stupid position of the stove, safety hazard because if we are not careful, we could end up hurting ourselves. This toilet was also upgraded via MUP, same thing, floor and walls looks okay, probably change only tap and toilet bowl.

Closer Look at Stove and Sink

Look at that stove, if we really get to work, first thing is to remove that stove, bloody hell damn in the way, my wife don't like that kitchen sink, she wants a new one, so the main thing here is to totally get rid of both the stove and sink, including the small wall that separates them, but I think we might have to redo the wall tiles. Anyway we want to relocate the stove and sink opposite, but then again, it's just our thoughts, in the end whether feasible or not still have to check with the contractor.

Now I don't know how much it can cost, I probably have around $10K after setting aside for the resale flat deposit and agent fees, still have to buy fridge and etc, sigh, but one thing for sure is I'm not going to take any loan, worse comes to worst, slowly renovate and buy.

By the way if you guys have any contractors to recommend, please let me know, most important thing is reliable and I don't ask for as cheap as possible, just give me reasonable pricing, I see some quotes on RenoTalk, some contractors or design firms anyhow charge, just aluminum windows can cost $7K+!

07 March 2014

My Agent Managed to Secure the 2-Room Unit at $250K!

Just now I went to meet the seller and his agent, I saw the valuation report and the valuation price is $260K, while I took a closer look at the unit, my agent managed to confirm the deal with seller's agent at $10K below valuation! After that, all of us sat down together including the owner, and my agent officially offered $250K in front of the owner and he agreed, it was easier than I thought. After that I checked with my agent about the last offer, he said there were offers ranging from $230K to $250K, somehow the owner decided to sell it to me, but I can sense that he is very eager to sell, heard from my agent that the flat belongs to his father and he passed away so the unit is left to the him but he already has a HDB flat so he has no choice but to sell it. I also scouted around the unit and the block, looks clean, doesn't look like there were any Ah Long harrassment, the neighbourhood is also very peaceful, the people there also seems nice, the area is also very clean unlike my current place, litter everywhere.

But unfortunately, the seller has some paperwork not yet done and due to that, they are not allowed to grant me the Option To Purchase (OTP), I heard it's because their resale checklist has expired, there is a 7 days limit, and the agent is using a hardcopy version instead of the online version, so the agent is trying to get the owner to log in to do the checklist, but unfortunately the owner does not have SingPass, and the owner seems worried that I will back out but come on, I didn't go all the way to back out, I even brought along $1000 cold hard cash ready to pay for the option, of course I don't mind waiting since he is selling the flat to me at $10K below valuation, anyway the seller's agent assured that she will check with HDB on whether they can proceed to grant the option even though the checklist is expired, worse comes to worst, they will submit the checklist again, I just hope they can get it done before the valuation report expires or else they will have to redo and pay the valuation fees again, it's $130+, I don't mind waiting because $250K is totally within my budget, in fact I told my agent to look for a unit that is $250K and lesser.

I can also understand why the owner is so eager to sell because his valuation report expires on coming 24 March, if the valuation is done again, according to my agent, usually the price will be slightly lowered, so if the valuation price is lowered, of course buyers will lower the offer price, but I don't mind paying $250K even if the valuation price is lowered, worse case they revalue at $255K, I will just continue to pay $250K, still $5K below valuation. I also don't want to take advantage of the seller, Singaporean must be nice to Singaporean! But it makes sense why revaluation will be lower because if the seller can't get any buyer at $260K, there is no point revaluing it higher, the logical move is to revalue it lower so buyers will bite, same logic as in supermarket where they lower the price of products that is going to expire to entice shoppers. So now you know why housing price is skyrocketing, because there were buyers willing to bite into the high prices resulting in the current sky high prices!

Oh another reason why previous offers were so low is because the house condition is very outdated, but for me and wife we feel that the bedroom and living room is okay, only ugly part is the kitchen, my wife don't like the toilets though, she say they are old but they look okay to me, I hope I can get the kitchen and toilets done for below $10K.

06 March 2014

My Mom is Really Annoying

She keep saying that I will have difficulty paying for my own flat but I did my sums and everything is fine! If I can't afford it, then plenty of people also can't afford it, and how in the world did my friend manage to get a 3-room BTO at Ghim Moh with his mom for $370K? He has to pay $1400+ per month! About $700+ of that in cash! By the way he is paying by himself. Let me show you my sums.

The unit I'm buying is valued at $260K, my agent is negotiating $250K and seems like he succeeded, tonight we will pay the option fee of $1K, probably another $4K next week to exercise the option and I have all the cash ready, in fact latest by Monday I would have about $10K cash at my disposal, more than enough for the deposit and agent fees. As for CPF OA, by Monday I would have about $75K because I sold my stocks recently. By the way we qualify for $15K singles housing grant.

Best Scenario
Buy at $250K, CPF OA $75K, singles grant $15K, pay $5K deposit, loan $155K from HDB, monthly repayment $704 based on 25 years.

Worst Scenario
Buy at $260K, CPF OA $75K, no singles grant, pay $5K deposit, loan $180K from HDB, monthly repayment $817 based on 25 years. But most likely we can get the singles loan.

As mentioned, I have $10K cash ready by Monday to pay for the deposit and agent fees, probably will have leftover of $2K+.

For that unit, we only intend to change the kitchen flooring and sink, and repaint the whole unit by ourselves, it's not a huge sum of money, probably can settle with less than $10K and we can take our time to do it so no need to take a loan. Furniture and etc, as mentioned we can take our time so we can slowly accumulate, again no need to loan. I foresee after paying for deposit and agent fees, I will still have about $10K left if I sell my Sheng Siong and Lippo Malls shares, every month we also have cash surplus of about $1K so we should have no difficulty working with it over a few months to do up the unit, so it's not as if once we get the keys we must move in immediately.

But one thing to take note if we buy this unit, it's an old unit with 52 years left so we can only use up to about $130K CPF, this includes the loan payments, my $75K CPF OA and $15K singles grant. Once we hit this limit, we must pay by cash. It will probably take us 4-5 years to hit that limit but let's look at my spending if I should live there now.

My take home salary: $2783
Give wife: $600
Myself: $500
Internet and mobile: $120
Electricity and water: $100
Conservancy fees: $28.50 for 2-room flat
Property tax: $0 for 2-room flat
Leftover: $1434.50

I'm not even counting my allowance, bonus, government subsidies and etc and let's say we have to pay in cash now for the housing loan, we are capable of doing it and we still have surplus to save be it  $704 or $817 per month in loan repayment. And during this 4-5 years, I intend to continue investing and aim to one day be able to collect enough dividends to cover my housing loan.

So what's the problem? Even if we have one child, I'm still confident of going through with it, in fact it will make me want to work harder. It's just a matter of time when we have to leave our parents and start our own family, of course there will be hurdles, not everyone is so lucky to have rich parents.

05 March 2014

Beware of Perverts Posing as Female

Last week, my wife told me someone messaged her on wechat or something, my wife mentioned that person is a female Indian national. Then just now when we went for a walk, she showed me the conversation, that Indian "female friend" was asking my wife out during weekend, I looked at that person's profile picture and it looked suspicious, picture doesn't look real to me, then I told my wife it's very common for guys to use a female picture to try to hook up with women.

So when we returned home, my wife asked her "friend" of the gender, then this person started apologizing and revealed that he is a guy. My wife was shocked, she was afraid I would get angry and she quickly deleted the conversations and told that guy never to message her again as she has husband already.

For those of you interested to know this pervert, here is his email:

alagumathi143@gmail.com

Please feel free to add this idiot into your spam list.

And to the idiot, you are such a fucking loser, at least have the balls to tell my wife you are a guy instead of hiding behind a female photo, I might even have some respect for you but now, you are just a piece of shit.

SGH Orthopaedic Appointment in Late May

So today I went to see the doctor in polyclinic, he gave me a referral letter to SGH, then I went to the referral booking counter and the earliest date they got for me was 23 May, this lead me thinking, I have a serious back problem now and I have to wait for more than 2 months, by then I think my back would have recovered, then again it's still good to go for a check. But are we lacking healthcare professionals? Too many patients too little doctors? Something is not right, in Thailand if you have a back problem like mine, you'll probably get to see the specialist on the same day, do the scan and whatever necessary but here, wait 2 months, what a joke.

4 days MC

When I went to work on Monday I felt okay but while I was bending forward to wash my face in the gents, I felt a sharp pain and a click sound coming from my lower back area. After that, I went back to my seat and as I sat down, I can feel my lower back area getting sore and when I tried to stand up, I can't stand up quickly as usual, I had to pause for a while because my lower back area felt very tight and painful. So during lunch time I went to a nearby pharmacy and got some plasters, not effective though, the pain persisted but luckily we had a briefing session near my home so I went for it so I can go home early to rest, I put on plasters, applied pain relief cream and hoped for the best.

But the pain is still there and even got worse, it is especially painful when I am trying to stand up from a sitting or squatting position, so yesterday I went to see my GP again, he asked me whether I still have his painkillers and I said yes, so he prescribed some muscle relaxant and gave me one day MC. I went home, ate the medicines, my father gave me some powerful cream that his friend brought for him from Thailand, my wife applied the cream and gave me a good massage, she also put on some plasters, and again I hoped for the best.

Unfortunately the pain still persists this morning, so I went to the polyclinic, doctor say it is muscle issue, I asked him whether it could be my backbone problem and he said if there is fracture, I won't be able to walk and it is unlikely because the pain did not come from trauma, I also told him the pain first started when I did sit up on hard ground the week before. By the way I did only 20 sit ups. Anyway he gave me painkillers and some special plasters. My wife put on the plasters for me and it seems to make my pain worse, now I feel pain even while walking. He also asked if I want 2 or 3 days MC, I thought might as well take 3, and if I feel better I can go back early, but I don't think my back will be okay so fast.

Now I'm lying on the bed typing this post using my wife's iPad, can't even sit down, now that I think of it, I might have sat too much, in office sit, at home sit, I think somehow that hurts my lower back, especially my home chair does not have cushion, I think I should get a new chair.

02 March 2014

Viewed 4 HDB Resale Flats Today

Today I finally met my camp mate's property agent friend, he is a very nice guy, very patient, polite and knowledgeable, most important of all I can feel that he is genuinely trying to help me find a unit that we like.

All 4 flats are in the Queenstown district, 3 in Commonwealth and 1 at Tanglin Halt.

Unit 1: Well Renovated 2-Room at Commonwealth

This one is the best, when we walked in, we instantly fell in love with it, the renovation is well done, so well done that we can just move in without any renovation work, they even have one extra bedroom added and it's quite big, problem is the valuation price, $329K, last COV offer of $11K was rejected by owner. I don't think I can afford it even if the owner doesn't ask for any COV, sigh, so this one can forget it.

Unit 2: Nice Looking 3-Room at Commonwealth

Compared to the 2-room earlier, this one is a bit lackluster but the condition is still good, I think we could probably get by without any renovation, but same problem, valuation too high, when the seller agent said $350K, I turned around and headed for the exit haha...

Unit 3: Original Condition 2-Room at Commonwealth

Actually this one not so original, what I meant by original is the owner didn't do any renovation but Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) was completed, think they added one more toilet and extended the kitchen backwards, the kitchen is quite big and the bedroom is bigger than I expected, valuation is $260K and heard from my agent that the owner did not ask for any COV. Me and wife really like this one, I think we just need to change the kitchen flooring and repaint and it will be ready, old design doesn't matter to us.

Unit 4: Renovated 2-Room at Tanglin Halt

The valuation report is not out yet for this unit, but we don't really like it anyway, the laundry area is missing, according to seller agent, owner is living alone and is using portable laundry thingy, after that we realized actually he/she is hanging clothes outside the HDB flat, at the door way, wow, the renovation inside is quite impressive but hang clothes outside? Very funny right haha. Anyway not interested in this unit, don't like the renovation works, very rigid design, too many built-in features.

It was a tiring day, we walked around under the hot sun, but good thing is my wife really liked the Unit 3 and I also like it, so I told my agent no more viewing and just help us get that unit and he said ok.

Now I just need to sell my CPF stocks and sell some cash stocks to get ready $5K for the deposit, hope Monday share price is good, now I'm wondering which cash stock I should sell first, hmmm, I have about $2K cash, just need another $3K or so, maybe I should sell Lippo Malls first, hope Monday it can hit $0.41 or at least $0.405.

01 March 2014

Shin-Sapporo Ramen @ Changi Business Park

Yesterday I saw a leaflet from Yum Cha, it says there is 10% off if we bring along the leaflet, they also have a nice looking set meal at $11.80 so I brought my wife to Changi Business Park today. The place looks new and desolate but once we got inside the Yum Cha block, wow, can't believe there was such a long queue, no wonder there's nobody outside, everyone is hiding inside! Hot weather and powerful aircon, no wonder why.

Anyway the long queue really put us off and we happened to see this Shin-Sapporo restaurant just beside and there's a few tables empty, me and wife haven't really try any ramen so no harm giving it a go.

We don't really know what is good so we started with the friends set where we get to choose one ramen each, my wife choose the Chicken Ramen, I choose the Tonkutsu Ramen, the Tonkutsu ramen's name is longer but I forgot what is in front, and then we choose the Menchi, it's minced stewed pork, I don't know what sauce they use but it tastes very similar to the kind of stewed pork you eat at Kway Chap stalls, not bad, and if you sprinkle some of their ramen pepper on top it actually tasted even better. Next we choose the mashed potato salad, gives a very refreshing feeling, finally I got myself a root beer, my wife a lemon tea, by the way the set also comes with 2 free shredded cabbage salad, the salad was good, the dressing was mayo-based with a light sesame oil fragrance, very nice.

I like the place, the aircon was powerful, staff was responsive and friendly, cleanliness level very high, I merely raised my and the staff appeared right next to me in less than 5 seconds, appetizers were served fast, main course not too long later, I must say I really enjoyed the ramen, I think this was my second time eating ramen, the first time I shared with a friend at Ajisen Ramen so I didn't get the full impact, this time I get to enjoy one whole bowl myself and the experience was very fulfilling, the soup was thick, I don't know how they cooked it until so milky, and the sliced pork is another enjoyment, it tasted like something I ate before but I can't remember what, after you bite on it, the juices still stick to your teeth, I tried my wife's soup, wow, hers also power, she said the egg was very good, then she gave me two pieces of her chicken, the chicken was ok, nothing impressive though, then I gave her my egg, but her soup was really good, it's some sort of soya sauce based soup.

So I spent:
1 Friends Set Meal - $39.90
10% Service Charge - $3.99
7% GST - $3.07
Total Paid - $46.95

Overall the experience was very good, so good that I even dropped the spare change into their tip box, thumbs up!