Saturday 30 June 2012

Traffic Jam - NZ Style

So you think that traffic jams are all about vehicles being stuck bumper to bumper..............

Well check this out.  Hubby and I were travelling through Queenstown (New Zealand), before we moved to Singapore, and we experienced a very unique kind of traffic jam.

Monday 25 June 2012

Approaching the 24 month mark

Another guest post by @SGVekNZ

We're approaching the 24 month mark and our love affair with Singapore still continues.  It is safe to say that both my Better Half and I have come to really enjoy our life on the Little Red Dot.  We enjoy it so much in fact that in conversation we often catch ourselves calling Singapore “Home”, even though we still have a special place in our hearts for the Land of the Long White Cloud; New Zealand. 

I took some time to reflect recently about why I personally love this place so much and how can I give some insights so that others can enjoy Singapore as well; both newcomers as well as those of us who have been here awhile now. 

Here are some of my thoughts.

This can be hard when relocating to a different country but I’ve realised that part of the charm of Singapore are the locals that you meet.

It is very diverse with Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, etc.  Singapore is a real melting pot of cultures.  Their take on life is quite different and I must admit that it has made me think about things in a different way; from Government and Religion to what I can only describe as a pretty wicked sense of humour!

They’re willing to share and I’ve been able to pick up various phrases and words in Hokkien, Malay and some Singlish here and there.  Always funny to see the reaction of the locals when I exclaim something in their language.

I’m fortunate that I work in a company with a lot of Singaporeans so meeting new people has been fairly easy.  I interact with my local colleagues as much as possible; going out to play indoor footy or going out for drinks.

They really make my Singapore experience complete so I encourage you to go out and make heaps of friends and don’t try to be a typical Expat. 

It is hard to get away from what we’re used to; Steak, Sandwiches, Ice Cream etc, but there is a lot of good food out there for our Expat taste buds to sample.  Now everyone can do the fried noodles, rice dishes, Chilli Crab and roast meats but what I mean is to really try the out of the ordinary stuff

Some of the stuff I’ve tried is Mixed Organ Soup.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, c’mon we eat all kinds of stuff that is mashed up and put into Sausages.  The secret is in the broth.  If it is a good one it is quite enjoyable.

There is also Bak Kut Teh; boiled Pork spare ribs in a peppery broth.  It is usually eaten with rice.  Some discard it without actually having tasted it before.  You eat ribs from the oven and BBQ, so why not try it in a broth.  It is quite tasty to dip the ribs into a thick soy sauce.

The most notorious is probably the “King of Fruits”; the formidable Durian.  It’s a large spiky fruit and inside it has chamber like spaces which house the yellow fruity flesh which can be eaten.  Durian is well known for its distinctive smell that some would describe as being like a sewer.  This is a real experience so I would encourage many to try it.

Do get out of your comfort zone and try something new for your palate.  Most importantly, please don’t be rude about it.  Try it, but if you don’t like it don’t make a big deal about it.  It is still food and food should be respected.  Remember that in your culture there will be some things that the others won’t eat.

I’ve saved this point for last because over the months I’ve been here I’ve heard Expats compare Singapore with their own country and complain and whinge about how much better it is back home.  I’m sick of hearing this.  Some examples are that its too hot, noisy, crowded or doesn’t have good enough versions of their favourite food.  There are also the usual rants about it being too expensive to own a car or rent a house.  The public transport system here is pretty good and a car isn’t really needed unless you have kids.  Housing options, if you want it to be more cost effective then don’t go for a condo.  Go for a HDB.  If Singapore isn’t a good place to be and you complain about it constantly, then to me the answer is simple…… If it is so horrible here then why don’t you go home and take your negativity with you?

I hate to be a bit crude on this point but we should never forget that we are guests in Singapore and as such should respect what it has to offer and enjoy trying things which are different from what we’re used to at home.  Sure it has it’s differences; I admit good and bad, but if you don’t like it you don’t have to stay here.  No one is forcing you; and if they are its probably time for that chat?

Make the most of it; Singapore is an awesome place and there might be many others who want to experience it but don’t get the chance.

So those are my thoughts as we approach the 24 months.  Singapore has indeed become our second home. Initially we were only going to stay 2 years but now intend to stay a lot longer.

It has so much to offer and is a perfect base to visit other Asian countries.

If you’re relocating to Singapore; look forward to what Singapore has to offer.  If you’ve been here awhile; please continue to enjoy it’s many pleasures and charms.


PS. - It is Durian season right now, so get out there and try it :)

Saturday 9 June 2012

Boot Camp - Four months' on

I am into my fourth month with REBEL BootCamp, and I am still enjoying it.  Time flies by really fast when you're getting fit, while having fun!

I must admit, there are days when I do not feel like going to a session.  There was times when I was just so tired, that the thought of missing a session sounded good, but once I turned up and completed the session I felt a whole lot better.

At the beginning of every month, there is a Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA), which takes us through endurance, strength and speed exercises..  The fitness assessment consists of:
  • 2K run (complete 2K within a time limit of 15 minutes)
  • Push ups (do as many as you can within 1 minute)
  • Sit ups (do as many as you can within 1 minute)
  • Grunts (do as many as you can within 1 minute)
  • Shuttle runs (do as many as you can within 5 minutes)

As you can see from the table below, I have shown much improvement in the four months that I have been with REBEL.

Note: I did not attend the BFA in March

As you can probably tell I am so chuffed with myself.  This is a big improvement for me having, not done any exercise for the last 10 years' or so.

Remember, the first couple of sessions are always the hardest, believe me it gets better!

A few more things I have learnt:

Attend all the sessions.

DON'T make excuses!

Have a positive mental attitude.

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