Archive for the Interesting Encounters Category

A day in two malls and at Sentosa Island.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2018 by vincentloy

Although I’m still feeling slightly unwell today, but I insist on heading out to explore the city and seeks some entertainment in this weekend. Things go according to plan as me and my friend went to the Sentosa Island. This is the first time he is visiting the island while this is my third time doing so. The area around the Resorts World Sentosa still looks the same with all the fee-charging attractions. As I said earlier, I went there for the third time already and I still have not had the opportunity to enter into the Universal Studios.

We were just looking around for some sights and enjoy the happening atmosphere with a lot of tourists over there. We also went into the casino not to play, but to enjoy the comfy air-conditioning as the weather outside today is pretty hot. We spent nothing there except for the monorail fees (4 dollar) and a lunch at the ‘Malaysian Food Street’. Walking outdoor for over 10 minutes is already a bit unbearable with that scorching heat this afternoon and we decided to head back to the Vivo City shopping mall. The mall is the point for people who are taking public transport to travel to the island and it is also one of the largest malls in Singapore.

After Vivo City, we went to City Square Mall to catch a movie. Good seats are all taken up at Vivo City’s cinema and we have no choice but to change mall. We watched ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. I enjoyed the film very much and I highly recommend it especially to the Marvel fans. It is very entertaining and I have an enjoyable time through the whole movie. In this movie, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) works together with Hope (Wasp) and her father Hank Pym to retrieve her mother Janet from the quantum realm.

The movie focuses mostly on turning small things to big things or vice versa and those scenes are brilliantly executed to deliver a lot of fun and thrills to the audiences. Ample of hilarious scenes made this movie experience very enjoyable. Those funny scenes felt very natural unlike those from ‘Deadpool 2’ that felt forced and awkward at some point. ‘Deadpool 2’ is the Marvel movie that comes right before this although it has no link to the storyline of Ant-Man or Avengers.

There are also some quick yet warm family and romantic moments to keep the whole atmosphere light and cheerful in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. The actions are good and the cast are fantastic. Do stay until the end for one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. The mid-credit scene is particularly crucial as it ties back to the event from the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. I rate ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a total of 8.5. A highly enjoyable and fun movie. With so many superhero movies released in the past already, Marvel is still able to produce some good works these days.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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When is the next long weekend after this past Raya weekend?

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 19, 2018 by vincentloy

The past weekend which is made a day longer due to the Hari Raya holiday had just ended and now I am already searching the calendar for the next one! There isn’t anymore public holiday for this month and the next one too unfortunately. Even for the holidays after that, none of them falls on Friday or Monday to turn the associated weekend longer. Anyway, I spent some great quality time the past weekend when I returned to KL. But I find that the days were very short and I got to return to Singapore in no time. That’s sad and there’s a huge feeling of emptiness after the weekend. Life resumes to normal ‘back to work’ daily lifestyle.

I realized I spent about a day just on the journey to and from for this trip to happen the past weekend. Yes, it is no joke: I spent around 24 hours in just the journey heading to KL on last Thursday’s evening and in the journey back to Singapore on last Sunday’s afternoon. The craziest is on the latter trip due to unusually serious traffic congestion all along the highway from KL to Johor. I thought most would be taking extra leave on Monday and not crowding the roads that soon. I was wrong. Bus delays, frequent stops and long queue at immigration checkpoints were making the matter worse. The journeys are the bad experience but are inevitable especially during the festive season (longer holiday sees more people returning to Malaysia from Singapore and the other way around too).

As Father’s Day falls on last Sunday, I treat my dad a buffet dinner at Kontiki Restaurant at Federal Hotel last Friday. There wasn’t many people around and the ambience of the restaurant was quite good. As for the food, there isn’t much variety, but still we couldn’t try all of them (my family couldn’t eat a lot). Chicken satay, sushi, salmon and sambal prawns are the best. However, the fresh ‘seafood on ice’ served smell bad. The price is a bit too expensive (only good thing is that people aged 55 and above get to enjoy half price…and so my dad got that discounted price). It was still a nice and warm buffet dinner with great services by the staff. However, we would certainly try other places when buffet dinner comes into mind next time. There are tens or hundreds of restaurants in Klang Valley that served buffet that we have not tried before.

On the other hand, the highly anticipated (I’m not very eager on this football thing) FIFA World Cup has just started (since last week). It is now being held at Russia. I won’t be watching the earlier matches. I will only be watching the semi-finals and the final which will be happening mid of next month. I can’t believe that the historic 7-1 semifinal match result between Germany and Brazil (also the host) in the previous World Cup was already an event 4 years ago. This time, I’m expecting some major shocking defeat or victory too in the matches just to make things more surprising and exciting.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Thought on my first month in Singapore.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 3, 2018 by vincentloy

Time flies. I have now worked for a month. Two more months to go and I will clear my probation and start to enjoy my annual leave entitlement. Seven months to go for a year’s end bonus and salary increment hopefully. This first month of my work in Singapore has been a crazy challenge for me but I can now happily said that I overcame that and will continue to learn as fast as I can to adapt to everything new over here.

Working here in one day equals to working in Malaysia in three days. This is why Singapore is a much more developed country and has currency three times higher than the Malaysian Ringgit. Efficiency is the core principle in the daily life of all working adults in this island nation. Back in the past when I was working in KL, I will only stay back to work after office hours for few days in a month in average. Here, I’m staying back at least three times a week. This is quite tiring but hopefully I will get used to it. Hardworking attitude is a must at here too. In the meantime, I’m still trying to maintain a good balance between life and work.

Busy on every weekdays and totally free and bored on the weekend. That’s how it is for my situation now. I spent two weekends last month back in KL by the way. Those trips back and forth were quite exhausting and short-of-time but at least they are better than spending huge amount of expenses staying here in the weekend on meals, outings, entertainment purposes, etc. The next time I will be returning to KL will be two weeks from now during the Hari Raya holiday. I’m expecting huge traffic congestion as many will be going up to Peninsular Malaysia during that longer weekend. Madness on the checkpoints is inevitable.

Singapore is a city with very high cost of living. I, along with other Malaysians working here are often attracted by the higher salary figure over here especially when you convert it to Malaysian Ringgit. However, it’s hard to be able to save a lot each month due to huge expenses on room rent (already took me 650 dollars per month), meals (about 450 dollars monthly), transportation (MRT and bus rides cost about 50 dollars a month), and other expenses (phone data, groceries, outings, will easily took me another 250 dollars off a month). So roughly, I can only save about half of my salary monthly. That is not so good actually. I have to be really determined to save as much as I can but at the same time, I do still need to have a room for myself (not into sharing), have time for entertainment to get rid of stress like going for movies or outings, or head back to KL.

Alright. That’s it for my update on this first weekend of June. To all my Muslim friends, happy fasting. Have a blessed ramadhan. Less than two more weeks and Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be here. I can’t wait for that holiday to come too. On my side, I’m looking for a much smoother and pleasant working time in this second month with lesser days of working overtime and I’m wishing that you will have a great month ahead too.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

My first day of work! And my first time working in Singapore.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on May 2, 2018 by vincentloy

May 2018 arrives with Labor Day yesterday. I have a nice rest yesterday in preparation to my life as a working adult which has begun today. I first applied for jobs in Singapore on March, and then got called for interview end of that month and succeeded, then had my employment pass worked out in April, and finally today is my first day of work. I shouldn’t be nervous because this is actually the third office that I will be working in. However, I’m still getting very nervous with my hands and feet getting cold and sweaty constantly for the whole day because it’s my first job after I finished my postgraduate study and it’s also my first job in Singapore after all.

I am now an architectural executive based in Singapore. Although I do have around 4 years of working experience in the past (I worked at Kuala Lumpur in those years before I left for my postgraduate study), but I still consider myself a newbie as I’m now in new territory with different office standards, different working environment, and different laws and regulations. Salary is not my utmost priority (although it is still very important in my goal to save as much as I can); gaining exposure and experience is my main objective.

My office is AWP Architects and it is one of the oldest architectural office in Singapore if I’m not mistaken. It is an established office with long history (founded in 1957, the same year Malaysia gained independence) and huge portfolio of local and oversea projects. My first two offices are called SDA and RDO. Now, I have to familiarize myself with AWP (typical three alphabets initial to call an architecture office). The office is located in a quite an old highrise tower but on a strategic location; it faces the iconic Marina Bay Sands (too bad, can’t view it from my work desk).

My student’s life is long gone after 2017 ended (I love being a student). My life as a free unemployed man has officially ended yesterday (who doesn’t like being absolutely free and is like having endless holiday everyday). Now, my life as a working adult resumes and I have to push myself further to excel in my career. I have to be more focused and determined this time. Becoming a successful architect is still my goal somewhere in the near future. Now, I’m so far so good…starting to get used to the new environment here in Singapore. It’s a lovely city but yup…it’s really small.

 

Everything settled for my pre-work tasks in Singapore.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on April 28, 2018 by vincentloy

I just came back to KL after spending the last five days in Singapore. This trip is organized to allow me to settle all the necessary stuff to get myself prepared for an employment in Singapore. After a troublesome bus trip to Singapore on Monday (explained in my previous post), everything after that went quite smoothly fortunately. My family thought that there is nothing much that I need to do in this trip but in reality, it’s not. I was quite busy in the entire trip doing the following things;

(The following items may be also useful for you as a guide or advice if you are planning to move to another place for study or work)

  • House viewing and moving in.

All the time-consuming research on the rooms available for rental in Singapore is done before the trip itself. I have narrowed the search down to five places with appointments made for house viewing. In the end, I just did two of them as I am already satisfied with the second place and decided to move in. There are a lot of things to consider; rental cost, distance to workplace, nearby amenities, condition of the room and the house, furnishings, the housemates, rental agreements, etc. After moving in, there is a need to clean, reorganize and add things to the room to make it felt like my own. A room in a HDB flat is fine for me. Their flat is clean and spacious (unlike in Malaysia). I haven’t even get to meet my housemates formally in my first two nights there.

  • Medical check up.

This is a requirement to get the work permit issued. The report can be obtained quite fast (one working day) but I need to travel to two different places for the check up. There is a physical and mental health examination by a doctor (it means just a chat), blood testing for HIV or other diseases, as well as X-ray scanning to check the lungs and heart for sign of abnormalities or tuberculosis. The check up is not costly and is fairly simple (I expect more complicated and longer process like the need for other examinations such as urine testing, measurement taking of weight and height, etc).

  • Grocery shopping.

Once you moved in, your room is quite empty (besides the typical available furniture). Just like the last time when I first moved to Australia for my study, I have to again buy all the necessary stuff like shampoo, body shower, laundry detergent, tissue paper, cloth hanger, electrical extension plug sockets, bowls, cups, cutleries, batteries, study lamp, blanket, pillow, bedsheet, mirror, toothbrush, toothpaste, hook, snacks, instant noodle, etc. I also got a sim card (prepaid) to have my own Singaporean mobile phone number. I didn’t realize that things sold in Singapore are also quite expensive even before I convert it to Malaysian ringgit when comparing. Well, that is inevitable as you need all that to survive.

  • Registration of fingerprint and photo.

This is the last step before my work pass card is issued and is done on the last day before I return to KL. The staff from the Ministry of Manpower have been very efficient, friendly and helpful especially the one attending to me at the counter. She answered all my questions and this last step is done to my relief. I now only need to wait to receive my work pass card. The sun would rise from the west if Malaysian authority would work like that too.

  • Correspondence with employer.

There are several things that I need to get from the employer (like letters to allow me to proceed with medical check up, etc). I ended up checking emails very frequently, answering calls, and going to the office for multiple times to get all the things right (to have my pass issued so that I can finally commence work). I also got to meet few more people (my future bosses) in several occasions. I went there too many times even before I start my work. Finally, everything is settled and I will officially start work on 2nd May 2018 (a new month…1st May is a public holiday in conjunction with Labor Day).

  • Trying the route to the workplace.

On the day before I return to KL, I purposely woke up early in the morning in the same time with the other workers on 9 to 6 and tried the route to my workplace for the first time to check for the amount of time required to get to my workplace and considering the crowd, waiting time, weather, pathways, nearby places where I can grab quick meal, etc. Although I need to walk about 1 km to get to the nearest MRT station, but I only need to board the train through 4 stations to reach my workplace. It all took only 30 minutes. Time is crucial especially in Singapore when it looks like everybody is hardworking and rushing.

Alright. That’s it. Everything is done. Once I got my work pass card next week, I will be able to open a bank account where my salaries will go to. That will be the final thing to do. I didn’t expect that there is so much pre-work things to do. It’s not easy to move to other place for a commitment (study or work). You have to adapt to the new environment. I tried that before in 2016 when I went to Australia for my 2-year postgraduate study. Now, I’m doing it again (to Singapore for work). I will just stay in KL for this weekend and will return to Singapore next Monday again.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Delays and delays…and now I’m in Singapore again.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on April 23, 2018 by vincentloy

I went to Singapore again today and will be staying for several days to sort out the procedures required to get my S Pass working permit approved and issued. I also need to look for several houses for room viewing and move in to the one that is the most suitable. I have been working hard on searching for the rooms online and have to factor in a lot of stuff like closeness to the public transport and amenities (markets, hawker centres, etc), present residents of the houses and their friendliness, distance to my work place, and condition of the rooms. It’s certainly not easy when you need to find the room best for myself.

I have no issue at all in my previous trip to Singapore last month to attend a job interview. But this time, I’m encountering multiple problems at once. Delay is the most serious of all. I bought the bus ticket to Singapore from KL’s Terminal Bersepadu Selatan under Season Express. It is supposed to depart at 9am. The bus ended up delayed for nearly 2 hours and we had to move from the waiting gate to another area to board the bus. Then, the bus driver took his own sweet time (at least half an hour) to refill petrol and air to the bus. All these should be done before the trip. This shows that this bus came unprepared. And that is not the worst yet…

The bus driver didn’t tell us where to wait for him at the Malaysian checkpoint and had us worried that we couldn’t locate it. It was crowded, noisy and messy. We are confused and gone blank as the bus driver didn’t tell us anything. The bus ended up coming in late and we were so relieved after we found it. On the other side at the Singapore checkpoint, the driver who couldn’t speak English couldn’t answer questions by some of the passengers who are foreigners and are confused by the immigration procedures (their first time crossing the bridge). I helped them instead. The driver also didn’t supply us with the ‘white card’ (Singapore’s arrival and departure form) which is required to go through the immigration counters.

After all the delays, the bus trip ended at 6pm. And I arrived at my hotel half an hour later. A full day is wasted. I am supposed to settle some stuff on the remaining of the day. After the experience today, I will never buy bus ticket from Season Express again. Very bad service (the bus itself is okay but losing a lot of time in this trip is making me losing my mind). Even the lady staff at the gate is unprofessional and simply entertained us by saying ‘bus not yet come, I can’t say anything, you just wait’ in a bad manner. There has been delays in my process to get this work permit and now here comes all the possible delays from a single bus trip alone to make me feel that things are all not right. Now, I’m just hoping everything will be smooth from now on and hopefully I can start work by May 2018. Alright…that’s it for my update to the blog here today. Gotta sleep after a bad and tiring day.

Last day of CNY!

Posted in Interesting Encounters on March 2, 2018 by vincentloy

Today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year celebration and that means it’s the last day of the festival! Happy Chap Goh Meh! I didn’t get many angpow this year as I was away in China on the first half of the 15-days festival. However, I managed to earn some extra money in this time around from winning lottery. I seldom buy lottery but it looks like I have a bit of luck from 4D this year. It would be great if this luck continues in the rest of the year.

As usual for every year, me and my family attended a worshiping ritual (some sort of ceremony) last evening to wish for abundance of luck this year. Those who are born in the Year of Sheep (that’s me) is predicted to be not doing that well this year (luckily not the worst) according to Chinese zodiac forecast. Hopefully, things will turn out much better for me. I didn’t really believe much into such thing, but when you are told to attend this kind of rituals, I will just obey. Putting all that aside, I will just have a positive mindset to deal with anything that comes in 2018.

Since me and my parents were in China during the previous CNY eve, we couldn’t gather with the rest of my family for a proper reunion dinner on that evening. Hence, we postponed that important dinner to last Sunday. We had a great time (and of course a great meal at Hee Lai Ton Restaurant in Serdang). The dinner costs almost RM 1000. That is my first and last time tossing yee-sang, a must-do during CNY. Besides the trip, this year’s CNY was kind of boring to me. Well, at least this year, I didn’t get to be overwhelmed by questions like ‘why are you still single?’, ‘when are you getting a girlfriend?’, ‘have you started working?’ by the typical aunties.

February has ended and it’s now March already. I have few more days to myself to get ready with my portfolio and then off I go, heading out to look for a great job somewhere outside Malaysia. I do hope to be able to get into a famous architectural office in Singapore or Australia. My last resort would be back working in Malaysia (feeling comfy staying back in KL but really not attracted to the low pay here). But for now before getting nervous to that, it’s time for me to be excited for the 90th Academy Awards happening this Sunday (Monday’s morning for Malaysia). I have been paying huge attention to this year’s ceremony as I have watched all of the 9 nominated films for best picture (also have watched most of the other films contending in other categories too). The race for best picture is still wide open at this stage and that is what makes this year’s Oscars so exciting! However, I find that there are no exceptionally excellent films last year (only moderately good). Well, we will see who get the coveted Oscars few days later…