21 March 2005

My First Week at Singapore

Saturday, March 12:

I left Manila with only a luggage, passport and a round trip ticket.

Touched down at Changi Airport aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR 503. The airport lounge is so big, so I relaxed a bit and filled my white immigration card to be stamped at the Immigration counter. After filling up I went down the escalator and chose the shortest line. An immigration officer waves to me to go the nearest empty counter, I handed over my passport and white card. The immigration officer didn't speak, he just gave a couple of glance at me and then stamped my passport and white card with 30-day Social Pass! This is what good looks is all about :) Grab a taxi at the exit and went straight to Hotel 81 Classic at Joo Chiat. It's my first time in Singapore and I don't know what Joo Chiat is all about. But to some people I realized that this is a "Red District", and I got to find out for myself while walking toward the coastline. It's not so "Red District". So I walked to Tanjong Katong Road near the Lion City Hotel found some food stalls with hawkers of different varieties, Indians, Malaysians, Chinese. My first dinner in Singapore is a Chicken Briyani, it's a really spicy chicken buried in rice and it costs me S$2.50, not bad. I went back at the hotel and my body began to smell like Chicken Briyani, geez!



Sunday, March 13:

Went to Warren's place early morning at River Valley Road. We went to Orchard Road, the Shopping spot for most people and best of all the hang outs of Filipinos of different walks of life in Singapore. The Lucky Plaza is the little Virra Mall. On a Sunday, Lucky Plaza speaks tagalog :) There are cellphone stores, Filipino stores, arcades etc. etc. We purchased my ez-Link card so I can move around better in the coming days. We went to a bookstore called Konkuniya nice bookstore just like PowerBooks in Manila with more lines of Computer/IT related books on the shelf, The music score section is cool too, there are jazz fake books, jazz real books, blues, rock, heavy metal etc. etc. In Singapore, siopao is siew pau and if you've dined in Super Bowl Jupiter in Makati before, hakao is haw kaw which is a prawn dumpling actually.



Monday, March 14:

My first day at work, from the hotel I walked to Paya Lebar MRT station thru Tanjong Katong Road, tapped my ez-Link card to entrance and took a train going to Pasir Ris. I alighted at the Kembangan MRT Station and took a bus going to Technopark at Chai Chee. It was too early(Our office opens at 9am) so I took my breakfast from a hawker nearby, a siew pau and an orange juice. At 9am went to our office and met my boss. Discuss a little about the and the architecture of our products. Then our HR arrived and gave me a copy of the MOM's Letter of Approval of my Employment Pass. To get my employment pass, I needed some things to be accomplished like medical examination. So I went to Raffles Medical at Tampines Junction to have my medical examination, Tampines is neat, I cut thru the Tampines Mall and at the center is a Toy sale and I saw a RoboSapien the size of me. There are stories here I heard that Donita Rose lives at Tampines in one of the HDBs there. At Raffles Medical, I approached the front desk and told a nurse that I came for the EP Medical Exam, she gave a queue number and responded in tagalog telling me to take a seat. The Medical Exam is a breeze, only blood and x-ray was done to me. Unlike in the Philippines, there are the stool and urine test which I think is only required for ailing citizens. So I took a medical and proceed to find a room or flat that I can stay for good in Singapore. Called some few numbers in the ads. Going back to Tampines Mall, I bought a "Synonym-Antonym" flashcards for my daughter at S$6.90. Warren gave me a number that there's an available room at Geylang. After office hours, I left to see the room to see its conditions and its proximity to my office. And I found out it's located centrally to almost anywhere, such as the Suntec City, Funan IT Mall, Changi, Sims Ave. etc. etc. I lost no time in deciding that this is the place. So I took it. That night, I checked out at the hotel and moved in to my new place.



Tuesday, March 15:

My first bus ride. My bus is Bus #7, it's a single ride from Lor 34 Geylang where I live to my office at Chai Chee. Of course, in Singapore, you must board and alight in bus stations, not in traffic lights or in the middle of the road! When boarding a bus station, tap in your ez-link card and do the same when alighting to update your remaining credits. At work, nothing is discussable in a blog, sorry :D. Lunch time, for the first time I was able to go lunch with my officemates, ouroffice is a "multinational" company where staff represents all countries from Southeast Asia. Lunch is awesome, I ordered a Mee Goreng better and cheaper than the "goreng" I tried at GT Tower in Makati. It costs only S$2.00. And the serving is very generous.



Wednesday, March 16:

Bus #7 is my regular bus now when going to work and going home. Had our lunch at the Food court inside the Technopark, I had this saucy 2-kinds-of-mushroom thing and a sweet-and-sour pork topped on rice, it costs S$3.00 but it's ok the servings are always great. Chewing gum ban I think is in a moratorium state, stores are selling orbits, clorets, and even double mint. Heck, I got a bundle of double-mint in hand-carried bag back at the airport and the customs didn't even bother to confiscate it. Come dinner time. I got to try the Yang Chow Fried Rice at a chinese seafood restaurant at the corner of Lor 34 Geylang. It's better than any Yang Chow I tried back in the Philippines that costs me around PHP180.00 to PHP200.00 and here it's only S$3.00 with a very generous serving. This completes my Wednesday.



Thursday, March 16:

I think #7 is a lucky number. This day, I went back to Raffles Medical at Tampines Junction to collect my medical report. As usual they have spotted something at my left lung which hasn't been diagnosed in the Philippines as to what it was. The doctor told me it's a scar tissue that was healed because I had lung infection back in the Philippines and was eventually healed and left an anomalous mark. So nothing to worry about and he passed my Medical Exam. Whew! I thought I am going back to the Philippines! So I proceeded to the Ministry of Manpower(MOM) to get my Employment Pass card. I took an MRT train from Tampines going to Boon Lay. MOM is at HaveLock Rd., going there should be easy by alighting at the Outram Interchange and take a NorthEast line train going to Punggol then alight at the Chinatown Station, then walk through the People's Park and you can see Havelock Road. At the MOM, go to the Q-ticket machine, press the button "U" to get a queue ticket with a number. Letter "U" is for submitting all the required documents. There are seats there for you to wait, once your Q-number appears at the top of the flashboard, go to the corresponding window number, then show your passport and white immigration card, the MOM officer will give you instructions what time to come back to make your payment of S$100.00. Once the time comes, go back to the Q-ticket machine and press "H" to get a q-number ticket but you should keep your "U" ticket with you once you make the payment. After paying, your EP card should be ready and your passport should have a multiple-journey entry visa valid for 2 years. Dinner time again, and it's Yang Chow from Auntie again.



Friday, March 17:

I got a service/interim laptop, an end-of-life Dell Latitude that I salvaged myself from our stocks. We have a lot of EOL notebooks that is refurbishable and can be sold in the Philippines at a around PHP30,000 and up, what a business opportunity. At least I got something to work on while waiting for my real laptop. Installed JDK in it and all necessary stuff to do my work almost anywhere. My lunch is at the food court again, this time it's chicken lemon with the 2-kinds-of-mushroom thing again. Got an early dinner of Yang Chow again and went straight home. At home my roommates invited to go to Suntec City. We took a cab and dang! First time I saw traffic jam in Singapore. It's first time I saw a mall reached its parking capacity. And motorists are really waiting. We went to Marche, a restaurant that resembles Street Life at Glorietta except that there's no band to entertain us in our dinner. Street Life is more high-tech even with the cards system. Since I already ate dinner, I went to the Crepe section to get a Strawberry w/ ice cream crepe, it's almost a heavy meal! After that we went to CarreFour a bargain shopping centre, I was able to buy an office desk with drawer and everything for S$25.00, I saw a lot of interesting cheap things at CarreFour that I might buy in the coming weeks or months for knick knacks.




Saturday March 19:

Woke up at 9:30am took bath. I went to Funan IT mall, I wish we have something like this in the Philippines. Funan is a geek's paradise I tell you. I found a computer bookstore there that has loads of Eclipse/SWT/RCP books of different authors and publishers. I went to a shop called "Add-On" to buy a backpack for my laptop and I never thought you could bargain at the mall! I got a MobileEdge backpack that is worth S$95.00 from a shop called "SitCom" but when I went to "Add-On" it's S$89.90, and I asked the sales guy what's his best price, he told me he could go down to S$80.00, I asked if he could give the backpack to me at S$75.00. He agrees and we made a deal, paid for it and ran off. I think I am going to do my next gadget splurge at Funan.

Peninsula Shopping Centre beside Funan. Its basement is a musician's heaven, I saw a Maestro Classical Guitar worth S$2,999! Beautifully made. Walk further there are electric guitars, bass guitars, amps, drums etc. etc. I am wondering what can I get here a classical and a bass maybe.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice to know you're doin good at sg pareng jared! goodluck diyan! gaano ka katagal diyan? --percy

Edwin "ka edong" said...

Goodluck in Singapore!

Edwin

Jared said...

I'll be here for at least 2 years or so. Pero uuwi-uwi din.

thad said...

Hi jared,

Musta pre! Enjoy singapore, i was able to visit it last november, turista. as soon as we arrived we headed to lavender street (right acsross the singapore casket factory) for a bus going to malacca malaysia. we also went to kl and genting all via bus. genting to singapore was a nice long trip, maganda ang expressway ng malaysia na connecting south to north of that peninsula. i also went to indonisia's batam island , took the ferry sa sentosa. the trip reminds me of cebu-bohol distance which is accesible via fastcraft.

regards ang good luck.

thad

hfilm said...

hi jared,

im just curious to know what kind of employment pass was given to you (is it an SPass, Q Pass, P1, or P2.. hehehe)?

Thanks