Monday, November 17, 2008

Merli's Untold Stories

I've lived here for quite some time now and I guess I have embraced the Merlion's way somehow in my every day life.

I truly have learned much from mingling with the locals. It was only here that I had the guts to eat anywhere. I can vividly remember my first months here when I had to go home every lunch break to. eat my meals. Our flat was 7mins away that's why.

However, when I shifted to a distant location, I had no choice but to eat out. This was the time when I started joining my colleagues wherever they go for "makan". I'm not a picky eater. I don't have a specific preference unlike some Pinoys here who dare not eat at the hawker centers and who would purposely go to Lucky Plaza so they can eat Filipino food. Well, that's there taste and I respect that.

I just don't like the sloppy tiles and the manner they handle/present the food at the hawker centers. No quality control nor strict adherence to good hygiene. But hey! That's where good food is, really! Hawkers are a norm here that you must live with.

Well, because of these, I have discovered the diff side of Singapore through our everyday conversations over lunch and the knowledge is something I'm thankful for.

Here are some interesting more-than-meets-the-eye facts about Singapore:

1 Teenagers, upon reaching 18, must sustain their own education and should not rely on their parents for the school fees

2 Owning a car isn't cheap; the COE (cert of entitlement) is the worst. COE's something that you need to pay annually and that depends on the brand of car you own. It could range from SGD 10K to 30K and above. It means, only a few can afford a car that's why their govt made it a point to make the transport system here super convenient which is way better.

3 Male citizens and PR's, upon reaching 18, must serve the NS (National Service) for 2 years. Wherever thay may be, they must come back to Singapore and go to camp. It's a rigorous army training for all men to prepare them for war. They are paid at the same time.

4 Because of this, their schooling is delayed for 2years. They leave the camp after to pursue their degree and by the time they graduate they're already like 24-25 y/o. Some study further. The same is true with the ladies.

5 After graduation, the concentration of Singaporeans is their career. Some get married very late and prefer not to have a kid; again because of their careers.

6 Hence, the govt implemented something like "baby bonus" or incentive to encourage couples to have a kid. The law about having 2 kids only had been ditched long ago.

7 Chewing gums were banned before because of the high incidence of people gumming the residue inside lifts, on the seats, tables and people accidentally stepping on them. However, now, gums are already available in the market.

8 Kids are not required to undergo circumcision. (well, this is according to a colleague, dunno how authentic)

9 Locals go where the long queue is. They're known for this. Some think that if the queue is long, it must be something good, like in the case of food, clothes, promotions etc..

10 School is very stressful for all. Their curriculum is tough a colleague told me even in the primary school. At any level, your grade would determine where you should go to study, whether your forte is on theories or practicals either you go to a polytechnic or an industrial/technical university.

11 Diploma holders can already work in any job and they get paid fairly and at times comparable to a foreigner holding a degree.

12 You cannot solely own a house if you are single. You must bundle yourself with either of your parents.

13 You can only own a flat for 100 years, after that the govt will take it back.
Hello? Will you still be alive by then? OR if a company wants to buy the entire block and would want to re-develop it, they will buy the unit from you at a higher price than the original value...say 3X the price. Of course, who wouldn't say no.

Hmmm....I guess that would be all for now. I couldn't remember the rest :) Perhaps, the next time around, there are still lots to share. And besides it is sooo boring to read such a long post. Nobody will be that interested anyway. *grin*

I'll be back! See you around!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tourist Mode

My parents are here again for a visit. Well, their main IT is Kimi...Kimi and Kimi! Hey, did I just sound jealous there? *kidding*

So of course, 'though fed up we may be with what Merli's attractions have to offer, we still go around to see what's happening. Kimi has 4 tourist guides and 3 babysitters and 1 photographer.

Good thing the sun was kind enough to share his rays and the clouds packed up for a while so we can snap some pics.

1st stop: Vivo City, 2nd stop: Boat Quay, 3rd stop: Esplanade, 4th stop: Orchard.

It was the light up ceremony yesterday @ Orchard so we really made our way to make usi the lights, the people and the Christmas Trees.

Here's a peek:


o-ha! kaya nyo yan? *kudos to Mom!

It will be another repeat for the second time around again when my in-laws arrive. Walkathon to the max uli! sooooon

And the (Subaru) winner was...

...a Singaporean guy who held on til the 80th hour. He overtook a lady who left some minutes before him. Good for him!

Goodbye Subaru! *sigh*

See you again :)

*note: *sigh* I dunno what's happening with multiply that I had THIS post quadruplicated and sometimes the cross-posting does fail... Grrr!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 3&4: The Subaru Impreza Face-off Challenge

*note:my cross-posting at multiply failed, hence, the delay in update :(

NOVEMBER 11, 2008

We arrived yesterday around 6pm and the number was cut down to 1/3 again. A few cars were already "empty handed". There were only 35 contestants after...

The ma-PR Filipino guy wasn't there anymore. We wondered what had happened to him. Only 3 Pinoys were left plus 3 more regional contestants. When suddenly, the ma-PR guy who had backed out was behind us. He's all spick & span now. We had a short chit-chat with him and he said, there must have been a "lutong macao" inside. "Pinagtritripan daw ang mga Pinoy. Sunud-sunod daw silang binigyan ng warning hanggang makaalis na." He had narrated how tiring it really was while standing there and as hallucinations keep coming in because of lack of sleep. He was the team leader of the group. He went back to give support to the rest and his companions even made a tarp for one of the groupmate, who incidentally is a carpenter back home in the Philippines.

Obet the Carpenter

Super Obet!

Kimi, of course, didn't let the chance slip; he had his picture taken with him and the free buhat syempre.



Next is a fun time with the SPC girls,

More photos HERE, HERE, HERE

On Day 4, we were supposed to go but I heard over the radio that only 1 regional contestant left (a Thai) and 9 Singaporeans. No more Pinoys...boohoo!

boring na...haay sayang!

Let's see who will win

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 2: The Subaru Impreza Face-off Challenge

Yesterday, we went at dawn and the number of contestants was reduced to almost 1/3. From 400, now there are about 115 only. And from 10, there were only 6 Pinoys left. 33 hours had passed and still counting...

lookie! lookie! one of the Pinoys

I guess the continuous rain at dusk affected them greatly. We overheard the Pinoy saying, the crew asked them to stay under the shade for a while as the thunder and lightning struck. Uso kasi dito ang mga puno at mga gusaling tinatamaan ng kidlat. He said, there would be more people backing out if they stayed under the rain longer.

Today, it's been raining since early morning and I'm pretty sure there would be more contestants saying goodbye. According to the same Filipino, the guy beside him from Hong Kong was so amazed by the support given by our kababayans. Kala daw nya mga pala na dala ng mga sumali galing Pinas. Di nila alam na ganun talaga tayo kahit saan mang lupalop ng mundo mapunta. The locals don't like it. They're intimidated.

A Malaysian guy who joined the challenge last year was here again for the event. Pinag-aralan daw nya ang strategy, from discipline to diet. Let's see how far he can go.

Well, I just wish one of the Filipinos would win. It will be again a feather to our cap.

this is how they consume their the hustle!


where are the hands?

posing for the camera

GIRL power! yebah!

aprub! Pinoy ako!

ismayl para sa mga kababayan natin!

matira ang matibay!

One on One

kampanerang kuba wannabe

itak..itak..itaktak mo!

chikahan muna sa kapwa Pinoy

can? more lah!

"...goodbye to you!"

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 1: The Subaru Challenge Face-off Challenge

The event was absolutely successful. Many locals, many tourists watched as the qualifiers planted their palms on the car. The conditions are 5 minute breaks once every 6 hours so that contestants can recharge themselves with food and water, dash to the toilet or seek medical attention.

We saw the Philippine team yesterday and they were all wearing striking blue Crocs to identify them from the rest of the group. Wherever they were stationed you would be able to distinguish a Filipino from the way they handle the situation. One can even kid around with the marshal and aanother can even make chismis with a kababayan who's at the other end of the car. His attention was eventually called. Bawal kasi ang magsalita. The others battle the heat by water spritz on the face. For the Filipino, he jokingly raises his arms to showcase his armpits and have it spritzed. O di ba? bibo ang Pinoy! Can you spot them?

Simultaneously, a mini challenge from SPC, a petrol company, took place with kids trying their luck.

Kimi on the other hand tried the challenge on the STI rally car on display. He preferred it more than the WRX. :)

Everybody stood strongly, but as the clock ticked away, a few had given up. One by one the they left the plaza. The contestants still got a long way to go. We'll be back to see them again. I will update as soon as I can..

PS: Incidentally, the rain poured heavily at dusk. I wonder how the contestants were. We'll see..