Monday, February 28, 2011

Muammar Qaddafi remix by an Israeli makes fans in Arab world


When Colonel Qaddafi appeared in wearing a strange beige robe and raising his arm while vowing to hunt down protesters “inch by inch, house by house, home by home, alleyway by alleyway,” Noy Alooshe, an Israeli journalist, musician and Internet buff did not miss the chance to convert this freigtening (because he is declaring war against his own people) but equally ridiculous video into a hit remix.

In few hours at the computer, he combined the video with “Hey Baby,” by the American rapper Pitbull feat T-Pain. He titled it “Zenga-Zenga,” echoing Colonel Qaddafi’s repetition of the word zanqa, Arabic for alleyway.





He uploaded the video to youtube and promoted it on social networking sites which drew more than 1.6 million hits by March 1st. Even later he has been revealed to be Israeli, reaction to the video stayed overwhelmingly positive.

Singapore property prices are up in January 2011


Prices of non-landed private home prices continued to climb in the first month of 2011 according to NUS Singapore Residential Price Index. The prices are up on average 2.6% in January 2011 month-on-month and the central region sub-index recorded a 2.7% rise. This is a rebound on a 0.8% decline in December 2010. Non-central region sub-index rose 2.5%. All this was despite the cooling measures introduced in mid January 2011.

Analyst in Singapore believe that the demand is coming from genuine home buyers while speculators are wiped out of the market by January 2011 property cooling measures. But it is also still early to talk about the effects of these cooling measures since the measures are introduced on Jan 14th 2011 and they were suprise for the industry. January data has half month brisk sales of pre-cooling measures sales and the real effects of the measures will probably seen end next month when February 2011 price data is compiled.

Still it looks like low interest rates and strong economic growth are pushing prices up. This can be seen in recent home loan figures released by MAS. Mortgage numbers grew 1.6% in January 2011.

There is now also another support for demand in the coming months: inflation. Inflation is a cash melter and most of the Asian rich hold a significantly large amount of money as cash. These people will be forced to direct their cash to non-cash investments since with an expected 5% inflation rate in Singapore for 2011, every 1 million held as cash will lose 50K in a single year! Combine this fact with Asian obsession with property and suspicion to stocks and other investments, it is not hard to predict that cash will flow into property market during 2011.

Filppers are out of the market by the last cooling measures but there are still geniune demand out there supported by low interest rates, high growth, increased job prospects and now inflation.

Related Articles:

Singapore private property sales February 2011 - impact of cooling measures


Disclaimer
This blog article is to provide general information only and should not be treated as an invitation to buy or sell any property or as sales material.  Users of this report should consider this report as a one of the many factors in making their investment decision. Users should make reference to other sources of information and specific investment advice to obtain a more objective view of the property market. Asia Singapore shall not be responsible for losses suffered.

Singapore online jobs search engine


We have written about Jobs in Singapore and the best time to search one recently. It is also important to know where to look at. I have just discovered this careerjet.sg and I find it very useful for a collective online Singapore job search. Careerjet.sg is basically a search engine for jobs and it pretty much works like general purpose search engines i.e google. It has spiders which scan jobs from company web sites, recruitment agency web sites as well as large online job sites like jobsdb and then indexes them in its database. When searched results are displayed to the user.

Careerjet - Singapore online job search engine main page

The job offerings themselves are not hosted by Careerjet and users are always redirected to the original job listing. Essentially, Careerjet acts as traffic driver to those sites. Careerjet's job search engine network encompasses over 50 countries, featuring separate interfaces that are translated into 20 languages.

See also Singapore job job aggregator : indeed

Tioman island from Singapore


Tioman Island is known to be near to Singapore and famous for short weekend holiday tours but the trip from Singapore to Tioman is a little exhausting. You first head to Woodlands MRT. There you will find the buses going to JB (Johor Bahru). This bus will leave you first at Singapore customs and then same bus will leave you at Malaysian customs for passport check and stamps and then you will take the same bus to Johor bus terminal. In JB terminal you will immediately be surrounded by touts shouting "KL, KL" (Kuala Lumpur) or "Mersing, Mersing". Mersing is your next destination since ferries to Tioman Island departs from this costal city of Malaysia.

Everything in Johor Bahru bus terminal is open to bargain and do not accept the first price given to you. A 2.5 - 3.5 hours bus trip from JB to Mersing should cost you around 20-30 ringgit. Do not forget to ask whether the bus leaves you at the jetty of Tioman Island ferry or not.

You also can take a taxi to Mersing. If you decide to take a taxi the driver will first ask you how many people you are. If you are 3 people then the bargain starts from 180 ringgit and you can agree a price around 110 ringgit. If you are alone then you will be asked 130 ringgit and try to negotiate down to 80 ringgit.

There is a backpacker's cafe near the Mersing jetty, the food is nice but the employees are not friendly and prices are not cheap. A tourist trap but after all those hours from Singapore it is the best you get. You can buy a round trip ferry ride to Tioman Island for 70 ringgits. It took us 1,5 hours to arrive to Tioman destination but the return ticket took 3 hours! Not so good if you have a tight schedule.

Tioman island in short is a fantastic place. The ferry arrives to different coves but my suggestion is Salang. This is the largest backpacker destination on Tioman island. Other calm, peaceful coves are more suitable for couples. For example if you are looking for a love escape try Paya Village (Tioman Paya Resort).

Salang Village Tioman island
3D2N Quick Getaway Package
There is an international scuba diving school in Salang. Scuba diving is the most important tourist attraction on Tioman island. You can get an international diving licence just for 900 ringgits in 3 days. The diving season or the best time to dive in Tioman, as well as Malaysia's East Coast, is March to October. The best diving instructor is a French man, his name is Philippe. Find him and bargain for the price. First day is spent with introduction courses, you just dive near the coast but later you get a boat to open sea and dive. Tioman is also a very suitable place for night diving. The sea life in the reefs of this island is very very colorful.

Skuba diving in Tioman island
Tioman Scuba Diving - Source: travellerspoint.com
While on Tioman Island you can rent a kayak and visit other islands and coves. Do not skip Monkey Bay it is a very good place for snorkeling and there is a family of monkeys here which ignore the humans. You can swim 2 hours here return to Salang. An hour of kayak rent will cost you 15 ringgits. If you do not want to dive you can spend your time snorkelling. You will forget the time while chasing the fishes.

Monkey Beach Tioman island
Tioman Monkey Beach - Source: WikiTravel
There is an information point just on the right hand side of the Salang jetty. There was a one-eye woman there she knows everything you would need. Your only alternative here are bungalows. The cheapest without air con and hot water is 70 ringgits per day and for 90 ringgit you can have hot water and air con units start from 100 ringgit. The restaurants around are ok. We did not like the one on the far right hand side they even cannot cook a chicken. There is a super BBQ place near the jetty. And the one on the far left hand side has a fantastic breakfast menu. There is also western food but try cheese egg roti, it is very nice.

We have travelled to Tioman without a tour package. If you do not plan to stay long there is no need for a tour package. But if you will stay there 2-3 nights the package tours has advantages. They take you from Singapore to Tioman (actually to Mersing jetty and they pre-arrange the ferry ticket). No need to rush to find a bus. There are also free goodies in the packages like free meals, free boat tours, etc.

No one seriously described the road from Singapore to Tioman in the internet. We had to find our way with trial and error. Hope you can have an easier trip after reading this entry.

Related articles:
Special thanks to guest writer "pharaoh" to share this article with us on asiasingapore blog.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bicycle theft in Singapore


I have just bought a bicycle, this time an old and used bicycle which was sold to me by a friend's friend. I know it will eventually be stolen but it is an old bike covered with some rust so I expect it to stay with me for a while. I have paid only 23 Singapore Dollars for it.

I can well effort a more expensive one but experienced showed me that it is not a good idea to keep a new bike, even if it is a 80 SGD cheap Chinese bike sold in supermarket. For that reason I have looked for an old and rusty one. Actually I was a little bit disappointed when I saw it because it looks never than I want :)

While parking it I have seen the bicycle wheel in the photo below. The chain is strong so it kept the wheel but the rest of the bicycle is gone. I see this "wheel and chain left" thefts a lot so it is a good idea to chain the body and the first wheel together to an outside pole. Well in that case you most probably end up with a stolen rear wheel but at least the rest stays with you.

Bicycle stolen and the front wheel and the chain is left.
Taken in a Singapore HDB bicycle park area.
Actually bicycle theft in Singapore is not more than anywhere in the world. But since Singapore is a very safe place and laws are strict and well executed, it is suprising to see this theft frequent here.

See also Bicycle theft article.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Average Expat Rental in Singapore



Average rent an expat would pay in Singapore rose to 2,830 USD per month in 2010 for a two bedroom (2+1) unfurnished property. This makes Singapore the fifth most expensive city in the world and the third most expensive city in Asia for expatriate accomodation. This information is published in the latest accommodation reports by consultancy firm ECA international.

The rebound in the monthly rentals is 15% in USD terms but this is also due to value appreciation of Singapore Dollars against USD. In terms of Singapore Dollars the increase compared to 2009 is 9%.

Ranking for the first 5 is below:
  1. Tokyo - US$4,352
  2. Moscow  - US$3,500
  3. Hong Kong - US$2,830
  4. London - US$2,824
  5. Singapore - US$2,810
The Cosmopolitan Singapore
According to The Telegraph:
The cheapest rental property surveyed was in Karachi, where a two-bedroom apartment is on average 17 times cheaper than in Tokyo. 
The report focused on the neighbourhoods and types of accommodation typically favoured by expatriates. 
It found that luxury residential rents in Hong Kong surpassed Tokyo, with a three-bedroom apartment in the Chinese city's exclusive Peak neighbourhood costing an average $16,700 (£10,411) a month, about 30 per cent more than its Tokyo equivalent.
 Do not get scared if this makes you think that you will need to pay around 3580 SGD per month to a 2+1 flat. As the newspaper said this is the average price (half of the surveyed properties are below this price) and these properties are type of properties (condominiums in Singapore) favoured by expatriates (western foreigners). You can easily rent a decent 2+1 HDB for about 1800 - 2000 SGD per month and for around 2500 SGD per month you can rent a 3+1 HDB flat in a new building. In fact the only significant difference of these new HDB flats compared to expat choice condominium flats is that they are not in a condominium. Even a central business district flat in the brand new Pinnacle @ Duxton is around 3000 SGD per month and it is significantly cheaper as you get far away from the city.

A brand new HDB complex - Pinnacle @ Duxton

Thailand tourist scams for beginners


This post is moved to oravar.com Thailand tourist scams for beginners.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Webinar - Guide to Relocating to Singapore



For anyone interested in relocating to Singapore,  Contact Singapore has a webinar named "101 Guide to Relocating to Singapore" on March 1st 2011 at 20:00 (GMT+8:00) Singapore time. If you are not familiar with Contact Singapore, it is an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower which aims to attract global talent to work, invest and live in Singapore. Contact Singapore has offices in Asia, Europe and North America.

Contact Singapore

A 101 Guide to Relocating to Singapore webinar is advertised as below (if you missed the webinar you can still watch it from webinar archieves of Contact Singapore):

Relocating to another country can sometimes be daunting, but it does not have to be. Contact Singapore, an organisation with the Government of Singapore, would like to make the transition a smoother one for you. We welcome you to register for our webinar to learn more about life in our cosmopolitan city-state. The webinar will provide a broad overview on topics such as accommodation, education, healthcare, opportunities for spouses, and much more, that will ease your move to Singapore. Sign-up for the webinar today and hear engaging presentations by experts, including a foreign talent who recently moved to Singapore with his family. Take this opportunity to ask them questions in an interactive Q&A session.
Related Article: Expat living- Singapore expat explorer survey 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jobs in Singapore - Best time to search and find job


It seems that the best time to look for a job in Singapore is around 1 month after Chinese new year. There are many asserted reasons for this. One very acceptable reason is that this time is the end of Christmas - Chinese New Year holiday era and people wait for their year end bonus, enjoy these holiday periods and then find new jobs here or abroad which creates a lot of vacancies.

So job hunting season is slowly starting by end February, if you want to find a job in Singapore you will need to attack from every angle. An obvious option is online search in Singapore job sites. You have many options here but I have experienced that I am only called with respect to my Monster SG CV (I am Singapore PR but this was also the situation when I was an EP holder). The rest of the web sites did not create any meeting for me. So monster.com.sg is the best job site in Singapore for me :) Still I have CV in JobStreet and although I think it is worthless for me I sometimes buy The Staits Times on Saturday and apply to some jobs advertised there.

When I first came to Singapore, a friend told me that only 8% of jobs are found online in this country. Adding this to the inherent difficulty of finding a job online as a senior employee, I need to find creative ways to increase my chances. One of them is advised by another friend, who has recently found a job in Singapore. What he did was after he has applied to a more senior position then his qualifications, he has called the advertising HR consultant immediately and asked him if he would have a chance for the position. When HR Consultant replies as "no, this is a position for a more senior fellow" he asks the consultant about any available position for his qualifications. This made him connected to some HR consultant and one of these guys eventually found him a job.


Keeping this method in mind, I still use (or will use) the following portals for online job search:

Monster SG: This Singapore branch of the global partal is a very good place to start. Although you can apply many of the jobs without an account (most advertised an email address to send resume) I highly recommend you to open up an account and regularly login. It seems like your login frequency effects your ranking on employee search list for job advertisers and after every login you can get mails from HR consultants for job offerings.

Job Street: The old beast of job search. I like their specialized searches like "Jobs in Public Services", "$100K++ Jobs", "Jobs for Fresh Grads/Students" and "Jobs looking for more Applicants". But the same old jobs are pushed up again and again until evey folloeing they which makes it difficult to locate new job advertisements. I did not have any job offers from this site, all came from Monster.sg but I must admit as a Singapore PR it has been only 1 month looking for a job. It seems like majority of the jobs in this site require only  "Singaporeans and Singapore PR need to apply".

LinkedIn Groups - Yes, linkedin groups like Contact Singapore, Singapore ITC Jobs, Singapore Global, etc. provides plenty of job advertisements to apply. You can also see the profile of the poster and build connection with him/her.

SingaporeExpats - They usually advertise jobs from other sites but this is a good place to look at from time to time.

Jobs at Singapore - This site is backed by Contact Singapore, an alliance between Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower whose purpose is to attract foreign talent to Singapore. So I guess they are more open to foreigners than jobsDB or JobStreet whose advertisements tend to request "Singaporeans and Singapore PRs".

Jobs Central: This site looks promising. I will give it a try.



You can also pay to increase your chance. JobStreet for example has PriorityApplication. Normally job seekers with higher qualifications are ranked at the top of the employer’s list. But each employer receives more than 100 applications for each position they advertise on JobStreet.com, so getting noticed is difficult and being at the top is crucial to a successful application. JobStreet.com has this  PriorityApplication to move all of your job applications automatically to the top of the list and highlight them. Of course with a price. For 38 Singapore Dollars your job applications for executive, entry level & non-executive jobs are highlighted and for 50 Singapore Dollars all your applications are highlighted.

See also High paying jobs in Singapore : Top 100 and Singapore IT salaries articles.

Ajisen Beef Ramen Lunch


This is something I have missed for a long time. Ajisen Ramen is a Japan based-chain of fast-food restaurants selling Japanese ramen noodle soup dishes and they are very well established in Singapore. Unfortunately they do not have any stores in Europe so I have been away from my favorite beef ramen for a long time.

Ajisen Beef Ramen
Ajisen Beef Ramen Lunch Set
Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish. It is prepared by chinese noodles (wheat noodles) served in a meat or fish ball broth. It is often flavored with soy sauce or miso (a traditional Japanese seasoning). A set like this costs 15 SGD, expensive in Singapore standards but the taste deserves the amount :)  

Abbreviations used in Singapore


When you first come to Singapore, you will be suprised and confused with the occasional use of abbreviations. There are in fact many abbreviations used in daily life and getting used to them is a cruicial part of getting used to Singapore.

Look at the road sign below. All abbreviations (except Tuas)!



PIE - Not a pie, this is Pan Island Expressway. Usually heard from taxi drivers in this question: "ECP or PIE?". ECP stands for East Coast Parkway. The taxi uncle here asks your preference of express way to your destination. Learn which is shorter and/or cheaper. This question was just asked to me 2 days ago for a ride from Dhoby Ghaut to Dakota. My answer was "Nichole Highway!". If you are a foreigner expect this question time to time for a couple of km more ride even if you do not need to take any to arrive to your destination.

KJE is for Kranji ExpresswayNTU is for Nanyang Technological University and NIENational Institute of Education.

Major cities of interest in Malaysia are also abbreviated. JB for example is not for the famouse Scotch whisky J&B and it is definitely not for Justin Bieber (who the fuck is Justin Bieber?!?). This is almost always used for Malaysian city, Johor Bahru. KL is also occasionaly used, which is for Kuala Lumpur. In fact you can hardly hear the names of these cities in daily life, they are almost always reffered as JB and KL.

There are also some which can make you look at the other person with empty eyes. Take Teh-O, tea with sugar only. When a vendor asks this he/she wants to know that you want tea without milk. Otherwise just Teh means tea with milk and sugar. Same goes for coffee, kopi-o means coffee only, coffee without milk but with sugar.

And there are funny/fixtious like SENTOSA - "So Expensive and Nothing TO See Actually!" Not an abbreviation used in Singapore but an abbreviation describes the thoughts of many people about overrated Sentosa :)

For a comprehensive list of abbreviations used in Singapore refer to this wikipedia article: List of Singapore abbreviations.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Raffles' Landing Site



This statue of Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles (1781 - 1826) marks that part of the Singapore river bank where he was said to have first landed on 29 January 1819.

Raffles an agent of the British East India Company, ventured to Singapore hoping to establish a free port and a halfway point for traders along the China-India trade routes. After signing the preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the official treaty with Sultan Hussein of Johore-Riau was signed on 6 February 1819, giving the British right to establish a trading port on the island.

The Dutch protested as Singapore was then part of the Dutch Johor-Riau Empire. The dispute was resolved with the signing of the 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty, where the British acquired Malacca, Penang and Singapore, while Dutch gained Bencoolen (present day Bengkulu) and the rest of Indonesia. In August 1824, another Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed, giving the British the governance of Singapore.

From the 19th Century, Singapore's success as the "Great Emporium of the East" owed much to its free port status and strategic location. The Singapore River became the main artery of the trade, where port, trading and warehouse facilities developed along the river banks.

In 1867, Singapore became a British Crown Colony after the transfer of The Straits Settlements from the British Administration in India to the Colonial Office in London. It remained so until 1959 when Singapore achieved self government.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark - 360 degree view of Singapore


Marina Bay Sands SkyPark offers the third best panoramic view of Singapore cityscape ( see Top 5 best rooftop views in Singapore ) and paying a visit to this man-made marvel was a top item in my to do list once I arrived back to Singapore. Today, about 2 weeks after my arrival and just several days after visiting the skybridge of Pinnacle@Duxton I had a chance to visit the Sands Singapore Skypark (See the link to how to get to marina bay sands).

Sands Skypark sits on the top of the three 55-storey Marina Bay Sands Hotel towers and offers a 360 degree view of the Singapore city from 200 meters hight. The Skypark is 340 meters long, longer than the Eiffel Tower laid on one side. It is 1.2 hectares.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Marina Bay Sands Hotel Towers from Marina Square.
Sands Skypark connects their roofs
I had walked there from Bugis Junction but it is only 10 minutes walk away from Promenade MRT Station on the Circle Line. The enrtance fee is 20 Singapore Dollars per adult and 17 SGD per senior. A fast climbing lift from the entrance takes you up to the skybridge in less then 15 seconds.

The Sands SkyPark Public Observation Deck, is open to the public from 10 am-10 pm on Mondays to Thursdays and 10am-11pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Sun Aura on Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
Sun Aura on Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

Sands SkyPark Entrance
Sands SkyPark Entrance
The view from Sands Skypark is just fantastic but is also a little depressive as well if you live in Singapore. You can easily see the west, east, north and south ends of Singapore and once more realize how tiny is the island. Unlike Pinnacle@Duxton skybridge, whose east view is blocked by Singapore CBD, there is virtually nothing blocking the observation on the Sands Skypark. But I must admit, the Pinnacle@Duxton provides a better bird's eye view of central Singapore so pay a visit to there even if you have been on the Sands Skypark.

There is a nice SkyBar on the deck but the best seats with the view are almost always occupied and the bar was very crowded when I was there so I did not give a try to a very expensive beer.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Singapore Flyer, Kallang River from Sands SkyPark
Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Singapore East Coast from Sands SkyePark
Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool
(Singapore CBD on the right hand side)

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Singapore Central Business District from Sands SkyPark

Sands SkyPark Observation Deck (Restaurant on the right hand side)
Marina Bay Sand SkyPark Observation Deck
20 SGD ticket provides you one time access to the marina bay sands observation deck and a view of Infinity Pool but the access to the pool is restricted to the Marina Bay Sands hotel guests (and their guests). It is not allowed to use tripod on the skypark and opening up an umbrella is also not allowed. The observation deck is also closed when the whether is bad.

Gardens by the Bay, three distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central spanning a total of 101 hectares, are still under construction. When they are completed, they will be in the heart of Singapore’s new downtown Marina Bay, encircling the Marina Reservoir like a green necklace.

Gardens by Bay waterfront gardens under construction
Related Articles: Top 5 best rooftop views in Singapore and Pinnacle@Duxton skybridge

Singapore Property Market Beyond 2011


When you want to predict the future of a market, the best and most reliable tool is fundamental analysis. Since prices are determined by supply and demand in a free market, predicting the future of demand and supply will give you a better picture of the trends in a market.
Where will the property prices in Singapore head to in 2011? Will they fall? Or will they go up? There are some good articles out there asking and answering the correct questions: Will the supply of properties exceed the demand or visa versa in Singapore?
In his article The key is to look at demand and supply Ku Swee Yong, founder of real estate agency International Property Advisor advises us to look at what really matters: supply and demand:
None of the above data sets matters as much as rentals, vacancies and real physical demand and supply. Forecasting future rentals and vacancies depends on our view of future demand — physical demand from home users, as opposed to demand based on buy-sell transactions.
Projecting future demand is about as easy as reading tea leaves and cloud patterns. However, we have a lot more certainty when it comes to predicting supply. We can be especially confident about supply that is coming in the next three years as many of the “under construction” condominiums can be completed within 36 months. 

In Potential oversupply to hit prices article, Singapore Property Blog also discusses this issue in detail. Much of the price increase today can be attributed to multiple demand feeding circumstances, fast increase of the population, record low interest rates, shrinking family size in Singapore, increasing family income, high earning foreigner influx, etc.  They look at the supply side and conclude that there is a significant supply of new homes in the next 4-5 years while the government restricts foreigner intake by tightening Singapore PR issuance. Although the official population target for Singapore is 6.5 million, 1.5 million over the current population, nobody really knows to what extend the immigration will be tightened. So demand is really hard to predict but it is obvious that it will not be strong as the demand between 2009-2010. For further discussion also refer to their article The hazy mix of cooling measures excess liquidity and real demand.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Room for rent in Singapore


If you are looking for a room for rent in Singapore, as of the first months of 2011, it is a little bit hard to find one. Just taking a look at the advertisement boards on major bus stops can tell you why. Here, you can see more "rooms wanted" advertisements for landlords than "rooms for rent" advertisements for tenants.

You can also see this trend in the prices. An HDB common room for rent nowadays can ask 600 - 700 SGD per month while a master room asking price is somewhere between 750 - 900 SGD per month. Central and condo rooms are above 1000 SGD.

Singapore rental portal, Rent in Singapore, provides current Singapore rental market rates based on the average asking prices advertised in their web site. Here you can also see that prices are up. Since the whole units are pricy, demand for room rentals are high and although pricy rental prices tend to increase supply, it increases demand faster.

Where can you find room rental advertisements for Singapore? There are many options, here I list some online advertisement portals for room rentals.

Notice : If you are looking for cheap short term rentals rooms and apartments in Singapore, you can check out our article here.

  • Easy Roommate Singapore, which claims to have 10,000 rooms for rent & roommates in Singapore is a very good place to start to look for a room for rent in Singapore. Searching for room is free and you can also place an advertisement to request a room to rent.

  • Singapore Expats have a specialized Singapore Classifieds section for room rentals. Here is a good place to find rooms without agent or owner.

  • Gumtree Singapore has a classified section for "common/master room for rent, apartment share, house share in Singapore".  Owners and main tenants also advertise here but most of the advertisers are agents.

  • Rent in Singapore is a web page which claims to be the number 1 rental portal in Singapore. This web site has a good range of rental advertisements with descriptive pictures of the properties, location maps and icons to show whether the there is an agent involved or not, property is closed to MRT, etc.

  • sg-house.com is a large property buy/sell portal for Singapore and it has clearly seperated sections for room rentals, whole flat HDB rentals and condo rentals as well as short term accomodation. One problem with this web page is that since it is popular a single agent can flood the entire first 1-2 pages with his advertisements and makes it difficult to search the page.
Be careful about room rentals in HDBs, especially if you are a tourist looking for a room for short term rental. It is illegal to rent HDB rooms to foreigners without proper work permits or long term social visit passes. See Short term HDB rental article for details.

See also our recent article on Room for rent in Singapore.

Terms of use
This blog article is to provide general information only and should not be treated as an invitation to buy or sell any property or as sales material.  Users of this report should consider this report as a one of the many factors in making their investment decision. Users should make reference to other sources of information and specific investment advice to obtain a more objective view of the property market. Asia Singapore shall not be responsible for losses suffered.

Pinnacle@Duxton Skybridge


In central Singapore, it is hard to miss the tall and large residential buildings called The Pinnacle@Duxton. Although named like a condo, these large apartment complex are actually public housing buildings. They are built on the same site of the first 2 ten storey HDB's of Singapore. The area is called the Duxton Plain.

What makes Pinnacle@Duxton interesting for me (and probably for you) is that it provides one of the best bird-eye view of Singapore from its 50th storey skybridge. There are actually 2 skybridges on these buildings,  but the one on the 26th storey is only open to the residents. Nevermind, 50th storey offers a much superior view than 26th floor bridge. This is also a cheaper option to Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands sky park and 1-Altitude.

Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge
Pinnacle@Duxton
The 50th storey skybridge on Pinnacle@Duxton is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. They let only 200 people to access to the skybridge per day and be sure to check the daily quota left from its web site before heading to the skybridge. Also note that they do not allow you to enter the skybridge during rain.

You need to pay 5 SGD per person per access to the skybridge but they only accept a card compliant with the Singapore Standard of Contactless ePurse Application (CEPAS), for example, EZ-Link card!

We have been to this skybridge yesterday and enjoyed the great bird-eye view of Singapore city center. Getting there is quite easy. We have took East-West MRT line and left at Tanjong Pagar MRT Station. Outram MRT station is also just fine. From there, we took a 15 minutes walk to the The Pinnacle@Duxton.

Unfortunatelly, getting up was not straightforward. The web page does not exactly describe where is the starting point. Since this is an HDB there is no security. We have directly headed to the 50th floor only to find out that we should actually first visit the management office in Block 1G Level 1. Here we have used our EZ-Link Card to pay 5 Singapore Dollars (Net FlashPay card is not supported). It is important to bring your EZ-Link Card since here they register your card so you can open the door automatically on the 50th floor to enter the skybridge. So even if they wanted to, they cannot accept cash.

After the payment we have taken the lift A (B also goes to 50th floor) and climbed up to 50th storey and we were greeted with a great skybridge experience.

Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge
Singapore Central Business District from Pinnacle@Duxton
Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge
The Port of Singapore with Sentosa island in the background
Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge
50th Storey Skybridge on Pinnacle@Duxton
Below photo shows 3 tallest building in Singapore. From left to right, United Overseas Bank Plaza One, Overseas Union Bank Centre and Republic Plaza. These buildings are all 280 meters high which is the maximum height a structure can have in Singapore. This restriction is due to the proximity to Changi Airport (See Interesting Facts About Singapore).

Singapore CBD from Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge
Tallest Buildings in Singapore CDB (The middle one has a rooftop bar named 1-Altitude which
has the best bird-eye view of Singapore.
Central Business District blocks the view to the East of the island but the deck provides a great view to the south and west. It is a good place to have jogging or running also.

Being there reminded me how small Singapore is. All the prime area can fit in a photo frame and you can see even Bukit Timah is not that far. Sentosa from tip to tip is under your feet. There is no time limit for a visit once you are  on the skyebridge, you can stay there until 10 PM. I suggest you go to there around 4-5 PM so you can stay longer to see the sunset and Singapore skyline in the night.

Finally, below is a video I have taken from this skybridge towards Singapore CDB and Chinatown.


Singapore CDB from Pinnacle at Duxton

Related articles: Top 5 best rooftop views in Singapore and Marina Bay Sands Skypark - 360 degree view of Singapore

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vietnam Memories - Cham towers (Poklongarai Towers) in Ninh Thuan


A couple of years ago I had a chance to take a 5 days long local tour from Ho Chi Mihn City to central Vietnam. On this trip, we have also visited these beautiful buildings called Cham Towers. These towers were built were built to worship King Poklongarai, who had good deeds for the Cham people.

Cham people are an ethnic group in South East Asia with an estimated population of 500,000 people. They are concentrated between the Kampong Cham Province in Cambodia and central Vietnam's Phan Rang-Thap Cham, Phan Thiết, Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang areas.

cham towers vietnam
Cham Towers - Source: AsiaSingapore
Poklongarai Towers consist of 3 towers beautifully crafted and decorated with valuable sculptures:


The first one is the Main Tower which is 13.8 meters long, 10.71 meters wide and 20.5 meters high. It was the main site for religious ceremonies. A bust of King Poklongarai was respectfully placed inside the Main Tower for worshiping. 
The second one is the Gate Tower at 5.10 meters long, 4.85 meters wide and 5.65 meters high. This was where the king received his guests. The last one, the Fire Tower, at 8.18 meters long, 5 meters wide and 9.31 meters high, was the kitchen. 
Source: Vietnam.net
cham towers vietnam
Cham Towers - Source: AsiaSingapore
cham towers vietnam
A stone carved sculpture on one of the towers

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2+1 HDB flat for rent in Singapore - Average price trends


If you are looking for an 2+1 HDB flat for rent in Singapore and trying to find out how much you should pay for rental you are at the right place. You may have already browsed the web to have some idea about the asking prices but you have also another reliable source for information: not suprisingly Housing Development Board (HDB).

HDB quarterly publishes HDB flat rental data based on subletting approvals by town and flat type. This data provide the average rents of HDB flats in various locations. You should note that half the HDB units were rented above indicated value and half are below. It is wise to take a look at these figures before going into a rental aggreement.

HDB rental data for the fourth quarter of 2010 is just published. Below is the data in tabular format and some charts showing the trends in different towns.

Update:

See also Cheapest places to rent an HDB flat in Singapore. As of Q2 2011, HDB rental prices accross the island are still on the rise. See our article on this topic: Singapore HDB Flat Rents are still on the rise.




TOWN Q12009 Q22009 Q32009 Q42009 Q12010 Q22010 Q32010 Q42010
ANG MO KIO 1500 1400 1400 1450 1450 1500 1530 1610
BEDOK 1460 1400 1400 1500 1500 1500 1500 1580
BISHAN 1500 1380 1440 1540 1470 1500 1520 1610
BUKIT BATOK 1400 1400 1350 1450 1400 1500 1500 1550
BUKIT MERAH 1600 1530 1580 1600 1600 1650 1800 1800
BUKIT PANJANG 1200 1400 1250 1400 1280 1300 1400 1500
BUKIT TIMAH 1700 1800 1600 1000 1800 1700 1800 1730
CENTRAL 1800 1600 1670 1730 1900 1800 2000 2050
CHOA CHU KANG 1300 1200 1350 1250 1400 1450 1450 1300
CLEMENTI 1500 1450 1530 1550 1550 1600 1700 1700
GEYLANG 1400 1400 1400 1480 1400 1500 1500 1630
HOUGANG 1400 1400 1400 1350 1380 1450 1500 1600
JURONG EAST 1500 1400 1450 1400 1400 1500 1500 1600
JURONG WEST 1400 1400 1300 1350 1330 1400 1400 1500
KALLANG/ WHAMPOA 1500 1500 1500 1530 1500 1550 1600 1700
MARINE PARADE 1500 1600 1640 1580 1640 1710 1800 1900
QUEENSTOWN 1600 1500 1600 1650 1600 1650 1700 1780
SERANGOON 1500 1400 1500 1500 1480 1500 1580 1700
TAMPINES 1500 1450 1500 1500 1550 1580 1600 1700
TOA PAYOH 1500 1500 1500 1550 1500 1550 1600 1700
WOODLANDS 1230 1200 1200 1300 1300 1300 1350 1430
YISHUN 1300 1300 1300 1400 1350 1400 1480 1500
OVERALL 1500 1400 1500 1500 1500 1500 1600 1700



2+1 HDB flat rent trends in central, Marine Parade vs. overall
2+ 1 HDB flat rent trends in Hougang and Serangoon vs Overall
2+1 HDB flat rent trends in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh vs. overall
2+1 HDB flat rent trends in Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah,
Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Cho Chu Kang vs. overall
2+1 HDB flat rent trends in Jurong East, Jurong West vs. overall
2+1 HDB flat rent trends in Bedok, Tampines vs overall
See also Cheapest places to rent an HDB flat in Singapore.

Chinese horoscope 2011



Goat
(1943,1955,1967,1979,1991,2003)
Luck : ***
The past year has been a fulfilling one as you have received what you deserved. For now, just be contented and bask in the rewards. Being unsatisfied will not only throw you into confusion, it may even cause you to lose what you have achieved last year. Also, be extra wary as Wu Gui star will arouse greediness ehile Guan Fu, Nian Fu and Fei Fu stars may get you involved in legal disputes. Hua Gai star will be a boost to your intelligence and charisma, thus make some plans to upgrade yourself through attending enrichment courses. Place the Five Fortunes enblem at home to ensure that everything goes smoothly for you.


Horse
(1942,1954,1966,1978,1990,2002)

Luck : ****

Lady luck has been shining on you for the past few years, letting you indulge in your own likes with flourishing wealth. 2011 is no exception, as the romance star Tai Yin shall bestow good fortune. But be careful not to fall into love traps set up by Guan Suo and Guo Shen, or risk a bad reputation and monetary losses. Exercise caution wherever possible to shun accidents, which are brought about by the Tian E star. Utilise the aid from Tai Yin and exhibit your charisma in the right way to excel in career. Further development can be considered as it can bring in extra profits. Honesty is needed to lay a firm foundation.

Snake
(1941,1953,1965,1977,1989,2001)

Luck : **

A major setback may arise the yearning for freedom, distrupting your train of thoughts and in turn bringing things to a standstill. Amid the search for your desired goals, the aimless drift throws you into deeper confusion. A clear and precise direction is needed whatever to do. With a specific goal in mind, you'll never feel lost and shall focus achieving it. For a smooth path ahead, settle down and set your mind on a definite target. Watch out for conniving characters who will strike when you are down. It is also advisable that you excuse yourself from celebrations and funerals to avoid conflicts on your luck. You may want to carry an amber gemstone, which will aid in enhancing your luck, removing obstacles from your path to success.

Dragon
(1940,1952,1964,1976,1988,2000)

Luck : ****

The dark period is over and Tai Yang star shall bring you a bright career path amid the sunny days ahead. Make the best of your time to strive for career achievements now, as the arrival of Tai Sui next year will plunge you into darkness once again. Always look on the bright side of life. Clear your mind of unnecessary burdens and input more vitality into your life. Cunning villians will then live you alone, allowing you to focus on career development. It is important that you avoid being hesitant in making decisions so as to not miss numerous opportunities.

Rabbit
(1939,1951,1963,1975,1987,1999)

Luck : * * *


The arrival of lucky stars shall diminish the adverse effects brought by Tai Sui this year. With support from the Jiang Xing star, you can dash forward with full confidence to strive for career advancement. However, due to the presence of harmful stars Da Sha and Jian Feng, a slight mistake shall hinder your path to success. To walk on a path void of obstacles, shun arrogance and proceed prudently at all times. You may consider investing properties and value sustained items to prepare for unfavourable upcoming dragon Year.

Tiger
(1938,1950,1962,1974,1986,1998)

Luck : * *

Alas! Happiness comes alone while misfortune loves company. Last year had been an unfavourable year and as you look forward to having a better year this year, your hopes are dashed. It is natural that you would feel upset and frustrated that things are not moving in the direction that you want them to be. But bear in mind that your anger or unhappiness may in turn worsen the situations. As your luck cycle meets with Tian Guan star this year, possibilities of getting yourself involved in lawsuits are high. Do avoid acting rashly and try not to quarrel with others over trivial matters as you might unknowingly offend your benefectors who are ready to provide you with their assistance. Always keep positive attitude and avoid lamenting.

Pat on the back after completing a task. Too much stress and pressure can bring you to a breaking point, which would hurt you emotionally and physically. Therefore, stay cool and calm. Avoid meddling with others' business.