Friday, 23 May 2014

Breakneck Pace

Hi everyone,

Some of you may be wondering what has happened to us since the last few posts.

In short, things have progressed at a breakneck pace. We are not prepared to update everything here just yet. And in fact we have discussed and realised that as we want to put everything about sg behind us, this blog will probably be one of the things we let go of. That time will come, and we will make it very clear when we do pen our final post.

In the meantime, expect nothing from us about events in sg. We generally avoid following all sg-related news, except anything that concerns us, which is two things: NS and CPF. We won't comment on either on this blog, because we have no interest in that anymore.

A quick summary of updates, some of which we may have blogged about before but I can't be stuffed to check back on our previous posts though I do still publish and reply to comments when I feel like it:

- House hunting
- Swam with seals and dolphins
- Got a forklift license
- Completed my Certificate 3 in Warehousing Operations
- Motorbike license
- Had two delivery jobs, quit one soon after, now quitting the second
- Starting my apprenticeship at a new workshop
- Bought a 2013 Honda CB400 aka Super Four Revo (yes, as a fresh bikie I'm allowed to ride one here, some of you are probably jealous though that's not my intention). I'm really into bikes now, after years of being conditioned not to want one, mostly by my parents.
- Done a real 4WD trip in our Subaru Forester with a local 4WD club
- Did free labour car servicing for a few members of Melbourne SG Kampung (thanks for your support, guys! To the small handful who supported me anyway)
- Thyroid levels stabilising. Antibodies still very high, which means I may need to irradiate or remove the damn thing, but all hormone levels are good and getting better. Free healthcare for now does give me the latitude to get checked more often and adjust my dose accordingly.
- A is cycling to work almost every day, in temperatures of as low as 6 degrees. No sweat (ok lame, but of course)
- I've been motorbiking in weather that has local Aussies labelling me as crazy. Below 5 degrees, using the very same armoured kit which I wear in summer. Again, no sweat. (ha ha).
- I've gone riding in the hills carving corners following my friend in his sports car. Again, not trying to make anyone jealous, just saying. Probably not the wisest thing to do as a 2 month-old rider, but I've got a good bike and I think I'm relatively cautious and competent and ride within my limits.

It's been over six months since we've landed here, and there have been ups and downs as expected. Life here can be as much of a struggle in sg, in our case probably much more so, to be honest. But every step has meant something, and we remain as sure as ever that we are home.

In the meantime, what do you want to read about, or hear more of? Do let us know and we'll try to oblige. Except for commentary on sg, as mentioned earlier. Ask freely, but that won't be given!

-S

32 comments:

  1. Hi, I am sure you will love it here in Melbourne and the feeling of home here will grow. The struggles are inevitable, but they will be worthwhile.

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  2. As a fellow car nut and biking enthusiast, try to take it easy for the first 12 months or so of riding. If possible, try to attend an advanced riding course. Biking is wonderful if done safely, over time I learnt to love the interchange between riding (the raw vulnerability of it) and driving (the cocooned environment) :) Good stuff!

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  3. home is where the heart is. I am happy to hear that you have found a place that you like.

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  4. Thanks mate, agree with you fully, though each individual's definition of "take it easy" may vary.

    I do try to not push too hard, and am going for advanced riding courses asap. Pity about winter course schedules though. I really want to do a knee-down course soon. :p

    Btw, to reader Guo Bin who left me his email address, I would prefer to have discussions in the open if possible. I learned this from blogger Limpeh Is Foreign Talent. Not to copy his style blindly (our blogs and styles are very different) but I agree fully with his rationale that discussions are best done in public to benefit fellow readers.

    Of course for those who wish to arrange to meet in Melbourne, or have other private matters to consult us with, that's a different story.

    Not saying this to you Guo Bin, but to everyone. Please remember that we are NOT MIGRATION AGENTS and if you need specific personal advice, please spend the money on an agent. Of course we attempt to answer queries to the best of our ability but our time spent on blogging is very limited these days as our interest in the blog wanes and we immerse ourselves fully in settling in Oz.

    -S

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  5. Hi S,

    Congrats on the bike lic and all the progress :) Being a bike rider, I am curious abt the cost of bike ownership and paperwork. Could you share abt stuff like bike cost, parking, insurance, rd tax .. etc. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. For bikes cost, head over to bikesales.com.au. Ballpark figures are $12k for a Honda CB400 ABS, $9k for a Yamaha XJ6N, $18k for Hayabusa. Brand new. At the lower end about $3-4k (not sure) for a Honda CB125E.

      Insurance cost me under $700 per annum, comprehensive. Rego is about $460 a year for bikes between 126 and 500cc, $614 per year for bikes above 500cc. Actual fee apparently depends on postcode so I don't even know what my exact fee is until I renew it.

      I've not found places where you need to pay for parking yet... Good thing about bike riding in Melbourne. Of course, parking in areas where it's not allowed could attract fines. Parking is generally allowed on pavements but not where it will obstruct pedestrians, manhole covers, private property, etc.

      -S

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  6. Hi,

    I hope you can keep all your previous blogs when you decided to stop updating as i think it contains pretty good information for those who wanna migrate.

    Thanks.

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  7. Hello..I chanced upon ur blog. Im a singaporean. I have 2 young boys. Like many others..it's really frustrating leaving here already. Curently , My husband works in a power plant industry in Jurong Island as a technician here whilst im a secretary. I really really want to get out of this country. We do have a bit of savings and all. I know that it's best to used an agency to help us get to Australia and all...perhaps could u enlightened me of what is the pros and cons being there? Is it really greener on that side of the world?

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    Replies
    1. You "know" that it's best to use an agency.

      Since you think that way, I think you are right. :p. My sharper readers will know what I'm getting at here.

      If you've read our blog and have to ask the questions you did, pardon my bluntness, but I think SG really needs you. I suggest you stay put

      -S

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    2. Do workout what is your current income and expenses. I know life is hectic in Sg but relax in Australia. Different families have got different circumstances. If you were earning 6 digits annually per person, I suggest you stayput. Green or not green is very subjective too. Every country has got pros and cons. Sometimes you read all those blogs might not be correct information when you were in their shoes, different perceptions. Some people only said good things about the thing they do and hide something that they don't like to mention here and that could be important to you when you make the decision. Some people might be better off to migrate if they concern about min wages, some have medical condition and other family reunion. If you are looking for saving more money, good school, safety and private medical cost concern I would say you are better off to stayput

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    3. Well said!

      Stay put. You hit the nail on the head. There's shitloads of bad things about Oz that we didn't blog about because it will be too embarrassing to admit to the people in sg that we made the wrong decision... Oh why... Why did we migrate? :(

      -S

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    4. To the blogger - please control your condescension. The commenter was merely seeking the advice of someone who was more experienced with the issue of migration than she was - there is no need for your last paragraph. It was rather rude of you. Besides, the implication of your first comment that everyone who chooses to remain, or does not have the ability to leave Singapore, are fools, and I get the sense that you are putting them down. That's rather impolite, don't you think? Everyone has their own circumstances and opinions. I think that it'll be gracious of you to apologise to the commenter, and to direct her to some of the insights you have shared with us to aid in her decision making process. Good day :)

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    5. I see that you have the same reading difficulty that that commenter had...

      I stand by what I've said. If one needs such a great degree of spoonfeeding, get an agent. Or better yet, stay in sg.

      -S

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  8. Hi,

    I have been following your blog and found it interesting. I also read asingaporeanson's blog.

    Please keep writing and keep us posted about Melbourne's life. Nix's is Perth-centric and I believe Mel presents a very different culture and lifestyle on its own.

    It would help people who are considering going to different parts of Australia.

    Thank you.

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  9. Hi S,

    I used to come to this blog for info regarding migration. These days I come to see how life in Melbourne is like for you: the ups and downs. It prepares me for the things that I may have to face in time to come.

    Thanks for blogging.

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  10. hi, i tried scanning through your entries but did not see any on shipping of personal items to AU. Would you be able to direct me if you have already written one or are you able to advise? Seems impossible to pack my entire life in 30KG allowance and buying per kg on Emirates could costs a lot, any recommendations on preferred movers?

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  11. hi S,

    i think our approval for AU PR came at about the same time - Sep-2014! However we are still in SG, planning for our big move to Melbourne in mid-Aug! Scarily exciting and excitingly scary!
    Pardon my ignorance but how do I PM you ah? Have got some questions to ask you about Melbourne.
    Thanks and see you in Melbourne soon!

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  12. Hi S,

    Pardon me but, how do I PM you? I need some "private consultation". looking to move to melbourne in mid-Aug! Thanks!

    Cheers!

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  13. No such thing as "private consultation", unfortunately. You'll manage.

    -S

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  14. I'm living in Sydney for 6 years. Looking for a change. Is it true that their house prices are cheaper in Melbourne?

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    Replies
    1. I've heard that before. But why not check out the figures at realestate.com.au?

      In any case, I think there's way more to a city/place than just property prices.

      -S

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  15. Have you heard of people claiming work experience points without a formal opinion from an assessing authority? My agent is suggesting this backup plan after they missed 2 windows to apply for state sponsorship. As angry as I am with the way my application was handled, I've been left with few alternatives. I don't have any post qualification experience as I've only recently completed all the academic requirements necessary for a positive skills assessment.

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  16. Got my PR visa via state sponsorship 2 years ago, went through skills assessing authority initially to have my 5 years of relevant work experience assessed.

    As I failed to claim any points for my English due to my IELTS listening only got a 6.5 instead of minimum 7.0 but I was lucky to claim last minute extra points for another 3 years of experience to make up maximum 8 years of experience from my ex employer.

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  17. Hi S,
    First of all, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on migration matters and your personal experiences over the past couple of years. Being able to draw on your experience has really help my partner and I make the decision to take the plunge. With some luck, our 176 visa has been approved and we’ll be making a nice long trip to Melbourne in October, followed by a one way ticket ride sometime near the end of the year.
    Hate to bother you, but I wonder if I could get your advice on a couple of issues within your realm of expertise? First thing we’d like to do is to buy a car. We’ve decided on an SUV, < 80ks, Japanese, Ford or Holden, and would like to spend no more than 15k, with key considerations being fuel efficiency, running and maintenance costs, reliability and space. I’m considering 1. X-trail 2 rav 4 3. Outlander 4. CRV 5. Mazda Tribute 6. Ford Escape 7. Hyundai Sante Fe.
    Obviously the Ford Escapes are cheaper, but I’ve heard some horror stories on the fuel consumption. Also, I find that my options open up a lot more once I go up to 120k mileage. In your opinion, would that be advisable? Should I expect to pay a lot more for maintenance once I get into the >100k ranges? Also, given the list of SUVs above, do you have any preferences, or find any particular to avoid ?
    The next issue is regarding shipping of bicycles. I’m an avid cyclist like yourself and would like to move two bikes along with myself: a full size roadie and a foldable. I was just wondering how you moved your two bikes. Did you take them apart and shipped them off in regular boxes as excess baggage, or did you use some other method?
    Sorry for the very lengthy post! Do indulge me if you have the time, but in any case, thanks again for all your blog posts and resources. We’re really looking forward to our imminent move – hopefully we can even meet up over there…Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Hi GT! Thanks for your comment. We must give credit to A for being the backbone of this blog, and for publishing the real useful information :)

      Now for car. For reliability, let's strike off Ford and Holden first.

      For fuel efficiency, let's focus on diesels. So you have Hyundai, X-trail, Outlander. But have you considered Subaru? Don't miss out a test drive on the Outback or Forester. I drive a Forester myself.

      If off-road capability is not your kind of thing, you can consider the Santa Fe, CRV and RAV4. Not sure why you'd bother though, unless they have 2WD versions.

      There's nothing wrong with getting a slightly older car. Service history and condition is far more important than the mileage.

      We shipped the bikes in bike boxes. DIY dismantle and reassemble. Checked in luggage via Jetstar.

      Yeah lemme know when you guys make it here. I've had bad experiences interacting with sinkies via this blog but also very good experiences. I guess you win some and lose some...

      -S

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  18. Hey S, thanks a lot for the quick reply! I have considered Foresters, but the impression I got was that they were somewhat pricier. I would indeed like to be able to go off-road in the future, so 4wd on demand would be a nice option. I will check them out again and instead of cutting off my search at 80k, look out for ones with a documented and regular servicing record, say every 10ks...

    I know what you mean on the bad interactions man, believe me, I would be a lot less patient if I were in your shoes. Cheers!

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    1. You get what you pay for. Among the soft roaders, the Subarus are peerless on the road. Unless you wish to compare with the BMW, Porsche and Range Rover..

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  19. At this point, I've more or less narrowed it down to 3 makes, namely Foresters, X-trails and Outlanders(if only due to their lower prices and Mitsubishi dealer warranties...). I was just wondering, how long does it typically take to complete a transaction + get insurance once we've decided on a dealer car? I'm asking because if it's a really short turnaround, I'll just modify my car rental for a day or two and head down to the dealer's lots once we get off the plane... Thanks much for your time man, much appreciated

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  20. All are good in their own way. The Foresters have the edge in handling on road, while the others have the edge in space and probably off road capability, depending on situation. The newer Foresters are probably unbeatable off road with their trick X mode traction system, and have good ground clearance too. Mine is the 2005 model which has nothing much going for it besides price =D

    If you are coming to Victoria state, do note that registration includes a form of insurance (which I understand to cover mainly pedestrians or injury cases). So you are not bound by law to purchase your own insurance. Ie, you can buy your car first then drive carefully straight home to buy car insurance online. The car insurance can be arranged online the same or next day, IIRC.

    The transaction itself can technically be done on the spot at the dealer. Though such haste probably will mean you don't get a great deal. It depends on whether the roadworthy certificate has actually been arranged for. Usually the dealer will need a day or two to get the RWC done, and they don't have it ready until a buyer has been found, as it has a month's expiry or so. And unless you walk in with a cheque or cash ready, it's likely that you will wish to arrange for bank cheque or loan which might take time, again. Bank cheque is probably same deal as Sg. Walk into the bank and queue, get it on the spot.

    I'd suggest you stick with renting a basic car for a bit longer and spend the time to do your legwork and shop around rather than rushing into things

    -S

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  21. You're right of course, the actual search for a good deal itself would probably take longer than the administrative procedures. The worst thing I could probably do is to rush into a bad purchase. Great information,I think I'm all set now. Cheers! Hope you're enjoying the cold right now

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    1. I am! A would prefer it a little warmer though.

      We had frost for the first time at our place since we've been here, two nights ago!

      -S

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  22. Hi Andy, I got your comment with your email, which i will not publish. But unless the query is of a very private nature, I rather have the conversation in public where others might benefit from it.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, we don't do 'private consultations'. And if you have what it takes, you certainly wouldn't need any.

    -S

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