Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Upcoming articles... Need your inputs, dear readers!

Hi everyone,

It's been awhile, and I know that while there are a handful of friends and family who do check in to our blog to get updates, those have been far and few between (I'm referring to the blog updates).

Having worked as a mechanic for close to a year now, I feel that I can share some insights into car buying and DIY car maintenance. There's no need to re-invent the wheel - what I plan to do is grab some good guides and reference (by linking, not copy & paste!!) them, and add my own bits and pieces tailoring them to the complete novice who wants to get their hands dirty, without stuffing up (Aussie polite version of "fucking up") their primary mode of transport.

Yeah I've had moments like this before...

Having bought three vehicles in Australia by now, and having sold two of them, I will offer my insights into buying and selling as well. I'm no expert, and I've made mistakes. Mostly mistakes, in fact. Learn from mine.

But really, what else do you guys want to know or read about? Talk to us. Blogging is a two-way street.. And if it's not working out, perhaps it's time to retire this blog.

After all, while we are still Singapore Citizens for the time being, neither of us both feel Singaporean in the least. As I've told people before:

We are from Singapore, but we are not of Singapore


"Singaporean" is a state of mind

I must qualify that we don't feel "Aussie" either. But that doesn't matter to anyone that we've met thus far.



  1. Let's have a short list of items that is economically (and technically) feasible for a DIY home hobby mechanic to handle, the lesser known items instead of obvious ones like changing of brake pads, oil changing etc

    1. Yes boss. Might have to do a guide to making roast pork first, though that's not my department..


  2. Hi there,

    I am a PE teacher in Singapore and have been reading your blog since 2013 and have started to apply for my 189 visa this year.

    With regards to the topics you can blog about, it would be great if you can share with us your experience with property, best places for grocery deals and must visit places in Melbourne (that are not flooded by tourists).

    Specifically, I am wondering whether you can share about your property selection decision process. Why you choose to rent instead of buying. How easy it is to obtain a property loan for new PRs. What are the factors you consider when choosing a property in Melbourne.

    Once again thank you and hope to meet you guys in Australia soon!


    A greatly appreciative reader

    1. ok thanks Eddie. Didn't really consider those topics before but they are indeed relevant and probably interesting too :)


    2. S, also blog about why you bought and then sold your bike!

    3. Needed the money. I think there's no need for me to do a whole post on that.

      By far the best thing about Hondas is that people want them for no good reason. The bike was a Honda. No big deal about it, but it would have served me better than having a second car.

      Was supposed to sell the Subaru SUV instead of the bike, ideally. But that took a while.

      So shortly after I put the SUV on sale, I also put the bike up for sale and it went first. Of course, I shouldn't have bought my Nissan 4WD before selling the other car, but we all live and learn


  3. Hi there,

    After successfully getting my 189 visa, I am in the midst of preparing to move over to Australia over the next few months. At this stage, I have not made up my mind yet as to which city I want to move to. My top three choices now are Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. I have been reading another migrant's blog on his life in Brissy, and ASingaporeanSon's blog on his life in Perth. So if you and A could continue to blog about everyday life in Melb, that would be very helpful to future migrants indeed.

    I agree with the requests that Eddie has raised. Plus the other 'nitty-gritty' details. I know you have already covered Banking in Australia, so perhaps other aspects like Medicare and health matters and costs for PRs, insurance matters, education, jobs search & interviews and of course, renting as a new arrival in Australia.

    Many thanks.

    From Francis, another appreciative reader.

    1. Congrats Francis! You applied using which skill? And how many points did you have? Cuz I have 65 points and im not sure if its enough to compete with other people. =(

  4. Hi there Eddie,
    I was a secondary school teacher. I noted that you are a PE teacher. Hahah!
    Don't worry about 65 because the minimum is 60 points. Several other applicants managed to obtain only 60 points and received their PR visa too.
    So it's all good : )

  5. Hi S and Francis,

    Thanks for the support! Btw I encountered a minor hurdle that I hope you guys can help me with. I sent a request to MOE HR to ask for my employment letter and to state all the information as required by AITSL. Two weeks later, the gave me a letter that only consisted of 1.When I was employed by MOE from and till, 2. What my rank is, 3. What my monthly salary is. They left out the list of schools and hours of employment per week. Therefore, I am left with the following options:

    1. Compile a list of schools that I have work in and list down the hours of employment per week and attach it to this letter

    2. Go and approach my previous schools to get a letter each from them.

    3. Just send in this letter that I got from MOE.

    I hope you guys can help me overcome this minor hurdle so that I can join you guys in Australia asap!


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  7. Hi S & A,

    Hope both of you are doing well in Melbourne.
    I must admit, I made a very big decision to start my migration journey. Just passed my IELTS and will proceed on next step in the assessment and so on.

    Yeah as Eddie mentioned, maybe you can cover some of the details like
    - property choice
    - jobs related
    - weather like ? (I heard that Melbourne weather might be crazy sometimes?)
    - vehicle choice

    Thanks in advance~


  8. I enjoyed your opinions on the education system in Singapore, and hope to read more similarly frank and open articles on them. E.g.
    - What is the attitude - in your experience - towards the false concept of meritocracy (since the school is a ground for many inequities in Singapore, such as class, race and gender)?
    - How National Education/character education was actually carried out. I've read of tiny slogans printed across the bottom of Maths worksheets, which is more of propaganda than engaging the students in critical thinking
    - Teachers' attitudes towards inequities in society and in school. e.g. I knew of someone teaching econs at the JC level who insisted that "the productivity curve states that a bigger market can push productivity", hence we need more foreigners! She argued that the school system rewards those who work hard, so anyone who doesn't make it, has themselves to blame.
    - Other 'insider' news, like, whether teachers/prinicpals are actually consulted for curriculum reform, to what extent are their views taken on board etc


    - Z.

  9. For car maintenance, i know this varies from car to car, but could you also share about the main parts that need servicing and replacing? How they are affected in terms of mileage, age, etc.

    This will also help in buying a used car cuz there are so many parts that can go wrong. Purpose is also to help expect the rough prices we should be paying for maintenance

  10. Hi S,

    Im also from sg and planning to move in melbourne. May I know your experience and opinion on safety and security there? Is it similar here on sg, where you could walk outside without the fear of being assaulted (ofcourse with exemption of some areas)? Your blog is really helpful, thank you very much

    1. it's significantly worse. But you're more likely to have people come to your aid.

      Can't have your cake and eat it, unfortunately.


  11. 3 questions from a fellow Singaporean
    1) Does PR enjoy all medical and other benefits like citizens?
    2) Once given the visa, by when must I arrive and live how long?
    3) I read the first visa is for 5 years?
    Great informative blog!

    1. 1. All medical is free including doctor consultation, Xray, blood test, scan.
      PRs also receive money fortnightly for raising their kids in Australia.
      After first 2 years waiting period is over, PRs are eligible for all other benefits.

      2. Make initial first entry within 1 year after visa granted to validate your visa, you can then decide to make the big move anytime during the next 4 years before your visa expires on 5th year.

      3. First visa is 5 years, subsequent visa also 5 years provided you have resided in Australia for 2 years out of 5 years.
      Only 1 year visa subsequently if you fail to meet the minimum 2 years residency requirement provided that you have personal ties in Australia.

  12. Hi both

    It is inspiring to know how well you have gone with your migration process.

    I have two questions though.

    Is it possible for my husband to apply Australian jobs from Singapore after having his visa granted?

    How long do you have to move to Australia after visa has been granted?


    1. Possible.

      5 years to move to Australia after visa has been granted but you need to land in Australia within one year after your visa has been granted if you intend to move over at a later date.

  13. Hi!

    Great blog. Chanced upon it few months ago but had not revisited due to some changes at work. Looking at the age limit, I have only a few years more and I am really not sure about the feasibility to migrate. Perhaps I shall seriously put aside time to read your blogs and also start planning and interacting with ex-Singaporeans. just that at this point of time, I do not know any... Anyway, looking forward to more entries as your current entry was posted in April 2015. Take care!

  14. Hi A and S,

    I would count myself lucky to have met my wife, who already has an Aussie visa. We got married recently and I lodged my application for an offshore spouse visa. Again, luck was on my side, and my visa was granted in 2.5 months.

    What I would like to say is a big thank you to A and S, as well as all other bloggers for this visa. Whilst the visa application guidance was very helpful and insightful, a greater contribution to my successful application was the courage I had to make the first step. Coming from Singapore, where status quo, no matter how daunting, is always good. It was difficult for me to want to put aside my career and all that has been going well for me to put in my application. Sure, some might say that having a partner with a visa would make getting one for myself a no-brainer. However, I have received my fair share of "Australia can chew you up" comments from friends and family. Even from my Dad and brother, who has made the leap. However, I believe that my convictions can lead me through. These convictions have been confirmed by the proof points stated in the numerous entries that I have poured through, to fortify that gall to want to leave SG and all that (supposedly) great stuff behind.

    Anyways, you might ask, how has this blog encouraged me on my visa journey? Well, like S, we did the exact same degree in Singapore, and I had spent time in the Navy as well (albeit in NS, onboard a certain RSS...). I guess his points in the posts, together what those of A's, resonated well with me, and that was the spark that set the fire going.

    So, going against my grain of ungratefulness towards SG (first world country what, why not happy here?), I would like to go back to what I have learnt in Chinese lessons during secondary school, to 饮水思源 (for the uninitiated, it means to think of the source when consuming the water, i.e. be grateful). Thanks to A and S for giving me the courage to put SG behind me.

    My wife and I will be making our way to Melbourne (another coincidence?) next year, and we look forward to experiencing many more fruitful days there.

    P.S. My wife had spent many years in Melbourne, and is Singaporean, hence the choice.

    1. Hi Ell,

      Meant to respond much earlier, but thanks for your post anyway. Send me your melbourne contact if you're keen to meet over here. As a rule I avoid meeting people via our blog but you seem to be on a similar wavelength. No obligations and it certainly can be a one-off.

      One of our good friends in Oz met us through our blog. Makes up for meeting the other interesting people.. :p


    2. Hi S,

      Thanks for your reply. Had also meant to reply to your reply earlier, but work got the better of my time and energy (sigh).

      My wife and I are planning another recce/holiday trip to Melbourne in end-March next year before the move in August/September, and it would certainly be great to be able to meet with A and yourself in March.

      I will be sure to drop you my temporary number when I obtain my $2/day SIM at the airport Optus counter when I land next year. In the mean time, I can be contacted at sea.scum[at]

      At this juncture, there is no looking back and am keeping my fingers crossed that we can fast-forward through the next nine/ten months.


  15. Finally started my first full time job today in my industry after almost one year in Australia :)

    1. Time flies today is one year anniversary for my first full time job in Australia :)

  16. Hello A & S

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. We, together with our 3 kids will soon take the leap forward. For visa 189, wondering if it is a smart option, doing it without agent? Considering we will be bringing 3 dependents

    Care to share your views on private health insurances? Necessary, no?
    I heard that medicare covers only to a certain extent. Based on hearsay, services at government hospital requires long waiting time and it may be a better to opt for pte hospital.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Google lifetime health cover, there will be a loading if new migrants didn't take up private health insurance one year after they registered for their Medicare card.
      No waiting time for public hospital if you go in by ambulance :)

    2. We didn't bother. Unless you earn big bucks and your accountant tells you to get some dummy policy to avoid the loading, then I'd say you'll be fine..