Friday, October 26, 2007

Saving on Cost of Medical Consultation in Singapore

In this post I would like to give some idea on medical consultation costs in Singapore.

Consultation with GP(General Practitioner)

If you are visiting a GP in your area for ailments like cold, cough, fever etc, make sure that you do a survey with your friends about various clinics and their consultation charges. For general ailments listed above, it does not matter whether you go to a GP in HDB area or to a well known hospital. All matters is the Dr !


  • Try to survey locally before heading towards hospital
  • Mostly the charges are same in clinics operated near HDBs
  • Try to visit the same Dr. always - it helps to build relationship and he/she knows the history well.
  • Most of the clinics will provide medicines
  • Avoid Antibiotics at first instance, as they are expensive.
Cost : $18 to $60

Consultation with Specialist(e.g. Orthopedic, Skin, ENT etc)

Singapore hospitals are well equipped and world class facilities for all treatment services they are offering.

  • Survey - post to Ezlink yahoo groups for recommendations before visiting Specialists Medical Professional
  • check whether the cost if taken care off by your organization
  • Before going for any long term treatment(e.g. physiotherapy), please check for alternatives
  • Depends on the hospital/clinic
  • $50 - $90 for Consultation
  • $50 - $100 for Physiotherapy per session!
  • Other treatments/Tests as prescribed
I always keep in mind that 'Expensive fees for consultation does not mean better consultation / diagnosis anywhere in the world" - This is based on my own experience so far!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting anywhere with Google Maps in Singapore!

Some of my readers asked how to get to Annalakshmi Restaurant in Chinapoint from Changi Airport. The answer is very simple ..use our free google maps to get directions from anywhere to anywhere :)

Here is the Directions from Changi Airport, Singapore to Annalakshmi, Chinatown, Singapore :

View Larger Map

Google Maps is a great tool. I personally use it many times to find places in Singapore. It helps us to visualize the place before we go there. Also the Directions tool is also pretty good & accurate. Specially in Singapore there not many routes to same destination, possibly 2 most of the times.

I would post more on this topic later !...enjoy

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Indian Restaurant Singapore : Annalakshmi

Location :

133, New Bridge Road
#B1-02, Chinatown Point, Podium A

Singapore 059413

Exit E of Chinatown MRT

Website :

Indian vegetarian restaurant located at the basement of Chinatown Point. Featuring an impressive collection of both North and South Indian choices, interestingly all without prices, Annalakshmi group of restaurants is probably the first (and only) restaurant in Singapore that allows their patrons to pay any amount they wish for a meal in their premises.

Excellent vegetarian food!. I went to this place twice recently to have taste of their dishes. There is no fixed price for our dining menu at Annalakshmi. It is “Eat what you Want and Give as you Feel” concept.

This is the first time we went to a restaurant where patrons have to decide what they want to pay for the food.

We went to this restaurant(yes an actual restaurant & not a food court!) on sunday to have lunch. On Sunday they have buffet lunch with lots variety in daal, rice, chapati, roti, naan, curry's etc. You can order some Lassi if you like too!. I liked the food overall though I am not big fan buffet lunch anytime. The Ginger Lassi we had was excellent & is a must try. Also the Kheer we tried was also great!

Next time I went to this place to have South Indian Thali. This is the first time in Singapore I had a authentic South Indian Thali which was complete in all respect, including Hot Rassam, Rice, Pulao, Poori, Pickle, Papad, Saambhar, 2 Curry's and sweet dish ! ..

I am sure many people visiting this place are paying more than what they would generally pay for the same type of meal.

The best part of the service given by the staff(or volunteers I would say) there. It seems you can volunteer to work there too. As the proceedings from this restaurant goes to charity.

They have 2 food courts as well : checkout the website for more details.

Having some issues while uploading photos, will do later ...enjoy !

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sensex 18k : Mystery of India’s economic growth

Well Sensex in India reaches 18K yesterday & still going high !. What does it really means to India. This definitly means that the economy is doing well & probably it will continue to do well in future for sometime(well no one dares to say more than that). Read a good article about this in The Economic Times today " Mystery of India’s economic growth ".

Some paragraphs caught my eyes "

The quality of public services in lousy. Surveys show that only half the students in Class VII can read simple texts or do simple maths (unless they have private tutors). Public health is in bad shape. Economists Das and Hammer report that when government doctors are not absent from office, fully half their recommendations are likely to harm rather than cure patients. The quality of bijli, sadak and pani is terrible.

Corruption remains high. Transparency International lists India 72nd out of 180 countries, a poor performance. Nor have reforms been comprehensive enough. The annual Index of Economic Freedom compiled by the Fraser Institute and others puts India at only 104th position in the world.

Supposedly India has rule of law. But enforcement of contracts takes 10 years on average. Politics is criminalised since no criminal is convicted beyond all appeals, thanks to moribund police and courts. Maoist violence now affects 157 out of the country’s 600 districts.

In sum, the quality of India’s policies, institutions and governance leave much to be desired. Other countries with such problems have often suffered economic stagnation or collapse. Yet India has accelerated to 8.6% for four years, a feat rarely achieved in history.

So we really need to understand economics more deeper to understand what is behind this Growth Story & how far it will continue like this. Personally I am definitely positive about it and will continue to watch the trend.

I hope to get some more answers on this Mystery in coming days/years ...hopefully ...till then enjoy the India Growth Story on TV channels !

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book Review:The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

I read this book recently. Excellent book on something which we know but fail to understand sometimes. Author Seth Godin also runs a blog @ This is the first book I read from his shelf!

  • Easy to read book
  • Interesting topic to follow - focus on "The Dip"
  • Small foot print - just 80 pages to read !
  • Thought the advice given in the book is pretty obvious sometimes, it does make a lot of sense with Godin's writing !
  • Great buy as a gift to friends & to pass on to friends who will love to read a small book
To understand the topic well - probably need to read it twice !. Though it tells you that you need to go through "The Dip" before you reap the rewards waiting for you at the end. He gives a nice example of CEO, who also needs to spend 20+ years listening/working for others before he/she can get to a level to be promoted as CEO !

Overall a great motivational book for everyone...

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Singapore: Choosing mode of Transport !

Singapore is great ! It has excellent means of transportation when you need. It is up to you to decide whether you want to take a Bus, MRT or Taxi. It is not true that the Taxi will always cost you more than the bus(well in $ terms yes !)....lets take an example here to explain this !

You(total 4 people) want to goto IKEA from Hougang during non-peak hours on weekend. You have 2 options Bus or Taxi.

Taking Bus
  • Using the website we can plan the journey
  • The service 27 will go directly to IKEA from Hougang Central Interchange.
  • The cost will be $1.18 per person = $4.72
  • The time to reach is probably around 30 mins.
Taking Taxi
  • Take a Taxi from same starting point to IKEA
  • The Fare would be around $6.30 for 4 persons
  • Time to reach IKEA(at drop-off point) is max 15-20 mins as we go by Highway !
So its upto you to decide when to take a Taxi or Bus depending upon your mood, convenience. As sometimes it rains so heavy in Singapore that you will be half-wet by the time you reach the Bus Interchange from your house !

But the same math is tricky when you are going during peak hours & during weekday. As it adds Peak hour charges & ERP charges which are quite high depending on the time of the day.

This was just an example. When going long distance & where MRT station is direct on the same line, MRT is the fastest & cheapest mode of transport.

I will write more on this subject & means to save cost while traveling in Singapore ;)

enjoy !

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Indian food @ Changi Airport, Singapore

After long time had a taste of Indian Food at Changi Airport, Singapore !. I have been here many times & ate only at Kaveri at Terminal 2. This time things are changed at Terminal 1 and there is one Indian Restuarant here called "Mirchi". I am generally vary of any new restuarant which has a North Indian name & selling South Indian food :).
I gave it a try to Mirchi.
In my opinion if the restuarant cannot make Saambhar well which is essential part of South Indian Meal, then there is no point in trying other dishes :).
I could conclude that the food at Kaveri is much better than Mirchi. Also prices are all jacked up. For Idli plate they are charging $6.00, whereas same costs less than $3 in Singapore City...but this is everywhere ..on airports the stuff is always expensive !
enjoy !

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mutual Funds Statements Online !

For all who riding the markets with Mutual Funds, this is a good post to read!..well I am not marketing ..but in a way this is called as cheap marketing :)

As you know that all Mutual Funds are processed either by the AMC or some other 3rd party processing company like CAMS. So these are the guys who send you the MF Statement every month for the AMC they work with.

I believe that 95% of the investors who get these statements every month, do not bother to check that & if they have invested in multiple funds it generates loads of statements every month + the extra trash at home !

So you have a quick solution now for AMCs which are doing business via CAMS.

Here is all you need to do to simplify your life :)

1. Visit the following link : Link to setup email delivery of MF Statements
2. Goto option : Statement Delivery
3. Fill up the following form on the web page :

3. Click on the "Submit" button.

List of AMCs working with CAMS is shown in the List : AMC Name.

I like this facility very much. CAMS also has an facility to provide online Consolidated Portfolio Report for all your investments in MF. That's in next post !

Enjoy !

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Indian Market Crash..Sensex down 621 pts & Nifty by 187 pts

I was watching it. Sensex was down 621 points or 4.14% at 14,380.13 and Nifty was lower by 187 points or 4.29% at 4182.6. It is good for the investor to get a taste of this kind of volatility once in a while ! Helps us to understand that market always do not go upward(which many people thought that it does in last 2 years!).

I feel comfortable in investments in Mutual Funds only at this time. Remember not panic and stop your SIP for MF. At the same time do not wait if you have cash which you do not need for next 3 years and you planned to put that in a MF today. Market timing is the last thing you want to guess :)

Some good reading :

Get rid of that hefty debt from your wallet
12 Things I Will Never Spend A Dime On - I like this one very much..very important to know where you really want to spend

Happy Investing !

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Independence Day !!

Well I have seen people saying/SMS'ing/Email'ing "Happy Valentine Day", "Happy Parents Day", "Happy Mothers Day" ..but did not meet any Indian today saying "Happy Independence Day" to me or to anybody on 15th August 2007 ...well that's how things are ..

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Living without Google :) ..Imagine !

I really can't imagine living without Google !. What i mean is that I am used to the simplicity provided by Google in everything we do today is just superb.

I am writing this post just to record some of the changes I have seen in this Internet world in last 10 years which affected me most !

I got introduced to email in 1996 by creating account in was taken over by Yahoo later). In those days of Dial-up, rocketmail was the only fastest plain webmail I found other than Hotmail and yahoo off course. Then I opened Yahoo & Hotmail account too. But today I only use GMail 99% of the time :)

I remember & were my BEST Search engines..but today I only do Google :) ..well I have not seen anybody using other than Google for search in last 7 years ..

Online Docs
I used to use Yahoo Briefcase to store documents sometimes. But Google Docs made life simple !. The best part is that it not just allows you to store Docs, but spreadsheets too.

I used to read blogs using bookmarks. Now I read only the Blogs which are updated & which are configured in my Google Reader. It makes life so easy & increases productivity a lot. btw ..reading blog could harm your productivity :)

I started blogging almost 2 years ago & now Blogger is part of Google :)

Maps always interests me. I don't know why but I love reading maps & figuring out places of my interest on Google Maps. Google Earth is just superb. Most of the Road Network is now on Google no more paper maps - save trees & money !

Chat / Instant Messaging
I don't remember when I switched from YM or AIM to Google Talk !. It was natural for me to shift with having the ease of one account for everything I do on Internet.

Well, this is something the best part of Google. Use FREE Google to earn money by using Google Adsense ;)

I am sure many of us had the same experience with Google....

btw ..Google Adsense did not pay me for writing this post :) ..But if many people read this & hit few clicks on the Ads, I might get few cents !!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Indian Restaurant Singapore : Raj Prime

Having been to the place 3 times in last 2 months, I think it is right time to write about it.

Location : 76 Syed Alwi Road near Mustafa

This is a typical Indian Restaurant in Singapore. Which serves North Indian & south Indian dishes too. I got reference about this restaurant in one of the excellent blog about food in Singapore :

Overall the place is good for chat items(Papdi chat, raj kachori , paani puri etc ..) but for other dishes like Pav bhaji, north Indian dishes(I have not tried many though) I am not sure how good it would be ..I personally did not like the pav bhaaji, veg. cutlet at all. Also specially if you need to give any suggestion about the dish, busy evening is not a good time to talk to the manager about it :) One other thing is that sometime the dish is not served hot which is supposed to served hot ..e.g. pav bhaji !. While I find this problem in many Indian Restaurant's here, I like to eat Idli / dosa with Hot sambhar rather than having it served cold :(

If you are going on a weekend evening, then it is not the right place really as it really get crowded. Which is true for any restaurant though !!. About the service, they are quick but surely not good in serving with passion(which I have seen in some of other places ..specially at Khana Khazana in Hong Kong)

Though it is better than other usual places I have tried like Komala's(this is good for fast food like quick lunch, idli, dosa ..), Ananda Bhavan(same as Komala's) , it is certainly not a place where you want to go for a special occasion & expect a great food served to you !. I would still try this place few more times for chat items & write about it for the benefit of people who are searching for good Indian food in Singapore !.

btw till date I have not found a good Indian Restaurant in Singapore, which is reasonably priced & also serve authentic Indian Food ..may be I am expecting too much :)

Monday, August 06, 2007

मेरा हिंदी टैपिंग का प्रयोग !!

मुझे बहुत दिनों से हिंदी में ब्लोग्गिंग करना था। आज टाइम् मिल है !! ..और बहुत अच्छा लग रह है येः गूगल का इंटेलिजेंस देख कर ..वाह क्या बात है :) ..

Friday, August 03, 2007

Stock and Mutual Fund Recommendations by The Hindu

I got this good link today about some Stock and Mutual Fund Recommendation page by The Hindu.

I found the summary of stocks & mutual funds good. Specially a small description on what is the objective of the fund is a good idea. You can quickly glance through the summary & then also review it on's Fund Card to understand more. Its a good start for someone looking for quick objective for the fund and some statistics. Obviously before starting an investment in Mutual Fund, please go through your objectives of investment in the equity market ;)

One more page to watch out :)

Happy Investing !

Thursday, August 02, 2007

website for HDB flats on rent in singapore

I got to know about one more website today which allows people to see HDB flats or Condo's on rent in Singapore. It is quite simple website with relevant information only. Also the good part is that it has many listings which are from direct owners too !!

Website :

enjoy !

Saturday, July 28, 2007

HDB Rental Data for Singapore !

With HDB rental rates are rising every month. Finally govt has stepped to provide some more information to people who need to know what is the prevailing rate in a particular area.

Checkout : HDB Link to rental rates

This is really a good information to all who are seeking HDB rental in Singapore. By looking at the data it does look near to what really is being offered. But as I guess this data is for the approved HDB units which are rented out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fund Card on Valueresearchonline website

I noticed a new feature on It is Fund Card. Goto to the "Mutual Funds" and select any Mutual Fund of your Choice from the list on the first page. On the right side of "Relative Performance " there is a BIG Adobe PDF Icon which says "Download Fundcard". Click on that and you get a Fund Card of the Fund you are looking at.

Its a great tool to analyze the fund in which you want to invest. Provides good summary of returns over a period. Some charts to understand performance. History of expense ratio. Expense ratio is something I have started looking recently. I guess it makes lot of sense to read this kind of stuff once in a while to understand what your fund or fund manager is doing !

With my personal experience so far(last 2 years) ..I would recommend following way to Invest in MFs

  • Invest in few Equity Diversified Funds only
  • Do not expect great returns always !
  • Do Invest rather than just saving the money(I will blog more on this!)
  • Track your portfolio every 3-6 monhs
  • Create a Net worth Statement & do update it every month(check out Build your own net worth calculator)
  • Do not over-diversify(i.e. do not try to invest in too many funds)
  • Understand your objectives of investing in Equity very well
  • Do book profits if you need too !
  • Do not book profits if you don't know what you will do with that money !
  • Read blogs on Equity Investing !! - My favorites I will post later
  • the list go on ....
I started investing very late in Equity & regret that time lost. Look at this handy Calculator to understand how you can benefit from compounding in long-term.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review : Simplify Your Life by Elaine St.James

I recently got to know about this book Simplify Your Life by Elaine St.James from . I like this website, it has loads of information related to productivity & simplicity too !!.

Book Review

Rating : **.* (2.5 Stars !!)
This book is good for reading when you don't have anything else to do & want to read something light. Though the book claims to provide lot of ideas (100 !!) to Simplify Your Life, it is more of a common sense. This book is written in typical American style & also for Americans who are probably rich to have Boats & houses(like "keep your plants outdoor", Replace your lawn with ground water", "plan a garden" etc ) !!

Some of the ideas are just extreme .. "no phone", "not answering the door", "don't answer the phone" ..these do not seem to be practical ideas to implement.

There is a desperate attempt to make the list 100 !!.

I agree to few ideas like "Cancel your magazine subscriptions", "Drive a simple car", "Reduce clutter" , "stop junk mail" etc ...

Its not worth to buy this book. Its good to loan from a library or a friend :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Indian Income Tax Return filing made simple : ITR2 !!

Things are improving with Indian Government. Specially with Income Tax Department they have improved the way we can file Income Tax Returns this year. Well we know that the IT Return Form is changed this year too :( ..But still there are more utilities this year to help you to file returns.

So if you want to file ITR2 Form(When you have both Salary Income & Loss from House property).

Follow the Simple Steps & you will be done with ITR2 in 30 mins.

  1. Take your Forms 16
  2. Download Acrobat Reader 8.1(This is required, Acrobat Reader 7.0 will give issues)
  3. Open the ITR2 downloaded from above link using Acrobat Reader 8.1
  4. Fill up the Form based on details from Forms 16(Including Schedule CYLA For Loss of House Property - Enter the figure in +VE number)
  5. Ensure all details are filled up - btw this version allows you to SAVE the details entered !!
  6. Goto the last page & Click on button "Check Form". This will give any errors if any based on the checks designed for this form - like Date not entered, Address not entered.
  7. Then click on "Generate BarCode" button. This will generate the Bar Code on the first page. btw ..I am not sure about this though yet as sometime it does not generate :)
  8. Print the Form
  9. Submit to the local Income dept :) .. NO ATTACHMENTS ..Hurray !! ..Save Trees !!
  10. Go home/office(If u are using office time for submitting the Form !!) & enjoy !!
So be happy with the way things are improving with govt. depts !!

Issue with ITR2 Form & Acrobat 8.1 :
  • Acrobat Reader 8.1 takes too much of memory & CPU
  • The CPU goes to 100% ..That is because it automatically loads Acrobat Updates Software & starts downloading something in background - Exit that updater !!
  • Close all applications & use only Acrobat Reader 8.1 or 8.0 to open & fill up this ITR2 form.
  • If you generate the BarCode once, later on if you try to generate again, it may not :)
Hope this post helps many & saves their time !!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Return to India

After coming to Singapore, I have been using internet means to keep in touch with India..specially Bangalore !!. I found this blog very informative :

Very nicely written blog by somebody who recently moved back to India after staying in USA for many years. Good perspective of moving challenges & adjusting to the new place/city/country.

The other ways to keep in touch :

  • News websites - not very good though !! - etc
  • Blogs - Highly recommend this if you find a blog which really gives you good idea of what's happening in your home country/city.
  • Google Talk :) ..Yes keep chatting with your friends relatives often
  • SMS !! ..Not very fond of this ..but this helps too
  • Phone Call .. buy the cheapest card in the town :) ..I found "Tiger" Phone card very good. It provides 131 minutes of India calling for $8 :) ..There are others like Mustafa Calling card..
  • FLY - Yes one needs to really visit India to see what's happening :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cost of living in Singapore - July 2007

I thought of updating "Cost of living Singapore" since I last wrote it in April-07. As I have been tracking my expenses using, it gives me good idea as to how the expenses are over a period of time.

I would put a word of caution here that these are just a guideline for "cost of living in Singapore". As the expenses vary a lot depending on the factors like, lifestyle, area of living, personal preferences etc ... But this post does provide a rough idea as to what you can expect when you move here in terms of fixed/variable expenses.

Also I talk to many people to get more understanding on how much they spend overall on a monthly basis for living(again based on moderate lifestyle). Which certainly helps if someone wants to move around Singapore.

All the below are Singapore Dollar values.

Rent: Rent is gone up :(. Yes, recently some of friends who moved in find that the the HDB flat which was around $1200-1300, is now available for $1500. So this is a cause of concern for many people. But there are still ways to get Rent under your budget
  • Avoid staying near City
  • Try to be firm on your budget when talking to Agents
  • Do not rent very near to MRT(But near to Bus stop is a must !!)
  • View flats as many as you can before you decide on one you want to stay.
Play school : Playschool fees varies a lot in Singapore. If you go for something which is near Condo or Landed Properties(a term used for Bunglow/House in Singapore!). You would have to shell out more for the playschool. Look out for more options near your accomodation before you decide on something. Remember, that expensive playschool does not mean it is good for sure. Talk to your friends before you enroll.

Internet: For Internet you have many options, so check all options before you decide on something. As this is a fixed expense & has penalty clause when you terminate the contract.

Grocery : Another big ticket item after rent !!. With GST increase from July 1st 2007, there is little hike in overall grocery expense.

Hope this helps !!

Reference : Cost of Living in Singapore 2008

Feel good factor !!

One always needs motivation of some kind to do work, is it true always ? ...No I guess !! .I started this blog more than year ago to share my experience in different expects of life & help others to know something which will help them in daily life.

I feel good when somebody hits this blog & it really helps them in some way !!

Yesterday I got a comment from website : regarding one of blog entry :Cost of living Singapore - 2007

The comment is : "This is one of the most informative cost of living comparisons I've seen recently - thanks for writing this up."

This motivates me to blog more about things I knew from my own experience here in Singapore which would help others.

I saw the website & it seems to provide good information Singapore overall.

I would write more on "cost of living Singapore" in my next post, as things have changed a bit in last 6 months. Hope it helps some more people when they want to know more about Singapore before they take an decision to move here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rising Health care costs :(

The point I would like to make here is that the health care cost is increasing YoY & there is no limit to it. It all depends on where you go. If you visit a big hospital the charges are high. Visit the same Dr. in his private clinic, he would probably charge 30% less :). I remember paying Rs. 50 for consultation in Bangalore in 2000. Now the same Dr. charges Rs. 250. Yes its all about inflation. Everybody needs to cope up with that.

My personal suggestions :
  • Visit the personal clinic of the Dr. instead of the Big Hospital(if possible)
  • Try to maintain a family Dr., so that he does not put you into unnecessary tests/medication.(I remember going for a neck pain to a Dr. & he asked me to do MRI(Rs.6000) as it was available in the same hospital he was consulting !!)
  • For Pathology Tests, try to visit the nearest pathology lab, instead of doing it via the hospital pathology lab.(You will be surprised !!)
  • Give importance to convenience(because you are sick), but lets not hospital take advantage of it.
  • Try to ask around in your network before you visit the Dr. for Special consultation like Orthopedic, Skin etc .. Your friends can refer to a good Dr.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Customer Service in Singapore Post !

A busy afternoon I went to Singapore Post's Branch office to send a letter to one of my friend in India. As soon as I entered I saw a big queue, I was about to stand last in the queue. But then one person comes to me(I was thinking why, is he trying to sell me some service to me :) ) ...No he was from Singapore Post Office !! . He asked me "What would you like to do sir ?", I said "I want to send this letter to India". He said no need to stand in the queue for that sir & he simply directed me to a Machine called as S.A.M.

S.A.M.™(Self-service Automated Machine) is your 24-hour automated post office that allows you to weigh your packages, buy stamps even pay your of bills and fines. And the touch screen makes it all so simple.

Now this is called as service !! .. I was not impressed by the Automation in Singapore, but the kind of service every person provides whether it is government office or privatively held company who cares for customers !! ...Is it something very hard to do this in India ? ...

I am from India & I know there are issues to implement things with growing population. But still there are ways where service can be better. Specially when it comes to post office, my experience with India Post is just great !!

Earlier post on the same subject :

Indian Postal Service ..Amazing !

Experince with Indian Postal Services

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google !! ..See streets of America ..Street view

Google maps has a new view now, apart from earlier available like ..Satellite(shows you  view from top a s if you are in a plane), Traffic(shows you traffic situation in USA), Map(Map with street  information for most of the cities, Hybrid(combination of Map+Satellite).

So the new view is : Street View. Its amazing to see how they have done it.Street View lets you navigate down the streets of big cities like New York, Denver, Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

I checked out the SFO street view & was amazed with it !!. Its an excellent use of information. Its like visiting that place in real. Its amazing to see the use of technology in such a way, I wonder how much information Google has like this & how they will put together in future :) ...

That brings me to a blog entry by : Steven Feuerstein, Google's goal to organise your daily life

So be ready for the future :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogging at Singapore Metroblogging

Hello everyone I have started blogging for Singapore Metroblogs. This will help me to write more about Singapore !!

Checkout :

This blog will continue to get new posts about useful stuff & travel & recently personal finance as earlier !! keep checking ...

btw Bangalore folks there is :

Some more on Credit Card Debt

Its a sad story I see everywhere in Internet about Credit Card debt, not sure how much they are true as I personally do not understand how people managed to get into so much of debt, is it lifestyle need or habit.

Here is the story : Couple Learn the High Price of Easy Credit

I am reading the book : The Riches Man in Babylon

I am still reading it. But its very interesting to read a 1926 published book. Its a series of financial parables. The first message the book gives by a story is "A Part of All You Earn Is Yours To Keep"

I guess this is the most important & simple thing in order to stay away from debt which is not good for you. Some debt like Home Loan is always there which appreciates(hopefully).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Calling ICICI Phone banking : Home Loan

This post will make lot of people happy who are frustrated after calling ICICI phone banking several times, but not able to speak to the operator for their queries. Specially for Home Loan account queries, when you call & even after correct following their instructions on the phone IVR(Interactive Voice Response) system, you still cannot access your account.

Here is the trick ...

1) Call ICICI Phone Banking Number
2) After listening to the initial annoucements
3) Press : 1 - 1 - 5 - 2 - 1
4) Then you will be asked to enter your Loan Account Number(The numeric part only) ..
5) Enter any 10-11 digit number
6) The IVR will say "Sorry that was an Invalid Entry, please try again"
7) Again enter some other 10-11 digit number  - The Step 6) will be repeated
8) Again enter some other 10-11 digit number - The Step 6) will be repeated
9) Then it will say "You have exceeded maximum tries, transferring the call the phone banking officer " !!

You made it to the operator in less than 5 minutes(depending upon call volume)

Try this !!!

Happy calling ...."Hum Hai Na..."

Calling ICICI Phone banking : Home Loan

This post will make lot of people happy who are frustrated after calling ICICI phone banking several times, but not able to speak to the operator for their queries. Specially for Home Loan account queries, when you call & even after correct following their instructions on the phone IVR(Interactive Voice Response) system, you still cannot access your account.

Here is the trick ...

1) Call ICICI Phone Banking Number

2) After listening to the initial annoucements

3) Press : 1 - 1 - 5 - 2 - 1

4) Then you will be asked to enter your Loan Account Number(The numeric part only) ..

5) Enter any 10-11 digits

6) The IVR will say "Sorry that was an Invalid Entry, please try again"

7) Again enter some other 10-11 digits   - The Step 6) will be repeated

8) Again enter some other 10-11 digit number - The Step 6) will be repeated

9) Then it will say "You have exceeded maximum tries, transferring the call the phone banking officer " !!

You made it to the operator in less than 5 minutes(depending upon call volume)

Try this !!!

Happy calling ...."Hum Hai Na..."

Singapore : Rain City !!

Being coming here from Bangalore, India. I see lot of rain in Singapore since last 4 months I came here. Its good cooling effect when it rains. In Bangalore it used to rain only in a rainy season which is during june-july or sept ..

So when I first came to Singapore, I was asking this question about rainy season here & people laughed, it rains most of the time :)..So there is nothing like rainy season here ...

To checkout weather for Singapore : ..pretty good forecast !!

Tips for people who are new to this city :

  • Carry a small Umbrella always
  • Book Taxi in advance when it is rainy day !..As there are more people looking for Taxi that day !!
  • Plan more time for travel when it rains as sometimes there is heavy traffic on highways & busy lanes.
  • go home early to avoid traffic :)
Some photos taken just now :

Monday, May 21, 2007

Singapore : Indian Restaurants

Singapore is generally good for Indian good for Indian Restaurant as there are plenty in all the areas. Mainly some are catering to the needs to the office people & others are in the areas where Indian people hang out more !! Mustafa, Little India etc ..

But it is very common to see Singaporeans also eating Indian food a lot & they like it !

There is a chain of restaurants called Komala's. Which gets lot of business as it is located in very strategic locations where lot of people go for office or shopping.

You can get a partial list of Indian Restaurants from here

But at the same time the food quality varies. So many people who are expecting good food at the price they pay may not be true always. So be prepared for the surprise always !!

Specially for Vegetarian people who do not eat meat or fish, it is tough sometimes to get good Indian vege food. So if you are living in Singapore, you really need to research before you step out in good mood to eat outside.

There are fake meat vegetarian food joints are also there, but  the taste may not be liked by many Indians. I have only tried few of them & it was ok ...

On an average in a restaurants the dishes are around $8-12 depends on the restaurant again.

I plan to put my reviews about some of the restaurants I have visited till date, probably it will help others !!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Finding Train Route in India

Ever trying to find a train route in India with all the options with multi-station, multi-train options !! ? Here is the way ..

There is a website which offers you excellent way to find a train from one place to another in India ..e.g. you give Pune to Bangalore & It will provide you all the options of trains(direct or with stops or train change). Its a fastest way to find a train for planning your journey in India ...

btw .this website is still beta ..but works !!

Also see the website : if you want to travel by train in any country ..even from one country to another country using train as means of transportation ..excellent website !!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Reading : The Net Worth Workout: A Powerful Program for a Lifetime of Financial Fitness

Reading the Book : The Net Worth Workout: A Powerful Program for a Lifetime of Financial Fitness.

Very interesting book to understand personal finances, without too many complex words ti understand. I always like simple reading !!

This book uses personal fitness analogy to make you understand your finances & how to keep them fit.

I will post the review about it soon !! 

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tracking Expenses : Using Buxfer

I have been tracking our expenses using Buxfer effectively & it is just great way to manage this stuff. It uses Google Authentication so no more new accounts too ...

This website also recently added a "budgeting" feature. Which I am yet to use it much. I will try to compile the "Cost of living Singapore" again with few more items added to the list !!

Take a tour of Buxfer here :

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Casual Medical Expenses : Singapore - 2007

Yesterday first time we went to a Dr. here in Singapore, as my daughter was having mild fever since early morning. But it was a good experience to understand how one needs to react to the medical situation like this.

The visit to the Dr.( Paediatrician ) cost us $85.00(Dr. fees + medicine) ..She did checked the way normal normal Dr. does. The medicine given was normal paracetamol & cough syrup. But the clinic was in a private hospital, which was known to charge higher than normal rates(this is something we got to know when the Taxi driver mentioned to us !!).

This is very high cost compared to what other clinics charge. Which is around $20-30 range.

Also most of the times, unless the child is very sick, the medication given for normal fever, cough, cold is very common one(I am not advising we should do self-medication here). But we also need to think about the cost which generally offers nothing other than the same medicine which we normally give.

Overall Singapore is expensive for all medical expenses specially when done in private hospitals/clinics. Which is in-line with the economy. Infact in India too, the medical expenses are rising very high Year after Year.

I would try to update more on the "Cost of Living in Singapore" this weekend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Paying Credit Card dues with Credit Card :)

It was a quite a funny & good experience today for me. As always I pay my Credit Card Dues before they become due. so when I went to pay my dues using my Bank(DBS) website. While paying the dues, in the To Pay From Account it included the Credit Card Account as well :) ..So that means I can pay my credit card dues using my credit card itself !! ..Great idea by these credit card companies to facilitate people to clear their dues( or get more deep into debt) !!..

I know this Credit Card debt thing is more in Developed countries(as I heard & read on websites). But it is soon catching in India too ..Lot of people use lot of credit card & pay fine till they realize that its not good for them in long term

Recently i have been following a good blog on Personal Finance & it really gives good insight about managing money in a better way ...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Birla Sunlife : Funny Error !!

I was trying to access the Birla Sunlife Insurance website & this is what I got :)..Isn't it strange to see error like on website ...this could have been handled in better way !! "We are maintaining our website, please login later!" ;)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Using ScribeFire to blog

Trying to see how Scribefire will work with blogger !! ..btw I am looking for a offline blog post editor !! ...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Choosinng Cable TV, Internet, Phone, Mobile Contracts in Singapore

I discovered it little late. So would like the people to understand this concept very well when they try to subscribe to any New Cable TV, Internet, Mobile, or Land Phone services from any of the companies in Singapore.

Being coming from India the concepts from getting into contracts for new subscriptions was little new to me.

For all the above services there are several companies like :

1. Starhub - - Mainly for Cable TV
2. M1 - - Phone + Internet
3. Singtel - - Phone + Internet

All the companies run "promotions" all the time. So this is very important to know that these companies run it all the time. They offer lot of discounts/gifts etc when they run promotions, one needs to choose between the discount & gifts they offer.

So points to remember before you finalize your contract with any of these companies :

  • Research well to to understand which service you want & who is the best provider in your area
  • Always look for best option in order to minimise the contract period & penalty in event of you breaking the contract
  • Generally the contract is for 12 or 24 months
  • The 24 months contracts is always better sometimes & offer maximum gifts like even Laptops in some cases !!
  • Try to understand your need & subscribe based on that, not on the based on what you are getting as a part of contract ..e.g. One company is giving away Laptop(they say worth $1500) for your 24 months contract with them for taking 3 services(Cable TV+Internet+Phone). But if you break the contract within 24 months, you might have to pay $1000 back :) ..So decide what you want...
  • Look for your needs - e.g. You want to make more local calls or IDD Calls.
  • Some companies will offer Free IDD calls to India, USA etc for a fixed minimum rental per month. So if you are going to make more calls to that IDD destination make use of this facility.
  • Generally breaking the contract is never profitable :(
  • Never rush for the promotional offer or discounts, there is always something hidden in it. So take your time & then go for it.
Some more general Information for these services :

  • Starhub Cable TV has only 3 Hindi Channels - Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony
  • Internet Services by Starhub is advertised at upto 6000 kpbs speed. So it might vary, it is not a dedicated speed.
  • Singtel promises to provide better Broadband than Starhub - I have personally not used it.
  • Generally - the Local calls are charged at .15 cents per minute
  • IDD to India from Starhub mobile is expensive, instead buy a calling card which gives upto 80 minutes for $10 value
  • M1 has a 384 kpbs anywhere wireless broadband service which is cheaper & good if your Internet usage is not much :

Disclaimer : The above points are written by me based on my own experience & may change depending on the offer going on by the company at any given time. So please check the offer before deciding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cost of living Singapore - 2007

I have been trying to get realistic picture of "cost of living in Singapore" before I moved in here. i searched many blogs & yahoo answers. I surely got some idea, but it was hard to find the close the approximate feel of how much does it costs a couple with one child or for a couple to live in Singapore with moderate expenses NOW !!.

As it is very important for us to know the cost of living in a new country or city before we move-in, so that we are financially & emotionally prepared to live there !!.

Now that I have already been living in Singapore for more than 3 months, I guess I can put some math around for other people who are in search of the same question "How much does is cost to live in Singapore?".

Again what I am trying to put here is something based on my experience & my lifestyle(which call as Moderate).

I will try to update more on this as I get more data based on my experience here in Singapore.Now let me explain some of the expenses in short to avoid any confusion.
Local transport will cost around $100 for commuting daily to office by MRT/Bus

Fixed Expenses
These are some of the expenses you will have on a monthly basis.
Variable Expenses
These expenses can be different for some months, but most of you will have these as well. Now again here is the lifestyle comes into picture, someone using more of Taxi or eating out frequently will have more amount spent in this category.

Rent is the major expense in singapore & it ranges from $1000 to $1500, depending where you stay in Singapore. Staying closer to the CBD(or city area/downtown area) is more expensive. So one needs to decide a cap on this before you try to find a good house to stay. The HDB(developed by Singapore Govt) are the most economical & do serve the purpose.

There are 3 types of housing·

  • HDB Most of the housing is HDB. Economical & most people prefer this to start with. Choices are 1,2,3,4,5 Bed Room flats in most of areas of Singapore.·
  • Condo These are expensive housing schemes by govt or private builders. They are few in all areas & provide facilities like Swimming pool, gym, guarded security etc. But the rooms generally are smaller & you have to pay more for it.

Settlement Expenses

Consider some settlement expenses when you arrive, following are based on my experience·

  • One Month rental as Deposit (e.g. $1300)·
  • 50% of the per month rent as Brokrage to Agent (e.g. $650)·
  • Most of the HDB/Condo flats will have furniture, but sometimes you might have to buy something. Furniture is expensive depending on what you want to buy (e.g. $500 for a Queen size bed)·
  • Buying any electronics items like Mixer Grinder/Vaccum Cleaner etc will cost more here.·
  • Indian style Kitchen utensils are expensive here (e.g. $50 for a 4 ltr Aluminum Hackings cooker)·
  • Any other item you want to buy which is not there in Flat you rent or required.

Some other points about Singapore

  • All Indian vegetables/grocery are available in Mustafa 24 hour shop· Little India(a Place in Singapore) has most of the other Indian Stuff & food items.·
  • No need of Car as pubic transport is very effective & cheap to travel all around Singapore·
  • Weather is not extreme..humid climate·
  • Lots of Indians for community help·
  • Roundtrip to India is about $700-1000 per person
  • Deposit to Schools for registration (e.g. 1 month fee or around $1000-1500 for Indian Schools.
  • There are 2 Indian Schools : Bhavans & DPS !! Having CBSE system.

Some useful websites·

Related Post

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Window Vista & Webcams :(

I was happy to have Windows Vista Business on my new laptop :) ...but not for long after I realized that my old(not too old) Logitech Webcam is not compatible with Vista :)

So here u go a new one :) ..not sure whether it is a strategy by Logitech or other vendors for not supporting the new OS by MS.

So now I know that it can happen to any of my old softwares/hardwares or something which was working earlier may not work properly first thing is to checkout for compatibility.

The most important thing is that here after whatever you buy make sure that it is Vista compatible. You may not be using it today but may use very soon. Also sometimes the hardware vendors might selloff the old not so compatible stuff for cheap to lure the customers ;)

So its long way to go for Vista !! ..propbably some device driver writers can start a new business :)