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Buying a Camera in Singapore (2017 Edition)

For a country of its size, Singapore has a thriving photography community. Walk down Orchard Road over the weekend and it’s easy to spot the latest DSLR or mirrorless camera slung around someone’s neck.

Less obvious is how these people acquire their cameras. Unlike the US where most savvy shoppers head to either B&H Photo or Adorama (both being online stores) to make their purchases and return them if they don’t like it, buying a camera in Singapore is still pretty much a hands-on experience. It’s not that Singapore is behind the times. Rather, it’s a combination of Singapore being a small city and the lack of a buyer’s remorse clause that makes shopping at a brick-and-mortar store the preferred choice for big-ticket items. Particularly for second-hand cameras, while a sale may be negotiated through the myriad online platforms, the actual deal is almost always done through a meet-up.

Read moreBuying a Camera in Singapore (2017 Edition)

Quad core processors are finally coming to Ultrabooks

Source: Intel

If you’re looking to buy a new laptop any time soon, such as the ongoing COMEX show, you may want to hold your horses instead.

That’s because, after five long years, Intel is finally doubling the number of cores in its Core i5 and i7 U-series CPUs, commonly used in many Ultrabooks.

Read moreQuad core processors are finally coming to Ultrabooks

Capturing the National Day festivities and fireworks

With some spare time on my hands, I made my way down to the Promontory at Marina Bay, camera in hand, on 29th July, the final National Day Parade preview before the actual day. My intent was to get some practice with my new camera as well as to soak in the festive atmosphere despite not having a ticket to the show itself.

I had done this once before some eleven years ago with a Canon PowerShot camera. Back then, the parade was still held at the old National Stadium. But after that, it felt like such a chore having to lug a tripod around and camp for a good spot hours before.

This time around, I wasn’t that prepared either. I adopted an “anything goes” attitude and brought my D7500 with kit lens and 55-200mm along.

Read moreCapturing the National Day festivities and fireworks

So long, iPod. Thanks for the memories.

My iPod collection circa 2006.

It was quietly revealed by Apple a few days ago that the iPod nano and shuffle would be discontinued. This marks the end of the non-iOS lineage of iPods, and leaves the iPod touch as the sole carrier of the iPod line. Given that Apple is trying to get people off the 3.5mm headphone jack, it’s not difficult to deduce that the iPod touch, too, is probably on life support.

Being one to jump quickly on the nostalgia bandwagon, I started reminiscing of the times when I still used an iPod. Let’s start at the beginning…

Read moreSo long, iPod. Thanks for the memories.

Taste Test: McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger Feast

McDonald’s staple menu of Fillet-O-Fish, McSpicy and Quarter Pounder with Cheese is rather stale by now, even with the seasonal items like the Prosperity burger and Samurai burger. McDonald’s seems to have realised this over the past two years and have tried to mix things up every now and then since.

My favourite of the new mixes was the “Create Your Taste” concept, which I enthusiastically wrote about last year. “Create Your Taste” has since quietly disappeared (to my great disappointment), probably because it took up too much preparation time for a fast food restaurant. It did give birth to two new staple items, though–the Angus Cheese burger and the Chicken with Apple Slaw burger, which they (thankfully) replaced with Buttermilk earlier this year. In retrospect, perhaps “Create Your Taste” was just a crowdsourced experiment all along.

Then, of course, there was the salted egg burger, which garnered mostly mixed reviews. Now McDonald’s is back with another locally-inspired creation, the Nasi Lemak Burger. Or, should it be known as the Roti Lemak burger instead?

Read moreTaste Test: McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger Feast

One Last Look – Sungei Road Thieves’ Market

One of the entrances to the market.

10th July 2017 marked the last day of operations (if you can call it that) for the second-hand flea market at Sungei Road, more popularly known as the Thieves’ Market. It being a weekday, I didn’t get the chance to witness its last closing, but I was present on the last weekend on both evenings. …

Read moreOne Last Look – Sungei Road Thieves’ Market

Manekineko: K Box, reinvented

Back in the early 2000s, the name K Box, to Singaporeans, was perhaps synonymous with karaoke. It offered decent prices relative to its competitors like Party World KTV, had many outlets islandwide, possessed the latest the largest song collection and also served meals, tidbits and refreshments.

Then, Teo Heng burst into the scene around 2007 with its first outlet at Katong Shopping Centre. It offered a no-frills concept, charging by room size instead of per pax, at far more affordable rates. While it didn’t offer any food or beverages, it allowed you to bring in your own food and (non-alcoholic) drinks,  a trade-off most people are more than happy to accept. Originally situated at less accessible places like Katong and Sembawang, it has since expanded to places such as JCube, Rendezvous Hotel and Suntec City. Today, it’s safe to say that Teo Heng has displaced K Box as the first thing that comes to mind when you say ‘karaoke’.

Meanwhile, K Box went through some tough times. Many of its outlets were shuttered, perhaps due to poor business, and it made the news in 2014 for the wrong reason–hackers managed to access K Box’s database and leaked personal particulars of its 300,000 members.

Read moreManekineko: K Box, reinvented

Walkabout: 2017 Geylang Serai Market Bazaar

Ramadan is upon us once again, which also signifies the start of the annual Geylang Serai Market Bazaar. Billed as the biggest pasar malam event of the year in Singapore, it hosts 900 stalls across a few roads right outside Paya Lebar MRT.

Stalls are well in demand, since the bazaar is always teeming with crowds all month long, Muslim or non-Muslim alike. Rental is said to be as high as $17,000 this year, and some shops (probably those not selling food and those not blessed with TheSmartLocal’s or LadyIronChef’s midas touch) are still struggling to break even.

As you would expect, prices are exorbitant (at least, by pasar malam standards) and are at least on par with that of recent large-scale pasar malam events like Artbox and River Hongbao. Still, that isn’t enough to deter the millennial crowds, who are apparently willing to pay $20 and upwards for a slice of avocado toast.

Read moreWalkabout: 2017 Geylang Serai Market Bazaar

Welcome to the Logistical Revolution

During my marketing module in university some four years back, I remember my fellow peers coming up with ideas like making healthy lunchboxes and delivering them within the CBD, and hassle-free renting of bicycles around campus. I thought, at that time, whether such concepts would seem a little too far-fetched. Six months later, during my environment sustainability elective, we were tasked to come up with a  car-sharing scheme similar to ZipCar in Singapore and promote it via video. We eventually settled on allowing users to drop off and return cars at select locations across Singapore, using a membership card that would serve as a car key. To solve the potential problem of having too many cars one at location, we proposed a roving crew that would chauffeur ‘stranded’ cars back to their rightful homes. While we were forced to sell our proposal, deep down, I wasn’t convinced that this would work out in the real world.

Read moreWelcome to the Logistical Revolution

Nine Months On — Where have the Funan shops moved to?

It’s been nearly nine months since Funan shut its doors, and perhaps now’s a good time to take stock–where have all the shops in Funan moved to?


The Funan outlet on its second last day.

While other shops have come and gone over the years, Challenger was a mainstay at Funan. The Funan outlet was Challenger’s oldest and biggest one, spanning an entire floor divided into themed sections. It had a far wider selection compared to your neighbourhood Challenger store. There were sections dedicated to gaming, networking equipment, laptops, smartphones, cameras, and even office furniture.

While Challenger initially said that it had no plans to set up a new flagship store, it eventually signed a lease to takeover the basement floor at Bugis Junction which was formerly occupied by Virtualand. The new flagship store is slated to open in Q2 2017. Here’s hoping that it will feature a similarly eclectic mix of products as with the Funan store.

Read moreNine Months On — Where have the Funan shops moved to?

TribeCar Review — Fuss-free, Ad-hoc Car Rental

Update 11 March 2017: TribeCar has formed a partnership with Grab allowing freelance drivers to drive on an hourly basis under the Grab PowerHour scheme. Check out my thoughts below.

I first knew of TribeCar a few months back, when a promoter gave me a flyer somewhere along the City Hall area. Initially, I didn’t think much of it.

Then, it was time to make some Valentine’s Day plans this year and I toyed with the idea of renting a car for an entire Saturday. After some research, I found this was harder than I anticipated. Most car rental companies operate on a traditional model where you have to make a trip down to their offices to collect the car. On weekends, this poses a problem since their offices are not open. Weekend rentals for these companies would then mean you have to rent the car from Friday to Monday and incur the extra costs that come with it, including overnight parking.

Read moreTribeCar Review — Fuss-free, Ad-hoc Car Rental