The beginning of the end for fiat currency in Singapore?

Green colored currency

This came as quite a shock to me the other day when I was shopping for hiking pants. Why hiking pants? I find that hiking pants/shirts are the best for travelling in S.E. Asia because they are light, easy to pack and dries quickly whether from sweat, rain or a washing. So instead of the branded lines like Columbia that retail over $100 Sgd per piece, I opted to check out the “no name” brands which are about $30 Sgd.

My “go to” chain of stores when I’m looking for sports stuff in Singapore goes by the name of Decathlon. They carry a lot of “no name” brand goods as well as branded goods at good prices. Anyways, I heard a new branch opened up in a mall named Velocity @ Novena, which is really close to where I am and I needed to be as time efficient as possible. Check out my post Bangkok Dangerous – a temporary relocation experience if you wanna know why, it’s kinda funny now but not so much while it was happening, lol.

When I arrived at the Decathlon store in Velocity @ Novena, I found it underwhelming, I was expecting the usual huge shop with lots of stuff in it. This branch was claustrophobic-ly small, ok maybe not that small but close. Anyways, they had what I was looking for and after trying it on, I went to pay. Here comes the WTH moment…

So I’m standing behind this lady, probably looking as confused as I looked, because there wasn’t a cashier or cash register at the counter. There were employees walking around but none came to collect the money. So she waved an employee down and he came to assist. So apparently the whole system is self service and if you want a bag, you’ll have to pay for one and then ask someone to get you one. I don’t have an issue with the self service system as I’m getting pretty used to it. Singapore is highly into the self service/pay systems. Almost all fast food chains have a self order/pay system, many restaurants have ipad (or equivalent) menu order systems. The local grocery store near me only has self check out booths with machines that collect payment, although there is still a cashier at each kiosk to help. Same with convenience stores, the cashier rings you up and you shove your cash into a machine. What I have an issue with, is the “we are cashless” stance that this particular Decathlon is taking. When it was my turn, the Decathlon employee was still there watching as I scanned my item and when I handed him the cash, he pointed at the sign. I asked him, “seriously, you don’t take cash?” in which he replied, “yes, we don’t take cash.” Well, nothing I could do about it, plus I was in a rush and had to finish packing and catch a flight so I charged the pants to my credit card. Thankfully, Decathlon isn’t a store that charges an extra 3% if you use a credit card. If you’re not aware of this practice it’s pretty frustrating the first few times.

Now someone correct me if I’m wrong but “this note is legal tender” printed on fiat currency means that business’ must accept it as a form of payment, right? Well, that’s the way I understand it. Apparently, this isn’t the case in Singapore? OH, another thing I’d better mention, when it comes to paper money, in Singapore, you can use the Brunei dollar as equivalent to the Singapore dollar. I found out the hard way years ago when I received change in Brunei currency and caused a bit of a ruckus, lol. Back to this issue of business’ not taking cash. Since my purchase at Decathlon, I’ve asked some Singaporeans for their thoughts. One person vehemently defended the right of business’ not to take cash citing that it’s the government of Singapore’s push for a cashless society and that even the hospitals are telling people to pay at the 7-11 if they insist on paying cash. Wait, what? Really? I haven’t followed up on that but a few others believe, as I do, that it is illegal for business’ doing business in Singapore to not to take Singapore currency. These people have suggested I lodge a complaint with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and when I asked, “why me,” they said it’s precisely because I’m a foreigner that I should be the one to complain. I don’t understand that logic but I’m probably not going to lodge a complaint since (in my opinion) it won’t matter one bit. Equally confusing to me is that, of all the people I asked, the majority just didn’t care.

I think a cashless society would be just one Mt. Gox hack away from anarchy and I’m of the opinion that when the masses are being herded in one particular direction, it’s not gonna be too good for the herd. Of course I’m no expert and I don’t know if cashless business’ are going dominate the shopping landscape or not but I do know that the push for going cashless is real and relatively quick. There is an increasing amount of crypto atm’s popping up in more malls in Singapore and I’ve seen establishments accepting crypto, which may or may not be a good thing. Have a read of my post, Funan DigitaLife Mall’s rebirth. What’s the big deal? Something you’ll want to think about for more info. If you’re looking for crypto atm’s they maybe hard to spot as they are not heavily advertised. I plan to compile a list with pictures and detailing what services are offered at these atm’s in the near future. It’s on my to do list, lol.

So what do you think about a cashless society and as a tourist being forced to use online payment (potential loss of anonymity assuming your particular online funds is accepted) or use your foreign credit card (potential additional fees). Thankfully, it’s not that prevalent now but it’s happening. I kinda feel sorry for the smaller ‘mom and pop’ shops that will need to “subscribe” to all the services necessary to make them cashless and what will happen to the extra 3% increase that a lot of business charge to the consumer for using credit cards? All those fees are inevitably gonna be added to the purchase price, that sucks.

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ūüėÉ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

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What are powderworks?

I had never even heard of powderwords before, much less seen them. So admist all the hooha of Singapore’s 53 birthday celebration, I waited patiently for what was slated in the itinerary as ‘powderworks.’ With the intention of shooting the fireworks, I had set up in between the area where the live performances were to be performed and the area where the fireworks were to be set off (as well as where the Navy divers and floating cannons were going to be performed). When the allotted time came, a mini boom sounded, way over where the stage was and I saw my first ‘powderwoks’! and yes I had my camera pointed in the wrong direction. Sigh…

It was pretty cool to see these ‘fake’ fireworks. It kinda reminded me of Holi powder throwing. Since I missed the first barrage,¬† I’m now getting nervous because there’s only one barrage left and I don’t know where it’s going off. Luckily, I brought a second camera setup and shot the above images handheld. Having seen and captured the second set of powderworks, I was happy. Watching the powder dissipate, I couldn’t help but to wonder which was worse, the colored ‘smoke’ or the fireworks smoke but came to the conclusion that there was much less powderworks so the amount of ‘smoke’ was considerably less and it didn’t last as long. Then I started to wonder which was worse to inhale, oh well, at least it looked nice.

Here’s the shot details:

 

Camera Canon 5d2
Focal Length 40 mm
Aperture f8
Shutter Speed 1/750
ISO 200

Thanks to @kalemandra for hosting the colorchallenge contests!

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, ūüėÉ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
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Aftermath of my Samsung Note 5 Smash

OK, so a couple days ago, in a fit of rage, I stupidly threw my phone down on a counter it bounced off then onto the cement floor….yeah. Here’s a pic (there’s a slight warp to the phone now):

Smashed Samsung Note 5.

Smashed Samsung Note 5.

So after that bit of satisfaction of smashing something…I slowly started to realize that I just got the phone maybe 2 months ago (I swapped my brand new Samsung S7 for it) and I hadn’t done a back up yet and over the course of 2 months I met a lot of people at the exhibitions and events, not to mention the pics I used my phone for….So I’m stewing about to boil over so I exiled myself to a corner and I’m fighting off the flu.

The flu won, slept almost 2 days. So 3rd day, today, I’m up¬†looked at the phone, no lights no nothin, plugged in, nothing…took my sim out to put in back up phone and left the house. Went around to the used kiosks to check prices of used phones and new phones as well as repair prices. After many oooh and aaahs about the condition of my phone here’s what I gathered:

Area: Toa Payoh, Orchard, Plaza Singapura (Country: Singapore)
Price range for screen inclusive of labor: $290 – $420
Price range for Motherboard inclusive of labor $250 – $300

The high prices are from Samsung. Note: If you let Samsung fix your phone they WILL wipe your phone! They said because they reflash the phone or something like that. Also, they won’t back up for you! Where as the shops, they only replace the display so your data will stay intact.

Price range for NEW Note 5 High $800’s to $900’s
Price range for used Note 5 between $500 and $600
Price range for used Note 4 Between $300 and $400

The worry now is the warp on the phone has it caused any issues with the motherboard, Samsung said maybe, other shops say probably not. All say have to replace the display first.

Time it takes to change the display is 2 hours, Samsung 2-3 days. The shops that don’t have the display in stock will take a week to get it in.

I went with a shop in Far East Plaza called CityMobi. A gentleman named James helped me out. After much deliberation I went with CityMobi because no one had a blue display (my Note 5 is the blue one) but he offered gold or white. No one else offered. But most of all, in my opinion, he was the most honest, realistic person that I had spoken to. He was pretty sure the bend was not serious and the motherboard should be fine.

So I chose the gold display went back 1h 45 min later and it was done. The phone works, my data is all there and dang, I think two tone looks pretty good. The phone is still a bit warped, the speaker grill thing at the top is a bit wonky but hey….it works!

Anyways, i was offered a discount on a gold colored case (I guess my two tone phone isn’t as cool as I thought?) and screen protector so what the heck I got both. All in, it cost me $325, an expensive lesson to learn what button sets me off.

I hope none o’ya have to go through this but if ya do, I hope the numbers and process helps calm you down. Oh, if you haven’t done so already, BACK UP YOUR DATA!



Road to recovery, really this time…

So my feet has gotten waaaay better now.¬†For the whole story, here’s where it started. The full story is at the end, under “UPDATE 2).

Then an update with skin specialist (western medecine) HERE

Here’s a pic of the asian meds, ointment, lotion I was given by the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor and after 2 months, the results:

20160321_121715 20160512_145742

DO NOT EAT LIST (recommended by the TCM doctor)

Seafood: fish, shrimp, prawn, abalone, shark fin, seafood sauces, XO sauce, shrimp paste, oyster sauce
Nuts: peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachios
Vegetables: Bok Choy, bamboo shoots, chives, mushrooms, eggplant, pumpkin, celery, chili
Fruits: Mango, durian, lychee, longan, manana, watermelon
Misc: Alcohol, spicy foods, sesame oil, deep fried foods, duck, goose, milk, glutinous rice, chocolate, coffee



When upstairs neighbor renovates, it costs me money

My neighbors upstairs are renovating. From the sounds of it they are tearing down a wall or three. That’s good for them and I’m happy for them until my ceiling starts to break / crumble / fall down not even sure how to describe it. Check out the pics..20160428_171124 20160428_171135 20160428_171215 20160428_171113_001

So I went up to talk to the contractor, they told me to contact the HDB (Gov’t entity that built the building)¬†because this kind of damage is normal for older buildings and they will decide who has to pay. So I did and they told me, I have to pay there is a “scheme” called a GRA (Goodwill Repair Assistance) which covers 50% of the repair costs AND the max the owner must pay tops out at $300. Sounds good, except I shouldn’t have to pay in the first place, I think my neighbor should cover “my” 50% because my ceiling wouldn’t have come down if the didn’t start jack hammering their walls/floors.

Anyways, the inspector guy who came to see the damage said the gov’t contractor who is going to do the repairs is back logged and it may take months for them to get around to my unit. LUCKILY, I got an appointment for next week. The repair works is called “spalling” which means they just mix some concrete and put patch up the hole. They’re supposed to paint over the rusted rebar to prevent further rusting but most of the rebar is gone now anyways, so we’ll see what they do.

The worst part is I had to remove a kitchen wall cabinet to reveal the full extent of the ceiling damage and I found out the crown molding was only resting on top of the cabinet and held to the ceiling via sealant. WTH?!?!?! Yeah, so it fell off as soon as the cabinet was lowered.

Gotta love them corner cutters…lol. First world problems…sigh.