When Is An Expat An Expat?

By Aussie Pete, December 23, 2011 11:19 am

Source

I’ve had a number of people email to ask what this ‘Notatourist.sg’ collaboration is all about. Thanks to Joanne and the team over there, the following videos have been posted on YouTube which pretty much explain it all.

The first one is about the site itself and was played at the launch event held at TAB:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

The second one is a video of the launch event itself:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Still not sure what it’s about and need more info? – Visit the site and check it out, or feel free to drop me a line.

Amazing World… Amazing Pictures!

By Aussie Pete, December 23, 2011 12:00 am

My good ol’ mate, Ralphie, in Melbourne has done it again. He always seems to get his hands on some of the most remarkable stuff and never fails to share with me on email.

In this edition, some of the most amazing pictures that you will ever see… ENJOY!!

ASIDE: Wishing a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Safe and Prosperous New Year to Ralph and his family… have a beer for me mate.

The world’s highest chained carousel, located in Vienna, the height of 117 metres:

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Thor’s Well – “the gates of the dungeon.” CapePerpetua, Oregon. At moderate tide and strong surf, flowing water creates a fantastic landscape:

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Emerald Lake in the crater of an extinct volcano. Tongariro National Park – NewZealand:

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Restaurant on a cliff on the east coast of Zanzibar. Depending on the tide the restaurant can be reached both on foot and by boat:

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Office of Selgas Cano in Madrid:

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Desert with Phacelia (Scorpion Weed). Flowering once in several years:

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Balloons in Cappadocia:

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Dubai. The view from the skyscraper BurjKhalifa. The height of buildings is 828m (163 floors):

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And this is the view down:

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These trees grow in the forest near Gryfino, Poland. The cause of the curvature is unknown:

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The border between Belgium and the Netherlands in a cafe:

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Twice a year in the Gulf of Mexico rays migrate. About 10 thousand stingrays swim from the Yucatan Peninsula to Florida in the spring and back in the fall:

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In the resort town of Skagen you can watch an amazing natural phenomenon. This city is the northernmost point of Denmark, where the Baltic and North Seas meet. The two opposing tides in this place can not merge because they have different densities:

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In the Chinese province of Shandong is a bridge across the Gulf of Jiaozhou. The bridge length over 36 km is calculated for eight car lanes, and is the longest sea bridge in the world:

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Day and night. The monument in Kaunas, Lithuania:

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An unusual tunnel in California’s Sequoia National Park:

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This statue, created by Bruno Catalano, is located in France:

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Family Photo:

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The longest traffic jam in the world recorded in China. Its length is 260 kilometres:

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Paris computer games store. In fact, the floor is absolutely flat:

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Marcus Levine – slaughtering an artist in the literal sense. He creates his paintings by nailing a white wooden panel. At his latest series of paintings exhibited in a gallery in London, Marcus has spent more than 50,000 pieces of iron:

amazing22

In the city of Buford (USA) lives just one person. He works as a janitor and as a Mayor:

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Autumn Camouflage:

amazing24

Haus Rizzi – Germany:

amazing25

Lena Pillars. Russia, the Lena River:

amazing26

Banpo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea:

amazing27

Favelas of Brazil. The boundary between wealth and poverty:

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Lost paradise in the Indian Ocean. Isle of Lamu:

amazing29

Balcony of floor 103 in Chicago

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From the outside it looks like:

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View of the sunset from inside the wave:

amazing32

This is a unique geological phenomenon known as Danxia landform. These phenomena can be observed in several places in China. This example is located in Zhangye, Province of Gansu. The color is the result of an accumulation for millions of years of red sandstone and other rocks:

amazing33

In northwestern Montana, USA. The water is so transparent that it seems that this is a quite shallow lake. In fact, it’s very deep:

amazing34

Airport in the Maldives is located on an artificial island in the middle of the Indian Ocean:

amazing35

Lighthouse guard in Mare, France must be one of the most courageous people on the planet! Not everyone will have a smoke in such weather, and in such a place!:

amazing36

Photo of storm in Montana, USA, 2010:

amazing37

Skyscraper-Crescent Crescent Moon Tower (Dubai):

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Heavy fog in Sydney, which enveloped the whole city:

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The river above the river: Magdeburg Water Bridge, Germany:

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Morning Glory – kind of clouds observed in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia:

amazing41

Gibraltar Airport is one of the most extraordinary airports in the world:

amazing42

Source: Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

Singapore Is Beautiful – No Matter Which Way You Look At It

By Aussie Pete, December 19, 2011 12:53 am

Please note: Click on the images to view larger and higher resolution

With the timing and lighting just right, Singapore’s Marina Bay looks beautiful – upside down or right side up!

Stunning: Towering skyscrapers are reflected in the calm water of Singapore's Marina Bay

Stunning: Towering skyscrapers are reflected in the calm water of Singapore's Marina Bay

The following amazing pictures of Singapore’s iconic skyline reflected into the calm waters are the work of 33-year-old landscape designer, Vorrarit Anantsorrarak.

Vorrarit said, “My project started in December 2008 when I decided to do my first travelling to Japan… I saw the incredible site of the Osaka skyline reflected in the water and used my camera to capture the moment… After that trip I became addicted and have taken pictures in Thailand, Singapore and even China.”

Light show: Vehicle bridges leading to the iconic Sands buildings of Marina Bay are transformed into a visual treat in the quiet of the Singapore night

Light show: Vehicle bridges leading to the iconic Sands buildings of Marina Bay are transformed into a visual treat in the quiet of the Singapore night

You might be thinking that the image reflections must be the work of photoshop, but Vorrarit has insisted that his photos are all the result of his skill and timing.

High stakes: Singapore's iconic Sands building casino and resort is mirrored by the tranquil dawn light

High stakes: Singapore's iconic Sands building casino and resort is mirrored by the tranquil dawn light

He continued, “I love all the lights and vivid colours you can see in man-made structures… The reflections merge the buildings into natural form which reveals a different side to them… I sometimes flip my pictures over and try to make people guess which images is real and which is the reflection.”

The Marina Bay esplanade in Singapore: 33-year-old landscape designer, Vorrarit Anantsorrarak spent four years capturing a series of stunning reflective images taken across Asia

The Marina Bay esplanade in Singapore: 33-year-old landscape designer, Vorrarit Anantsorrarak spent four years capturing a series of stunning reflective images taken across Asia

Labour of love: Photographer Anantsorrarak wanted the light to be absolutely perfect so he would get up at the crack of dawn to capture these spectacular images

Labour of love: Photographer Anantsorrarak wanted the light to be absolutely perfect so he would get up at the crack of dawn to capture these spectacular images

Source: Aussie Pete

How Foreigners Can Truly Integrate In Singapore Instead Of Just Mixing

By Aussie Pete, December 14, 2011 1:49 am

Source: Aussie Pete

Regardless of which country you come from or where you live, one of the most satisfying ways of achieving self-fulfillment and personal growth and at the same time forging very tight and often unbreakable bonds with your neighbours and fellow local residents is through community volunteer work.

DSC_0468

In my case, as a foreigner settling into Singapore, it has also been a means to achieving a very deep level of integration in my heartland community. Not only have my local relationships developed from ones of ‘familiarity’ into those of ’strong friendships’, as a Caucasian married to a beautiful Chinese wife with two absolutely adorable Eurasian children, I feel that although we may be considered a ‘minority’ (racially) in our local estate, we feel completely accepted by those around us. There is never any animosity and I have learned that the colour of my skin or country of heritage is of absolutely no consequence in my day to day interactions.

Sure, when we first moved to Singapore all those years ago, living in a condo in Woodlands, we were both scared and intimidated… we were not sure at all how we should go about integrating, earning and giving respect and gaining acceptance. For the first couple of years, we were certainly not doing a great job of it at all. In fact, we even took people staring as a sign of dislike toward us – when in reality, what we considered may be a ‘coolness’ from local Singaporeans at the time, was probably more due to inquisitiveness and curiosity.

Let me tell you for a fact… open your heart and lives with no pretense and you will surely find (as we have) that Singapore is one of the most warm and kindest societies on this planet.

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palogoAs a part of my collaboration with notatourist.sg, I wanted to reach out to fellow foreigners looking for ways to integrate and become accepted as part of their local community, by offering some brief guidance and key links on how they can offer their services through Grassroots volunteer work. (Please note, the following information is far from exhaustive, and I strongly encourage you to have a surf around the People’s Association website – link attached at the bottom of this article).

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As my role as a Grassroots Leader in Sengkang West, the past year has seen a very exciting range of activities and the number of new personal and family friendships are too many to count…. from working with Residents’ Committees on block parties, divisional activities and events (I even had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Lee at our Sengkang West Wellness Day) to the huge Halloween party we held at the CC in late October, for which I was co-chairman of the organizing committee. It’s been a huge year!!

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Specifically, although my main role is as a member of the Anchorvale CCMC (Community Club Management Committee), I often also work closely with my local Residents’ Committee on things even ‘closer to home’… in fact, I even patrol our estate with the local constabulary as part of the COP (citizens on patrol) – in collaboration with the police force, it is known as the ‘Neighbourhood Watch Zone’ program.

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For more information on what the CCMC does, click here. In summary, Community Club Management Committees (CCMCs) “help build, manage and maintain all our Community Clubs (CCs). CCs are the common meeting ground for residents from all walks of life by providing numerous recreational activities and learning opportunities. CCs also connect residents and the Government by providing relevant information and gathering feedback on national concerns and policies. Each CC serves about 15,000 households or an average of 50,000 people”.

Within our CCMC, are five executive committees – Senior Citizens’ EC, Women’s EC, Youth EC, Malay Activity EC, Indian Activity EC. Through this network, we “promote racial harmony and social cohesion through the various cultural, educational, recreational, sporting, social and other community-based activities organised specially for residents.”

The full list of organizations and committees available for volunteering can be found on the PA website, under the Grassroots Organization section.

To sign-up as a volunteer, simply go here and register your details and interests.

One of the most common questions I get asked on signing up as a volunteer, is “But I don’t live in a HDB estate, how can I get involved?”… Well fret not, dear friends – residents of private housing estates can still play their part by joining a Neighbourhood Committee.

Still in doubt or need extra advice, please feel free to reach out to me directly via email or comment.

I found the following ’structure’ chart sometime ago on another blog which illustrates nicely, the various committees and how we come together:

grassrootsorg01

People’s Association Main Website – Click Here

Exclusive – 100% Absolute Irrefutable Proof That Santa Claus Exists – Double Confirmed

By Aussie Pete, December 13, 2011 1:39 am

Folks – today at Aussie Pete blog, I have an absolute jaw-dropping scoop!!

To answer the age-old question, “Does Santa Claus really exist”, we can now go one step further than the timeless, but as yet unsubstantiated response, of “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”.

You see today, right here, I can provide video evidence that proves without a shadow of a doubt that ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ is more than just the imagination of children the globe over.

Santa has a file on every single child

Santa has a file on every single child

Only the real Santa would know such personal information about Jaime – from his age, where he lives, what Mummy and Daddy would like to see him working on to improve his behaviour (being more quiet inside the house), what he wants for Xmas (this must have come from the letter that Jaime wrote a couple of days ago)… and a load more information!

Proof That Santa Exists

Proof That Santa Exists

Of course, Santa keeps all of this data on every child around the world in their very own file – he has pictures of birthdays and performances, and of course he has the one piece of knowledge that is the most critical at this time of year – Was Jaime naughty or nice in 2011? You really want to know? Then watch this video and see Santa’s elves enter Jaime’s file into the ‘naughty and nice’ machine for the final evaluation!

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YouTube Direkt

When Jaime watched this message from Santa today, his jaw really did almost hit the ground as he responded to all of the questions. He was so well behaved at bed time, I almost didn’t recognize him as the same 4-year old… and with still over 2-weeks left until Christmas Day, Jaime will be checking in on Santa’s message to see if there is any change in the ‘naughty and nice’ status – it’s going to be lovely to have almost three weeks of good behaviour! :)

So yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus! DOUBLE COMFIRMED!

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Source: Aussie Pete

We Love Singapore – For The Record

By Aussie Pete, December 5, 2011 12:15 pm

http://www.aussiepete.com/2011/12/we-love-singapore-for-record.html

I am very saddened that I have no option but to pen a response to the increasing number of blog entries and forum posts popping up all over the place online in the last few days.

I wouldn’t like to suggest that some people seem to have too much time on their hands, but why someone feels it is important enough to research my blog and other articles to try and discredit me or my motivations for living in Singapore or becoming PR is totally beyond me.

Anyway, to set the record straight, I wanted to put forward my position on a few items and just move on (I’m not interested in getting into flame wars with online trolls).

DECISION TO BECOME PERMANENT RESIDENT

Regardless of the quotes taken out of context from an article written on my blog some 3-years+ ago, our decision for becoming PR was not for the sole intention of buying a resale HDB flat. We have become PRs because we love Singapore, it is our home, and we had made a ‘pact’ even prior to relocating here many years ago that if we were to really integrate into the local community, we wanted to do it ‘boots and all’ – moving to a foreign country is no menial task – it takes much courage and planning. Our first attempt to achieve this, was by moving to Woodlands (as opposed to doing the stereotypical expat thing and surrounding ourselves with other foreigners).

When I penned the article all those years ago about beating the increasing rental market by purchasing a property here, I was highlighting the fact that rent money is ‘dead money’ and to invest in ourselves as opposed to lining our landlord’s pocket was an easy decision – this would be applicable no matter which country we were living.

Living in a condo was just not doing it for us – we still felt like we were on an extended business trip and did not feel at home… almost like we were shutting ourselves in, so we decided to go down the HDB resale flat path, as this gave us the opportunity to meet more locals and to potentially give back to the community in which we so dearly wanted to integrate.

This has worked for us – our best friends are our neighbours. We gladly and proudly actively participate in the community, and I am extremely active in the local grassroots in Sengkang West – spending most weekends and many weeknights on such activities.

We have no secrets or ulterior motives. Singapore is our home and we are proud and feel very blessed that we have been so welcomed into our neighbourhood and community! I make absolutely no apologies for this.

In no way have we mocked any system as a few people seem to be insinuating in these forums.

NATIONAL SERVICE FOR OUR BOYS

Another issue that seems to be a topic for these forum trolls, is around a comment I made in an interview (also more than 3 years ago). I suggested at the time, that I felt it a disadvantage of becoming a PR that our boys (both born here) would be liable for National Service.

On this issue, through my local mates and close friends, I have come to learn more about the process and what NS entails. These days, I do not actually feel it is a disadvantage. I have grown to believe that along with our children playing their part in their birth-country’s obligations, NS has shown to instill a discipline and sense of pride that would be difficult to attain through other means. I am therefore supportive of this requirement for male children of permanent residents.

CITIZENSHIP

The colour of my passport seems to be a giant bug-bear for a small cross-section of people. In a recent interview with the Straits Times, I stated that although I had thought about SG citizenship, ‘at this juncture’ I was not ready to give up my Aussie passport (while there is no opportunity for dual citizenship).

This has lead to much speculation as to my motivation and reasoning. Quite frankly, this is a very personal decision and not one to be taken lightly – in my culture, to give up one’s citizenship is akin to turning one’s back on their heritage and even their family. Just as I respect and totally accept other cultures around me, I would have hoped that my culture and upbringing would at least be tolerated.

This is my reasoning and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I one day intend to return to Australia (which is not even in our thoughts right now), nor is it so that I could rort or mock any system or process.

MY INCOME

I have worked very hard to become successful in my career (over decades). This has been at the sacrifice of my personal leisure and my family time. Along with long, hard hours, I spend much time volunteering in the community. How much I earn as a result of my professional endeavours is absolutely nobody’s business and has no bearing on my love for Singapore or our decision to live in a HDB estate.

Thanks for reading – I hope this clears the air somewhat.

It is important to note, that we LOVE our home – Singapore! We are happy and blessed to be here and we will continue to integrate and assist others to integrate into the local community. We have no other  intention right now, but to remain here, and perhaps one day (as the years move forward) we will take the next step towards Singapore citizenship. In the meantime, please accept our good intentions and respect our wish to be good neighbours and friends.

Cheers, 

Pete

Bizzle – Priceless Viral Video – This Is Why God Gave Us The Internet

By Aussie Pete, December 4, 2011 12:59 am

I always love a good viral YouTube video… especially when it involves a loveable American Bulldog in ’smart casual’ attire eating a popular snack, known as dunkers…

The video was filmed on a mobile phone by the giggling girlfriend of Guy Jenkins, who decided to post it on YouTube at the suggestions of a mate.

Bizzle, the American Bulldog...

Bizzle, the American Bulldog...

According to Guy, “Basically, my friend Eddie (who works for social video site Meme Machine) saw the video on my facebook, and insisted it needed to be seen by as many people as possible… I never intended to YouTube it, but my all friends insisted that I did.”

The cute canine, Bizzle, is approaching his 2nd birthday and weighs in at a huge 60kg.

One comment on the clip, states, “This is what the internet is made for.” – I think that I tend to agree!

Check this out…

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Source: Aussie Pete

I’m Not A Tourist (Or A Celebrity)… Or Am I? Hmmm…

By Aussie Pete, December 2, 2011 12:43 am

I’ll explain the ‘Not a Tourist’ piece in a moment, but first let me touch on the celebrity part…

I’ve actually been trying to play things a little more low key these past few months, following on from a year that’s seen more commitments than I can throw a stick at. With my ‘day job’ creating quite a significant workload outside of office hours (late night conference calls and 2012 planning) and my Grassroots activities, I’ve had to knock back literally dozens of ‘extra-curricular’ activities and engagements.

I'm not a tourist because...

I'm not a tourist because...

Having said that, the month of November saw a remarkable amount of exposure across various media – traditional and digital. With appearances on TV, interviews and ‘exclusives’ on a couple of international news websites, on Monday this week the Straits Times ran an article penned by one of their journalists based out of Sydney – I kindly agreed to the interview for this and was a little stunned to see how large the picture of my family was that was run with the story – I had SMS’s, emails, phone calls from every man and his dog to tell me about it.

Seriously? Looking out across Orchard Road

Seriously? Looking out across Orchard Road

Then the very next day, as Sammi and I were walking up Orchard Road to TAB to attend the official launch event for Notatourist.sg – I kid you not – our photos… one of me and another of Sammi and the boys appeared on the large screen facing the most famous of Singapore’s shopping strips. Let me tell you, Sammi and I took more than a double-take… how very surreal!

notatouristlogo02The reason for the images being displayed (along with the pictures of other ‘expat writers’) was part of the launch event.

As part of the proceedings, I was invited to participate on stage as a panelist in an informal dialog… along with local celebrities, the one and only (very cool) Hossan Leong and famous author and columnist, Neil Humphreys – a couple of very funny guys… I felt very honoured to meet them both.

Aussie Pete, Neil Humphreys and Hossan Leong

Aussie Pete, Neil Humphreys and Hossan Leong

Expat Panelists

Expat Panelists

I have gladly agreed to be part of the editorial team at the newly launched Notatourist.sg.

NOT A TOURIST

notatourist.sg is about you — You, the expatriate in Singapore, in discovering your home away from home.

You’re an expat, not a tourist. You can pepper your English with lah’s and can’s, you know why taxis seem to be in hiding just before midnight, and you know that tissue packets left on hawker centre tables is not a process to be trifled with.

I'm not a tourist because...

I'm not a tourist because...

Maybe you are here for the abundant career opportunities, or you are trailing a spouse, or simply for the endless sunshine, clean parks and fantastic chilli sauce. Whatever the case may be, notatourist.sg recognises that the expatriation process is about creating your own identity and foundations in Singapore, living life here to build lasting memories to share with each other and loved ones at home.

The stories you will find here are on the ground—real and raw—written by you and fellow like-minded individuals. We share stories from expatriates of all backgrounds, so that you find your commonality in the joys, quirks and even gripes unique to your Singapore experience. In this community and endless resource for advice, find tips on the relocation process, on easing into the local scene and on how to get to those hidden finds beyond Orchard Road.

We welcome you to join our network and feel a sense of home in Singapore. Making new connections is just the beginning of what this Lion City has to offer.

notatourist.sg is built in partnership with SingTel

Click here to check out more photos from the launch event!

Source: Aussie Pete Blog

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