Posts tagged: expat

When Is An Expat An Expat?

By , December 23, 2011 11:19 am


I’ve had a number of people email to ask what this ‘’ 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:

[youtube YYMsHXvL20M]

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

[youtube bjJsNmcmWK4]

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.

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

By , 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 – 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

NOT A TOURIST 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, 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. is built in partnership with SingTel

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

Source: Aussie Pete Blog

Sex With A Maid – 100 Lashes (And Maybe A Year In Jail)!

By , January 16, 2011 11:51 pm

We’ve seen it many times before – but when it comes with horrifying pictures, it’s still difficult to comprehend.

As I’ve written in other articles, The United Arab Emirates is conservative and a predominately Muslim population. This often means that many expatriates fall into the trap of ‘misbehaving’ by local standards… with sometimes dire consequences.

In the latest crime to be reported out of Dubai in Sharjah, an unmarried foreign couple have been found guilty by a sharia court after admitting to having sex – and because both parties are Muslim, they were sentenced to the harshest penalty – 100 lashes and deportation (non-Muslims would most likely be jailed and deported).

Whipping Scars

The unidentified couple – a Bangladeshi man, known only as S.M. in court documents and his girlfriend, Filipina maid known as N.M. – were arrested by police when the house owner (and maid’s employer) made a report after she saw the man leaving the home.

The lovers admitted to having unlawful sex several times at the house owned by the maid’s sponsor.

The man has already undergone his punishment, and has suffered welts on his back and legs that will most probably leave permanent scarring… but wait, that’s not all!! – because he entered the house of the sponsor illegally, he is also facing a further sentence of one year in prison.


Original Source

Simple Solution to Singapore Traffic Congestion – The Ripple Effect

By , June 29, 2010 12:09 am

Before I air my observations, a very quick disclaimer – I am no way criticising any one individual here. The observation is one of collective behaviour and largely a result of enforcement of basic traffic regulations (or lack thereof). Regardless, I know that even some of my friends will be critical of my opinions on this subject, as we have had this conversation on numerous occassions, with the end result being ‘agreeing to disagree’.

Firstly, notwithstanding a few irregular ‘hot spots’, I am strongly of the belief that the road planning in Singapore is first class in its efficiency. The network of multi-lane expressways and quality of the road surface is to be admired. Combine this with the restriction of cars on the road through the COE quota process and the variable cost tolls through ERP gantries, the Government and Land Transport Authority are doing a very admirable job in managing traffic flow in such a small land surface area.

Secondly, I hear the complaints of traffic congestion (especially in peak hour) very frequently. The anecdotal reasons I hear for this congestion range from ‘poor quality roads’ to ‘too many foreigners on the road’.

Let me state for the record right now (from first hand experience) that compared to other major cities and countries across the globe, Singapore does not have any traffic problems whatsoever!! Consider sitting in what might be mistaken as a ‘car park’ on Nei Huan Xian in Shanghai with traffic completely motionless for up to three hours at a time… or travelling on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne at peak hour for one full hour to cover just the last one kilometre to enter Hoddle Street.

I drive to work every day in Singapore, merging on to the CTE at the Yio Chu Kang entrance in peak hour and travelling almost the complete length of the expressway to exit at the Orchard Road off-ramp and then driving on to Millenia Tower. Most days, this trip will take me around 30 minutes (without speeding or breaking the law). Admittedly, on the odd occasion (most commonly rainy days) this trip may extend to 45-minutes or perhaps even an hour if there is a vehicle breakdown or fender-bender.

Once again, I know many of my friends and readers will disagree with me – they will say that I cannot compare the traffic in Singapore to other major cities, because many who have not travelled extensively can only compare the current traffic conditions to those of days gone by in Singapore. They consider any speed under 70km/h to be ‘troublesome’ traffic. OK – fair enough… but let me now make a very basic observation (which will probably make some of my readers even more irate at me).

A friend of mine once joked – “I have a car for sale… 5 years old with indicators in brand new condition – never been used already!!”.

Joking aside, this is a very poignant statement – even I have gotten into this very uniquely local habit of not always indicating when turning corners or changing lanes. To be honest, when I first started driving here, I found it an almost ’empowering’ feeling to be able to not indicate without any fear of prosecution or traffic violation ticket. But note very well – I would never, ever change lanes in front of another vehicle, or stop to reverse park without first indicating. This is just flirting with danger – for both my family and the families in the vehicles around me.

Another Singaporean mate told me once that if you indicate to change lanes, no one will ever let you in. They will speed up to block you out. Although I have experienced this from time to time, I know that there are a number of patient and considerate drivers out there and it is no excuse to not indicate your intention to change lanes.

I digress somewhat, but my point is this… for the congestion that we do see at certain times on the major expressways, there is a very simple solution to minimize the problem.

It is based on a very basic theory known as the ‘Ripple Effect’ – and it is the cause of ‘phantom jams’ the world over.

The difference in Singapore is that the phantom jams and ripple effect are more often as a result of frequent lane changing and failure to indicate when changing.

There have been numerous studies (well funded) to study this phenomenon and all have reached the same conclusion – there have even been computer models developed to mimic the effect.

When one motorist brakes, the motorist behind is forced to brake a little harder, as does the driver behind him or her, until eventually the traffic behind the non-incident is brought to a complete standstill. This can cause a bottleneck or phantom jam stretching a number of kilometres.

The original braking motorist may have done so because he or she increased their speed to faster than that of the flowing traffic (as simple as that), or they may have been distracted in some way – a mobile phone or even attention to what they are listening to on their radio – whatever the reason, these bottlenecks occur the world over.

In Singapore, this effect is accentuated. The cause is some drivers changing lanes with no indicator and without sufficient space for the car they are cutting in front of – and the most common offenders are those that use the roads the most – the taxi drivers (OK – don’t get angry, I know not all taxi drivers do this – in fact I know that they don’t. I’m just stating my observations as a regular driver).

When I’ve had this discussion with some of my local mates, I’m told is a ‘kiasu’ thing… one driver wanting to ‘beat’ another – but I don’t actually agree with this. It’s human nature I think, that when a person is running late for work or is in a hurry, they will take the perceived quickest route – this may mean changing from one lane to another and back again, even though they may not realize that they are not getting to their destination any quicker, but in fact increasing the congestion problems for other drivers. I also believe that there is a kind of ‘herding’ nature – when one car changes lanes, another motorist will follow suit and do the same thing, and so forth.

The simple solution to this problem is clearly enforcement of the law. When police see a vehicle change lanes with no indicator, they need to at a minimum take the license plate number and issue a ticket. When a driver failes to give way when changing lanes, the same penalty should be applied. We have cameras all around Singapore catching people speeding and driving in bus lanes illegally (with some pretty tough fines resulting) – perhaps these same methods could be employed on the expressways?

Anyway, in short, it’s better that the whole traffic flows at a speed of 60km/h than constant stop-start, speeding up to 80km/h at times and changing lanes willy nilly without giving way or indicating. The traffic congestion (at least on the CTE) would be almost nil with such a basic and obvious behavioural change.

Some resources on the ‘Ripple Effect’ can be found here:

Ripple effect explains Phantom traffic jams

‘Ripple Effect’ Contributes to Chicago-Area Traffic Concerns.

This article can also be found at the ‘Aussie Pete’ main blog:

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