My first story of 2017

2017

2017 is here!! I do hope that it is a much better year compared 2016. Actually I wanted to post my 2017 goals  but I have completed it yet. Hopefully by end of January!

I stayed in the whole of 1 Jan so nothing much to say about that, except for watching drama on my computer. I made a last min decision to head to NEX on 2 Jan to catch a movie, since my movie voucher was ending in a few days.

Sam and I spent the whole afternoon walking around our very familiar shopping centre. We spent less than 30 mins at each store we visited. Guess there was still sales as all the stores were clearing their 2016 stock. We bought more clothes (and had to suffer a mini nagging by my mum) for Chinese New Year. Just lack to buy PJ for the CNY Eve night.

Since it was the start of the year, we wanted to catch a comedy to start the year on a happy note. We watched Railroad Tigers and it was super hilarious! If you are interested in some action, some laughter and catch a Jackie Chan movie, you should definitely catch this movie!

Now I am going to catch on my sleep to go fir my first working day of 2017 tomorrow (or should I say today)~

8 hours no tech challenge!

I would conclude that it was a fail, not because I could resist the urge to get my hands on some tech gadgets but because I couldn’t make my family “suffer” and join me in my challenge. Well, it is quite hard to close out the noise from the television or my sister playing music from her phone so in a way I had access to tech gadgets. However I was successfully in not using any of my own tech gadgets during these 8 hours. Mini success! Below is detailing how I spent the 8 hours without technology –

 

10am          Start of the 8 hours no tech challenge! & I was in la la land 😛

12.30pm    Prepare to go for swimming

1.30pm       Swimming at Hougang Swimming Complex (had to use some form of technology to get to the swimming complex ><)

3.30pm        Reach home (again using technology) and had lunch

4.30pm        Reading Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time

6.30pm        End of the 8 hours no tech challenge!

 

Well I must say I actually felt normal. No desperate need to get to my phone to read notifications or check Facebook feed. Of course I had to plan the 8 hour schedule before embarking on it. During the 8 hours, I realised that I already knew everyone’s schedule in my head so I did not need to text any one to find out who was where and whether they needed me to get any thing since I was out. However, it was a bit uncomfortable as I was not able to make last min changes to my plans if I wanted to.

Technology is a privilege given to us, and I am appreciative of the convince it provides.

 

June Holidays!!!!

Though it doesn’t really apply to me anymore, but it means i can finally go out with Samantha without that much worrying 😛 We went out for two days in a row. Hehe~~

Day 1 — DBS Movies by the Bay @ Marina Promontory 

Went to catch “How to train your dragon 2”. Movie was nice but the screen kept falling down due to the strong wind >.< Also the night scene at Marina is always amazing!!

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Day 2 — SEA Games 2015 & Karaoke & “San Andreas”

Caught the opening match for Netball — Singapore v.s. Brunei — and I must say the Singapore team is very fast and tall compared to the rest of the teams. They scored 72 points against Brunei’s 17. They use so many light effects just to introduce the teams before the match, as if they have a light show performance before the actual match.

After watching “San Andreas”, Samantha commented that she will never ever go to California in her whole life. Exaggeration hahahaha !!!!!!!! There is so much to explore in California as compared to a mere earthquake. I believe in some years later, she will change her mind.

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왔어!!! Its back ((:

Finally after almost 3 months, I am able to get my momentum back ^^ I am finally able to complete more than one assignment in one day and not get super easily distracted when doing my work. Thankfully it came at an appropriate timing when it is project crunch time in SMU!

Well I shall not delay it further and go back to completely my work ^^

[Updated] Adminstrative matters for exchange

[Updated] 20th Feb 15 ~~ changed details about NTUC student exchange insurance plans

[Updated] 3rd Mar 15 ~~ added Vietnam Air for flight options

 

 

I decided to type down what I can remember for my preparation for my exchange in PNU (:

1. Korea Visa

Korea Embassy only opens from 9.30am till 12pm  and the last timing to get a ticket number is 11.30am. You need to be there early in case of long queue and to avoid coming another day if you miss the timing.

The address of the Korean Embassy is:
47 Scotts Road #08-00 Goldbell Tower Singapore 228233

Alight at Newton MRT station.

It usually takes 4-5 days for your visa to be ready. Single visa would suffice as you will have to make an Alien card in Korea and that would allow you to leave Korea and continue your visa when you return to Korea.

*do not be alarm if the dates indicated in your visa is not the number of months that you applied for. This is a regulation set by the authorities in Korea, where you are only allowed to stay for another 1 more month after your studies have ended. This means that you will to return your alien registration card to the Immigration Office  or if you leave before the date is up, you can also return at the immigration counter at the airport. The officers will then change your visa to a visitor pass for 90 days.

These are what you need for visa making:

1. Letter of Admission from the exchange school
2. Visa Letter from SMU
3. Download the application letter here: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/InfoDetailR_en.pt?categoryId=2&parentId=382&catSeq=385&showMenuId=374&visaId=D2

If the above link doesn’t work, you can get the form here as well: http://www.mofat.go.kr/english/visa/images/res/visakorean.pdf

4. Passport
5. Coloured passport size photo taken within 6 months
6. Your bank book with transactions of the latest 3 months. Note: If you are using your parents’ account, you are required to bring your parent/parents birth cert and your own birth cert as well as their bank book. At least S$5000 is needed to be reflected on the bank book. You probably need to submit a brief letter from your parent stating that they will be sponsoring you for your exchange. They do not allow ibanking e-statements, so if you do not have transactions of 3 months, you will have to go straight to the bank to ask them for official statements if I’m not wrong. This is the most troublesome aspect, so do make sure you get this right, if not you may just make a wasted trip.

2. Insurance

There is quite a number of insurance companies that you can buy from. Just ensure that it covers you for medical and travel claims.  I only know a few and I have inserted the link below.

NTUC – **update** they have change their coverage for their policies, please search for the student exchange (or similar title).

Chartis & AIG – They have good coverage and relatively average pricing

MSIG – Has slight more coverage than Chartis & AIG, there is discount depending on the seasons.

3. Air ticket

There is quite a number of airlines that fly to Seoul (or Busan straight). You will need to look out for offers from different airline weekly. However I find Korea Air is the cheapest with good service. **update** I have indicated the rough cost of a round-trip plane trip, without any offers.

Korea Air ($970++) //Asiana ($950++) // Scoot ($970++) //SIA ($1100++) // Vietnam Air (transit at Vietnam for about 2 hours) ($500++) // Cathay Pacific ($990++)

If you are taking the flight to Seoul, you can take a KTX from Seoul to Busan for about 57,000 Won. I would advise you to book a seat rather than buy a one-day pass, as the one -day pass does not ensure you a seat on the ktx but you can take any timing. Moreover a one-day pass (youth) would cost you the same amount as a booked seat one-way ticket from Seoul to Busan.

4. PNU module biding

During my year, PNU changed and started using google form to help exchange students to register our modules. Do note that they have very small class size (17 – 25) and it it a 1st come 1st serve basis. It is okie if you are not able to get your first choice or start your semester at PNU with 2-4 modules. You can go to the first lesson and ask the prof to manually add you in (provided there is enough slot left or someone drop the class).

**update** It seems that PNU has added english translation to their course registration site since Fall 2014, hence it should make the registration a more smooth-sailing process (: I hope !!

Students in PNU usually buy new textbooks (cost is about 40,000 average) and it is hard to buy second hand textbooks. You can search online and print it at the printer shops just outside of PNU (cost about 12,000 won). Don’t print in school as the shop is relatively slow and if you want to photocopy the whole textbook you will need to leave the book there for almost a week.

The class in PNU are on Mon & Wed (1 hour 15 mins each), Tues & Thurs (1 hour 15 mins each) or 3 hour classes on one day. The location of your class is found after the timing of the class, e.g. 516203 means Blk 516, level 2 and room 3.  Below is the maps of PNU & it is a Mountain!! Do take note of where your classes are at and if you have enough time (only 15 mins in between classes). Please merge the maps together, as PNU gave us an outdated a map and I needed to get the latest one form my buddy. The one highlighted in blue is Blk 516 Global Studies School which is a new building in 2014.

PNU map

C360_2014-03-31-22-49-18-844

5. Dorm

There are three kinds of dormitory in PNU:

Woongbee Hall [Mixed]: Twin room, Private toilet in your room [99.9% of exchange students get this as we have priority during selection process]
Jili Hall [Male only]: Twin room, Shared public toilet
Jayu Hall [Female Only]: Bunk room, Shared Public toilet
You can apply for either 2 or 3 dorm meals during application. Use google translate to know which is breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Only Jayu hall is at the entrance. The rest is around 20-30 mins upslope but Woongbee is the newest and BEST hall in PNU. It is apparently called Condo style dorm. The offset is that the dorm food will start to become worse after week 4. Hehe!

Woongbee Dorm Address:

Busandaehak-ro 63 beon-gil, Geumjeong-gu, Woongbee Dorm Blk (A or B), Room (level-number), Jangjeon-2-dong, Busan, South Korea. 

Postal code: 609735

Do remember to make payment on the first day of the payment period as transaction takes about 2-3 days. Do check the website regularly to see if you are successful. Later on, you will also be able to indicate your desired roommate.  Just follow the guidelines and everything should be fine ^^

Bedsheets may be available, if not you can go NC Dept (@ PNU Main Gate), Home Plus, Lotte or E-mart to buy. [FYI: Bedsheets that are thick and give you warm for winter is called spread.]

Laundry is 500 won (50 mins) while the  dryer is 1000 won (40 mins). My advice… do your laundry on weekdays as the washing machine is usually full on weekends and the whole day >.<

You can purchase a Lan cable @ GS25. 2 metre would be sufficient. If you are using Mac book, you can just on your Airport. For windows, you will need to download Connectivity. However you need to pay an amount of money to us it more than one day. If you have friends who can code it, then you can get it for free (:

6. Bank account
Your buddy should bring you to create a bank account after your orientation because you will need to submit it to office of International Services so that you can get your refund from dorm fees (if there is any). There is a Hana Bank at NC and you only need your passport to open an account. If you choose to open an account in other banks, you will need to wait for your Alien card to arrive first.

If you want to apply for your internet banking for your Hana bank account, you will need to wait for your Alien card. As for me, I choose to just withdrawn and pay by cash as much as possible.

7. Alien Registration Card
You will need to make this card when you get to Busan, and the immigration centre is located near Jungang station, your buddy should know where it is. It costs 30, 000 won and you should receive it 2-3 weeks later. You can deliver it to your dorm at 4,000 won.

8. Phone line

I bought EG sim card during my stay in Korea. You can purchase it online and get it delivered to your guest house/specific collection point or purchase it at GS25 at Incheon Airport. I did the latter, however the sim cards sold at convenient stores are now mostly short term (meaning one-month usage and it will expire even if there is still value in it). If you are lucky, you might get the ones that you can extend the validity (10,000 won top-up will add 30 days usage to you sim card)

After you purchase your card at GS25 at Incheon Airport, Insert the sim card into your handphone and configure your phone to the settings in the booklet if you purchase it offline. If there is any issues you can FB message the EG Sim card page.

**IMPT** Do remember to register online at http://m.egsimcard.co.kr/ and input the last 3 digit of your sim card and a clear copy of your passport. This is extremely important because your data gets cut off if you don’t register!  [I was data-less for 1-2 days >.<] It will take about 12 hours. After you are done with the registration, you would have to activate the data plan.

There are 3 options available for the data plan. 100MB, 500MB and 1GB. So for example, if you choice 1GB worth of data, EG would deduct 16,500 KRW from your voice balance.

You can either top-up your data from your voice balance or use your credit card to top-up. To top-up your voice balance you can purchase top-up amount from GS25 stores but they are mostly available in Seoul and some other cities, unfortunately Busan does not have such services. Hence during your trip to Seoul or before you head to Busan, you can purchase the top-up the amount at GS25 store. If not, you will need to top-up using your credit card.  You can monitor your usage and balance from their mobile app (search EG sim card on Google Playstore or App store. The app should be the first link with black and pink words on white background) or from their website at https://www.egsimcard.co.kr/eng/index.asp

And don’t worry about exceeding your data because there is also free WIFI available for EG Sim Card. Just drop them a Facebook message with your WIFI MAC address and  phone number. You will have access to olleh WIFI shortly! You can access the olleh WIFI in subway stations, buses and selected restaurants and streets.

9. Transportation

There is many different types of transportation cards, like T-money & Cashbee. Even though both cards are accepted in buses and subways across the whole of Korea, only Cashbee has a much easier process of topping up the value for students living in cities outside of Seoul. I would encourage PNU students to get Casebee card as they can easily top-up the card at the top-up machines in the subway stations. T-money can only be topped-up at the GS25 at the PNU station Exit 3 and most of the GS25 stores only in Busan. I am not entirely sure about other cities so ensure that you have enough value in your transportation card before travelling there.

You can download the subway map from Google Playstore or App store, by simply typing in Korea Subway and search. It is usually the first app. The name of the app is  Subway and had a white train with blue background. It allows you to view the maps for 4-5 majors cities and check the travelling time & schedules of the trains daily.

Taxis are relatively cheap in Korea as they have a flat rate of 2800 Won for about 5 mins whenever you board a taxi. For example, to travel from PNU Station to Woongbee dorm only cost you an average of 3000 Won. Sharing cab can cost lesser than taking the public transport, especially in cities that do not have subways.

Undercover Boss

Okie I must declare that I want to believe 100% in everything that happen in the show and that is it for real, but in reality it is a show and so it is in a particular context.

 

 

I literally cry at the end of each episode.

but right now i am in SMU library… so i need to hold back the emotions. so tough ><

I am not sure if it is a plot by the production team to pick certain people who have financial-related issues. I mean there is at least 2 out of 3 which have some financial burden.

Secretly i wish that could happen to me, but then again I lead a more blissful life as compared to the people on the show.

However one point to note is that the production team did show a mix of different kind of people. There are super kind of people and super rude people. The most significant one is Jacqueline from S04E14 & S04E16. I cant believe she is a family and childcare major with very bad customer service, but at least she realise some things are wrong and did rectify it. at least what I can see from the show.

it just showed me how real the future is and how thankful I should be being in Singapore.

Am I blessed?

From young, I have always gotten what I wanted. Of course within purchasing means. I do not have excellence grades in academics. I have, what my mum always says, “stock market” grades but does not go below the passing mark. I am perfectly fine  with the grades that I get at national examination and happy that I got into the schools that I wanted (top 3 choices). However I must admit that I do worry that I might not get a better-than-decent paying job that can help to take some burden of my parents and relatives. My dream job is to work in social sector, being a counsellor or organising community work. I can do it for the rest of my life!

But i think in reality … it is really hard. People might think that I am just using my sister’s education fees and my loans as an excuse that I would need to get a high paying job to cover the expenses before getting started on what I want to do. I feel as long as I know why I am doing it this way and how I am doing it, I don’t have to care about what others say. I agree that I am a tiny bit naive and think only the best of all situations, but why complicate matters? I really want a simple life and not having to plot or manipulate others to achieve my goal.

I think my family also makes thing really easy for me by helping out in all possible means. When I need someone to vet my emails or speeches, my mum and dad would always put down whatever they are doing and help me out. My aunts and uncles would help me when i need a vehicle for traveling or getting certain contacts for my projects. My sister is always really to come and help me whenever I need an extra helping hand for my projects. My cousins just seem to have the solutions or alternatives to my problems. Though my grandma is not able to help physically, but she gives me a lot of moral support (without her even knowing) as I see how concerned she is with everything that happens in the whole family, big or small.

I am really thankful and feel extremely blessed. I know that I am extremely short-tempered to them and yet they are still willing to forget it and help me. I think shot-temperedness runs in the females in my family. FORGIVE AND FORGET. The main principle I live by. It is helps makes life simple and more enjoyable. I believe my family live my the same principle. I will always remember how my cousin, my sister and I will fight, and within the next minute we will behave like nothing happened at all.

On a side note, I constantly feel a need to behave differently when I am with my family and when I am with my friends. Over the years, I realise that I only show my short-temperedness or rant excessively to people who I feel really really close to and even comfortable to share secrets that I keep bottled up. I become very aware of that I need a lot, and I do mean a lot, of emotional support to feel comfortable in a relationship. I think i start to use this as a gauge on how much i value the relationship. I do hope the person on the receiving end is not irritated.