From Singaporean to Australian: A brief guide on renouncing Singapore citizenship

Just thought it’d be handy to document it all.

Caveats apply, no comments here on:

  • Why you should keep your Australian PR and remain a Singaporean
  • Why you shouldn’t juggle both Australian and Singaporean passports
  • Why Singapore is better than Australia and vice versa
  • Handling Singapore property
  • Applying citizenship for dependents

Timelines provided are from my experience, YMMV.

1. Qualify for Australian citizenship

Requirements change, so always check the official source.

Be Australian

Take the Australian citizenship interview and test.

Attend the ceremony, take the oath.

Tip: Google for citizenship test quizzes, practice. You’ll be fine – chao mugger Sinkies are good at this.

Timeline: eight months, from application to ceremony invitation.

Apply for an Australian passport

This is relatively easy – refer to official source.

2. Renounce Singapore citizenship

Fill the form up – refer to official source, ICA in this case.

When in doubt, contact the Canberra Singapore embassy at

Head down to ICA in Singapore, or to the Singapore embassy in Canberra. Drop forms and documents off.


  • It’ll be the last time you see your NRIC and passport. Take a photo for remembrance!
  • You’ll need to get your Australian citizenship certificate and passport notarised.
  • The ICA department handling renunciation is not accessible via escalator, only by lift.

Timeline: three months from application to receipt of letter in the post.

3. Apply for CPF withdrawal

Fill the form up – refer to official source, CPF in this case.

Mail the form in, or do it in person at a CPF branch in Singapore.


  • Do not update your Singapore bank accounts details post-citizenship change, until funds hit the account. Do not over-complicate matters!
  • Yes, you get everything back – OA, SA, MA.
  • Yes, you can also have it transferred to an Australian bank account. Refer to link above.
  • Download and save all statements from CPF website before application.
  • Again, YMMV. The amount of work done at the counter, at the CPF branch convinced me I would’ve fucked this up massively, had I done it myself and mailed it in.

Timeline: two months, from application to receipt of letter in the post. Funds hit bank account around same time.

4. Handling CPF tax

Talk to a qualified tax accountant.

For a very rough idea of how it should be handled (disclaimer: this should not be treated as official tax advice):

Q: When doing Australian tax assessments, how is CPF handled?

Interest earned on CPF is taxable.

Q: How do I calculate amount to be declared on the tax return? Is the entire $X liable for tax? Or is it only the amount that enters Australia? Or Is it taxed based off interest earnings on the CPF account only?

The only taxable amounts are interest income and 50% of capital gains.

Here’s a reference to the official source, ATO in this case.

We should all have four day work weeks.

At least, that’s what V laughingly suggested earlier. It’d work only if every other country out there did it, otherwise us people in Australia are gonna be just a wee bit too laid back for work to function.

One for rest, one for family, and one for… moping aka dread about the next day being an inevitable work day. She loves the great countdown.

I’m thankful for long weekends though. Way behind on my basketball these days, but the urge to hibernate is just so strong. Cold weather obviously, doesn’t help. Does dribbling the ball at home help? Does throwing stress balls around the office help? Hopefully they do.

It’s fascinating how much time seems to be a crawl for certain topics, but yet absolutely seems to streak like a bolt of lightning in others. For example, the kids seem to have been around forever, but it’s only been a short three years.

It’s hard to summarise how much of a lifechanger they have been, but I guess it’s a make-or-break process: either you make it and you come out the better for it, being a more responsible/mature/patient/rational-at-times human being for it. OR you rage quit and become a really shitty parent. Not much of a choice really, I’m trying hard to be the former.

On the other hand: can’t believe it’s been bloody five years since Andrew first left Melbourne for his stint in Singapore. And here’s the clincher: my brother’s actually hitting 30 in a couple of years. Well, it’s less impressive when my 36th (!) birthday will happen three days before his 30th. It’s a logical thing, but just a little unnerving to imagine him being 30 already.


Things have been up and down on the work side. I survived a rather severe round of retrenchments, and it was rather upsetting, to say the least. Numerous people I’d come to view as part of my life, were just ripped away in the space of a day. Work is work, and I got over it, but it was an experience. We’re still trying to get our footing under us, and I’m trying to help with more things on the side while juggling my usual tasks, but it hasn’t exactly been easy. I suspect I’m gonna be catching up on things for a while.

Less mentioned, is the fact that the bunch of guys I always had lunch with also left within weeks of each other. That also left somewhat of a hole; just miss laughing at all the shit we talked about every day. I’m glad they’re on better gigs, but the past months with the gang truly remains one of my fonder memories at this job.

The PnR side has been rather interesting, to say the least. I was, and still am rather drained by the constant writing. It’s slowly getting easier as I learn to write quicker, but it’s still a tiring process at times, especially when you know you’re racing against the clock to put something out. Game 2 is tomorrow, so full steam ahead – let’s hope it doesn’t degenerate into a lopsided victory.

The good side, is that the weekly newsletter will be rotated among the core moving forward, and I can take a six-week breather in between.

The constant urge to keep innovating on the site however, has taken a backseat for now. I guess I finally ran out of gas; it was bound to happen sooner or later, given the breakneck pace I was driving myself to work at. Things need to be done, but it’s no longer a “never put off what you can do today” mentality; I’m just more mindful when it comes to spending more time with the family and resting myself up these days. It’s a marathon, not a 400m sprint, and finding the right pace is pretty important.

I’m a real stickler for using the right words, so here’s a pet peeve: the use of “we” when the task involves only one person (usually me). Last time I checked, we involves you and me at minimum. Don’t make it sound like teamwork (yay!) when it’s not. Be specific, outline the task and name the participants involved.

More random comments.

  • Fuck it’s getting cold.
  • The first season of The Flash has ended (r/FlashTV has been awesome), I’m bored. It might just be time to check Daredevil out. Introduced V to the series during our last weekend getaway, and she’s slowly binge watching her way through. Slowly.
  • And did I mention Google Inbox is pretty cool? I hate the lack of an archive button though.
  • It’s been a long time since I last read a new book –I do have a list of to-reads though– driving has taken that away from me. I know, audiobooks are an option. Still deciding if I should stop listening to basketball podcasts, but Bill Simmons’ departure from Grantland definitely makes the debate a lot easier.
  • Definitely not a life milestone: stalked so hard on bemusedtots’ blog. Some of the things I read there are really fascinating (like Chinese poems, life thoughts and movie reviews), and some are just fond reads because they talk about people I know. The cheerful, guile-less writing just seems to flow and make it all such an easy read.
  • Was kinda engrossed (I’m 100% in on most things I do, and gaming is sadly one of them) in the Transformers: Rising mobile app for a while, until I realised almost every other MF player was a VIP (aka paid) account, and there was no way I could overtake or even catch up to them, despite spending consistent effort. Not worth my time, NEXT.
  • Re-read the comic version (all 252 issues) of 大唐双龙传 because it’s still a cool story. Funny how re-reading it actually made me cast a more critical eye on the artwork, and notice how shoddy some parts of the series are (it felt like filler arc artwork in an anime series), and how the artist actually changed towards the end – the difference in art was frankly, quite noticeable. Filing this under things you nitpick when you get older.
  • Finally caught up on Dear Boys Act III up till chapter 78 (aka first chapter of vol 19), albeit in raw format. I can’t understand kanji even if my life depended on it, so dialogue aside, all I know is the basketball side of thing’s still progressing really well. Damn foul trouble though.
  • Just read about a pre-2014 Mac backdoor vulnerability that is not going to be fixed, and the only precaution you can take is to disable sleep mode. Good job Apple.
  • Kickstarter addict finally received a few packages recently. Stackerware is pretty cool, I love that all the lids are the same damn size, and I don’t have to ever hunt for those odd-sized lids again. And having plastic containers that are freezer/microwave/dishwasher-proof, are very handy. Also received Growfloats (aka hydroponics), I’ve yet to get started on it (no seeds purchased yet).
  • The biggest epiphany or life lesson I had this week: the virtue of focusing on a task (or staying focused in the moment) cannot be overstated. Immersing yourself fully in the experience makes it all the more richer for yourself and everyone else. Skimming by half-heartedly and with poor comprehension or doing a half-fucked job because you were distracted/multitasking, is a disservice that you should seek to avoid.

So there you go, a super condensed entry with random thoughts on the life of yours truly. Hopefully I’ll be more consistent with writing moving forward.

The thing I hate most about being sick?

That feeling of helplessness from having a body and mind that’s not at their best. I feel inept, incapable of doing anything or even think about anything. Focus is just plain gone.

The only thing left to do, is to endure, and recover. And you know what they say about the sick needing to rest and recover? Bullshit seriously, how do you rest (via sleep) when you can only sleep 4-5 hours a night? The rest of my night was spent coughing or in a state of mild delirium dreaming about being in the fantasy books I read. (You are what you read, literally.)

Having a nasty flu/sore throat/headache/fever combi (and a stye on my left eye area right before) was no walk in the park. It’s been more than a week since I last felt fully healthy. It sounds strange, but getting back to work has helped somewhat, because I had something else to focus on outside of feeling sorry for myself at home. Of course, I was a phlegm machine with a hacking cough all day long, spitting it up and out whenever I had a chance.

Maybe that’s how getting old will be like. Thankful to be on the road to recovery right now, that is all!

Of a morning conversation that meant something, yet nothing.

Had a conversation with a guy who was clearly high on something, while waiting for the train this morning. I mean, we’re talking about a dude who took five minutes to sit on the same bench as me, and failed miserably.

Guy: Hey, you want (something unintelligible)?
Me: Nah.
Guy: Yeah?
Me: No.
Guy: Yeah?
Me: No.
Guy: No?
Me: Yeah.
Guy: Yeah?
Me: No.
Guy: No?
Me: Yeah, no.

I’m not sure what happened either.

A season gone in green.

Celtics Down Under logo

It’s been a full season since I started Celtics Down Under back in September 2012. While it hasn’t exactly been a raving success, I’m happy that it’s slowly blossomed into a community for Aussie Celtics.

As of today:

Not exactly the Larry O’Brien trophy of milestones, nonetheless encouraging. Encouraging, because I got to know many other Australian Celtic fans along the way, who in turn have come to know of many other fellow fans. All of us cheered, ranted, laughed and screamed together in the past months, watching our favourite team struggle its way into the postseason, and ultimately run out of gas. Not the best of endings, but it could have been worse. We went out with grit, and did not surrender.

It really feels great, knowing that none of this would have happened, had I not made the impulsive decision to register and create something from nothing.

Thanks to everyone in the community, especially folks like Justin, Hayley, Tommy, big Kaine, Michael, Nate, Olly, Joel and so on. I’m looking forward to many more great seasons together. Bleed green folks.


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What do I want in a job now?

This question yields different answers at different times, and it’s the same for me.

Right now, I’m looking to move into a job that’s preferably less involved in operations. Being on standby duty is no longer as fun as it was, and I’ve more or less had enough of being on 24/7 duty, after having carried the mountain for the past years in my old job. I don’t mind being involved in presales, postsales or even planned migrations, but please count me out of the outage firefighting team. I’m not as keen to keep plugging away in the network field as well, much as it’s been my rice bowl for the past years.

Another question at this point is whether I really am interested to move into writing as a part-time, or even full-time career. After having had a taste of writing on a freelance basis these past months, I’m not so sure I want to be an automaton that cranks out content at scheduled times. I still love writing, but being constantly required to produce fresh content independently on a regular basis is nothing but draining. Parenthood saps my life energy enough as it is right now, thank you very much. That being said, I’d love to write if constant direction is given on topics though.

So, where to next? I want to find opportunities to move into project management, and another interesting thought surfaces here: do the certificates make the man, or is it the other way round?

I had a comment today about how my expected salary could easily hire a PMP qualified project manager. While the angry comeback would certainly be a “screw off and hire someone else then!”, the rational eye would admit to that market rate. Window dressing aside, does the lack of industry certification make me any less qualified in managing projects though? The comment could easily be seen as a leverage tool to talk the price down as well.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Food for thought in the days ahead.

Of Big Texas and promises.

I was looking for a T-shirt supplier last month and came across Big Texas. Tall t-shirts in stock, based in Australia, how wonderful! One thing I like about ordering from local online businesses, shipping is much, much quicker.

I sent an enquiry, emphasized that it was pretty urgent and that I needed it pronto if it was possible. They replied as I had expected.

Thank you for your interest in our product. Unfortunately we do not offer express shipping of any kind, so we won’t be able to accommodate your request. We’re very sorry to disappoint you. If there is anything else that we can answer for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Well, at least I took a shot at it. The order was placed regardless, and it was time to twiddle my thumbs and hope for the best.

Here comes the very interesting sequence of events thereafter.

15 Feb:
Order placed, reminded customer service I had placed my order.

16 Feb:
Vey customer-servicey sounding email, I was a little pleased that day.

Thank you for your letting us know. Every order is processed as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality, and we will apply the same care to yours. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

19 Feb:
Responded to my enquiry the day before on whether the order had shipped yet.

Thank you for your e-mail enquiry. Your order will be shipping out tomorrow. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

20 Feb:
True to word, received email notification that the order had been shipped. This is where I have to quote from the website FAQ and T&Cs.

Delivery Policy
Standard Delivery – Approximate delivery within 5-7 working days from receipt of order to Australian metro addresses, 6-7 working days to country areas and 10 working days to rural areas. Large items may incur longer delivery times as these are road freight.

Products will be supplied by – Trading as BigTexas™ alongside our sister company,, Inc. In either case, products will be shipped to you only from within Australia.

26 Feb:
Printer apparently had not received anything yet, so I sent an enquiry about the order status.

27 Feb:
This was what I got in response.

We apologize for the confusion. We are aware of the issue with tracking ID numbers, and are currently working with DHL to resolve it. This unfortunately makes it impossible to pinpoint a package’s location and delivery date during transit. While we continue to investigate this issue we appreciate your patience and understanding.

International deliveries take approximately 7-12 business days. Your order is due to be delivered between February 27-March 6, give or take a couple of days. We hope this information is helpful, but please don’t hesitate to contact us with further questions or concerns.

What the eff is this shit about?

Firstly, international delivery when the terms and conditions already emphasized the products would be shipped within Australia.

Second, their FAQ stated 10 working days to rural areas, so what is this crap about a possible 12 days?! Ridiculous. I sent an angry reply and requested for assistance on this problem.

I tried to call their 1300 number as well, but no one picked up. No IVR, no voicemail, just a ringing phone. I got the funny feeling that their entire customer service was based in the States as well, because their replies would always come overnight.

28 Feb:
I might be really lousy at comprehension, but it wasn’t clear what “handled incorrectly” meant. And they were talking about a replacement order. So, what happened to the original one?

We apologize for all of the confusion. Your order was handled incorrectly on our end, so we are rushing a replacement as quickly as we possibly can. It will ship via DHL Express and we will send you a message with tracking information as soon as the number generates. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

Got more pissed, sent off another angry email and threatened to take the matter up with Consumer Affairs for false advertising.

1 Mar:
They promised shipping of the ASAP variety with DHL Express, so I left it at that. My printer promised to have it to me within the week if I could get the stock to him, so all I could do now was to hope DHL delivered.

Thank you for your continued communication your initial order was sent but due to the late time frame we would like to express a new order to you. We apologize for the delay of your order you are correct there is no excuse. It however does not fix the problem. Your order will ship for our US warehouse tomorrow. It will be sent DHL express. You will receive your order with in 2-3 days. We will email you tomorrow with the tracking so you can view your package on line and see that it will be delivered with the time frame. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

I requested for a discount/refund on the order, because they did not deliver on their promise.

2 Mar:
Tracking number came, and $20 refund was promised.

Thank you for your response. The tracking number on you order is XXX. Again we apologize for the inconvenience we will process adjustment of 20.00 of your order. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

5 Mar:
Watched the order fly its way from Boston, MA to my printer on the DHL tracking system. It’s really ironic because the t-shirts will end up back in Boston at the end.

And yep, still waiting for refund. Customer service says it’s been processed, but it hasn’t appeared on the statement yet.

Thank you for your reply. Your adjustment has already been processed to your account. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us. Again we apologize for the LARGE inconvenience this has caused you.

I wasn’t totally sure “adjustment” meant a refund to my credit card or if they meant adding credit to the BigTexas account, so I had to check. Good thing they replied pretty promptly this time.

Please forgive our unclear wording. Yes, the adjustment is the refunded amount returning to the credit card you used for the transaction. While we can confirm that we processed this, it can take up to 72 hours for the credit to post to your payment method. If we can assist you any further please do not hesitate to contact us.

Granted the customer service wasn’t piss-poor, but the inconsistency between the website’s promise of delivery and the actual logistical operations was just plain wrong. Or perhaps I was just flat out unlucky on being the one guy who slipped through the cracks?

Quote from their About Us page:

We’re making headway to ensuring a 3-5 day delivery time Australia wide or at the very least, to be competitive with domestic shipping times that we are familiar with here in Australia. Many of our shipments can and will be received within 1-2 days of ordering and this will be the largest growth area for our company. With 3 million+ registered Paypal users in Australia and more than 2-3 times that number making purchases on eBay Australia, we trust that our logistics model can deliver orders equally or better than expected.

It sure sounds like I was the guy who got shafted amongst all those other satisfied people. But honestly, managing customer expectations is very important in every business. At this point of time, it’s been approximately two weeks and a little bit more since I placed my order. Way, way off.

The best part was that I probably wouldn’t even have cared about where the hell the stock was if it’d arrived in time. The point was the order vanished, I had to chase things up and some vague answer about “an issue with DHL tracking numbers” wasn’t really helping. The gesture on shipping a replacement order was really good, but they still missed the delivery window by a mile.

All I have to say is, thumbs up for customer service, but they really need to get their act together on order tracking and being more pro-active on letting the customer know if something goes wrong.

Golden rule on business: Problems inevitably happen, but it’s always great customer service that saves the day. Let the customer know you have a problem, that you have it well in hand, and that you will let them know how things go without the customer asking.

I’ll likely buy again from Big Texas in the future, but it will be on products that are not urgently needed.