Showing a little bit of fandom for Dreamz FM

So I was feeling nostalgic since the weekend, and happily doing what I haven’t been doing in a long time: listening to music. Old music at that. It sounds odd, but I used to belt songs out loud back when I was still in Singapore, and that habit gradually got killed over the years of living in Melbourne.

(It’s called showing respect. Just because my parents didn’t complain about the noise pollution, didn’t mean V wouldn’t. And in case you were wondering, yes she did.)

Horror ensured

It came to a part when I was listening to 梦‧飞船 (Dreamz FM), loving their songs once more and Googling Dreamz FM, and I realised something truly horrific – the band did not exist on the internet. Fragments could be found in the occasional forum. Nothing was in Wikipedia. A few photographs, most of them album cover art. The one Facebook page that claimed to be a fan page for the band, had eight fans. EIGHT. With practically zero content at that. What. The. Eff.

I was flabbergasted. Disgusted. Ashamed. Should Dreamz FM be forgotten in (online) history just like that, with no mention of them at all on our beloved intarwebs outside of the omnipotent Baidu and various Chinese MP3 websites? Something had to be done. And so, I did.

And so it came to be.. on Facebook

I present to you, the Dreamz FM 梦‧飞船 Facebook page. At the very least, it contains everything I found tonight: forum mentions, YouTube videos and playlists, a short biography plus track listings of their three albums: some content to keep the love alive. Like it, share it, and may your likes keep our memories of that wonderful group alive forever.

Incidentally, here’s my favourite track of the night from their third album, 航行记录3.

7-11的爱恋

作词:李瞳
歌 作曲:梦飞船
词 编曲:林毅心

爱 是否就是等待
我徘徊 于放弃的无奈
在 7-11的门外
你说他要你等他回来

*二十四小时的虚伪让我累了
填补他的空缺
我期待什么呢
我在你心里不过
是家便利商店
随时等待你出现
买一些时间

^Oh Baby 如果我不再回电
消失了 你会不会发现
曾经让你依靠的肩 会不会眷恋
或许只能说再见
才能告别 等待的厌倦
结束 7-11的爱恋

重复 * ^

Oh Baby 如果我不再回电
消失了 你会不会发现
曾经让你依靠的肩 会不会眷恋
或许只能说再见
才能够告别 等待的厌倦
结束 7-11的
7-11 的爱恋

如果我不再回电
消失了 你会不会发现

或许只能说再见
才能告别 等待的厌倦

如果我不再回电
消失了 你会不会发现

Melbourne: The Road to Residency V: Fingerprinted!

So.

If you had read my previous post, I was last seen preparing for my COC application..

Here’s an update on how things went:

Bank draft: much thanks to Bill, who helped with the HSBC bank draft. No rocket science involved here but remember folks, you need:

  • A HSBC account holder
  • Cash – $50 draft + $18 fee x SGD-AUD exchange rate 1.33 = GREAT SAVINGS!
  • Get to the teller before 3pm during Daylight Savings Time.

Fingerprinting: called Victoria Police and managed to get an appointment in early Feb at Wangaratta, which was a good three hours’ drive away from the city. Much thanks to Stan and V for driving up together, we had an unexpectedly fun road trip!

Waited in the station for a bit, and the friendly female constable came around. We headed over into the work rooms, she filled up my details on the fingerprint record sheet, then proceeded to get my hands all inked up. One would think that modern technology allows scanning and printing of the fingerprints, rather than the time-honoured tradition of inking but whatever works I guess.

The remaining ink smudges on my hands were taken care of by these awesome mechanic’s wipes she had; my hands were probably cleaner than they were before the inking. The sergeant on duty signed the sheet after that, and that was it!

According to the constable, a lot of people head over to Wangaratta for fingerprinting (surprisingly), so I would advise that you get an appointment booked early.

Tidied up my documents, made sure everything was ready and sent them off. I had wanted to send it via express, but normal mail costs $3.30 and express cost something to the tune of $40 so nah. I’m in a hurry, but not in that kind of hurry.

And the bomb’s away, all that’s left to do is to cross my fingers and hope it comes back soon.

Update: Mailed the application off on Feb 10, got my CoC back from Singapore on Mar 14 via registered mail. This should give you a benchmark on time frame.

Melbourne: The road to residency IV: Police clearance

So.

Police checks for Australia and Singapore, to make sure I’m clean.

The Australian check is a breeze; I completed and mailed that one out the same day.

(I suspect it’s largely because of the fact that the groundwork for my police check was done on the Form 80. The troublesome part of filling out countless entries and exits and duration of stay et cetera was all done there.)

  • Filled up PDF form for police check, printed and signed. Remember immigration check is code 33 with no fingerprints requested.
  • Printed deed poll, driver’s license and certified them.
  • Attached bank cheque thanks to V.
  • Stuffed ’em all into an envelope, slammed it shut.
  • Went over to the post office, stuck a $1.20 stamp onto it. Dropped it off at the post box.

Now, Singapore.

I need to get my Certificate of Clearance (COC) from the Singapore Police Force (SPF). And the more I read, the more it looks like a heavy duty PITA.

Reference: DIAC’s official guide for obtaining police clearance certificates – all countries

To begin with, I cannot apply for it online and must send it via mail to Singapore – I hate mailing important documents overseas. Step right up, PITA begins right here ladies and gents.

For someone obtaining the COC from overseas, here’s a checklist:

  • The SPF COC application form – bit of a PITA because I can’t fill the PDF up before printing it, crap handwriting ensures.
  • Two recent passport photographs – easy.
  • Evidence of the request from immigration – easy.
  • A photocopy of the passport particulars page – easy.
  • Application fee ($45) plus return postage ($5) on a bank draft issued by a Singapore-based bank. How the hell was I supposed to do that? Did a bit of reading up on the net and it seems like HSBC is an eligible candidate; I’ll try that out next week.

    Update: HSBC does it with an $18 surcharge if you are debiting from an HSBC bank account, have to get bank draft before 1500hrs in summer.

    Update 11 Dec 2012: Brother confirmed this via a phone call to SPF: Commonwealth (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), Citibank, ANZ bank drafts are acceptable as well.

  • Get fingerprinted. So, I have a few options.
    1. Australian Federal Police (AFP):
      Only found mention of fingerprinting as part of the national police check, not for the SPF. Fee is $145. According to this post you can head over to their office at 383 La Trobe St Melbourne, I would suggest calling 03 9607 7777 to check.
    2. Victoria Police:
      Call 1300 881 596 from 0800hrs to 1600hrs, Monday to Friday to make an appointment.
      Fee is $137, no cash but EFTPOS, credit cards accepted so no problem.
      City branch is at 637 Flinders Street, World Trade Centre.
      Updated: no charges involved, you have to bring your passport along and slots are heavily booked, be prepared to get an appointment that is months away.
    3. Public notary:
      According to this post it sounds like a PITA – create own template, find a notary and pay up to get him to sight the thing. Last option if I have to do it. The Notary Locator (this link is pointing to Melbourne VIC 3000) should come in handy at this point.

Problems with the COC?

  • Give the SPF a call at (+65) 64358275 or (+65) 64358277 during office hours or
  • Email to SPF_CID_COC@spf.gov.sg

*extracted from the SPF COC page.


More updates to follow on my adventure with the COC – I suspect things will not go smoothly on this one.

Keinian ideals – Costs of living in Melbourne (versus Singapore) part 4: Healthcare

And yes, I’m back on this topic again after a ridiculous hiatus of three years; how’s that for an extended break? It seems like a good time to clear up on my backlog of draft/unfinished posts so here we go.

I’m writing from the perspective of a guy off the street without in-depth analysis, writings off the top of my head and with half opinion, half fact. So if you are game for articles like these, read on! And please, do feel free to correct me as needed, happy to receive feedback from others who are better placed to give an expert opinion on the matter.

Healthcare is one of those things that you don’t worry about until you get really, really sick. And then, it hits you like a ton of bricks – fast, relentless and very hard. I’ll just run through a few things that I think are important.

System
Singapore:
The Central Provident Fund (or CPF) covers hospitalisation (Medisave) and other non-healthcare related matters like retirement, housing repayment and investment (Ordinary, Special), so it’s a sort of all-in-one product.
CPF allows limited investment under the CPF-IS.
The umbrella hospitalisation cover would be the CPF Medicare/Medishield, covers all working Singaporeans.
Payment comes out of a portion of your CPF (contribution rates), which in turn comes out of your paycheck and employer contribution.

Australia:
The equivalent product for retirement savings would be the superannuation fund.
No such housing repayment product exists – the superannuation fund is not used for something like this.
You are allowed to choose your own investment fund for the superannuation fund.
The healthcare system known as Medicare, which is granted to all residency applicants, permanent residents and citizens.
Covers a range of products including eye tests, GP consultation and public hospital cover (including childbirth).
Payment is an annual 1% tax levy; high-income earners without private health insurance pay 1.5%. (ATO Medicare levy)

Sidenote: non-residents (student visa, work visa) are required by law to have their own private health insurance. Note that the private health insurance products are priced differently from the ones offered to residents.


GP (General practitioner) options
Singapore:

  • Free or heavily subsidised if under employer’s group cover.
  • If not, you could look at polyclinics, which are public and low-cost.
  • GP clinics as a rule are generally affordable, even for private practice.

Medication is dispensed and paid up for together with consultation.

Australia:

  • Bulk billing is free under Medicare, which mean clinics that offer bulk bill are free for consultation.
  • Private practice GP clinics will cost you an arm and a leg.

Medication is dispensed and purchased separately from the chemist/pharmacy after a prescription is dispensed.


GP consultation booking
Singapore:
Walk in, register and wait. Polyclinics mean a long waiting time, private GPs are much better.

Australia:
Call and make an appointment at the doctor’s before you head down. No appointment, no doctor. This takes a bit of getting used to. Even with an appointment, waiting times are generally pretty long.


Hospitalisation fees
Singapore:
Public hospitals (hospital list) allow subsidy under government subsidies, Medicare/Medishield in lower class wards. (means testing for hospital wards)
Private ones cost you mucho bucks. Private insurance with good hospitalisation cover recommended, but IMO insurance products that solely offer hospitalisation cover do not seem to be very popular among Singaporeans for some reason or other.

Australia:
Public hospitals are free under Medicare, this includes childbirth. Plenty of waiting time involved for public hospitals, be warned.
Private ones advisable to purchase health insurance. Otherwise, mucho bucks.


Overall, I much prefer the Australian healthcare system over Singapore’s CPF, even though I have to admit it’s not quite flawless. For starters, I like the way products are separated, unlike the way CPF bundles them into a single fund. Like everything else in Australia, it feels more human and accepting of everyone and anyone.

I personally like the option of having free healthcare for those who cannot afford it. In Singapore, you can always live well so long as you hold an average job and do not fall sick. Fall through the cracks, and you might have a tough time. I will refrain from discussing this as it is out of scope for this post.

Back to the topic at hand: what I just summarised is just a fairly basic compare and contrast; we can see that one factor would be the different payment schemes involved. The Medicare levy would definitely cost less in exchange for a wider and fee-free cover. The downside of using Australian public hospitals would be the overload on resources, which equate to high wait times and possibly lower quality due to overworked personnel. This is probably why measures are being introduced to encourage taxpayers towards the adoption of private health insurance. Singapore on the other hand, encourages subsidies and co-payments rather than giving free healthcare.

I also like the way Medicare bulk billing works, although I’m not thrilled by the way we have to make a booking and still wait on consultations; you would think that appointments help reduce wait times. One minor perk of getting a prescription for medication – it allows you to shop around for the most affordable chemist and possibly save some cents.

Food for thought for Singaporeans still back in good old SG:

  • Are the healthcare subsidies in Singapore enough?
  • And if not, is your health insurance adequately covering you?
  • And if not, have you spoken to someone about getting hospitalisation insurance as a single product? I cannot emphasize this last point enough, it is very important that you look into getting something good that covers your hospital needs extensively, as opposed to a combo product that integrates savings/investments and provides hospitalisation cover as an addon.

I’ll end this post as it is now, and probably add on to this as more feedback comes in. So please, let me know what your thoughts are and how I can make this better for the next reader.

Repost: I don’t care for National Day

This is a repost from Insane Polygon’s original post. Literally took the words right out of my mouth, I like how he wrote it.


National Day came and went with barely a blip on my radar.

I don’t celebrate National Day.

I don’t put up flags, I don’t watch the parade and I don’t listen to any of that manufactured bullshit songs like Count On Me Singapore, Stand Up for Singapore nonsense. The only thing I celebrate is that I don’t have to turn up for work that day. In fact, that morning when I went to the gym for my workout, I seemed to be the only one attired in full black workout gear while everybody else seemingly wore red or white. Not that I had intentionally wore black, just that when I looked around, I realized I was the only one in black in a sea of red and white. Freudian slip perhaps.

Honestly I see no reason to celebrate.

Celebrate what?

Celebrate that one political party has hijacked my country, its institutions and everything it stands for? Celebrate that Singapore the nation has become PAP the political party which in turn has become the government which in turn has become the civil service. The lines are so blurred that I don’t even know where one starts and the other ends.

Singapore, PAP, NTUC, People’s Association, HDB, SAF, SIA, ST GIC, CPF and everything in between seems to be nothing more than extensions of one monolithic entity that seeks to control every aspect of our lives and wants nothing more than to make living batteries out of us and turn this country into a mega corporation.

Celebrate that? Seriously?

Everywhere I turn my head there are posters and banners with all sort of feel good sound good exhortations to celebrate National Day. Ministers and MPs smiling down benevolently at us while pictures of citizens are conveniently Photoshopped beside them as if to say we are all one people, one nation.

National Day, PAP Day- what difference does it make? Those posters and banners put up by the town councils and grassroots organizations seems identical to those election banners and posters put up by the PAP during election. Who the fuck really knows the difference?

The only thing I know is that between the political leaders and us- its one Corporation, two people. They make millions while we try to eke out a living. We stay together while they move ahead indeed. One people one nation is for suckers who still buy that bullshit. Its very telling that among that challenges spelled out by Goh Chok Tong, narrowing the worst income gap among all developed nations is not one of them.

Count on me Singapore?

If Singapore counts on me than can I count of Singapore in return? Can I count on Singapore to bail me out when I am poor and jobless? Can I count on Singapore to treat me when I am sick and penniless? Can I count on Singapore to provide me with a social safety net? Can I count on Singapore when I am old and alone? Can I count on Singapore if I suffer permanent injury in the course of NS?

It used to be said at least you can count of your CPF when you’ve reach retirement. Now who the fuck knows. They went ahead and changed the law so that if the CPF fund becomes insolvent, they can actually not pay you your money which they took away without asking for your permission. So as a Singaporean, who can I really count on except myself.

Stand up for Singapore?

Did Singapore stand up for those who lost their life savings because banks sold unsafe financial products? Did Singapore stand up for those who got conned by paper mills selling degrees of dubious origins? Did Singapore stand up for those lost their lives performing their duty as male citizens. Amid the sound and fury of the National Day parade, was there a moment of silence for those fallen NSMen? Did Singapore stand up for those people who can’t stand up for themselves. Did Singapore stand up to the transport companies that increases their fares year after year in good or bad times?

I think at some point during the celebrations, everyone was supposed to stand up and recite the Singapore Pledge together. Do these people even know what they are reciting or are they just going through the motions? Do you even know the true meaning of the pledge?

I for one did not recite the pledge for in reciting it would be the tacit support of a gross hypocrisy. To build a democratic country? When one thinks of democracy, singapore is just about as far away from that as you can get.

The truth is there is nothing in the world I want more than to celebrate National Day, to proudly stand and declare myself Singaporean.

But I can’t. I can’t celebrate National Day while Singapore remains a nation in captivity and its people stripped of their rights and civil liberties. I can’t celebrate National Day until Singapore is returned to its rightful owners- the people of Singapore.

If some fucker came into your house and stole all your stuff, you sure as hell don’t celebrate that.

Keinian ideals – Costs of living in Melbourne (versus Singapore) part 3: Transport

Back after a long, long interval. Let’s continue looking things over shall we?

The focus of this post: transportation, also a very important part of our lives. How much difference is there in the transport systems available?

*Disclaimer: all of the below are my opinion, and do not form any basis for factual arguments – I’m not writing a university research paper that requires substantiation and quotes. Feel free to disagree and ignore this post if you do feel like it.

Private transport

Singapore
It would be fair to say that cars are a luxury for the average Singaporean. Consider the following:

  • With the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) inflating prices of the vehicle,
  • Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries springing up all over the island like mushrooms after the rain – you might be able to avoid it if you do not have to enter the city at all,
  • The ever-present vehicle maintenance costs,
  • And a compulsory ten-year lifespan before the cars are sent to the scrap heap. Safety hazard, or a need to reduce to vehicles on the road? I’m not sure either.

Suffice it to say that you would probably sink a good deal of your salary towards the car repayments/maintenance/fixed costs, if you are the average Singaporean. And by average, I would be saying something like $2,800 per month, or even less. Not everyone is a university graduate, and blue-collar wages are not what we would call attractive. (We’ll talk about wages in the next post.)

A cheaper alternative: you could rely on scooters or motorbikes to get around, which would save a considerable amount on maintenance and petrol.

Australia
It’s a pretty big place, and cars are a pretty common (or even a vital) facet of everyday transportation. The suburbs are pretty large, and driving a car is a matter of convenience over here. I’m not a car buff for sure, but IMO cars are definitely more affordable over here. Points for consideration versus the SG environment:

  • There’s no COE, period.
  • Electronic pricing gantries exist on the highways, but there are freeways (yes, free aka you don’t pay) that offer access to the city.
  • Vehicle maintenance costs exist, and probably would be cheaper if you know how to do it yourself; human labor costs are much higher in Australia after all.
  • No lifespan limit on the vehicles; I have seen twenty year-old vintage cars chugging along the road without exploding into spare parts.

So you are pretty free to get a used vehicle at an affordable price if you’re running on a tight budget; vehicles on a range of prices, and in varying states of use of course.

And yes, motorcycles and scooters are readily available for purchase. I have no idea on the price differences in this area, but judging from the prices I have seen on the store windows: it seems like the bikes are pricier here.

Or try cycling to work – I know this guy who actually cycles 40km to work everyday. Now that’s what I call fitness.

Public transport

Singapore
The Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) and bus services (SBS Transit and SMRT Buses) form the backbone of public transport.

The result? Peak hour = crowded trains and crowded buses. People are packed inside like sardines in a can, for lack of a better description. Stuffy, and all too uncomfortable.

This is a personal perspective: in my years of taking the MRT I usually end up standing more often than not. Either the train’s too crowded, or there are other people who need the seat more than I do. This is fine of course, but being younger does not mean you do not get tired from standing.

Buses cover the island more extensively, and while the bus stands out as an easier way to get to your destination with less walking involved versus the MRT, it doesn’t mean it’s the miracle cure to all your transport woes. Buses are by nature erratic in their schedules, which means happy waiting. And what if you fall asleep? Missing a stop often means a long way to walk.
(You can probably tell that I don’t like buses very much, and that’s the bloody truth.)

Fare system: Singapore uses the EZ-Link system, which offers seamless payment across the train and bus networks. Passengers use a magnetic card that is tapped on a reader upon alighting. This deducts the maximum fare of the journey from your card, and the correct amount is credited back into the card when you tap the card reader before getting off. No freebies, unless you can actually “forget” about tapping the card altogether.

Taxis are available, but prices have risen and are no longer as affordable as they were a year ago.

Quoted from shenando:

“$2.80 + $0.30 (diesel surcharge). 385m go up $0.20 or every 30 seconds, peak period = 35% extra”

And yep, taxis have ERP surcharges too.

Conclusion: public transport is a bitch.

Melbourne
Victorian public transport consists of four elements:

  • Trains: similar to what the MRT offers, with more seats. Trains come more or less on time, which is not a bad thing.
  • Trams: my absolute love when it comes to short-distance public transport. Arrives on time according to the timetable. Moves in straight lines along the main roads most of the time, does not fcuk you up too much even after missing a couple of stops. Walking back 500m is greatly preferred to “oh shit was I supposed to turn left here?” Steady motion with minimal jerking, great for short naps.
  • Buses: Air-conditioned, pretty similar to the buses in Singapore but I haven’t seen any double-decker ones around so far. Taken the bus twice since I came here, and it’s been fifteen months. I still dislike buses.
  • Taxis: Taxis are an absolute killer here, which is why most people have their own cars. Expect fares to cost up to twice of Singapore’s cab fares. And Sydney’s much worse.

The one thing that I like are the timetables on the tram and bus stops; they are usually pretty accurate, which wins Singapore buses hands down. The Metlink Melbourne website timetables are a blessing too, I have relied on them for most of my travels around. Singapore, ahh. I remembered the good old days, like the time when I saw three buses (same service number!) trundle off one after another, leaving me in their wake. And this probably isn’t too surprising, but it was a good forty-five minutes before the next one came.

Fare system: Melbourne uses Metlink Metcards, which is a pretty interesting system. The state is separated into two zones, Zone 1 and Zone 2. Fare prices increase if you travel from one zone to the other. Cards are valid based on time rather than the distance or number of stops. So if I had a 2-hour ticket, it would be valid for the entire two hours, regardless of the number of trips made.

Tickets can be purchased with a variety of options, ranging from 2-hour to daily to weekly/monthly/yearly even. And there’s stuff like 2-hour x 10 tickets, 5 x weekend tickets which offer bulk purchases in a single card. Much more convenient, I’d say.

Drawbacks? The Metlink tickets are actually paper with magnetic strips so.. kill yourself if the ticket gets into the laundry. More so if your ticket happened to be a yearly ticket.

Travel tips:

  • Connex inspectors ambush the trains and trams every so often, so try not to “forget” about validating your ticket. Getting slapped with a hefty fine is definitely not the way to save money. And running away would not be a good idea because the inspectors come in teams of four. As usual, do it only if you’re confident about not getting caught.
  • Metlink Melbourne + Google Maps = easy travel. It’s usually much easier to pinpoint the location when you know the numbers are in sequence.
  • Odd-numbered buildings are on the left, even numbers are on the right of the road.
    Edit: Stand corrected by Honda (retarded me) – Odd left, right even or vice versa, depending on whether you’re going up or down the road.
  • If you have got a car, having a GPS unit would be a good idea. Having a copy of the Melways in your car would be an even better idea.

Summary: no real summary As requested by Meow in the comment section.

The obvious conclusion? Public transport in Melbourne is pricier but way more predictable and less packed than SG. Private transport is affordable, period.

And yes, this is just food for thought yet again. More to come in the next post.

Keinian ideals – Costs of living in Melbourne (versus Singapore) part 2: Accomodation

In this post, we visit an integral component of our lives: our homes.

Most of us live in a HDB flat (read: public housing) in Singapore, and married couples (usually) apply for their own little domestic haven eventually. For the sake of privacy (read: recreational physical activities without your in-laws wondering what that rhythmic thumping noise was), if nothing else. Now that didn’t come out too well did it? Hecks.

Disclaimer: I am merely doing a comparison of numbers, so please leave the AUD/SGD exchange rate out of it. You earn SGD, you spend SGD. Same thing goes for AUD; you don’t earn AUD and spend SGD in Australia do you?

Rental:

Unlike Singapore, a lot of people (that includes me) rent apartments, which is actually private housing. That’s part of the downside of not having a family to lean on, but it’s fun since you get to have your own pad sooner. Like Singapore, rental prices are cutthroat, especially in the city. What’s different is that it is actually possible to stay in the city and not die from bankruptcy; let’s not go into the details of possible moolah you would have to fork out for an apartment in Orchard Road.

I am currently staying in a 2-bedroom apartment of approximately 64 square metres, at a rental rate of $1,600 per month. It’s reasonably located in the city, and a pretty good deal to boot. The only downside’s that the apartment does not come with a carpark (damn). On the average, rental costs for 2-bedroom apartments in Melbourne are either similar or higher to what I pay. And yes, the prices are *still* rising. Unfortunately, Melbourne city apartments are always competitively priced, and Sydney is much worse, judging from the rates I saw on my last visit there.

I haven’t actually asked about rental accomodation in Orchard Road or City Hall, but it is pretty logical to hazard a guess that $1,600 would not cover the rent, Singapore’s real estate being limited and all.

Purchase:

Quoting from HDB Infoweb, a new HDB 5-room flat in Clementi would cost about $478,000. That would be a possible floor area of 110 square metres, and you would be entitled to a lease of 99 years.

We should take into account the fact that people like us probably wouldn’t live beyond (99+current age) years, but it’s always comforting to know that your kids could stay in the same place without buying a new one if they wanted to.

The below statistics were taken from a search off realestate.com.au, incase you were curious.

A 2-bedroom apartment in my building would cost something like $440,000, with a possible floor area of 65 square metres. And it would count as a freeholding up to the point when the building collapses or something.

Alternatively, we could consider a 2-bedroom house in a suburb close to Melbourne city e.g. Fitzroy North, which would work out to something like $650,000 (land plus house). The floor area would be about 135 square metres, which would trash the HDB flat outright in this area. And yes, it would be a freeholding too.

And of course, location defines the price. The further we head out, the cheaper it gets.

Over at Bundoora (approximately 40 mins’ drive from city), a 3-bedroom house would cost about $350,000 or so. I couldn’t get the floor area because the listings did not show any, but an estimate would be 130 square metres and above.

Aside from actually judging on the amounts we have to fork out on buying the house, we probably have to consider our financing options too.

CPF/Superannuation financing:

In Singapore, we get to utilise our CPF as a part of the downpayment. No such rule goes for Australia’s superannuation fund (we call it CPF); it’s untouchable. Good or bad, you decide for yourself.

Bank loans:

Disclaimer: I am not trying to perform an indepth analysis of all banks in Australia so that we could have a look at the cheapest repayment rates, so keep that in mind.

Australia

Singapore

  • POSB’s Home Ideal First offers an interest rate pegged to the CPF rate, which would be about 2.5% for now.
  • UOB offers a rate of about 3.50% p.a.; it’s a little variable but I couldn’t be fcuked to write that much.

We can probably conclude that buying a place of your own in Australia isn’t as affordable as Singapore, but of course the benefit of having a freehold affects the equation. I’ll think about the next topic to discuss, and leave these as food for thought.