My Singapore Adventure
I first came here to Singapore April of 2007 when I reported for an interview with Research in Motion. I stayed at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel at Coleman street for 3 days and 2 nights. It was a brief visit which only allowed me to visit a few friends as well as have a local tour of the interesting places here in Singapore. However, it was so funny what I have experienced here that it’s worthy of being put in this blog.
I came here over the weekend and Labor Day holiday of 2007, but the leave I’ve secured back home in Manila was for a personal nature and I told everybody I was going to Zambales, one of the provinces up in the north of Manila. I had to deceive everyone as I was already applying to another company for a job. However, my friend Chinnoy kept on calling me and making follow ups with me and is overseeing my welfare in my first visit to Singapore.
This also led Chinnoy to call up my L2 friends in Siemens having them ultimately find out that I was here over the weekend. It was supposed to have been a perfect plan as I have with me a SIM card not registered with Siemens and I would be able to call our command center and make a bogus reason why I would not be able to report for work.
At first it all seemed to have worked out fine but since my L2 friends are quite a bunch of blabber mouths, I was ultimately exposed with undesirable consequences. Since then, Singapore has been referred to by my friends as Zambales and makes me look back with a smile on how funny it all were.
I came here with just Php 5,000.00 spare money to spend for 3 days as my packaged tour was already paid for amounting to Php 33,000.00. Since I did not have much which was somewhat to the order of SGD 140.00, I had to really make sure that it would last me the whole 3 days as I was staying in a very expensive hotel.
Not knowing anything about Singapore, having not done my proper research, I chose the wrong Call Card (pre-paid) to use to call friends locally. I chose back then Starhub which I later found out was quite scarce here in the city as compared to Singtel’s Public Payphones. That was money wasted leaving me with only a few dollars to spend.
Little did I know, I had to put up a $100.00 deposit at the hotel’s front desk which left me with something like $30.00 of pocket-money for 3 days. Breakfast was free so I had no worries about that, so for lunch I just needed to go to the local McDonald’s at Funan IT Mall. Dinner was a different story as friends from Siemens would be treating me out for a bite. Funny thing with that was since I was really not familiar with this place, my good friend Janice invited me for dinner at a Thai Hawker place and I just chose what seemed to look good from the pictures in the menu.
Unfortunately, the Thai Chicken that I ordered was so spicy, in fact, too spicy for my taste but since I was hungry as hell, I had no choice but to eat it. That was my first night here. The second day, my good friend Corman, after having breakfast with me at the hotel, accompanied me to Jurong East for my interview with Research in Motion. The interview went well I suppose, but I think I gave them the wrong salary range since I was comparing them with the salary bracket my friends at Barclays bank were receiving.
I spent the afternoon with Corman and he fulfilled his promise to me, in buying me an iPod 5th Gen, since I was the one who recommended him to “Omnia” the Philippine head hunter who recruited for Barclays. As it turned out, last 2010, they all lost their jobs at Barclays since Barclays decided to transfer their helpdesk operations at Instanbul if I’m not mistaken or some other eastern european country.
My last day here in Singapore was spent touring interesting places like the Singapore Parliament, Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as visiting a Jewelry Factory in Redhill. It was just a half day tour and I went back to my hotel by 1 pm. My flight was 4 pm so I had time to grab a late lunch but since I had less than $10.00, I went to the 7 Eleven at the corner of Coleman St., there I saw something familiar “Bee Hoon” it was spelled somehwhat differently, but looked the same but was orange in color compared to the “Bihon” we have back home.
I tried it out and again it was so spicy, too spicy for me, good thing I had a “Big Gulp” Coca Cola drink. At about 2:30 pm my driver brought me back to the Airport for my trip back home. By 10:00 pm I was already back to work as if I just came from Zambales. But my charade was short-lived as my good friend Richard Solis and his blabber mouth already told everyone I just recently spent my weekend in Singapore for a Job Interview. I almost got fired from Siemens because of him but understandably, my friends were quite excited for me as they too want to work here in Singapore.
To date, I estimate more than 50 ex-Siemens have already worked here from 2006 to 2012. I count my blessings everyday here and I am quite thankful to Singapore for providing a good source of living after visiting Singapore yet another time in 2008 for an Interview with Creative Technologies Pte Ltd. and this time I got the job there but since it was on the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, I found myself jobless by May of 2009, fortunately, a week after that I was able to transfer to ACP e-Solutions as a Linux / Server 2003 | 2008 system administrator handling 43 enterprise servers for Content Management Systems and Learning Management Systems.
It was hell on earth as ACP e-Solutions was an SME company and my job scope was not clearly defined and I ended up doing other things not exclusively maintaining servers. I worked till 10 or even 11 pm in the office and about 1 to 2 am still back at home and even on weekends and holidays I found myself working at the data center. Fortunately, I was able to wiggle my way out of that company and landed a brief job in JP Morgan as a Global Security and Investigations Staff for the Asia Pacific offices of JP Morgan.
There I was fortunate to ride out the storm of the Global Financial Crisis until my contract ended and I landed a very nice job at NCS Pte Ltd as an ICT Executive for Clementi Town Secondary School. The rest is history as I am still with NCS Pte Ltd., and I have moved on being assigned for 7 months at A-Star Bio-medical Science Institute ETPL, P53 Lab and SIgN Lab. Currently I’m with the SSOE project of MOE handling MS Server 2008 r2 App-V.