You Can't Always Get What You Want

…as the renowned philosopher Jagger once wrote.

Singapore’s great. It’s friendly, it’s safe, it’s easy to get around. The heat and humidity aren’t too bad when you get used to them (especially compared to the 10-degree days that Melbourne’s having right now), and there’s more great little restaurants than you can poke a stick at.

But after two months, there’s a few little things that I miss about Melbourne.

Number one: I miss good coffee.

There are very few good coffee places in Singapore. There’s Leo’s, in the basement of the OUB building, which has a proper espresso machine and isn’t too expensive (S$2.50 for a regular latte) - but their coffee can be a bit variable. There’s Coffee Club and The Coffee Connoisseur, which are chains, expensive, and pretty ehh. And there’s Starbucks, which doesn’t count ‘cause it’s awful. If anyone can point me to a place that serves good, strong, reliable espresso, I’ll be indebted to you.

Number two: I miss BPay.

Read on to find out why I miss paying bills.

It sounds insane, but you don’t realise how easy bill payment is until you have to do it the hard way.

For non-Aussies - with BPay, each phone/utilities/internet bill you receive has a biller code (which identifies the company that’s charging you), and an account number. You plug those into your online banking, and the bill gets paid.

In Singapore, you can rock down to the 711 to pay your bills. But if you want to do it automatically, you have to do it via Giro. You fill in a (paper) form with all your account details, and mail it back to the biller. They send the form to your bank, which manually processes the application. This takes four to six weeks.

And god help you if you get your signature wrong. If your signature doesn’t match the one on your account, the bank sends a little slip back to the biller saying that your signature doesn’t match. Then you have to resubmit your application and wait another four to six weeks.

Want to cancel the Giro arrangement, or change accounts? Yup, you guessed it - four to six weeks.

It’s infernal.

And number three: I miss Thank God You’re Here.

Wait, never mind. (JREdoesnotendorseillegaldownloads.)