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Skip the Morning Madness

Grab a free MRT ride to town and exit before 7.45am (till June 2014).

Need more motivation to wake up early? Incentives for Singapore’s Commuters (Insinc) gives you cash for skipping rush hour trains.

For drivers, leave before the ERP gantries start working, usually before 7.30am. For health enthusiasts, join HPB’s “Sunrise in the City” workouts from 7.30am-8.30am. Activities such as yoga and jogging are available four days a week at various locations around town.

Free, free, free!


…while you save money and get f it. Here’s how: Before

ust 2013

Things to do all year round without spending a cent: E! FRE

pages of street-smart tips

17-24 Life’s not easy, but we’re here to help. From surviving peak hour travel to fighting off coldcallers or even creating the right impression at work, this pullout will teach you how to navigate the choppy waters of life, without being eaten by sharks.

Singapore Really Really Free Market: At this Sunday market, everything is free! Some people set up booths giving away books and other items, while others offer services such as free massages.

Now that there’s free admission to the National Museums and Heritage Institutions for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, it’s time to get in touch with your artsy side.

Perfect the Art of Negotiation Ever wondered how to get the best deal at the market? Experts teach you how. This gorgeous truck is worth every cent. But I just can’t pay your price.

You take the seeds and I’ll take the fruit. Sounds like a good deal?

Disarming Empathy

Expand the Pie

Be nice. Stay committed to your goal, but show the other party that you understand their difficulties.

Consider many related issues together. Be flexible – try giving up what’s less important to you in return for what you really want.

When FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss wanted to buy a truck, he offered a price that was low but not impossible to meet. The salesman lowered the price slightly but Voss didn’t budge. While praising the truck for being worth every cent, he asserted that he couldn’t afford it. The salesman finally took Voss’s original offer.

Cathy Tinsley, who teaches negotiation at Georgetown University, needed to buy the last four pumpkins from a farmer, who only wanted to sell her two. The reason? The farmer needed pumpkin seeds for next year’s harvest. Since Cathy only needed the flesh, they cut up the fruits and parted happily.

Learn about health, the arts or even investment through workshops and talks at public libraries. Many libraries also hold storytelling and craft sessions for children.

Visit the Botanic Gardens not just for the flora, but also to enjoy the free tours and concerts held throughout the year.

Spend a Sunday at the Esplanade, and relax to its monthly “Beautiful Sunday” performances by local music groups.

Yo ur P eak H o u r T r av e l Survival Guide If you can’t avoid the rush hours, remember these tips for a smoother commute.

Avoid wearing open-toe shoes. Squashed toes hurt.

Be a smart

Keep bulkier items such as the iPad or newspaper for the office. Stick to your smartphone or paperback instead.

Zen Out


Create a Zen-out playlist to listen to on your journey. You’ll feel less annoyed. A collection of your favourite songs or cute (animal) videos could also cheer up your commute.

Don’t force your way into the bus or train if it’s already fully packed. We don’t have “pushers” like they do in Japan to shove you in so the doors can close.


Sunglasses in the rain

Have you ever found it difficult to see while driving in a downpour? Try donning a pair of polarised sunglasses next time. Polarised lenses block out certain components of light, including rays that are scattered by water. This makes it easier to see the road markings. Don't try this at night though – the shades affect your depth perception, making it more dangerous to drive. Read more at:

Hav e y o u m e t th e s e p e o p le on Here’s what to do when you encounter them.

Armed with shopping bags or an umbrella, she will fight her way to a seat no matter what. tip: There’s no stopping her. Just get out of her way or risk suffering a sharp prod to your ribs (or worse). If there’s really no space, let her know as politely as you can. Most importantly, avoid engaging in a spat with her unless you want to end up on Stomp.

You’re trying to catch some sleep but your Zen-out playlist is drowned out by loud beats. Are they broadcasting music in the MRT now? No, it’s just that teenager with music blaring from his headphones. tip: Bob along to his music. Even better if you know the lyrics – trying mouthing them for added effect. If this doesn’t make him self-conscious and turn his volume down, we don’t know what will.

driver Shine your ride

Professional car detailer Greg Yoke recommends washing your car in this sequence:



We show you how to drive in the rain, polish your ride, and get the best lunch parking deals.







Upper sections of the sides

Lower areas

Park & eat Driving to town for lunch? These deals let you park for $2 or less while you munch from 12pm2pm (on weekdays). Clarke Quay $0 (entrance near the G-Max Reverse Bungee) Free parking from 12pm-2.59pm Located near: The Central, Liang Court, UE Square

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4 Plaza Singapura $1.28 Free first hour parking from 10am-5.59pm $0.32 for every subsequent 15 minutes Located near: Atrium@Orchard, The Cathay, Park Mall


Clean the lower sections last because



They’re generally dirtier. If you clean them first, debris might stick to your sponge and scratch the other parts of your car.

Dirt from the upper parts will inevitably be washed down to the lower parts.

Try t his!

Use clay for a smooth finish: After washing your car, run your hand over the surface. If it still feels uneven, use a clay bar to remove the little contaminants that are stuck to the paint.

Esplanade Mall $2 $2 per entry for the basement car park Located near: Marina Square, Suntec City, CityLink Mall

Prices are inclusive of GST.


public t r a n s p o r t ?

Karma Booster Everybody’s in the same (crowded) boat, so why not try making life easier for others? Make someone’s day by doing something nice, whether it’s greeting your bus driver or helping that person chasing after the bus to flag it down.

You’re reading your news feed or trying to pass a level in Candy Crush when you realise that there’s another pair of eyes staring at your screen…

Even as other commuters struggle to stay upright, this inconsiderate individual is oblivious to the discomfort of those around him. All that matters to him is having a place to lean his back.

tip: Go to your Facebook or Twitter and update your status with something like: “Don’t you just hate it when kaypohs look at your screen on the bus?” The culprit should stop, unless he has skin as thick as a rhino’s.

tip: “Accidentally” grab some of his hair as you struggle to hold a part of the pole above his head. When he glares at you, say something like “Oops sorry, I can’t reach the pole since you’re using it as a backrest…” He should get the hint.

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Tips from a hotel insider Jacob Tomsky, who has worked in hotels for over a decade, spills the beans on the industry in Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality. Booking on a discount site may get you the worst rooms in a hotel: Tomsky shares that guests who make discounted reservations from travel discount sites are often given a lower priority than customers who book directly with the hotel (and therefore pay more). If you do book through an online intermediary, try to differentiate yourself from other bargain-hunters by calling the hotel a few days before your arrival to ask about your reservation. Be nice to your front desk agent: If you’re rude to him, he might just give you a problematic room, such as one with faulty curtains. On the other hand, tip him and he might just throw in perks such as a free room upgrade or a late check-out. Complain smart: Want your front desk agent to solve a problem fast? Screaming could work, but why not try this simple trick – get the agent’s name. Tell him (nicely, of course) that you will be back to check that he has completed your request. He should get to work immediately.

Never look lost. Appear confident even if you’re panicking inside. Instead of checking your map on the streets, go into a hotel or restaurant before doing so.


Don’t accept free food and drinks from strangers, especially on public transport. According to the US Department of State, criminals have been known to drug the food and rob greedy travellers while they’re passed out.

Drink only bottled water in countries with poor sanitation. Check that the bottle seal is intact, since shady shopkeepers have been known to refill used bottles to sell as new ones. Also avoid putting ice in your drink, as it could have been made with untreated water.


Tips to get the best deals for your flights.

Best time to buy

Experts generally don’t recommend booking your tickets too early, since airlines only start releasing discounted fares around four to five months before a flight. There’s no golden rule for the best time to book a ticket, but take eight weeks before the flight as a rough guideline.

This time frame is based on the calculations of economist Makoto Watanabe, in a 2010 study published in The Economic Journal.


If you’re taking a break to travel the world, try Round-the-World tickets, which let you take multiple flights across continents for a relatively lower price. Most airline alliances offer such fares. Star Alliance (which Singapore Airlines is under) allows you to make 15 stops within a year, starting and ending in the same country.

one-way tickets

Buying one-way tickets from separate airlines might be cheaper than a round trip from the same carrier. Use flight aggregators like Kayak, Skyscanner and Momondo to help you pair one-way flights for savings.

Safety first!



Tips for female travellers: Look for hotels with femaleonly floors. Check if there are special local initiatives to protect women. For example, buses in Canada allow female passengers to alight closer to their destination at night, even if it’s between stops.

Female-only floors available

Travelling can be fun and liberating, but it can be dangerous too. Stay safe with these tips.


Walk against the flow of traffic so robbers in cars cannot sneak up on you. Also, carry your bag away from the road.

TIP Download the MFA@SG smartphone application With this app, you can register your travel on the go with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that you can be contacted during emergencies. It also helps you to locate the nearest Singapore Mission, stay updated with travel notices and learn about consular services.

Survive travel crises Nothing’s perfect in life; even vacations can go wrong. Here are our suggestions for how to prepare for the worst, and what to do when misfortune strikes.


Losing your passport

Natural Disasters

Carry a decoy wallet with minimal cash, some photos and old credit cards. Keep your real valuables in an inside pocket instead. If you’re robbed, give up the fake wallet. Then report the crime to local police.

Make photocopies of your important documents (including your passport and credit cards) and place one set in every bag. Save soft copies of the documents in the cloud (try iCloud or Dropbox) and email them to someone you trust. Sounds extreme? These could help prove your identity when your passport’s missing. Contact the nearest Singapore Mission for help.

If you’re going to a place where disasters like tsunamis or earthquakes are common, familiarise yourself with warning signs such as tsunami alerts. Get local advice on what to do if it happens. Get in touch with the nearest Singapore Mission immediately after escaping a disaster. Temporary passports can be issued, so don’t risk your life digging for that little red book! For more tips:

Perfect the off ice look with advice from the experts.

For the


Keep your makeup simple – Go for a clean, freshfaced look.

Challenge talks to Ginger Lynette Leong, a makeup artist with 12 years’ experience. Here are her recommendations.

Lips Lipstick isn’t necessary – use lip gloss or even lip balm, if you prefer. Just as for the eyes, choose colours that are not too bright, such as pinkish-brown.

Hair To complete the look, keep your hair neat in a low ponytail. TIP

Eyes Tone down the colours and keep the smoky eye for the weekends. For eye shadow, try neutral colours such as beigey-brown. A bit of mascara is fine, but don’t overdo it.

Quick tip to fight exhaustion After applying your foundation, brush highlighter across your T-zone to give your face some glow.

Unsure of the little details that can make or break your outfit? Dress well for work with tips from Glenn O’Brien, style columnist of GQ magazine, from his book How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman.

Ties The tip of your tie should touch the waistband of your trousers when you’re standing. Any shorter and you’ll look silly; any longer and you might have problems in the bathroom. TIP Fashion faux pas alert! Sure, wearing an undershirt could prevent unsightly sweat stains from appearing on your dress shirt. Just make sure the undershirt’s collar and sleeves can’t be seen beneath your shirt. Try a sleeveless V-neck undershirt.

Trousers length This is subject to your personal taste. Glenn prefers a slight break (with the back of his trousers reaching halfway down his shoes and a slight fold in the front of the pants). This is generally less sloppy than wearing overlong pants.

Watch this video to learn why the humble teaspoon deserves a place in your makeup pouch. It can help you apply eyeliner, mascara, and even curl your lashes! (Disclaimer: Talking spoon alert. Skip to 1:55 for the demonstration.)

For the


Socks For that formal meeting, your safest bet is to match the colour of your socks to your trousers. For a day in the office, coordinate your socks with other elements in your outfit such as your shirt or tie to spice things up. Try a different colour altogether if you’re adventurous! For more tips:

Is your desk sending a wrong message about your work attitude? Here’s how a revamp can help you create the right impression. What to

Turning the


How to



Having too many knick knacks unrelated to work (photos, toys, a big calendar counting down to your next break) This sends the message that you’d rather be anywhere else but at work.

Replace personal items with work-related ones such as reference books or awards to declare your commitment to your job This doesn’t mean you have to be a robot – a few family photos are fine.

A messy desk overflowing with papers, or even coffee cups Your boss might draw the conclusion that you’re disorganised and unconscientious.

Declutter and reorganise Filing your documents and tracking your to-do list digitally show that you’re meticulous and well organised.

A cold, barren workspace that lacks personality This shows that you’re too uptight (or just plain boring).

Choose quirky but functional stationery These reflect your personality and are good conversation starters.

Mee ti n g o f t h e Mi nds Ways to make the unavoidable meetings fast and fruitful.

See you at 3pm? 3pm is the best time to schedule a meeting, according to a study by online scheduling service When Is Good. By analysing 100,000 responses to 34,000 meeting requests, researchers found that meetings at 3pm, especially on a Tuesday, had the highest attendance rate. People are generally more willing to collaborate after they’ve settled their individual tasks.

Ditch the chairs Want to shorten meetings? Try standing up during discussions – research has shown that people in stand-up meetings took 34% less time to make a decision than groups who were sitting down.

Meet and eat Snacking during meetings isn’t just for gluttons – consuming the right food could help boost your brain and productivity. Experts recommend dark chocolate, nuts, or fruits like blueberries and bananas.

TRIVIA Ever wondered how much meetings cost? Use the Meeting Ticker: enter the average hourly salary of the participants and watch the meter run. If you ever need a reason to shorten a meeting, just show your bosses the numbers!

T h i s m e e t i n g h a s co s t

How to order your coffee like a pro:

Tips from A

IT professional Saad Chinoy was a part-time barista at Starbucks for 10 months.

Click to save These websites offer prices that beat what you can f ind in most bricks-andmortar stores.

No. of espresso shots (E.g. single, double, triple or quad)

Size (E.g. Tall, Grande or Venti)

Modifications (if any)

Type of drink (E.g. mocha, latte, cappuccino)

E.g. Can I have a double, tall, no-whipped, white chocolate mocha?

Size of cup = amount of caffeine Just because the cup is bigger doesn’t mean it contains more caffeine. At Starbucks, both the Grande and Venti sizes for hot espresso beverages contain two shots of espresso each. Always check with your barista. Ask for more shots if you need an extra dose of caffeine.




1 shot of espresso

2 shots of espresso

Garden Picks

2 shots of espresso

Book comparison website that shows you the cheapest prices among retailers like Amazon, The Book Depository, and

For dried fruits and nuts, with free delivery for purchases over $50.

Offers health products, vitamins and supplements.


! r a Ro

Erm... no... Are you lying?

How to

Sniff Out Lies

Fight off the cold-caller When a “no, thank you” doesn’t work, try these techniques. Catch the cold-caller off guard by being even nicer than him. Then say: “Isn’t it frustrating when someone tries to sell you something over the phone? I hope you’re not trying to do it now.” Thank him and ask him for his mobile number to continue your conversation. When he refuses, remind him sternly (but politely) that he’s actually harassing you by calling you at your private number. Adapted from

TRIVIA A victim of cold calls from Middlesex, England warned the company that he would charge them £10 per minute if they called again. They did, spending 19.5 minutes on the phone with him. He got his claim of £195.

Look for differences in the person's behaviour from his normal activity. Someone who usually moves his hands while talking might become unusually still or stiff if he's lying. Try to spot emotional leaks: "Micro-expressions" that flash across a person's face involuntarily for a fraction of a second reveal his true emotions that he is trying to hide. Researchers have found that people who are dishonest tend to use fewer exclusive words like "but" or "except" in their writing. They incline towards negative emotion words like "upset" or "ashamed".

Research and writing by Tay Qiao Wei / Edited by Chen Jingting / Designed and illustrated by Ryan Ong / ©Challenge Magazine

Starbucks insider

Challenge Pull Out - July/August 2013  
Challenge Pull Out - July/August 2013  

Life’s not easy, but we’re here to help. From surviving peak hour travel to fighting off coldcallers or even creating the right impression a...