#2105 | Sediments

Untitled

Omg the exhaustion is real.

I’m reading Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko now and I miss reading, damn it. I’m so tired nowadays my eyes dont focus properly on the words and I just give up and take a nap instead. I want to watch TV all the time now because my brain has obviously rotted, but I dont, because my eyes are tired and dont want to work too, which is what watching TV would feel like. Anyway i have been spending time working and stuff. I’m whining, forgive me. It’s bedtime.

x
Jem

#2076 | The Wasteland

UntitledUntitled

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

x
jem

#2071 | The Low Down: Circles Life, Singapore’s Unicorn Telco

Untitled

Okay guys so I’ve had a lot of people ask me about Circles over the last year, mostly because whenever I share a screenshot and they see that Circles telco sign at the top left hand side people get a shock and think it’s amazing because I’m one of the few who got on Circles really early on.

And now with that new 20GB plan launch, everyone is going nuts over Circles and i have gotten a TON of people suddenly messaging me on twitter and IG and wherever else, and it’s just like the taobao frenzy again. So I’ve decided to just write one detailed post on my experience with Circles, and everyone can please just REFER HERE when they want to send me a message about it instead!

PS. I have/will edit and update this post according to emails from you all + when there are new developments regarding my experience

DISCLAIMER

This is not a sponsored post.
Yknw, just putting it on the table so you dont ask me later.

BACKGROUND

I’ve been on Circles since May last year, which makes this my 11th month with Circles. That’s nearly a year! So I think that gives me a pretty good range of experience from which to speak of, especially since I joined Circles almost immediately after they launched, meaning I’m probably one of the oldest Singapore users.

How I got to know of Circles was, my kind of not-by-blood older sister Christel introduced me years back to her girlfriend Carrie, and last year Carrie made a job switch to Circles and was looking for people to be beta testers. Beta testers are people who try out new or upcoming products (can be skincare, apps, software, etc etc) and give the company feedback about their user experience. I was not engaged to advertise for Circles. I didn’t even tell anyone I was using it except my close friends around me who asked why I was suddenly using two phones. I was also not paid for this. This was done purely out of my own interest, because I’m a geek who likes new techy things (though I’m not always good at it), and because Carrie asked me.

Because I used two phones, for my Singtel number and my Circles number, I could also compare the difference in speed between the two, which I thought informed my experience with Circles better as well. At that time, I didn’t know yet if I would continue paying to use Circles after my beta testing period was up (3 months), and so I didn’t opt to port my Singtel number over in case I didn’t like it. In theory, the plan (data-centric, app-based, cheap) made a lot of sense to me, but who’s to say that it’d be the same in practice and execution right? So I just kept the two phones separate, and used the Circles one for work, and Singtel one for personal use since thats the number all my friends have.

CIRCLES: THE PLAN

I’m on the basic plan, which is $28/month for 3GB and 100 mins talk time. This comes with free “plus” features, like caller ID, unlimited whatsapp that doesn’t eat into your data allowance, 4g service over 3g, unlimited customisation of your plan, so you can choose to buy more data this month, then change back to only 3gb on less busy months, etc etc.


Untitled
this is my app’s homepage with my data tracking info

Because I signed up early, within the first two months of Circles launching, I had an extra 2GB/month early bird promo data allowance that stays on my line forever, bringing it up to 5gb.

Then I took part in one of their IG competitions, which is this hashtag competition called #neverrunoutofdata, which gave everyone who took part 1GB/month extra too. So 6GB/month.

Then when I hit my 6 month anniversary with Circles, they gave me a 500MB/month “loyalty” data bonus. So now 6.5GB/month.

Then my sister and one of my managers switched to Circles a few months after they saw me using it so happily, giving me 200MB/month referral bonus each. This brings us to 6.9GB/month. PS. IF U SIGN UP FOR CIRCLES PLS USE CODE “JEMMA” SO I GET 200MB THANK U THANK U. U ALSO GET $20 OFF YOUR REGISTRATION FEE IF IM NOT WRONG!
Finally, for the new year, Circles gave everyone a happy new year bonus of 1GB/month through till June 2017. Meaning now I have 7.9GB/month data allowance, but when July hits, I’ll go back down to 6.9GB.

And yes, now they have a $20 for 20GB data add on option, but I dont think its necessary just yet because I feel like I do ok with my current data allowance, in addition to my singtel line which I still keep because I dont want to give up that number. As a clarification: I pay $37 for my Singtel plan, for which I get 12GB of data because I signed up a long time ago during some promo. So actually that has always been sufficient for me, but I’m also happy to have two lines because of work-life separation, and also because I can switch between both quite efficiently when I work on the go. Anyway the point is, in total i have a lot of data. Haha!

Essentially, what Circles did was to keep randomly giving me data for “good” behaviour, like staying on their network, referring friends to them, using their hashtag, etc etc. I guess this is also a safeguard on their end, because they’re a no contract network meaning you can technically terminate anytime. But once you terminate, if you sign up again, youre back to your base data plan without all the add-ons that you’ve earned.

CIRCLES: DATA SPEED

But this is the key question, really. Everyone keeps asking me: but what is Circles’s data speed and reception / network / cellular service really like?

Circles is tied to M1’s network. So if you’re on M1 and you switch to Circles, you wont see a difference.
But, Circles is definitely slower than Singtel. From my knowledge, so is M1 – and I suspect this is why – because right now Singtel has the dominant market signal (is that the right term?) so it’s the fastest and most stable. So Circles being tied to M1 instead of Singtel means it’ll be slightly slower either way.
And I dunno about Starhub, cos I’m not on Starhub.

How do I know this? When I get a notification on my social media accounts, my Singtel phone gets the notification first, then after a few beats, my Circles phone. Easy.

Is it a huge difference? No. But it’s a difference lor.

But then the next two questions that follow are:

1. Can you feel the difference if you only use one phone?
I can tell mainly because I use two phones. But if I only have one, then I wouldn’t know that my phone is slower, right?

and 2. Is the slight drop in speed worth it for the massive drop in price?

Probably.

Over my past year of using the network, I’ve also noticed that the network has improved significantly. Because I was a beta tester during my first three months, I was looking out for things that weren’t working well so I could feedback to them. Things like data calls being dropped at certain locations, reception being spotty at some areas, etc etc.. and I sent everything to them as and when. But over the last six months, the number of times I’ve thought “hey, I need to text Carrie about a problem” has happened only twice, both times because there was an error they were sorting out, which caused the network’s data service to be down for an hour or so.

Which makes me think that they’ll continue to improve, or at least try to. After all, past experience has shown that they did. So I’m hopeful that in six months, the number of things I’d think about sending in feedback for would run down to zero!

Untitled

PROS VS CONS

Ok, so moving on. Here are some of the things that I like about Circles:

– Fully controlled on the app. I do everything via the Circles Care app on my phone, like buy extra data when I need it, or check on my bill. No need to use website, I dont think I’ve ever logged on to their actual desktop website before actually.
– THE BILLING CYCLE IS JUST THE FIRST OF EVERY MONTH. If you sign up in the middle of the month, they just pro rate you until the start of the new month. This is so much better, seriously, cos it’s just so much more convenient to remember that in the new month you have new data!
– Bills are directly deducted from your credit card/ debit card. This is, again, great, cos i hate logging into the Singtel website to pay my bills. I always end up forgetting or putting it off, then paying late, and getting slapped with a fine.
– Cheap for lots of data.

Things I dont like about Circles:

– Can’t buy a cheaper phone when you sign up for a Circles plan. You can pay for a phone by installment, but its full price lah. It still works out cheaper in the long run than if you get a cheap phone and some expensive-ass plan, but I suppose the inertia of spending a thousand bucks for a non-contract phone is really high.
– Last time no roaming at all. But ok, this is another example of how i could see it really improved throughout my experience with it. As recently as last June, there were no roaming options for Circles at all. But now they have so many! Havent tried them yet, but i mean, it’s there.
– No non-mobile benefits. I have 30% off for all my family’s Singtel bills (including our MIO TV!) because of some family bundle. And I think Starhub does something like this too. But Circles doesn’t have it.. yet. And I dont know if they will also, because I suspect they’re (rightfully) focusing on getting mobile right before moving on to other things. But come to think of it, my plan is still cheaper than the post 30% discounted singtel bill.
– Some of u have reported problems porting your number over from other mobile providers. I dont have this issue cos i signed up for a new line. But if you’re doing a number port then perhaps it would be a good idea to speak to a Circles customer service office before doing so so that you can know what the steps are and what to expect.

But now writing it down, I think its pretty hard to find something in my personal experience that I dont like about circles. Even the above is nitpicking already! Actually I’m quite happy with my Circles line one. Haha!

CONCLUSION

So, I feel like I’ve covered most of the things that people often ask me and that I wanted to say. Is there anything else? Well, I’m sure if there is, you’ll email me. But for now, this is just my own experience from being on the network for close to a year. Overall I’m pretty happy with it, and most of my friends who’ve signed up whether through my recommendation or not seem pretty damned pleased with it too! So I’d say, definitely think about it if youre always busting your data allowance, and if you cant even remember the last time your phone bill cost less than thirty bucks. Ahmaaaazing.

And PLEASE HOR. After that donkey ass long post, if you decide to sign up for circles, please use my promo code JEMMA to get $20 off your registration fee because then i can get 200mb data too! Don’t cb cos I already spend a lot of time writing this ok so dont just sign up and forget to use it. USE IT! JEMMA. J E M M A. My life dream is to get 20GB from referrals, so i dont have to buy then $20 20GB plan. Haha!

Ok, that’s it from me. It’s like 3am now. This took longer than expected. So I’m going to sleep, and you guys, dont forget: JEMMA. PROMO CODE JEMMA.

Night, guys x

x
Jem

#2068 | (Don’t) Break a Leg

Untitled

So nearly two years ago now, I received a call in the middle of the night from my boyfriend telling me he’d been side tackled during soccer and couldnt walk.

What do you mean you cant walk?
I cant walk.
You mean, your leg hurts?
No, I mean I literally can’t stand.

Don’t ask me why he was playing soccer in the middle of the night (he assures me night soccer is a thing) or how this happened (I am verily unacquainted with the technicalities and finer points of soccer) but after a night of anxious hand holding outside the hospital emergency room the verdict was a torn ACL. Or, as he likes to call it these days: Can’t go XXX, my leg spoil. The number one excuse for anything he doesn’t wanna do .. ha!

I remember sitting outside the hospital emergency room and briefly remembering a couple years back when I was wondering how relevant the Sport Science major my university offered was. Turns out the answer was very. A couple months on crutches and a year of physiotherapy later, it seems that sports injuries are insanely common and once gotten, a total pain in the ass. We can testify to that. (if you look at the photo above, you might be able to see his crutch peeking out from behind his leg during one of our anniversary dinners..)

Last year, when penning my Pre Grad Prep List, his injury came up again and again in my mind, especially when writing the bit about knowing your liabilities. Because the thing is, a year ago, we didn’t know the first thing about health coverage. A huge thing that we were worried about was his ligaments being pre-excluded from all future insurance policies – which can quickly turn into a really irritating preclusion since you have ligaments basically everywhere. If you run a quick search on torn ACLs and insurance policies on the web, sport forums are crawling with people worrying about being insured for their subsequent ligament injuries (again, re-ruptured ligaments are sadly common) and it seems like the likelihood of being covered again is 50/50 + 100% chance of headache when figuring that shit out.

I still won’t purport to know everything about health coverage or insurance, but having done some stuff with MediShield Life over the past couple of months, know a lot more than I did. And one of the biggest and most crucial takeaways for me, I think, is knowing that MediShield Life covers you for pre-existing conditions.*

**pre-existing conditions as an insurance term refers to medical conditions that you had before you purchased your insurance. So if you don’t have an insurance plan and you develop a condition, you won’t be able to buy a plan that will cover you for that condition..

Untitled

Immediately post-operation (the second one), where I was so distracted by Shane’s hair that I made him change his hairstyle to this after he discharged.
Him: “You come see me after an op and your biggest concern is my HAIR??”

This is something that few people know and even fewer people realise the implications of. In the process of figuring life out post-graduation (bills, bills, bills), getting properly insured is one of the hugest headaches because if youre anything like me, the nitty gritty details of an insurance policy and the different types youre recommended to get will give you a migraine. But this is something that I think is the most immediately relevant and crucial to everyone. The term pre-existing conditions gets thrown around a lot when dealing with insurance, and knowing that MediShield Life has a clause covering pre-existing conditions is a huge sigh of relief all around.

This is important because:

1. It’s damned hard to find a private insurer to cover your pre-existing conditions – there’s a 99.9% chance that they won’t.
2. It’s good to know for your parents because MediShield Life covers new and pre-existing heart related illnesses, and chronic conditions (think diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol), which are increasingly common in Singapore today.
3. EVERYONE HAS MEDISHIELD LIFE ALREADY. So knowing how it works for you is not only really important, it might save you a ton of money and worrying in the future!

Your MediShield Life claim amount gets renewed every policy year. Which effectively means what I’ve been saying this whole post: that you’re covered for pre-existing conditions, and your coverage will not change even if you develop a condition.

Yes. So that Public Service Announcement was basically the main point of this post – a huge highlighter ran over and over the point that you are covered for pre-existing conditions under MediShield Life. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to know this, both for yourself and for your parents moving forward. It is probably (to me) one of the hugest advantages of this healthcare policy and thankfully an inclusive one implemented by the state because it means that this huge advantage is dumped on you whether you understand it or not. Thankfully.

Untitled

waiting for shane while he goes for physiotherapy

So if you think healthcare insurance (i.e. MediShield Life and IPs) might be something you want to know more about, the right people to ask will be at the MediShield Life roadshow on 25th of Feb at Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall – so make it a point to go down between 11am to 6pm and have a chat with them to get some answers and clarifications on how all this works.

Alright, so that’s about it. It’s really important to know, so I guess what I’m saying is, FIGURE IT OUT. Both for yourself and your loved ones, especially on behalf of your parents if they’re not the type to read up on the nitty gritties. It’s part of adulting.

Till next time.
x
Jem

#2035| Yes-man

Untitled

Are normal human beings supposed to be this sleepy? Ironically it is just as crunch time hits that my brain starts stuttering into distraction – the other day I spent half an hour curled up on the couch chuckling at F.R.I.E.N.D.S. jokes online. Me! The number one protestor against using your phone in your free time because it never yields anything productive! At the start of this year I set a self-imposed rule of not using my phone on public transport and as a result I read more books than ever – a record 31 books in five months. But of late I find myself reaching for – not the phone – but some peeling edge of my mind, perhaps? And holding on to it, zoning out, and then drifting into a vegetative state on the train. Is this old age? Is it obnoxious for me to say so yet?

It is now thursday, and I’m sitting in the office after teaching two morning classes at the university and having lunch with an old friend. Sent my boyfriend off to his operation in the hospital – a soccer related injury, the most cliche of cliches, as if there could be any other kind – and then got my nails did a politically correct neutrally anti-aggressive pink for tomorrow’s shoot. A breather, the wild and hopeless search for a dark quiet corner to take a nap in. But public naps in shared spaces are frowned upon, even in a place you dole out rent for monthly. So be it. Later: Vivienne Westwood’s FW16 show, and then to bed! Tomorrow: All day on set for Sephora. Beauty look upon beauty look, the main one being: how not to look like shit when you’re running on three cups of starbucks cold brew and five hours of sleep. Side note: I have begun actually strategising my best routes to work and school around starbucks stops, the quick fixes that seem indulgent but are in reality more necessary than I’d care to admit. And then packing, packing, and Saturday morning – emceeing a friend’s wedding, happiness, joy, and try not to cry, because right after that it’s a half-day shoot for a new client in the studios (but little joys – on set with my clicknetwork team, and that’s the best crew i could ever ask for). Dinner with the crew, or is that pushing my luck? And then it’s the airport, an ambien, and a red-eye flight to Seoul where I’ll be shooting for Laneige and representing Laneige SG for three days at their Global Beauty Camp and marking academic scripts by night. The funny thing is that I’m not even a beauty blogger, just a girl who likes make up. The vanity! My academic persona is always struggling to rationalise the balance in this. Perhaps the answer is simple: different things empower different people, and my empowerment (some of it?) comes in the form of shimmer and glitter and pots of paste you can smear on your lids. It is what it is. And then another red-eye flight, hopefully some wine, and bam. 5am Singapore on Wednesday, 930am lecture in the university. And so the days go on and on.

Don’t think i dont know it sounds crazy. I know. I know. But we are all mad here. The new realisation that comes with being almost 24 is that sometimes being mad should come with a side of sleep. Just a dab, maybe.

Till next time. x

x
♥jem