Tuesday, April 1

Game Review: Diablo 3 (Patch 2.0)

Genre: ARPG/Dungeon Crawler
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac
Release date: 15/05/12
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo 3 is the long awaited sequel to the monumental Diablo 2. At launch the game was plagued by the always online requirement, Real Money Auction House (RMAH) and poor looting. 2 years later some of the issues have been fixed with the addition of the 2.0 patch. The RMAH has been removed, loot itemisation vastly improved and heroes have been furthered balanced. Unfortunately the always online requirement still exists, which may severely hamper your ability to play the game. 

Diablo 3 is set some 20 years after the events of Diablo 2 with a mostly new set of heroes. You choose from the Monk, Wizard, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter and Barbarian. Each hero has the option of male or female and each features unique voice acting, which is appreciated. I created a female wizard, after playing a Sorceress in Diablo 2, and started on Hard difficulty.

Jumping into a new game the most striking feature is the dated visuals. While as usual, Blizzard's art style is strong and can make up for some deficiencies, the game clearly lacks in the graphics department. Characters are rough and low quality, which is especially noticeable when you take a closer look. Textures are also muddy. While it doesn't detract from the experience, the game certainly isn't beautiful. That said the presentation is otherwise impeccable. The voice acting, sound effects and sound track do a great job in bringing the world to life. 

Characters are especially visually lacking

Like its predecessors Diablo 3 drops you straight into the action, this time in the town of New Tristram. Your hero has followed a mysterious falling star and finds New Tristram beset by the walking dead. As your hero stymies the tide of monsters, you uncover the larger demonic plot and the threat to the world at large. Blizzard's recent attempts at story telling have been somewhat ham fisted and Diablo 3 is no exception. The game features B movie tier villains and so much hair brained bravado from your hero that it's hard to take things seriously. This is especially unfortunate as Diablo 2 managed to craft a brilliantly sombre atmosphere.

Wednesday, March 5

A Guide To Employment In Singapore As A Foreigner: Getting Your Job

In my last post I outlined some of the basics of finding work in Singapore. Arriving at Singapore without a job offer, in the hopes of finding employment is bold move. I would not dissuade any one from trying their luck and finding employment this way, but keep your expectations realistic. To put it simply most employers don't want to bother with you, since they have to go through so much effort to hire a foreigner. It is entirely possible to be success in your endeavour though. If you are an experienced professional it will be significantly easier for you to find a job. For fresh graduates it will be much harder, but still doable. You will need to have the right skills, and ace an interview if you want a job as a foreigner. Let's get to the strategies you'll use to maximise your chances of finding your job.

Test the waters before you arrive

Use sites like JobStreet to scope the job market and assess the demand for your set of skills. Even better; apply for those jobs and see what the response is. You may even get an interview before you arrive in Singapore.

Abuse the visa system to extend your stay

If you are still looking for a job and are worried about your tourist visa expiring, don't fret...much. Leaving the country for a few days then returning will give you an extension on your visa, from 30 - 90 days. Malaysia and Indonesia make for great weekend getaways. I know friends who have done this a couple of times successfully, extending their stay in Singapore by several months. Obviously don't do this too often, or immigration may get smart to your scheme.

Sunday, March 2

A Guide To Employment In Singapore As A Foreigner: The Basics

Singapore is a desirable place to live and a great country to start your career in. All the major corporations exist in Singapore, infrastructure and modern amenities are in abundance. Moving and working abroad will also set your resume apart from the rest. However the Singapore job market is extremely tough as an entry level/fresh graduate foreigner. There are a few hurdles to overcome to finding employment, so let's go over the basics first.

Job market

Singapore's economy is in good health and its considered the high tech centre of South East Asia. The pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries are prominent and many technology companies have bases, like Sony, Philips and Google. Chances are if you have a degree, you can find suitable work in Singapore. Check this page to see what skills are in demand.

Employment Legislation

In Singapore you need a work pass/visa to work. These are typically applied for by the employer on your behalf, if they wish to hire you. Employers have to fill out paper work including justifying to the government why they should hire you over a local Singaporean. This year the government will put into place plans which will make it even harder for foreigners to find work. What does it mean? That employers will tend to ignore you unless your skills are in demand, or you already have a work pass.

Sunday, February 23

The New Zealand Plan

Travelling on a budget can be tough. Finding work on a budget can be tough. Arriving in a new country where you have no friends or family can be tough. So how was I going to cope in New Zealand?

I found my answer about 4 weeks before I left by talking to a colleague (great first hand experience of why you should be nice to those around you).


HelpX is a website where a host and helper communicate and arrange a stay. The host provides room and board, the helper provides around 4 hours work per day. For those who want to meet new people, can afford to travel for weeks and have a limited budget HelpX is perfect. HelpX is what I've been using to travel New Zealand.
My aim was to travel the from Auckland to Wellington with HelpX, which has so far been successful with 5 hosts in; Auckland, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Otaki and Pukerua Bay.

HelpX has allowed me to meet new people, listen to new perspectives, find helpful advice, travel the country, try new things, create contacts and allow me to apply to jobs online. Its not been sunshine and rainbows the entire time, but its been great overall.

My current plan is to go to Christchurch and from there I will consider my next move. Within the next month I will settle in Auckland or Wellington and find short term work to pay for bills, while I find a career. Whatever happens, my experience has been great and the future will be interesting.

Blog Posts In 2014

In June 2013 I moved to Singapore.
In January 2014 I arrived in New Zealand to travel and eventually work.
Going forward I only have one Singapore relevant post to cover and from then on my posts (where applicable) will be New Zealand centric. 

Saturday, February 15

Food Review: The Clan Restaurant

Cuisine: Fusion
Price: $45 per person
Location: 18/20 Bukit Pasoh Road, 089832
Website: http://www.theclanrestaurant.com.sg/#!home/mainPage

The Clan restaraunt was quiet when we arrived, with only a few couples for company. The decor was nice and minimalistic and the waiting staff were friendly and attentive. The menu was split into several courses with around half a dozen dishes per course. We shared the 6 course dinner menu (and an extra dessert). We went with a French inspired theme. We ordered: foie gras terrine with focaccia and lychee crumbs. Potato gratin, marinated crab meat with aged balsamico and pumpkin sauce. Crab bisque cappuccino and prawn twister. Duck confit with plum mustard, truffle mashed potato and seasonal vegetables. Peanut caramel feuilletine. Chocolate lava with home made gelato.

The chefs starter was composed of the 3 items above. Nothing memorable about it, the fusion style flavours did not blending well.

I've never been a fan of livery foods, preferring terrine but I wanted to try the foie gras in Singapore. The foie gras tasted like I expected; livery, creamy texture. The lychee balls were a treat, explosions of honey in your mouth.