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Network Online Like a Pro


If you have ever felt like your social group is rather small and claustrophobic, you are not alone.  Having a small circle of close and trusted confidants is essential, but if you have not met your significant other or want more friends, then it might seem somewhat restricted.  The secret here is learning to network online like a pro, which might sound slightly like a minefield.  Fear not we have some great tips.


Spring Clean Your Contacts: First of all, it is worth subscribing to more than one social network.  So if you only have Facebook, get looking at some of the others.  Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most social rather than business platforms after giants Facebook.  Next you want to shake up your contacts.  Most people start with the friends they actually know, maybe old school chums and often colleagues at work – but where do you go from there?  Adding random friends on Facebook can be slightly stalker-like. However, the app does offer a helpful connections section where informs you of mutual connections.  If you have over 50 people in common with another friend it might be worth a punt to add the person.  Twitter and Instagram are brilliant for following randoms.  It is entirely acceptable to find and follow anyone you like without looking like a cyber stalker – so make sure you add new people every week.  On both platforms, you can use hashtags to find like-minded souls.


Get Active: The best way to network on Facebook and meet new likeminded folk is to join interests groups.  There are groups for just about everything, from dog lovers to those suffering from a specific illness, those who love reading to people looking for the best locations for music festivals.  Whatever your interest you can bet your life there is a group on Facebook.  So get joining.  However, you cannot be a wallflower!  Once you are in, start interacting.  People will often be seeking advice or having discussions so dive on in.  Yes, there are keyboard warriors a plenty so having strong opinions can leave you open to rebuttals but you can also find yourself chatting with like-minded individuals and often a friend request will find its way to you.  If you have been talking with the group to one person in particular then why not ask if you can add them.


Start Your Own Community: If you have an interest why not start your own group on Facebook.  They are free to start, and the process is simple.  Then just get sharing among your existing social groups with a friendly ‘please share me’ request attached.  Post your group into other groups (you may need to check with admin that this is acceptable), and before long you have created a whole new social set.   Above all try and stay polite and respectful of other people opinions, and think about whether you want friends you may later meet in person or that remain virtual (people in other countries, for example, can become great friends but you probably won’t ever meet them).

Let us know your experiences of networking online!

Network Online Like a Pro 2017-12-10T13:55:39+00:00

An Escapade The Daily Lives of Subway Bound Singaporeans.


The subway isn’t the place you’d think to go to for entertainment. Who’s interested in anything associated with stress and mad scrambles to get from Point A to Point B?

But trains can hold your attention (at least the people on them can). The subway introduces us to ordinary, yet captivating characters who spice up our humdrum, daily lives.

A journey on a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train in Singapore will show that Mr. or Ms. Ordinary isn’t as dull as you’d think. He or she may offer a few surprises – and generate a few laughs.

Singapore, a multiracial society

I have to put in a section on Singapore being a melting pot of cultures because a description of subway life here is incomplete without it.

Singapore is a multi-racial nation, and the government here (and very rightly) puts a strong emphasis on harmony among the races. It is a vital part of what keeps the fabric of this society strong. One must remember, at the same time, that Singaporeans are chic and urbane.

All this explains why a ride on the MRT here is a captivating one. You meet men and women of all races, who speak different languages (with English as a common language) and have quirky behaviors.

Life on the Singapore Subway

Subway riding is stressful. There’s the morning rush to contend with, and people who aren’t too considerate to boot. Everyone is a little “Kiasu” (Hokkien for ‘Afraid To Lose,’ pushing and shoving to get on board trains that are too full. Many believe that others must be fans of the music they love, so they become de facto deejays.

Others take up too much space with their backpacks or swing them perilously, hitting innocent fellow commuters in the process. Then, there are the too-big-sized folks who cramp you up because they take up almost two seats.

Some people pretend to sleep when someone old or pregnant boards the train. Being asleep is an excuse for not giving up their seats to others who need them.



These probably aren’t the Singaporeans you’d like to meet. But there are others who will make your ride a pleasant one. Some of them make you sit up because of the way they look. Others catch your attention because the things they say or do are out of the ordinary.

I took a few trips on the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit, during different times of the day, and came across a few such folks. It’s time to introduce you to a few of them.

Morning Peak Hour, 6 a.m

Morning rush hour in Singapore begins with a mad rush to the MRT station, which has too-slow escalators and jam-packed platforms. The trains themselves resemble crammed sardine cans.

It’s at this time that you meet hassled Singaporeans from all walks of life. Frazzled company employees and anxious students fill the trains up to the brim.

I first turned my attention to the students, who resemble each other in their school uniforms. Singaporean students are typically bespectacled, hunched, or pressed down by books. One of them, however, stood out during this particular rush hour. The broad-shouldered Chinese boy had well-chiseled features- he looked like an Asian version of Hollywood celebrity Channing Tatum. He sported the latest Korean hairstyle, complete with bangs, and his uniform had no creases.

He seemed out of place in his well-ironed school uniform because he looked too good in it. The young boy caught me staring and gave me a lopsided grin. Dumbfounded for a minute, I let go of the grab handle and fell against an elderly, yellow-toothed Chinese gentleman who seemed too happy.

You also meet the polished office worker. Office workers typically look stressed, with their hair not yet dried, as they rush to board trains. But one was different.

A young, Eurasian man, he had distinct Aryan features. He bore a striking resemblance to F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton but had a better build.

He wore an eye-catching yellow shirt, and his muscular frame made an ordinary pair of trousers look like a runway piece. It was the combination of yellow and black that enhanced his form. Temporarily distracted, I nearly missed a stop.

I mustn’t forget to mention that the subway stops are themselves interesting. I stopped at the Newton Station for a quick breakfast of you tiao (fried dough sticks) and bean curd.


Mid Morning, Wed 10 a.m,

I had my share of real drama when I boarded the train at about ten a.m. a few days later. This time, it was a young lady who turned heads.

She was an attractive Chinese girl in a tight grey t-shirt, and floral yoga pants. They complimented her figure perfectly. She had long hair up to her waist; she smiled at another passenger, a smile that would make guys’ hearts skip several beats. Her make-up was light and impeccable.

As with most subways, the trains are usually empty at this time of the morning. Those who board them at this time are typically the seniors or hassled students rushing to attend lectures at polytechnics and universities. One of the seniors, a polished Indian man in his sixties, seated himself next to the girl, who began combing her hair.

Yes, the young lady had turned hair coming into a fine art.

“Hi,” the Indian man seated himself next to her, legs slightly apart, crowding a little into her space. “Can I ask a question?”

The young woman continued combing her hair. “Sure,” She went on brushing her hair.

“Are you married?” The Indian man, not one for shyness, asked her directly. He looked at her expectantly.

She looked him squarely in the eye and held up the fourth finger of her left hand. It bore a wedding band.

“Wu Liao (nothing else to do),” she muttered in Chinese and got off at the next stop. I must say that the Indian gentleman took the rejection rather well; he shrugged and moved to another carriage.

Lunch, 12:30 pm Wed

Lunch on Wednesday was a bit more humdrum than mid-morning Wednesday but was interesting nonetheless.

A demure-looking Chinese girl came onto the train. Her short, eye-catching bob caught attention. Pretty though she was, she had a frown that betrayed her stress.

Her phone had captured her attention.

“Fan Si Ren (frustrating),” she muttered under her breath in Chinese.

She had the look of someone who just had a lover’s quarrel that didn’t have the best ending. But something about her told me that she would have a new partner soon.

I can’t forget to mention that Singaporeans have been enduring the frustration of slow trains. The authorities managing the MRT have been trying to correct signaling faults, but haven’t managed to address all of them yet.

One of them happened during this time and caused some anger among those heading back to the office after lunch. “Sian (frustrating), some of them said. They shook their heads and ran to catch shuttle service buses back to the room.

I stopped at Raffles Place and headed for Lau Pa Sat ( the old market), where I had a delightful Singaporean delicacy, chicken rice. The dish consists of succulent roast chicken and rice cooked in chicken stock.


Chicken Rice

Late Afternoon 4 p.m. Thursday

The ride in the late afternoon at about 4 p.m.. on Thursday was an eye-opening experience. The people on the subway had more in-depth personalities than I thought.

There was an Indian gentleman in a Magenta shirt who caught my attention because he had striking (but not handsome) looks.

I overheard a conversation between himself and a friend. It turned out that he was a musician. His knowledge of music and music software struck me; I am a musician myself.


This Indian gentleman was gregarious and urbane. I was hoping to strike up a conversation with him, but he had to get off at the next stop. It was a shame that he did because we shared similar interests.

The MRT I boarded at this time stopped at Gardens By The Bay, which has tranquil lakes and treetop-like structures on top of which quartets play symphonic music.



Gardens By The Bay

Evening Rush Hour Fri 6 p.m.

The evening rush hour ride on Friday was an amusing one.


A man wearing a surgical mask boarded the train. I felt torn between extending empathy and rolling over with laughter. The guy looked a bit odd going about with his face covered. He was pudgy and had a squarish frame.

I’m glad that I chose empathy because he told me while on the journey that he had a “gan mao” (flu) in Chinese. He said that his mask was his way of showing concern to the people around him.


I stopped at Northpoint at Yishun, in the Northern area of Singapore for dinner. I shared a feast of Nasi Lemak, or coconut rice, with side dishes of egg, a chicken wing, and cucumber.

In all, you don’t always have to pay for your entertainment. A ride on the MRT is more than enough to keep your mind occupied.

An Escapade The Daily Lives of Subway Bound Singaporeans. 2017-12-10T13:57:20+00:00

Switchback Etiquette: Don’t make these 5 mistakes on your next date


Going on a date can be nerve-wracking enough as it is.  Making a dating faux pas really sucks and if you really mess up you could find yourself reading your own story on social media a few days later – not a happy proposition!  So here are five of the worst dating mistakes that you really need to avoid making – after that you will have to muddle through!


1) Say My Name

Ok, it happens to the best of us, especially when we have just met someone.  Name blanks are really embarrassing at the best of times, but on a date, it really doesn’t look good if you cannot remember the name of your date.  Kind of begs the question how many dates have you been on!  So, remember the name of the person accompanying you on the date.  If you are really bad with names, put it in your phone as a note or contact, after all, phones are often used on dates.


2) Phone Etiquette

Now, we say that phones are used on dates all the time but take care of yours. It is not a great move to be only half listening to a story about the time they got locked out, even if the tale isn’t that interesting – so don’t be a text bore.  Grab a quick look to make sure you aren’t needed anywhere – or wait till they go to use the bathroom.  Be careful when you text your friends with an update that you are texting the right person – accidentally sending the text to your date is not a mistake you want to try and live down.


3) It’s Not All About the Money

But that does come into it.  This is the 21st century so ladies you should offer to pay.  This is the first time you have met so don’t assume your date is going to pick up the tab.  We fought hard for equality – don’t blow it now!  If he refuses your offer and pays – all well and good.  On the flip side, we have seen some awful stories of people asking for a refund if the date didn’t go well.  Please do not stoop that low! You chose to be there, so even if it isn’t going anywhere – suck it up buttercup!


4)  Honest is Probably the Best Policy

We are not talking about opening your closet on a first date and watching while all your skeletons come tumbling out to the ground.  But, there is no point agreeing with things that you really don’t want.  For example, if you are not the marrying type – say so!  Plenty of ‘not the marrying type’ people go on to have long and happy marriages – but for a first date, it is better to say you don’t see it as being for you, than leading someone to think they have found their soul mate.


5) Smile

Yes, you are nervous, but likely so are they.  Try and relax a little and have a bit of fun.  If you have a sense of humour, it can be the saving grace of a bad date.  If you realise early on that this is not the person for you, having a laugh and a joke can help the evening end in a better way for both parties.


Sign up and find out more:

Switchback Etiquette: Don’t make these 5 mistakes on your next date 2017-12-10T13:57:58+00:00

10 Things Not To Do on a Commute


Commuting is a pretty social activity. However, it is carried out by people who are terrified of interaction and generally keep their heads down and avoid the world.  If you are looking to break the ice and make new friends on your daily commute here are ten things you must never do!



1. Sneeze 

Ok, we don’t literally mean you cannot sneeze – after all that just happens sometimes.  Especially if you have allergies or a cold, but sneeze correctly!  No one, and we mean no one, wants an early morning shower of sneeze germs so be sure to keep that sneeze contained.  Have a tissue or a sleeve at the ready and aim your head away from fellow commuters.


2. Steal Someone’s Spot

Have you noticed how beautiful that window spot looks?  But the same guy is always in there? Well sadly commuting etiquette dictates that he has now claimed that spot.  If you are sure he is missing one day, then maybe have a cheeky seat, but watch for his return.  Fighting over the space if you both happen to get on at the same time isn’t going to endear you to anyone!


3. Talk Loudly Into Your Phone

Commuting is a great time to text your friends, not call them loudly and discuss Mark and Sarah’s relationship or expand on the gory details of Zoe’s recent birth traumas.  Friends will understand if you pick this time to have your convos by text – just remember not to laugh too loudly if things get funny.


4. Fall Asleep With Your Mouth Open 

Ok, we get it, you had a late night, and perhaps a glass of wine you really should not have had on a work night, but try your hardest to be a pretty sleeper.  There is nothing worse than looking across the carriage and seeing an open-mouthed walrus opposite.


5. Snore

See above.  If you know you can be a bit of a jet engine snorer; then the commute probably isn’t the best place to be taking a nap.  It is no nicer to sit near than someone yelling into their phone.


6. Be a Space Hog

You have one seat.  No arm waving, flailing or reading the paper while taking up the whole space, and most of someone else for that matter.


7. Forget the Volume

Yes, you might love Megadeath blaring in your ears at 8 am on a gloomy Tuesday, but not everyone does – so check your volume.


8. Stare

Didn’t your mother always say this when you are a kid?  Ok, you can see some pretty kooky things on the commute but learn to look subtly and don’t stare!


9. Dine Out

Eating a snack is fine, but a full meal is kind of rude.  Spreading out across two seats or trying to eat messy food with grace on a moving train is just not happening.  Stick with food you can manage.


10. Be Too Stubborn 

Ok, we get it.  You got a seat for the first time this week.  But, if there is a commuter with a more significant need, you need to be the bigger person.  Be sweet and give up your seat.

10 Things Not To Do on a Commute 2017-12-10T13:58:18+00:00

Why You Should Always Introduce Yourself to That Beautiful Person on your commute!


Why You Should Always Introduce Yourself to That Beautiful Person on your commute! 

Commuting is not exactly the most fun thing to do with your time, but sadly for many, it is a necessary evil.  It often more comfortable to use public transport if you work in a busy city that it is to fight your way in with a car – and it usually is cheaper than running a car anyway. However, commuting can be a lonely place.  There is a sense of global shyness that prevents most people from interacting, so unless you know someone, you may travel in total silence with only the occasional nod of the head if someone meets your eye.


But Suddenly 

Sometimes, however, you are lucky enough to see someone who takes your breath away.  A beautiful person is standing there in their world of silence.  Do you dare speak?  The chances are not.  Most of the time anxiety takes over, and people may admire from afar but never dares speak. You ration that they may have a partner, or may find you not their type.  After all, you wouldn’t want to cause embarrassment to anyone. You choose to do nothing,  but what you actually should do is introduce yourself and say hi.

Why Would You Risk That?

Most people are not monsters!  They are quite happy to say hello and are often not brave enough to do that themselves either.  Taking the initiative could just brighten someones day if nothing else.  If more people brought a little smile to someone else’s life, the world would be a happier place.


But What If?

However what if this interaction was written in the stars?  The universe can only do so much to help you find your soul mate and perfect partner – some of the work is down to you!  What if this beautiful person that is sat across from you is that person.  You do not want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime, so you need to dig deep and be brave!  Make that first move and be the one that risks it all to introduce yourself.

What is the Worst That Can Happen

Let’s face it; you are in a public place.  The chances are that even if you perfect person is not in the mood to make a new friend or say hello back, they are not going to cause a scene just because someone spoke to them.  They may look away; they may make it clear from what they do say that they are not looking for new contacts right now – or you might find you have met someone who will go on to be a significant person in your life.  They say that people cross our paths for a reason and if we take this literally, you beautiful person caught your eye because they were meant to.  There is a saying that goes something like this: Do one thing every day that scares you.  This is good for personal development, and it could be the best thing you ever did in terms of tracking down that seemingly elusive soul mate – or even new best friend.  So – go on – Just say hi.

Why You Should Always Introduce Yourself to That Beautiful Person on your commute! 2017-12-10T14:00:43+00:00

Making Friends in the 21st Century


Do you feel like social interaction is a minefield?  Rest assured you are not alone.  Whether you are looking to make friends or meet potential partners finding new people can be awkward and embarrassing.  There are lots of people wishing they could meet new people but not sure how to do it, but thankfully there is going to be an app for that in the very near future.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan dense city skyline.

Living at a Fast Pace

Modern living tends to leave us rushing from here to there, with not much time to even think about a social life, let alone actually have one.  Working, paying bills, keeping house, all leave us time deprived and frankly a little worn out at the end of the day. Many people do not fancy getting dressed up and heading out alone, in the hope of meeting people, so they stay home. Ironically for a lot of people, the most free time they have for socialising is during the commute to work.  Sitting on trains or buses is not the most scintillating way to pass the time, so we read books, listen to music or text our friends.

Coffee, cookies, oranges, flowers and mobile phone with word Hello

Cup of morning coffee, homemade cookies, red oranges, flowers and mobile phone with text Hello on serving board over light grey marble background, top view. Morning greeting card concept

Not Brave Enough to Say Hello

However, now and then a person catches your eye, and you can see yourself getting to know them better.  It doesn’t matter if this is as someone you view as a friend or potential date the fundamental problem remains – how do you break the ice.  Most of us would love to believe we have the confidence to stroll over to a stranger and say hello, but the reality is not that easy.  No one likes to look silly in public, and we tend to let our anxieties prevent us from being brave enough to make that first move.

Girls friends talking together on staircase

The Dreaded Fear of Rejection

All sorts of questions run through our heads, about what they will think of us, what we might say, and how things might progress so what tends to happen is people stay in the safety of their own bubble.  Secretly though, many are wishing they could be brave enough.  If you commute regularly, you will know the protocol of sitting quietly, fiddling with your phone or keeping your nose in a book it is almost accepted as the unspoken commuters law.

switchback app matching tab

A New App to the Rescue

Enter Switchback.  A new app designed to combat this silence and help spread the social bug.  Switchback is a unique platform where registered users can leave their interaction stress at home and find a host of like-minded souls.  The ice has been broken for you!  Due to be rolled out in Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, Japan next month (November 2017) this really is a gift for those seeking to make friends in the 21st century.  The app has been specifically targeted to find commuters that want to find friends or more and will bring new life and enjoyment to the daily commute for registered users.  Have a look at for more information and to sign up as an early beta tester!

Making Friends in the 21st Century 2017-12-10T14:01:19+00:00

Unique Websites to Scroll Through During Your Commute


Getting tired of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram during the long commute? No worries! We’ve discovered a few websites that are worth exhausting your data on.

1. Just Little Things (

Filled with hundreds of photos that have colorful backgrounds and short texts, Just Little Things reminds us about the simple joys of everyday life. From #46 featuring “Onesies” to #423 “Using a new bar of soap,” you can’t help but smile because these are some of the things we often take for granted.

2. My Life is Average (

Don’t be fooled by its boring layout. My Life is Average is made up of random stories from different people all over the world. It is a collection of “average” days that are actually worth sharing with other people. Some stories are really average, while some are just too funny to be considered as average.

3. Genius (
Have you always wondered what the lyrics of your favorite song really meant? Genius allows us to browse through accurate lyrics of any song and know the meaning behind them! They also provide some background on the artist and how they wrote the song.

4. They Shoot Film (
They Shoot Film is for people who are more interested on visuals and photography. Created by Garrick Fujii, the website features his adventures through film photography. It is a simple yet beautiful collection that makes you want to go on a vacation.

Unique Websites to Scroll Through During Your Commute 2017-12-10T14:01:52+00:00

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Weekend



We’ve all been there before – planning our Netflix and potato chips weekend even when it’s only Monday.

Stressful weekdays at the office or school causes us to look forward to spending our weekends doing nothing or binge-watching our favorite TV series. Before we know it, we end up being in awe of how quickly the weekend went by. It has become a never-ending cycle of doing too much on the long weekdays and doing nothing on the short weekends.

“Do you mean I shouldn’t relax on weekends?” Not exactly. But being a couch potato is only one of the many ways you can unwind during the weekend. We recommend doing any of the three activities below to feel a lot better once Monday comes:

Spend time on your hobbies.


Whether it’s trying out a new recipe or cross stitching, spend some time doing the things you love! If you don’t have one, then maybe it’s time to try different things until you find one that suits you. This could make you feel productive and accomplished even on a weekend.

Learn a new sport or go to the gym.


Getting some Vitamin D and breaking a sweat is always a good idea. Go for a run at the park, play some volleyball, or try your shot at frisbee – whatever it is, do something that would burn some calories and would get your heart racing. Instant mood booster!

Do something creative.


Before you argue that you’re not creative, this last tip isn’t exclusive to artists. Doing something creative literally means “creating” something that would allow you to express yourself. While drawing and painting seems like the most creative thing to do, simple things like writing in a journal or taking a photowalk could be just as fulfilling.

Whichever one you decide to do from the three things we’ve mentioned above, we urge you to do something that would challenge you every weekend. It’s the perfect time to both relax and allow yourself to grow.

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Weekend 2017-12-10T14:02:28+00:00

Celebrate World Tourism Day at Intramuros This Weekend



Tired of spending a typical weekend at the mall? Why not do something different this Saturday and Sunday! Wear something comfortable, charge your cameras, and prepare to experience Manila like never before.

From September 23 to September 24, Intramuros in Manila will be having an open house with FREE entrance! Known as the “Walled City,” Intramuros is one of the most beautiful remains from the Spanish Colonial Period. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, when the city was threatened not only by natural disasters, but by foreign invaders as well. Today, it continues to attract tourists from all over the world who are interested to know more about its history.


This event was created to celebrate World Tourism Day, which aims to bring countries together culturally, economically, and socially through tourism. A number of activities will be held for two days such as:

  • Botanical Photo/Art Walk at Baluarte de San Diego
  • Free Bicycle Tour at Plaza Roma
  • Picnic, Performance Grounds with Food and Art at Baluarte de San Diego

If those activities don’t give you enough reasons to go, remember that you get to do all of these things with no charge at all! So put on some walking shoes and we’ll see you there, amigo!

To know more about the event, visit or


Celebrate World Tourism Day at Intramuros This Weekend 2017-12-10T14:03:19+00:00

Survival Tips: The Rainy Season Commute



A cool breeze, dark gray skies, and the sound of raindrops outside.

While this scenario could sound relaxing for some, it is actually a commuter’s worst nightmare. Others are excited to wear their new sweater, but a commuter’s already changing from his white shoes to his already dirty but waterproof ones.

If you hate commuting on rainy days, we’ve come up with some tips on how to survive it and actually make it better!

Use a ziplock bag to store your gadgets.

It’s better to be safe than sorry! While you think that keeping those gadgets inside your bag is enough, most bags are not waterproof. A ziplock bag is a cheap alternative to buying a new phone.

Bring snacks and a bottle of water.


Long lines and long journeys – don’t add to the stress by being hangry! Throw some crackers or a sandwich in your bag to help you get through the waiting time. Stay hydrated with some water too!

Stream a movie or two on your phone.

The ride home doesn’t have to be as boring. Before your journey, save a movie or an episode of your favorite series on your phone to keep you company. You can even select some videos from YouTube to watch offline, saving you some data usage.

Create a “rainy days” playlist.


Some of us can’t help but catch some feels when it’s raining. Make the most out of those senti moments by making a playlist! Whether you’re feeling sad or want something to hype you up for the day, listening to a few songs will surely help with the mood.

Meet new people.


In a world full of smartphones, there’s nothing like striking a conversation with a stranger who ends up having the same interests as you! If this isn’t for you, small acts such as giving compliments or saying thank you could make someone’s day.

It’s always better to be prepared! Stay safe and dry everyone!

Survival Tips: The Rainy Season Commute 2017-12-10T14:03:36+00:00
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