Step by Step Guide to Open Booking of Flats

Hi, I’m YQ from YQtravelling.

I’m a new citizen in Singapore.

I’m single and 35 years old. This means I can get a subsidized flat from HDB–Housing Development Board.

I tried my luck during a round of Open Booking of Flats in September 2021 and successfully got a queue number.

Read on to find out how I did it and if I accepted the flat.

What is Open Booking of Flats?

Open Booking of Flats is one of the ways you can get a flat directly from HDB.

Open Booking of Flats is the leftover flats from Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance of Flats.

OBF opens two times a year–March and September. I managed to catch the one in September 2021.

Before you even start your process

Before the Open Booking of Flat, you want to get your HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) Letter If you’re planning to get a loan from HDB.

I was very lucky that my HLE letter was approved the weekend before the Open Booking of Flat exercise.

Do note there’s a difference between a HLE letter for a new flat and for a resale.

I had initially applied for a resale (which caused a bit of a problem during the selection of flat at HDB).

Once or before you have your letter (which you will need if you do have the queue number to head down), find out which flats are leftover for this round of OBF.

I’m unfortunately in the C-word era so many flats developments are stalled and the ones available for OBF for singles haven’t been finished yet.

The leftover flats have lower floors and a very tight ethnic quota. So the houses that I can buy are not very ideal.

But I did manage to look around and found one in Yishun that I would consider.

The worst part was that even the earliest I could get my keys was late 2022. (And that’s being optimistic.)

You can filter the houses according to race and time.

But the flats are definitely very cheap. The one I looked at was only about $110,000–but prices can change depending on the location.

On the day of Open Booking of Flats, you want to have your Singpass app and PayNow payment ready because you’ll need them.

I was already camping at the website at 11.50pm. I think many people had the same idea since the computer hung for many minutes.

When midnight came, I tried logging in my desktop and it didn’t move. I hopped on to my phone but it was very difficult to navigate. So I went back to my computer and by that time, it was 12.06am when I logged in.

Most of the details you need to fill in are those that were from the HLE letter application. You can also use an easy “Retrieve my Info with Singpass” to fill in parts of the form.

I did finally get a queue number and I heaved a sigh of relief.

It was 00195 and the queue was for the next day at 3.45pm.

Before going to HDB to pick your flat

You will need to track which flats are sold out before heading over.

Have a list of which flat units you are ok with so you can actually pick when you’re there.

I knew that I was only considering Yishun Glen (and I didn’t want it that much neither.)

Documents to prepare

Here are the items they require:

  • Identity card(s) of all person(s) listed in your application (bring a copy too)
  • Income documents for latest 3 or 6 months (depending on your nature of employment) — bring 12 months of payslip and CPF contributions
  • Option Fee (payable by NETS)

It’s C-vid season now so don’t bring too many people to HDB with you.

Wait for your queue number and put your option feed down for the flat.

My final decision

At first I planned to put $500 option fee down to “book” a unit while I hunted for resale flats.

Then the HDB lady said that should I decide to pull out, I won’t be able to buy a new house for a whole year.

So I decided not to take the flat this time.

I still have a choice of Sale of Balance of Flats in November, and also looking for a resale unit.

Wish me luck on my house hunting!

How to create Instagram Reels in Singapore

I use Instagram a lot for my woo-woo side hustle @yqmagic previously Tarot Singapore Online.

Since Instagram announced Reel in August 2020, I’ve been waiting not-very patiently for it to come to Singapore.

It’s still not here yet as I write this in September 2021.

But I found a “hack” to create Reel accidentally.

I have a Creator account for @yqmagic. It’s an account type for influencers (lol, am I one). It’s recommended if you want to “[c]onnect with your audience and build your personal brand on Instagram.”

I’ve tried duplicating the steps with my other Instagram accounts. But they don’t work. So I’m not sure what’s happening. (Maybe Instagram really thinks I’m an influencer and is giving me access early.

Accessing the Reel camera in Singapore

Because it’s not officially in Singapore yet, there’s no way to select the Reel camera in the usual interface.

You’ll want to go directly to a Reel, for example my Reel of a rainy 5am.

Or find a creator who has posted their Reel, and hopefully this shows up. Click the link to Watch Full Reel.

You’ll then have access to the full Reel and the Reel camera.

Click on the Camera and you’ll have the Reel interface.

After posting your first Reel, you’ll get the Reel tab too. But non-Reel user won’t be able to access it.

Let me know in the comments if it works for you.

I was in the papers today! Not for what you think it is.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian railway company announced that it was launching a new service called Shuttle Tebrau which will link Woodlands Station to JB Sentral.

A reporter from local broadsheet Straits Times found me through my most popular post and wanted to ask for my comments on the new service. Thankfully, I caught his e-mail in time as my e-mail notification pinged while I was staring at my phone.

I prepared for the interview by reading on the background of the new service. I even jotted down “juicy” quotes that would make me look slightly unhinged but endearingly colorful to the audience.

The reporter called and we had a 12-minute chat during which I sounded bipolar. I was totally against the service at one point, talking passionately about its cons but at another point, I discovered its merits. I couldn’t make up my mind.

Still, the reporter summed it up in two sentences and made me look like a very practical traveller (which I am).

I did request that he use “travel blogger” as my job title as “marketing exec” seems like a totally irrelevant commenter on this subject. He obliged. Thank you, good sir.

Liau Yun Qing in the news as travel blogger
My sister sent this this morning.

The report came out on Page A2 on Straits Times and also on My Paper. I can now officially say that I was on the news as a travel blogger. 

You can read the full report and my not-juicy quotes on My Paper “New JB-Woodlands train service from July 1”.

Shanghai: My first solo trip destination

I’ll be travelling to Shanghai this long weekend. Thought of bumping up this old post that talks about my first solo trip.

YQtravelling

Prompt #2: When, where, what, and with who is the story of your travel origin?

I used to hate travelling when I was a kid. I didn’t like that I couldn’t sleep in my bed. I didn’t like having to meet strange new adults whom my mother seem to know.

I rarely went for any sleepovers while I grew up so I ended up terribly homesick in the first year in university. Almost every evening, I would secretly cry in my room.

It was a tough time. Then I decided to end it. Enough was enough. Crying is a tiring business and I really need to stop.

So I did. I stopped crying for home and decided to enjoy life.

My very first solo trip was when I was on student exchange in the second half of my second year at university. I was studying in the south of China…

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YQtravelling with mom

Mother’s Day is this weekend. Pamela from Pam Goes Traveling has a Mother’s Day feature and my guest post is in it: Mothers’ Day Special – Travel with Mum featuring YQ.

yq mom epheseus fb

Besides reminiscing my travels with my mother, I also share tips on how to survive a trip with  your mother (as in the plural “you”). You should also check out the previous guest blogger on Pamela’s website, Agnes, who has really good tips on how to travel with your mother.

Read the full Mother’s Day feature on Pam Goes Traveling.

How can I get to Westeros? : Prompt 16 of #indie30

map of westeros

Prompt #16: What city in Europe would you like to visit the most?

Having visited Paris in 2011, I can’t really think of any other European city that I would like to visit. I think my imagination has been eroded from too much travelling.

Although I don’t have a a particular city in Europe that I’m dying to visit, if I were dying, I would choose to go to the fictional land of Westeros in Game of Thrones (which is kind of in Europe and filmed in Europe).

Map of Westeros

Credit: Robert whose handsome face I’ve cropped out

Compared to my current life, Westeros has 1000 times more swords and an infinity times more shadows dragons. Those are good enough reasons to go.

I would love have been a part of the storyline but based on my karma, I’d probably end up as Character Who Crosses The Road in the books or the film. Plus, I wouldn’t have survived a day in Flea Bottom.

Actually, come to think of it, I don’t feel like dying that soon. The one reason I want to be in Westeros is so that I can wear fantastic braids all year long (which I have been doing in a mini scale these days).

More on Game of Thrones filming locations:

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

Travelling in Asia: Prompt 15 of #indie30

korean fried chicken.41

Prompt #15: If you could pick any country in Asia to go to, which one would you pick and why?

I haven’t been to all parts of Asia but I don’t seem to find the motivation to explore all corners.

I guess living in this continent gives a false sense that it would be easy to travel around so I wouldn’t need to hit all the countries any time soon.

So for today’s choice, I would love to head back to Japan and see the other parts of it that I hadn’t been.

I’ve heard a lot about Hokkaido. It’s supposed to be a land where all seasons are beautiful.

I would love to heard there when lavender season is in. (I wanted to do that even back in 2011’s indie30.) I would love to be there when the King Crabs are fleshy.

Image credit: Jennifer

The only period I wouldn’t want to be in Hokkaido is winter. I dread the cold. Thank goodness the onsen-loving Japanese macaques don’t live there or else it’s a very tempting visit.

Other Asia to-visit list

But if it’s for going to somewhere I’ve not been, South Korea would be my top choice since it is the land of skincare products.

I’m not particularly fond of spicy food which Koreans love. But if it’s spicy fried chicken, I’m up for it. The marinade is so so good.

Korean Fried Chicken

I would also love to visit the cafes in South Korean and drink lattes until I am jittery from caffeine.

Is there any place in Asia that’s on your list? Share it in the comments below.

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

One related post: 11 travel blogs from Asia to follow

One thing I do when travelling but won’t do at home: Prompt 11 of #indie30

travelling with a hat

Prompt #11: Tell us about a time you did something, something you knew you probably shouldn’t do, while traveling.

In SPM examinations in Malaysia (kind of an exam in between O- and A-Levels), non-Muslim students have to sit for a subject called “Moral Education” (Pendidikan Moral).

It doesn’t actually test how moral you are but how good you are at memorizing exact phrases. I’m telling you this because I scored a “C5” for this subject. (A1 is the best anyone can score and F9 is “Fail”.)

Based on my results, you might judge me as being an immoral person: someone who steals candy from babies and stick “Kick Me” signs on old ladies.

Well, I like to believe that I’m a moral person and that I’m moral at home and overseas.

So I won’t be sharing any scandalous stories about myself because I’m practically scandal-free.

Instead, the thing that I would do overseas but not at home is dressing like a tourist.

I love the idea of wearing hats. But to actually wear a hat in Singapore or Malaysia, I probably won’t do it unless I’m at a fancy picnic party where 5 other people are wearing hats.

That’s why I only wear hats when I travel. I already look different from the locals, why not milk it all the way.

What about you? Is there something that you do overseas but never at home?

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

I love train travel and you should too: Day 4 of #indie30

YQ Travelling About Me liau yun qing

Prompt #4: What is your favorite method of overland travel and why?

I didn’t mind bus travelling a lot but after being violently car sick in Peru, I’ve decided that my favorite overland travel is by train.

With train travel you get to:

  • skip traffic jam
  • go at a slow pace with not as much sudden turns (so you won’t get motion sickness)
  • see cute babies
  • have more leg room than a plane or bus
  • eat train bentou (Japan and Taiwan have these)
  • sleep on beds (To be fair, China has long distance buses with beds too. I slept in a bunk next to the toilet before.)

It’s unfortunate that KTM (Malayan Railway Limited) has removed their private 2-bed bunk on their overnight train. I really wanted to try one.

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.