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hk blues

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Posts posted by hk blues

  1. 2 hours ago, Yeochief said:

    Everyone has there opinion about getting the vaccine.  Just like the flu vaccine, people still get it.  The vaccine is only 95%, if you believe the experts.  So if you are lucky 5 out of 100 will still get COVID 19.  Can you still get COVID 19 once you had the vaccine and not show any signs and pass it onto others?  My thoughts is that if you get the vaccine, you are a human lab rat.  New normal is wearing mask and face shields when in public.

    Only 95% effective?

    If you're lucky 5 out of 100 - shouldn't that be if you're unlucky?

    We do not know as much as we'd like about the vaccines due to the warp speed that they were developed but surely the alternative is worse?  I don't want to be wearing a mask and visor for the rest of my life and without a vaccine that's where we'd be at.  That said, if we don't get things under control my life may not be as long as I'd like!

    As Terry says, and obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion on the vaccine but I struggle to understand the people who oppose it on the basis of we don't know enough when what we do know is positive.  

    • Like 1
  2. 13 minutes ago, TerryP said:

    Not being up to speed with these matters I thought I'd check out the Philippines immigration act


    Section 29-: excluded classes

    1) idiots or insane persons and persons who have been insane

    2) persons afflicted with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease or epilepsy

    6) paupers, vagrants and beggars

    Apart from a nervous twitch and a tendancy to bum the odd beer I'm good to go

    Good luck to you guys

    As Meatloaf would say, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  I won't say which 2 though.

    • Like 2
  3. 2 hours ago, GeoffH said:

    Most of the catch phrase lyrics used by the characters in the song were used in the TV series (but not the Spock one that I misquoted).

    Slightly interesting side note on that -

    Possibly the most famous "quote" from the show that made its way into our language is "Beam me up, Scotty".  In fact those exact words were never actually used by Cpt. Kirk, although variations on them were used in several episodes.   

  4. 1 hour ago, GeoffH said:

    hmmm google says that the phrase "It's life Jim but not as we know it" actually originates from Spock (but not TV Spock, music video Spock from Star Treking Across the Universe).

    Memory failure sorry.

    Yeah, I remember the lyrics from the song but wasn't aware they never actually appeared in the TV series.

  5. 13 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

    I hate you too HK.... I don't like "I told you so's...":smile: Kidding you...

    Yeah... it was already down in that odd configuration, but that was not the cause of the problem...there was not enough gap left at the edges and we were not here to see that... mea culpa.

    Fortunately, these wood tiles are surprisingly thick - I think 1/2 inch or so. And they weren't cheap - I think about 6 inches wide and 5 feet long with six in a box for something over $60/box...and many boxes...

    And agreed.... we will only re-coat if there is a big need. We will cover heavily trafficked areas with small rugs.

    And now I am a bit shocked... upon looking at the last room with the wood tiles just now, we can see that the contractor workers actually glued in a strip of wood planking to apparently fill in the gap between the the wall and the tiles! Obviously no clue about how to install wood tiles!

    Yep...the issue we raised was not about the gap (we couldn't see it) but the pattern - I suppose my concern was that if they laid the planks in such an unorthodox pattern then how experienced were they in that type of work?  Anyway, no need to labour the point and you've got it fixed with no harm done.  

    As I said, our planks were not quite as expensive as yours (upstairs almost the same but downstairs only about half your cost) based on how yours look in the pics but have held up very well so I'm sure they will do you proud.

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  6. 18 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

    Actually, no. The wood tiles are already finished with some sort of coating. They aren't really slippery either, even when wet. They are tongue and groove so trying to add a finish might not work so well. We will just wait a while and see how they wear. I guess we can always apply another covering if necessary in the future?

    I am impressed with the look and feel of the compressed bamboo tiles, just not with the initial installation.

    I hate myself for saying this, Tom, but we did warn you about the installation based on the pics you posted.  Anyway, what's done is done and the remedy is not so difficult.  

    For sure you can varnish the bamboo floor but how many times depends on the thickness of the planks, so I'd advise against doing it too soon unless it really needs it - which it shouldn't for a while.  We have "wood" flooring which is not of the quality of yours and it's been down 4-5 years with no issues in terms of needing recovered.  

    • Like 1
  7. 16 hours ago, Signet said:

    So I'm not so much in the same boat but a more leaky boat further behind and sinking! :laugh: I'll see what they say when I apply, hopefully they don't have a massive back log... which I assume they definitely have due to the pandemic!

    Thanks HK, I'm tempted to just play it safe and print everything out on A4 and long just to be done with it. Before I forget I also asked about the "Affidavit of Guarantee with Authenticity" and asked for a copy but was told I can only fill it out and have it notarized at the office.

    I'd save myself a job and just do it on long, they won't reject long but might A4.  I believe the folders they require are long so that suggests long is the preferred size.

  8. 31 minutes ago, TerryP said:

    It's all down to standards HK. I can do all the above and more besides to a standard without relying on other trades that would probably satisfy most there. Building a house to Western standards is a niche market there. It would be foolish to presume every tradesmen if that is the correct term could live up to expectations. They are there it's a matter of make your choices and pay your money

    Pay peanuts you get monkeys

    The problem is, as you say, the standard expected.  Here, people in general don't look for so much so contractors of course work to meet this (low) expectation.  The problems start when us pesky foreigners look for something better and the contractors are either unwilling to or incapable of upping their game.  

    Following a couple of not so great experiences, I learned to ensure that my wife sets expectations before we agree the price and contractor.  I make it clear I don't mind paying  a premium (small) for above average work.  That way, at least we have set a baseline.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean all is well but it at least gives a better chance  of  a better result.  

    Your last line simply doesn't work here - the amount we pay, or are asked to pay, is disconnected from the quality of work.  The final price is a function of the negotiation skills of both parties and the bare-faced cheek of the contractor and the naivety of the client. 

    There are no morals or ethics when it comes to business here. Mostly.

    • Like 1
  9. 3 minutes ago, manofthecoldland said:

    I did consider that, but it was easier to just pay the extra ATM fee and use my still active Debit card.  You are right in that its good to have some computerized expat friends or neighbors who you can turn to in times of a hardship or problem.

    For sure.

    Despite what numerous members here say, I would still strongly recommend anyone living here for any period of time get a local account IF they can.


    • Like 3
  10. 21 minutes ago, TerryP said:

    Over promising and under delivering is something I see regularly here also HK. That doesn't make me a perfect builder but I've followed someone in on a number of occasions where I've lost the contract initially because I refused to over promise.

    I much prefer to work on projects where the client has employed an architect. He can keep his client in line when they ask for the impossible at a ridiculously low price.

    Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous

    The construction industry in general is notoriously "dodgy" wherever we are.  

    That last line is exactly what I mean - it is soooooooooo true here.  The concept "I live in a house so surely I can build one" is how it goes here (I'm exaggerating for emphasis, of course). 

    Example - I had 2 roofs built in 2019.  The contractor did everything (3 man team) from steelwork to concrete work to carpentry to electrics (very basic mind you i.e. extending the existing light fitting a couple of metres) to painting.  You know better than me that in the UK that type of project would have had at least 5 trades.  

    • Like 1
  11. 10 minutes ago, manofthecoldland said:

    I guess I could have used an possibly insecure cybercafe, but my wife tells me that many of them cater to gamers now.

    I think you're wise not to have resorted to using such places as who knows what type of security their PCs have, if any, and what sort of stuff they have lurking inside them.  In a dire emergency I'd probably ask a neighbour to use their PC rather than use a cyber cafe.   

    • Like 1
  12. 2 hours ago, Signet said:

    Thanks for all the additional info guys, a big help. I think I'll be in the same boat as you Shol as it's only just over a month until my current tourist visa expires.

    I actually just called the BI main office and was told that the size of paper is "better if legal size" rather than A4... Out of interest what size paper did you guys use?

    Ah, the use of the word "better"! 

    Anyhow, in Hong Kong I used A4 for my 13A but since coming here all BI docs I've used legal or "long" as they call it.  

  13. 1 hour ago, Tommy T. said:

    Sorry HK, I guess I did not make myself clear. I only use my one debit card for ATM cash advances, so it does come in handy.

    However lately, I have been doing wire transfers due to the rather large payments required for the home construction. My local bank, PNB, is very relaxed and I am sure everyone in the branch knows about me and our home build. They are very curious. So I haven't shown ID there in over a year. They fill out any paperwork for transfers or $/Peso exchanges and I just scrawl what serves as my signature... I should have been a doctor!

    If you've already provided ID in the past then there would be no reason to have to provide it every time, Tom.  Being foreigners, we probably stand out and thus are easily remembered.

  14. 11 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

    Maybe I am talking out of school here?

    However, I just today received my virus relief payment. Last time it was a check, this time it is a debit card. It was sent to my USA mail handler.

    I never use debit cards because the chances are greater (or at least seem so to me) that someone can steal that money that is already available and accessible and it might be more difficult to recover that from the issuing institution?

    Regardless, I see that I can just deposit the payment credit from the card directly into my bank account - if it works as advertised.

    Even so, I really don't use my credit cards here either. I pay cash for everything except online purchases, so I guess I don't really need to physically have the cards in my possession? The data should suffice, I would think, unless the cards are required for in-person purchases? Just ruminating here...

    I don't know but surely you need to hand over the card to make a purchase using the debit card in person?  I always have had to do that here.  For online purchases, obviously, it's not the case and the details are sufficient.  

  15. 9 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

    Direct example of that here... The sparky for the contractor generally does good work and knows how to wire a home. However, as chronicled in my build posts, we asked him if he could install the electric opener. He said yes he could and proceeded to read the manual. We knew he had not done one before.

    Well, he tried but really did not know what he was doing. It was also obvious, after a while, that he did not understand the manual. He laid the sensor magnets aside without a clue that they were essential to stopping the gate at the proper places when fully opened or fully closed. He didn't know what they were at all. So we paid the professional installer who, really, was very professional. He also installed the doorbell system with video and voice intercom. Believe me, finding the true professional made it look effortless and those two systems work flawlessly now.

    I'm still learning.

    I'm not surprised to read this.  Even the electrician did a good job as you said previously on the house electricals, he took on a task that he must have known was outside of his knowledge/experience. 

    • Like 1
  16. 17 hours ago, TerryP said:

    Seems to me the methods and results of how you select the contractor to have building work done aren't much different to the rest of the world.

    Find a builder with a decent track record by references, viewing previous projects in our case here use trade organisations (probably not relevant in the Philippines).


    The big difference here, Terry, is that over promising and under delivering is more common than in the UK - I doubt a contractor here would turn down work because they thought it may be beyond them.  

    • Like 1
  17. On 1/24/2021 at 6:13 AM, Mike J said:

    Show the contractor the plans and/or pictures of the house you want built.  Ask him "Have you built houses like this quality and style?"  If the answer is anything other than "Yes" you may want to consider another contractor.  If the answer is "I can build that", the actual answer is "No", again consider another contractor.  If the contractor has built homes like this, get the address(es) and go look at them.  If possible knock on the door(s) and speak with the owners to see what they experienced during the build.  

    Questions for owners of previous builds:

    Any issue with quality?  Any issue with substandard materials?  Any issues with going over agreed budget?  Did contractor get required permits and inspections?  Keep in mind that Filipinos are reluctant to criticize others and expats often seem more likely to find fault than praise.  So you may have to sort the wheat from the chaff when getting answers.


    Good advice.

    As suggested in my post and by yourself, Mike, I am not so sure that talking to previous clients will be helpful in all cases - they tend to not want to criticise others and keep their ideas to themselves, especially if there is nothing in it for them.  That said, if they do say anything negative or are non-committal you can probably read a lot into that.  Looking at the work ourselves, and deciding if the quality is what we are looking for is probably best - your standard won't be mine. 

    • Like 1
  18. 17 hours ago, Gandang Smile said:

    Strangely enough, Barclays didn't ask me for any proof of address to move the account address to my friend's. Eventually I moved the address here to the Philippines, as soon as Customer Service told me it was possible.

    What bank were you referring to?


    17 hours ago, jimeve said:

    But the bank said they can only sent it to the address to the card holder.

    Same here 

  19. 20 minutes ago, Gandang Smile said:

    That's true.

    My trick was to use my friend's address (in London) as the address of the account. The card arrived in a couple of days and then I had to ask him to send it to the Philippines, via DHL.

    I think it's the safest option.

    It isn't always an option - some, not all, banks are very strict about addresses and require documentary evidence linking the account holder to the address. When I first came here, we had a temporary address only so I asked my U.K. bank to use my ex-wife's US address in the interim. They agreed but asked for documents linking her to the address and said this would be allowed only for 6 months. Sure enough, at the end of this period they called me and asked me to provide my new address.

    Again, this was my experience with my bank, not all are as strict it seems.

  20. 30 minutes ago, Shady said:

    You finally figured out I'm only talking about banks in the US?

    As for HSBC, what matters is the address you use to open the account, and, again, I'm talking about US HSBC accounts. I'm sure I could get my US HSBC cards sent to the PH like Snowy did, because we both have PH HSBC accounts linked to our main accounts.


    No, you stated that clearly already (finally) but you then went on try to identify/clarify why HSBC were able to send his card overseas which is of no relevance to a discussion on US banks. As I say, trying to square the circle.  

  21. 11 minutes ago, Tommy T. said:

    Well, HK... maybe you did get lucky. and I am happy for you...

    But so far, my experience shows the opposite. So I would advise anyone, especially a newbie here, to not trust anyone who is a worker or claims to be a contractor. It also appears to be wise to let or encourage the wife/girlfriend/mate to begin negotiations or agreements with any local workers... Just my experience and advice...

    I cannot really take the credit for my choice - our neighbour used him and I was able to get an honest (well, honest enough) opinion and I could see his work.  From the experience of others, it's also not advisable to use family members who often claim to be skilled in all trades. 

    Your point on getting the other half to do the business may be valid, but it certainly wouldn't work for me/us.  My wife doesn't have the skillset to negotiate and has practically no building experience at all.  She is fine as a go between in terms of translation but no more.  I'm a typical Scot so am not afraid to ask the right, or wrong questions! (as you well know) - that said, like all of us I've had the wool pulled over my eyes more than once so it's a minefield here.  

  22. 1 minute ago, Tommy T. said:

    Actually, HK, this time I will disagree totally with you... I think I am right on the money on this...


    Until my last project, a sun room, I'd have agreed with you but the contractor was spot on and did the job exactly as promised for the agreed sum and beyond our expectations.  In a strange kind of way, that fact that he asked for an additional payment (very small - 500php) when I changed the window style from sliding to awning reassured me that he was honest as he could have asked for 2 or 3 times more and on the other hand if he'd charged nothing I'd have been suspicious that the original price was inflated.  Some may put an alternative spin on this but his previous "behaviour" suggested he was not a cowboy.  

    I got lucky. 


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