Introducing Karlsen

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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Fergus on Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:30 am

Fergus has no money and next to no possessions so he won't be buying in the near future unless he suddenly comes into an inheritance. His interest will however be of an academic nature.

As to money I have no idea whether they will use gold or paper. I always worry about the potential of an Amberite to completely screw up the economy or Amber and the Golden Circle just by creating rampant inflation by creating more of the currency.

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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Karlsen on Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:48 am

Well they could, but why would they? To make a major impact they would have to bring in so much that they would overbalance the prices of staple items. The shear inertia would be hard to overcome by a dozen people. Unless they stared doing one of several things:
1: Bring in enough money and use it to buy a significant amount of property in the city of Amber. This could cause a significant hike in real estate prices, rents ect. Prime locations in the city are at a premium, and Amberites could bring in enough money to buy it all and then hike prices to destabilize the economy. But why? (A similar plan to monopolise some other item, like grains, might also work, but land is the easiest of these options.)
2: Bring in funds to pay for a war. Ok this is a legitimate possibility. But wars usually cause economic hardships, usually with the government running out of money, or resorting to printing too much money causing inflation. This was the main purpose of War Bonds, it locked up money to keep inflation down while the government was paying out tons of money for war materials.

There might be others but these are the first ones that come to mind.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Fergus on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:21 am

I doubt that any of the Elders would want to do it now. It just seemed like a fantastic way of destablising Amber during a throne war without the need to actually go to war.

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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Karlsen on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:44 am

Yes, I can certainly see that. I could definitely see Flora, an underated Amberite in my opinion, attempting something like that. A dozen shell companies or people in her employ slowly buying up properties over hundreds of years. In conjunction with other events that could be a deciding factor.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Kierenne on Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:58 pm

Mint wrote:Kierenne: Not especially. Mint doesn't want anything from Kierenne. If Kierenne baked Mint a cake, Mint would check it for explosives. What else is a frenemy for?

I didn't say you could have one. Just that I'd make one. Carry it around in front of you, do the 'neener neener' dance every once in a while. "I got a spell stack item, and you-oo don't."
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Mint on Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:22 pm

Ah yes, the maturity that I have come to expect from the Kier.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Kierenne on Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:44 pm

Says the character who would destroy a gift cake looking for a trap.

Meanie. I worked hard on that cake.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Mint on Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:50 pm

And equally hard on the trap?
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Kierenne on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:27 pm

Oh please. Smash the cake to bits, you still won't find the poison I baked in. Traps are so inelegant.

Or did I enchant the cake knife to bleed your soul?

Or am I just messing with your head, and there's nothing dangerous here at all?

Go ahead, take a bite. Let's find out together.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Aiden on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:52 pm

I walk by and spin the food carousel that's holding your cake and 3 more that I baked which look just exactly like it. Place your bets, my lovelies.
Wheeee! Let it ride!
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Xue Ren'gui on Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:48 am

Hey Karlsen, my division at work is about to create a management position in Singapore. Is thinking about talking about trying to consider one, anyway. I'm thinking about putting myself forward for it, but doing so I'd have to make a strong business case for them to actually pay to move me over there. So, I have to not only be the best candidate, I have to be the best by so much that it's worth them dropping the cash for a transoceanic move of my whole household.

I think I can make that case, or at least I know more or less how to go about gathering the data necessary. Maybe the data will say it's not worth the company's money. However, there's a lot of stuff I'd need to know about what living there is like before I could really decide. Especially with being an English speaking foreigner (French, plus a tiny bit of German and even less Spanish, but none of that's helpful in Singapore), I don't want to go to all the trouble of getting my boss and his boss worked up about the idea if I'm just going to back out later on.

Would you mind describing what it's like being an ex-pat there? I'm assuming you're American, probably based on my own personal biases. Can you share any concerns or tricky scenarios I should be aware of?

I know that it's prohibatively expensive to own a car, but I gave up my car in Seattle a few years ago, and I'm quite content with public transportation. I don't use drugs, I don't bugger young children, and I'm very interested in studying Mandarin. I'm also a fan of the Indonesian martial art, Pencak Silat. (Kieran's brother is actually an instructor of that form, here in America. That's my big reason for wanting to learn it more.)
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Karlsen on Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:24 am

Expat life in Singapore is great! Most expats refer it to asia 101, introduction to living in asia. You can get by easily with just English, though you have to remember to slow down when talking to anyone over 40 (not overly so, just take care to pronounce clearly and at a conversational volume).

Ok lets hit the big problems, 1. Do you have to have your own place? Are you married? Do you have kids? The cheapest place to rent on your own in a reasonable area is about S$2000 to S$3000 a month. But if you are single and don't mind rooming with someone you can go for a houseing allowance of $1000 to $1500 and get another expat roomate fairly easily (or 2 and really make money). Housing is probably your biggest cost unless you have kids to send to school. Don't be afraid to live out of an expat area, Singaporeans are reasonably friendly and good neighbors. {Office space may be expensive also, don't be afraid to look out of the main area of the business district. Tanjon Pagar is a great area, near the downtown, but the rents will be much more reasonable I expect. Not sure though as I have not looked into opening a business.}

2. Cars are dang expensive. Glad you got rid of yours. on the up side, public transport is awesome. One of the reasons I love staying here. Trains are fast and reliable and go most places, Buses run regularly and both are clean and neatly maintained. Need to get somewhere fast? No problem a cab ride to practicly anywhere will probably only run you about US$10-15, probably less. I travel almost every day on about S$80 a month.

3. The weather is hot year round. About 27 to 28 deg C most days and the hottest about 32. You get used to it after a while and it is like one long summer. Most places have aircon so can get out of the heat most of the time.

Now for the better stuff

4. Food. If you eat at expat/tourist places it will be pricy. But perfectly good local resturants start from US$5 to 20 depending on what you get. Singaporeans love to eat and shop and you can do a lot of it here and never get bored.

5. I can put you in touch with people who teach Silat, Taekwondo, or european martial arts. There are also wushu and other martial arts available here.

6. Gaming; There is a small but thriving gaming community incluting LARP, Cosplay, RPGs and table top stuff.

7. Are you married or single? Do you have kids? Singapore is great for both, very safe and becoming more family friendly. For single guys there are a lot of girls that are looking for expats, I have single friends who can keep you out of trouble there a lot better than I can. Wink

8. Here you get the best of 3 major cultures; Chinese, Indian and Malay. Plus several smaller groups also have significant presence here including; Thai, Philipino, Indonesian, Malaysian and European.

9. Get paid in Singapore $s. They are strengthening against the US$ and I predict that will continue.

Well I hope that isn't information overload! Laughing Any specific questions?
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Karlsen on Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:36 am

Oh and another thing, look closely at your stuff. Is it sentimental? If not sell it and get new stuff here. When we moved here the only things we brought were our computer, exercise equipment and bed (beds here are short and lousy matresses). Also consider if this is going to be a life change or just a short term assignment. Makes a big difference to your plans.

Remember all of your electronics will have to go except your computer because we run on 220 here. (Your computer usually can take 220, just change the plug). The good news is that electronics are cheap here. You will probably get to upgrade everything.

Have I done a good enough job selling Singapore yet? lol!
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Xue Ren'gui on Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:20 am

I'm married, without kids. My company already has an office in Singapore, so no worries about office space. My team has one person in country already, so I'd be building up a local team within that space.

Loves me some Chinese food, or Thai, Japanese. Have had Pakistani food, and I'm told it's similar to Indian, except they prepare the meat halal. I went to an Indonesian restaurant, but that was in the Netherlands, so the menu was in two languages I can't read. Was hard to get a good feel for what it was really like.

Everything is so vague at this point, but my expectation is to stay there 3-5 years, and then decide where to go after that. I assume we'd put most of our furniture in storage here in the US, then pick it up again when we're back. If we're back. And, of course, visit the hell out of the rest of the Pacific Rim.

As for the weather... I lived for 12yrs in Texas. Houston summers are slightly hotter than Singapore, though the winters drop a bit below that. And I think the humidity is about the same. (Of course, Houston's weather is a big reason we live in Seattle now, where highs of 80 are very rare. So, we'll see how it goes on that front. Ubiquitous A/C is a big help.

Thanks for the info. Think I'll move ahead trying to convince my bosses.
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Xue Ren'gui on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:30 am

Also, I'm interested in whether the US gubmint will try to claim any tax on my earnings, while I'm fully within Singapore's system. Assuming I stay for a couple years.

Once I'm done with all the funerals in real life, I'll be talking to company HR as well about this part, but some non-expert advice by someone who's gotten hosed would help me put them in check if they start to blow smoke up my ass.

You dig?
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Karlsen on Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:56 am

Yeah I get it. Key things you can negotiate with.

1. Tell them a car would cost them an arm and a leg, you don't need one.

2. You can live very comfortably on S$6000 a month, including housing expenses. S$5000 if you don't mind eating and traveling like a local. If you insist on living in a condominium then add S$1000 to that. My free advice, worth exactly what you paid for it Wink , is that you keep your wages in US$, and ask for some housing allowance in S$, and a storage allowance for your US stuff. Expat packages here regularly give a car, generous housing allowance and paid medical insurance (your health insurance may not cover you here, something to look into). Insurance is reasonable here as medical costs are about 1/10th what they are in the states.

On the taxes; Uncle sam will hit you if your earned income is over uhhhh I think it is about US$90k a year. That would include housing allowance. Precicely you get a US$90k deduction for spending the entire year out of the US. For partial year it is a % based on how long in the US. You do have to pay Singapore taxes which are 0% for first 20k, next 10k 2% next 10k 3.5% next 40k 7%. Considerably less than the US. Smile And if you need to I think you can deduct foreign taxes from your US taxes.

If your wife works, getting an employment pass right now is difficult, but not impossible. If she is a teacher (or wants to become one) she can get work no problem though.

Do you mind if I ask what business you are in? I am busy looking for a job and if the right one came along I am ready to move on from my current one. You can drop me an email at alctango2000@yahoo.com if you would rather move this to an email discussion.

On the storage of the US stuff, take a hard look at your things. Consider the cost of storage space for a year and then consider putting that money to replacing your old stuff + what you could get at a garage sale for it. Power tools, winter clothes and books were about all that we put in storage.

Andy
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Re: Introducing Karlsen

Post  Xue Ren'gui on Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:04 pm

I work for Cisco Systems. I'm a network engineer, specializing in Voice over IP stuff. Basically, my company makes a phone system (and a lot of other stuff I don't work with), and we sell it to companies for their office systems. (You see our phones on the desks of a lot of current TV shows. Our marketing types are trying to get the word out.) I'm personally attached to a banking customer, so whenever they have problems with their phone systems, anywhere in the world, they call me up for advice on how to fix it (and how to not have it break that way again).

We have need for Project Managers, technical engineers (mostly for network infrastructure equipment), and maybe some low-end helpdesk types.

So, sadly... I won't be getting a package. I'd basically have to justify why sending me there would earn us like $20Million per year, when there are some very strong candidates who already live in Singapore. I'll have to be covering all the costs myself, except that I'm trying to convince the company to get me a one-time relocation package, just to move my stuff over there (what little stuff I decide to bring), and maybe put me up in a hotel at first while I find a place... make deposits and all that before moving in. Just the start-up costs, really.

I'm expecting to leave all my furniture behind, or sell it. We have a decent amount of art we'd like to keep, and I wouldn't expect it to be too terribly expensive to send to Singapore. It's not very heavy, after all. Probably our place there will be smaller than what we have now, so... less wall space to hang the art on. Maybe we only bring the choice pieces.

We got rid of most of our books when we moved to Seattle. Before that, in North Carolina, we turned a bedroom into "the library", but when we got here we realized that we'd be paying rent for an extra room just to store all that paper in. So, we dumped most of them and got a Kindle account. I'm about to donate all of my RPG books as well, since I have PDF copies of them all. Nobody is enforcing the copyrights on D&D 3.5 and the old World of Darkness these days.

The wife was working on her Ph.D so she could be a college professor, then decided there was too much politics in it so never did her dissertation. I doubt she'd want to go into teaching children, but if they have college positions that take less than Ph.Ds... she might be interested, I think.

Hit me up on goatkiller666@gmail.com if you want. I don't know that we have any openings currently in Singapore, but I know we're considering. (The one I'm hoping to get is even still just hypothetical.)
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