A RocketUncle (Zyllem) Experience 

I was clearing my annual leave this whole week and had the opportunity to try out something interesting with the extra free time I had. 

Introducing RocketUncle (now known as Zyllem), a leading provider of fast, cost-effective and reliable same-day delivery service in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines since it was founded in 2013. The Zyllem app is available to both customers and couriers so they can readily access the services on their mobile devices. 

Zyllem was introduced to me by my friend recently. Depending on the urgency/timing of the job and its package size, a courier can earn between $5 – $15 per delivery. He mentioned that Zyllem was more of a supplement to cover some petrol, parking fees and kopi/makan money.

After fiddling around with the app, it seems the average courier fees one can earn per delivery was about $6 (not inclusive of out-of-pocket expenses like parking fees or ERP charges). I wanted to see if it can be a good source of income if one were to commit full-time being a Zyllem courier, probably making about 20 trips daily.

There are 3 considerations for me:

1. Most HDB car parks allow a 10-min grace period, so if I am in and out fast enough, I can avoid parking fees. 

2. I intend to take up jobs where I do not have to enter the CBD area, thus avoiding any ERP charges.

3. Lastly, I will study the routes of available jobs. In order to cut down on petrol wastage, it makes sense to plan the pickup and delivery routes in the most fuel efficient way. 

Below is a screenshot of my travel route for 26th December:

Green = Pickup

Red = Delivery

Notice how all the pickup and delivery locations are within close proximity of each other. It would be ideal if I had a pickup near my starting point in Boon Lay to “justify” the drive towards the east. Too bad there was none that Saturday morning. 
I started off at 8.45am with a total of 6 jobs assigned. One by one, I collected the courier items from the senders. 

However, there were 2 pickups which couldn’t be made due to the following reasons:

1. Sender forgot to bring the item to office for pickup 

2. Sender indicated the wrong pickup address

Sender #1 was very nice and told me to treat the delivery as complete because I had already made the trip down to the office. 

Sender #2 wasn’t at the pickup location because the item was supposed to be picked up from her home, and her home was not near at all to her office where I was “patiently” waiting outside. She asked if it was alright for me to leave the order as “Unfulfilled” at this moment and that pickup be carried out on Monday instead. I told her honestly that I wasn’t doing Zyllem full-time and I won’t be doing any pickups on Monday. 

I later rejected the delivery via the app and entered my reasons for doing so. I hope Zyllem will still reimburse me for my wasted trip down to Sender #2’s wrong pickup location. 

Making my deliveries back in the west, I completed my jobs by 11.45am and had clocked a total of 88km, at a F/C rate of 9.1l/100km. I had used up about 8 liters of petrol and considering I paid $1.666 per liter, my cost was about $13.35.
These jobs would pay out a total of $37.65 (excluding that 1 trip I had rejected). Less the petrol cost, and it should be a nett “earning” of $24.30.

What may seem like only $24.30, can actually help to cover 3 meals daily for maybe 2 days. Imagine if one had taken up 3x as many jobs in 1 day, he/she could potentially earned about $65 – $73; or $1,300 – $1,460 monthly (considering 20 work days).

I am not saying that this can/will be my full-time job because the income just isn’t sufficient for my current financial commitments in life. However, this may still be considered good income for someone else in need of money but unable to command a higher salary.

I have learnt to appreciate the efforts put in by delivery couriers and have new found respect for them.

They will face frustrations when wrong information (like pickup or delivery addresses) is being passed down or face difficult senders/recipients, causing them wasted trips and time. However, come rain or shine, they do their best to try ensure their jobs are completed and provide a source of income for themselves and/or their families. 

The next time I placed an order online with delivery, I will think of the hardworking courier who will be delivering my package to my door step. Thank you very much!

Ponies at the Playground

Every time I walk past the playground, I can imagine both Evan and Emma having much fun on these pony rides…

Ponies at the Playground

I am sorry

To my son Evan,

I am sorry for leaving without saying goodbye this morning.
I am sorry for not being strong enough to not feel anything whenever I see you reaching out to me crying as I drop you off at childcare in the mornings.
I am sorry for you having to go through all this.

I am sorry.


My First Time…

… developing B/W film.

It was 3 Dec 2014.

I had just finished my 1st roll of KODAK Tmax-100 B/W film and since I had some free time after coaxing Evan to sleep, I decided to develop it. I had earlier bought my DIY B/W film developing setup and they were kept in a corner for a long time. It was finally time to use them.

I first prepared a basin of water with ice in it. This ‘cold bath’ would be used to bring down the temperature of the chemistry for film development. I am currently using Ilford Ilfosol-3 Film DeveloperIlford Ilfostop Stop Bath and Ilford Rapid Fixer.

Since I am only developing 1 roll of film, the amount required was 300ml for each chemistry and the ideal temperature would be 20oC (for this time and all future developing sessions in order to maintain a workflow standard).

While waiting for the chemistry to be ready, I went on to load my film onto the reel of my Paterson Universal Tank – Super System 4. I am using a Paterson Changing Bag to do so since I do not have the luxury of having a darkroom. Popping the lid off the film cassette was easily done with a Dot Line DLC Film Cassette Opener.

The next step would be to load the film onto the reel. I have watched videos online on how Paterson reel bracket system works and thought it should be as easy as ABC. However, that proved to be a challenge as the film dislodged (sort of) when I was nearing the end of the roll. I had to dismantle the reel and start all over again. Luckily, the dislodging issue did not happen a second time. Once the reels were inserted back in, and with the funnel component properly twist-locked in place, the developing tank was basically light-leak proof.

Now came the critical stage, because timing is EVERYTHING when it comes to film developing. I am using KODAK Professional Film App which allows you to key in the timing required for each step of the developing process.

For me, I used the following:

Developer: 5mins 30secs – First 30secs agitation, then agitation for the first 10secs every minute
Stop Bath: 30secs – Continuous agitation
Fixer: 5mins – First 30secs agitation, then agitation for the first 10secs every minute
Rinse: Full tank of tap water for 30 agitation rotations (Repeat 5 times)
LFN Wetting Agent: 2 drops into distilled water at room temperature, agitate for 30secs

During the rinse, I could already see images on the film and knew the developing session was a success. There was a sense of satisfaction and I remembered I actually skipped to show my wife the developed negatives before hanging them up to dry.

This was my 1st time developing B/W films and certainly won’t be my last. I am looking forward to my next few sessions.

Cheers and Keep Shooting (film)!


How To Save $10,000 Yearly?

First of all, I wish to inform that this saving plan should be achievable by most middle-income adults in Singapore, as long as you do not spend your money unnecessarily.

I started a savings plan at the beginning of this year after reading an article on how to save money.

The original savings plan goes like this:

Week 1 = Save $1,
Week 2 = Save $2,
Week 3 = Save $3,… so on and so forth…
Week 52 = Save $52.

By the time you come to week 52, you would have saved a total of $1,378 for the year.

I was thinking, how about I up the challenge and try something different?
Hence, I adjusted my own savings plan as such:

Week 1 = Save $1 every day for that week (total $7),
Week 2 = Save $2 every day for that week (total $14),… so on and so forth…
Week 52 = Save $52 every day for that week (total $364).

It seems 1st Jan 2014 is a Wednesday and since 31st Dec 2014 is also a Wednesday (entering week 53), I have to save an extra $53 for that day. With this, I will be able to save a total of $9,699 for the year.

The early weeks were manageable since the amount to save each week was small. However, as I progressed beyond week 30, I was pretty much struggling to save at least $210 ($30 x 7 days) per week.

I was into week 45 earlier this month and felt it was a real torture! Imagine I had to save $315 for that week and counting, on top of other commitments.

That’s when I decided to end the “misery” once and for all.

I had already saved a total of $7,245 by week 45 but realised that putting money in a tupperware container wasn’t earning me any interest as compared to the money being in a savings account. Therefore, I decided to complete the savings “project” in advance and save even more by topping it up to $10,000.

So that is how I managed to save $10,000 for the year. Try it!
It would be great if I can achieve such savings every year for years to come.

Staying True

The most important thing is staying true to what you want to capture on your camera.

There are times when you thought it would be nice to capture what others did, but then you realized it was nothing you had wanted to capture in the first place…