Travel Insurance Recommendations & Review

Review of Travel Insurers in Singapore

Travel Insurance

I travel quite frequently and always make a point to purchase travel insurance as soon as I booked my tickets.
The reason for doing so is to safeguard my paid travel expenses such that in the unfortunate event that I am unable to travel for pressing reasons, there is a way to recoup my unrecoverable travel expenses (eg. deposit, air tickets, hotel charges, etc).
For example, my colleague was due to travel to Bangkok and booked his trip months in advance. Unfortunately, towards the date of his trip, there was bad flooding in Bangkok hence there was no way he could have gone on with the trip. Had he not purchased a travel insurance plan ahead, he would lose his air tickets for his whole family of 4. Good thing for him, he managed to get back whatever monies that the airline could not refund to him as a result of his flight cancellation.
Hence, I always advocate the purchase of travel insurance. You never know when you would need it. Furthermore, it is not expensive and very easily purchased online.

There are a few insurers that I have purchased from - I always insure with the one that has promotional rates during the period when I need to buy insurance.
1) China Taiping - always competitive rates
2) Chartis -
3) MSIG - tie up with DBS Credit Cards
4) Ace Insurance - tie up with Citibank Credit Cards

How Insurers deal with your claim reflects on their credibility

How an insurance company deals with your claim is a VERY IMPORTANT factor in deciding whether you would want to renew with this company ever again, even if their rates are the most competitive!

Of the 4, I have experienced claiming from No. 2 to 4 and in addition, AXA. Not all were travel related claims. Some were medical claims which I claimed on behalf of my mom from her policy.

Generally, I am very satisfied with the speed of claims processing by Chartis, AXA and MSIG. They are quick to reply, assess your claims and pay out the claims. All in all, they seldom take more than 2 weeks.

When my dad passed away, he had a policy with AXA. Within a week of me submitting a claim, AXA already paid up the policy claims! I was still half expecting them to drag on but my experience with AXA showed that they value their customers and are compassionate towards the customers' circumstances. Therefore I am impressed and will continue to insure with AXA when possible. Same goes for Chartis and MSIG which were both speedy in processing minor claims.

Recommended Travel Insurance Companies

Hence, I would recommend AXA, Chartis and MSIG for their speedy response to claims. As for China Taiping, I have no experience with claims though their premiums are always competitive, hence I have bought insurance with them many times.

Which Travel Insurer to avoid? ACE Insurance

Ace Insurance is a company that engages plenty of telesales marketing agents to call you and bomb you with plans. That aside, sometimes their plans are quite attractive in price and coverage.

Unfortunately, after a few rounds of travel insurance with them, I recently had to make a claim due to flight curtailment. It wasn't a big amount, at most $150.

However, the way they reply and act on my queries leaves much to be desired.

Each email I sent to them takes at least 7-10 working days before anyone replied and it is a reply with no real answers or ambiguous replies. Even when my actual documents were sent to them by mail, it also took them at least a week to acknowledge receipt. All in all, it has been a month since I sent out my claims and to date, I am nowhere near clearing my claims because of this delay on their side.
This is perhaps their tactic. To delay claims so that you would just give up?

I am not sure, but if you are reading this now cos you are looking for travel insurance recommendations, I would suggest you stay away from ACE for any type of insurance. Better be safe than sorry - even when choosing insurance companies, cos there are so many out there, why risk it with one that is known to be adverse to claims? 

People purchase insurance for the unforeseen events. When events happen and it becomes difficult to claim, that what is the point of buying insurance in the first place? Would you trust an insurer that drags its feet when it comes to claim? For me, no way! Just like I would avoid any hawker stall that caused me food poisoning once before.

Installous Alternative - vShare AppVV

An alternative to Installous - vShare (AppVV)

If you were affected by the shutdown of Installous and at a loss to where to find apps for your jailbroken iphone/ipad, there is a new and better alternative called vShare AppVV.

It promises to be better than Installous as instead of downloading from filesharing websites which make you wait before you can download or have download limits, vShare AppVV download links are direct download and is pretty quick too! 

How to install vShare (AppVV)

What you need : 

An iphone or ipad that has been jailbroken and with working internet connection

How to install : 

  1. First you need to install Appsync to your device if you have not done so. If you were using Installous previously, then you probably have Appsync installed. 
  2. Open up Cydia 
  3. Add this 2 addresses to your source : "" and "" 
  4. Search for "Appsync" and install it
  5. Follow the screen instructions after the installation and then return to Cydia
  6. Search for "vShare" and install 
  7. Alternatively, instead of Step 6 above, you can also open up Safari and go to "" then Download/Install to install vShare

Watch the video here :-

Top 10 Candy Crush Saga Tips & Hints (Updated with new tips!)

Top 10 Candy Crush Saga Tips & Hints (Updated)

More than 1 million hits for this page alone. You can't go wrong by following the tips on this page to improve your Candy Crush game! 

Updated regularly, brimming with tips for Candy Crush the game!

Walkthrus and guide to clearing Candy Crush most difficult levels!

13th August 2013 : Flickrshare's very own Candy Crush group is now live on Facebook! Like the page and meet fellow Candy Crushers to exchange lives and level passes now!
5th September 2013 : Desktop Version Updated to Level 470.
16th July 2013 : Both iOS and Android Mobile Versions are now up to Level 395.

Read on for 10 easy to follow tips that are sure to improve your Candy Crush game!

Candy Crush Saga is a pretty looking game similar to Jewel Mania. A match 3 game, you match pieces of candies together and sometimes with variations of the candies, you unleash powerful blasts. The difficulty comes in the limited number of moves for each level, ticking bombs, regenerating chocolate squares which blocks new candies from cascading down, and the cupcakes which takes a few blasts to clear them away. Sometimes you may also be required to swap two power candies with each other as a requisite to clear the stage, other Candy Crush Saga stages require you to clear the way for cherries and hazelnuts to filter down to the bottom.

Candy Crush - Best Hints & Tips on Flickrshare

The power candies include, the striped candies which clears horizontally or vertically, the wrapped sweets which create a blast in a square around it, the rainbow sprinkle doughnut which clears all candies of the same kind, the jelly fish which helps to clear selected candies when triggered and the pink crusted doughnut which turns candies into striped ones.

In addition to power candies, you also have power-ups for sale to help you, including a +5 moves when you have reached the end of the level and is short of moves to finish it.

As you get further ahead in this game, you will find it almost impossible to clear some stages. Therefore, to get really far in Candy Crush Saga, not only do you need plenty of time and patience, you would also need a deep pocket to purchase add ons to help you in your game.

Here are my 10 tips and cheats to play Candy Crush Saga...

Tip 1 - Stop playing this game or resist the urge to buy power ups

These add ons or power-ups mentioned above do not come cheap. Coupled with some almost impossible levels as you reach levels 100+, sometimes these power ups may not be even enough to help you clear the stage!

With this warning, you can now choose to stop playing this game altogether so as to save your heartbreak and also to preserve the health of your wallet or to continue playing at a slow progress or even remain stagnant. That is my very first and best tip I can give you for this game!

Tip 2 - Make use of the power of candies combo

Resist the urge to unleash the power candy as and when you have one. Wait for more to appear as swapping power candies with each other will release different kind of effects, you have to try to mix and match as you play along to find out which power candy will unleash which effect when swapped with another power candy.

I particularly like swapping the rainbow sprinkle with any power candy, especially rainbow sprinkle + pink crusted doughnuts combination.

Of course, rainbow sprinkle + rainbow sprinkle helps to clear every candy on the board (but not jellies which requires two blasts to clear)

Some other good combinations to bear in mind when you have the chance to unleash :-

Pink doughnuts + jelly fishes
Striped candy + wrapped candy

Tip 3 - Completing the level in minimal moves may not net you higher scores

If you are playing for high scores, if you are near to completing the level, you might want to drag the game a few more moves (if you have plenty of moves left unused) to create a few more power candies. When you finally make the finishing move, the game will unleash the remaining power candies on the board one by one and then create a power candy or jelly fish for each unused move left. Depending on the number of moves left, sometimes having too many moves left may not net you a good final score as when it comes to the final hurrah, some of the power candy effects may neutralize each other, thus preventing you from maximizing your score. This is esp true if you have more than 10 moves left.

Tip 4 - Clear chocolate squares

Chocolate squares will regenerate if you do not clear them and they can be a stumbling block if they are allowed to multiply and grow. If you are able to clear the board of all chocolate squares, they will not reappear anymore, allowing you to plan your moves in peace. However, in certain levels as you advance further, chocolate squares will regenerate no matter what, hence you still need to clear them promptly to fill your boards with as many candies as possible - more candies means more permutations to swap your candies.

Tip 5 - Clear time bombs

Don't wait. Clear them once you have the chance. If not, you will waste your effort if one of them explode as it means the end of the game.

Tip 6 - Study the board and plan your moves

Most of the stages are limited moves based instead of time based. Hence you have all the time in the world to consider your moves. Play them carefully.

When playing levels which requires you to cascade the cherries and hazelnuts, you need to study where are the exit points at the bottom of the board and how the cascade flows so that you do not waste moves matching candies which will not bring your cherries and hazelnuts nearer to the exit at all!

Tip 7 - Use striped candies to clear out of reach tiles

Some levels require you to clear the jelly from out of reach tiles. Play your striped candies carefully, dropping them to the horizontal or vertical level in line with these out of reach places, then match them. In some instances, this could be the only way to clear these tiles, i.e. using power combos or moves.

Tip 8 - Clear liquorice and locked candies as early as possible

Use striped combos to clear rows of locked candies quickly. Clearing them will allow more candies to cascade down, otherwise your moves are limited because locked candies don't get out of the way - they simply stay put until you unlock them by matching them in a row. Hence, clearing them will free you up and give you greater freedom and more movement choices.

Tip 9 - +5 Moves can help boost your final scores

If you have decided to spend money on Candy Crush Saga like no tomorrow, knowing that you are just a move away from finishing the level, buy a +5 move power up so that you have 5 added moves to your remaining moves. This will give you 5 additional power candies for the finale, helping you to score even more points at the last hurrah.

Tip 10 [Spoiler Alert] - How To Cheat at Candy Crush

This is a cheat that will get you very far in Candy Crush. Please read the following disclaimer before you attempt....

Disclaimer : Use it at your own discretion. You are aware that you shall be fully responsible for your own actions.

1) If you just want to finish up the levels as fast as possible without regards to fair play whatsoever and you are lucky enough to have a jailbroken iphone
2) Go google on IAP Free and find out how to install it on your jailbroken iphone
3) Play with free unlimited power ups and cheat your way to bragging rights in Candy Crush Saga

How are the stripes on striped candies in Candy Crush determined?

The stripes on the candy is actually determined by the move that resulted in the 4 in a row combination. For eg. If it is a upwards/downwards move that created the 4 in a row, then the resulting candy is vertically striped. Sometimes, due to cascading candies, you create a vertical row and the resulting striped candy is a vertical striped one. And another thing to note is that the candy that was moved to create the 4 in a row will turn into the striped candy.

Read more of Candy Crush Tips, Cheats & Hints in the following pages :-

Please share this with your friends on Google+ and Facebook if you find these tips useful!

[Share] Innovative Valentine's Day Ideas

Ideas for Valentine's Day

and if you want to take your relationship a bit further, here is a creative way to propose :-

[Share] Cover of Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Have You Ever Seen The Rain

(Original version by Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Searching on Youtube for covers of one of my favourite songs of all time and surprised that one of the better covers, if not the best, that I have found is from this guy known as Masa Rider.

Meanwhile, songbird Susan Wong also does a respectable soothing rendition here.

Rod Stewart as usual, delivers his raspy voice version, but I felt that it was a tad too safe and boring.

[Share] Cracker - One Fine Day Live

Chicago Music Exchange Presents

Cracker - One Fine Day Live

How to install and run Android apps like Whatsapp on PC or Mac

How to install and run Android apps like Whatsapp on PC or Mac

With the release of Android OS Emulators for PC, now you can actually run android apps meant for tablets and phones on your PC or laptop.

That means, you can even use Whatsapp on your PC!

There are 2 available emulators for end-users right now -

First up is Youwave which has a price tag.

I am not going to dwell into Youwave because I prefer the second one which is FREE but equally good, if not better (at least in terms of UI).

My preferred emulator is Bluestacks App Player.

It is free and works well and you can even sync your apps on android devices with the Bluestacks running on your PC or Mac by downloading the Bluestacks app for Android devices. Although it is still on Beta, I have tried it personally and have not encountered any problems so far.

Installation Steps

Here I am providing a rough guide to installing Bluestacks on your PC or Mac.

Firstly, download the Bluestacks App Player from the link above.
Run the .exe file.
At the initial stage after it is running, you would be able to install some apps, however, as Google Play is not available by default, you can only download apps which you can find in the few default marketplace apps installed for you like 1market, Amazon, etc.
Navigation is using the mouse and scrolling is by your mouse wheel. You can also use the touchpad on your laptop.
To get Google Play on your Bluestacks App Player, go to Appsearch and type in "Go Launcher"
Install the Go Launcher EX App. You will be asked to type in a Google Account which you can type in the same one which you have on your Android devices.
Thereafter when you "press" the Home Button which is the round white button with the bluestacks logo, it will prompt you whether to select Go Launcher as the default app for the operation, select it as the default.
Then you will see this screen interface changes into something like this :-
From here, if you are familiar with Android, you can install themes for Go Launcher and other games and apps using the marketplace Apps or from Google Play. You can find Whatsapp and install it too.
The interface is largely the same as what you would get on an Android tablet.
Under the settings you can also set whether to display each app in the default view format or in the tablet view format. Toggle each app such that the app appears nicest to you.
You can also increase the size of the Bluestacks App Player to fullscreen on your monitor by clicking on the dedicated icon at the bottom right.
Install the Bluestacks App on your Android phones or tablets to sync your apps to your Bluestacks App Player on your PC or Mac.

Known Issues :

While most apps run fine, you will encounter problem when an App default view is in portrait as you only get landscape view on Bluestacks.
Certain apps which requires multi touch input may also be unusable here as you can only use a mouse to control and navigate.

However all this limitation is minor compared to the satisfaction when you are getting a FREE Android Tablet running on your computer screen!
If you install it on your latest Windows8 Tablet, you can convert your Windows8 tablet into something like a dual OS tablet!

As this is a rough guide to give you quick instructions to installing Bluestacks, if you have further technical issues, you can go to Bluestacks website where there is a Q&A section.


Saw this posted on a friend's facebook and thought it was funny, so decided to share it here :-

(No offence to homosexuals please)

A guy calls the company and orders their 5 day - 5kg weight loss program. The next day, there's a knock on the door and standing before him a voluptuous, athletic, 21 year old babe dressed in nothing but a G-string and a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck. The sign reads, 'If you can catch me, you can have me.' Without a second thought, he takes off after her. A few miles later, huffing and puffing, he finally gives up. The same girl shows up the next four days and the same thing happens. On the fifth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 5kg as promised.

 He calls the company and orders their 5day - 10kg program. The next day there's a knock at the door and standing before him is the most stunning, beautiful, sexy woman he has ever seen in his life. She is wearing nothing but Reebok running shoes , a G-string and a sign around her neck that reads, 'If you catch me, you can have me'. Well, he's out the door after her like a shot. This girl is in excellent shape and despite his best efforts,  he had no such luck. So for the next four days, the same routine happens with him gradually getting in better shape. Much to his delight, on the fifth day when he weighs himself, he discovers that he has lost another 10kg, as promised.

He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order their 7 day - 25kg program. 'Are you sure?' asks the representative on the phone. 'This is our most rigorous program.  'Absolutely,' he replies, 'I haven't felt this good in years.' The next day there's a knock at the door and when he opens it he finds a huge muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes, a G-String and a sign around his neck that reads, 'If I catch you, you're mine.'
He lost 31kg that week.

And for those who feel inspired to run naked after this, here is a website you ought to visit :-

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

How to beat your opponent in Matching with Friends with these easy to follow Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks.

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks
I love Matching with Friends. Its a game based on such simple logic but yet so engaging for the brain and you never get sick of playing it, at least not for me (I have played for more than half a year on a daily basis).

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

Objectives of the Game

The objective of Matching with Friends, obviously, is to score more points than your opponent, a live human being, so its a battle of wits.

The trick to getting high scores is to look for your own colour - in the example above, David C's colour is Blue while his opponent Andy's colour is Yellow. Matches made of your designated colour (which varies from game to game) will score you double points.
Star squares will stay on the board once they are placed there and will match with any colour multiple times like a Joker card. Hence, make as much use as you can with these Star squares.

Creating chains on squares with x2 or x3 will gain you the same multiple of points. If you form a chain that stretches from a x3 to a x2, you get x6 points for that colour match alone, an additional x2 if that colour is your colour.

Longer chains not only score you more points in Matching with Friends but it will allow you to earn more coins. The thing about this game is that end of the game the winner get extra 2 points than the winner but it is the longest chain that you made during the game that will payout the more significant amount of coin bonus!
Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks
Coins will let you swap colour tiles when you are dealt a set of tiles that will not rake you enough points to beat your opponent. But beware, each swap of tile cost you 15 coins! So go easy on the swapping.

You can also use coins to swap the Free Bombs that was assigned to you.

So essentially, to win in Matching with Friends, you need a combination of thinking, luck and reserve of coins to help you out when your luck is down.

Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

Dont be in a hurry to submit your move in Matching with Friends! To know what is the best score for each move, every time you place a tile correctly, the resulting points will show. So try for the best combination using the 3 set of tiles on your hand before you submit your move.

Look for the best scoring combination or for any chance of forming a consecutive long chain to transcend more than 1 multiple factor tiles, especially with your own colour. This way, you will score more points with the multiple factor(s).

Forming with your colour may net higher scores than a longer chain of other colours. Forming a longer chain with a colour may not net you more points than a shorter chain of your own colour. Dont forget, your own colour chain net you double score.

If you can't form a chain with your own colour, the next best move is to form your opponent's colours. Clear the board of his colour tiles to restrict his chances of scoring.

Form chains with Star Squares - this will allow you to form a chain even if you just have one single tile of any colour placed next to this Star Squares chain. But be warned that your opponent will also enjoy this benefit till the end of the game.

More Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks

Make use of your two bombs! Dont waste it as everyone is entitled to use two for the entire game. But I will also prefer to keep my bombs till the late stages of the game, leave the clearing to your opponent if the board is jam packed with squares that cannot form any chain. Let your opponent use up their own bombs.

Bombs can help you clear the tiles obstructing your way but it can also be used to bring your opponent to his knees. Be nasty - destroy potential multi baggers for your opponents if you are leading by the last final move, provided you have a bomb remaining. This will cripple your opponent's chances of catching up with you by taking away the star squares or clearing away his colour tiles - essential scoring tiles for him.

Play as many games as you can. Dont be afraid of losing! Playing more games not only build your experience and make you a better player, it also helps to net you more coins for future uses! Even if you lose without forming a long chain, you still get 5 coins for playing! Its free anyway, why not!

Aim to form at least an 8 squares long chain for each game. This way, even if you lose, you still get a much higher coin payout than losing without a long chain for the whole game! Its a 15 coins bonus for a 8 chain move, equal to playing 3 losing games without a long chain. Save time, earn more for each game!

Lastly, there is no real loser in Matching with Friends. Everyone gets some coins at the end of it. So enjoy it as a form of relaxation and dont get too flustered if you don't win. I have an opponent playing a more than 20 game streak with me and hasn't beaten me once yet but she is still playing, thats the spirit!

Feel free to leave a comment if you feel that my hints have helped to improve your Matching with Friends game skills or if you have more hints to share in this Matching with Friends Tips & Tricks post.

Don't forget to check out my guide to other popular games like Candy Crush Saga, Bejeweled, Matching with Friends and Jewel Mania on this same blog!

Jewel Mania Tips & Cheats

Jewel Mania Tip (Updated)

To complete the level is not enough, you need to create lots of points to gain 3 star status.
To score more points, create as many Bombs by matching the Jewels in a T or L shaped formation & the olive shape Gems (circled below) by matching 4 in a row. Then swap the Bomb to an adjacent olive shaped gem - it can be any colour Bomb with any colour olive Gem. This would create a mega blast and gain you lots of points.
But the most points will come by matching two Diamonds together, it will clear the board of Jewels and give you a massive point boost. However, it is not easy to get two Diamonds nicely side by side for this to happen.
Also, in a move based level, it is not always best to finish the level in the least no. of moves possible. In the finale, with each remaining move, one jewel will turn into a special Gem and the game will auto blast these Gems for you - but it is not always the best way to score more points for that level.
You could play on a few more moves, trying not to "complete" the game yet to build up your score by creating bombs and gems. Then with about 10 moves left, finish up the game by clearing any remaining glass blocks and then let the game finish up the finale for you.

Update :
Swapping a Diamond with a Gem of any colour will turn all the other jewels of the same colour into Gems too. This is also a mega points move that is second only to swapping two Diamonds with each other.

For some levels where you need to destroy glass blocks that are located in impossible corners, you need a strong mega blast to clear that stage.

Jewel Mania Cheat

If you enjoy playing Jewel Mania on your iOS devices like me, you would rue the painfully long time it takes to recharge your energy for playing the game.

If you can't complete a level with two or more stars, you would have used up one energy level. If you finish up the maximum 5 energy levels, you have to wait 1 hour just to earn one more energy point before you can play the game again.

To refill this energy level using gold is ridiculously expensive - this game obviously wants you to pay for in-app purchase of its gold.

But you can actually instantly gain your energy levels by just doing this easy tweak.

  1. After using up all your energy, press the home button and go to Settings> General> Date & Time> "Set Automatically" to "OFF", then "Set Date & Time"
  1. If you are playing in the AM, just change the time to PM or set your clock five hours ahead, then click on Back Double press the home button again and select the jewel mania icon on the bar below Voila, you have 5 energy again
  2. Sometimes the game is smart enough to detect that such that after u finish using one of your ill-gotten energy level, it will go back to zero again. However, I noticed that it doesnt do that if I had changed my time from AM to PM (ie. without changing the time, i am now 12 hours ahead).
  3. Dont forget to turn back the "Set Automatically" option to ON after you finish playing the game.
  4. If you want to recharge some more, just press home button. Go back to "Set Automatically" to ON then go back to the game again, you would see your energy level still at 0.
  5. Then repeat the above steps 1 & 2 again.
Sometimes I would also set the time back a day, start the game again, then set the time back to present and then go back to the game again to refill my energy.
You can also try setting the time back by a few hours or a day, go back to the game, exit the game, remove the game from background, set the time forward and then restart the game again.
While the above methods may not entirely be foolproof as the game is smart enough to detect, I have enjoyed another 1 to 5 more energy levels by trying the methods above.

Don't forget to check out my guide to other popular games like Candy Crush Saga, Bejeweled, Matching with Friends and Jewel Mania on this same blog!

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