At UOB the charge is S$10 per check, AND the US affiliated bank charges on top of that US$10, plus it takes 30 days to clear!! Other banks charges the same or more even. With US denominated checks, these go back to the US to your bank's affiliated bank there, cashed in, and the funds transferred back to Singapore. Due to the Sept 11 thingy, the US banks now charge US$10 for tracking your check into their system (thought this was automatically done anywa, they likely found a good excuse to charge people, never trust banks!). If you receive payments from overseas, if it is the US, ask them to send you a check in Sing dollars and casheable at the bank of America OR at Citibank here (the singapore address of the bank has to be written on the check), this is however not free for the US buyer (about 25 USD). If the amounbt is not much, ask them to send cash by registered mail, this is safe as long as they wrap the money in between two layers of paper or so.
From japan and UK: you can accept International Postal Money Orders (from the Post Office). You receive a check from the post office and you cash them in at the post office at no extra costs. there is no agreement between the US and Singapore, so this doesn't work with US postal money orders.