Advice

The strangest thing has happened.  People (via the blog and also friends of friends of friends) are asking me for advice on moving to Singapore.  Not a plethora of people but a few.  It seems a little weird, as to me I’ve only been in Singapore a blink of an eye, or so it seems. But in reality it’s been almost 17 months. Which is almost 1.5 years so maybe I am qualified to dish out advice?

I can not give advice on whether or not people should move to Singapore from their home country as that’s a matter for each individual person.  It’s a hard road, but for us it’s been totally worth it.  My attitude has always been “If it all goes to shit we will pack up and go home again”.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So assuming you have made the decision to jump into an expat adventure here are some tips that may or may not help you:

  • know what your entitlements are before agreeing to move.  If it’s a company relocation check the contract and then do your research to make sure that what the company is offering will cover your needs.  Having a decent housing allowance, top notch medical insurance, school fees and transport allowance will make things much easier.  We wouldn’t have moved if we had been financially worse off, and it;s too late to negotiate an increase once you’ve signed a contract and are in Singapore!
  • a relocation company (ideally paid for by the company) will take many admin errands out of your hands, even though they will at times drive you to distraction. Having someone else do the work permit, customs, shipping and all the other bits and pieces will save you the pain of trying to figure out some of the bureaucracy in a new country.
  • try and do a “Look See” trip before you move as this will help you get a feel for the place.
  • you will cry.  You may even cry in the supermarket.  Or maybe that’s just me?
  • Singapore does not have “one stop” grocery shopping and this was my biggest frustration here.  It now seems normal to scout all areas of Singapore just to do the groceries, but it made me irrationally stabby in the early days (and still does on a bad day).
  • there are no “bad” areas to live in Singapore.  All have their pros and cons, but you will pay more in “Expat” areas and less in “local” areas.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list but it’s enough to get an idea of what people should be thinking about BEFORE they move.  If you have any questions leave me a comment and I can email you back. I don’t use my name or my email address on my blog as there’s too many freaks out there in cyber lan!

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5 thoughts on “Advice

  1. No, it’s not just you (crying in supermarkets) I did it 2 weeks ago. We moved to signapore nearly two months ago, there have been many frustrated tears so far. Hoping it gets better

    • hi Susan,

      The early days are tough. I liken it to the early days with a newborn baby, where you are functioning but in a fog. I’m happy to meet up and be a shoulder to cry on. X

  2. I’ve cried at the grocery store as well, in Taiwan. Last week? Almost cried, the tears were there ready, in my cab ride in Kathmandu (the cab driver seemed to know the city about as well as I did!).

  3. Hi. I have very much enjoyed reading your blog. Funny, thoughtful and a pretty accurate mirror of what’s happening to me ATM.. I moved here mid year ( company transfer) and I probably have learnt more about myself in the past 4 months than in my entire 20 or so years of adulthood.

    I have experienced loneliness for the first time in my life . Not being a personally outgoing or gregarious personality ( even though my working life demands I be so) has made for interesting times as I struggled to cope with feelings that just never appeared before . The friends i had in australia were very very close . I’m not a social animal or party goer, nor the single man that can just approach and talk to anyone. I don’t do bar hopping.

    But like you found , there have been little shining lights that make you smile, and make you wonder what on earth I was worried about.

    The local deli that serves Australian breakfasts ( coffee reasonable in Melbourne terms) . The Vespa that makes me smile every time I take my life into my own hands and ride it ( and locals probably laugh at me) . The walks along east coast park. The honesty and order of this place ( I lost my wallet and mobile at separate times ( hand phone?) and both were returned within the day with no issues or missing cash ) .

    The singaporean sense of humour I’m still coming to terms with. But its getting easier.

    Singapore isn’t home. It never will be home. But it’s a little red dot that has generally made me feel welcome.

    Thanks for your blog. I enjoyed reading.

  4. Hi. Have just found your blog and am comforted and freaked by it at the same time. We are about to embark on our singapore adventure and to be honest, it’s all becoming a bit overwhelming. I have been over twice so far to look at schools (3 primary school kids) and apartments. Thankfully I now have gotten over the initial shock of size, cost and maids room. We are in the throes of packing, throwing and storing (or should I say I am as my husband is OS) and the house looks like it has already been done over. I’m sure there will be many tears shed by me over the next coming months. Leaving behind beautiful friends and family and arriving in a place where we know no one is very scary indeed. But at least I know if I shed a tear in the supermarket I won’t be alone. Jo

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