This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Moving to Singapore - Yikes!?(14 Posts)
I have been offered a move to Singapore (on my own with 4 year old). Appears to be a relatively good package although just at negotiation stage. Any help on the following would be much appreciated:
Where to live - dont't mind an apt/condo as long as its got some outdoor space and a pool. Will be working in CBD and want to minimse travelling?
Nursery/Kindergarten - best options for a 4 1/2 year old bearing in mind I need all day care? He is used to being at local nursery every day and with his childminder.
Nannies/Babysitting - Ideally I dont want a full time maid so is it possible to get part time child care?
Should be visiting for a couple of weeks mid/end Oct to try and sort some of this out. Must say its all a bit overwhelming but the previous threads have been really helpful.
We've been looking at moving to Singapore, and though it now looks like we won't be going, the things that stood out for us were:
- rent is very, very expensive. Think Central London and double it.
- cars are also very expensive. The most basic model will be around s$90k.
It's quite tax efficient to get both covered in your package, if you can.
International schools can have waiting lists, but they usually take a 4.5 yr old - you probably need to think about securing place now either for your arrival or when your child is five. There are lots of nurseries, but you might prefer to get your child settled in a school straight away.
Our impression was reliable childcare/babysitting was hard to come by as many people have live-in maids, but I'm sure someone better informed will be along shortly!
I would seriously consider full time help if I were you. It costs the same as having someone in for a few hours twice a week through an agency plus reliable child care/babysitting is very hard to find. An experienced helper will take away the worry, will look after you and your LO and you will wonder how you managed without her very soon.
Be very careful when you are choosing your helper - use an agency that has been recommended to you and don't be tempted to hire someone young and cheap. You get what you pay for.
It is easier to lease a car than buy, plus you do not then have tons of money tied up in your car. We have been here years and still lease as it is easy and doesn't cost us any more overall.
I would get your name down on some school waiting lists ASAP. Your LO sounds like they are in Nursery. TTS and UWC are the big names and both have excellent facilities and are well-regarded. Smaller schools are also well-regarded for the younger ones- SJI, Dover Court et al are worth a look.
There are loads of decent condos around the CBD. Will you be paying for daily parking (and the ERP charge)? If so have a look at the condos near MRT stations. Also consider the school run- you don't want too long a journey for your child once they are at school.
We lived in Singapore for 3 years (2004-2007), we are Polish and our son attended to Australian International School but it's not the best choice. I would recommended Tangling Trust School one of the best British international schools in the World, United World Collage - but usually have long waiting list. Overseas Family School always has spaces but it's nothing special. Dover school follows British curriculum. Having a maid its a good choice but you have to always remember that they are from different culture and lie is nothing wrong for them. Its always better rent an apartment in a new condo, new means no more than 5 years old.
Hi - we live centrally and so catch the bus to work and it is very frequent, cheap and easy. (DH & I both work in the CBD).
We've just bought a car but managed for 3 years without one but was getting to dangerous with unruly 2yo!
Re helpers - you can get part time but as others have said it is more expensive and more difficult to come by. A transfer maid is sometimes a good option - i.e. one that has worked for an expat family but whose family is leaving as the expat community is so transient.
It will be a wonderful place to spend some time with a child. Congratulations.
Condos with good facilities are easy to come by in the area. Can you get rent and school fees in your package?
Put your child's name on the wait list now for either Tanglin (British Curriculm and A Levels)or United World College (IB Primary Years Programme, then GCSEs, then IB)
A full time maid/nanny is the cheapest option. There are some very good ones in Singapore, but you need to be very careful and take good references. They will shop and cook (very well)for you as well. Children use safe door- to -door school buses, complete with "bus aunty" in case of problems, from the age of 3 but if necessary, taxis are so cheap and plentiful, your maid/nanny can also do the school run if you like and can take your child to after school clubs too.
A good option in the early days, until you find your feet is to take a good nanny whom you trust from the UK with you for 3 months while you find someone good. Your nanny can help them get to know your child and you don't have to worry while at work.
If it is just you and one child I suggest you save your money and don't bother with a car. They are really expensive and necessary only if you have several children and multiple activies etc to get to.
Never lived in Singapore but my best mate lives there with his family and he loves it. I have been out 4 or 5 times to visit. I am envious of you!
His two daughters go/went to Tanglin. One loves it but the other did not and ended up going to boarding school for her A levels. It is a "fast" set with too much money and too much partying. On the other hand it sounds like you have many years before that becomes a problem for your child.
Full time nannies/maids do seem cheap out there. My friend pays her maid well by local standards but it is the same as I pay a cleaning lady in London for 9 hours/week.
If you can, get your company to pay for a serviced apartment for the first few weeks, so you can properly look for somewhere. There are loads at the top of Orchard Road. My friend lives in a "black and white". These are old colonial houses with pools. The rent is subsidised by the government but they are still not cheap and are hard to get hold of.
As for cars, taxis are super cheap (1/3 to 1/4 of London prices). Some people also use scooters though the traffic is a bit hairy!
Best of luck.
Thanks everyone for all of the information. I am going out to Singapore for a couple of weeks mid October to do some scoping etc.
Still working on the package with employers which will be key to this working out! Think full time help will be the best option so will start investigating that.
So much to think about but its great having such a good source of honest info.
I'm leaving Singapore in December, for Australia. We've had a full-time maid for 3 years who's great with our 3.5 year old. She'll be available from 11 December.
If you're interesting in meeting her when you're here in October, you can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
hey DonnaP - how's things, hope the move to Oz goes well?
My hubbie has been offered a job in singapore we are very excited my sister in law already lives out there so a really good help. My question to you ladies with the knowledge is how to tell the kids! they are 8 and 9 so it will have an impact on them if anyone has any tips would be really grateful
Now I'm confused, who are you?
We just told our 7 and 10 year olds we were moving out here. We couldn't think of an easy way. They had a chance to say goodbyes and had leaving parties for friends. They made photo albums of their old life.
The 10 year old settled quickly. It took the 7 year old about a year to settle. I don't think it is unusual to take a year- they need to find friends, feel at home, be able to cope with (often a large) school. It is very stressful moving away from friends and family.
The Tanglin Trust School website has some useful tips for helping students to settle in to a new school here.