Pros and Cons of Living in Singapore

(15 Posts)
DandyLioness Fri 14-Jan-11 13:56:41

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DandyLioness Sat 15-Jan-11 15:33:59

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begonyabampot Sat 15-Jan-11 20:35:47

Had children your kids age when I lived there for 3 yrs, , been back in the UK for nearly 2yrs though looks like we will be moving back there in the summer. It's mixed but so many families and young children there so you wil be among many folk in the same position which can make it easy for you to meet friends etc who know what you are going through.

Pros could be -

Loved the friends we made there, loved the kids becoming little dolphins and being exposed to many different cultures, races, religions - especially at the little international school they attended. It can be a very nice life if you have the money to back it up - Singapore is very expensive with high housing rentals, food, cars etc is expensive (taxis less so) - especially with how the pond has dropped drastically in the past few years. Liked feeling safer when walking about and being able to walk by crowds of teenagers without worrying that something might kick off. The early mornings and late afternoons/early evening can be lovely out and about with friends and family, for us the social life was so great I was actually glad to come back to the UK and have a rest. We had a live in maid so i had a very easy life and time to myself for once to spoil myself and not have to worry about, housework, cooking, ironing etc but this can also have a downside. The chance to travel in asia and Australia was lovely.

Cons were -

the distance from family and friends (though some visited and that was great). The relentless heat, especially with very young children - day time hours you really don't want to go out and have to slap on cream, stay in the shade etc. Sweating the whole time unless you live your life in Air con. For some the culture shock can take a bit of getting used to though I enjoy the quirky differences. My biggest thing was the lack of natural beauty - everything is so built up and concrete (although Singapore is quite pretty, clean and green for a big city), wide open spaces and generally just getting away from it all a bit - i really missed the beauty and countryside/ coasts of the Uk. also the weather here in the spring till autumn which makes you feel so alive and fresh.

if you have any other queries etc, I'd be happy to help out and give my viewpoint.

begonyabampot Sat 15-Jan-11 20:46:35

Oh forgot to add though - it can be a bit tough on some relationships. Although on the surface my friends and I had this great, comfortable, easy life (most people are quite well off and have maids to make life easy) - many of the wives after a few years are quite happy to go back home to a less glamorous life (even cleaning their own loos and floors yegads!) as the life their can get to you after a while. I felt i was sort of losing my role in the family. Wasn't bringing the money in but not really contributing and doing my bit the way i had been in the UK. Many of my friends and myself noted some changes in our husbands - TBh, their heads can be a bit turned by it all. They are treated differently and given a lot more respect/ sort of sucked up to (by the locals mostly) etc than they probably would among their peers back home. They have lots of pretty young things hitting on them (even the fat, old ugly guys) and all these things and being amoung other guys enjoying the same things can inflate their egos just a bit. Put it this way, many wives are quite happy to leave and go back home but many of the men would rather stay in asia and don't want to give up all the perks that it brings.

DandyLioness Sun 16-Jan-11 08:24:02

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papooshka Mon 17-Jan-11 07:19:27

We live in Singapore and have done for quite a while now...


Easy life, easy to get around, taxis etc are plentiful (except when raining), great weather, ok it is v hot but you do get used to it and at the mo its about 30 degrees but with a nice breeze as its rainy season. Easy to travel to other places in Asia, great airport (which means said travelling is so easy and quick) Lots and lots of expats so quite easy to make friends and loads of SAHM's so lots of people to meet. Loads for kids to do, quite apart from pools/parks etc theres the fantastic zoo, water parks etc. Cheap home help (we don't have a live in maid but lots do)

Expensive cars, expensive alcohol, supermarkets def more expensive than uk. Friends leave all the time (I find this the hardest). Distance from UK.

lulupeg Sat 17-Dec-11 11:45:36

Hi all, I am attempting to revive this thread for personal gain! My DH and our will-then be 2 year old are thinking of moving to SG if a job comes through later next year.

I'm really excited about the prospect and wanted to pick any MNers' brains about life with a toddler. I have a few questions if anyone would be so kind to offer advice!

- we would be on a fairly good package with house, medical, school and relocation/flights covered, but the basic salary wouldn't be massive (60k S$). However we don't have massively expensive tastes, are not big on shopping (yes ironic!!) and love family time, parks, swimming, day trips, holidays if possible and local cuisine. I think as long as we have access to a pool/play area/expat community we'd be very happy - but disabuse me of this if I've forgotten a major expense?? Ideally we'd love to save a little money too...
- I won't be working or at least I may work a little from home in the evenings (small UK business). I'm quite an attachment parenting sort (slings breastfeeding etc) - will I find like minded folk within the expat world? I'm used to being a bit alternative in parenting circles but do have a lovely support group and would miss that.
- what's it like for pregnancy care? I'm not yet but would hope to be in the next 12 months... I assume care is good? Is there a doula/vbac culture or do you think (following an EMCS first time) I'd be pushed into an ELCS?
- I'm interested in how long people generally stay for from the UK, NZ, US etc. DH thinks 2 years but I'm thinking maybe 4-6 to make the most of the big move etc.

I'm sure there's lots more to ask but mind has gone blank - really hope someone out there has a bit of SG wisdom to share!

Lulupeg x


butterfliesinmytummy Sat 17-Dec-11 13:58:45

Hi Lulupeg, this is our third posting to Singapore since 1998 and we've been here 3.5 years now. S$60k is not a huge amount to live on in Singapore. It's about GBP30k (presuming you will pay tax on top of this?) ... a car will cost you GBP500 / month if you choose to have one and food shopping is about twice the cost of the UK. Utilities are pricey and it can be expensive if you run air con (you probably would!). Does the package include annual flights home too? What's your rental allowance like?

There are plenty of expat and local mums here who are fans of attachment parenting, there is a great doula culture but vbacs are much much rarer here than in the UK (I don't know anyone who has had one) - there is a high level of intervention in childbirth. Many births are induced to fit in with an obstetrician's schedule and all are consultant led. However, care is excellent (and expensive - make sure it's all included on health insurance). Look at - a great way to meet mums here.

I've had friends here who have stayed for 2 years but it really does whizz by and many people I know have been relieved to have their 2 years extended.... I would always go for more but can understand your DH's thinking in case it's not a move that suits you both.

lulupeg Sat 17-Dec-11 14:40:04

Thanks so much butterfliesinmytummy, invaluable to hear recent advice!

We definitely need to scrutinise the package thoroughly (and negotiate for bit more on the basic salary but I think the whole cost of western style accommodation is covered - need to check this. Annual return flights are definitely included and there is a domestic bills allowance of about £4k a year I think - not much but maybe would take away the sting! Pretty sure we wouldn't bother with a car as I don't drive and DH will be at work all day so won't be much call other than weekend trips. Is there a streetcar type set up at all or is it all car hire firms?

That's interesting re vbac thank you, kind of sad to think it's not really an option but then again I don't know how high my chances would be anyway as I'm likely to be induced another time which doesn't help matters!!

With these extra details do you think it sounds madness to relocate? We are struggling to get by on one salary in London at the moment and at least this way we'd be managing to make capital repayments on the mortgage through letting our place (something we are unable to do at the moment!) so there's that to consider too. Think the salary quoted was net by the way...

Thanks so much again and I'll definitely check out that site, sounds ideal and really reassured to hear I won't be the only sling wearing lactator in town!!!


lulupeg Sat 17-Dec-11 14:51:06

Oh and also we live on £30k here and obviously have to pay mortgage etc from that plus we do run a car here. Thanks again for advice!

Putthatbookdown Tue 27-Dec-11 18:26:40

we have friends over there ;he is British married to a rich Chinese woman. He would prefer tobe in the UK: apparently they have lots of rules and regs he does not like eg dropping litter in error is frowned. It is possibly a bit more regimented than here

picklesrule Thu 29-Dec-11 07:08:15

We have been living in Singapore for a few months now with our 2.5yrold and baby on the way and are really loving it!

I would say just make sure you get as much as possible includes in your package so as many bills/servicing costs as poss, med ins for while family as that can get expensive esp if you get pregnant, schooling from as young as poss if you want then to go to preschool as some are not cheap, flights home and moving costs..shipping both ways can be v exp if you bring a lot..
It is possible to live fairly reasonably, eating out at hawkers etc is v cheap and there are markets and some cheaper supermarkets that are similar prices to the uk esp if you buy random Asian brands!

Taxis are v cheap and public transport is good.

Activities for kids are expensive but there are also some lovely playgroups and things that don't cost the earth. Have a search on and you'll get the idea..

I know a lot of v pro breastfeeding attachment types out here, possibly more than home so don't think you would be in a minority there..

Would probably second poster who said vbacs unlikely tho they are v medicalised here and love to push a c section whereever possible it seems! There is a doctor, Paul Thompson I think his name is who has a reputation for pushing for the most natural style of birth possible abd even does water births but he is the only one!

laptopwieldingharpy Thu 29-Dec-11 09:33:59

Paul tseng and tc chan at thompson medical but also shirin jacob at camden medical are the expat choice for minimum intervention.
Great doula movemenent too through parentlink.

There are expats at very disparate levels and like anywhere else people live within their means.

The plus is the perpetual feeling of being on holiday. As i working mum, i had the confort of having live-in help, great facilities, sunshine and playground friends every single day on our doorstep within a secure garden.
We sat on a terrace every morning for breakfast and every evening for dinner.
Lush nature, great affordable holiday destinations, easy commuting.
The heat is a killer sometimes.

DingDongMerlionOnHigh Fri 30-Dec-11 04:25:08

Parentlink will be able to help you find a doctor who would be more willing to consider vbac. A friend of mine delivered vbac recently at Gleneagles but I can't remember her doctor's name.

I have had both my dc here and yes there is more medical intervention but I was fortunate to have 2 fairly straightforward deliveries and pregnancies. We've been here 5 years this week and only came for 2!

empirestateofmind Fri 30-Dec-11 05:05:03

You would be lucky to find a car for SGD500 a month at the moment. I find the utility bills horrendous- SGD4000 a year will not go far.

I think you will struggle on this package. It is doable but be prepared to not have much/any money available for luxuries/holidays.

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