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What is living Singapore like?

(14 Posts)
SingaporeMaybe Sat 13-Oct-12 19:46:21

DH is thinking about applying for a job in Singapore. We currently live in Britain.
Neither of us have ever been and I was wondering what the place is like. Climate, people, cost of living etc..
Any information is welcome.

butterfliesinmytummy Sun 14-Oct-12 07:07:41

You need to search on mumsnet, there are loads of threads.

It's hot and humid (forget going for long walks)
It's expensive (food, education, cars, medical etc) ... You need a good expat package to maintain an average uk standard of living
It's very safe and very clean, everything works well
It's a good blend of cultures (Asia-lite) so you can experience bits of Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures
It's close to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, vietnam and even Australia and nz aren't too far so lots of holidays on your doorstep
There are lots of opportunities for children to do anything they want
There is a huge amount to do at weekends
You do tend to live in a bubble

Do you have dcs? How old?

londonmoo Mon 15-Oct-12 01:39:15

Food. The food is delicious and there is a lot of it.
Yes, long walks are out of the question but there are lovely strolls to go on, though foliage and scenery that you just don't get at home.
Yes - it's expensive.
Seems very safe.
Boy, does it rain.
If you're starting out from the UK, it's very far from 'home'...
...but getting home is a day out of your life. Not much in the grand scheme of things.
Why Singapore?

SingaporeMaybe Mon 15-Oct-12 13:14:50

Thank you both, when I get a minute I'll have a look at other threads.
DH and I are dead keen considering a move abroad and Singapore might be an option as Dh is going to apply to job there (if the package is worthwhile).
DC will be 16 mo and 3 yo.
I am really torn, I love the idea of a change but am feeling terrified at the idea of being so far from family. Ironically, I don't even see my family that often. confused

Astelia Mon 15-Oct-12 14:40:52

It can be hard to get work permits- the company has to have some evidence your job can't be done by someone in the country. It is hard for trailing spouses to find work.

Cars are amazingly eye-wateringly expensive. Bus and MRT are very cheap.

You need a good package with house rental, school fees and health insurance included or taken account of in the main salary.

pupsiecola Mon 15-Oct-12 16:14:25

Ditto what the others have said.

We're living quite happily without a car. We live quite centrally and use taxis (very cheap) and MRT. DH's commute to work has gone from 1 hr 30 mins each way to 20 mins (on the bus).

We have 2 DS - 9 and 7. They took a while to settle. But I feel I can give them a little bit more independence and in the next couple of years that feels important, especially the older one.

I never thought I'd adjust to the heat and I still find it uncomfy sometimes but you do get used to it. You adapt. We don't go to the park to play cricket or frisbee any more but we have the pool for example.

We're enjoying life here, for now. We needed an adventure. Asia-Lite is a very good description.

We're looking forward to our first mini-break next week. We've not explored this part of the world at all so lots on our to do list.

Let us know what you decide!

SingaporeMaybe Tue 16-Oct-12 13:04:57

DH has been told he would earn something in the region of $sing 10 000 monthly before tax (accommodation allowance on top). How does this sound?
He is in the process of applying, I am getting round to the idea now. I just hope he will get the job!

Astelia Tue 16-Oct-12 13:42:21

The salary sounds ok but not generous. It does depend whether you have to pay school fees, health, utilities out of it. School fees (even just for nursery) at the big internationals are about 8,000 a term (so nearly half your income would go on two children), utilities will be 500+ a month, a car is 1500-2000 a month.

With no school fees and no car it is doable, but you won't have much spare cash for luxuries.

SingaporeMaybe Tue 16-Oct-12 13:56:44

No school fees either and health insurance will be provided. What's the tax like?
What sort of accommodation is more common there? Things like a flat in a block with pools and other trimmings?

SingaporeMaybe Tue 16-Oct-12 14:35:44

I meant no, school fees and health insurance will be provided. Doh!

butterfliesinmytummy Tue 16-Oct-12 14:51:14

Tax is 18% and you can look at to get an idea of housing. Condo living is very common and gives you and your kids an instant circle of friends. Make sure dental is included in your medical cover and factor in trips home (most go once a year, some go twice but once children are aged over 2, this can get expensive)

Check what age the school reimbursement starts at, companies often start paying when a child hits 4 years old.

kday Wed 17-Oct-12 06:44:05

Ditto all comments above. It's also worth noting that although there are lots of groups etc to join with your little kids only a few are free/cheap - a lot of them are very expensive - eg a Gymboree session once a week is about $SGD 45 for one child (about £23). If you are happy to go for walks in tye park, playgrounds etc they are free but dont forget how hot is is here - you cant spend all day in a playground hee, or even all morning! Unfortunately you will have to budget carefully on that salary and do be wary of the terms of the expat policy - what age are school fees reimbursed from? Do they reimburse the cost of the bus to and from school at that age (ours doesn't til 5 years old), if not taxis etc to get to and from school will add up, is your rent allowance free of tax? If not, you're budget for rent will go down 18%! You want top quality medical and dental insurance as medical etc treatments are expensive. there is no free Good luck.

kday Wed 17-Oct-12 06:50:55

Oops - that should have said there is no free public medical care.
Also although you can live without a car and the taxis and cheap and MRT (tube/train) good, it is hard when your kids are little. You can't use proper, safe carseats for both of them and a double pram is hard on the MRT (IMO). Walking is always an option but its back to the same old point - it's really hot!!

TatteredTits Wed 24-Oct-12 16:13:18

We've been living here since February with DS who is now 14months, agree with most of the comments here. I find that some things are more expensive while other things much cheaper (GST (vat) is 7% in singapore). We get around fine with taxis, mrt and buses, transport is cheap in general except for cars. Rent is pretty expensive, it costs about half our monthly income. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that you can get lots of UK goodies from Cold Storage, an aussie supermarket chain here (they stock some waitrose own label stuff though it is twice the normal waitrose price, ouch! We pay it though cos sometimes its good to find some familiar things when everything is so different and newsmile
One thing I wish I'd done is to register with nurseries/schools the minute I got here. The good ones all have big waiting lists (not sure why this surprised me smile but still waiting to get DS into the nursery I want 6 months later), it might be worth trying to put your name down on a few even before you get here just to be on the list (we didn't have to pay anything to go on waiting lists so wish now that I'd just subscribed to a few in our area then checked them out when I finally got here).
There are quite a few groups you can join to get to know other mums, new mothers support group is good and Meetup have a lot of groups in Singapore.
Warning though, its not good for your waistlinesmile I'm already addicted to steam buns from Breadtalk as well as all the other foodie goodies here nomnomnomsmile
Any questions just postsmile

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