Gosh darn it, it looks like I’m moving to Singapore! What should I know about?

Me and my GF are working in the same company. We have an Asian branch that is situated in Singapore and it looks like they can need two Swedish chemists down there.

We will now start negotiations with Human Recourses Dep. I never thought it would actually work out but now it looks to be 99% a sure thing.

We will probably stay there 18 months starting in October. Can you guys tell me what I should know about living and working in Singapore?

I got a weather forecast predictor for Singapore for my Palm Pilot.

All it says is “Sunny, 35%”


They don’t like chewing gum.


I spent a couple of months in Singapore in '95, and I really liked it (a lot of people don’t).
There’s great night life down on the dock, there’s Little India for excellent food, though the Singaporean dai pai dongs are great too, the public transport’s astonishingly good. Then there’s Sentosa “amusement” park, which is a bit silly, but worth one visit at least.

I found the people to be very friendly, but I don’t know about working with Singaporeans - it might be worth reading this book for a bit of advice about Chinese culture (ignore the terrible title).

Most people live in hi-rise, but if you can rent somewhere out of the city you can live in much more rural surroundings (I stayed in Seletar, a former Air Base, which was beautiful).

If you get claustrophobic, just remember that Malaysia’s only a few miles away by road - lots to do there, and it’s very cheap. Singapore’s also a good hub for getting to other parts of South-East Asia, too.

It has been a long while since I visited Singapore, but my impression is that law and order (mostly in the sense of public conduct) are taken rather more seriously than in ‘the west’ (the chewing gum thing is a good example)

You’ll never have to ring the speaking clock again. When it starts raining, it’s 4 o’clock :wink:

I was told by someone last week how damned expensive it was to get drinks there. I thought that he was using hyperbole, but he insists not. So you might want to stock up at duty free (although my recollection is that alcohol is damned expensive in Sweden as well, so maybe you’re used to it). Darned lovely airport there, BTW.

Have fun.

$10,000 and a year in jail for gum?! :eek:

Thanks I million folks. jjimm, kickarse book tip, thanks.

ShibbOleth, I’ve been there earlier for a week or two and you are so right! Even us Swedes are complaining on the price of beer. And, yeah, the airport is the best… that one and Copenhagen.

Why yes…I still vaguely remember when I was young I was pretty annoyed by the chewing gum spots around…in lifts and other places.

But we always get them in illegally from Malaysia:D And as long as you hide it well, they won’t really find out…not unless you’re carrying stuff like pirated or porn VCDs and drugs.

Singapore’s extremely densely populated, and may turn off people who are used to living in countries eg Canada and Northern Europe with low pop. densities.

Singaporeans speak a unique form of English dubbed as Singlish. Not exactly a pidgin or creole, just lacking in a lot of pronunciation detail and has large Chinese, Malay and some Tamil vocabulary and Chinese grammar.

Don’t think some foreigners appreciate the law and order here unless they’ve lived here. Neither would us appreciate it unless we’ve lived overseas;)

And oh, the food here is really good…‘authentic’ Singapore food can only be found in so-called ‘food centres’ which are more hygienic than they look. Forget those damned restraurants.

Yes, they have very strict rules about a lot of things, with harsh punishments for violators. But they things they outlaw are things I don’t do anyway, so I think I could live there quite happily for a few years. I travelled throughout the Pacific Rim for my job over three and a half years, and spent many days in Singapore. I scheduled Sundays as down days either in Hong Kong or Singapore, depending on if I was in the North or South end of my territory.

If you want to meet people and can do with some running you should contact the Hash House Harriers.

Leave your spray paint at home.

Don’t vandalize any cars. You will be caned.

Sounds like the start of a bad adult flick …

About chewing gums, being found with chewing gums or being caught chewing them is not a big deal (or not even crime, IRIC). But trying to ‘smuggle’ them through the checkpoints is a crime. Malaysia’s the nearest place to get them. I don’t think the punishment for ‘smuggling’ gums is caning and $10,000. That’s for vandalism.

You may be confused by the Singish (blend of English + Chinese + Malay syntax, rules and vocab) and you may want to slow down when speaking - if the people there started to give puzzled looks. Some have problems understanding foreign accents.

The weather there…(here?) is pretty unpredictable. Much what you expect from a tropical country. Rain today, sunny next day, then rain again and sunny for the whole week and suddenly it is raining again. It’s rather humid, so prepare to sweat a lot.

Main form of transport include buses, taxis, MRT and LRT (electronic trains). Transport fees are quite expensive, from the locals’ point of view.

Singapore is quite ‘westernised’ by now, so beside language barrier, there isn’t much of a culture shock left. You may find the habits of the older people are bit stranger.

Food-wise, try to get your beverage and food at ‘local food centres’ (actually quite hard to find in the city area). Drinks usually go between S$1.00 to S$1.20 in non air-conditioned areas, but can reach S$2.00 for ‘food courts’ and tourist traps. The same goes for food. The general concenus is that ‘food court’ food sucks when compared to ‘food centre’ (or hawker centre). Just bear in mind that food/hawker centres are not grand-looking. It is also sad but truth that some services-oriented businesses would pay more attention to you than a local.

Unfortunately, Singapore is so small that it gets boring fast. A few sundays it all you need to tour every attractions. Sentosa is not as exciting (was it ever?) as the Tourism Board would have you believe. Malaysia is always nearby but beware of the jams at the Causeways. There are two, the other one being slightly out of the way but usually has better traffic because it is out of the way.

Most of the younger folks (40 and below) understands English (the accent is usually the biggest barrier…). The younger folks may know English very well due to that most children from the 1980s onward are English-educated.

And I see there’s another Singaporean here? Hi prowler!

Here’s a link for the OP’s reference - http://www.sg/

Wow, I’ve been going to singapore at least twice a year for the past 2 years and didn’t know there were any Sing dopers around. Next time i go there we should grab a beer. I ought to be there in June and possibly August (unless SARS prevents me) . I’m usually at the Conrad hotel.

Singapore is hot, humid, no seasons, restrictive, censored, and hit hard by SARS. Cars are unaffordable (taxis are cheap though, just don’t try to get one when it rains). Any alcohol is ridiculously expensive. Think 10USD for the most simple bottle of wine - in the supermarket. 6-10 USD for a glass of beer at Boat Quay. I spent three and a half years there, loved the job, hated the place.

Wow, a lot of good things to look closer at. Hash house harriers, who would have thunk it…

Thanks again.