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WELCOME, FRIEND!

Anyone been to Singapore lately?

I ask because, out of the blue, I might have the opportunity to draw stumps, up sticks and/or break camp (the choice is yours) quite a bit earlier than expected, for a relocation to Singapore. Apart from a two-day trip to Malaysia, I've never been in that part of the World, so I'm collecting impressions from people who have, as inputs to the great Paraglider Decision Process.
What do you reckon: after Dubai, after Doha, would Singapore appeal to one of my predispositions, attitudes, tastes, garrulity, etc? Answers most welcome, on a post card, or preferably the comments box, especially if based on first hand experience.

9 comments:

  1. i lived there for a few years

    it is not as diverse as dubai so alot of asian faces everywhere....you will be kind of surprised if you see a foreigner outside the major city centers

    very strict laws...and no such thing as wasta...but if your a civilized person then it wouldnt affect you much

    food is cheap and great and most people have their meals outside.
    hawker centers is where the local ppl eat.

    weather is humid but you can still do some outdoor walking.

    public transport is great.
    I never really made friends with the locals and didn't really put an effort cause they dont seem interesting at all and their accent is annoying

    very safe and life was cheaper when compared to dubai

    its way more modern than Malaysia...

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  2. Hey, thanks for that. Exactly the sort of first hand experience view I was hoping for.
    Another thing I'm hearing is that the place is almost clinically clean. But after Doha, a little clean might be quite refreshing...

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  3. I lived in Singapore for 10 years before moving to the US for 3 years, and finally to the UAE early last year. I would go back in a heartbeat.

    The earlier commenter talks about it not being as diverse as Dubai... to me, Dubai is not incredibly diverse either, if you were to look at it as broad buckets of Locals, Western expats, Arab expats, and Asian expats. The only bucket missing in Singapore is Arab expats - if that's your ethnicity, then it probably makes a difference to you. I moved with a mixed bag of locals and expats from all over.

    It's clean and green, and you can easily find a park to jog in. The drivers are not as crazy so your daily drive to work does not turn into a death wish.

    The food options are indescribable. And the nightlife is great - take a walk down Clarke Quay or some of the hotel bars, if you make a trip there before you decide on the relo.

    As for the lack of wasta - I don't see it as a bad thing. Singapore is meritocratic and plays by the rules, so don't expect to get things by done by getting your uncle to put in a word for you. Having worked here for a year and seeing incompetency rewarded, I miss meritocracy.

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  4. Anon-2, I agree that absence of wasta is a good thing, and in fairness to anon-1, he didn't say it wasn't. Qatar is worse than Dubai, I'd say, for incompetence-in-charge. So a meritocracy certainly appeals.
    The other thing that certainly appeals is the variety of night life. Doha is not bad for food, but very lacking in places to go unless you're a 5-star hotel and mall fan, which I'm not.
    All good info - thanks!

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  5. I was there just a few weeks ago. I spent just over 30 hours there, but personally, I LOVED it. I really think I could live there after leaving here, and I never say that. It's so lush, clean, orderly, a nice combination of cultures...if anything, it's a bit small. But what a great location for seeing the rest of the region!

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  6. Yes, as an Asian hub, it's a perfect location. I was similarly impressed with Kuala Lumpur on a short visit, but so far there's no opportunity to go back there.

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  7. I've lived there and we visit often as Mrs Seabee is Singaporean. I have a dozen posts on my blog (label 'Singapore', naturally) from the past couple of years which will give you some info.

    It's clean and green, not more so than many European cities IMO but more so than other Asian cities. No corruption, well organised (actually over-regulated), very safe. Strict censorship and fines for just about everything from dropping litter to spitting (They sell T-shirts saying 'Singapore - a fine city').

    It's always humid, worse than here, and as it's so close to the equator the weather doesn't change very much - daytime usually around 30C.

    It's 80% Chinese but very westernised and has interesting areas such as Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street etc. All the nationalities get on with each other.

    Great public transport system so it's very easy to get around. And inexpensive. Tourists tend to be in three or four areas and it's easy to get to the local areas (where I'm usually the only westerner).

    Eating out is the national obsession with a choice from five star international hotels to hawker centres. Hygeine is strict so it's all perfectly safe to eat.

    Like Dubai it's a great central location with a huge airport served by airlines from all over the world.And you can drive over the causeway into Malaysia in a few minutes.

    Working can be frustrating because Singaporeans tend to wait to be told what to do rather than using their initiative. Understanding their strange Singlish is difficult - they learn true English but insist on speaking their own very strange version of it which is a relatively new development.

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  8. Not a wildly exciting city, but close to lots of interesting places, Bali, the rest of Indonesia, and so on...

    Paraglider can take comfort in the fact that not all of Singapore is squeaky clean. Orchard Towers is the equivalent of several Paranormals one of top of each other, without the boring hotel bit. Known locally as Four Floors of (word that rhymes with floors, no, not doors). Beer is as expensive, if not more so, than Dubai. Great food. Great public transport. Cars are staggeringly expensive, if you can get a permit. Interesting centre surrounded by grim public housing where foreigners never go. Good bookshops, shopping, etc.

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  9. Seabee & Anon-3, thanks for the contributions. The public transport appeals a lot, as I'm deeply unimpressed with private cars. With luck they'll never catch on...

    In fact, one of the reasons I'd consider moving back to Dubai from Doha is the metro. Public transport is the only rational way to go, apart from bicycles, of course.

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