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Your one piece of wisdom...

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Your one piece of wisdom...

Postby emjay » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 9:26 am

I am moving to singapore next year which will be my first experience living overseas. What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you arrived? Maybe something you wish you had done before arriving, or your one gem of wisdom that would be great to have known...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 9:52 am

It will not be like home. Deal with it. :cool: :lol:

If you remember that. Take it as an adventure, you'll do fine. :wink:

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Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 10:24 am

It is hard to come up with just one piece of wisdom / advice. If you will allow me the liberty to post one piece of article instead. No. 10 resonates with me.

http://takingroute.net/2014/09/22/10-th ... -overseas/



10. You are different. You leave marks on people and people leave marks on you. Some things don’t matter to you as much as they once did and other things matter more. You’re continually humbled as you frequently find yourself in a position of needing help and guidance…sometimes from a complete stranger. Almost daily you are in a position where nothing is so familiar that you’re able to take it for granted. You knew you would set out on this new adventure as a learner of language and culture, you just didn’t realize exactly how much, in turn, you would learn about yourself.

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 10:26 am

Also, use the search function and read the numerous "What should I bring" threads. Lots of small things you can buy to make yourself more comfortable and save a fair amount of money.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 10:31 am

Your question reminded me of an incident many years ago at the YMCA on Orchard Road. I used to stay there when working offshore as it was cheap back then.

An American woman (late 20's) showed up to check in at 10AM (check in is only open from 2pm). She starts screaming at the lovely staff and berating the crap out of them when they tell her she can't check in yet (she had NOT booked the night before which is the protocol for an early check in).

At some point I stepped in (she was completely over the top - f'ing and b'ing the staff) and suggested she calm down and have a drink at the cafe and just chill. Of course she turned her venom and vitriol on me next. From then on I had a hatred of a certain type of entitled American traveller.

The lesson there... you are a representative of your country when overseas. The negative things you do will outweigh the positives by a lot. You have the chance to be a great influence or a negative influence.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 11:50 am

There are practises/habits/behaviours you'll experience here that if you let it, might drive you just about nuts. When you arrive there is the 'honeymoon period' when you joyfully accept everything. That is usually followed some time later by a progressively increasing 'jaundiced period', when you've settled in, and you're 'no longer willing to put up with some of the crap from the locals, that you're having to face in daily life'.

Try and let such irritations wash over you, and remind yourself you're not going to be here for ever, and that allowing yourself to get annoyed won't change a single thing for the better. Aspire to reach this 'point of acceptance'.

:)

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Postby Wd40 » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:11 pm

I came here in 2009 June, when property prices were at rock bottom. Downpayment was 10% and foreigners paid the same property tax as locals.

I wish someone had told me to bring $50,000 with me and buy a condo right away. :cry:

Other than that this forum was a great resource and people, including SMS helped me so much, so that I was actually over prepared before coming here :)

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Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 2:51 pm

Like a previous poster, I struggle with the 'one' thing. The 'one' piece of advice would change daily.... so after thinking about it over a lunch of chicken rise, I figured I'd go with: Don't try to buy comfort food at restaurants in your new country when you hit the down cycle of culture shock.

(Digressing for a moment: Chicken Rise. Who knew it could be a speciality. It's.... chicken.... and.... rice.... and it's damned good.)

Be aware of culture shock. Learn about and do your best to identify the various stages within yourself and as you progress through it. It helps tremendously to know that everyone experiences this, even if not in the same way or to the same degree. You won't be only person who has difficulty adjusting, it's normal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_shock).

The specific advice: When you get homesick and start craving your comfort foods from home - make them yourself. Don't ever try to buy them locally. Unless your lucky and your craving is for something you can get at a restaurant chain with outlets in both your home and new country (like, say MacDonalds) which has sufficient quality control in place to produce the meal *exactly* the same in every country of the world (MacDonald's does not!).

A friend who took a teaching position in Dalian, China saw a poster advertising a traditional thanksgiving dinner. He was 3 months in and having problems adjusting to the local diet. He thought of little else until the big night came. And when he arrived:
1) It was diced turkey in black bean sauce
2) Mashed carrots, not mashed potatoes
3) Rice stuffing - not bread
4) He head no idea what the 'gravy' was
5) The only thing that came close to being 'right' was the corn on the cob - but no butter or salt to put on it...

My own personal cravings translate into burger and kraft dinner rampages every 6 months or so. I spend about 2 weeks eating burgers at every opportunity. Restaurants in other countries never satisfy the craving (even in Singapore with a huge variety of very good food) and they never satisfy. Even higher end restaurants specializing in American food don't get them right. What they serve is top-notch, but they never come with american mustard orr the florescent green relish. The relish seems to be a uniquely N.A. thing - I haven't seen it very often in many parts of the world outside N.A. And I always have to ask for the ketchup. These are little things but they make the difference.

Fortunately for me, KD (kraft dinner) has always been the same everywhere I've been. And astonishingly, universally available. It's probably all made in one factory somewhere and it's probably 100% chemical. Absolutely nothing in it ever started as food anywhere. This probably helps with the consistency. It retails for about USD$1 a box in N.A. and was the best USD$15/box I spent one weekend in Sri Lanka. I bought 10 of them and ate 5 over the following week. :D
Last edited by brian_singapore on Sun, 28 Sep 2014 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 3:01 pm

earthfriendly wrote:It is hard to come up with just one piece of wisdom / advice. If you will allow me the liberty to post one piece of article instead. No. 10 resonates with me.

http://takingroute.net/2014/09/22/10-th ... -overseas/



This is an excellent article. I've saved the link.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 3:34 pm

brian_singapore wrote:Be aware of culture shock.


Some good and interesting points, sheesh re: yr 'Thxgiving dinner' :???:

Can I add to your above, 'Also be aware of reverse culture shock. Theoretically you are going back home, but you are returning as a different person, and it can hit you hard particularly as you don't expect it.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 3:54 pm

Wd40 wrote:I came here in 2009 June, when property prices were at rock bottom. Downpayment was 10% and foreigners paid the same property tax as locals.

I wish someone had told me to bring $50,000 with me and buy a condo right away. :cry:

Other than that this forum was a great resource and people, including SMS helped me so much, so that I was actually over prepared before coming here :)


They were rock bottom a bit before 2009.. (more around 2006/2007 I think).

Comfort yourself with this - the liquidity in the real estate market is terrible here. It can take literally years and years to sell a used condo here. I know of people who have moved into condos, had the agent tell them - "it's for sale" and when they moved out 5 years later it's still been on the market and unsold. I know when we leave Singapore this will be a major issue for us (selling our very basic condo at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time). - nothing has sold in this development for over 18 months even though there have been listings that whole time (there are only 60 units and 2 are listed - one at a reasonable price - the other a bit overpriced IMO). I think the Gahmen here has screwed the pooch.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 6:08 pm

Competing agents vie to give the highest value on a potential instruction.
Vendors are often ignorant and greedy, and engage the agent with the highest value.

The buying market (much of it reasonably informed), shows no interest until at some point the market as a whole it rises to approach the original silly valuation. This can be a long wait.

It's hard to accept an offer when an agent has 'guaranteed and sworn blind' it'll get 30% more. Even without Chinese genes...

Agents often value high to get the instruction. When bollock-all happens they then coerce you into making a reduction; the very old trick has a name 'Get the instruction, then get the reduction'. But I'm quite sure some Asians won't agree to reductions; preferring to sit on empty property for ever and ever, rather than 'hand a deal to some bloody cheap buyer lah'.

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Postby beppi » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 6:51 pm

Expect the unexpected - and learn to use humor deal with it.

Well, these are two advice, but in one sentence, so I hope it still fulfills your requirements.
In addition, as a co-author of the wikipedia entry on culture shock mentioned by Brian above, I of course condone his advice.

Edited to add remark: The recently added forum function of putting links behind any property-related word is silly, but putting it behind partial words that as a whole mean something else, like "condone", is no more silly, but STUPID!
Moderators: Could you please STOP this?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 7:17 pm

We are not responsible for it. This is being done by the Admins who own the board that we used gratis. However, it DOES need to be tweaked if possible but don't know how they would put in AI into a forum as it would need to be able to discern the difference between rental property and personal property. And I grant you, the following two could be related but generally are not, condo and condoms. ;-)

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Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 28 Sep 2014 7:24 pm

As an IT professional currently involved in the evaluation of NLP technology (natural language processing) I can assure you it is so trivial to differentiate between condo, condom and condone that the dope-head tweakers who flunked out of my first semester intro. to programming course 20 years ago could STILL manage it.

Just saying.


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