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Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

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tedronwalker
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Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby tedronwalker » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 6:25 am

I suppose my question would have answers like, “It depends on each individual.” It is true, but it’s still better to hear from actual experience.

We are an Asian couple with two children who have lived and worked in London for 9 years. Our three-bed house is one hour by train from central London. We have well-paid jobs, which finish at 5pm. It seems rather good.

But somehome I, the husband, still wonder if we should move to Singapore. I especially hate the winter here, which is miserable for me. Singapore is also closer to my original home and I want to have more flies back to my original home.

A friend has moved to Singapore and he loves the place – but then, he is single. Meanwhile, we know a British couple who has moved back from Singapore to London because they want their children to go to independent (private) schools in the UK. I asked them Singapore must have private schools, too and I suppose the price is not much different. But they insisted that British education is much better. And as parents, we would need to sacrifice for our children.

Your opinions are greatly appreciated.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby nakatago » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 6:42 am

Don't know much about living in London but in Singapore:

* It's the norm to work beyond 5pm; either because there is so much work to be done or people don't want to be perceived as just waiting to go home.
* It's sooooo humid. You want to walk to escape the heat but not too fast that you're heating up and the breeze you feel while walking isn't enough to evaporate your sweat.
* the commute can be shorter here (1 hour is very long by Singapore standards) but it can also be very crowded (depending on your route and destination). And some people DON'T shower or use deodorant.
* Schooling for foreigners can be tough to find (just do a search; lotsa people finding it hard to find slots in schools). There's a lot of emphasis on knowing what the right answers are, not so much on creativity (that includes being creative to find a solution to a technical problem).
* Being Asian--and yes, this will sound racist--what country is your ethnic make up from? Singapore has institutionalized racism--there is a race field in forms. Moreover, some races are viewed better or worse than others.

As usual, your mileage may vary but feel free to poke around, read up on the threads that already discuss most of your concerns.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby nutnut » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 8:17 am

If you want a relaxing country, move to Malaysia, everything goes slowly here! (Except the mental motocyclists).
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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby x9200 » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 8:59 am

If one has children in school age this would be for me the primary reason to stay away from Singapore. It's what Nak said above but also very very unhealthy and stressful environment. Some people on this board said it was possible to have children in local school and do not join this insane rating/grade race but vast majority, Singaporean included, admit without any hesitation it is just plain insane. Probably close to 100% of children attending local schools have tuition. As much as I see it from my perspective, children in this country have no childhood and instead of some real playtime all they have is some rota type of learning or some other exercises at best. Children as young as 4y may have to pass spelling tests - not that they are obliged by law or something, but simply parents want to give them a good start in the school. More-over, it is extremely difficult to find a kindergarten where children do anything but learning numbers, alphabet, spelling etc, I mean in the right ratio to the other stuff. This should give you an idea what is the regular local schooling alike.

The only more sane alternative to this are homeschooling and the International Schools (typically SGD30k or more a year). If you can afford this - you will be fine and Singapore is a good place to live especially taking into account its very low crime rate, but if your children are already used to somehow more healthy schooling environment, entering the local one may be for them very stressful.

My 3 cents.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:22 pm

We lived in Central London, worked in the City (financial centre) before moving to SG 3years or so ago. Do I find the SG pace of life slower? Most definitely, even the walk is languid. However, in London both my husband and I have never clocked in at 9am and clocked out at 5pm. However, we do live in Zone 2, about 2km from Oxford St and paid GBP15k pa for private school in London.
School wise - even in the most laidback SG International School, I have found after speaking to friends, schools here; not talking about state schools (that's worse), I'm talking about International Schools which is similar to private schools in UK - the standards are higher and the teachers push much harder as well. I am guessing that's due to the IB programme but even TTS and they run a UK based curiculum pushes their students quite hard.
Working in London I am used to working a 10-13hours per day. I have to admit, I deliberately joined a smaller (well, smaller in London) outfit, so that I no longer worked those crazy hours but even then I used to be at my desk by 7.30am and clocked out at 5.30/6pm. Lunch is always in front of the computer.
So, for me, there's a drastic change now that I am here. I still come in early, but have breakkie out, lunch out and clock out at 5pm. The biggest pain here is the timezones, whenever we have to take conference calls.
Even housing wise, there's not much different. A decent size not shoebox 2bed 1 bath apartment where I lived in London will easily set you back GBP850k and that's a mere 700sq feet.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby JR8 » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 2:31 pm

It seems rather good to me too. Well paid jobs that finish at 5pm, that has me scratching my head as to the industry.

I appreciate that European winters are mostly a PITA, and feel like a trial to endure. There is of course the flipside here of the almost unchanging climate that you can seemingly only escape for brief periods.

Would you still be still be knocking off at 5pm over here? Expats are hired into SG to significantly add value, and they are expected to put in the hours. What is your holiday allowance in the UK, 30 days/+? Would you get that here? You might end up a couple of hours ‘closer to home’ but less able to visit it.

What kind of housing might you be able to afford here? Could you afford a similar size home? Greater London (and similar) offers flexibility and the choice of being farther away from the centre, and allowing you to have more space. The possibility of ‘farther away’ is more limited here, and so therefore is that flexibility.

There are more things that could be suggested, but knowing so little of your circumstances it isn’t possible.

I don’t think that taken alone ‘being a few hours closer to home’, compensates for the challenges and potential compromises that you would face here. The net case to consider such a major relo should be able to stand on it's own two feet, without having to give it a huge amount of thought. Furthermore the fact it's you considering initiating the relo, rather than you being transferred or headhunted, puts you on a back-foot too.

Beware of the grass appearing greener, esp. during the depths of British winter. Just my 2c.
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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby singapore eagle » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 2:38 pm

As someone who is (currently) choosing to raise a family in Singapore rather than London, the factors that keep us here are broadly:

- better average quality of schools in Singapore. The local maxim is that all schools are good schools, which I think is generally true.
- the lower levels of 'social pressure' that I think my kids will encounter as they grow up.
- the opportunity that they have to learn Mandarin.
- the melting pot of cultures that I think you are exposed to here in Singapore.

Set against this, I am very worried that the local education system won't equip my kids with the skills and the qualities that they need to be successful in their working lives. We are willing to give the system a try, but we won't hesitate to go back to London if we think that the kids' education is closing rather than opening their minds.

Were it not for the kids, and were we looking at this purely as adults, I've always thought that Singapore is the easier place to live if you're poor or rich, but that London is the better choice if you're in the middle classes. I especially wouldn't want to work here as a junior 20-something who's just starting out in his/her career.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 2:40 pm

JR8 wrote:It seems rather good to me too. Well paid jobs that finish at 5pm, that has me scratching my head as to the industry.

I appreciate that European winters are mostly a PITA, and feel like a trial to endure. There is of course the flipside here of the almost unchanging climate that you can seemingly only escape for brief periods.

Would you still be still be knocking off at 5pm over here? Expats are hired into SG to significantly add value, and they are expected to put in the hours. What is your holiday allowance in the UK, 30 days/+? Would you get that here? You might end up a couple of hours ‘closer to home’ but less able to visit it.

What kind of housing might you be able to afford here? Could you afford a similar size home? Greater London (and similar) offers flexibility and the choice of being farther away from the centre, and allowing you to have more space. The possibility of ‘farther away’ is more limited here, and so therefore is that flexibility.

There are more things that could be suggested, but knowing so little of your circumstances it isn’t possible.

I don’t think that taken alone ‘being a few hours closer to home’, compensates for the challenges and potential compromises that you would face here. The net case to consider such a major relo should be able to stand on it's own two feet, without having to give it a huge amount of thought. Furthermore the fact it's you considering initiating the relo, rather than you being transferred or headhunted, puts you on a back-foot too.

Beware of the grass appearing greener, esp. during the depths of British winter. Just my 2c.


Wah! I want a job that clocks in at 9 and clocks out at 5 and 30days off. No conference calls no emails catching you at home etc.
Living further away aka Greater London or beyond the M25 or outside of Watford? Yes, its called JB

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Addadude » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 2:42 pm

I lived in London (Streatham Hill) for 3 years prior to coming to Singapore. And I have to say that I found Singapore far more friendly and easier to live in than London. Commute times were much less (for one particular job in London I used to spend 4 hours a day commuting), prices were then (mid-nineties) much lower, Singapore was of course much warmer and I felt a lot safer when out 'gallivanting' at night. I was single so the issues of children's education was not a factor for me.

Typical working hours depend on the industry and company you are in. Going by the rush hour crowds most people here work from 9 - 6. But long working hours (not necessarily terribly productive hours) are far from uncommon. (If you are working in advertising, marketing, PR or events, good luck to you...)

The local schools - if you can get a place for your child - are very stressful exam/homework/additional tuition-wise. The International Schools are less so (although as others have observed, pretty demanding all the same) but the fees are bordering on the extortionate.

The next consideration for 'relaxing' comes from what you like to do in your spare time. If you are into shopping and eating Asian food, you are in luck. If your idea of a good time is a spot of gardening and walks in the countryside, maybe not so much. If you like the odd glass of wine in the evening, make sure it's only the odd glass. Alcohol is expensive here.

For most Western expats, Singapore is a place to build your resume. It's a 2 - 3 year stopover on a journey to bigger and better things. If you want to build a life here, you certainly can and it can be very good life indeed. But very different from the life you would live back home.
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby tedronwalker » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 5:24 pm

Thank you for all your kind replies.

I was struck by the latest comment that for most Western expats, Singapore is a stopover before they move on to something bigger. 2, 3 years are good enough for most.

I can relate to the challenges of finding housing and schools. Once you got the jobs, these two are the most important for a family.

So there are no black-and-white answers for me.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby x9200 » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 5:34 pm

I think it is probably less related to the schools but more to the jobs. If you are here on an expat type of contract (meaning, housing, educational etc etc benefits) after these 2-3 years, with the renewal of the contract, substantial chunk of these benefits may be gone. Besides, the local career perspectives may also be far from ideal. Lastly, so may be the working environment.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Wd40 » Tue, 27 Jan 2015 7:24 pm

For me the positives of Singapore over London.


1. Weather


2. Eating out Asian food on a daily basis.


3. Low taxes

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Primrose Hill » Wed, 28 Jan 2015 8:19 am

Wd40 wrote:For me the positives of Singapore over London.


1. Weather


2. Eating out Asian food on a daily basis.


3. Low taxes


resounding +1

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Aragorn2000 » Wed, 28 Jan 2015 8:46 am

I disagree with point 1 and 2.

1. Singapore weather is so hot and humid all year round. We can only find relief with A/C. But A/C is hazardous to health.
London has 4 seasons. You have to put up with any season you don't like at most once a year. I don't feel the freshness breathing Singapore air. Humid air makes it worse when someone nearby is smoking or with petroleum fume.

2. Asian food: really? It's pricey. Portions are small. Prices are always quoted pre-GST and service charges. Any cuisines are bastardized. Nothing is authentic. I've never been to London but Asian food in the US and Australia beats Singapore's any day.

I wholly agree with point 3. Singapore has low tax and an extremely efficient government. Stupid political bickering is almost nonexistent.

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Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Postby Wd40 » Wed, 28 Jan 2015 8:52 am

Weather is personal choice, I love tropics much more than gloomy cold rainy/snowy weather. It's nice for a vacation for a ski trip, but not more than that. I like the bright sun all year long, just cheers me up.





Regarding Asian food, I agree its not gr8 quality here, but its much more practical to eat out everyday here due to costs and easy availability. In Sydney CBD area what can you get anything under $5-6, other than burgers and sandwiches.


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