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Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

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MariaT
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby MariaT » Tue, 17 May 2016 1:48 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:
MariaT wrote:1. I don't necessarily hang out in the all areas of Tokyo (only a couple of favorite districts), 2. Inland travel can be substituted by Singapore's closeness to the neighboring countries.

See the conflict? ;)

Singapore and Tokyo aren't materially different in this respect.(*) They're both excellent bases from which to explore Asia. If you want to go explore Asia then go do it! You don't have to move your household and cut your income ~54% to go explore Asia. They both have international airline-served airports. (Actually, Tokyo has two.) Of course it helps to have some more money to be able to afford such explorations.

(*) One difference: it's not actually fun to pack a passport and clear immigration (twice each way) just to go a few miles north to golf or to ride a horse, or to take a short ferry ride south. You don't have to put up with that nonsense from Tokyo. You can ski and you can surf without packing a passport, without clearing immigration and customs, and even without a plane ride. We can't do that.


Yeah, I see your point. I think Japan is one of the best countries in terms of domestic travel and it has literally everything. Regarding trips to Asia: no, it's not good at all. All countries apart from Taiwan are far away. It takes 7 hours to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam etc. And 5 hours to Hong Kong. Plus, its not cheap at all( The same can be said about the other direction [-X
It's great that many people love Japan and try to tell me that it's awesome (in a certain way, let's say). But as I mentioned in my posts above, the human factor is the thing that puts me off. We have spent here a lot of years and I think there is a time to prepare saying goodbye in near future. The only thing is that the offer in Singapore might be not reasonable at all. (Just in another thread there is a discussion that 100k per year is not enough for a single guy. I can imagine what they will tell me about 90k for two)

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 17 May 2016 2:56 pm

Sometimes I think BBCW is a pompous royalist and then he (she) chimes in with a post that is so good the OP should be paying for the advice...
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby JR8 » Tue, 17 May 2016 3:17 pm

MariaT wrote:Regarding 7.5k, it's a monthly salary. There are no additional money for relocation of housing, so rent is supposed to be paid out of 7.5k. Which we leave us with, let's say, roughly 5k per month. Plus, while I'm writing with you guys the employer came up with having commitment for 2 years in a contract that entails penalty if you leave. Well, the guy wants to protect himself...
The point that the government tighten the expat job market is alarming. Perhaps it's partially a reason why we spent seven months applying for jobs (and we are not the last people on Earth when it comes to qualifications) and receiving only one offer. :?


So just to nail down the rent budget then, you're looking at say roughly $2.5k/mo. Roughly, as the income figures are pre-tax.
That budget would be a push for two people getting a condo within any of the usual 'desirable locations' [i.e. the more central ones]. But it also depends where the workplace would be. If work is in an outlying area, then you could probably find a condo in such a district too on that budget.
However given you're not getting relo or housing allowances then it sounds like they're hiring you on local terms. If so it might make sense to live like a typical local too, i.e. in an HDB flat. You should have few problems on that budget. HDBs [if you don't know] vary from the small and basic to the huge and grand. But the one common theme is they don't come with condo-like facilities... like a swimming pool etc.

I'm surprised the offer keeps changing. First x then 1.5x, and now a 2-year lock-in clause. Such lock-in clauses seem more usual where the employer is paying a sizeable commission to an agent (almost like a head-hunter). Or where they'll be materially training you up for the job, and so wish to protect that time and $ invested vs the risk of job-hoppers. And the last example I can think of might be where the employer has paid a lot of up-front fees to relo you, freight + initial stay in a hotel + expenses and so on. But I can't see which of those three apply to you.

Re: clamping down on expats. It mostly derives from local politics. The locals started getting vocal about expats coming in 'and stealing our jobs'. So various policies have been enacted making it harder for companies in SG to hire expats. This is why we see people like yourself here, who struggle a bit to see why it's much harder now to land a good offer than it used to be until quite recently. You'll see these new policies discussed at some length over in other specific topics.
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby Brah » Tue, 17 May 2016 3:28 pm

Am late to this thread and will read the posts retrospectively.

Having lived in both places for a number of years each, and having left Japan not because I wanted to but the market in Japan was shrinking then and the market in Singapore was exploding. It is a decision that I stand by based on the facts I had at the time, but have for the most part but not entirely often regretted.

Some of those facts were based on Singapore's cost of living, which was cheaper than Japan's at the time, or Tokyo's anyway. With that I'd be making less, I thought, I'd make more net, but in hindsight I would have been financially better off in Japan. And that was when Singapore was much more cost effective, it's not now. Re the posts here about the nenkin and healthcare in Japan.

Japan as you know by now is a love it or hate it place, and can be difficult for foreigners, especially for many women, to fit in, or in dealing with the language constraints, and that you will always be a foreigner. The comments about xenophobia are warranted, though there are varying degrees of that in Singapore as well.

Before committing to your decision, I recommend that you read every post in this thread, among others on this forum: viewtopic.php?t=110387

And for the record, I not only struggled with the decision to move here, but also to take an offer back in Japan a few years back, as badly as I wanted to leave here and go back there, it was not the sensible move so I stayed. Both were among the hardest decisions I had to make as well, for many reasons which I will not go into on this forum.

You said:
I feel like moving to Singapore will bring us to a more international environment where you won’t have a feeling of being “foreign” and since we are still young I have this feeling "now or never".

You will feel “foreign” here as well though in different ways. It is more international in some ways and not in others. X9200's post covers that well.

I need more time to read this thread, your details, the responses, etc. but from what I glanced, the pay is not worth the move, again, as supported in the thread I linked. Sorry to say but I strongly feel that the salary you mentioned is too low, you will struggle, and with no relo even more difficult. My opinion.

In that industry it will be hard to find relo, but it could happen (it did for me but that was during much better days). It is hard to compare salaries side by side as there has been so much flux in the FX rates over the years, and as with Japan over that past 10+ years, salaries seem to be coming down here.

It sounds to me that you might want to consider other locations, or follow JR8's suggestion to stay put and wait a couple years to see how things play out, you can always get a better deal than the one you have.

You haven't mentioned where you and your husband are from, perhaps a move back to your country but in a new location? Or even within Japan, a new location - where are you now?

Having said that, you seem to be done with the place, and no sense in being miserable there - the negative side of Japan can be pretty dehumanizing, believe me I know, I was there longer than your husband. Love the place as I did / do, that is what got to me, and I felt my character had diminished by fitting it into the norms there. But that is another story...

Like BBCW warned you about, once I left I did not have a way back and that impacted my chances for jobs there. Now the market there is so tight they won't look at someone overseas very easily - I know, I've tried.

IMNSHO the quality of life is higher in Japan, the quality of living is higher in Singapore. Depends which is more important to you. Japan is much more rich and diverse, Singapore is much simpler.

Will write more later. In the meantime, excerpt from a chat with a friend who lived there longer than me who got reloed back to the US:

do you miss Asia? isn't it weird being back and amongst people with little clue of outside of America? (at least that's how it is when I'm back home)

Don't miss it. One year this Saturday and loving it. No earthquakes, clean air (my kid's asthma has disappeared!), better career advancement opportunities, better working hours, family learning a second language, etc., etc......

In my opinion, Asia is over. It will never be like the old times.
Last edited by Brah on Tue, 17 May 2016 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby JR8 » Tue, 17 May 2016 3:42 pm

nakatago wrote:Japan may be homogenous and its people xenophobic but at least it's possible for a gaijin to settle down there.
Singapore has institutionalized racism and its size just exacerbates problems related to housing, employment, immigration and racial issues.


Well. It's possible to settle there, i.e. get residency and plan to live there, perhaps for-ever, but society is far more closed. Hence the earlier comment by Maria that however native you've gone you're always an outsider.
As for racism in JP. Well perhaps Brah will drop by some time and recount his experience on that. You get a leg-up if you're European/white because they admire aspects of that culture, Shakespeare, Mozart blahblahblah and so on. But colleagues of mine of a more 'tropical' origin or blend did have a hard<>very hard time at times.
Also keep in mind Japan has much broader freedom of expression than SGns have. For example I remember every couple of weeks a convoy of black trucks going past my place, broadcasting politics... the local neo-Nazi party. That would be illegal in SG, but unlike the JPnese the SGns at street-level are far more likely to express those thoughts directly at you.
There are some similarities re: xenophobia between JP and SG. But an important difference is that SG ultimately is an entire nation of immigrants. So it's easier to blend into that patchwork.

Agreed SG does have institutionalised racism running through most core aspects of life. The increasing difficulty for an expat getting a job there is just one of the more recent examples.
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby MariaT » Tue, 17 May 2016 6:03 pm

JR8 wrote:
MariaT wrote:Regarding 7.5k, it's a monthly salary. There are no additional money for relocation of housing, so rent is supposed to be paid out of 7.5k. Which we leave us with, let's say, roughly 5k per month. Plus, while I'm writing with you guys the employer came up with having commitment for 2 years in a contract that entails penalty if you leave. Well, the guy wants to protect himself...
The point that the government tighten the expat job market is alarming. Perhaps it's partially a reason why we spent seven months applying for jobs (and we are not the last people on Earth when it comes to qualifications) and receiving only one offer. :?


So just to nail down the rent budget then, you're looking at say roughly $2.5k/mo. Roughly, as the income figures are pre-tax.
That budget would be a push for two people getting a condo within any of the usual 'desirable locations' [i.e. the more central ones]. But it also depends where the workplace would be. If work is in an outlying area, then you could probably find a condo in such a district too on that budget.
However given you're not getting relo or housing allowances then it sounds like they're hiring you on local terms. If so it might make sense to live like a typical local too, i.e. in an HDB flat. You should have few problems on that budget. HDBs [if you don't know] vary from the small and basic to the huge and grand. But the one common theme is they don't come with condo-like facilities... like a swimming pool etc.

I'm surprised the offer keeps changing. First x then 1.5x, and now a 2-year lock-in clause. Such lock-in clauses seem more usual where the employer is paying a sizeable commission to an agent (almost like a head-hunter). Or where they'll be materially training you up for the job, and so wish to protect that time and $ invested vs the risk of job-hoppers. And the last example I can think of might be where the employer has paid a lot of up-front fees to relo you, freight + initial stay in a hotel + expenses and so on. But I can't see which of those three apply to you.

Re: clamping down on expats. It mostly derives from local politics. The locals started getting vocal about expats coming in 'and stealing our jobs'. So various policies have been enacted making it harder for companies in SG to hire expats. This is why we see people like yourself here, who struggle a bit to see why it's much harder now to land a good offer than it used to be until quite recently. You'll see these new policies discussed at some length over in other specific topics.


Yep, prices for condo and HDBs are quite obvious to me so I know what to expect when it comes to costs :?
Regarding the offer, the initial offer was 5k with target achievement => bonus payments. Then we negotiated it to 8k. The next day offer came as 7.5k. However, what the hiring guy did is basically shifted bonus payments into base salary. So if you achieve the target => no bonus payment. Then the recruiter came back saying that there will be a request of commitment for two years and penalty implied in a contract. So, the offer is getting worse compared to the first data we had by the end of last week. I think its primarily because the employer knows that what he offers is waaaay less what my HB earns now and he might look for other options when in Singapore.
Regarding expats, yeah... heard about that. Obviously it was bound to happen.

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby MariaT » Tue, 17 May 2016 6:18 pm

JR8 wrote:
nakatago wrote:Japan may be homogenous and its people xenophobic but at least it's possible for a gaijin to settle down there.
Singapore has institutionalized racism and its size just exacerbates problems related to housing, employment, immigration and racial issues.


Well. It's possible to settle there, i.e. get residency and plan to live there, perhaps for-ever, but society is far more closed. Hence the earlier comment by Maria that however native you've gone you're always an outsider.
As for racism in JP. Well perhaps Brah will drop by some time and recount his experience on that. You get a leg-up if you're European/white because they admire aspects of that culture, Shakespeare, Mozart blahblahblah and so on. But colleagues of mine of a more 'tropical' origin or blend did have a hard<>very hard time at times.
Also keep in mind Japan has much broader freedom of expression than SGns have. For example I remember every couple of weeks a convoy of black trucks going past my place, broadcasting politics... the local neo-Nazi party. That would be illegal in SG, but unlike the JPnese the SGns at street-level are far more likely to express those thoughts directly at you.
There are some similarities re: xenophobia between JP and SG. But an important difference is that SG ultimately is an entire nation of immigrants. So it's easier to blend into that patchwork.

Agreed SG does have institutionalised racism running through most core aspects of life. The increasing difficulty for an expat getting a job there is just one of the more recent examples.


The good point you made about everybody being immigrants in Singapore. Although there are a lot of recent factors like finding a job for a foreigner, I know that life is way easier than in Japan. Here we also have "no foreigner" apartments and they call to landlords in front of you saying you are a foreigner. Just as an example. I'm not touched much by all of this "silent racism" going on in Japan. There are other traces like having only superficial conversations etc. Overall, I don't like a feeling of being invisible here since I'm a foreign lady. For foreign women Japan is veeeery tough society to be in)

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 17 May 2016 7:02 pm

MariaT wrote:All countries apart from Taiwan are far away.

Factually no, that's not correct. Based on currently scheduled gate-to-gate nonstop flight times for later this month, Hong Kong is a whopping 35 minutes farther away, and Manila is 55 minutes farther away. But Beijing is 2 hours closer to Tokyo, Shanghai is 2 hours 40 minutes closer, Seoul is 3 hours 55 minutes closer, Vladivostok is 7 hours 15 minutes closer, Pyongyang is almost 6 hours closer, Nanjing is 3 hours 45 minutes closer, and Ulaanbaatar is 4 hours 10 minutes closer, to pick some examples (not the only ones).

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby Brah » Tue, 17 May 2016 7:23 pm

MariaT wrote: I know that life is way easier than in Japan. Here we also have "no foreigner" apartments and they call to landlords in front of you saying you are a foreigner. Just as an example. I'm not touched much by all of this "silent racism" going on in Japan.

If you come here you will learn of the Ang Moh Tax and how things like apartment prices might be different for you than for locals. You won't be invisible here.

MariaT wrote: There are other traces like having only superficial conversations etc.


You will have similar non-conversations daily, just in some strained form of your native language.

Many still think foreigner = huge pay and housing provided by company, etc.

From what I have been hearing rents in Japan are way down as are car costs, and there is a lot of availability on the market and with room to bargain.
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby JR8 » Tue, 17 May 2016 7:32 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:
MariaT wrote:All countries apart from Taiwan are far away.

Factually no, that's not correct. Based on currently scheduled gate-to-gate nonstop flight times for later this month, Hong Kong is a whopping 35 minutes farther away, and Manila is 55 minutes farther away. But Beijing is 2 hours closer to Tokyo, Shanghai is 2 hours 40 minutes closer, Seoul is 3 hours 55 minutes closer, Vladivostok is 7 hours 15 minutes closer, Pyongyang is almost 6 hours closer, Nanjing is 3 hours 45 minutes closer, and Ulaanbaatar is 4 hours 10 minutes closer, to pick some examples (not the only ones).

--------------------------------------------------

Or the original with a little more context:
MariaT wrote: I think Japan is one of the best countries in terms of domestic travel and it has literally everything. Regarding trips to Asia: no, it's not good at all. All countries apart from Taiwan are far away. It takes 7 hours to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam etc. And 5 hours to Hong Kong. Plus, its not cheap at all


BBCW Didn't you notice she excluded the Chinese mainland - perhaps because it's not an option for her? Have you also considered that most people do not consider many of your suggestions 'holiday destinations'? Ulan Batur? Pyongyang!? Vladivostok!?

Surprised you haven't suggested she relo to the Vatican City and train to be a priest. I mean her name is Maria so that might help. '''And who knows in the 50 years time the Catholic church might be admitting or even fast-tracking female bishops. Don't rule it out, it is a possibility''' :lol:
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby MariaT » Tue, 17 May 2016 10:19 pm

JR8 wrote:
BBCWatcher wrote:
MariaT wrote:All countries apart from Taiwan are far away.

Factually no, that's not correct. Based on currently scheduled gate-to-gate nonstop flight times for later this month, Hong Kong is a whopping 35 minutes farther away, and Manila is 55 minutes farther away. But Beijing is 2 hours closer to Tokyo, Shanghai is 2 hours 40 minutes closer, Seoul is 3 hours 55 minutes closer, Vladivostok is 7 hours 15 minutes closer, Pyongyang is almost 6 hours closer, Nanjing is 3 hours 45 minutes closer, and Ulaanbaatar is 4 hours 10 minutes closer, to pick some examples (not the only ones).

--------------------------------------------------

Or the original with a little more context:
MariaT wrote: I think Japan is one of the best countries in terms of domestic travel and it has literally everything. Regarding trips to Asia: no, it's not good at all. All countries apart from Taiwan are far away. It takes 7 hours to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam etc. And 5 hours to Hong Kong. Plus, its not cheap at all


BBCW Didn't you notice she excluded the Chinese mainland - perhaps because it's not an option for her? Have you also considered that most people do not consider many of your suggestions 'holiday destinations'? Ulan Batur? Pyongyang!? Vladivostok!?

Surprised you haven't suggested she relo to the Vatican City and train to be a priest. I mean her name is Maria so that might help. '''And who knows in the 50 years time the Catholic church might be admitting or even fast-tracking female bishops. Don't rule it out, it is a possibility''' :lol:


I was about to say the same comment but you were faster! Yes! These destinations are, let's say, not of my primary interest)))

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 18 May 2016 8:55 am

Fair enough, but "Asia" is a big place, and Tokyo is very well situated to explore it. North Korea, South Korea, Russia, much/most of China, Mongolia, and a bunch of Western Pacific islands are all closer to Tokyo (in time and distance) than they are to Singapore.

Leave that aside, though. Yes, I know people often talk about all the wonderful travel they could be doing from New Point X on the globe. But it's an incredibly weak argument when you've got a much higher income to support travel and, right now, you're seldom venturing out of your neighborhood. A 120 minute shorter plane ride (let's suppose) just isn't going to help...as you stare at the walls (or the TV) almost every weekend. If you haven't gotten out of the house and beyond your neighborhood often enough in Tokyo, that just ain't going to change in Singapore with half the income. If you're bored based in Tokyo, you're most probably going to be bored soon enough based in Singapore.

So, get on a plane (or boat, or train, or bus, or some combination) and get the (bleep) out of the house if that's what you want to do. What's stopping you?

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 18 May 2016 9:03 am

I like to imagine BBCW's post being read in one of those old fashioned BBC accents in my head.
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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 18 May 2016 9:22 am

PNGMK wrote:I like to imagine BBCW's post being read in one of those old fashioned BBC accents in my head.


By Richard Attenborough, no less!

Nevertheless, whenever I read BBCW's posts I find myself continually wondering why he fits the bill so well.

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Re: Job consideration in Singapore from Tokyo - please advise

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 18 May 2016 9:46 am

I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.


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