How do you like it here?

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
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malcontent
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How do you like it here?

Post by malcontent » Sat, 05 Dec 2020 7:15 pm

I’ve noticed that foreign visitors to Singapore often ask me this question, or when they find out I’ve been here for decades, they are more likely to say - you must like it here. Maybe in my early days the question wouldn’t have caused a second thought. Now on my 3rd decade here, it’s kind of a strange sensation.

It’s not a strange question for them to ask, I’m sure the same would be asked to a person from here living in the West. However, when you’ve spend so much time in a country, everything becomes so second nature, so normal, so everyday life... you start to lose site of how different it might be for someone who is just rocking up on these shores for the first time.

One of the things I like to mention if my local friends are within earshot is how wonderful the weather is here. 8-) Funny thing though, I’ve been on plenty of trips overseas with local friends & family, and it doesn’t take many days of cold weather before they wish to return to the warmer climes here!
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters ~ Epictetus

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by x9200 » Sat, 05 Dec 2020 8:41 pm

I'am (2 decades) being asked the same questions, local, foreigner, doesn't matter, all the same.
Actually I still remember the first impression, more physical actually - the humidity, like a sticky wall of air. And besides this, plants growing in Europe in the pots here in the ground. Plus the palm trees. And that's about the differences. Later (not a tourist thing), there was some culture shock. Not really that of the shock actually... and now all the places look familiar, but this has nothing to do with Singapore. And all the culture shock remains still as annoyances, a topic to vent off in an other expat company or a routine (have you eaten yet?), but it;s not really venting off any longer, more like probing for the same sanity ground.

I don't like the weather at all.

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malcontent
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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by malcontent » Sat, 05 Dec 2020 10:01 pm

Yes, I remember that wall of thick humidity... hit me right when I stepped out of the door of the plane (back in 1996 they hadn’t piped aircon into the aerobridge yet).

Fortunately my wife (GF at the time) had prepared me over the prior 5 years leading up to the move - in fact, I don’t recall any culture shock... only price shock! My eyes just about popped the first trip to the grocery store!

Now I’m just numb to it, I didn’t even flinch recently when I purchased a quart of egg nog for $16 (but I told myself, hey, I’m only buying about one quart per decade, so the annual cost is a reasonable $1.60)!
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters ~ Epictetus

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by x9200 » Sun, 06 Dec 2020 7:23 am

For the prices, not so much (I was rather well informed before coming over) but things like:
- asking me openly about my salary or how much I pay for rent
- burping loud in a company (e.g. in auditorium full of people in the middle of a seminar)
- questions about race, religion, many other personal details requested
- all these blatant, primitive lies covering ones incompetence or any other questionable action
and some more, including the working culture. At least for the last one (the lies), I am still pretty far to be numb to.

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by malcontent » Sun, 06 Dec 2020 8:48 am

True, there are certainly differences, and most are not unique to Singapore but rather, plain old Eastern vs. Western culture.

My best friend back in the US has a talent for burping (belching) really loud on demand - like, shake the room loud. There are many times I wished he was with me when someone burped in my face, he could send one right back to them that would rock their world!

The private/personal questions never bothered me, but staring at me and violating personal space did. The staring has almost disappeared with advent of the smart phone, and now Covid is helping to solve that last one.

As for mistruths, you kind of develop a spidey sense about those and naturally probe deeper or ask others. In the internet age, filtering everything has become second nature. But the idea that someone might “try their luck” is kind of a default expectation. A famous movie starring Clint Eastwood comes to mind.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters ~ Epictetus

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by x9200 » Sun, 06 Dec 2020 10:39 am

One of the local biggest online grocery stores would tell that all the ordered items (could be a few dozen of different products) were all the sudden canceled just a few hours preceding the delivery and the stated reason would be they were out of stock. It happened to me at least twice and twice it rained heavily on the delivery time. Instead of informing their clients that they faced some technical problems (I guess) they resorted to completely idiotic, untruthful information.

This is like a habit for many local companies and not only companies. I don't think they even see it. No transparency, no need for truthful information. In the above case there was probably a legitimate reason but many times it's just pure incompetence what makes it even worse. With this sort of obvious lies the Western perception would be, WTF, you think I am an idiot or what?

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by malcontent » Sun, 06 Dec 2020 11:03 am

I’d never ordered groceries online here until April this year... since then, that is the only way I get my groceries. Back in April it was impossible to get a delivery slot, you had to figure out the timing of new delivery slot releases and get your cart ready and then pounce!

One thing that irritates me is that items you put in your online shopping cart can be “stolen” (suddenly no stock, even though there was stock when you put it in your cart). If someone took something out of my cart in real life, there would at least be a tussle!

As far as getting what I ordered, I’ve had pretty good luck so far - and I get about 6-8 deliveries per month between NTUC, Sheng Siong & Cold Storage. Among these, Cold Storage almost always updates my order with at least one or several items out of stock.

One improvement I’d like to see is the ability to add things to an order that I’ve already placed (within certain time limits of course), because often I think of another item just minutes after I submit my order. Maybe it’s just me!
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters ~ Epictetus

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Re: How do you like it here?

Post by BigginHill » Mon, 07 Dec 2020 2:24 pm

x9200 wrote:
Sun, 06 Dec 2020 10:39 am
This is like a habit for many local companies and not only companies. I don't think they even see it. No transparency, no need for truthful information. In the above case there was probably a legitimate reason but many times it's just pure incompetence what makes it even worse. With this sort of obvious lies the Western perception would be, WTF, you think I am an idiot or what?
Very true.

One tends to forget how thin the veneer can be in SG - I don't mean to be unkind, but there's not much of substance here.

It's just a safe and convenient place to do business.

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