Singapore Expats Forum

Expatriotism

A moderated forum for serious discussions only.
User avatar
Carpe Diem
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1642
Joined: Tue, 12 Jul 2005
Location: Singapore

Postby Carpe Diem » Mon, 29 May 2006 12:09 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
on another note, whereas expats in the past preferred staying in expat enclaves, i'm seeing many more expats in my housing estate, on the buses, in heartland shopping centres etc these days. 5 years ago they would have gotten stares, today nobody seems to notice. quite a pleasant sign of increasing assimiliation into local society.


There could be another reason. Just compare the contracts that were offered to most of the expats 5 years ago and those they are offered today. Before it was quite normal to have a car and a housing allowance. New contracts are more and more based on local terms. What do you do if you cannot afford to live in an "expat enclave" or cannot buy a car?

Having said that, I also observe that the "new" expats are more ready for assimilation. The attitude has certainly changed over the last years.
La vie est trop courte, profitons de chaque instant

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35168
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 29 May 2006 12:21 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:on another note, whereas expats in the past preferred staying in expat enclaves, i'm seeing many more expats in my housing estate, on the buses, in heartland shopping centres etc these days. 5 years ago they would have gotten stares, today nobody seems to notice. quite a pleasant sign of increasing assimiliation into local society.


sundaymorningstaple wrote:Yes, I also feel that is has become easier to integrate/assimilate here or at least to another deeper level (re: my answer to bushbride) When I came here in the very early '80's there was no way I could have lived in an HDB estate, I would have been made to feel like a leper and people (heartlanders of all races) would give you wide berth - you would not know or feel this as you are one of the three major races here so would tend to be accepted until you started talking and then your accent/inflections would give you away. I think, as more and more programs were being telecast it has eroded to some extent the suspicions of "outsiders" as even the heartlanders are being more and more English educated (also helps tremendously).


Can I frame this post? We are in complete agreement! :lol: :mrgreen:

sms

User avatar
Cheekybeek
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 424
Joined: Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Postby Cheekybeek » Mon, 29 May 2006 12:28 pm

I have never, not even once, seen another caucasian expat or tourist at my local hawker centre. Not many condos around here but there are caucasians living in my condo- small minority.

We went to the hawker on our second night in Singers... couldn't believe our luck at all the sights, smells, atmosphere, cheap food nice people. We did have a few stares on the first few times going there but I think we are now fairly well known, treated extra special sometimes too... boyfriend gets his long neck of tiger at $4.50 insted of 5, we always get extra dumpling or meat etc. Most of the store owners asked us questions, where we are from, how long we are staying, and were genuinely interested in us, in a welcoming rather than alienating way.

It made it easier to integrate. We heard the local's stories as well, when they haven't seen us for a while they come over for a chat. I have now tried lots of the different foods, hard to knock them back when they want to make you rojak specially cos must try etc.

Couldn't believe it when the little old lady collecting cans came up to us when I took my parents to the local makan shiok, in perfect English asked for our cans and asked us whether we were from England, NZ or Australia? Turns out she has travelled the world (off aluminium can money? surely not!) has spent time in these countries and we heard some of her story as well... Isn't it enriching getting to know people? Finding out that your version of the world is not the only one.

I think to myself pity the other expats who don't visit our hawker centre rats and all I still love it for its colour, people and atmosphere. There is always a smile and it is a genuine one.

User avatar
Wind In My Hair
Manager
Manager
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue, 19 Jul 2005

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 29 May 2006 12:57 pm

CB, Queen of the local hawker centre! good on you girl. :D

SMS, where shall we frame the post? your HDB flat or mine? :wink: :mrgreen:

Carpe Diem wrote:There could be another reason. Just compare the contracts that were offered to most of the expats 5 years ago and those they are offered today. Before it was quite normal to have a car and a housing allowance. New contracts are more and more based on local terms. What do you do if you cannot afford to live in an "expat enclave" or cannot buy a car?

Having said that, I also observe that the "new" expats are more ready for assimilation. The attitude has certainly changed over the last years.

i have no doubt the contracts have everything to do with it. but you are right, the point is the 'new' expats still come and agree to live on those terms. my bet is the majority of old-school expats would pack up and go home if their cushy contracts were not renewed and they were offered local terms instead. hope this doesn't offend anybody but there is some truth to the local perception that many expats are not interested in fitting in, but take pride in being a class apart. so economics is helping a lot on the assimilation front.

User avatar
Carpe Diem
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1642
Joined: Tue, 12 Jul 2005
Location: Singapore

Postby Carpe Diem » Mon, 29 May 2006 1:05 pm

Now that you know my age, would you say i am a new old, an old new, or an old old? :mrgreen:
La vie est trop courte, profitons de chaque instant

User avatar
Wind In My Hair
Manager
Manager
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue, 19 Jul 2005

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 29 May 2006 1:21 pm

Carpe Diem wrote:Now that you know my age, would you say i am a new old, an old new, or an old old? :mrgreen:

ah CD, you'll get us both kicked out of this ultra serious forum. :lol:

and to answer your question, in the words of an old old song... "you are everything to me!" :in love:

User avatar
Oriental
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri, 18 Mar 2005

Postby Oriental » Mon, 29 May 2006 2:23 pm

"O"
Last edited by Oriental on Tue, 13 Jun 2006 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35168
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 29 May 2006 3:43 pm

Ouch! So where does that leave me, an old, localized, impoverished caucasian. Enigma, Anomoly, or Anachorism? :???: :cry:

User avatar
Global Citizen
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon, 07 Mar 2005
Location: Still looking for Paradise

Postby Global Citizen » Mon, 29 May 2006 4:00 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Ouch! So where does that leave me, an old, localized, impoverished caucasian. Enigma, Anomoly, or Anachorism? :???: :cry:


A unique individual SMS, because you're one of a kind. :)
One man's meat is another's poison.

User avatar
Mary Hatch Bailey
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1579
Joined: Thu, 06 Oct 2005
Location: Bedford Falls

Postby Mary Hatch Bailey » Mon, 29 May 2006 5:01 pm

Carpe Diem wrote:There could be another reason. Just compare the contracts that were offered to most of the expats 5 years ago and those they are offered today. Before it was quite normal to have a car and a housing allowance. New contracts are more and more based on local terms. What do you do if you cannot afford to live in an "expat enclave" or cannot buy a car?

Having said that, I also observe that the "new" expats are more ready for assimilation. The attitude has certainly changed over the last years.



I agree with this CD, the new expat does seem more ready to assimilate as best they can, and the shrinking package forces this issue. I think this is also man-handled by the Singaporean government, probably rightfully so. Look how they forced the hand of the American School and Australian school -- they offered them property, I believe at an advantageous tax rate -- out of districts 9,10, 11 to draw the expats, and therefore wealth out to the heartlands. And for the most part, I think it has worked.

I have what I consider a generous package -- and yes, truth is, if it got slashed by 1/2 tomorrow I think we would leave. Not because of the convenience of having a car or comfortable home -- it's just that we are missing an awful lot by being here. Our parent's are aging, neices and newphews grow up without us. We've put in 12 good years, in a few years our kids will be in University in the US. No house in Singapore can compensate one for not living in the same hemisphere as your children. And though we have not traveled the region as much as we'd have liked, we have certainly done more than our fair share. I think Singpaore has been kind to us, but has given us pretty much all it has to offer. So if the perks got taken away or severly limited, I think the scales would tip and we would go for good.
Last edited by Mary Hatch Bailey on Mon, 29 May 2006 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jpatokal
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3014
Joined: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Location: Terra Australis Incognita

Postby jpatokal » Mon, 29 May 2006 5:13 pm

Cheekybeek wrote:Most of the store owners asked us questions, where we are from, how long we are staying...

This, by the way, is very Singaporean. Every other country I've lived in (4-5 of them), they ask you how long have you been here. In Singapore, the expectation is that you will soon go away...
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

User avatar
guruvishwanath
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed, 03 Aug 2005
Location: Braddell
Contact:

Postby guruvishwanath » Mon, 29 May 2006 5:23 pm

Offering yet another view point. The third view from a fouth corner. :-)

Taking back to 1996-97-98 (Golden years before the SH-IT hit the fan), expat package was housing, car, allowance up the wazoo. But of course, I was not that fortunate as the only stuff I got was housing and utilities. It was a fairly cushy life until the DOT BOMBED and the rug got yanked unceremoniously from under in the guise of 50% paycut. oh! Hooray! Imagine how drastic a lifestyle change had to be done if suddenly you lost half your pay. :cry: Either that or pack your bags and it was not as if jobs were sprouting for you to pack and leave. So the decision to stick it out was a sound one (on a hindsight I can say that it was a good move).

The true definition of expat in the dictionary and in reality was not clear to me until one fine day it was in my face. There was this pub in Clarke quay (cant remember the name as this was in 1997-98). They had a "expats night get a free drink". I had gone with some colleagues and of course all of them were offered the free drink except me. So I queried the bar man and he said I am not an expat. I said I was (still using the literal dictionary definition of expatriate). And he goes and says something like "you are not white". My reaction was laughter right in his face (which he did not like). But before I could say anything, my colleague who incidently was white but she was raised in Singapore and was actually working on local terms as she lived all her life here, took off on the poor bartender. Personally, I did not give it too much because I attributed to lack of knowledge on the bartenders part. But the others were offended and wanted me to demand an apology and lifetime free drinks from the managers (who by then had arrived on scene and trying to run away as soon as they heard what happened). Anywayz, since then I conciously avoid putting people into a particular slot of expat and non expat.

Although I admit I feel quite amazed and concerned when you see the kind of money thrown to work in Singapore. My cousin (Indian dude with family) came on an expat package of a size which boggles my mind. Plus all the extras of schools for kids, car etc. But then I also know of couple of other friends who got booted out rudely since they were the expensive candidates in the company.

But then majority of packages are commisarate to your work experience and talent. I do know of many firms that dont care of your status but give you the rewards as deserved (i am referring to those who found a job locally and moved from their original position of pure expat status).

I also agree with some posters about the fact that the people who seem to have been living for the last couple of years are far more likely to be open and ready to integrate.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35168
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 29 May 2006 6:28 pm

jpatokal wrote:
Cheekybeek wrote:Most of the store owners asked us questions, where we are from, how long we are staying...

This, by the way, is very Singaporean. Every other country I've lived in (4-5 of them), they ask you how long have you been here. In Singapore, the expectation is that you will soon go away...


JP......you sure that isn't "In Singapore, the prayer is that you will soon go away"?

User avatar
Wind In My Hair
Manager
Manager
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue, 19 Jul 2005

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 29 May 2006 8:59 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
jpatokal wrote:
Cheekybeek wrote:Most of the store owners asked us questions, where we are from, how long we are staying...

This, by the way, is very Singaporean. Every other country I've lived in (4-5 of them), they ask you how long have you been here. In Singapore, the expectation is that you will soon go away...


JP......you sure that isn't "In Singapore, the prayer is that you will soon go away"?

:lol: yes with some expats that is certainly the hope!

seriously, i for one always ask how long they have been here, and if the answer is anything over a year i usually ask if they are PR. the answer to that tells me whether they intend to stay a while, so i don't even need to ask.

User avatar
SMS
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon, 09 May 2005

Postby SMS » Mon, 29 May 2006 9:12 pm

guruvishwanath wrote:But then majority of packages are commisarate to your work experience and talent. I do know of many firms that dont care of your status but give you the rewards as deserved (i am referring to those who found a job locally and moved from their original position of pure expat status).

I also agree with some posters about the fact that the people who seem to have been living for the last couple of years are far more likely to be open and ready to integrate.


That's okay guru, wait until you're my age. Then they will only pay you half of what you were worth a week ago. Such is life I guess. You either accept it or move on.

One other thing I've noticed about the "new breed" of expat is their willingness to take up PR (unfortunately, however, a lot of westerners who do so are only doing it for the knowledge that they can quit or get fired from their jobs and don't have to worry about getting out of the country in two weeks. I tend to have very low opinions of folks who do it for those reasons. Primarily, because of the immigration policies (racial balances) that means people like me who want to stay for the long haul are hard pressed because of limited quotas and the governments penchant of only looking at the tax dollars the potential PR may bring in. Kinda makes it rough.


Return to “Strictly Speaking”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest