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Another Aussie moving

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tassy
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Another Aussie moving

Post by tassy » Sun, 10 Jun 2007 7:53 am

Hi all,
we are a family of 4, mum + dad + twins (aged 7) hoping to move very shortly to Singapore. I am hoping I can obtain some advice from those with kids firstly. We are planning to enrol them in the AIS and wanted opinions re the school.

I hear the East Coast is a resonable area to live, are there other Aussie expats there and how far / difficult would it be to go to AIS school? What other ares would one recommend - budget ideally up to $3k for 3 or 4 bedroom.

I am also seeing / reading some stuff one should not bring - eg clothes dryer, BBQ etc - is there anything else?

In terms of electrical items, Aussie plugs will fit / work in Singapore?

In terms of large TV's are they cheaper in Singapore than Aussie - (i recently read they were not)?

I know this is a lot of questions, but hoping and looking forward to any advice from all you great people. :D

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Splatted
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Post by Splatted » Sun, 10 Jun 2007 7:00 pm

I'll let someone else answer the bit on where to live etc, as personally I don't think it matters too much - Singapore is a small island and everything is fairly central.

Most things eg appliances and things you can buy here - correct.

However if you are only here on a short stay, you will find that the second-hand market is almost non-existant here and you wont get a good price selling things before you leave. I see quite often some really good furniture just dumped at the bottom of the building quite regularly, which if sold in Australia would fetch at least a few hundred.

With regards to electrical items - voltage is compatible with Australian devices. Plugs are different though. I would bring at least a couple of those 4 in 1 power boards that lets you plug several Aussie appliances, and has a built in surge protector.

Then you can buy an adaptor either here or in Australia that will let you plug such a power board into the local sockets.

Having said that, there are very few electrical things I would bother bringing from Australia.

TV's seem to be cheaper in Australia, especially around sale time (mid year / end of year) but you would never bother bringing an LCD/Plasma TV here from Australia as your warranty wont cover you should something go wrong with your appliance. Those things can cost quite a bit to fix outside the warranty.

edit:

actually, the only thing I would consciously bring would be clothing. I'm in the "Mr Big" size range, and generally larger sized clothing tends to cost more in Singapore. Stock up on shirts, shorts, etc , and not the thick type of shirts that many stores in Australia sell - The weather is very muggy here all year round.

For professional clothes, stock up in Australia if you are of larger size. Eg for a pair of trousers that I could buy for $40 in Australia, the equivalent would cost $140 in Marks & Spencer. Tailors also aim to charge you an arm and a leg if they see you are recently from overseas too.

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micknlea
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Post by micknlea » Sun, 10 Jun 2007 10:37 pm

First off you are going to read so many different opinions on the AIS if you read around the forums that you will realise that you just have to make up your own mind. I have several friends some who are so keen on the place and others who don't like it, one who has kids in different classes and loves it for one but not the other. I think that if you want your kids to stay in line with the aussie curriculum and school year (the other International Schools have an August/September to June/July year)then it is the best choice. If that is not a necessity then the other schools are pretty much the same. Buses to the schools are pretty efficient from all over the island, but lots of Aussies live in the area around the school.

Plugs here are the British type plug, but easy to change if you need, the power board suggestion above is a good one.

For your wife, not sure what size she is, but if over a size 10 or tall then clothes are difficult (not impossible though) to buy here, and lingerie is a must buy at home if she is a western build and not asian. Also, if over a size 8 shoe then shoes for her too, anything above that is very limited here. Hmm, shoes for you too if larger than about a 9 or so.
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Splatted
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Post by Splatted » Sun, 10 Jun 2007 11:41 pm

oh, another thing that's next to impossible to find in Singapore are 48" (122cm) leather belts (XXL). I discovered this just before my wedding.

None of the stores that seem to target westerners or larger people have this size range.

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Location of the AIS

Post by Sylvie » Tue, 12 Jun 2007 5:47 pm

The AIS is located in the central northern part of Singapore. While the East Coast, well its in the East. Unless you are planning to shuttle the kids or get them on the school bus it will be quite a distance. East coast area is also not conveniently located near public transport. Unless you are staying in a condo that provides shuttle service to the nearest mrt or shopping complex.

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Post by tassy » Thu, 14 Jun 2007 6:05 pm

Thanks gang....the info is very useful.

Much appreciated.

Regarding buses from schools, naturally i asusme one needs to pay for these (i.e. not part of the school fees)....any ideas on ball park costs?

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Post by Nick_H » Thu, 14 Jun 2007 7:52 pm

The bus service is run by an external company to the school but there is an office at the School. The buses run door to door and is charged on a distance basis. An average costing is about $370 per child per term 2 way (distance of 8-10km) . You can also catch the bus one way.

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Post by micknlea » Fri, 15 Jun 2007 12:43 am

Just one note on the bus, it is literally door to door...they pick up from your place and deliver your child to school and back to your door again. It is not a stop down the street etc.

All the schools have bus services. One thing to look out for is even though you may live close to the school the trip may take some time due to the route it has to take to deliver everyone to their homes. quite often it is the case of the morning run is the opposite to the afternoon run (ie first pick up in the am is last pick up in the pm, and so on). We live a 10-15 minute drive away from our school, yet the bus can take 40 minutes to do the same trip.
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Post by Leone Fabre » Mon, 23 Jul 2007 12:37 pm

Can't help with the schooling......

but do bring shoes / sandals (comfortable) and any of your light weights, loose cotton clothing...... more so if you are larger. My husband is considered a very normal size (in Australia) wears 33 jeans, has very slim legs, weighs about 72kg. yet he cannot buy jeans or slacks to fit him.... the thigh area are far to slim.

We are going back to Australia next week for afew days of shopping and the things we bring back everytime we go 'home' is:

Raw Almonds.
Australian Sultanas.
Salada Biscuits.
Lattice Biscuits.
Lge cans of RED salmon.
Rock Salt.
Splenda (sugar replacement)
Custard powder
Blue Vein Cheese and all King Island Cheeses!
Nurophen Plus.
Jeans.
bathers.
Lavazza coffee.
Glucosamine caps.

anyway....the above is just to give you an idea of what we can't get here and if we can (like Glucosamine) it is VERY expensive.

We take two suitcases and one is returened full of all of the above!!!!

A lot of Aussie Expats bring back wine and meat ..... vac packed etc.

Someone mentioned that it did not matter where you live as Singapore is a small Island......it does matter and matters BIG TIME.

Singapore is small and you can get around quickly and cheaply, but you have to think about LIVING here. You get 'cabin fever' if you have to stay in and look at 4 walls everyday..... you need to live where you can meet other people.

Someone also mentioned about electrical appliances.... we brought our toaster, but gave away everything else..... now I wished we had brought the Grill (George Forman type) as these are not available here at all.... you can get a small sandwich maker with a choice of about 3, but that is it.

Certainly bring over a couple of long extension plugs ..... the type that you can plug 4 (or more) items in and only one into the wall.

Keep in mind a lot of apartments here do not have ovens ....some do not even have stoves ...... we live in a condo that is just over 2 years old and has all the mod cons like pool, gym etc etc..... but we have NO OVEN and we have NO HOTWATER to the kitchen either .....these are extra at our expense if we want them.

BBQ's are VERY expensive here ..... if your company is paying for your move, put yours in. Or, buy a small one and have it shipped over with your things.

Also a lot of apartments do not have balcony's..... we do and it is quite rare. we did not know this till we got here and people were surprised we have a very large balcony.

If you take prescription medication..... bring 6 mths supply with you. Ask your GP to write up the script and add the words REG 24 on each one. This allows you to get 6 mths supply on the one script (cheaper for you too!!!) put them all in a small box to be shipped over along with copies of your script. But also get another lot to bring with you as you don't know how long it will take before you get your things out of storage.

I use a lot of photo gloss print paper and that is cheaper in Australia too..... yet the printer cartridges are half price here.... so you win some and you lose some!!!

Hope the above helps a bit.

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Splatted
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Post by Splatted » Mon, 23 Jul 2007 1:58 pm

Leone Fabre wrote: If you take prescription medication..... bring 6 mths supply with you. Ask your GP to write up the script and add the words REG 24 on each one. This allows you to get 6 mths supply on the one script (cheaper for you too!!!) put them all in a small box to be shipped over along with copies of your script. But also get another lot to bring with you as you don't know how long it will take before you get your things out of storage.
That depends entirely on what medication a person is on, and whether you get it from the GP here in Singapore or from the pharmacy.

Noten, for example costs $10 in Australia on a general script

Here in Singapore at the GP we were (over)charged at a price of S$20.

At the pharmacy however we bought the same medication for
S$7 (about $6 Australian).

The trick is, however, convincing the doctor to write out the scripts which most don't want to do.

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Post by Leone Fabre » Mon, 23 Jul 2007 4:26 pm

I have never had a problem getting my scripts in Australia, the GP knows that we live OS ....... and it is a lot cheaper for me too. For 6 mths supply you only need to pay ONE dispensing fee for example for each medication.

Plus, the big UPSIDE of getting the scripts in Australia (for us anyway) is that we get the CORRECT medication. Here in Singapore my husband was given incorrect medication and dosage. He has been very ill - on and off - for the past 10 days with internal bleeding. In Singapore when you visit the Doctor they prescribe and dispense the medication and it is given to you in little self sealed plastic bags.

In Australia (and I assume elsewhere) you collect your medication from a chemist and it comes in bottles or packages that are CLEARLY marked as to what it contains and the dosage.......plus it often contains a leaflet as to any harmful side effects..... but not here in Singapore.

Had we been more aware of what he was taking we may have questioned it further ...... we are now forewarned and will get all our medication from Australia!!!

The above may not be applicable for everyone...I am just giving our own personal experience. :-))

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Post by Splatted » Mon, 23 Jul 2007 4:49 pm

Leone Fabre wrote:I have never had a problem getting my scripts in Australia, the GP knows that we live OS .......
Hi Leone,

Sorry, I was referring to Singaporean doctors. Most want to sell you their own supply of drugs at an exhorbitant profit.

But if you manage to convince the doctor to write a script (which I did last time) you can buy from the local pharmacy. The medicine at the local pharmacy comes in the regular boxes, is labelled and does have the drug leaflets inside.

We actually checked out the prices first beforehand at the local pharmacy to make sure it was the cheaper option. I was also familiar with the drug name, of what i was on "atenolol" so it was easy for me to tell if they gave me the wrong drug.

I do however agree with you that the standard is somewhat lower here with regards to healthcare. We visited 2 different pharmacies on Orchard and asked for folic acid.

The sales staff on both occasions offered us either the over-priced blackmores brand, or a loosely packed cheaper brand they sold by the strip. What the assistants on both occasions didn't know was that the loose strips they wanted to sell me were 5mg strength! (to be used in conjunction with cancer therapy), rather than the 0.5mg strengh (used for pregnancy in 1st trimester).

I was amazed that in both instances they didn't know the difference.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 24 Jul 2007 12:22 am

Splatted wrote:=

The sales staff on both occasions offered us either the over-priced blackmores brand, or a loosely packed cheaper brand they sold by the strip. What the assistants on both occasions didn't know was that the loose strips they wanted to sell me were 5mg strength! (to be used in conjunction with cancer therapy), rather than the 0.5mg strengh (used for pregnancy in 1st trimester).

I was amazed that in both instances they didn't know the difference.
If you knew how much (little) Pharmacists earn here you would understand why! :(
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Post by Matney » Tue, 24 Jul 2007 7:54 am

Electrical plugs are different, but can easily be cut off and put the correct plug on. Then you don't have all the extension cords around. We did it with no problems.

If you haven't enrolled your children, you most likely won't have a place for them when school starts. Good luck with that one, we have all been through it and survived.

If you get your GP to send you with a 6 month supply, I wouldn't put it in the shipment as you're not sure how long it will take. It will get very hot in the container, which may effect the medicine. I'd put it in one of the suitcases.

If any of you have big feet, bring shoes. If you are large size, bring clothing. Foods you think you'll miss and not sure about, stick some in the container and enjoy it when it gets here. Things I miss, I enjoy more when I get back!
:wink:

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Post by jpatokal » Tue, 24 Jul 2007 8:52 pm

BTW, drugs in Malaysia are half price compared to Singapore, Thailand is cheaper yet, and India is ridiculously cheap. For example, the cetirizine (Zyrtec) I use for allergies is $6-10 a strip in Sing depending on where you buy it and if you get the branded or the generic kind. Exactly the same stuff is ~6 RM ($3) in Malaysia, under 50 baht ($2) in Thailand and a scarcely credible 25 rupees (<$1) in India. And they don't bother too much with prescriptions in any of these places...
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