How easily do Asian-Americans integrate into Singapore socie

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
Post Reply
Lifedreamer
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 9:52 pm

How easily do Asian-Americans integrate into Singapore socie

Post by Lifedreamer » Tue, 17 Jul 2007 9:55 pm

I'm not sure if this is a sensitive question, but here goes anyway.

I'm a female Asian-American (ethnically 100% Chinese, but born and bred in NY) still starting out of my career, having graduated from college just a few years ago and now working for a tech firm in California. I'm planning to move permanently to Singapore in the not-too-distant future (say, within the next 2-3 years) to be with my boyfriend, a Singaporean. I've been to Singapore a few times, but only on relatively short visits (7-10 days) and have never worked or inquired about employment there.

Here's my question: how easy is it for Asian-Americans to integrate into Singapore society? I know a little bit of Mandarin, but am not at all fluent. Also, with my limited work experience, I'm aiming for little more than a regular entry-level professional job with some local firm, not some 'exclusive' cushy expat posting. My impression of Singaporeans so far is that they're absolutely wonderful people (after all, I'm planning to marry one!). But I haven't seen enough of Singaporean society across the board to know what kind of reception to expect in the workplace.

If you are an Asian-American working in Singapore (or if you know one), I'd really appreciate it if you can share some of your experiences and perhaps some tips for making the transition smoother. In fact, I'd love to hear any and all thoughts on this issue from anyone.

Thanks a lot!

huggybear
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 9:07 am
Location: Hibernation

Post by huggybear » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 7:04 am

just go to butter factory friday and saturday night.

you'll meet more of your kind there.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 39647
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Answers: 10
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 9:27 am

Huggy, you lost me on that one. Methinks I'm out of touch with modern slang/terminalogy :wink:

There have been a number of banana's come to Singapore and did not have a problem (Americans, Canadians and other). Several are media types and most have been admittedly male. Having said that I don't think you will have an integration issue but it may not be quite as bad as one would think seeing you have already secured a permanent introduction of sorts. This always make integration easier.

sms
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

User avatar
La grande boucle
Regular
Regular
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 3:53 pm
Location: Singapore

Post by La grande boucle » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 9:39 am

As you can read from the two above posts, the problems aren't so much to be expected from fellow chinese, but merely from caucasian expats.

You'll be fine, just know that Singaporeans at their workplace are a totally different ballgame, once they step into their office, they get evil.

huggybear
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 9:07 am
Location: Hibernation

Post by huggybear » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 10:01 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Huggy, you lost me on that one. Methinks I'm out of touch with modern slang/terminalogy :wink:

There have been a number of banana's come to Singapore and did not have a problem (Americans, Canadians and other). Several are media types and most have been admittedly male. Having said that I don't think you will have an integration issue but it may not be quite as bad as one would think seeing you have already secured a permanent introduction of sorts. This always make integration easier.

sms
Nah. haha.

although they don't call them banana's anymore ... they're called "ABC" for American Born Chinese. If you want to see their "plight" you can watch a movie called better luck tomorrow. movie about a bunch of whiny ABCs that don't fit the stereotype of American Asian (smart in math / science...play piano / tennis etc).

Butter Factory is a club in Robertson Quay. Where the ABCs hang out on: Wed, Fri, Sat.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 39647
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 1:26 pm
Answers: 10
Location: Retired on the Little Red Dot

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 11:22 am

AAAhhhhh. It's a club. Thought it might be but I don't do the partying scene anymore. I still use the term banana as it encompasses ABC's, CBC,s, BBC's, etc. Amer/Can/Brit Born Chinese.

I don't have any problem integrating or associating with ABC's at all (and I doubt that any Expat would have a problem), matter of fact, it's easier than assimilating with locals as ABC's speak a more easily understood form of English (to our ears that is) and also understand our humour which generally goes completely over the heads of locals (unless it's vaudeville slapstick ala Mr. Bean), lifestyles, slang, etc. I've actually worked with Robin Leong several times when he was still an actor with TCS/MediaCorp in a couple of their drama serials. By the way, his mandarin was atrocious as well when he first started. Don't know if it's improved or not now.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

ascq
Member
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 11:13 am

Post by ascq » Wed, 25 Jul 2007 9:17 pm

I am in a similar situation (but am married to expat). I have found both positive and negative. I have expat and local friends. However, sometimes it is hard to straddle the two---some expats are not friendly because I am Asian (I think that's why??) in appearance, and some locals are not friendly because I have an American accent and don't speak Mandarin. The expats who are like this I don't want to bother with anyway, and the locals warm up if you are kind to them. HTH.

ascq
Member
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 11:13 am

Post by ascq » Wed, 25 Jul 2007 9:19 pm

Also, funny you should mention Robin. I know him from Chi Life. He seems friendly to expats and locals alike.

huggybear
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 9:07 am
Location: Hibernation

Post by huggybear » Thu, 26 Jul 2007 8:01 am

ascq wrote:I am in a similar situation (but am married to expat). I have found both positive and negative. I have expat and local friends. However, sometimes it is hard to straddle the two---some expats are not friendly because I am Asian (I think that's why??) in appearance, and some locals are not friendly because I have an American accent and don't speak Mandarin. The expats who are like this I don't want to bother with anyway, and the locals warm up if you are kind to them. HTH.
so everyone in the world is happy, friendly and fuzzy to you? Even in the states? wow. you should run for president.

borneogeek
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 8:13 pm

Post by borneogeek » Sat, 28 Jul 2007 8:31 pm

I moved to Singapore from NY a year ago and so far the novelty of working in Asia hasn't really worn off. I'm ethnically half chinese and half pacific islander but I look 100% chinese so I confuse the heck outta the locals at times. It doesn't help that i speak no mandarin at all.......although I've found that not speaking chinese isn't a hindrance since the average singaporean speaks english (or singlish rather). I don't know about the other guys on this forum but when i open my mouth, people automatically assume I'm an expat. You'll probably pick up some singlish anyway which can come in handy...like, if you don't wanna be short-changed by a cabby.

It is true that having a Singaporean boyfriend will ease your transition into the culture and probably the work ethic here. I don't enjoy that luxury however since my girlfriend is an Asian American herself and lives in San Fran.. and will herself be moving here in a couple years.

I haven't really met many other Asian Americans here. I think we tend to sorta blend into the crowd. Having said that my friends include a good mix of other Americans and some local peeps from the company I work for.

I do miss NY quite a bit but my work takes me back to the America pretty often so I can't complain. If you're from New York and used to tight spaces like I am, Singapore isn't that bad at all. I find the people nice enough. I'm working on a local contract and not a "cushy expat" contract as you amusingly call it. But I'm relatively comfortable.

Hope this helps you.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests