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What do expats actually like about singapore?

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What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby QRM » Wed, 14 May 2008 2:12 pm

To ensures employers give huge financial compensation for the hardship posting. All the expats have to pass the compulsory moaning and wingeing test before being allowed to call themselves a true expat.


So to go against the grain why not have a thread on what expats like about Singapore

Here are Five to get things started.

1. Immigration at Changi:

The first impression of a country really counts, they are smiley, helpful, courteous, and even give you sweets. In total contrast to immigration staff in the United States, who must have received their training from Abu Ghraib school of hospitality.

2. Beaches:

Ten minute drive from the city and you have deserted beaches, OK they are all fake, the water is the consistency of sewage, you look over hundreds of rusty freighters and an oil refinery, but they are still white sand beaches and great for a stroll.

3. Baby friendly:

Not many places in the world welcome kids in upmarket restaurants, people stop you in the street to say how cute your child is.

It is a bit confusing as most Singaporeans I spoken to are happy to fob off the kids on the maid or grand parents. If I asked my parents to look after the kids full time, I know the reply would be along the lines of making my own bed and sleeping in it.

4. Clean, reliable, and easy commute to work:

Colleague at work would regularly spend 4-5 hours a day commuting in London. When people here, say the public transport is over crowded, they should try a Victorian era transport system with no air-conditioning. One hour below ground in central London will have your nose full of black soot.

5. Great Public toilets:

Where else in the world would you walk into a public toilet and say Hmmm this smells nice, seriously, happened a few times, and you have uncle or auntie Pi Pi on hand to help with the drips.

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Postby Jeppo » Wed, 14 May 2008 3:19 pm

You forgot SPGs :cool:

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Postby tfntennis » Wed, 14 May 2008 3:56 pm

Sad that I still get to read / hear expats complain about the most trival things

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Postby Turtle » Wed, 14 May 2008 4:24 pm

I agree with most of that, one word I would say describes Singapore very well is "efficient". Things do what it says on the box. The public transport systems are by far the most efficient and cost effective as I've seen anywhere in the world. If you consider how packed full of people the place is, that's really very impressive. Even government services are efficient... how often can you say that? Of course the reason things are efficient is because the bus driver is wetting himself that his bus might not be one of the 98% of buses that's on time, but you do what you gotta do! :wink:

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 14 May 2008 4:25 pm

QRM wrote:To ensures employers give huge financial compensation for the hardship posting. All the expats have to pass the compulsory moaning and wingeing test before being allowed to call themselves a true expat.


So to go against the grain why not have a thread on what expats like about Singapore

Sorry, have to disagree.

Here are Five to get things started.

1. Immigration at Changi:

The first impression of a country really counts, they are smiley, helpful, courteous, and even give you sweets. In total contrast to immigration staff in the United States, who must have received their training from Abu Ghraib school of hospitality.

I have never found the Immigration officers at Changi to be warm or smiley. The actual people stamping passport or more like automotons than people. No human interaction at all. Great airport, but the Immigration staff are stiffs, who never say 'you're welcome' despite my offer of thanks. I always get a big 'Welcome Home' whenever I arrive in the US.

2. Beaches:

Ten minute drive from the city and you have deserted beaches, OK they are all fake, the water is the consistency of sewage, you look over hundreds of rusty freighters and an oil refinery, but they are still white sand beaches and great for a stroll.

The beaches are the biggest disappointment about living here, on this tropical island. Total, worthless crap in the vein of a poor, imitation of Disneyworld. Imported sand, landscaped trees, plaster boulders.


3. Baby friendly:

Not many places in the world welcome kids in upmarket restaurants, people stop you in the street to say how cute your child is.

It is a bit confusing as most Singaporeans I spoken to are happy to fob off the kids on the maid or grand parents. If I asked my parents to look after the kids full time, I know the reply would be along the lines of making my own bed and sleeping in it.

Being inept at a lot of social graces (knowing when to answer a cell phone, knowing what to wear to the theatre) it's no wonder Singaporeans (and expats too!) bring babies where they just don't belong. Last thing I want to do when dining out with adults is have to work our conversation around a crying baby and an active toddler.

4. Clean, reliable, and easy commute to work:

Colleague at work would regularly spend 4-5 hours a day commuting in London. When people here, say the public transport is over crowded, they should try a Victorian era transport system with no air-conditioning. One hour below ground in central London will have your nose full of black soot.

Newer? yes. Cleaner? yes. The MRT is fine. But the amount of cars on the road now, compared to ten years ago is a travesty. They ruined a good thing.

5. Great Public toilets:

Where else in the world would you walk into a public toilet and say Hmmm this smells nice, seriously, happened a few times, and you have uncle or auntie Pi Pi on hand to help with the drips.

Well, I guess they're alright, but not for the same reasons :o




My Top 5

1. It's safe

2. The school is good

3. I have friends here

4. The airport is close by and easy to use

5. My husband can always find work here

Beaches? You gotta be kiddin' me!

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Postby durain » Wed, 14 May 2008 5:52 pm

the grass is always greener on the other side. but sometimes people still like their own less green grass in their home country.

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Postby Turtle » Wed, 14 May 2008 6:01 pm

Just don't forget that the grass is also greener around the places where dogs urinate!

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby NativeTexan » Thu, 15 May 2008 3:37 am

road.not.taken wrote:Here are Five to get things started.

1. Immigration at Changi:

The first impression of a country really counts, they are smiley, helpful, courteous, and even give you sweets. In total contrast to immigration staff in the United States, who must have received their training from Abu Ghraib school of hospitality.

I have never found the Immigration officers at Changi to be warm or smiley. The actual people stamping passport or more like automotons than people. No human interaction at all. Great airport, but the Immigration staff are stiffs, who never say 'you're welcome' despite my offer of thanks. I always get a big 'Welcome Home' whenever I arrive in the US.


Immigration and customs officials are almost universally humorless people by design. They are deliberately trained to be like automatons because their job is entirely to enforce laws and not to make friends (or be swayed in their duties by anyone's friendliness).

That said, the reason you hear a "welcome home" when you return to the US is because you are a US citizen. You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful. My last trip home I saw some obese she-cow customs baggage handler literally yelling at a poor confused Japanese man to "PARK IT!" with his suitcase. I had to intervene and explain to her that he was just confused because she was using slang that didn't make sense to him.

At least in Singapore they are efficient and courteous. Of all the things to be proud of about America, our immigration/customs policies and procedures sure as heck aren't on the list.

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby Plavt » Thu, 15 May 2008 5:20 am

NativeTexan wrote:
You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful.


Thank you! I well remember the attitude my own mother got crossing from Canada to the US by land; the customs officers had and presumably still have the manners of pigs! Her diabetic kit was thrown around as like a worthless piece of junk and the fact she is disabled and cannot walk unaided didn't seem worthy of consideration.

I have no complaints about the Singapore immigration officials and even managed to have a laugh and a joke with them on the numerous times I have left and re-entered the country.

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby road.not.taken » Thu, 15 May 2008 5:54 am

NativeTexan wrote:That said, the reason you hear a "welcome home" when you return to the US is because you are a US citizen. You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful. My last trip home I saw some obese she-cow customs baggage handler literally yelling at a poor confused Japanese man to "PARK IT!" with his suitcase. I had to intervene and explain to her that he was just confused because she was using slang that didn't make sense to him.


No doubt there are rude people the worldwide -- it has been my experience at Changi that the immigration people are barely conscious. I wouldn't put 'Immigration at Changi' in the plus column unless to just say: fast (which it is).

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby tfntennis » Thu, 15 May 2008 9:22 am

NativeTexan wrote:
road.not.taken wrote:Here are Five to get things started.

1. Immigration at Changi:

The first impression of a country really counts, they are smiley, helpful, courteous, and even give you sweets. In total contrast to immigration staff in the United States, who must have received their training from Abu Ghraib school of hospitality.

I have never found the Immigration officers at Changi to be warm or smiley. The actual people stamping passport or more like automotons than people. No human interaction at all. Great airport, but the Immigration staff are stiffs, who never say 'you're welcome' despite my offer of thanks. I always get a big 'Welcome Home' whenever I arrive in the US.


Immigration and customs officials are almost universally humorless people by design. They are deliberately trained to be like automatons because their job is entirely to enforce laws and not to make friends (or be swayed in their duties by anyone's friendliness).

That said, the reason you hear a "welcome home" when you return to the US is because you are a US citizen. You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful. My last trip home I saw some obese she-cow customs baggage handler literally yelling at a poor confused Japanese man to "PARK IT!" with his suitcase. I had to intervene and explain to her that he was just confused because she was using slang that didn't make sense to him.
At least in Singapore they are efficient and courteous. Of all the things to be proud of about America, our immigration/customs policies and procedures sure as heck aren't on the list.


I guess you need to learn American Slang before going to America in future.

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby Turtle » Thu, 15 May 2008 10:52 am

Plavt wrote:
NativeTexan wrote:
You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful.


Thank you! I well remember the attitude my own mother got crossing from Canada to the US by land; the customs officers had and presumably still have the manners of pigs! Her diabetic kit was thrown around as like a worthless piece of junk and the fact she is disabled and cannot walk unaided didn't seem worthy of consideration.

I have no complaints about the Singapore immigration officials and even managed to have a laugh and a joke with them on the numerous times I have left and re-entered the country.


From what I've seen, it's the opposite here compared to the US: in Singapore, and not just at the airport, expats and tourists tend to be treated a lot more respectfully, courteously and in a much friendlier manner than locals. Even at fast food restaurants, Caucasians tend to get addressed as Sir or Ma'am, Asians tend to get the usual grunting that you expect from a fast food place.

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Re: What do expats actually like about singapore?

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 15 May 2008 10:53 am

road.not.taken wrote:
NativeTexan wrote:That said, the reason you hear a "welcome home" when you return to the US is because you are a US citizen. You should pay closer attention to the treatment non-US citizens get at our borders. It's absolutely shameful. My last trip home I saw some obese she-cow customs baggage handler literally yelling at a poor confused Japanese man to "PARK IT!" with his suitcase. I had to intervene and explain to her that he was just confused because she was using slang that didn't make sense to him.


No doubt there are rude people the worldwide -- it has been my experience at Changi that the immigration people are barely conscious. I wouldn't put 'Immigration at Changi' in the plus column unless to just say: fast (which it is).


It really depends when you show up. If the lines are long, they will be doing a boring, yet important, job as quickly as possible so the grumblers in line won't complain so much.

But if you show up outside of peak periods I've found them all to be friendly. It really just depends on how YOU behave. Ditto for the ferry terminals.

The US treats its citizens just barely OK and everyone else poorly. Dubai isn't much better. Malaysia is pretty good, Indonesia is 'pliable'.

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Postby Forks » Thu, 15 May 2008 12:38 pm

Immigration - look more like suffering NS people to me, ill fitting uniforms and the kinda look one gets from the teenagers at a fast food outlet, no wait I get better service at a fast food outlet.

The nice fake beaches - Do I need to take my passport as Im siting on sand from Malaysia or wherever, perhapses there should be an immigration booth at the beach then.

baby friendly - yes they are but they stare like they have never seen kids from another country before, from cars, passing buses, even slowing down sometime.

Clean, reliable, and easy commute to work - yes its all that but its also dull, boring and overpriced

Public toilets - what other country in the world has a wallOposters in the urinal exhorting people to not piss on the floor, or where aiming points are provided and still you can be slipping around on a floor awash in piss. Yes the aunti is nice but im a big boy now.

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Postby Jeppo » Thu, 15 May 2008 12:47 pm

Forks wrote:Public toilets - what other country in the world has a wallOposters in the urinal exhorting people to not piss on the floor, or where aiming points are provided and still you can be slipping around on a floor awash in piss. Yes the aunti is nice but im a big boy now.


Plus the signs that tell people not to stand on the toilets.


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