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What do expats actually like about singapore?

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Postby tfntennis » Fri, 06 Jun 2008 6:05 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:Welcome back, Ozbabe. There goes the peace!

:kiss:

Changi Airport is incredible. From the second the plane touches ground, to the second I step into my home, ALWAYS less than 60 minutes. Hard to beat.


Unless there is a traffic jam on your way home...... :lol:

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Postby QRM » Sun, 08 Jun 2008 10:06 pm

Here are two more nice things I noticed,

1. Mangos, Rambutan fruit trees on the sidewalk still with fruit hanging!! ( I know you get hung, drawn and quartered if you steal the "Govt" fruit ).

2. The drive from the airport to town, Singapore makes a real effort to make it a pleasant as possible, with flowers along the highway divider and greenery along most of the route. In the rest of the world you have to pass through some real worn-torn industrial burbs before you come to town.

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Sun, 08 Jun 2008 11:20 pm

I'm a "reverse-expat", have been away for 13 years now and have lived in Europe (France, Spain, Germany and now Italy) and the USA.

Singapore IS a Garden City. How I have missed the good mix of urban and green on the island. Over here you usually only have one or the other.

I hate the 4 seasons unless I can just spend winter skiing and not just live it. 33ºC at the most and 24ºC min, that's a luxury. No need to rotate my wardrobe.

I wish I do not have to live the red tape and inefficiencies in so-called 1st world countries in the West. And pay taxes through the nose only not to get services or infrastructure because they tend to manage public money so badly.

And Singapore is cosmopolitan. Different races and cultures who respect each other, people who usually travel alot. I'm Parisian and love Paris, but I don't think Parisians in general travel as much as the average Singaporean. Or like to eat different foods the way we do. Come to Modena and you'll puke seeing those Italians eating pasta and pizza everyday and thinking it's the only good food on earth.

And Singaporeans no matter where they go adapt beautifully - because Singapore trains you to keep your minds open and enjoy what new things you may find. Change - if you have to.

Saying something is as good as doing it. I miss that too, whether in private or in public, Singapore is a place that keeps her promises.

We keep hearing people criticising Singapore for her lack of freedom. But having lived the past decade in so-called free countries, I honestly and sincerely don't see in which way freedom is lacking on the island. On the contrary, she offers much more than you can imagine both in freedom to and from.

I only regret the lack of nice old things in the country, the lack of land, and the hard life kids go thru because of what the school system expects of them.

And the lack of opportunity for me to move back.
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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Postby Plavt » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 12:02 am

Or like to eat different foods the way we do. Come to Modena and you'll puke seeing those Italians eating pasta and pizza everyday and thinking it's the only good food on earth.


There are far more restaurants of a much wider variety in Europe than in Singapore and what is wrong with Italians eating their native or national dish? I still can't face that pig's organ soup.


And Singaporeans no matter where they go adapt beautifully - because Singapore trains you to keep your minds open and enjoy what new things you may find. Change - if you have to.


Ha ha now you are living in 'cloud-cuckoo' land. There is one young lady on this board who spent the winters in her college room with the heaters turned up full blast - don't think she was too keen on going outside.

Saying something is as good as doing it. I miss that too, whether in private or in public, Singapore is a place that keeps her promises.


They say you are guilty your are.:P

We keep hearing people criticising Singapore for her lack of freedom. But having lived the past decade in so-called free countries, I honestly and sincerely don't see in which way freedom is lacking on the island.


Hmmm......I believe you can be arrested and imprisoned for taking drugs abroad, some of Singapore's laws extend to the privacy of your own bedroom and homosexuality is a crime.:o

:o

Actually there are some positive points: low unemployment, low crime, good climate, plenty of places to eat, a good transport system and clean public toilets. Nothing wrong with finding fault with a place you can do that anywhere. There is nearly always a plus and a minus, just depends which suits you more.

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 12:46 am

Plavt, come to Modena (one of the richest cities in Italy). You can count on your fingers the non-Italian restaurants here. The only Indian restaurant closed down and was replaced by yet another Italian restaurant. Don't get me wrong, I love Italian food, but having known others, I have difficulty eating it EVERYDAY. And I do not know which part of Europe you were talking about, but having lived years in France (especially Paris), Spain and Germany, I disagree with you. For such a small country, Singapore has an amazing variety of restaurants and cuisines on offer and in the last few years we are also moving into fusion food, not just cooking it but training chefs for it. Maybe not El Bulli standards, but we do experiment with our food. And if people eat pig's organ soup all the time they must like it. And if they don't they'll have other things to eat. Not here where I am.

You knew one lady. I did my postgrad in Paris and those bunch of Singaporeans I knew there were the ones who never failed to organise ski trips during winter, cheese and wine evenings, who held leadership positions in their foreign schools' student councils etc etc.

The Brits introduced this law against homosexuality here on our tropical island and only banned it themselves not too long ago. In any case, important laws are enforced and less important ones ignored. The beauty of the Asian holistic approach to things. I've gay friends (including a few holding important positions in the Civil Service) in Singapore and as far as I know they are living happy lives with absolutely no fear of whatever they're doing in the privacy of their bedrooms.

And I'm sorry, but if you can take drugs with you abroad, you have it with you before. The idea is that drugs are prohibited so if you have it (have even touched it), you should be punished. I have lived years with an uncle who was a drug addict and I can still remember the damage he caused himself and the people who loved him, so I personally have no sympathy for those who traffic in them.
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Postby Plavt » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 4:54 am

Petalez,
You have not understood my post, when I said taking drugs abroad I was referring to Singaporeans taking drugs and then returning home where the police sometimes raid various clubs and subject people to drug tests. Under those circumstances if a Singaporean has taken a drug in another country but still proves positive (which is possible since many drugs remain in the bloodstream for as much as a month). They can then be charged under Singapore Law yet the offence has been committed elsewhere.

The Singaporeans you knew are a group personal to yourself and I did not know one lady I was referring to a post made by a poster here. I am well aware Singapore has a variety of restaurants but Singapore is an island and it may only appear better than elsewhere in respect of its size. To bad you can't eat Italian food everyday, what would you say in the rural parts of England where we eat English food everyday? :P

On the other hand you might be surprised at the Indian restaurants in England. There is in fact an award winning one in the north that cannot get chefs trained in their way of cooking and has to acquire them from India.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 7:04 am

I think petalez should compare apples to apples.

If one were to make comparisons, then one should take the most cosmopolitan international connection city in the country and then compare it with Singapore which is a City-State. That way the comparison takes on some meaning.

As far an France is concerned, one must remember it is, after all, only France.

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Postby cutiebutie » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 9:54 am

I'd have to agree with the souffle-man in regard to restaurants, whethr it is Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo, you do have a greater variety in many Asian cities simply because of he amount of expats or tourists or locals who have traveled abroad. (London may be the exception for Europe, however)

Comparisons, SMS? How about Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Boston, Phoenix, Munich, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Milan - to name a few only. I think Brussels would come after London in having lots of foreign fare.
Because Singapore trains you to keep your minds open and enjoy what new things you may find.


Umm, a resounding I DON'T THINK SO for this one.
But having lived the past decade in so-called free countries, I honestly and sincerely don't see in which way freedom is lacking on the island. On the contrary, she offers much more than you can imagine both in freedom to and from.


You would have t give me a few examples of this freedom in Singapore that is lacking elsewhere - I believe the UK has the most CCTV cameras in the world, I wonder where Singapore ranks.
As for political freedom???? I doubt Singapore can match any European country, and let's not even talk about freedom of expression. :roll:

I think it is safe to say that Singapore offers a lot, more than most Asian countries in terms of internationalism but that is largely due to the number of foreign firms here and the easy lifestyle for foreigners as well as the adaptation of locals to these ways.

Freedoms? Perhaps, but limited in areas.
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 10:52 am

We have to choose our freedoms. There is nowhere in the world where one gets total freedom as there is no such thing. For me, Singapore offers these freedoms:

- freedom to keep what I work hard to earn
- freedom from drugs, random shootings and stabbings
- freedom to stay out late at night without fearing for my life
- freedom from the frustration of waiting or having things not work
- freedom of access to almost anywhere in the world

There is always a trade-off. Is freedom of expression invariably and inevitably a good thing? Of course not. Years ago I arranged to meet friends in Piccadilly Circus - some demonstration held up all traffic the entire day - cost in terms of human frustration, economic impact, wasted time (for the majority of us, Brits included, NOT involved nor interested in the demonstration)?

Freedom is a red herring. To say Singapore is 'more free' or 'less free' as an absolute, all-encompassing statement makes no sense. There are only types of freedoms, and the trade-offs you're willing to make.

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Mon, 09 Jun 2008 4:05 pm

Buongiorno! OK, I'm going to try to squeeze in a reply before my Italian teacher arrives.

Plavt, yes grass is known to stay in the bloodstream for a long time, just for that, better to avoid it. Anyway, I can understand why one gets charged simply for testing positive because it is kind of difficult to determine when and where you consumed it, no? So knowing that it stays a long time in the blood, maybe better not to have anything to do with it a month before you arrive in Singapore. It's like divers having to watch when they do their last dive before they fly.

The group of Singaporeans I know overseas may be personal but when you see that you can count easily the number of Singaporeans in Europe (excluding the UK), you can say that I have a good sampling of my fellow countrymen overseas (e.g. school, work, associations, forums, clubs). Besides I'm an avid blogger and I've access to many blogs held by fellow Singaporeans and Malaysians and thru their posts you have a pretty good idea of the way they live in their adopted countries and I can say that they usually adapt well. Complain and whine from time to time - yes, but still adapting well.

Singapore is a City-State. Though even in the heartlands nowadays you can find French cooking in hawker stalls. In a way that's no different from any major city in the rest of the world in that restaurants are mainly concentrated in the big cities. So if I compare Singapore to Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Bologna, Munich etc, I was comparing apples with apples. And Singapore has alot to offer.

And if you say France is only France, then you do not know what you are talking about because France is a food haven. The most amazing foods are being concocted everyday across France and each region has its own specialties. Eat across France, read a few food blogs, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Freedom is how you live it as far as I'm concerned. If you really feel restricted (and not because people keep telling you that you are), then fair enough. But I feel free when I live in Singapore and I feel just slightly less so when I'm living in most European cities. Mainly due to the bureaucracy, the way you have no freedom to do what you wish with your hard-earned money, the higher crime rates probably.

The government's bark is usually tougher than its bite. It's like me wielding the cane (having used it hard at least once so that it'll be remembered) on the kids creating some fear so that I could have some peace and order in my household. Doesn't mean I use it as I like, there must after all be rules about punishment whether at home or out of it. But it's necessary. I see the chaos here in Italy, the way it's so mafioso even in the richer North and how it extends to almost every part of the life here. They would do better if they have some consensus with regard to authority and how it should be respected.

You will say that Singapore is a paternalistic state. Probably true, but what's wrong with that? When I was doing my post-grad research (Political Science) I discovered that Chinese societies were moving towards enlightenment at similar speeds as most European societies. But decided at some point to stop. They preferred to embrace more holistic ways of thought and action. Not everything can be explained by pure logic. You have to just go with the flow of things. They probably would have done better if they didn't let marxism enter their lives.

And I maintain that we have been in many ways trained to keep an open mind. We do not always agree with what we see but we will try to understand, even embrace it while we are there. Because we know that nobody owes us a living and that in itself keeps us on our toes and make us open our eyes. In Singapore you have easy access to the WWW. We are educated in English and can understand almost everything that is going on elsewhere. We travel alot because the right to a passport is almost an acquired one. Many Singaporeans are educated overseas. We are always being bombarded with foreign influence and knowledge. And I can tell you that once you've lived overseas for a long time, you actually like your own country very much because you begin to see for yourself what you really had. Not all the negative stuff that the rest of the world likes to feed you with when you're back home and not going anywhere.

Just my personal opinion, of course.
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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Postby EADG » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 8:24 am

Ok now I feel compelled to throw my hat into the ring.

Minuses:

1. The food – don’t know what some people are on about, I’ve tried most of it and as one who really likes Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, etc. local food is never something I find myself wanting to eat from just the taste, how it sits out too long, the over-reliance on chili for flavor, the questionable cleanliness of the restaurants, the greasy, fatty unhealthiness of a lot of it. Did I mention the taste?

Much of the Western stuff is marginal, the Japanese mostly awful, often missing the mark on many levels of taste, service, presentation and atmosphere.

What I wouldn’t do for a plain ole' Greek diner…..


2. The landlords and plethora of horrid real estate agents, and the criminal lack of rights of renters

3. The taxi system and many of but definitely not all of the drivers

4. The lower pay I get here just for being here. Ostensibly from the lower cost of living (it's not anymore, even my Tokyo apartment cost less and was larger), and, the lack of proper labor laws, which here only favor the employer

5. The reduced competitive advantage in my company and industry and profession I get from being here instead of NY, London, HK, Tokyo, etc.

6. Lackadaisical, indifferent, incompetent, and/or rude service – seems to be getting slightly better though

7. The distance from the US, UK, Hawaii, Japan, and the time and cost of getting to those places

8. The pettiness, empty confidences, mediocrity, childlike innocences, the accepted dumbed-downesss – a Hanna Barbera-esque Truman Show existence while the rest of the world operates at a “Scrubs”
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Postby local lad » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 9:22 am

EADG wrote:Ok now I feel compelled to throw my hat into the ring.

Minuses:

........

17. Crap health insurance coverage

.......


Could you elaborate on that? As for Street Directory, it is no longer a plus factor.

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 6:28 pm

EADG, can't force you to like Singapore food, of course. It's all a question of personal taste. Like I've been to Greece 4 times staying a week to a month each time and I still do not like the food there. :roll:

You were a little harsh on the Western food on the island though. I've been to many Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and I do not think too badly of Iggy's (Regent Hotel), for example. There's another one operated by a Belgium chef and he makes the most amazing foie gras dishes. And I love chilli. And only those who love chilli would understand how life can be lacking something without it. Threshhold of course as usual is personal.

Check out Chubby Hubby's blog, if you wish, he has interesting reviews on restaurants in Singapore and elsewhere.

I'm sorry for your bad experiences with local estate agents, though some may be doing ok since I've just read a Dutch expat praising his in his blog. Myself, I'm just a HDB kind of poor chap. But the public pool is nearby and only costs 1 buck per entry.

I wish I have our taxi system wherever I live. Try getting them in Paris, Madrid, Stuttgart or Modena - you'll end up having a few cars like I did. Or take the bus (if there is any).

Sorry for your lower pay too. That's personal, of course. Though from what I could see, many of my friends who are married to Europeans all managed to get the spouses to return home with them after living in Europe for a few years - because at the end of the day money stretches more on the island. Unfortunately that would depend on the industry and sector. We have no opportunity to return to Singapore, for example, since my spouse works in the automotive sector. Started to get a bit excited hearing about the F1 coming in in Sep, but that's just an annual thing, wouldn't be able to keep us a whole year in the country.

Rude people, I agree with you, though maybe you should try HK. But probably you'd be spared that if you do not speak Cantonese or shop very local.

Fashion too, I suppose is personal. Like the Singapore girls I know living in Germany and Italy begging for copies of Her World from anybody returning from the island. Italian fashion is too bling, German too sobre. They still prefer Singaporean. Me I'm torn between Spain, Paris and Singapore. My French spouse thinks Japanese women dress horribly in general.

Here in Europe I do not go to the cinema (except in the Champs Elysees in Paris). The most dingy halls and stupid reservation systems, though people maybe do behave better - if you ignore the littering.

Japan, US etc too far? Try living in Europe, dear. I've travelled much more living in Singapore than I do ever since moving to Europe. Just getting to an airport is often a nightmare in most European cities. But if Australia, Indonesia, Indochina etc's your destination, Singapore's great.

Health insurance, you should hear me whine about this over here. You pay every month for it whether you need it or not and when you do, the service is usually crap and you end up having to pay some more. Most Italians for example pay for private insurance on top of the compulsory public one. And I know things are not better in the US, for example, since all the Americans I know whine about theirs back home saying how much better things are in Europe (!!!).

In Singapore we have NO insurance coverage (aka no need to pay every month whether you like it or not). But medical care is good and reasonably priced, I return home for all important interventions and they would still cost me less without any insurance - compared to what I would need to pay in Europe - after insurance. The only problem, and it's an important one, is that if you have a long-term illness in Singapore, you would usually be grilled. A whole family can get indebted for that. But the idea is to place the responsibility on the individual and not burden the rest of the population which if you look at the enormous deficits in Europe you'll understand why. Still, I agree that we should really study the system seriously. I've currently 2 relatives being left to die of cancer because they are poor.

Anyway at the end of the day whether we like a place or not it's all really personal. In my experience it often also happened this way : I didn't really like Stuttgart but when I started living in Modena, suddenly Stuttgart seemed like paradise and so on :P And I love Singapore and regret leaving it, but then I know I also hate the lack of space on the island and the fact that I knew when my neighbour moved his furniture in his living room and he knew at what time I showered last night.
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Postby sourisso » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 3:15 pm

Though even in the heartlands nowadays you can find French cooking in hawker stalls


being a french i'd like to see this... where ?

"Western" food in hawker stalls is most of the time bad (do i need to mention ?) fast-food.

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Postby cutiebutie » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 3:34 pm

sourisso wrote:
Though even in the heartlands nowadays you can find French cooking in hawker stalls


being a french i'd like to see this... where ?

"Western" food in hawker stalls is most of the time bad (do i need to mention ?) fast-food.


Being a French what? Or is it up to others to add an adjective? :D
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