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Moving to Singapore this Spring...

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

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skystopper
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Postby skystopper » Fri, 28 Jan 2011 12:19 am

matski wrote:my intention is to eat more local food as opposed to wasting money on western food. I'm a vegeterain anyway so dont mind a life of rice and noodles :D


You're a vegetarian? I'm a vegetarian too! :D
There's a high population of people in Singapore as a vegetarian. You can find lots of vegetarian shops/stalls/restaurant, throughout the entire island.

P.S. Good luck and welcome to Singapore.

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Postby matski » Fri, 28 Jan 2011 6:39 pm

You're a vegetarian? I'm a vegetarian too! Very Happy
There's a high population of people in Singapore as a vegetarian. You can find lots of vegetarian shops/stalls/restaurant, throughout the entire island.

P.S. Good luck and welcome to Singapore.


Thanks skystopper!, and yes I heard there was a devent population of Vegetarians, which makes me happy as I was slightly worried about having a vegeterian diet in an Asian country!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 28 Jan 2011 11:08 pm

There are loads of Hindu Vegans here so no worries.

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Postby matski » Sat, 29 Jan 2011 1:04 am

Ooh, Im quite the fan of vegeterian Indian food too!.

I had a couple of questions, quite vague. But basically I found out I need to pay for my flights and Hotel and stuff but will get it reimbursed later. This has come as a big shock as I have zero savings and no credit cards. I am trying to work out rough costs of these things so I can figure out how much I need and to also make my company realise how much they seem to somehow magic into existence.
I have worked out a one way flight from London will cost me upto £500/£600
But I need to know an average cost of a Hotel for 2 weeks and what kind of deposit I am likely to pay for a rented enquite room (paying roughly $1000 a month).

Hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.

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Postby nn27 » Sat, 29 Jan 2011 2:55 am

hotels in Singapore are quite expensive in my opinion. You could easily be spending S$100 a night for a small room. try checking out the local search engines rather than expedia or other UK based hotel search. Or, if your employer will reimburse a temporary vacation rental, that may be a cheaper option (rent a room in someone's place). You can find listings for those on craigslist, but it may be tricky with getting proper receipts for reimbursement.

Also keep in mind extras such as excessive baggage fees on your flight, transport to the place you will be staying, etc. Keep receipts for everything! even if you think it's overboard (such as taxi fare, MRT, food on your flight, etc.). They can refuse to reimburse you for those things, but you wouldn't have the option if you don't hang on to the paperwork.

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Postby elguapo » Sun, 30 Jan 2011 9:21 pm

matski wrote:Ooh, Im quite the fan of vegeterian Indian food too!.

I had a couple of questions, quite vague. But basically I found out I need to pay for my flights and Hotel and stuff but will get it reimbursed later. This has come as a big shock as I have zero savings and no credit cards. I am trying to work out rough costs of these things so I can figure out how much I need and to also make my company realise how much they seem to somehow magic into existence.
I have worked out a one way flight from London will cost me upto £500/£600
But I need to know an average cost of a Hotel for 2 weeks and what kind of deposit I am likely to pay for a rented enquite room (paying roughly $1000 a month).

Hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.


It seems a bit rough to be expecting you to be pay for flights on expenses. They are a straight forward business expense and I've never encountered a company that would do that for long haul travel, esp. given your not on a salary that gives you the cash to fund that kind of cost.

If they really want you in Singapore, then arranging and paying for flights and a bit of short term accom is the minimum you should expect.

It speaks volumes about your company that they are suggesting this, they don't seem to be a tiny operation. Booking and paying for the flights should be easy for them. They seem to have quite a few people moving between UK and Singapore, perhaps talk to others about what is usual.

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Postby observer » Sun, 30 Jan 2011 11:04 pm

elguapo, perhaps you missed the bit about the company reimbursing the travel and first 2 weeks accommodation costs.

Matski, I am familiar with this industry and I know a little about DNeg. They are located not in Queenstown, but in One North. The MRT (subway) station closest to them is called Buona Vista, about 10 minutes walk. There is however a shuttle bus to the MRT and Holland Village provided by the building management. So, you probably want to to stay in Holland Village or somewhere near One North if you want to walk to work. There is a new MRT straight to your office called "the circle line", but that is not ready yet. Keywords for walkable distances are Holland Village, Dover, Fusionopolis, Buona Vista. Especially for those late nights when you can just stroll home :)

It sounds to me you would need a fair bit of money coming to SG for your startup costs. Flight in (SGD1300), Hotel for 2 weeks (SGD2000), Rental deposits (SGD2000), some cash to open a bank account (SGD500), and general living expenses for a month (SGD1500). Of course these numbers a super ballpark for a young chap like yourself, but better to err on the high side. For flat-share, have a look at Craigslist SG (fewer agents there, you can tell by the way the ad is written).

About banks, you would want an international bank for easy/low-cost transfers between here and your home country. I personally use Citibank for cheap/free transfers to my home account and also for the convenience of withdrawing cash in other countries without being charged ridiculous fees or insanely reduced forex rates. Ideally, you want to set up a Singaporean Citibank account, and also one at home, but please check with your home bank about the actual rates. As nn27 mentioned, you want to set these up before coming, as you will need some money to roll before your company sets things up for you, and this could take up to a month.

It sounds like DNeg in SG is a stepping stone for you to move up to become a supervisor. And you love to travel in this region. Both good reasons to stick it out for a bit. I don't have to tell you that they are not a fly-by-night shack in the industry, so if this is an opportunity to grow your career and experience, I would say go for it. It seems like Asia is the place to be anyways.
It's common sense - if you try to come in before I go out, I can't go out. And you can't come in! Lose-lose!

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Postby happygal74 » Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:06 am

Holland village or Ghim Moh is within walking distant to the office, or Dover which is too somewher near your office like a 20min walk. Alternatively, if you can't find room mentioned above, nearby residental within a station stop such as Queenstown, Commonwealth, clementi may too offer an acceptable Master room rental around Sgd 700-800/mth for you.

Do get yourself an Ezlink card upon your arrival into Singapore if you're planning to take MRT to where you gonna stay. Is a card meant for transportation (both MRT/public buses) sg10 deposit + sg10 value for travelling (you may top up as and when and don't lose that card otherwise you won't able to get your deposit back when you decided to say bye bye to sg)

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Postby elguapo » Mon, 31 Jan 2011 1:31 am

observer wrote:elguapo, perhaps you missed the bit about the company reimbursing the travel and first 2 weeks accommodation costs.


No, I didn't. It's common for hotel bills to be on expenses, but long haul flights, never seen that before. They are a well established company with people regularly traveling between the UK and Singapore, why on earth would they be getting staff to book and pay for flights, then reimburse? How would you control costs on that?

As a company they also know that relocating is an expensive time, so why burden a low salary employee with such high costs, is the company's cashflow so bad they need to use employee's as an additional credit line?

Now maybe it's worthwhile for him, but they are not exactly falling over themselves to make the move easy.

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Postby matski » Mon, 31 Jan 2011 7:41 pm

Thanks everyone for all this awesome info!, I am going to start look at Craigslist and see what I can find!, sounds like I can live pretty close to work at an affordable rate!.

I had talks with my HR today, they told me that they will cover the flight cost, somehow I think someone got mixed up and gave me the wrong info, so panic over really. They will also pay my hotel costs too, and I can borrow money from our Accounts Department and pay it back when they reimburse for moving costs!.
I am definately going to go for it!, its such an awesome oppertunitu for all aspects of my life! and by the sounds of it I will not struggle financially, I eat a somewhat simple and bland diet as it is!, and I dont eat meat.
All I need is internet and phone! hehe

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Postby cita » Fri, 04 Feb 2011 5:35 am

Hi there Matski. I'm interested in games and considering joining the industry...but am still an outsider looking in. Singapore seems to be a cool place to do it. (I'm actually thinking of getting into a formal vfx school and am researching potential salary to see if it's worth the switch and the effort.)

Would you mind saying how many years you've been in DNeg or vfx for that matter? Because.....just curious...Isn't that kind of on the low end for a supervisor? Not here to make you feel bad or anything...but I just saw an ad just now here: http://jobview.monster.co.uk/getjob.asp ... c_n=trovit ....and they say they're in london & finland and the range is 25-42 GBP a year. VFX salaries confuse me bec. they're so varied... Is 22 the more usual (like maybe 42 is an exagerration)? I just want to be guided, it's been hard trying to learn what cg guys make. And therefore I can't make an educated conclusion as to whether I'd spend my energies on it.

Thanks! and Good luck!

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Postby matski » Sat, 05 Feb 2011 1:43 am

Hi Cita,

Its definately a great industry, but takes a lot of learning and talent to get in.

I was lucky to get a funded course at Escape Studios (London) who taught me everything i needed to know and helped me build a showreel. They also got my work experience with top companies in London.

I have been working in this industry for less than a year. A junior can expect to make between 18k and 20k a year, Dneg pay me 22k, still a junior but I had some good experience so they made it a little higher. I have only been working here for 4 months and I am getting this promotion, where I imagine my salary will increase to about 28k a year, but this will happen in October (my yearly review).

It takes many years to start making better money, when you start to be Sequence Leads on films and stuff. You can only learn so much, then its down to years of experience and problem solving.

If you dont have a passion for the industry then I wouldnt advise it, you wont go far...

Any other questions do let me know..

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Postby canarby street » Sun, 13 Feb 2011 2:54 pm

Hey Matski

I am a browser actually, stayed in both UK and SG (SG by birth). You seem like a cheerful chappie who is probably very excited by this opportunity; I couldn't help but register and reply to your question. OK, just my 2p worth and some tough love:

1. The package is not too great, tbh. You are looking at less than SGD3500, bearing in mind you would have to shoulder any exchange rate/comm to access your salary paid into your UK account. It is do-able but man, it would be tight and it might curtail your holiday ventures a bit. Observer made some very good points. Get thee hither to your nearest Citibank (there is a branch at Hanover Square) and register for an account. You could transfer money between banks easily.

2. Ensure that you have all the right information regarding the relocating costs. ie. flight, two weeks hotel, any shipping costs for even a few tea-cartons, any subsistence allowance or meal and transport reimbursement for the first two weeks etc. Is there any leeway for some sort of lump sum payment for relocation (even if it just a couple of hundreds of £). Moving countries is expensive business. At the mo, I think they are using your goodwill (and enthusiasm for this move) not to hand over the squids.

3. Singapore is actually more expensive to live in than London. Basic costs are higher. You can't get 50p loaf of bread, 99p bag of fresh salad or a £1.99 Veg subway nor could you get Tesco Value toiletries or generic medicines. If you are rather tall or a funny size, clothes can be a nightmare to find.

OK, now Singapore -

Have they figure what sort of work permit or pass you would be on and will they be applying for this for you?

HOUSING

On your budget, I think we need to discount any apartment or condos which you would be looking at min. $2000 a month (without utilities). The option for you is a room in a shared house.

If you strike it lucky, you may get a room with ensuite, sharing kitchen and living room with a number of other expats in a condominium with facilities. That is the best scenario for your situation, I think. Not so great, is a room in a family house in the older estates such as Ghi Moh or Dover. These can be "council estate" type like although rest assured, it would not be that bad. No druggies on the stairwells or grafitti. However, steel yourself for the worst. Ensuite or shared bathrooms are wet shower rooms instead of a bath.

The best move is for you to look at as many as you could in the short space of time. Check whether you can do light cooking, check what sort of contribution you need to make for utilities.

Most importantly, check what you need to pay upfront in terms of deposit and agent fees. You know that in London there are usually 4-6 weeks deposit + agent fees. Quite similar to Singapore although agent fees could be a month's rent upfront. Make sure you have the cash for this.

TRANSPORT

Like the earlier posters, get an EZlink card when you arrive. It is similar to an Oyster Card although really the discount is not that great, compared to Oyster. It just saves you the hassle. It would be great if you could walk to work but seriously, it would probably be rather hot and humid, unless you walk really early in the morning or late at night. I could leg it easily from Notting Hill to Soho in London weather but would be gasping if I do the same distance in Singapore's humidity.

FOOD

Vegetarian Asian food would be easy to get in Singapore although it would be an adjustment to your taste buds. I think you would do fine there. Most vegetarian food would be of rice/noodles and stirfry/curried/stewed veg. If you are looking for a really fresh salad, you may find it a little hard or expensive.

INSURANCE

Get health insurance sorted soon. When you arrive here, check what is the medical benefits like locally. If the local office have some sort of medical policy in place, ask whether you can join it. Usually, there is some sort of qualifying period (3 mths or so) but within that period, you can visit a doctor and get the costs reimbursed. Check this with the local company in SG, not through your UK branch.

In SG, doctor fees can be high and get this, they sell/dispense medicines at their clinics. There is a tendency to oversubscribe medicine (antibiotics seems to be a favourite). Coming for UK, you could do the self-medication route especially for things like colds and fever and just get the medicine from pharmacies.


Good luck for your move. Seriously, it will be tight but you are single and probably open for the experience.

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Postby matski » Sun, 13 Feb 2011 9:00 pm

Hi canarby street,

Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate you taking the time out.
I didnt feel the package my work was offering was all that bad. I don't have any costs to pay upfront except for extra baggage/moving costs. I dont have much stuff to move really so this wont be expensive. Also I can get all or some of my next months salary in advance to help pay for my deposit.

With regards to living, I dont intend to continue eating western foods such as breads and salads as I am aware of how expensive this is.

I don't mind living in a shared house, I am in no way snobby, and I am used to sharing houses/apartments with people.

I have already applied and received my UK citi bank account, and intend to apply for one in SG ASAP.


I have filled in my Work Permit form (form 8) and my work are sorting it out from there.

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Postby cita » Sun, 20 Feb 2011 11:08 am

hey matski

thanks for your very candid reply. i really appreciate it. sounds like you're doing well. i heard that it's pretty difficult to get into CG and if you've been just out of school and they're taking care of you then i guess that's pretty good. Long may it continue!

it's obvious though that it'll take a lot of commitment from me...effort and hard work. But i guess it's the same everywhere else. I do have to think about it much. Going through some major changes right now. Thanks for your help! good luck to you! :D


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