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Agenda for a "Reconnaissance Weekend"

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JonOfArimathea
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Agenda for a "Reconnaissance Weekend"

Post by JonOfArimathea » Sat, 02 Apr 2011 10:18 am

First post...

Firstly I just want to say thanks to everyone who contributes to and moderates this great forum. I have been a lurker for a while and have learned a vast amount from the huge amount of information here. Thank you!

I'm a 34 old single guy who has a potential opportunity to relocate from Melbourne to Singapore in 6-7 weeks time (sponsored EP), and I'm planning a 4 day long 'reconnaissance weekend' (I'm paying) to have a good look around and get a feel for everything in order to make sure this is the right choice.

On my agenda so far:

- Visit the bank and understand the process / time to set up an account.
- Have a look around the various options / areas for accomodation so I can get things moving faster on arrival.
- Visit some shops / markets etc. and get a better 'on the ground' idea of the cost of living.
- Take several thousand photos so that I can relate back to these after the trip.
- Try to meet a few people (local and expat) and get their views on Singapore life. (I have made contacts in both categories.)
- Get a feel for public transport and 'actual' distances/times for travelling around.
- Consume as much local food as possible (oh the hardship!).

So my question is this:

Given that I only have limited time, and knowing what you know now, what would you include or exclude (e.g. if administrative bits and pieces were actually easy once you arrived) in a 'reconnaissance' agenda in order to really get a feel for Singapore?

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ecureilx
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Re: Agenda for a "Reconnaissance Weekend"

Post by ecureilx » Sat, 02 Apr 2011 4:32 pm

JonOfArimathea wrote: Given that I only have limited time, and knowing what you know now, what would you include or exclude (e.g. if administrative bits and pieces were actually easy once you arrived) in a 'reconnaissance' agenda in order to really get a feel for Singapore?
Not sure what you are on, but my 2 cents is - you can never learn about any country .. especially Singapore, considering the various cultures here ..

Heck, after more than 10 years here, I still screwed up ordering a drink in the coffee shop. I asked the lady if she has water melon, and then I asked her if she has rock melon, and then I told her I want rock melon and since I didn't cancel the water melon, she gave me both - water melon AND rock melon and sheepishly I had to take both or be faced with a violent outburst of "you dunno how to speak english ha .. " :D

My 2 cents - you got the bunch of people who live in 5 star condos, only shop in Jasons (the upmarket super market) and Market Street, and you got the rest who live normal life, and making use of discount coupons et al.

If you get caught up in the top end, you will think the whole country is so, and if you get caught in the low end, vice-versa

As for the procedures etc, everything works fine in Singapore, and that is very disheartening for a lot of people, who expect to be robbed, scammed, and get beat up etc.

Take for example, the Thai navy using their aircraft carrier to rescue the flood hit islands, something that gave mega-thrills to the tourists, and something that cannot happen here, as storms have been made persona non-grata in Singapore

Read up, and if you like Singapore, welcome.

If you start to hear the nasties, such as "no chewing gum", "caning for molesting woman", "Jail for robbery with no recourse to pardon" and horror of horror, "Death for drugs" then you gotta think hard and choose right

Cheers

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mummy mantras
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Post by mummy mantras » Sat, 02 Apr 2011 5:10 pm

I'd say don't bother with the administrative stuff. It's usually very quick and painless (unless you have very peculiar needs that aren't met by the usual processes). And most of it can be done online anyway!

The best thing to do is to walk around, shop around and eat around. After more than 10 years here (high five, ecureilx!), acquiring a husband and 2 kids along the way, I'm still discovering new places that I haven't been to before. If people insist on telling you that Singapore is boring, don't listen to them! :D

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Post by ecureilx » Sat, 02 Apr 2011 5:34 pm

mummy mantras wrote:The best thing to do is to walk around, shop around and eat around. After more than 10 years here (high five, ecureilx!), acquiring a husband and 2 kids along the way, I'm still discovering new places that I haven't been to before. If people insist on telling you that Singapore is boring, don't listen to them! :D
Actually Singapore is boring for a lot of people - no street violence, call a cab and horror of horror - it arrives on time, and no hit and runs, and on and on :D :D

Well, seriosuly, I may preach the safe side of Singapore, but as mm says - (oh not Ministor M .. :) ), nothing like a visit, and seeing things for yourself ...

I had this silly chat with a friend, who was saying singaporans are poor, as she saw an old lady serving coffee - only when I pointed out that VW beetle outside the coffee shop belongs to her (I am a regular there and know her that much), and only when she herself see the poor coffee shop lady going and picking something from the car did he believe that 'looks are deceiving'

Oh, well, every taxi guy here claims to be super poor, but a lot of them live in condos and have children studying overseas, all paid by the poor taxi driver .. :D

Yes, do visit and you will be amazed ..

PM Me, if you think I'm bluffing about the VW beetle - oh heck, in Kallang, one of the food shop coffee lady was driving a BMW 7 series, and I only knew when I parked next to her car and saw her getting out of it .. :)

JonOfArimathea
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Thanks

Post by JonOfArimathea » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 6:52 am

Thanks for the replies. Obviously in a long weekend I can only do so much and get a very very limited insight, but it's unfortunately all I have time for so I just wanted to see if you had any tips to make the most of it.

I have done a lot of reading and mostly I like what I see (on paper at least). As a non-resident/citizen I don't pass judgement on legal/political goings on.

I will forget anything administrative and spend as much time walking and eating as possible!

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Post by BillyB » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 9:18 am

mummy mantras wrote:I'd say don't bother with the administrative stuff. It's usually very quick and painless (unless you have very peculiar needs that aren't met by the usual processes). And most of it can be done online anyway!

The best thing to do is to walk around, shop around and eat around. After more than 10 years here (high five, ecureilx!), acquiring a husband and 2 kids along the way, I'm still discovering new places that I haven't been to before. If people insist on telling you that Singapore is boring, don't listen to them! :D
+1 (except for the finding a husband part!!)

Leave all the admin - it's easy to do. Accounts will be set-up in minutes and cards and bits sent out within days. The banks will usually come to you to do this too.

I would be looking into accommodation during the trip but try to do your research before you arrive and at least have 3 or 4 different areas in your shortlist you can check out. It would be easy to spend that 4 day trip hopping between units / areas looking for accommodation.

Use some of the property sites to get a good idea of what you get for your dollar in certain areas (google' singapore property' and ignore the top 3 ads, the two best websites to use will be at the top of your search and of course on use the property section this site too!!). Some of the prices might be slightly higher on the websites but usually you can negotiate on rental. Be careful of agents trying it on - don't let them sting you with commission if you are approaching them for a unit you like (the landlord should pay this but this area is not always clear in some cases)

Good look and enjoy your trip.

P.S. Singapore is far from boring if you know where to look!!

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Post by x9200 » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 9:42 am

JonOfArimathea, what you would like actually to get out of this trip? Any decisions to make? I can not see any practical reason for it so it actually does not matter too much if all is right with your agenda. If you just want to get a feeling than I agree with mummy mantras: go around and eat around.

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Objectives

Post by JonOfArimathea » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 12:52 pm

What do I want to get out of the trip?

a.) An impression that this is somewhere I can live and work for the foreseeable future.
b.) Better organisation and ability to hit the ground running if I were to move (if this is possible) - the nature of the opportunity means that some serious hard work would commence rapidly on my arrival. Any prep work that is possible will really help.
c.) To satisfy my instinct that I always like to check a place out before pressing some big buttons...

Thanks again for the replies and the words of encouragement.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 1:06 pm

It's a whole bunch easier coming here from Australia than the reverse. If you use this site real estate facilities, google maps, the LTA website and the various sundry site in my signature link, you will already be 98% of the way there and will only have to go physically see the potential units you will be interested in. Everything else you can find here, from groceries, telecoms, hospitals, driving license conversions, to transportation limitations routes, distances as so forth. This forum, if researched properly will answer or give you links to most and impressions from hundreds who came before you.
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

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Post by KindClare » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 1:55 pm

We did encounter a few administrative hiccups on our move and though most things were simple, there are ways to make them easier.
First priority, get your EP. Bring originals or copies off all documents used in the application (just in case). They wanted to see our Marriage license, diplomas, birth certificates, etc. And we already had the In-Principle letter so we weren't prepared for this. A friend of our had to go for a Medical checkup before they would issue her EP.
Having the actual Green Card (which takes a few days for them to process) will facilitate the Bank Account. Also, will need a local address for the bank account. Even if it is only temporary. Also, plan to have your passport with you at all times in the early days as many places needed this to get accounts going. Bank especially.
Also, have a lot of cash here. Depending on your housing budget, plan for at least 3-4 months of "rent" in cash. You will need to pay deposits and such for Mobile phones, Utilities, Internet possibly, housing. Much easier to have ample funds already here than try to wire them for each occurrence or to incur foreign transaction fees on your Aussie credit card.

As for the recon weekend, I think you are very wise to spend your time thinking about "how" you will live. We live near to Orchard Road which is great for us, but my husband works in Jurong East and it is a 1 hour commute each way on Public Transport. Had we known, we would have lived elsewhere. Grocery prices and such are useful information too. It will give you the best picture to make an informed decision.

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Post by KindClare » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 1:58 pm

Oh - one thing I forgot is a great site (at least it has been for me) to estimate transit times. It is www.gothere.sg (note there is no ".com" in there)
You can type in addresses, street names, building names or post codes and it will give costs, distances and times for various modes of travel. I've been here 9 months and use it several days a week still.

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Re: Objectives

Post by x9200 » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 3:29 pm

JonOfArimathea wrote:c.) To satisfy my instinct that I always like to check a place out before pressing some big buttons...
Oh, ok, I missed the word "potential" in your initial post.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 4:10 pm

You probably ought to stop by a few of the entertainment areas in Singapore, especially as a single guy. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay bars and restaurants. Orchard Towers. A few massage parlors.

A lot of single, younger expats live around the Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, River Valley area, all within spitting distance of one another.

Catch the MRT around the island. Get on at City Hall and go away from Raffles. Transfer to the other line in Jurong and get off at Raffles... cheap, cheap and see the island.

Go see Chinatown... not just the tourist crap but the wet market. Go to Little India on a Sunday afternoon to really experience Singapore.

Catch a bus from the CBD out to the Clementi area, then catch a taxi back in. Do this at 8 or 8:30 AM and get a sense of SG rush hour.

Be sure to get up Mt. Faber and take the cable cars across to Sentosa... besides a fabulous view of the island, you'll see Singaporeans at play in their version of Disneyworld.

Banks are a waste of time. Unless you want to learn how things don't work anytime the process is anything out of the ordinary. Not worth sweating, though.

Go to a local hawker center... especially those not generally haunted by Touristas... but all are good. Take a trip to East Coast on a Sunday morning and have breakfast at the Beach Hut, watching ships and people.

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Post by ecureilx » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 4:26 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:You probably ought to stop by a few of the entertainment areas in Singapore, especially as a single guy. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay bars and restaurants. Orchard Towers. A few massage parlors.
Orchard tower ?? Oh .. :???: :???: Other than the football bar, and the Chop Stix, and the L-Artisan German restaurant, did I miss anything in OT ?? :)
Take a trip to East Coast on a Sunday morning and have breakfast at the Beach Hut, watching ships and people.


That's got to be a line for STB :D

And you forgot the girls in string bikini trying to get the attention of the expats .. and the afternoon bbq's for the FT (DH and workers) etc. etc. and the little tents offering 'privacy' for 'private moments' .. :D :D

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Post by nakatago » Sun, 03 Apr 2011 4:46 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:You probably ought to stop by a few of the entertainment areas in Singapore, especially as a single guy. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay bars and restaurants. Orchard Towers. A few massage parlors.

A lot of single, younger expats live around the Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, River Valley area, all within spitting distance of one another.

Catch the MRT around the island. Get on at City Hall and go away from Raffles. Transfer to the other line in Jurong and get off at Raffles... cheap, cheap and see the island.

Go see Chinatown... not just the tourist crap but the wet market. Go to Little India on a Sunday afternoon to really experience Singapore.

Catch a bus from the CBD out to the Clementi area, then catch a taxi back in. Do this at 8 or 8:30 AM and get a sense of SG rush hour.

Be sure to get up Mt. Faber and take the cable cars across to Sentosa... besides a fabulous view of the island, you'll see Singaporeans at play in their version of Disneyworld.

Banks are a waste of time. Unless you want to learn how things don't work anytime the process is anything out of the ordinary. Not worth sweating, though.

Go to a local hawker center... especially those not generally haunted by Touristas... but all are good. Take a trip to East Coast on a Sunday morning and have breakfast at the Beach Hut, watching ships and people.
=D>
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