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"Reconnaissance weekend" update

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JonOfArimathea
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"Reconnaissance weekend" update

Post by JonOfArimathea » Wed, 13 Apr 2011 9:48 pm

Just an update after my ‘reconnaissance weekend’ in Singapore.

I took all the previous advice (thanks!) and tried to explore as much as possible, get lost, talk to people, meet locals and ex-pats alike, check out shops and get a view of cost of living, went out, ate lots...

My initial observations and learnings from Singapore over 4 days:

- Taxis are fairly inexpensive and the MRT system is excellent. Cars are horrendously expensive but you simply don’t need one.
- The place seems to be very cleverly designed in terms of little rules and regulations, which just seem to make things “work”

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BillyB
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Post by BillyB » Wed, 13 Apr 2011 10:34 pm

Ha ha - nice summary. Pretty accurate in general!!

Your umbrella point made me laugh - you can find them in most 7/11's for $7. Use them and bin them. I think people are embarrassed here to buy them as they have the 7/11 logo emblazoned all over them which I reckon puts people off!! I couldn't give 2 sh*ts if it keeps my dunhill suit and shoes dry!!

Singapore is like most places, people at first seem a little guarded but get chatting and they are just like you or me. And talk about anything money related and you are guaranteed to have a prolonged conversation and get good, if a little strange, advice.

I'm from the U.K and our food is pretty crap in general. Lack of fresh food mentality and everything geared around fast and quick. We eat to live rather than live to eat. I've never had a really bad food experience in Asia - the food is great. And if you think the Indian food in SG is good, you should try it in India - awesome. The spices and depth of flavour go to a different level!!

Suits are usually reserved for people trying to sell you something so beware!!

And I've always wondered why bar's here don't seem to have flavoured ice cubes (probably cost I'd imagine). In some places in Europe and Hong Kong you will find flavoured ice cubes - coke, sprite, mineral water as opposed to tap water ice cubes. Never seen beer cubes though!!

Electronics - you'll find they are generally less than the U.K. Places like Funan Square you can pick up bargains or even price matches in some of the chain stores like harvey norman. Try to avoid Sim Lim square as in most shops (Not all) you'll get a premium whacked on if you look like an expat, more if you look like a tourist, and half the sh*t in that place seems dodgy - especially the mobile phones - unlocked U.S or U.K phones that have about as much of a guarantee as getting your lost wallet returned from the back of a cab in London!!

Looks like you're gonna enjoy Singapore!!

From a Monkeyed expat with a large ego who lives near Orchard :wink:

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Post by nakatago » Wed, 13 Apr 2011 11:21 pm

Pretty much sums it up.

Everything else and stuff that will turn you off will come around after several months when you get the nuances of how things work. Until then, enjoy stuff and you'll eventually make up your mind. As usual, YMMV.

About umbrellas, I always get mine from back home--my umbrella is about 8 inches long folded (which makes it fit into most reasonably-sized bags) but it opens up to a size of a golf umbrella. Never found an equivalent here.

Yup; aside from common-fare, every-man-on-the-street food, a lot of things are really expensive here (most especially the rent) but you should be making enough money to scale.

Give us a call when you're ready for the nitty-gritty Singapore. After all, the brighter the image, the darker the negative. :wink:

From a not-so-moneyed expat with a diminished ego who always ends up passing through Orchard.*

*if you know my nationality, you'll get the inside joke
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by BillyB » Wed, 13 Apr 2011 11:25 pm

nakatago wrote:Pretty much sums it up.

Everything else and stuff that will turn you off will come around after several months when you get the nuances of how things work. Until then, enjoy stuff and you'll eventually make up your mind. As usual, YMMV.

About umbrellas, I always get mine from back home--my umbrella is about 8 inches long folded (which makes it fit into most reasonably-sized bags) but it opens up to a size of a golf umbrella. Never found an equivalent here.

Yup; aside from common-fare, every-man-on-the-street food, a lot of things are really expensive here (most especially the rent) but you should be making enough money to scale.

Give us a call when you're ready for the nitty-gritty Singapore. After all, the brighter the image, the darker the negative. :wink:

From a not-so-moneyed expat with a diminished ego who always ends up passing through Orchard.*

*if you know my nationality, you'll get the inside joke
Sure someone will find an innuendo in your umbrella comment.........!!

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nakatago
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Post by nakatago » Wed, 13 Apr 2011 11:58 pm

BillyB wrote:
nakatago wrote:Pretty much sums it up.

Everything else and stuff that will turn you off will come around after several months when you get the nuances of how things work. Until then, enjoy stuff and you'll eventually make up your mind. As usual, YMMV.

About umbrellas, I always get mine from back home--my umbrella is about 8 inches long folded (which makes it fit into most reasonably-sized bags) but it opens up to a size of a golf umbrella. Never found an equivalent here.

Yup; aside from common-fare, every-man-on-the-street food, a lot of things are really expensive here (most especially the rent) but you should be making enough money to scale.

Give us a call when you're ready for the nitty-gritty Singapore. After all, the brighter the image, the darker the negative. :wink:

From a not-so-moneyed expat with a diminished ego who always ends up passing through Orchard.*

*if you know my nationality, you'll get the inside joke
Sure someone will find an innuendo in your umbrella comment.........!!
you brought it up; which means that...

...you thunk it!
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by ecureilx » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 12:21 am

I'd agree with everything except ..

- to make friends, you can do the bikini skate in East Coast park and ..

- Clark Quay is not expensive, if you know where to drink, and even around town, there are cheaper watering holes :D

- and Sim Lim is the best place, for Computers ONLY, and if you are looking to buy radio comm stuff (which you cant use here anyway .. ) and, yes, never for Electronic stuff :

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 2:03 am

You did a lot for 4 days and I think your impressions are well observed and generally on-track.

As others have suggested there is going to be an element of 'rose tinted' about it, and after 3 or so months there'll be things p'ing you off, and after 6 you'll be as gripey as many ol' timers here.

I don't (Lord protect me! [-o< ) actually think the food in SG is that good. Or put another way, a lot of it is poor quality. Yes it is varied and different and if you're in town for 2-3 days (as the average visitor is) I'm sure you will be impressed not least by the choice and novelty. But the quality of the ingredients is often pretty poor, plus huge amounts of oil are seemingly used in everything. Then you have the whole MSG thing. After a while you really need a change and that's when you realise that non-local food is expensive but usually dire as well. Pretty soon you begin to seek out and covert non-local food that isn't $100 a meal (the German sausage stand in the basement of Takashimaya. The take out sushi/sashimi from Isetan @ Scotts) and will grin and bear it that taking your latest squeeze our for half-decent non-local food is probably going to average something around $200 a time. Anyway, this is for to find out in due course... :) :wink:

JonOfArimathea
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Western Food

Post by JonOfArimathea » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 7:04 pm

Yes, I have to say that I didn't go near any Western food the whole time. However cooking is a hobby of mine (French / Italian - and fairly serious about it!) so I did make an effort to see if I can get hold of everything I need to continue that should I move over there - provided of course I can find an apartment with a half-decent kitchen with a gas stove...

A friend showed me around some pretty posh delicatessen stores up on a place called Dempsey Hill (looked like a very posh area indeed!), and I have to say that I was very surprised to find that the prices of basic things (good quality French butter, imported Western cuts of meat, good cheese, etc.) were actually around the same price or even less than the equivalent prices in Australia. Just goes to show how stupidly expensive things have become over here I guess!

Of course, for a 'new squeeze' I've certainly found that nothing beats a nice bit of fancy home cooking....

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Re: Western Food

Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 7:31 pm

[quote="JonOfArimathea"]Yes, I have to say that I didn't go near any Western food the whole time.

Of course, why would you? It is only after a while that the novelty wears off, and you begin to tire of the ‘heaviness’ of the local food from time to time. A tip though, don’t repeat this to a SGn, as to them it is a bit like going to Mecca and criticising Islam :)


However cooking is a hobby of mine (French / Italian - and fairly serious about it!) so I did make an effort to see if I can get hold of everything I
need to continue that should I move over there - provided of course I can find an apartment with a half-decent kitchen with a gas stove...

Good for you, that will come in very useful! In my experience you can get pretty much everything you want, or find close substitutes. I found some things are expensive, like tomato paste (you’ll need a ton if you cook Italian, tomatoes in SG have no taste at all) that only comes in tins or jars, whereas back home a tube of it (i.e. lasts much longer) is about 30p. So stuff like that I’d bring over in bulk from trips home.

The kitchen at my last condo was crappy. The landlord had got annoyed over a previous tenant damaging (water ingress) the work surfaces, and so had put in a huge double steel sink instead. That meant my entire working surface was about 16”

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Strong Eagle
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Post by Strong Eagle » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 10:05 pm

So... did you make it to Orchard Towers?

Good report, BTW... you sound like a fellow to tip a beer with.

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Post by ev-disinfection » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 10:43 pm

Wow, you did all that in the few days you were here..... impressive =D>
and for a moment you sounded like a Local who supported the ruling party... like me. :D

Yes, certainly looks like a guy to drink with, and if you played pool.... we would be friends forever. Once you get here.... give us a shout, and we will go on a walk about.

PS, it is quite hard to go out with the other regulars here in this forum... :cool: :P

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Post by nakatago » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 11:24 pm

ev-disinfection wrote:PS, it is quite hard to go out with the other regulars here in this forum... :cool: :P
Your choice of hangouts are quite expensive...which describes most of Singapore's watering holes that are not hawker centers.

@SE, how's abouts another beers sessions to which I can show up this time?
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 14 Apr 2011 11:44 pm

I'm in-country sometime/s in July, well transiting to/from dive spots for a few weeks 8-)

p.s. Edit to add
I don't even know what the trip dates are, and when we'll be in SG within those dates. So please don't let me hold anyone else back...
Last edited by JR8 on Fri, 15 Apr 2011 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ev-disinfection
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Post by ev-disinfection » Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:53 am

I am fine with where ever you guys wanna be....
It is not the location, it's the company that matters..... :D

JonOfArimathea
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Beer

Post by JonOfArimathea » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 10:31 am

Ha ha. Thanks guys.

Still no firm plans as yet as I have some more negotiation and to do with the company in question, although I caught up with them during my stay and had a very positive discussion, so fingers crossed!

Some more thoughts now that I've had a few days to recap:

- Maybe I'm missing something, but the cable car to the top of Mount Faber seems to be pointless as once you're up there you can't 'escape' the building or get any decent views! Tourist trap?
- No time for Orchard Towers, although from what I hear it sounds absolutely hilarious (people watching), but did have a walk around Geylang and laughed at the 'covertness' of it all. There were some slightly dodiger and more local looking bars down 'Joo Chiat Road' (?) though, although I was certainly not feeling brave/experimental enough on my own to wander inside at about 2am!
- I am usually great with directions and finding my way around new places, but I have to say that the maze of shopping centres, escalators, tunnels etc. had me absolutely foxed and I wandered around in circles repeatedly quite a lot! If I come over then a compass / GPS may be a worthwhile investment.
- "Supporting the ruling party?" - Without wishing to start a political discussion, coming from UK/Australia I honestly found it quite a new and refreshing experience to actually see some sort of long term investment in a country that is actually vaguely strategic and not blatant over-inflated pork barrelling. Sure there are downsides to the Singapore model (power always corrupts!), but the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction over here. When more than 50% of the voting population are dependent on the government (directly/indirectly) then democracy fails anyway.

I'll keep you updated on progress, and if it comes off then some social beer/pool/wine/photography/dodgy bars etc. will certainly be on the cards...

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