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Living in Singapore vs in NYC?

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xmarcus
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Living in Singapore vs in NYC?

Postby xmarcus » Sat, 24 Sep 2011 10:44 am

In general how does living in Singapore compare to living in NYC or other large western cities?

It's a general question.. I'm interested in understanding what Singapore lifestyle is like and my only frame of reference is western life.

Interested in daily family and work life. Is life easier/harder, are people more friendly, is it a good place to raise a family, etc.

Thanks

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Postby carteki » Sat, 24 Sep 2011 11:17 am

I don't know, because everyone's point of reference is different. I suggest that you read through the Living In / Moving to Singapore posts and from there you should get an idea as to what living in Singapore is like - especially the problems people face here. I can't compare it to your experience in New York because I don't know what that experience is.

PS - Just to clarify Singapore IS NOT a western city. Yes, it is modern etc, but it is definitely Asian in character.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 24 Sep 2011 12:18 pm

The only clear point one can make is: it is safer. The rest is subjective. Some people find it easier some more difficult.

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Postby BillyB » Sat, 24 Sep 2011 3:54 pm

Singapore - safer, cleaner, more laid back, lifestyle choice, people less friendly, less hussle, fewer Americans!!

New York - less safe, people tend to be more career driven where as Asia is often a lifestyle choice as much as a career choice, people much more friendly, more hussle, too many Americans!!

Accommodation - similar prices but larger swings in NY between areas, food - cheaper in NY, alcohol - cheaper in NY. Tax rate - higher in NY.

IMO - for lifestyle SG offers a better balance. If you are career driven and want the US experience under your belt - NY is a no-brainer, although its losing the buzz of 5-10 years ago. But that's obviously subjective and you will get massive differences of opinion. Best thing to do is two trips to each place for a week and feel it first-hand.

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Postby xmarcus » Sat, 24 Sep 2011 11:04 pm

BillyB wrote:Singapore - safer, cleaner, more laid back, lifestyle choice, people less friendly, less hussle, fewer Americans!!


Thanks Billy.

I had thought the work culture was more strenuous in Singapore/Asia and people worked longer hours. You mind it more laid back and balanced?

People are less friendly that NY? How so?

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 25 Sep 2011 12:28 am

I've lived and worked in both NYC and SG.

In general I think you'd find SG slow and easy going in comparison to NYC. Corporate outfits tend to be smaller, departments smaller, so you don't get the furious office politics that you do in NYC. There is a sense of 'we're all in this together, so we pull together'. In SG your colleagues/peers are the starting point of your social circle, so you can't go back-stabbing people just to get the next rung up.

I actually find that NYC (at least the parts you're going to choose to visit) feels very safe, not as clinically safe as SG, but safer than London and many euro-capitals.

If you arrive in SG as an ex-pat for a foreign company don't be surprised to be working as hard as back home, if not harder. I had matters where I'd have the US HQ calling me in the morning at home at 6am, a full day, and then London calling me at home at midnight. This is what your good package compensates for.

People you interact with regularly (say at work) are friendly. Though I think you would be struck by the limitations on which conversation with most locals will be.

Put it this way, how I was brought up, even as a child, being able to sit at a dining table and hold a conversation with adults and express a reasonably informed opinion about current world affairs was considered not only normal, but it was the social expectation. (Perhaps a cross-cultural parallel to how Irish children are often raised to be able to spontaneously sing in front of family and guests?).

This is probably why I hold the sometimes controversial view here that SGns are socially inadequate (from my personal perspective of course), as they seem to almost exclusively talk about food and shopping, to the extent that it is a well worn cliche. This apparently has a connection with a 'Confucianist' approach of not wishing to invite conflict with others. But in any case, I suppose what I'm trying to say is you might find personal interaction less than stimulating.

One plus point, SG is a great hub from which to travel regionally! :)

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 25 Sep 2011 11:25 am

Just to add on to what has already been said:

I find Singapore's public transportation as good or better than Manhattan's. Notice I didn't say NYC, because outside Manhattan public trans sucks. So for getting around without a car, it's very nice. The buses are much nicer here too.

If you're into the 24-hr "always awake" lifestyle, I would say Singapore compares favorably to most western cities. Maybe not quite Manhattan, but many places are open until at least 11pm+ on most nights, with plenty of 24hr options within public transit range.

Of the places I've lived, NYC, Chicago, and SF Area, I'd say it is somewhere inbetween NYC and Chicago for 24hr-nes, but 100x better than anything in the Bay area (and most of the rest of the US) where most shops close up at 9pm most nights.

Also, I notice in NYC people try to run you down (drivers or walkers) out of anger or sport. In Singapore the same thing happens, but mostly due to ignorance of surroundings. Don't trust the blinky yellow light cross-walk here, drivers will coast 20km/hr right through it trying to make the turn as opposed to yielding to pedestrians pushing strollers.

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Postby carteki » Mon, 26 Sep 2011 11:06 am

The things you may miss. CULTURE, CULTURE AND CULTURE

Singapore was once likened to Disneyland (with a caveat) - and after living here for a significant (in expat terms) period of time I agree. There is an article (that the local press reprinted as it thought it was an honour) from the NYT saying that were there to be a "capital of the world" then Singapore is bland and inoffensive enough to everyone to be that capital (okay I'm paraphrasing).

Yes, a number of world renowed shows - concerts, plays, artists etc - make their way to Singapore but you don't get much of the edgier fringe. There is a small local arts scene, but its not big (then again only 5m people live here).

You may also enjoy reading this 60 Signs You've Lived in Singapore Too Long and the reader comments below.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 26 Sep 2011 11:16 am

carteki wrote:The things you may miss. CULTURE, CULTURE AND CULTURE

Singapore was once likened to Disneyland (with a caveat) - and after living here for a significant (in expat terms) period of time I agree. There is an article (that the local press reprinted as it thought it was an honour) from the NYT saying that were there to be a "capital of the world" then Singapore is bland and inoffensive enough to everyone to be that capital (okay I'm paraphrasing).

Yes, a number of world renowed shows - concerts, plays, artists etc - make their way to Singapore but you don't get much of the edgier fringe. There is a small local arts scene, but its not big (then again only 5m people live here).

You may also enjoy reading this 60 Signs You've Lived in Singapore Too Long and the reader comments below.


+1

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Postby Brooklynjenn » Sat, 08 Oct 2011 11:21 pm

I've lived both in New York and Singapore now for about 5 weeks. I definitely agree, the public transport is better. Subways are clean, there are glass walls and doors on the platforms to keep the crazies from pushing you on the tracks, and, most importantly, they provide a way to keep air conditioning inside!

Rent is FAR more expensive in Singapore. I'd say 40% more than Manhattan, and two to three times what it is in Park Slope, where I used to live. Grocery store food here makes Whole Foods in Manhattan look like a discount center. God forbid you are attached to organics, because they are outrageously priced. It reminds me of New York in that you can get anything here, for a price. If you want your Organic Valley milk, no problem. Just be prepared to hand over S$18. Restaurant food here is cheaper at Hawker centers and food courts, and really tasty. Restaurant food in sit down restaurants is about the same price. A glass of wine at a restaurant cost me S$14 the other night for the house white.

People in stores are nicer, but I have a hard time understanding what people say to me, especially on the phone. It's not the queen's English here. In New York, the cashier at Key Foods will roll her eyes at you for putting your groceries on the counter. Here they will greet you with a smile most of the time, but when they ask you for your passion card or whatever store card is being hawked there, you have to ask them to repeat, sometimes a couple of times, to get what they are saying. Taxis are similar, except they don't want to be hailed on the street. They prefer to be called and booked (for a fee, or course). Just like in New York, there are no taxis to be had when it rains. The difference is it rains most days here.

The weather here feels like August in New York - you know, when everyone escapes to the Hamptons. Here you have a pool at your doorstep, and much nicer beaches an hour away. Haven't located a jitney yet, though.

The restaurant and nightlife scene appears to be similar, there is certainly a lot going on in the evenings. It's not sleepy like in the SF Bay area, as someone else mentioned.

To me it feels very western, more so than in Hong Kong. It is as safe as New York or safer. I always felt safe in New York.

My husband worked at JPMorgan in NYC. He left before the children woke up and got home around 10 or 11 pm every night. He was extremely stressed out. Here he leaves for work at 8:15 and gets home at 7:30 or 8, but often he has phone calls with the US at 11 pm or 12 pm, and again at 6:00 am. He seems more relaxed. He never works on weekends.

I haven't been here long enough to get bored, I'm still finding plenty to do. Plus, you can use Singapore as a jumping off base for lots of travel that you would otherwise never get to experience.

In a lot of ways it is easier here. There are similar issues with needing to go to five stores to get the ingredients for a recipe, but you don't have the trash issues, people are nice, there are plenty of people here from all over the world and it is an interesting melting pot. People don't seem as outwardly angry here, and you don't see as many crazy people. The drivers might be more aggressive, and they don't yield to pedestrians.

I think it is definitely worth doing, and as an ex-New Yorker, I think it compares favorably to New York. It's just a smaller scale, and a little more quiet, but in a good way.

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Postby Brooklynjenn » Sat, 08 Oct 2011 11:32 pm

Forgot to mention the family life. Schools in Singapore are comparable to the best private schools in Manhattan, and are much easier to get into. They are about the same price, or maybe even a bit cheaper. It is possible to work out having schools covered in your package, depending on the employer. There is a lot for kids to do here, they will love the pools, and there is a Universal Studios and the Zoo, Night Safari, Bird Park, etc. are all top notch. The Zoo here is better than the Bronx Zoo.

If your kids go to an International School, there will be plenty of other parents to meet. My kids' school has all sorts of social clubs, like book clubs, restaurant tour clubs, museum tour clubs, etc., all meant to entertain the trailing spouse and help people make friends. The other parents are very welcoming, and are often in the same boat as you - new - so they are open to new people. Even people who have been here a while have experiences where their old friends might move on, and they have to make new friends again. I already in just a short time have a full social calendar.

I would much prefer to raise my family here than in New York. The schools are great, they have a lot to do, and it is very safe for them. Places are very accommodating of children. If your children are blond, like mine, prepare them that there will be some touching and picture taking by strangers. It gets to be intrusive. My four year old gets freaked out by it and slaps at hands that touch her hair. She was born in Manhattan, what can I say?

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 09 Oct 2011 12:42 pm

Rent for the condos are more than Manhattan for sure, but the HDBs are less. Plus, lots of people nowadays don't get "packages" covering private schools :)

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Re:

Postby Brah » Tue, 03 May 2016 11:06 am

Came across this old post by accident, If you are still here would be interesting to get an update from you.

Brooklynjenn wrote:I've lived both in New York and Singapore now for about 5 weeks. I definitely agree, the public transport is better. Subways are clean, there are glass walls and doors on the platforms to keep the crazies from pushing you on the tracks, and, most importantly, they provide a way to keep air conditioning inside!

Rent is FAR more expensive in Singapore. I'd say 40% more than Manhattan, and two to three times what it is in Park Slope, where I used to live. Grocery store food here makes Whole Foods in Manhattan look like a discount center. God forbid you are attached to organics, because they are outrageously priced. It reminds me of New York in that you can get anything here, for a price. If you want your Organic Valley milk, no problem. Just be prepared to hand over S$18. Restaurant food here is cheaper at Hawker centers and food courts, and really tasty. Restaurant food in sit down restaurants is about the same price. A glass of wine at a restaurant cost me S$14 the other night for the house white.

People in stores are nicer, but I have a hard time understanding what people say to me, especially on the phone. It's not the queen's English here. In New York, the cashier at Key Foods will roll her eyes at you for putting your groceries on the counter. Here they will greet you with a smile most of the time, but when they ask you for your passion card or whatever store card is being hawked there, you have to ask them to repeat, sometimes a couple of times, to get what they are saying. Taxis are similar, except they don't want to be hailed on the street. They prefer to be called and booked (for a fee, or course). Just like in New York, there are no taxis to be had when it rains. The difference is it rains most days here.

The weather here feels like August in New York - you know, when everyone escapes to the Hamptons. Here you have a pool at your doorstep, and much nicer beaches an hour away. Haven't located a jitney yet, though.

The restaurant and nightlife scene appears to be similar, there is certainly a lot going on in the evenings. It's not sleepy like in the SF Bay area, as someone else mentioned.

To me it feels very western, more so than in Hong Kong. It is as safe as New York or safer. I always felt safe in New York.

My husband worked at JPMorgan in NYC. He left before the children woke up and got home around 10 or 11 pm every night. He was extremely stressed out. Here he leaves for work at 8:15 and gets home at 7:30 or 8, but often he has phone calls with the US at 11 pm or 12 pm, and again at 6:00 am. He seems more relaxed. He never works on weekends.

I haven't been here long enough to get bored, I'm still finding plenty to do. Plus, you can use Singapore as a jumping off base for lots of travel that you would otherwise never get to experience.

In a lot of ways it is easier here. There are similar issues with needing to go to five stores to get the ingredients for a recipe, but you don't have the trash issues, people are nice, there are plenty of people here from all over the world and it is an interesting melting pot. People don't seem as outwardly angry here, and you don't see as many crazy people. The drivers might be more aggressive, and they don't yield to pedestrians.

I think it is definitely worth doing, and as an ex-New Yorker, I think it compares favorably to New York. It's just a smaller scale, and a little more quiet, but in a good way.
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.


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