Singapore Expats Forum

General Advice

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 9:20 am

Oh, one other thing, it's not like moving to NYC. Believe me.

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Postby veronicax » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 9:41 am

I plan on sending my son to public schools not International Schools..

As for Customer Service Managers it was on the very desirable list in the Singapore Expat book ( can get the source the book uses at another time) ..

I did mention I was just starting to get information..If I do move it won't be for several months..

As for just jumping of a plane.. Sorry, but I am confident I could pretty much make it anywhere in the world !!

With that being said, I am also starting and will continue to do as much research as I can !!

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 9:52 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote: ...


SMS is on the spot .. plus, as I have some exposure in Airline trade, if you are pretty good in GDS, I can safely say you can look for a pay of not more than S$ 4,000 a month, as a senior CSR ! And that's about the highest you will go, and unless you speak / read and write Chinese, to handle regional / mainland customers, you will not go further up the food chain, as most of the work centers around Chinese, and China ! Even locally, more than half of the travel agents / reservation agents are chinese, either local, or Malaysians, who can't converse much in English, as their primary clientele is Chinese !

Unless you have product specialisation and such, you are not gonna go further than that ..

Can you live in Singapore with that pay ? well, most do, heck, most Singaporeans make do with about that or less than that kind of pay ..

The question is, how will it pan out for you ?

Oh, Singapore is the best place for Expats ?? :) nobody tells me things nowadays .. !!!!!!!!!!! Singapore Inc is being marketed pretty well I guess !

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 9:57 am

veronicax wrote:I plan on sending my son to public schools not International Schools..


Well, foreign students are not easily absorbed into local school and .. they have some formula to place your child. You may be in the east and the MOE system may pick your child a school in the west !! Locals, and higher performing students get their choice of schools. Foreigners and lesser performing students get into the lucky draw ! Never mind the fact that east end to the west end is just about an hour at the most, at times, it can tire you out ..

As for Customer Service Managers it was on the very desirable list in the Singapore Expat book ( can get the source the book uses at another time) ..


I am pretty curious to know this "source" !

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Postby veronicax » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:16 am

Is their testing to get into local schools ? If so that is great !! My son is in 2nd grade and is reading at 6th grade level and is also doing equally well in math :D

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Re: General Advice

Postby sweetgazebo » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:25 am

Firstly, I really admire you. I don't meet many strong single mothers who take risks like migrating to a country the culture of which is a stark contrast to that of the US. I have never been to the US. All I know and see of the US is from the TV and movies :) I would love to hop over there for work for a year to get the feel of what's it like.

Ok ... having read some of the replies to your initial post, the following are my perspective to some of your statements / requests below:


veronicax wrote:Hi, I am brand new on here and would just like some general advice and opinions..Obviously I am considering a move to Singapore as an expat, so i think I will list a little about me and then what I am looking for and then open it up for advice and opinions.. Thanks in advance..

About me:

I am a single 37 year old mom with one 7 year old son.

I have a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science.
Singapore is not like the US. Having this degree in the US would get you jobs in gyms where you will be a specialist called upon to advise gym patrons on their health and exercise program, for example, and get paid well. In Singapore, I have only ever come across 1 chap who had this degree (with nearly 10 years of relevant experience both in and out of the country (inc the US) and he was only getting paid $3000 / month. He's Asian (not local).

I also have over 7 years of airline customer service experience.
If you bank in on this experience, you need to target the industry that you would like to utilise it. I recently came across an advertisement for a local telecomms company looking at hiring a customer service manager, with at least 5 years of experience and are paying up to a maximum of $96k / annum. Then again, I have also come across jobs for customer service roles (taking your 7 years experience, which will fall within a senior capacity) paying only $48k / annum and these roles always highlight the requirement of Singapore citizen / PR.

I am very adaptable and have previously relocated my self to New York City without knowing a soul.

I only speak English but plan on learning some Chinese before I relocate.

What I would like:

An area with nice school's where I can send my son to public school (he is very academic)
Some areas I know that are family-oriented include high-end neighbourhoods like the west coast and east coast area (both of which are popular with expats). But these areas don't come cheap.

A job in wellness/health or customer service related.

A decent salary that allows for some traveling and exploring.

A two bed room apartment: doesn't have to be fancy but would love a bathtub and a small pool would be a bonus.
A bathtub and pool thrown into a 2-bedroom apartment apartment package would set you back to a rental of at least $5000 / month. HDB flats do not come with bathtubs or pools but they are affordable with a 2-bedroom starting at $2500 / month (depending on the area and location; generally the further away the flat is from the MRT station, the cheaper it is. Also, the closer you are to the city, the more expensive it is). What I have just quoted is quite far out of the city, about 30-45 mins by train.

Public education in Singapore is of inferior, if not good, quality. And there's always a school near the HDB flats


30 mins or less commute to work and or city centre.

A awesome experience for me and my son where we can learn new things and meet new friends !!
:D


If you google ContactSingapore, you will get an idea of the cost of living over here in Singapore. You might also be able to find your dream job in this portal.

Overall, if you do land a job which pays you at least $60k / annum you and your son will be able to live decently (minus, of course, pool and bathtub) and travel regionally (on a budget).

I have personally met married couples where the combined income of $48k / annum allows them to a so-so lifestyle however they share a HDB flat with 2-3 other occupants, stay 45 mins away from the city, put their child through decent schooling and are still able to save for a HDB flat of their own (after nearly 15 years of slogging).

So, it's not impossible after all but you won't be able to live the lifestyle that you have explained above.

Happy searching!

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:26 am

veronicax wrote:Is their testing to get into local schools ? If so that is great !! My son is in 2nd grade and is reading at 6th grade level and is also doing equally well in math :D


errr .. there you go again ..

Well, for locals, based on their scores, they get their choices .. foreigners come LAST in choosing schools !! even if the foreign kid is super performing .. !!!


I hope it didn't burst your image of Singapore as the best place for expats :)

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Postby veronicax » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:50 am

Thanks Sweetgazabo, you answers were very informative.. Only one thing, exercise science is worlds apart from PE /gym teachers !! Most call it exercise physiology and there is a push to remove the exercise science name :P

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Re: General Advice

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:24 pm

sweetgazebo wrote:Public education in Singapore is of inferior, if not good, quality. And there's always a school near the HDB flats[/color]


:???:

Is that why their maths & science scores are way far and above the US or for that matter, most western countries and, for that matter, most countries world wide? Is that why their maths curriculum is being adopted by California and a host of other US states now, seeing that the US style of maths education is been confirmed to be inferior? Methinks you need to review your data sources.

Veronicax,

You say your child is reading 6 grade level? By whose standard is that? I have to assume it's the US standard of 6th grade and not Singapore's. The standards in the US educational system have been dumbed down so far due to the clamouring of certain minorities, that today, almost any Asian can do at least 25% better on SAT tests. Do some research on the better college entrance exams to see how Asians (and Singaporeans in particular) fare compared to the normal WASP applicants.

http://racerelations.about.com/b/2011/0 ... udents.htm

I'm not saying your child is not academically advanced for his age, but just that putting him in a local school may well be a blow to his esteem if he's used to being the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Some thrive and other fail miserably, your personal results may vary.

One of our regulars here, boffenl, has her daughter in the local school system and she is thriving. I put both of mine through the local school system and while the first one thrived, the second one got side-tracked by a Bass Guitar. Currently he's in the Singapore Navy.

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Re: General Advice

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:37 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: .....


and . years ago, one of my cousins' son went to Study in NY, with his mother, and here in St Patricks, he was a class average. In US, he was the class topper and he wrote an essay about Martin Luther King and got an award from the then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani himself .. and my cousin's son was mighty impressed .. when the father was planning to bring him back to Singapore, he bluntly refused saying that in Singapore he is average, and in US, he was TOPS ! And won a scholarship to Rutgers !





That the was also wary of serving NS here was another attraction for him to stay put there .. but that's besides the point ...

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Re: General Advice

Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 5:35 pm

veronicax wrote:
I also have over 7 years of airline customer service experience.



One thing I've always recommended to fellow Americans is to look at companies they're familiar with, and see if they're hiring in Singapore just via their job postings. That's how I found my current position, and I know a few others (for other countries, not here) did the same.

I specifically recommend this because I know there is an office for Delta Airlines a few floors above my office, and from observations in the elevator they are at least half Americans. And Delta only has one or two flights a day out of Singapore (via NRT), so I'd say they're quite minor here at best. Check American and United also.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 17 Feb 2012 5:37 pm

And what court TV show were you on Judge Judy? Is it on Youtube? :D

Maybe you can apply as an artist/performer visa! Appearing on Judge Judy would qualify you to be on "The Noose".

I highly recommend you watch a few episodes to get a better idea of Singapore. It's supposed to be satire (like Mad TV or SNL), except it's not. It is entirely 100% true.

http://video.xin.msn.com/browse/tv/show?tag=the+noose

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Re: General Advice

Postby x9200 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 7:13 am

ecureilx wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote: .....

.. when the father was planning to bring him back to Singapore, he bluntly refused saying that in Singapore he is average, and in US, he was TOPS ! And won a scholarship to Rutgers !

One may only wonder, if this allegedly excellent local education system is so excellent why is it so bad with an average local Joe when you try to discuss any general subject or deviate a tiny bit from his core specialization.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 8:11 am

A local in Hong Kong told me this about the HK Education system (and assures me it applies to SG also, which I believe):

"If the Titanic was manned soley by HK's brightest graduates, everyone would have died. While the ship was going down, every crew member would have remained calm, smiling, and told anyone that asked 'No, the ship is not sinking. It cannot sink. It says it is unsinkable right here in the operating manual.'"

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 18 Feb 2012 8:22 am

It's getting much better. The reason was a pragmatic one, initially. And it was found to have some long term flaws which are being corrected. When the country was young (as an independent nation) they needed to change the population from a bunch of coolies & night soil collectors to ones capable of working in factories, working in research, working as technicians, chemists, biologists, etc., etc, etc. This let to the "streaming" that fast tracked those who showed a strength in one field or another. Unfortunately, in the early days, there wasn't much need, for social sciences or history or geography or any of the non-hard disciplines. Therefore these were bypassed. This led to people who were knowledgeable about their field (within certain parameters - they still weren't told how to think outside the box) but who couldn't carry on a conversation outside of their field. e.g., they didn't get a "well-rounded" education. Same thing with the universities here. There was no such thing as a "Liberal Arts" degree. If it wasn't useful to the physical building of the country it was dispensed with as they didn't have the resources to cater for "learning for learnings sake". They have had to build the educational system from scratch and frankly, yeah, they made some grave mistakes early on but their international scholastic Olympiad results are something to be proud of considering the system is less than 50 years old. One much give credit where credit is due.....


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