My first post so be gentle
Initial info :
a) I have never been to Singapore but a potential work opportunity is brewing so I am coming first week of November to have a look.
b) I am a 6 year ( Cambodia based ) expat already so I am more than au fait with heat, humidity and all the pros and cons of expat life in Asia
c ) I have spent weeks googling so I have a good idea of rents and areas ( i think !? ).
d) Job I might come for is professional one paying I guess what you'd call higher upper end of the scale.
So i have some questions that I cant really answer from Google or trawling the forums and I hope you might help me :
1) I understand from what I have read that if one intends to go down the local school route that one should wait until you know where the school you are allocated is before renting so you are not miles away. Makes sense. We have a 4 year old and a one year old so 4 year old ( 5 next October ) will need to go to a pre-school which I believe I can choose myself so maybe we can rent wherever we want for a year before she has to go to primary school at 6. So first question is where is a nice place to live with the following stipulations;
- Budget to $6000 but id rather spend $4000. Prefer a terrace house or something with even a small yard as we "might" bring your German Shepherd. I do not have or really want to live in an exclusively white ghetto as I like living amongst locals and have been doing it here in Cambodia for years. If we don't bring the dog and we live in a condo
( i have never done this before - always houses ! ) I would prefer something in a low rise development as I cant get my head around living on the 20th story !!
- Must be close ( easy walk ) to a good fresh food market so my wife can shop ( she does not drive and I am unsure whether we will get a car as it seems a waste of money and the name of the game is saving money )and a hawker market I think you call them for cheap eats for our family when we want
- Near to transport ( easy walk ) such as bus or better still the MRT. I would be working in Raffles Plaza downtown and I don't mind if the commute takes me 30 mins ++ or if i have to walk to a bus, then train etc. More important my family have everything close.
- Near to green space ( easy walk ) for leisure. We have NO green space here in Phnom Penh so this idea is very novel to me. I would like to be able to mountain bike , walk the dog if she comes, walk with my kids FISH ! ?, picnic easily etc. From googling I like the Bishan,Upper Thompson area near the big MacRitchie reservoir and then also I really like the look of the East Coast as far up as Changi ( but then I have never been there so have no ide3a what realities of getting downtown are ? ).
- Going back to my schooling .....Ill put this last but if anyone HA HA HA could recommend somewhere that meets all the above AND knows where there is a reasonable local school that doesn't get slammed with applications that would be AHEM ideal
So really - for the above question - some recommendations on areas or even better still - if some of you live in low rise condos
that are nice can you give me the names so i can Google please. I have looked extensively at property
guro.com.sg and it seems there are lots of places in the $4-6 range .
2) Schooling issue again - how many of you have two children say 3 years apart going through local Singapore Schools together ? Or is that just insanely impossible to chance the same school ?
3) Transport : In general what are the realities of getting around as a family with two kids using PT in Singapore ? Here in Cambodia we have a car and motorscooters as there are no buses or trains at all. We go where we want where we want but sometimes the traffic is INSANE especially at peak hours. No adherence to any rules whatsoever , Phnom Penh is strange . Sometimes you can get across the city in 15 minutes another times it takes two hours. One bad accident or motorcade and BANG it stops. I love having a car as I have always had one and like bundling the family into the car for days or weekends away but I gather you don't do weekends away inside Singapore !!
so how do those of you with small kids handle going out for a family day ? If you live west and want to go east tot he beaches do you just taxi it ? Do you need to have baby seats etc ? Just general comments. I would like to get a motorbike for my own occasional fun time but i have read up on that.
4) I have read alot on these forums and I sense a hint of despair at the way things are going for expatriates in Singapore. Harder to get visas, harder to get local schooling, higher rents, etc. Seems to be a bit of despondency creeping in and " the good old days are over" but then I have seen that happen here too. Ill know a bit more about the place after my visit as I have good mates there who have been there for years but after 6 years in third world Cambodia and with two little ones now....I "think" Singapore might provide the kids especially with a nicer environment for playing and learning etc. I would certainly miss the funk factor of Cambodia and the $8 cases of beer but career-wise Singapore would be a huge upward move for me and I know my Khmer wife would love a change of scenery. Comments ?
5) Someone told me that Singaporeans are very Xenophobic and in particular have a real superiority complex with other Asian races. My wife is Cambodian ( Khmer ) and his comment was that she would probably get treated very poorly . Over here in Phnom Penh there is NO racism of any kind and doors are opened by strangers at every opportunity. It is a wonderful place to live in that respect and I simply love the locals here. Comments ?
So that's it for now.....sorry for such a long post and thanks for any help you can give me .