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Moving in July. Open to suggestions

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Dert42
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Moving in July. Open to suggestions

Postby Dert42 » Wed, 08 May 2013 12:09 am

Hi!

I've been trolling this forum for months now.
Lots of useful information, so thanks for that, and I apoligize for not partcipating. :)

Here is what I have going on. I would apprciate any additional comments or feedback and then I have some odd random questions.

Coming from St.Louis, Missouri USA.
My company (which I will decline to name for now) is opening a new branch of the thing I do for them in Singapore. They have chosen to relocate me permanently to start it.
I have already received my IPA letters.
I'm moving with myself, my wife(we're in our early 30s) and our 5yr old son and 1.5 yr old daughter.
They're paying to fly us out there, moving our stuff, relocation agent etc.
Also provided some bonuses to take care of school and housing deposits and misc.
No car planned. I plan to take MRT to work daily.
Thanks to posts in this forum I negociated a very high salary and I think I'm comfortable with.
My wife and I are flying over (via the company) in early June to find a place and lock it down.
Then the whole family is flying over in mid July.

We've applied to SAIS for my son for K2. Waiting on acceptance.

The company is flying my wife and I over in early June to check the country out and find a place to live.
We're planning on opening a Citi account, touring the school, and checking out places to live. We're leaning toward condos since we'd like a pool.
The kids love swimming so I think we'd actual use it.

What else should we do or look for?
I'm nervous about the Citi account being ready to use when we want to drop our deposits down.

We were hoping to get in a scuba dive or two, but it seems like the only good diving can be done with a weekend trip?

I'm hoping to get cable or fiber from Starhub.
Not sure what to do about cell phones yet. (We were planning on using Facetime or skype to talk to family back home.)

How do people with small children (carseat age) travel around?
I hope this doesn't sound too stupid, but it will be completely different then our life now.
My wife will stay at home for the first year or two to spend time with our girl and help run the household.
How does she get to the grocery store or something?
How does she get grocerys back home?

Anyone have good advice for getting kids over jetlag?
For that matter advice for flying with a 1.5 year old for 26 hours? We're planning on flying her in her car seat.

How easy is it to travel into Malaysia and Indonesia? The only thing we need are our passports? I assume it's completely safe?
One of the reasons we're moving to Singapore is to be able to travel and experience all the countries and cultures around the area.
I'm looking for suggestions on where to safely travel with the kids and how to travel there. (plane, train, car rental?)

Thanks!
Eddie

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 08 May 2013 7:03 am

You seem to have most of it nailed down.

You have a Citi account in the US? They have an 'expat' hotline somewhere you can call while still here to help coordinate opening your account in Singapore and linking them together for you. If you just come here to open an account it will not be a same day process for the online banking, etc. Things move slowly here.

For the kids in the car - if you take a taxi you hug them tight. Welcome to the third world (despite what the brochures about Singapore may have told you). You're more than welcome to drag your own car seat with you, but be prepared for the hassle that will entail. Up until a few months ago I'd have suggested you get a car based on the compensation package I assume you're on. But now with 40-50% minimum down payments required, I understand why you wouldn't want to (unless you can get the company to comp that $50k+ down payment on something like a Honda Fit!).

The two major grocery store chains - NTUC Fairprice and Cold Storage - both offer delivery of groceries. Their websites for shopping online is very late 90s-ish, but you can also just go to the store, buy your stuff, then tell them to deliver. If the order is over $150, it's free. (And it will be. Expect to pay 1.5-3x what you pay in the US for many things). She will walk to the grocery store, or take a taxi. You may want to invest in one of those push grocery carts you only see really old ladies in the US use. Everyone has one here. The grocery store will sell them for about $30.

Indonesia and Malaysia are both short flights, short boat rides, or for Malaysia, a car ride. Malaysia is just like going to Canada with your US Passports. Indonesia will make you buy a visa on arrival. Bring US cash for this, or expect a ridiculously terrible exchange rate on the Singapore dollar which will change at the whim of the guy selling you the visa. Indonesia is a bit more like going to Mexico. It is corrupt, and there is a much higher chance of petty crime than Malaysia. But as an American, you likely have a higher amount of street smarts and know how to avoid these situations. It's probably still safer than East St Louis for example.

For your Starhub, I would ask you two things:
1) Do you consider yourself a power user or techie? If so, consider fiber from someone like "Super Internet" or "My Republic" for fiber. If not, go with Singtel or Starhub.

2) For your choice between Singtel and Starhub, look at their pay TV packages. The offerings are different. Pretty much better entertainment (Starhub) or better sports packages (Singtel). Whichever of those you prefer, go with that provider for the internet/tv/mobile phone bundle.

bgd
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Postby bgd » Wed, 08 May 2013 12:27 pm

Forget diving in Sg waters, with all the reclamation you only see silt.

I opened Citi accounts and received credit cards on the same day. You will need an address (can use company I think) and a company letter that details your salary.

Sg is a fantastic hub for travel in the region. Plane mainly but for Malaysia there are buses, taxis, car rental, train and boat (diving). There are ferries to the likes of Batam and Bintan that take about 40 mins.

Malaysia is easy to get to, safe and friendly. Try and avoid holiday weekends, traffic and delays can be frustrating.

The public bus system here is very good. Do consider that when looking at accommodation. Proximity to MRT can limit choice / push up price.

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taxico
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Postby taxico » Wed, 08 May 2013 2:51 pm

if you like muck diving and taking chances with the visibility/sights, hit them up to dive locally:

http://www.pulauhantu.org/dive-with-us

i've dived locally (not with the above site) a handful of times and it was interesting. not fantastic, but interesting.

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Re: Moving in July. Open to suggestions

Postby beppi » Wed, 08 May 2013 3:45 pm

Dert42 wrote:We're planning on flying her in her car seat.

I don't think that's allowed - check with the airline!
All movable items (and that includes, I suppose, a car seat) have to be stored in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. All items that don't fit there (and that includes, I suppose, a car seat) have to be checked in.
They have special seat belts for small kids sitting on a parent's lap, which have to be used.
We flew many times with our daughter and never had a problem. Just take lots of things to do (books, toys, etc.) to prevent boredom!
Bringing a car seat really only makes sense if you have a car.

Dert42
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Postby Dert42 » Wed, 08 May 2013 10:19 pm

Thanks!

Re: Banking
I have spoken with the Citi people. I guess my concern is getting checks and being able to write a check for the deposit on condo/apartment while I'm there for a week.

Re: Car
I very specifically don't want to deal with a car anymore. :) Payments, gas, insurance, parking etc. If I don't need it, I don't want it anymore. Also Salary won't support that. And work isn't paying for anything more.

Re: Groceries
Very interesting about the grocerys! Thanks!! My wife is pleased to hear that.

Re: Travel
Good info about traveling thanks zzm9980!
I'm very exctied to travel around and see new places. Any tips on where to go/what to do in Batam or Bintan?

Re: Internet
I will check out the 2 fiber providers you mentioned, but i thought i say that Starhub offers fiber as well. I wouldn't say I'm a Power user, but I will be working from home from time to time to chat with co-workers back in the states.
Also online video games...
I'll check it out though. Thanks!

Re: Scuba
Bummer about scuba.
All my training (I'm a Rescue Diver) has been in a quarry in Southern Illinois. Viz is like 10 feet. So the muck doesn't bother me, but if there isn't interesting things to look at, then not much point.
Any recommended Padi companies for out of town dives?

Re: kids on plane
Thanks for the heads up beppi, but we got a lightweight aircraft approved seat.
http://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/trave ... -children/
The don't allow boosters, but the car seats that can be buckeled to the seat are allowed/encouraged.
I'm not too worried about the 5yr old on the plane. he can veg out and watch tv and play games.
The 1.5 is going to let everyone know she's unhappy.

Now I need to sign up for Kris flyer, and the cat quarantine.

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 09 May 2013 10:20 am

Dert42 wrote: Bintan?

Re: Internet
I will check out the 2 fiber providers you mentioned, but i thought i say that Starhub offers fiber as well. I wouldn't say I'm a Power user, but I will be working from home from time to time to chat with co-workers back in the states.
Also online video games...
I'll check it out though. Thanks!


Many ISPs in Singapore sell fiber, and they all use the same network. So really you're paying for the differences in the benefits. The two I mention have better tech support and will offer things like static IPs, more IPs, and are more transparent about their bandwidth limits. All ISPs have a concept of "international bandwidth" and most of them limit it at 30-40mb/sec. So even if you pay more to go from 100mb to 200mb fiber, it won't matter to any sites not located in Singapore. (Pretty much anything you connect to without a CDN cache in Singapore).

Starhub and Singtel (and maybe M1) force all web requests through a transparent proxy/cache. You cannot get around this without using a VPN.

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 09 May 2013 10:48 am

The 1.5 is going to let everyone know she's unhappy.

An iPad or iPod Touch with kids games and videos (Elmo, Dora, Team Umi Zoomi) work wonders to turn them into zombies. I don't like seeing my daughter in such a state, but when the alternative is screaming her lungs out for 18 hours or medication, I prefer the iPod.

Dert42
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Postby Dert42 » Fri, 10 May 2013 9:50 pm

20+ MB/sec is more then i get in the States, so I find that completely acceptable. I don't need static IPs or any of that jazz. I just need a decent connection to VPN into work.
Will probably go with Starhub...

Further developments:
It seems like importing a cat is near impossible. So I have contracted the Pet Hotel in Singapore to do it for me.
Also my son officially got accepted into SAIS. Huge weight off my shoulders.
60 days until we move.

Anyone have any experience with the local taiko groups?


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