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Initial notes as an expat living in SG

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Initial notes as an expat living in SG

Postby SINexpat » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 1:09 pm

Some interesting things I've discovered in the last couple weeks living as a true expat in SG compared to extended hotel visits.

1. When by yourself, it's way cheaper to just eat at the hawker stand than buy groceries. Probably not the healthiest choice though.

2. Amazingly I run into a lot of people who don't speak even bad English.
Expected this in China (and why I learned to speak horribly bad Mandarin) but not here in SG.

3. Tuna. I love tuna and there are a ton of canned varieties to try from in the grocery stores. Next move is to find fresh tuna steak and reserve a BBQ at the condo to try it on.

4. I now understand why everything comes in mini sizes compared to the US when shopping. Carrying heavy stuff back to the condo sucks.

5. condo owners in SG are clueless about even the most basic of home repairs.

6. Taking shoes off before entering condo. At home you enter the house and take your shoes off in a mudroom, foyer, etc. I'm not sure I'll ever get this down.

7. condo rental agreement signing party. The whole contract and rental agreement thing has been made WAY too complicated here in SG. And a lot of ridiculous items that cost people money but really serve no useful purpose.

There's more but these are still in my frontal lobe.

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Postby Sergei82 » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 2:28 pm

1. Try buying groceries NOT in 7-11 next time.

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Postby SINexpat » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 3:13 pm

Sergei82 wrote:1. Try buying groceries NOT in 7-11 next time.


Problem is I like stuff that back home would be cheap. Here, it's not.

Example, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, etc.

I can eat at a hawker stand for 4 bucks including a drink.

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Postby Sergei82 » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 4:38 pm

Comparing apples with oranges. You don't eat spaghetti sauce and canned vegetables at hawker stand. Buy the same thing from supermarket - much cheaper.

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Re: Initial notes as an expat living in SG

Postby JR8 » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 4:54 pm

SINexpat wrote:3. Tuna. I love tuna and there are a ton of canned varieties to try from in the grocery stores. Next move is to find fresh tuna steak and reserve a BBQ at the condo to try it on.

4. I now understand why everything comes in mini sizes compared to the US when shopping. Carrying heavy stuff back to the condo sucks.

5. condo owners in SG are clueless about even the most basic of home repairs.

6. Taking shoes off before entering condo. At home you enter the house and take your shoes off in a mudroom, foyer, etc. I'm not sure I'll ever get this down.

7. condo rental agreement signing party. The whole contract and rental agreement thing has been made WAY too complicated here in SG. And a lot of ridiculous items that cost people money but really serve no useful purpose.


3) Yes, ok for sandwiches. After a bit the taste of it all gets a bit homogenous though. Maybe better in salads?
- get way more punch from something like home-made egg-mayo (OR sliced boiled egg + mayo) and ham (or turkey, or sausage) sanis. Use decent mayo (Hellemans, or better if poss), or make it yourself! Tastes WAY better than anything from Subway etc., healthier, and easily 1/2 the cost.

Try cooking tuna yourself from fresh. Just be aware that as a very low-fat meat, it is super delicate and unforgiving, quite easy (i.e. VERY quick) to massacre.

4) Yep. Most people don't have cars.

5) Don't know, maybe. Calling a plumber to replace a tap-washer in London might cost me ... S$250 (baseline). Here S$35-40? There's little incentive for locals to be DIYers.

6) Yeah maybe. Back home, plenty of polite people wear shoes at home all day, even in fully carpeted homes. (This includes my parents - but it's just normal to them). Me, with 20+ years in Asia behind me, I almost physically cannot bring myself to wear outdoor shoes indoors, and certainly not in carpeted rooms.... yeugh! No mud/boot-rooms here, plus people tend to have no interest in stealing old shoes from in front of someone's home (unless designer, in which case bring them in, and drop them behind the (locked) front door).

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Postby Max Headroom » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 5:45 pm

Same here Lofty, after 10+ years in Asia, I was positively offended, not to mention grossed out, when a friend of mine (an angmoh with plenty of years in Singapore under his belt) walked into my place without even thinking of taking off his loafers.

I think taking off your shoes before going in is a great habit. I now shudder to think of how we played, crawled and laid on our carpeted floors when we were kids. Yukk!

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Postby nutnut » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 5:52 pm

5. Have you seen the price of tools here!?!?!?!
nutnut

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Postby Max Headroom » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 5:52 pm

By the by, I love tuna too (canned, steak, toro etc). But best watch the mercury eh. I don't know how true the Jeremy Piven anecdote is, but it's probably better not to go to town with tuna too frequently.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 6:06 pm

Sergei82 wrote:Comparing apples with oranges. You don't eat spaghetti sauce and canned vegetables at hawker stand. Buy the same thing from supermarket - much cheaper.


Actually, you can. Go eat at an Astons in a Kopitiam or regular coffee shop.

Either way, you seem to be making some ridiculously pedantic point against the OP. It's cheaper for most people to eat in a Hawker Center than to buy normal groceries at NTUC or Giant and cook their own normal meals.

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Postby SINexpat » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 7:29 pm

Max Headroom wrote:I think taking off your shoes before going in is a great habit. I now shudder to think of how we played, crawled and laid on our carpeted floors when we were kids. Yukk!


It's matter of habit. In US where I live it can be -25C to 40C depending on time of year. Hence you take your shoes off inside. Still a designated area for shoes but it's a mind twist for me to take my shoes off "outside".

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Postby Max Headroom » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 10:38 pm

SINexpat wrote:
Max Headroom wrote:I think taking off your shoes before going in is a great habit. I now shudder to think of how we played, crawled and laid on our carpeted floors when we were kids. Yukk!


It's matter of habit. In US where I live it can be -25C to 40C depending on time of year. Hence you take your shoes off inside. Still a designated area for shoes but it's a mind twist for me to take my shoes off "outside".


Yeah, that's true eh.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 25 Jan 2014 10:47 pm

Max Headroom wrote: Yeah, that's true eh.


I had a friend over from England, this was maybe 7 years ago. He was marrying a local girl from a smart bumi neighbourhood in KL (me: best-man). The family home is in a very central but kampong type social setting (gardens, long front paths, etc), different.

Everyone left their shoes outside on the front porch/stoop in a rack, or on the doorstep.

His £150 Campers got stolen (plus a few other posh expat pairs), and I had to lend him some $3 rubber sandals.

Live and learn...

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Re: Initial notes as an expat living in SG

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 10:08 am

JR8 wrote:5) Don't know, maybe. Calling a plumber to replace a tap-washer in London might cost me ... S$250 (baseline). Here S$35-40? There's little incentive for locals to be DIYers.

Here they would replace the whole tap and it would be S$250.
One of my earlier landladies was very surprised that I could hang ceiling lamps by myself (and disappointed her husband could not). S$40 per lamp. I think they have enough incentive especially that many of them are very money focused.

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Re: Initial notes as an expat living in SG

Postby JR8 » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 12:34 pm

x9200 wrote:Here they would replace the whole tap and it would be S$250. One of my earlier landladies was very surprised that I could hang ceiling lamps by myself (and disappointed her husband could not). S$40 per lamp. I think they have enough incentive especially that many of them are very money focused.


Hehehe...
Also I think there is a sense that 'manual work' (incl DIY is done by other people, tradesmen, perhaps the FDW, 'anybody but the big-shot SGn landlord'... ?)

I remember seeing (this was maybe 5 years back now) a list of domestic internal repair costs on the notice board at an HDB block. The listed prices were incredible. Changing a tap washer was something like $20/30 all in. Don't recall now, but of course my immediate thought was 'I wonder if I can get those prices from them for works done at a condo...

But yes you're right many contractors will try and 'upsell' a job where possible.

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Postby Sergei82 » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 12:56 pm

7 years of living on my own taught me a lot! Now I am even able to skilfully and easily disassemble and repair a toilet bowl tank! I feel so mighty! :evil: :P :cool:


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