Cluny Court 8 great spots to check out

Mall Pick:

Known for its fab location right next to the beautiful Botanic Gardens, popular boutique shopping centre Cluny Court houses an eclectic selection of lifestyle, fashion and dining. Here are some of our top picks for the entire family!

BIG BLUE TRUNK (#02-27) Big Blue Trunk is a home and interiors boutique, and the exclusive retailer of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Singapore. Apart from carrying an eclectic mix of art and home décor, including Lucy Tiffney Wallpaper, it offers furniture upcyclingservicesandacolourfulmenu of workshops for creative souls. The store encourages shoppers to stop by the studio “to find interior inspiration

THE BIG BLOW (#02-21) Looking for the ultimate glam experience for your next ball, prom, wedding or special event? The Big Blow specialises in hair, makeup, tanning, eyelashes and nails, and is run by Ellie Sakrzewski, who boasts a long career in the world of magazine covers and fashion shows. Ellie and her expert team of stylists will primp and preen you to perfection, with colour and cut advice, bespoke makeup lessons and more. The Big Blow can also host your next girls get-together, with exclusive Pamper Parties for groups of four or more. 6465 4836 |

and #makeverydaybeautiful!” 9247 7107 |

LEVEL 1 Bar Bar Black Sheep Cold Storage Da Paolo Gastronomia EGA Juice Clinic Girl O’ Girl Florist Jeeves Plain Vanilla Bakery

LEMONGRASS & AUBERGINE (#02-26) The perfect place to shop gorgeous, quality European home décor, with brands like Pappelina and Sabre, plus a wide range of gifts including popular Singapore-themed kitchen towels, aprons and more. 6463 0752 |

CHANGE LINGERIE (#02-08) This is a Danish lingerie salon for voluptuous ladies. With its professional bra fitters, you can find sizes from 60C to 95G, and in sexy, basic, sporty and maternity styles. There’s also swimwear that flatters and hugs bigger body shapes.

9321 1344 |

Singapore Ixora The Affogato Bar The Fishwives The Source Bulk Foods (NEW!) LEVEL 2 Alfie Browns Big Blue Trunk Change Lingerie Cluny Court Family Dental Groovy Gifts & Gorgeous Gifts

Hanna Lee Accessories Hopla! Kids Shoe Shop Lemongrass & Aubergine Lyaya by FJ (NEW!) Mo Li Hua VintageWatches & Jewelry Morning June (NEW!) The Room by Nail Bar @ Cluny PARIS &ME Relish by Wild Rocket Rosalie Pompon

SIMONE IRANI (#02-17) Simone Irani has carved a niche for timeless and ultra-chic resort wear that effortlessly carries you from day to night in any setting. The brand’s bold prints, light fabrics and different cuts flatter most body shapes, enabling women to stand out, feel confident and, most importantly, have fun in the creations. These are stylish clothes for vibrant and free-spirited women. 6468 8486 |

THE ELLY STORE (#02-31/33) This is a one-stop shopping destination catering to children from zero to 12 years. The store houses a wide range of international shoe brands such as Old Soles and Native, and an extensive range of gifts and toys from Jellycats, Peaceable Kingdom and more. Its In- house label, Elly, designs stylish clothing for kids without compromising on comfort and practicality. 6466 8718 |

Simone Irani Simply Bread Sugar K Organic Peel Bar SPRMRKT The Big Blow The Elly Store The Hair Lounge The Linen Company (NEW!)

The Master Hair Salon Thirsty Craft Beer Shop Treasure Links

Dunearn Road

THE AFFOGATO BAR (#01-04B) Launched in 2017, The Affogato Bar, the first of its kind in Asia, is a place designed for coffee lovers. It features a repertoire of decadent affogato desserts that make for an Instagram- worthy pour-shot! 9238 9005 |


Bukit Timah Road

Serene Centre

Cluny Court

This boutique carries an extensive line- up of watches from Rolex, Cartier and Omega, to Seiko and more, alongside a specially curated range of jewelry. 9621 9453 |

Botanic Gardens MRT

French Embassy

Farrer Road Flyover


Visit for more details


What are your thoughts right now? Are you excited about things and ready to go? Or are you stuck in “what do I do now?” mode? Where can I buy a comfy bed? How do I convert my driving licence? Which dentist should I go to? Where can I learn Muay Thai? These are just some of the many questions we’ll answer in these pages. Did you know there are some great walks to do in Singapore? (If you walk in the jungle at noon, it’s really not that hot – I promise you!). We’ve also got pages of fun trivia and a challenging quiz. But, most importantly, we share the views and preferences of an unbiased panel of expats who range in backgrounds and their length of time “on the ground”. If you’ve just arrived, or you’ve been here a while but don’t feel you’ve really made the most of Singapore, Expat Living has been helping people like you for over 17 years. Our annual City Guide , which you’re holding in your hands right now, is a great place to start, and then there are our monthly magazines, plus all the features and event information at our website,, to keep you up to date. If you have family, look out for our Kids’ Guide in November, and, if you’d like to subscribe, go to our site or email us at Now, it’s time to get going!

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GET SOCIAL! Get updates from our content and competitions, Like us on Facebook (just search “Expat Living Singapore”) or, for daily behind-the-scenes antics from the team, follow us on instagram @expatlivingsg.

SUBSCRIBE! Subscribe to our monthly magazine. Delivered to your door every month, it’s a glossy 200+ page magazine with loads of insightful stories and inspiration on topics covering travel, family, interiors, culture, style, beauty and more. You can also subscribe and download the digital version on your tablet device, so it’s at your fingertips while you’re on the go.

LOG ON! Visit us online at our oh-so- useful website,; keep up to date with what’s going on in Singapore with our event updates, calendar and classifieds pages; and peruse plenty of useful articles on how to make the most of your city.

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JOIN OUR COMMUNITY! From coffee mornings and kids’ activities to cocktail nights and lifestyle classes, we hold plenty of fun events where you can mingle with other newbies (or Singapore veterans!), get to know new pals and, of course, say hello to our friendly team.

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61 FINDYOUR HOME // Navigate the island


// Your basic survival guide Learn everything you need to know about your new home, from some of the challenges facing newcomers, to transport options, networking, finding friends, hiring a helper, and looking for work

// Furniture and interior inspiration Once you’ve found your perfect property, you’ll want to spruce it up and make it your own. Get interior design tips and furniture shopping recommendations to suit your style and budget.

The all-important question is where to live! Find out more about the various neighbourhoods and housing options, from high- rise apartments to garden homes in the suburbs.

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107 LEARN&PLAY // Education options for kids of all ages

Schooling in Singapore is world- class, and children get the opportunity to learn in culturally diverse environments with fantastic extra-curricular activities. Hear more about the range of preschools, schools and other educational institutions so you can make the right choice for your child.


185 RECHARGE& UNWIND // Retail therapy and tips for exploring From shopping tips around the island to info on parks, museums, temples, galleries and other things to see – plus, some ideas for getting away – you’ll find it all in this section.

215 LET’SEAT // Hot cafés, restaurants and bars In Singapore, there are some amazing foods to try, from hawker favourites to champagne brunches. Go here for restaurant recommendations, foodie tips and other advice for the curious or just the plain hungry!

// Stay well, inside and out The fact that many people travel to Singapore just to have medical treatment says something about the island’s state-of-the-art hospitals and services. Whether you’re looking for a dentist or ENT doctor, there’s expert medical help at hand.

For the latest updates, find us on facebook or follow us on instagram @expatlivinghk

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SINGAPORE HACKS Your Basic Survival Guide


49 The time, in minutes, it would take Lewis Hamilton to cover the equivalent distance from Singapore to the equator based on his 2018 Singapore Grand Prix average lap speed. 68 The number of backwards somersaults that Singaporean Kyra Poh performed in a single minute in the iFly wind tunnel on Sentosa. 70 The estimated size of Singapore’s otter population.

15 The size, in tonnes, of a single curry dish that was cooked for Singapore’s Suvai Indian Gourmet Festival in 2015.

1 The number of Olympic gold medals that Singapore has won in its history – Joseph Schooling won gold in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Rio Olympics, beating a field that included US superstar Michael Phelps. 4 The number of Singapore dishes that appeared in CNN’s 2017 list of the world’s 50 best foods. They were: roti prata (45th), laksa (44th), chilli crab (29th) and chicken rice (13th). 6 The number of times Singapore has changed its time zone since 1905. 12 The percentage of Singapore’s land that’s taken up by roads.


The percentage of species found in Singapore Zoo that are listed as threatened.

34 The number of years that Singapore’s MRT system has been in operation.

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125 The age, in years, of the building that houses the Lau Pa Sat hawker centre; its origins are another 70 years older than that. 312 The diameter, in metres, of the world’s largest retractable dome, which serves as the roof of the National Stadium. 388 The price, in dollars, of a set of five limited- edition coffee pods that went on sale in Singapore in 2017; they were blended with coffee beans and 22k gold dust. 500 The fine, in dollars, for carrying a durian on public transport in Singapore.

2,241 The number of people who gathered at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in 2016 to break the world record for “the largest reunion of people born at the same hospital”. 8,600 The number of completed high-rise buildings in Singapore.

183,737 The number of millionaires living in Singapore, as of October 2018.

221,155 The number of passengers who passed through Changi Airport on 21 December, the airport’s busiest day of 2018.

10,000 Singapore’s biggest bank note; while it hasn’t been printed since 2014, the note is still in circulation and considered legal tender.

26,000 The approximate size, in football fields, that Singapore’s land mass has increased by since 1960.




New to Singapore?An international move can be daunting, and it can throw up all kinds of questions. That’swhywe’re here to offer some help. Meet our seven expat readers who make up this year’s Panel! You’ll find their tips and advice dotted throughout this guide.

Jennifer Yarbrough is an American attorney who has been living in Singapore for almost six years. She’s also the founder of White Glove, an employment agency that handles work permit processing for helpers and various types of employment

American Kristen Graff lives in Singapore with her husband Wes and two boys, Wyatt and Vaughan. She moved here from New York when Wyatt was just two weeks old for Wes’s job in the semiconductor industry. They arrived on a two-year assignment 12 years ago and are now Singaporean PRs with no plans to leave the little red dot. Kristen is a real estate agent and relocation consultant helping expats successfully settle in to Singapore.

passes. Passionate about helping women become

strong and independent, Jennifer is the Singapore Overseas Committee Chair for USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO). Her top priority, though, is raising two independent daughters to follow their dreams and passions.

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Singapore has been home for Tony Davies since 2008, when he moved here from Australia. Tony works for a large global bank and is married with two children: a daughter studying in a university in Melbourne and a son in Year 12 at AIS. Tony is active in the Australian community, and was previously the President of the Singapore Sharks AFL club.

Hailing from India, Geeta Colaco has been living here with her husband for 11 years. They have a six-year-old who is pure dynamite and doesn’t stop for a second. Geeta currently works at the Australian International School (AIS), but during her free time, she indulges in yoga, drinking tea and reading books.

Originally from Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Firuza Karimova relocated from London with her Irish husband in 2016. She works as a cyber security specialist. They are proud parents of two boys: six-year-old Charlie and two-year- old George.

Originally from Ireland, Emer

O’Flanagan moved to Singapore close to five years ago with her husband John, and their family has since grown. They adopted a dog in 2016, had their first daughter in 2017, and a second daughter this year. They love to travel around the region, but now that they’re with two kids, they’re re-exploring all the sights Singapore has to offer.

Brit Kate Wright has been living here with her Singaporean husband Sinder for almost eight years. They moved from the UK in 2011 for Sinder to undertake an academic post. Now, they have two children: six-year- old Jessie and three-year-old Harry. Kate divides her time between her kids and her work as a part-time lecturer in English Literature at Nanyang Technological University.





/ Living here has opened up a whole new world for me. The social scene is lively and it’s fairly easy to make friends. I also love that Singapore is a great hub for travel. We can get to beautiful remote islands in a matter of hours, and visit parts of the world I would never have experienced if we didn’t make the move here, such as Cambodia and Borneo. However, sometimes I feel like we live in an expat bubble and don’t fully integrate into the local society. I’ve lived here twice; the first time I didn’t even make any local friends. This time, I’ve done a much better job of meeting locals and that makes me a lot happier. I feel less removed this time around. – Jennifer / In Singapore, we can enjoy the privilege of living in a society that is well ordered and safe. Public services tend to function successfully; buses and trains run on time, reported crime is low, healthcare in clinics and hospitals is of a high standard, and the public areas are well maintained with many pavements sheltered from the elements. Singapore is a fantastic base for short-haul travel around Southeast Asia, if you have the time and resources to make the most of it. As for the negative: how do you feel about lizards, not to mention ants and cockroaches? After nearly eight years in Singapore, I still haven’t quite accepted that lizards appear to have the right to surprise me in my home at any time, from behind curtains, inside cupboards and under the toaster! – Kate

/ One of the best things about being an expat here is the variety of other expats you befriend along the way. Our peer group consists of friends from all over the world: Singapore, Italy, South Africa, Australia, the UK, America, Japan and more! The expat community here is also very welcoming. Wherever you go and whatever you get involved with, you can very quickly make friends. One negative? The “expat tax” can be a bummer. I have lived in Singapore a long time and there are times I know I am charged more for things – services mostly – because I’m an expat. – Kristen / Singapore has good weather. It’s a great place to make friends and for families to live in. One negative aspect is that it’s not that easy to find work. – Firuza

/ Travelling around the region is without a doubt the best part. You can see and experience so much from here. The “work hard, play hard” culture is really fun! One negative aspect: customer service can leave a lot to be desired. – Emer / My two kids have been raised in Singapore and the environment has been outstanding. The friends we have made over the years have been gold. One negative is the lack of any variability in temperature. – Tony / Safety! As a positive aspect, that occupies the top ten spots if you are moving here with kids. As far as negative aspects go, some people could find life here a bit sterile. – Geeta

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From food delivery t o n a v i g a t i n g publ i c t ranspor t , these useful apps are guaranteed to make settling into Singapore that much easier. Here are our recommendations.

Carousell: An active marketplace for second- hand products, from tech and gadgets to designer handbags. Zalora: Browse local and international brands on the go, with free delivery in Singapore. Lazada: Shop thousands of products across health, beauty, home, living, electronics and more. S h o p e e : A n o t h e r popular app for buying and selling using your phone; good for bargains. Gumtree SG: A free classifieds site; connect with local buyers and sellers and post ads yourself. Amazon Prime Now: No time to trawl the shops? Order endless daily essentials and gift items with this app. Q o o 1 0 : N e w e s t products and trends from Singapore and the world at discounted prices.

PropertyGuru: Search for all types of property in Singapore and filter by price, area and more. iProperty: Another app for searching the latest listings for available real estate in Singapore. S i n g a p o r e ( S G ) Stocks: This easy-to- use app allows you to see stock activity, company exchanges and more. Dash Singapore: Why withdraw cash from banks? Make transactions on the go with this app instead. FastJobsSG: Looking f o r w o r k ? B r o w s e part-time, temporary, freelance and holiday jobs with this app. JobsDB: Another job- search app providing a wide range of work o p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d vacancies. Jobstreet: Jobs on offer from over 230,000 employers in Singapore and the region.


Sistic: Keen to see a show? Sistic is the largest ticketing service provider in Singapore. XE Currency: Find live exchange rates for any country – handy for all the travelling you’ll be doing. WeatherLah: Accurate weather info from data collected from reliable local sources. SG Air: Skies looking a little hazy? Get an air-quality report for Singapore with SG Air.

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C o m f o r t D e l G r o : Easily book a taxi with Singapore’s best-known cab companies, Comfort and City Cab. Grab: Get an estimated fare and full details of your taxi driver, and rate the journey afterwards. Gojek: This new ride- sharing app aims to get you around the city faster, cheaper and better. Tada: Another new app for hailing a ride, this one driven by blockchain. Carpark SG: Compare car parking rates in the city, plus the number of available spots and more. Pay for pa rk i ng us i ng your mobile devices at all coupon parking car parks. SG Checkpoint Traffic: Shows the traffic situation at the links between Singapore and Malaysia. SG Instant Traffic News : A fast news app with traffic info on accidents and jams that might affect your drive.

Deliveroo: Get food delivered to your door in a flash; type in your postcode to see what’s available. Foodpanda: Another of the island’s food ordering apps that puts menus at your fingertips. Chope: Make instant reservations at your favourite restaurants, and check prices, menus and dishes. Burrple: Get clued up on the newest and hottest eateries in town, and read honest reviews. Openrice: A dining guide with hundreds of restaurant listings, plus regular promotions. GrabFood : S a t i s f y your food cravings with affordable delivery to all parts of Singapore. Chug: Redeem drinks at various venues with a monthly subscription. BottlesXO: Delivers high-quality wine and beer to wherever you are in Singapore. The Entertainer: One- for-one drinks and dining at participating bars and restaurants.

iChangi: Up-to-date arrival and departure info so you’ll never be too early at the airport. SG Buses: Locate your next bus or identify buses and routes if you’re lost with this user-friendly app. Singapore MRT Map: This app provides simple access to Singapore’s most updated MRT and LRT maps. EZ-Link: Monitors your EZ-Link transactions and highlights available discounts. Citymapper: Find real- time routes via bus, MRT, LRT, train, ferry, taxi, walking and cycling. Gothere: An idiot- proof transport guide for working out the best route from one spot to another. Singapore City Guide: Created by TripAdvisor, t h i s app he l ps you navigate Singers – good for newbies. MyTransportSingapore: A transportation guide with bus routes, arrival times, taxi stands, traffic updates and more.





/ For grocery and retail apps, I recommend LiveUp and Lazada, which now includes the RedMart site, and Prime Now. Deliveroo and Foodpanda are great for takeaways. For restaurant bookings, I like Chope. WirelessSG is a great app for automatic access to wireless hotspots. Health Buddy is helpful for organising hospital appointments and payments; you’ll need your SingPass login for this app. My ENV is a very useful app that connects you to the NEA for weather and pollution updates, as well as dengue zone alerts. – Kate / Deliveroo for food delivery and Amazon Prime for grocery shopping. – Firuza / Fave for beauty treatments like waxing, spas and massages, Lazada (RedMart) for groceries, Deliveroo if you order food frequently, and Google Maps. – Geeta / I always recommend Moovit for navigation directions. What I particularly like is that it vibrates your phone when you’re two stops away on the bus so you know when you should get off. Another helpful app is OneService, which allows you to report things in your neighbourhood that need attention. For example, I recently used it to report a burnt- out streetlight on my local park connector, as well as a tripping hazard along the sidewalk. Both were fixed in a matter of days, which was impressive. I also like Prime Now for groceries and other random things, Popcorn for movies, and Haze@SG to monitor the haze situation. – Jennifer RECOMMEND TO PEOPLE MOVING TO SINGAPORE. ASIDE FROM YOUR REGULAR TAXI APPS, NAME A COUPLE OF MUST-USE APPS YOU CAN

/ Facebook. The expat wives groups are a great resource! – Emer / Banking apps. The Entertainer is great value. Also, news apps such as the Financial Times and the Australian Financial Review. Pay the subscription – it’s not that much really! We’ve also just started using a family calendar app called Cozi and it seems to work for us. As tacky or corny as Facebook sounds, keeping up with friends who are in all locations around the world is very important to me, so having those updates and WhatsApp group chats makes me feel I am a contributing friend! – Tony / XE Currency, because as expats we travel around the region so it’s good to know conversion rates; My StarHub to keep up with mobile and internet bills; Chope to make restaurant bookings; The Entertainer for great one-for-one deals on restaurants and activities; Deliveroo for food delivery; DBS bank or Pay Lah! for easy payments; and, which replaces the punch-out parking coupons – it’s

genius! – Kristen

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/ The first time we lived here, we spent four hours in the bank trying to get our signatures to match on their various forms. The second time we lived here, we went straight to DBS and had a much better experience. Also, I should have waited to get my Dependant’s Pass before getting a phone contract. At StarHub, on an in-principal approval (IPA) letter only the Employment Pass holder can get the phone, but once you get your DP you can get your own line. Little did I know that getting the phone in my husband’s name would make me completely unable to interact with StarHub over the phone. Every time I want to discuss the account, I have to get him on the phone to authorise me. Since he travels a lot, it’s very frustrating. I did learn this time round to put the SP services (utilities) under my name and not my husband’s, for the same reasons. – Jennifer / Things are certainly easier now than when we first arrived over a decade ago. Setting up a bank account wasn’t difficult but it required a lot of time sitting at the bank. I’ve noticed now that you can open an account online. When we first moved here, I was on a Dependant’s Pass and couldn’t do anything without my husband beside me. This was frustrating as I wasn’t able to get things done! In hindsight, I would’ve applied for a local credit card sooner – especially one that gives you points when you shop at a grocery store. – Kristen

/ I work for Citibank, and the apps and global accounts are first class. You need a NETS card too; DBS has been great for that. You get a lot of coins here, so our kids have an account with DBS that offers free coin deposits. – Tony / For me it was not too difficult as I decided to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) and was successful. – Geeta / Everything is dependent on having your Employment Pass. Once we had this, it was a breeze going through all the setting up! But without it, you will not get anywhere. – Emer / Setting up accounts for banking, phones and internet is straightforward. You’ll need your passport and your Employment or Dependant’s Pass to complete the applications. As in the UK, you’ll find the best details for phone contracts and internet providers online. For banking, I use DBS, which has one of the largest ATM networks across the island. It offers user-friendly online access, with reasonable rates for overseas transfers. You’ll also find that local banks offer a variety of credit card discounts and promotions for retail, dining and entertainment. – Kate / It was easy enough for me as everything was organised by my company. – Firuza




SETTLING IN IANYIM, HeadofWealthand International at HSBC Singapore, answers some common questions asked by newcomers

and touches on the ways the bank can suppor t your financial goals and more. / I’m new to Singapore. How do I start building a life for my family here? The first important step, of course, is

finding a home – whether it’s a condominium apartment in Holland Village you’re looking for, or a quaint shophouse in Katong. HSBC has real estate agent partners who are experts in helping families find homes in Singapore that match their needs and expectations; they have successful track records, they know the expat market well, and you can rest assured that you’ll receive exclusive offers through them, too.

/ What about schooling? Any advice on which school to choose? Like many expats, if you’re still deciding between an international school and a national curriculum school for your child, HSBC partners with study advisors including Purry Consultant Services, who can point you in the right direction. You’ll soon have a better understanding of Singapore’s school system and be able to assess your child’s needs to determine the best school that aligns with your family’s life goals.

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/ And, of course, I’ll need to look after my money. How can HSBC help? Managing your finances is easier said than done when you’re a global citizen on the move. But whether this is your first or your third time living abroad, it’s always easier to settle in when you’ve a trusted banking partner that supports your financial goals and beyond. As you take the time to ease into life in Singapore, we’ll settle the rest with our full suite of services. Think 800 cash touchpoints, contactless payments and paying for train rides with just your HSBC Debit or Credit Card. Thinking long-term? Whether it’s building your dream home or fulfilling your child’s dreams, you’ll enjoy attractive interest rates on personal loans and deposits that let you fund what matters most to you. Our HSBC Everyday Global Account is designed to support all the international needs you might have. It’s an everyday transactional account, multi-currency account and travel debit card all in one. That means you can now have access to 11 major currencies under one account – including US dollars, Aussie dollars, euros, pounds and more. To further help you manage your international finances, we’ve developed a mobile app, HSBC QuickFX, that allows you to transfer currencies between HSBC accounts across 26 countries in real time, and make remittances for overseas education, properties or investments to over 200 countries. It’s a great way to maintain easy control over FX conversion, and keep up to date with the latest market developments as well. Visit toget startedwith their expat banking services and more. / What if I have accounts in different countries?

/ From a work perspective, can you help with getting the lowdown on Singapore’s legal and tax system? You know what they say: the best advice is always free. As a HSBC customer, you can enjoy complimentary consultations across the legal and tax sector with our trusted partners. For example, you can get familiarised with Singapore law with Summit Law Corporation, and understand how the Singapore tax system works with Costline. / What about the fun stuff? For exploring the local lifestyle, you’re able to unlock a range of exciting offers with your HSBC card. This means new expats in Singapore can explore the city’s foodscape, join fitness classes, and even enjoy one-for-one hotel deals while travelling in the region.



QUESTIONS The Expat Insurance team runs through four key policies and some of the common queries people have about them. Answered INSURANCE

#3 TRAVEL / Are there different policies for different travellers’ needs? Yes; for example, you can take up an annual policy or a single-trip policy. If you’re likely to travel more than three times a year, an annual policy will give you peace of mind and is more cost-effective. / Can I get cover for adventure activities overseas? All our travel policies cover activities like bungee jumping, diving and trekking (under certain conditions), and snowboarding/skiing within approved ski resort areas. – Ratna Tiwari #4 HOME & CONTENTS What does this cover, and what is omitted? It depends. A basic policy will insure you only for catastrophic losses (fire, flood, theft and so on), while comprehensive policies cover your belongings worldwide, including for accidental loss or damage. People mostly insure their expensive jewellery or watches, plus artworks, bikes, cameras, laptops and more. – Ratna Tiwari

#1 HEALTH / Do any health insurance plans in Singapore cover pre-existing conditions? Some do, if the conditions are disclosed

during the application process, and subject to their nature (diagnosis, timing, treatment, ongoing/chronic condition). The offer to cover a pre-existing condition is usually accompanied by an increase in premium to absorb the risk. / Tell us about insurance issues around pregnancy and giving birth here. You must have health insurance that includes maternity benefits before you get pregnant, as there are wait periods of about 12 months for benefits to kick in. These benefits usually cover routine pre- and post-natal expenses, delivery, emergency C-section and complications. – Yule Martinez Castellanos #2 LIFE

/ What does life insurance cover, and what level should I aim for?

Put simply, it covers death, disability and critical illness. As a guide, families should aim

to cover five to ten times their family expenses for life, and three to five times their annual income for critical illness. / Will the policy be valid if I return home from Singapore? Our policies are fully portable and global. You can even have the policy to be in your desired currency, from US

dollars to euros. – Ethan Kok Fai Lee

Find out more at

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I f you’ re accompanying your spouse or partner on a posting in Singapore, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether towork here. You might decide to further your present career or perhaps to explore something new. English teachers, for example, are in perennial demand, and a short course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can start you on that path. Conversely, recent changes in employment laws with an emphasis on hiring local Singaporeans might mean that your skills are in less demand than they were at home. Search firms, online sources, classifieds and expat associations can all be helpful when it comes to finding work, although many jobs are found through networking. The American Association’s Career Resource Center for Expatriates (CRCE; aasingapore. com/about-crce) is particularly useful, offering advice on resumes, workshops and career counselling.

Here’s what else you can do to make yourself as employable as possible. #1 Make sure your resume is up to date, and tailor your references to suit the job you’re going for; these should reassure the hiring manager that you’re truly the right person for the role. Put together a portfolio showcasing your relevant skills and experience. This can be hard copy, digital or on a website. #2 Have all your official documents including birth certificates, personal identification and university transcripts at the ready – Singapore-based employers will likely ask for these and you may need to provide original copies. They may also ask for a photograph with your resume. #3 Discover which recruiters are specialists in your field and go straight to them. See which company is posting jobs you’re interested in and call them. You’ll have a much better chance of breaking through the noise if they’ve met you and identified you as suitable talent. #4 Spend time searching for a job every day until you get one. Searching can be a full-time job in itself – just stay determined and active. #5 Networking can be helpful; many expats find jobs through their networks rather than applying for jobs blindly. Women seeking a job or developing a business can meet and network at professional associations, including The Athena Network

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( t he a t henane two r k . com. s g ) and PrimeTime ( The S i ng apo r e Counc i l o f Women ’s Organisations (SCWO) is a national c oo rd i n a t i ng body o f wome n ’s organisations and groups in Singapore that acts on their behalf ( Other useful online portals include Mums@Work, Careermums, the ANZA Career Centre, and, of course, LinkedIn. #6 Be realistic about salary – remember that Singapore’s low tax rate will often offset a lower base salary. Bear in mind, too, that there is a quota system regulating the ratio of foreign and local workers in the workplace in Singapore; employers are required to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring foreigners. #7 Attend interviews, even if you’re not 100 percent sure you want the position; many companies can create roles for the right person, but they have to meet you first. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked personal questions, including your religion and whether you have children, at interviews. #8 Check whether you’re eligible to work in Singapore. Dependant’s Pass holders are entitled to work once they have a Letter of Consent, which their employer can apply for. This is a relatively straightforward process, and applications are generally processed quickly by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). If, instead, you’re hoping to obtain an Employment Pass (EP), first use the Self-Assessment Tool on the MOM website to check if you qualify. Note that a strong emphasis is placed on the quality of educational qualifications and institutions in the assessment of applications.

STARTING A START-UP Many expats come to Singapore with a host of fresh business ideas; others discover an entrepreneurial streak once they’ve settled in. So, if you do have a great business idea, howdo you turn it into a real-life proposition? First, you’ll need to apply for an EntrePass through theMinistry of Manpower (MOM; mom. This involveswriting a detailed business planand financial projections; plus, your business needs to meet certain requirements (see eligibility). The application fee is $70, and successful applicants are issued an Approval- in-Principle letter within eight weeks. The business must also be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA; as a private limited company and be less than six months old on the date of application. This can be done simply online using a SingPass (apply at Fees for registering a company are $15 for the name application and $300 to incorporate the company. The registration is usually approved within 15 minutes for online applications. Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the many organisations and online tools available to help you in your quest to start a business (see #5, left ).





/ If you are the trailing spouse, it’s unlikely that the new job will be what you left behind. If you’re going to be here long enough you can build it back; if not, find joy in other things. – Geeta / First thing to do is the reach out to your personal network. This seems to be the way that many people find jobs. Several community organisations have job boards specifically geared towards expats and that is another good place to start. They also offer classes to help you brush up your CV or interview skills. Singapore is super friendly to business and you can start your own business here with relative ease. I have seen several people pivot in their careers either by starting their own business or going back to school and they have been much happier for it. So, if you have ever thought of starting that business or trying something new, Singapore is a great place for it. – Kristen

/ For an expat, I think your network is one of the most important ways you can find a job in Singapore. Use your connections. Find out where your friends are working at, and don’t be afraid to ask who they know. Sometimes local employers are intimidated by the work pass application process. Have a good employment agency in hand – such as my agency, White Glove – that can handle your work pass application. A local company may feel more comfortable hiring you if they don’t have to do the paperwork on their own. – Jennifer / I moved with a job, however, my husband found a job after we moved. It can be a long and frustrating process due to preferences given to citizens and permanent residents over Dependant’s Pass holders. Prepare for it mentally. – Firuza

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For some expats in Singapore, meeting like-minded people is a quick process, whether it’s in the condo pool or at school drop- off. If you don’t have kids, or you’re in a house rather than an apartment, it could take longer. Here are three avenues to help you find a social circle that feels just right. #1 SOCIAL AND SPORTING CLUBS Organisations such as the British Club and Hollandse Club, which we profile on the following pages, can provide an instant network and are another way of meeting more expats. Most social clubs offer facilities including pools, gyms, restaurants, youth camps and classes. Likewise, sporting clubs, such as the Singapore Polo Club, are an excellent way to meet

friends with similar interests. Clubs can be expensive, so try to meet current members and ask about the facilities. Also, do some comparisons of locations, membership rules and prices. #2 ASSOCIATIONS Associations are an excellent starting point when you’re new to Singapore, and they offer a host of support services. They are generally linked to nationalities, although citizens of any country can join. Attending a newcomer event is an excellent way to meet people and get involved in the community. Associations offer many of the same social benefits found at clubs, without the expensive membership fees. A low annual fee is usually charged and may include a monthly magazine that will keep you up to date with social activities.

Groups like the American Association of Singapore (AAS), The British Association (BA), and the Australian and New Zealand Association (ANZA) organise sports leagues and regular meetings, outings, charity events, book clubs and social gatherings. Women’s organisations include the American Women’s Association (AWA), Scandinavian Women’s Association, the Italian Women’s Group, the Indian Women’s Association and the Spanish- Speaking Women’s Association. #3 UNIVERSITY ALUMNI Another way of meeting people with whom you will instantly have something in common is through your university alumni association – log on to your university’s website to find out more.




CLUB LIFE Joining The British Club means meeting new friends, enjoying new experiences and maximising your leisure time.Amember tellsusmore. NAME: DIETER KNECHTEL (AUSTRIAN), AND WIFE PAOLA (COLOMBIAN) YEARS IN SINGAPORE: 4 (16 IN ASIA) It’s been a year since we joined. We’d seen a few other clubs before but weren’t convinced; they seemed boring or the facilities were poorly maintained. We were therefore quite surprised to find this hidden gem. Location is one plus for us but the variety and quality of facilities and service is another important point. The food is better than in other clubs and reasonably priced for Singapore standards, and we really like the good vibe. / How often do you visit? We’re here almost every weekend, mostly for lunch or dinner, or for an event, party or wine dinner. We’re looking forward to using more of the sports facilities – tennis is our next aim. Everyone enjoys the British Club in their own way, and for us it’s clearly the F&B that we enjoy most. JOB: CEO (FAR EAST AND MIDDLE EAST), FERRARI / When and why did you get your British Club membership?

/ Do you have a favorite meal? We often go to Mountbatten Bar &Grill on a Sunday – really nice food, and an awesome gin and tonic. The kids love the Italian food across the Club, and we find the Indian food special too, including the tandoor dishes. // Would you recommend newly arrived expats to join? Yes, it’s a place that really can fulfill everyone’s expectations, from the ambience to the themed events and famous wine dinners, and the well-kept pools and sports facilities.

/ Did you know? The British Club has over 2,500 members, with a cosmopolitan mix of 51 percent British, 26 percent Singaporeans and more than 50 other nationalities.

73 Bukit Tinggi Road 6410 1100 |

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FUN & FRIENDS As a newcomer to Singapore, it’s nice to find a space where you can unwind and receive a warm welcome from a community of other global nomads. The ethos of the Hollandse Club is “fun times in great company”, and it provides a relaxed family-focused environment formembers of all nationalities. The Club is surrounded by greenery in a beautiful black-and-white property in Bukit Timah. It has open dining spaces, modern facilities and a wide range of scheduled activities to keep everyone entertained, from quiz nights and craft sessions to swim and tennis camps for kids, and regular “Sundays at the Club” spent by the pool. Jaxs Bistro and Pizzeria serves international bistro favourites all day, every day, whether you’re after a lazy weekend breakfast or an after-work drink and snack.

/ Did you know? The Hollandse Club has a history of over a century – it was founded in 1908 by a Dutch entrepreneur, and moved to its current Adam Road location in 1948.

22 Camden Park (off Adam Road) 6464 5225



/ I have volunteered with We Care, a community service organisation that helps people in recovery from addiction issues. Over the years, I’ve supported Caring for Cambodia, which builds and maintains schools in Cambodia. I also volunteer my time to support the American community here in Singapore via their organisations: the AWA, American Association and American Club. – Kristen / This year, I became the Chair of USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Singapore. It’s a wonderful organisation with a lot of like-minded women who are dedicated to teaching girls how to become future leaders. We have fun with a purpose, and I really enjoy seeing the girls grow in the programme to lead with confidence. It gives them an opportunity to try new things without boys around, and that makes our programme unique. I get to work with so many amazing dedicated women to make this happen, and I’m really fortunate to call them my friends. – Jennifer / We supported a local soup kitchen a few years ago, which has since closed down, but nothing other than charities in India at the moment. – Geeta / I have been on the committee and was the past president of the Singapore Sharks AFL Club for around 10 years. My son helps out with ANZA athletics and sports such as cricket and soccer. The volunteerism in sport in Singapore is amazing – and without any lunatics on the sidelines you often hear about in other areas! I also volunteer as a mentor with Protégé, a mentoring programme focused on the professional development of women in Singapore and beyond. The group is founded by Louise Tagliante who runs a very empowering and professionally-run programme. – Tony

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