City Guide 2015/16
TH E K E Y T O L I V IN G IN
W H A T ’ S I N S I D E ?
Getting Started WHERE TO LIVE
Furnishing your Home Networking & Jobs Choosing a School HEALTH ADVICE
Great Eats & Drinks
A N D M O R E !
Editor’s Letter Welcome to Singapore – it’s a city that will continue to surprise you, whether it’s the food, the people, the cool bars … or the non-stop humidity! It’s an ever-evolving place, and even after many years here, I still find there’s always something new and interesting to experience – something I didn’t know about, or something that’s changed. Our City Guide is a summary of options and advice to help you make the best choices, whether it’s about finding the right sofa, choosing a neighbourhood to live in, whether or not to hire full-time home help, or how to join a running group. It’s not just our word either – we’ve also linked in a panel of Expat Living readers; keep an eye out for their tips throughout the Guide. We can help in other ways, too. There’s our monthly magazine, in which we focus on real people’s experiences and we discover the choices they’ve made and why they made them. And our award-winning website (expatliving.sg) is full of up-to-date events, roundups and “best-of” lists designed to tell you exactly what’s going on, and where to get the best cup of coffee or the cheapest lunch. While you’re in Singapore, you’ll find the most beautiful pieces of furniture, enjoy wonderful weekends away and discover all kinds of delicious cuisines from around the world. Communication options
STAY UPDATED ONLINE @
NEWS Keeping you up to date with the latest news and promotions around town, plus heaps of online-only content. EVENTS CALENDAR You'll never miss a concert, play, sale or exhibition again. Plus, upload your own events for free by hitting “Post an Event” on the homepage (top right). WHERE TO BUY A COPY Head to expatliving.sg/about_us for a list of retail outlets where you can buy the latest copy of Expat Living. Better still, subscribe at expatliving/shop. BUY SECOND-HAND STUFF, ADOPT A DOG, GET A JOB Go to expatliving.sg/noticeboard or simply type what you’re looking for in the search bar at the top right.
today mean you can still see and chat to loved ones from your home countries regularly, so you have the best of both worlds. In the Guide, there are articles to help you get your IT sorted, choose the type of house or apartment you’d like to live in, decide on whether to drive or use public transport, and so much more. Wishing you all the best with your new life. Stay in touch; we’re always here if you need us, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email – or good old-fashioned phone!
CITY GUIDE 2015
Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET
Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR City Guide Editors AMY BROOK-PARTRIDGE | AMY GREENBURG | SUSANNAH JAFFER VERNE MAREE | JADE MCLEAN | KATIE ROBERTS Editorial Intern EZRA GIDEON Regional Online Editor RACHAEL WHEELER Online Editors AZLINDA SAID | ARMAN SHAH RAWI Web Developer RENE YUTIAMPO Client Services & Production LEANDA RATHMELL | LIANA TALIB | NUR HANANI KAMAL LUDDIN Graphic Designers MICHAEL BERNABE | JEANNE WONG | BEATRICE NG Circulation ANNA TSERLINGAS Subscriptions & Administration VALMAI DHIR | GRACE BANTARAN Business Development KATIE PEACE Partnerships & Events NATALIE WHITTELL Marketing & Business Development Executive VEENA GILL Advertising Sales, Singapore KARIN GALLEY-DICK | SARAH PURCHASE DANIELLE ROSSETTI | LARA SAGE | JACQUI YOUNG Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE HR
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CITY GUIDE 2015
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Deciding on transport options; looking for a job; making friends; getting connected: these are just some of the challenges of relocating. Read our survival guide for newcomers to Singapore.
Accommodation options run the gamut from high-rise apartments in the city centre to garden homes in the suburbs. So where will you settle down? We profile the various residential districts and different housing types available. Now that you’ve chosen your abode, you’ll need to fill it with furniture. Happily, Singapore offers every kind of style, from colonial comfort to sleek minimalism. Those with a balcony or garden will love the array of outdoor chairs and tables, too. Singapore is a family-friendly place – clean and safe, with inexpensive domestic help. Moreover, the schools are world-class, and the extra- curricular activities many and varied. Here’s our look at some of the best.
CITY GUIDE 2015
Whether you’re keen to have kids, seeking a particular type of medical care, hoping to find a family dentist or eager for a beauty treatment, Singapore is an ideal destination, with state-of-the-art services and facilities.
Singapore is blessed with great museums, temples, galleries and green spaces. We’ve highlighted some of the best here, along with a few of the region’s most popular travel destinations, so you can dive in and experience exotic Asia. New arrivals will quickly notice that food is a topic of major interest in Singapore, whether it’s discussing a hawker dish or a lavish Champagne brunch. We get in on the act with some restaurant recommendations and other advice for the hungry.
CITY GUIDE 2015
Falko Matte; Dreamstime.com
If you’re wondering why Singapore isn’t taking on the likes of Dubai in the world’s-biggest-skyscraper stakes, it’s because no building can be higher than 280 metres here. That’s because no spot on the island is far enough away from Changi Airport to allow for a taller construction.
Singapore Si pore Snapshot If you’re a newly arrived expat, you’ll soon knowmuch more about Singapore than you ever imagined knowing – a couple of conversations with chatty taxi “uncles” will reveal a lot. And obviously getting Expat Living delivered every month will provide almost everything else! In the meantime, here’s some trivia to get you started. SINGAPORE IS IN THE
The record for the biggest line dance was set in Singapore with 11,967 dancers.
NORTHERN HEMISPHERE – BUT ONLY JUST. IT’S 137KM NORTH OF THE EQUATOR.
Singapore is made up of the island of Singapore itself and 60 smaller islands.
ALL THOSE MALLS, HOTELS, STREETS AND MRT STATIONS CALLED “RAFFLES” ARE NAMED AFTER THE BRITISH STATESMAN SIR THOMAS STAMFORD BINGLEY RAFFLES WHO, IN THE EARLY 1800S, LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR AN INDEPENDENT SINGAPORE BY HELPING LOCAL PEOPLE ESTABLISH SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES, AND CHURCHES. The end of the “nightsoil” phase of the city’s sanitation system came in 1987 when the last nightsoil bucket was collected from an old-style latrine.
SINGAPORE IS HOT – DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY. EXCEPT FOR 31 JANUARY1934, THAT IS,WHENTHE ISLAND RECORD D ITS LOWEST EVERT MPERATURE:19.4°C.STILL, PROBABLY NO NEED TO REACH FOR THE THERMAL UNDERWEAR.
SINGAPORE I S H OT – D A Y A FT E DAY AFTER D A Y. E XC EP T FO R 3 JANUARY193 4 , T H AT I S, W HE N TH ISLAND RECO R D E D IT S LO WE S EVERTEMPER A TU RE : 19 . 4 °C . ST IL L PROBABLY N O NE ED T O RE AC FOR THE THE R M A L UN D E RW EA R
SINGAPORE’S FIRST CINEMA OPENEDIN 1904 AT 80VICTORIA STREET . THE PARIS CINEMA SCREENED 4 FILMS A DAY. THE FIRST AIR-CONDITIONED CINEMA WAS THE CATHAY , WHICH OPENED IN 1939 . The most common surnames in Singapore are Tan , Lim and Lee .
is now a restaurant and
lightning li in Singapore. In 2009, the main Merlion near Marina Bay was struck by lig and damaged. There are five “official” Merlion statues
bar enclave, but it was once Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (hence the acronym) and also the location of the “Gate of Hope”, a place where people would abandon unwanted babies.
SINGAPORE’S MAIN AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS (YES, IT HAS SOME!) ARE RUBBER, COPRA, FRUIT, VEGETABLES, POULTRY, EGGS, FISH, ORCHIDS AND ORNAMENTAL FISH
CITY GUIDE 2015
Boat Quay was once colloquially referred to as “the belly of the carp” because of the shape of the Singapore river at this point.
SINGAPORE’S NAME DERIVES FROM THEMALAYWORDS FOR “ LION ” AND “ CITY ”, THOUGH STUDIES SUGGEST THAT LIONS HAVE NEVER LIVEDHERE. THEMALAY PRINCE WHO COINED THE NAME IN THE 13TH CENTURY AFTER SEEING AN IMPRESSIVEWILD ANIMAL ON THE ISLAND IS LIKELY TOHAVE SEEN A MALAYAN TIGER. SINGAPORE IS ONE OF THE 20 SMALLEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, WITH A TOTAL LAND AREA OF JUST 683 SQUARE KILOMETRES. THEMAIN ISLAND IS 42KM LONG AND 23KMWIDE.
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is said to contain more species of trees than the entire North American continent.
THE JOHOR-SINGAPORE CAUSEWAY MEASURES JUST 60,000 VEHICLES EACH DAY. IT OPENED IN 1923. OVER A KILOMETRE IN LENGTH AND CARRIES AROUND
Singaporean English (“Singlish) reflects the multicultural nature of the society and includes words from English, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi and more. You might hear: “lah”, “lor”, “leh”, “meh”, “kena”, “kiasu”, “liao”, “makan” and – instead of “yes” and “no” – “can” and “cannot”.
APART FROM MONACO, SINGAPORE IS THE MOST DENSELY POPULATED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
Singapore’s 30 or more species of frog include the Yellow-bellied Puddle Frog, the East Asian Ornate Chorus Frog and the Saint Andrew’s Cross Toadlet.
Bukit Timah means “tin hill” in Malay. Bukit Batok and Bukit Merah both mean “red hill” in Malay. The “Katong laksa war” did not involve an actual food fight, but instead was a rivalry (some would say an on-going one) among certain hawker stall-owners to be recognised as the purveyor of the first or best laksa in the area.
Singapore’s oldest bridge that is still in use is Cavenagh Bridge (1869). An original sign next to the bridge warns that horses and cattle are not allowed to cross.
BUILT IN 1998, SUNTEC CITY’S FOUNTAIN OF WEALTH IS THE
LARGEST FOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD, COVERING AN AREA OF MORE THAN 1,600 SQUARE METRES AT A HEIGHT OF NEARLY 14 METRES. IT SYMBOLISES THE PALM OF A HAND, WITH THE FIVE SURROUNDED SUNTEC BLOCKS REPRESENTING THE FINGERS.
The first Singapore Slingwas served at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel 100 years ago, in 1915. Ingredients: gin, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Dom Benedictine, pineapple juice, Grenadine, Angostura bitters, lime.
We live in a vibrant, exciting city, with much to explore and learn. But don’t just take our word for it. We asked a select group of Expat Living readers to give us their take and tips on living in Singapore. You’ll see their insights and recommendations dotted
throughout our City Guide.
FAITH CHANDA Faith is an American stay-at-home mother who, with her husband and two children, relocated from New York to Singapore in January 2015. She has nearly 20 years of marketing and event- planning experience and is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. Faith has been spending her first time living abroad as a trailing spouse, navigating through the unique culture of Singapore with a mixture of “fascination and amazement”. ALEXANDER KNIGHT Alex, a born and bred Londoner, moved to Singapore with his wife Maureen in 2006 in order to experience the multitude of cultures in Asia, and eat all the great food. Alex is the Southeast Asia director of BuyAssociation, a global property distribution firm with offices inManchester, Hong Kong, Stockholmand Singapore. Alex and Maureen’s children, Miya (8), Asia (8) and Bertie (one and a half) all love living in Singapore and are major fans of the swimming pool in the condo. OLGA GRANT Hailing from Holland, Olga moved to the Lion City with her husband and two children two years ago and has loved it here ever since. The Dutch expat juggles the responsibilities of being a stay-home mother and a part-time fitness teacher, as well as ultimately making time for her husband and children.
CITY GUIDE 2015
JENILEE RAWLINS Originally from the UK, this is Jenilee’s second time living in Singapore. During this second stint she has been working as a performing arts teacher and has a background and degree in performing in musical theatre. “I love to travel, go to the movies, eat out and explore new places in and around Asia,” she says. JEANETTE SENG Originally a vacation spot for Jeanette in 2009, Singapore eventually became her home in 2014. American Jeanette (of Chinese, Vietnamese and French heritage) arrived with no friends, no family and no job, and now works in British wealth and management firmSt James’s Place. “I came here to challenge myself, to see if I could establish myself in an unfamiliar part of the world professionally, and to be able to continue doing the non-profit work I enjoy in parts of the world like Cambodia.” KELLY DICKINSON British-born Kelly is founder and owner of food and beverage design consultants, the Stripe Collective. She’s lived in Singapore for over 14 years and has worked across Asia Pacific for 17 years and counting. She has one son, Sammy, who recently turned seven. MICHELLE SEYFFERT American Michelle and her German husband Sven lived in Hong Kong where they had their son Justin (7), before moving to Singapore in 2010 and having two more sons, Leo (4) and Kevin (2). They live on the East Coast, and Michelle is a keen triathlete and runner, participating in events in Singapore and beyond. PENNY GALLIGAN Australian Penny came to Singapore ten years ago, six months after gettingmarried to husbandMatthew. They have three children, Tom (9), Charlie (7) and Emma (4), who all go to the Australian International School. She’s channelled her skills in communications, project management and events into her ANZA soccer work as Junior Competition Coordinator, as well as her position on the ANZA committee. Aside from this and being a mum, she tries to swim a kilometre a week, loves cooking, and enjoys anything related to sport and anything social.
Arrival advice – what to do when you’re new to Singapore. Five suggestions from each of our panellists.
Get the right health insurance; even if you have company insurance, it’s best to have a second plan. Stay in a serviced apartment and take time to find a flat or house. If you look long enough, you’ll find a good deal and know the areas better beforehand. Select a bank with great online banking facilities – it takes away the hassle of dealing with local branches. For fast friends, join a club, but make sure you can sell on the
Apply for a Passion card at any community centre; it costs you $12 but the discounts you get are amazing. Make sure your housing location is where the school bus stops. Take it easy for the first couple of weeks; the humidity and heat really take it out of you. Shop at FairPrice: the prices are reasonable andthe produce is good.
membership if you need to a year later. Don’t buy a car; lease one. It’s usually the same cost in the end (if you shop around for a great deal), and more convenient. – Kelly
Buy an EZ-Link pass for public transport and charge it up,
Make friends – they will become your new family. Explore the city. Travel around the region and see as much as you can. Choose a convenient area to live. Online grocery shopping – it saves a ton of time! – Michelle
then hop on randombuses and explore Singapore; you’ll find some real local gems this way. – Olga
Wear sunscreen. Download Uber for car bookings; you’ll appreciate this when you can’t get a taxi!
Do your research before you arrive so you know about different areas. Bring a supply of your favourite things from home – e.g., chocolate and cosmetic brands. Go onto forums and meet new people and make friends early on. Join a club or the gym to get out and about. Get a subscription to Expat Living ! – Jenilee
Keep an open mind – the culture is different. “Asia light” maybe, but Asia nonetheless. Network like crazy. It’s a small town, and there are lots of important expats and locals. Watch any wounds carefully – bacteria loves humidity. Tr ave l l oad s . Tha i l and , I n d o n e s i a , M y a n m a r , Philippines and Vietnam are all a weekend break away. Have a spare set of clothes at the office – this is a sweaty town! – Alex
Most places will deliver either for a fee or with a minimum spend, somake sure to ask. RedMart is awesome for groceries! Join the expat forums online. If there are any household items you love from home, bring enough to last you until your next trip back, as you may not find them here. – Jeanette
TWO SIDES OF SINGAPORE We asked our panel to provide a list of pros and cons about being an expat in Singapore. Below are the most common responses.
Get a helper! It’s such a treat when you find a good one. Do everything. Take trips! Explore!
PROS 1. Safety – it’s one of the safest places on earth! 2. Cleanliness 3. Sunny weather 4. Clean, green outdoor lifestyle 5. Great tax situation 6. Great food 7. General convenience 8. Experiencing new cultures 9. Affordability of domestic help 10. Great place to raise kids
CONS 1. Long way from home 2. Missing family and friends 3. High humidity 4. Rental rates 5. Cost of imported goods – especially alcohol 6. Healthcare drugs are monetised, so be careful 7. The kiasu mentality of some people 8. Roads can be hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists 9. Western cuisine tends to be expensive 10. When friends leave
Meet people! Try new things!
Bring from home anything you can’t live without (you can find a lot here but it’s expensive ). However, don’t bring anything you would be crushed to lose (you never know with movers...). Let go of who you thought you were and get ready to figure out who you are here and now . – Faith
A few additional tips from our panel covering a range of random topics. Try the delicious raspberry croissants at Bread and Hearth at 18 Keong Saik Road!
Get involved! Say yes to everything when you first arrive; then you can pick and choose what you like. Find out when the children’s extra-curricular activities begin and try to enrol them even before you arrive; sport is big in Singapore and it’s an easy way to meet friends. Also, if you miss out on registering your child, there are wait-lists for everything that can hamper your settling-in process. Join ANZA. Don’t take “No” for an answer – often there’s a way to do what you want; you just need to find out how. Contact all the names that you’re given. Everyone here has been “new” before and in general people are extremely friendly and willing to include a new face or answer questions. – Penny
There’s an excellent newsstand in Holland Village with all the magazines you always wanted. Enjoy your time in Singapore! It is a great place to live once you get over the “little” things. Go to all the fairs that organised at the clubs – e.g., the Boutiques Fair at the F1 Pit Building and the Dutch Fair at the Hollandse Club. Visit The Pottery Jungle. Do a tour of a black-and-white colonial house. The tours are rare and quickly get fully booked, but they’re worth it. Shop around in your local friendly Chinese stores – especially for toys. Enjoy all that Singapore has to offer with an open heart and an open mind – be an adventurer!
CITY GUIDE 2015
We’re much more than just a monthly magazine! To discover everything that’s going on in your new island home, check out this step-by-step guide to how we can help. the most of Expat Living How to make
STEP ONE Subscribe to the magazine. Delivered to your door every month you’ll get a glossy 300+-page magazine, profiling expats just like you. You can also subscribe to the platform version of Expat Living and have the magazine at your fingertips everywhere you go. STEP TWO Log on to expatliving.sg, our website. There you’ll find a comprehensive events calendar, a classifieds and jobs section, editorial exclusives and much more. STEP THREE Like our Facebook page and share your opinions on various expat- related topics under the Singaporean sun. STEP FOUR Join our followers on Instagram for real-time photographs of what our roving editors are discovering around Singapore. Handy for on-the-go hints. STEP FIVE Read our blog for an entertaining look at the best (and, sometimes, the far-from- best) aspects of expat life in Singapore. STEP SIX Win stuff!! We’re always giving great products, services and holidays away to our readers, so here’s your chance to join the list of winners. STEP SEVEN Contribute. Write us a letter to the editor, send us a 500-word “Parting Shot” story for the back page of the magazine, get involved in our Facebook forums, or come to our events and say “hello”. We’re looking forward to meeting you all!
CITY GUIDE 2015
www.expatliving.sg Here’s a small sample of the great information you’ll find on our website. It’s your guide to life on the island.
HOMES: Sneak peeks into stunning reader apartments and condos
PARTYING: The best places for ladies’ nights and after-work cheap drinks
TRAVEL: What to see and how to explore Asia
WHAT TO DO: A jam-packed events calendar full of fun events and activities
RESTAURANT REVIEWS: From high-brow to Hainan chicken rice, where to eat out
NEIGHBOURHOODS: What it’s like to live in all directions, north, south, east and west
MEDICAL: Head-to-toe advice on how to stay fit and healthy
WHO’S WHO: Interviews with inspiring expats who call Singapore home
GRABTAXI: BOOK A TAXI G e t a n e s t i m a t e d fare before your journey and full details of your taxi driver, and rate the journey afterwards, if you feel inclined. UBER at the touch of a button, compare rates for different vehicles, and register your PayPal or credit card to your secure account apps that will make settling into Singapore life that little bit easier. Request a private driver From getting flight information from Changi to booking an Uber, here’s a whole bunch of handy free
APPY ! DAYS
GPS NAVIGATION 2015 & MAP Customisable and conven i en t , t h i s app is updated with Singapore’s newest routes, and gives specific destination info based on your type of vehicle. SINGAPORE CITY GUIDE
MYTRANSPORT SINGAPORE A c o m p l e t e t r a n s p o r t a t i o n guide with bus routes and arrival times, nearby taxi stands, live traffic updates and real-time parking lot availability. CARPARK@SG
SMRT BOOK A TAXI COMFORTDELGRO TAXI BOOKING
These two apps give you access
to taxi booking with Singapore’s best- knowncabcompanies. There are advanced booking options if you need to ensure you get that cab.
T h i s a p p b y TripAdvisor helps you navigate your way
Locate car parks in your vicinity and check availability
around Singers and is simple to use – great for newbies, and there’s no need for a live data connection. WHERETO.SG
at your destination.
SINGAPORE MAPS & WALKS This app provides a range of walking tours that give you maps, info on iconic sights, and the exact time it will take to complete the route.
Handy if you need to locate a local convenience store
so you can go cashless.
(e.g., 7-Eleven), bus stop or supermarket at the last minute.
CITY GUIDE 2015
TRAVEL & TRANSPORT
Get up-to-date flight arrival and departure information for Changi Airport so you’ll never be too early to collect the relatives again.
Locate your next bus when you’re feeling impatient, or identify buses and routes if you’re lost with this
SINGAPORE TRAFFIC CAM
SINGAPORE MRT MAP
By accessing cameras nationwide, this app allows users to take a look at the traffic situation on expressways and causeways so you can plan your route accordingly.
Handy to have on your phone when there’s not a map nearby, this app provides simple access to Singapore’s most updated MRT and LRT maps. EZ-LINK
SINGAPORE CHECKPOINT TRAFFIC
Great for those who live over the border, this app shows images of the traffic situation at the links between Singapore and Malaysia.
This new app monitors your transactions over the past three
SG TRAFFIC NEWS
A fast news app that provides the traffic info on accidents, jams and other situations that might affect your drive.
months, and notifies you of discounts you can get by paying with your EZ-Link card at various places.
PROPERTY & BUSINESS
FOOD & DELIVERY
With this app, you can easily search for all types of property in Singapore
Dive into the depths of local delicacies with a tap on your screen and let this app find the dish you’re craving within your vicinity. IDAT every local dish you set your eyes on; this app also provides suggestions if you’re keen for a more nutritious meal. SINGAPORE FOOD DELIVERY Get the lowdown on the exact calories in while providing a link to direct websites for online booking if that’s what you prefer. OPENRICE SINGAPORE Find your next dining spot easily, plus share your experience by submitting food reviews on the go. This app lists all the m o s t p r o m i n e n t restaurants that deliver,
and filter your search by price, area and number of rooms to see what’s available now. SINGAPORE (SG) STOCKS
Need your groceries urgently? The RedMart t e am c a n d e l i v e r
This easy-to-use app gives you a direct informative that allows you to visit stock activities,
whatever you desire in as little as two hours. Choose from 10,000 products, and take advantage of weekly promotions. MAKANSUTRA allows you to read reviews and recommendations by food critics to decide on your next meal. FOODPANDA Where and what to eat? This is another app that
company exchanges and more.
An alternative to withdrawing cash from banks straight to your wallet, you can now
transfer it to your phone! Store money in the app and make transactions on the go. SINGSTAT General but useful, Singstat keeps users updated on S i n g a p o r e ’ s e c o n om i c statistics, with quarterly, annual and monthly frequencies available.
This food delivery app helps you choose
from heaps of restaurants and remembers your past orders so you can have your favourite takeout on tap.
HAPPY HOURS SINGAPORE
This app immediately locates bars in your proximity and tells you of current discounts, ratings and comments by fellow browsers. DO YOU KNOW SINGAPORE?
Find out the minute a d i s coun t , s a l e o r promotion is announced. Online shopping is also possible with this app. SHOP AT COLD STORAGE
S i n g a p o r e ’ s f r e e local classifieds site. Connect with local
buyers and sellers, post ads with images taken with your smartphone – everything from clothes to property rental. ZALORA B rows e and s hop hundreds of local and international brands on the go, anytime and anywhere.
How well do you really know the Lion City? This app comes with a list to
Get groceries delivered to your doorstep with this app that takes the hassle
challenge your knowledge with questions on topics from food to politicians. CULTURE EXPLORER
out of food shopping.
Online shopping has been redefined with this little app. Just take a picture of
If, when walking around Singapore, you see a cool landmark, snap a picture
whatever catches your eye and the app will refer you to online shops.
of it with your phone and this app will give you its name and reveal other landmarks in the area. HOSAY!
Brush up on your Singlish (Singapore English). Comes with audio and
definitions for each phrase, so now you’ll be able to order your kopi in a thick local accent.
Search for your next role with these three useful job- listing apps. Use various
filters such as job function, industry and salary to match your ideal role. STRAITS TIMES CLASSIFIEDS Looking for a job through The Straits Times just got a whole lot simpler with their Classified section now available as an app.
CITY GUIDE 2015
HE BIG 6 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELOCATION Moving to a foreign city can be a daunting experience for any employee. CRAIG RYAN, Oakwood Worldwide managing director for Asia Pacific, shares his tips on how companies can help facilitate the process.
MOVE 1 Share experiences and tips internally – Ensure that support is
provided in the build-up to a move (e.g., with a preview trip); once relocation commences, make sure employees know who to contact with questions. 2 Provide family support – Ensure that employees’ families fully integrate into their new location and lives; this will minimise problems that could impact on an employee’s focus and productivity. 3 Create an internal expat forum – Invite employees to record their own experiences following an assignment, otherwise this knowledge can quickly be forgotten or its relevance overlooked. 4 Join local expat groups and forums – Encourage networking with local expat groups to establish volunteer opportunities and relationship-building with like-minded individuals. 5 Get organised – Ensure paperwork is up to date, parties notified of change of addresses, visas approved, local currency understood and important documents safe and on hand. 6 Attend cross-cultural training – A degree of culture shock is inevitable. Cross-cultural training can aid integration and increase the odds of assignment success.
To ensure a smooth transition and keep relocating employees focused on work responsibilities, companies need to provide a strong support framework. As accommodation is the first experience for a relocated employee, getting it right is crucial to success. This is why companies often choose to work with an experienced global housing provider, with strong experience in local markets and a deep understanding of travellers’ unique mobility needs. A company’s support resources can also ease the transition into a new country and business culture. Here are some initiatives organisations can embark on to demonstrate their commitment to the new employee’s ongoing success:
Oakwood Worldwide provides serviced apartments across Asia Pacific through 28 branded properties and a network of providers. For more information, visit oakwoodworldwide.com or email email@example.com.
GIVING BACK I t’s not very often that you hear “international moving company” and “book publisher” in the same sentence, but SIRMove Services is just that. Having published its very own original children’s storybook, the company is now giving all the proceeds to charity. “The idea of a children’s storybook based on our customers’ experiences and memories of moving from one country to another has been on our minds for several years,” says Shyla Mathews, COO of SIR. “Titled My First 7 Days In Singapore , the book follows the journey and adventures
foreign land and find themselves enchanted by their strange and wonderful home, Singapore, as the week unfolds.” Seven Singaporean artists donated their time and effort to create the book, which is helping to fund the shippingof containers carryingdonated items based on a “wish list” to orphanages and homes in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. “As a mum of two adopted children,” says Shyla, “this book represents my continued commitment towards making a difference. We started sending containers in 2009 and have continued to this day. Now we can send even more.” For a moving quote or to buy the book, call 6534 7345 or visit sirmove.com.
of Tess and Jamie, typical children who have moved to a
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We chat with a couple about relocating fromSingapore after more than three decades on the island, and how Santa Fe helped make the process a smooth one. ON HEADING HOME
and treating our belongings as if they truly cared about them. They were terrific in briefing us and following up on all aspects of the process with accurate and up-to- date information. We very much appreciated that members of their team came by during the process and before we left after 32 years in Singapore. As corny as it sounds, when they say, ‘We make it easy’, they did just that and we were so grateful for their help inmaking our move as exciting and positive as it could possibly be.” 6398 8588 | santaferelo.com
An international move can be a stressful experience, especially when you’re leaving a place you’ve lived in for 32 years and moving back “home” to a country that has essentially become the unknown. Moving your house contents is just one of the many parts of this sometimes difficult process; however, GARTH and ROXANA were so grateful for the excellent service that they
received from Santa Fe that they wanted to share their experiences with other expats. “SantaFeturnedwhatcouldhave been a harrowing and frustrating experience into the perfect move. Everyone in the organisation, including their counterparts in Italy, were professional in their work, helpful, friendly and efficient. The crew did a great job packing, showing a lot of patience with us
Once you’ve arrived in Singapore, you’ll quickly want to get an online account sorted, get all your gadgets up and running, and get access to your favourite TV shows. These companies can help.
Geek Team Asia Getting connected can sometimes be a bit tricky, so when TOM KING moved to Singapore from Sydney in 2003 he hired Geek Team to give him a helping hand: “I run a training business and we are constantly sharing training content, so it is imperative that we always have a high performing network. We can’t afford to be offline, even for a short time.
“I would recommend Geek Team 100 percent. For the home they are great; when I returned from work, everything was set up and working perfectly. And from a work perspective, we now pay a fraction of the price for our IT support, but the service is a million times better than we have ever had before. The ‘Geeks’ are awesome; they know their stuff, and are also great communicators, which is crucial.”
6631 8447 | geekteam.asia
Tekkie Help Is your technology in a tangle? Don’t know how something works? Can’t sync any of your gadgets? No idea which service provider to choose? Hard drive failure? “Blue screen of death”? Spilled a cup of tea on your laptop? If you’re terrified of your technology, the specialists at Tekkie Help are on call seven days a week to come to your home or office and get everything working without any fuss or hassle.
For assistance, call Sarah directly at 8113 8682 or visit tekkiehelp.com
What’s on the Box? If there’s one thing British expats really miss about the UK, it’s the quality stuff on the telly: Downton Abbey , Luther , EastEnders – there’s no beating great British drama; or comedy for that matter. Happily, SingExpatTV has come up with a solution that provides easy access for all these shows. You can now watch 18 of your favourite free-to-air UK channels without the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a proxy server. And if you don’t know what those things even are, you don’t need to worry one jot. Just log onto SingExpatTV website for a free two-day trial (with no obligation to buy) and find out what you’ve been missing.
3108 0279 | singexpat.tv
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Networking & VOLUNTEERING Make New Friends Associations
Associations are an excellent starting point when you are 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, ItalianWomen’s Group, IndianWomen’s Association and Spanish-Speaking Women’s Association. Social and Sporting Clubs Clubs 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. The British Club, Hollandse Club and American Club are just a few of the popular clubs in Singapore. 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.
THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION Joining the BA can open you up to a world of new friends, new experiences and exciting ways to fill some free time. ANNE-MARIE from the UK went along for a BA Newcomer’s coffee a few weeks after arriving in Singapore, and five years on, she’s still enjoying what the group has to offer. Friends by Association
What do you do at BA and how often? I play ball badminton, and I’m also heavily involved in Beam, the BAmagazine. I have also played BA tennis, been to coffee mornings, talks, balls, salsa classes, and five years later I am still finding out new things about Singapore on their fantastic tours. I go once or twice a week, but you could do something every day, twice a day even! Is it only for Brits or can anyone join? No, the BA is for everyone. It’s predominantly British but I’ve met people from all over the world. One of the most satisfying things is that I’ve made friends with people I wouldn’t normally meet within my peer group or through my kids’ school or other normal channels. Would you recommend it to others? TheBA is a great organisation to belong to – you can take from it what you want and become as involved as you like – it’s like your expat anchor.
Tanglin Shopping Centre, #02-01 6339 8229 britishassociation.org.sg
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THE AMERICAN WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION As the AWA celebrates its 80th anniversary, we asked one its members why they think it has thrived for so long: “AWA has been bringing women together in this country for the eight decades; it’s a vibrant and active women’s group for all nationalities – currently there are approximately 1,000 members. “AWA organises social and special- interest activities and events, as well as sports and tours. The association also runs a dedicated community outreach volunteer programme for a wide range of causes.” The AWA is located at The American Club but is a separate organisation. Visit awasingapore.org or call 6734 4895 for more information.
If you don’t want to work fulltime, or you don’t need to, a good way to keep your brain in gear, meet new friends, and do something helpful for people is through volunteering. It’s a good addition to your CV, too. There are plenty of local charities, old-age homes and so on that can give you a few hours a week. It’s easy to be flexible and give some of your time, and Donate Your Time
really rewarding. Consider Aidha, for example, where domestic helpers can attend classes on the weekend to learn IT and business skills and gain qualifications. The Cat Welfare Society is always looking for adoptive parents but also fosterers – people who are home all day as they don’t work. Here’s a whole list of links to get you started.
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There are plenty of o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o volunteer in Singapore; here are a few things our panellists are involved in.
USEFUL WEBSITES Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) asdsingapore.com Association for Persons with Special Needs apsn.org.sg Caring for Cambodia caringforcambodia.org Children’s Cancer Foundation ccf.org.sg Children’s Surgical Centre (Cambodia) csc.org Club Rainbow clubrainbow.org Dover Park Hospice doverpark.org.sg First Hand firsthandvolunteers.com Friends of the Museum fom.sg Habitat for Humanity habitat.org.sg H.O.M.E. home.org.sg I-India i-indiaonline.com Make a Wish Foundation makeawish.org.sg Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) rdasingapore.org
“I do a lot of work for ANZA Soccer, running their junior competition soccer – I love it! I also volunteer once a week to help the teachers in my children’s classes with maths and literacy. This is really rewarding as it enables you to get to know your children’s friends better, understand what they are learning about in class, and really help the teacher give more focused support to children as a group or individually. It’s so special when you see a child master something! “I also believe that we all have our own charity at home now with our helpers who generally come from very poor backgrounds. There are some really small things that we can do for them that make such a difference in their lives.” – Penny “AkarakA was co-founded by two gentlemen who self-funded it, and there is only one paid employee, which means that all donations really go to the cause. It provides university scholarships to under-privileged students in Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines. Once they graduate, they can get a job that not only helps them to move their own family out of poverty, but also empowers them to help fund a sister or brother to get an education. AkarakA also partners with large corporations to send volunteers and mentors to help these students secure a job once they’ve graduated.” – Jeanette
Red Cross Society redcross.org.sg SPCA spca.org.sg Tabitha Foundation tabithasingapore.com
Not only does Singapore have the World’s Best Airport (Changi received its third consecutive Skytrax gong in March 2015), but the trains and buses run on time, and the taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. The transport system is carefully integrated, so train stations usually have a taxi stand or bus stop nearby. And an EZ-Link fare card saves countless hassles, and can be easily bought and topped up. PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
CHANGI NEWS 1. More than 54 million passengers passed through Changi Airport in 2014. 2. Over 100 airlines flew to Changi Airport, from around 300 cities in 80 countries and territories around the world. (Approximately 6,500 flights landed or departed each week.) 3. The airport handled over 1.8 million tonnes of freight in 2014, or the equivalent weight of about five-and-a- half Empire State Buildings. 4. With a planned capacity of 16 million passengers a year, the new Terminal 4 is set to open in 2017. 5. Plans are underway for Terminal 5 to open midway through the 2020s; the terminal will be bigger than T1, T2 and T3 combined. MRT & LRT The MRT and LRT (Light Rail Transit) system is Singapore’s efficient train network, offering reliable and cost-effective transport through the city and suburbs in a pleasant, safe and air-conditioned environment. New in 2015 13 new trains have been added to SMRT’s train system in 2015, shortening waiting time in the process. Fares have gone up as of April 2015, by between two and five cents for a fare on an EZ-Link card, and 10 cents for a cash ticket. In July 2015, a new monthly ticket will be available for $80 ($40 for seniors), for unlimited travel during non-peak periods. Work continues on the MRT stations around the island. The most recent station to open was Marina South Pier at the southern end of the red North South Line, providing a public transport link to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
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BUSES Singapore’s bus system is safe, comfortable, affordable and reliable – better than in many major cities around the world. Some two million bus rides are taken each day on the island, across 300different services. To help you navigate your way around the city on the bus, you could invest in a Mighty Minds Bus Guide, available at newsagents for $3.90, or use one of the apps we’ve highlighted on page 26. New for 2015 550 new buses have been added to the network in the Bus Service Enhancement Programme, with the intention of cutting waiting time, especially during peak periods. The mandatory Give Way scheme is to be extended to 370 bus stops nationwide in 2015.
Are you a fan of Singapore’s public transport? If so, why?
“It’s fantastic! The MRT and buses are reliable and cheap, and the taxis are great too – and much cheaper than London.” – Jenilee “Uber and taxis are my main forms of transport – very cost effective. I take the MRT and buses when I’m not in a rush; the SG Buses app is great. We have three kids and don’t require a car. Everywhere is 15 to 20 minutes by cab, and getting a cab takes 10 minutes.” – Alex “It’s fun hopping on any random bus and seeing where it takes you. It’s a great way to learn your way around Singapore.” – Olga “We don’t have a car, sowe use a combination of public transport and taxis as our methods to get around. We ride buses the most, only because the bus stop is closer than the MRT. The systems are easy to navigate, efficient and clean !” – Michelle “I love that people are encouraged to be polite. I’ve rarely been on a bus or MRT where at least one gentleman didn’t offer his seat to me or my kids. We don’t have a car so public transport is my lifeline.” – Faith “It’s efficient if you’re not in a huge hurry. It can be the fastest way to get around the CBD area during rush hour, though be prepared to not have personal space or a seat.” – Jeanette
EZ-LINK CARD TIPS
Purchase cards and top them up at 7-Eleven shops, some ATMs, post offices, MRT passenger service desks, ticketing machines in MRT stations and online at ezlink.com.sg. If you have more than one EZ-link card, make sure you use the same one for both entry and exit when on the bus or train. Don’t forget to tap in and out on the bus. Your card can be used in a multitude of retail outlets and venues, including Cold Storage, Spinelli Coffee Company and the Singapore Science Centre. ezlink.com.sg
“Cheap, easy, safe, reliable – and air- conditioned!” – Penny
TAXIS Most busy areas have a taxi stand, or you can walk out to a main road and flag one down – except in the CBD where this is illegal. During peak hours, or when it’s pouring with rain, it’s best to call a taxi on the phone – it’s worth the call-out fee.
Eve r y t h i n g you needed to know about taking taxis.
“Always try to strike up a conversation with the taxi uncles – which part of Singapore are they from, where is their favourite chicken rice stall, and so on. I’ve learned some real gems this way. And try to hail a cab from a mall or hotel, especially when it rains – it’s much quicker.” – Olga “Make sure you get the Grab Taxi app on your phone, as well as other taxi apps. Don’t always expect the taxi drivers to know the way – plan the route yourself and let them know. Try and flag a taxi if possible to avoid the booking charges.” – Jenilee “Use your own smartphone GPS at the same time to make sure the driver is going the right way.” – Kelly “If it looks like it’s going to rain and you need to go somewhere, make sure you pre-book either an Uber or a taxi; if not, you’ll be waiting at least 20 or 30 minutes to get transportation.” – Jeanette “One taxi driver toldme that their system ranks riders – so if you do a lot of ‘no shows’ (i.e., you book a taxi and don’t show up to get in it), you’re less likely to get a taxi when it’s really busy.” – Faith “Never queue; it’s quicker and not much more expensive to order a taxi. If you’re calling to book from home, it’s easier to use a landline as it will already have the address programmed.” – Penny
Base fare for travelling in a standard taxi (for example, Comfort or CityCab) ranges from $3 to $3.50, though there is talk of an increase in 2015 to $3.80. During peak hours (Monday to Friday, 6am to 9.30am, and Monday to Sunday, 6pm to midnight), passengers pay an additional 25 percent of the metered fare; and between midnight and 6am, they pay an additional 50 percent. CBD surcharge is $3. Call-out charges are $2.30 during non-peak hours and $3.30 during peak hours. Expect to pay around $12 for a 10-kilometre off- peak trip. Fares canbepaid in cash– smaller denominations are preferred – or by credit card. Some taxis also accept NETS and EZ-Link cards. Although taxi drivers speak English, differences in accents can occasionally cause confusion.
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