Handmade eclectic keepsake homewares HACIENDA BLUE

HaciendaBlue creates unique, eclectic and often custom made keepsake homewares that you and your family will treasure, and others will covet.

Showroom by appointment

8 great spots to check out Cluny Court 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 top picks for the entire family!

Bungalow 55 (#01-05A) Founded in 2012, this home décor boutique offers complimentary bespoke interior styling services on top of a stunning selection of elegant and contemporary home accessories like lighting, furniture and rugs. 6463 3831 |

Cluny Court Family Dental (#02-18) Looking for a new dentist? This family-oriented dental practice runs programmes for the whole family, including a teeth whitening package ($750), which includes consultation, x-rays and bleaching, and MyFirstDentist for kids aged five and below ($90). Quote “Expat Living friends” when booking! 6467 9088 |


LEVEL 1 Bar Bar Black Sheep Bungalow 55 Cold Storage Da Paolo Gastronomia EGA Juice Clinic Girl O’ Girl JEEVES Plain Vanilla Bakery

Jeeves (#01-03B) Known for its meticulous fabric care and dry cleaning services, Jeeves Singapore was founded in London in 1969 and holds the Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales. You can also get your shoes and leather handbags repaired and restored here. 6469 6478 |

Rosalie Pompon (#02-11) Here you can shop chic, casual and unique accessories, shoes and jewellery sourced from stylish and affordable European labels like Majestic, Hartford and Bellerose. 6463 5347 |

Singapore Ixora The Affogato Bar The Fishwives

LEVEL 2 Alfie Browns Big Blue Trunk CHANGE Lingerie

Cluny Court Family Dental Gorgeous & Groovy Gifts Hanna Lee Accessories Hopla! Kids Shoe Shop Lemongrass & Aubergine Lewis Grandeur Lilla Lane Mo Li Hua Watches & Jewellery Nail Bar @ Cluny Paris & Me Relish Rosalie Pompon

SPRMRKT (#02-13/14) Take a break from shopping at this cosy home- grown restaurant, which serves European fare with a Southeast Asian twist. You can tuck into all-day breakfast eats like Eggs Florentine, or try the slow roasted pork & goji berry

Sugar K (#02-10) Say hello to clearer skin with Singapore’s first-ever facial peel bar concept, created by Kew Organics’ founder Lily Kew. The signature organic sugar peel ($65) takes only 15 minutes and promises to decongest the skin to reveal a radiant complexion. 6767 3008 |

Simone Irani Simply Bread Sugar K Organic Peel Bar SPRMRKT The Big Blow The Elly Store The Hair Lounge The Master Hair Salon The Tui Collection Thirsty Craft Beer Shop Treasure Links

bowl for something different. 9746 4170 |

Dunearn Road

Bukit Timah Road

The Elly Store (#02-31/33) Apart from stocking a wide range of international kids’ shoe brands like Native and Pediped, this fully-fledged children’s store also offers its in-house kids-wear label Elly, designed for fashionable younglings of eight years and below. 6466 8718 |

Mo Li Hua Vintage Watches & Jewellery (#02-29) This boutique carries an extensive line-up of

Serene Centre

Cluny Court

Botanic Gardens MRT

watches from Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Seiko and more, alongside a specially curated range of fine jewellery from the Victorian and Art Deco periods. 9621 9453 |

French Embassy

Farrer Road Flyover

Cluny Park Road

Visit for more details.

Editor’s Note

id you ever think you would live away from your home country? Whether, like me, you’ve never really had a country you call home and are happy to explore new places, or you’re

If you need a change of temperature and scenery, you’re right in the centre of the universe here, and you can be somewhere quite different within just a few hours. Visit one of the many nearby countries and enjoy hiking in the mountains, diving deep in coral reefs or exploring jungle-covered temples. There will be challenges, of course – from how to get your hair not to frizz, to making friends and managing newworking situations; and lots of business travel, in particular, can be exhausting. Just remember to stop and breathe and enjoy the journey – and reach out to us when you need it. Subscribe to our monthly magazine, join our workshops and coffee mornings, sign up for our online newsletter, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and contact us with any queries at

not quite sure how you’re going to cope being thousands of miles from the people you’ve grown up with your whole life, never fear, Expat Living is here! In our City Guide, we dive right in to get views and tips from our panel of contributors – other expats who have already taken the leap. We also have a summary of the top furniture stores, schools, and wine and dine outlets – you’ll never go hungry with the countless food options in Singapore – plus great walks and other free things to do. (Yes, there are a few!) I don’t think there’s any excuse to be bored in Singapore, whether you’re working or not. There are associations, groups, volunteer opportunities and charities to get involved in. And new places and shops pop up all the time – even locals read Expat Living to keep up with the pace.

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief



Rebecca Bisset Shamus Sillar Amy Brook-Partridge Anthia Chng

Editor-in-Chief Group Editor City Guide Editors

Amy Greenburg Susannah Jaffer

Cassilda Lee Verne Maree Lindsay Yap

Leanda Rathmell Liana Talib Nur Hanani Kamal Luddin

Client Services & Production

Michael Bernabe Beatrice Ng Jeanne Wong

Graphic Designers

Anna Tserlingas Grace Bantaran Siti Shahirah Khirudeen

Circulation & Administration

Susan Knudsen-Pickles Veena Gill

Partnerships & Events Marketing & Business Development

Karin Galley-Dick Danielle Rossetti Jacqui Young Lara Sage

Advertising Sales

Colin Purchase

Chief Operations Officer

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | Production: +65 6812 1787 | Editorial & Media Releases: Calendar of Events: Events: Websites: |



Printed by Ho Printing Singapore Pte Ltd

Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #07-06 Mapex Building Singapore 577177


Cover: Ketna Patel (



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.

Expat Living!

We’re so muchmore than just amonthlymagazine. To discover everything that’s going on in your new island home, check out this handy guide to howwe can help.

CONTRIBUTE! Enjoyed one of our articles or have an opinion to express? We’d love to hear it. Pen a letter to and it could get published in our letters page. Or, if you’re an avid writer, send us a 500-word story for our monthly “Parting Shot” column, which you’ll find at the back of the magazine.

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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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What’s Inside?






23 SINGAPORE HACKS Your basic survival guide Discover all you need to know about your new home, from some of the challenges facing newcomers and transport options to networking, finding friends and looking for a job. 65 FIND YOUR HOME Navigating the island 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.

89 DESIGN YOUR SPACE 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. 117 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. Learn more about the range of preschools, schools and other educational institutions so you can make the right choice for your child.



What’s Inside?

173 HAPPY&HEALTHY 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 fertility advice, there’s expert medical help at hand.


201 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. 239 LET’S EAT! Hot cafes, restaurants and bars hawker favourites to champagne brunches. Go here for restaurant recommendations, foodie tips and other advice for the curious or just the plain hungry! In Singapore, there are some amazing foods to try, from





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


SINGAPORE HACKS Your basic survival guide

kittinit |



Singapore by Numbers Quirky facts about the place

The number of official languages in Singapore: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. The number of surviving city-states in the world. Singapore is one of them; Vatican City and Monaco are the others. Number of white stars on the Singapore flag. They represent the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The number of condominiums in Singapore with a lighthouse on their roof. Lagoon View condo on Marine Parade is topped by a fully functioning lighthouse that can be seen 40km away. Singapore’s rank among the world’s busiest ports for shipping tonnage – second behind Shanghai, China.

The number of successive years that Changi Airport has taken top spot in the World Airport Awards.

The age, in years, of Singaporean student Ainan Celeste Cawley when he became the youngest person in the world to pass O-level Chemistry

The approximate percentage of Singapore residents of Indian descent; 74 percent are of Chinese descent, and 13 percent Malay.

The length, in kilometres, of the Kallang River, Singapore’s longest river.

The date in February 1942 when a British force of 60,000 troops surrendered to Japan following the Battle of Singapore.



The approximate percentage of Singaporeans who practice Buddhism. Around 18 percent practice Christianity. Percentage of the population (one in every six people) with assets worth $1 million or more – the highest in the world.

The number of countries that Singapore residents have visa-free access to – the highest in the world

Singapore’s total land area, in square kilometres. Back in the 1960s, the area was 581 square kilometres.

The total number of islands that make up Singapore, including the main island (Pulau Ujong).

The year when the first Singapore Sling was served at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel.

The distance, in kilometres, that Singapore is from the Equator.

The approximate number of times a driver changes gears over the course of Singapore’s night-time Formula 1 Championship race.

The height, in metres, of Singapore’s tallest peak, Bukit Timah Hill. The second- tallest is Mt Serapong on Sentosa (85m).

The approximate number of vehicles using the Johor-Singapore causeway each day.




Whether you’re fresh off the plane or a Singapore “oldhand”,wewant tofindoutwhatyouknowabout the place – So, go ahead and try our quiz! (And don’t fret if you find it too hard; you’ll learn loads moreabout theLionCity in thepages of ourGuide.)

#12 If you order a cup of “Kopi C”, does it come black or white? #13 What tasty-sounding road is Singapore’s longest? #14 Approximately how many high-rise buildings does Singapore have: 180; 1,165; or 4,300? #15 What’s another term for Singapore’s Peranakan community? #16 What hill was previously known at various times as Forbidden Hill, Government Hill, Sir Bonham’s Hill and Flag Hill? #17 What is Singapore’s biggest export? #18 Was Lau Pa Sat hawker centre built in 1825, 1898 or 1944? #19 Which ingredient is not found in a traditional Singapore Sling cocktail: vodka, pineapple juice or cherry brandy? #20 What 2018 Disney/Marvel blockbuster has already become the highest grossing film in Singapore box-office history?

#7 Wh i ch i s l and j us t o ff Singapore’s coast is said to have been formed by an elephant and a pig turning to stone? #8 What is written in microtext on the back of the S$1,000 note? (Yes, there’s a $1,000 note!) #9 What Singapore attraction was renovated in 2008 – at great expense – after feng shui experts deemed it was moving in an unlucky direction? #10 If you stretched all of Singapore’s roads end to end, would they reach Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or the Moon? #11 What MRT stations have the anagrams Trauma Pork, Gender Kit and Siri Raps?

#1 Singapore’s first MRT station, Toa Payoh, opened in what decade? #2 Old Chang Kee is best known for what type of snack? #3 The coldest temperature ever recorded in Singapore was 22.6, 19.4 or 14.8 degrees Celsius? #4 When President Obama visited Singapore in 2016, what local dish did he reference in his introductory remarks? (Hint: it starts with “r”.) #5 Approximately how many passengers passed through Changi Airport last year, 60 million, 600 million or 6 billion? #6 What Singlish word refers to the practice of claiming a table at a food centre by leaving a packet of tissues on it?

Find all the answers at



Singapore is a brilliant place to live right now, so if you’ve just landed, we’re certain you’ll make incredible memories here. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Meet our eight expat readers who make up this year’s Panel. You’ll find their tips, advice and recommendations dotted throughout our Guide!

Originally from London, Sophie Baillie arrived from

London in 2015 with a jar of Marmite, her husband and a one-month-old baby in tow. Fast forward three years and, with another baby boy, she now works across the region as a consultant for fashion and lifestyle brands. Sophie’s excited about living in this part off the world, and thinks Singapore is the perfect jumping off point to explore Southeast Asia.

Hailing from Nashville, Dana Glore is a southern girl at heart, but also has a sense of adventure and a thirst for exploring the unknown. A biomedical scientist turned event organiser and corporate relations manager, she thrives off trying new things – unless it involves ironing or cockroaches! She moved to Singapore in 2013 with her cat and better half; she has gained a deep appreciation off the dynamic, diverse environment here, and enjoys connecting with new people.

Beth Medley moved to Singapore in 2008, and spent the following nine years flying around the region in a corporate role. Now mum to three-year-old twins, Isabella and Hunter, she’s followed her passion to start her own ethical kids label. She loves Singapore for its melting pot of culture and vibrant, independent design community.


Lisa Montford left her hometown of Glasgow to move to Singapore in 2015, and hasn’t looked back since. She loves seeing big ideas become reality and bringing people together to make a difference to the lives of others. She lives in Singapore with her husband Geoff and their little boy, Otto.

Singapore has been home for Ankita Singh since 2007, when she moved here from India. Married to her handsome college sweetheart, she is also a mother to two. Her passions include fitness, travelling and whipping up amateur MasterChef dishes, and she aspires to be a mumpreneur in the very near future. After 11 years here, she considers herself practically a local, and she thinks Singapore is a model country in terms of efficiency, safety and being so welcoming.

Linda Preece relocated to Singapore five years ago from Sydney with her daughter and husband. Linda loves living in Sentosa, and follows her passion by designing artistic prints of Singapore that capture the beauty of the little red dot she now calls home. She also runs a group called Coffee & Chat, which she set up to help people meet and make new friends on the island. Mel Rice moved to Singapore in 2008 with her husband on a six- month assignment. Ten years later, they continue to enjoy Singapore and the ease of travel that they can do throughout Southeast Asia. Her favourite trip so far has been a two-week break to Lombok, where she and her partner did an amazing trekking trip on Mount Rinjani.

Alexandra Christensen moved to Singapore in 2015 with her family and is grateful for all the friendships she’s made, the countries she’s visited in this part of the world and the entrepreneurial opportunity it has given her. Her greatest passion is good service and she has now set up a company where she coaches retail staff in improving the customer experience. She loves exploring new gems and corners of Singapore.



Give yourself enough time in temporary accommodation. Be aware of the upfront financial costs of settling in Singapore: for example, budgeting for three months’ rental deposit for accommodation, payments for enrolling in school, the cost of hiring or buying a car, and so on. Pack summer clothes, as it’s always hot and humid here. Once you’re here, get out and be social. I started a group called Coffee & Chat when I first moved to Singapore, purely for the reason that I was lonely and I didn’t know anyone here. It can be very up and down for the first 6 to 12 months if it’s your first time as an expat. Join some of the Facebook groups as they are a wealth of knowledge. — Linda

ARRIVAL ADVICE We asked our contributors for tips on what to do when you’re planning a move to Singapore or you’ve newly arrived on its shores.

Get your driving licence before the year’s out. No one told us! Buy a Dyson hairdryer to help make blow-drying in the heat less painful. Singapore is great for networking and it’s so easy to meet people. There’s loads of great business networks and ladies’ networks out there. If you’re looking for furniture, you can scoop some bargains at IFFS in March ( If you have kids, Little Village is a great preschool for those who don’t like being stuck inside in air- conditioning. — Lisa

If you’re looking at schools, do your research and plan well in advance. The style of teaching can varywildly and there are often long waitlists and hefty fees. It is increasingly tough for foreigners toget working visas and jobs, so don’t take that for granted. Facebook groups like Stork’s Nest, Singapore Expat Wives and several other groups can be an invaluable tool to get local insights. Dress down; Singapore comes with a very casual dress code. Always carry your visa card – you’ll need it for everything! — Sophie



It really is Groundhog Day weather-wise: hot, or hot and wet! Leave most winter clothes at home. I didn’t wear jeans for the first four years. Take up offers to meet new people. Expat Facebook groups are a fountain of knowledge. Get personal recommendations on different areas to live, and make a decision based on your needs, not pressure from an agent! — Beth

Do your research on the area you want to live in. Walk the distance from home to the supermarket. Ask questions about the condo/area you’re interested in and get all the info. Reach out to people before coming so you have coffee dates lined up early on. Commit yourself to one of the many charities there are here. It’s a wonderful way to connect to both locals and expats, and to do good. Make a bucket list of what youwant to see and experience in your time inAsia. It will get you more excited about the adventure you are about to embark on. Do you research on Singapore and its history. Watch documentaries and get a feel for the people and the culture. The island has so much to offer – especially when you dive a little deeper. — Alexandra

Research the banking options and limitations for transferring existing bank accounts. Find a financial advisor who is well-versed in the laws in both your home country and Singapore. Find a social organisation or club to join and pick an event or two to attend within the first few weeks of arriving. I immediately joined AAS and AWA and both were incredibly helpful in gettingme out of the house and integrated into society. Even if it seems daunting, put yourself out there – you’ll thank yourself later! Plana trip toanearbydestination – Langkawi, Bali and Thailand are all easy and affordable options. Even if it’s only for a longweekend, it will give you something to look forward to and allow you space to decompress and recharge. Schedule time to regularly communicate with your loved ones back home. Find a time that works for both parties. It can be for 20 minutes or two hours, whatever works best, and plug this into your calendar as a standing “appointment”. — Dana

Try to visit Singapore before you move so that you get a feel of the place. Reach out to people who live here to get recommendations. It’s extremely helpful to join one to the many expat forums on Facebook. Invest in a great sunscreen and a fancy umbrella. You’ll be using them a lot! Alcohol is expensive here, so bring in your booze collection if you can! — Ankita

Theweather will be beautiful, but at times extremely hot and humid! Get a guide book to Singapore and go on a new adventure every week. Enjoy yourself and be open to new experiences. Join an organisation like the AWA for fun social, sport, special interest and community service events that are organised on a regular basis. Bring cool lightweight clothing. It’s all you’ll ever need! — Mel




THE PROS ANDCONSOF SINGAPORE Our panel members list the things they love most about life here – and the things they could frankly do with less of!

12 PROS You get to make so many new friendships There’s an amazing mix of cultures You can reinvent yourself any way that you want It’s safe, and everywhere is immaculate There are lots of themed parties, functions and balls to attend Changi Airport is a dream to travel through! It’s a great place to start your own business It’s a fantastic environment for children to grow up in The public transport is great There’s a nice charitable focus in the expat community The local food is delicious and cheap It’s a good base for exploring the rest of Asia

12 CONS It’s hard to say goodbye to friends that move away You can’t see family all the time Some services are more expensive here Customer service can be frustrating, but you do get used to it! Medical facilities are expensive, though they are top-notch Western-style food can be very expensive Frizzy hair is a common complaint The cost of living is high Overuse of single-use plastics is a big thing It’s difficult to get into local schools if you’re not PR

Alcohol is expensive The humidity can get overbearing sometimes



APP, APP, HOORAY! From food delivery to navigating public transport, the right apps can help make settling into Singapore that much easier. Here are our recommendations.


Deliveroo: Get food delivered to your door from

local restaurants in a flash: just type in your postcode to see what’s available.



Foodpanda: Another of the island’s popular food

ComfortDelGro: Easily book a taxi with Singapore’s best-known cab companies: Comfort and CityCab. Grab: Get an estimated fare and full details of your taxi driver, and rate the journey afterwards, if you like.

SG Buses: Locate your next bus when you’re

ordering apps that puts an array of menus right at your fingertips.

feeling impatient, or identify buses and routes if you’re lost, with this user-friendly app. SingaporeMRTMap: This app provides simple access to Singapore’s most updatedMRT and LRT maps. transactions over the past three months, and highlights available discounts. Ofo: The world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing platform andmobile app. EZ - L i n k : T h i s a p p monitors your EZ-Link

RedMart: Get fresh food, pantry goods, specialty

products or home care necessities delivered to your door when you’re strapped for time!

SMRT: Yes, it’s another taxi booking app, but it’s good

Chope: Make instant online reservations at your

to have several of these in case one is busy and you’re in a hurry.

favourite restaurants, and check prices, menus and recommended dishes. Burrple: Get clued up on the newest and hottest eateries in town, and read honest reviews from fellow users. Openrice: A dining guide containing hundreds of restaurant listings, plus weekly and monthly promotions.


FastJobs JobsDB Jobstreet These job-listing apps have various filters such as job function, industry and salary so you can match your ideal role.





iChangi: Up-to-date flight arrival and departure info so you’ll never be too early to the airport again. border, this app 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. SG Checkpoint Traffic: Great if you live over the

Gothere: An idiot-proof transport guide that helps


Carouse l l : An active marketplace

you work out the best route to get from one spot to another.

for buying and selling second-hand products, from tech and gadgets to designer handbags. Addictive!

Singapore City Guide: Created by TripAdvisor,

this app helps you navigate Singers – great for newbies, and no need for a live data connection.

Zalora: Browse and shop hundreds

MyTransport Singapore: A transportation guide

of local and international brands on the go, with free delivery in Singapore.

with bus routes, arrival times, taxi stands, live traffic updates and parking lot availability. Carpark SG: Compare car parking rates in the city, plus the number of available spots and more.

Lazada : Shop t h o u s a n d s o f


products across health, beauty, home, living, electronics and more.

PropertyGuru iProperty

Search for all types of property in Singapore and filter by price, area and number of rooms to see what’s available.

Shopee: Another popular app for


buying and selling using your phone; good for bargains and deals.

Chug: Redeem drinks at various venues with a

Singapore (SG) Stocks: This easy-to-use app

monthly subscription; S$9.90 gets you five free drinks; S$19.90 gets you a drink each day. 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.

Gumt r e e SG : Singapore’s version

allows you to see stock activities, company exchanges and more.

of the free classifieds site; connect with local buyers and sellers and post ads yourself.

Dash Singapore: Why withdraw cash from banks

to your wallet? Store money in the app instead and make transactions on the go.



Setting up a bank account here is relatively easy. I strongly recommend having at least one account with a local bank like DBS or POSB because of their vast network of ATMs and excellent customer service. StarHub and Singtel are one-stop shops for getting your phone, internet and cable connections. The only thing that we didn’t find seamless was that we had to pay our rental deposit for our apartment via cheque. We needed a bank account for that, for which we needed a residential address, and it became a bit off a loop predicament. – Ankita I opened my personal account with an international bank, but in hindsight I would have gone to a local bank like DBS as it can still be tricky to find an ATM which accepts the international bank card. – Beth For banking, my husband and I decided to go with DBS as we felt they provided us more flexibility with multi-currency accounts and overseas bank transfer fees. Also, DBS customers can usebothDBS andPOSB ATMs, which makes withdrawing cash a bit easier when you’re out and about. As for internet, we quickly realised that a VPN was a must when I couldn’t pay my Victoria’s Secret credit card bill online because the website was blocked, and when my husband couldn’t watch college football. Aftermuch trial anderror, we’ve found ExpressVPN to be a consistent, reliable and affordable VPN option. – Dana All pretty easy; we didn’t have any issues. I’m with DBS for banking and MyRepublic for internet. – Lisa Yes, unbelievably so. It’s all very quick and efficient, as long as you have all the necessary information to hand. – Sophie

Yes, because my husband took care of it! Go for a local bank. We have DBS and it has worked out fine for us. We went straight to StarHub and opened up our phone line, internet services and television package all in one, and it’s all worked smoothly for us. Just remember to ask critical questions about the contract. – Alexandra We wouldn’t do anything differently, but I do recommend opening a local bank account like DBS or POSB as their ATMs are easier to locate. – Mel Is it easy setting up a bank account and things like a mobile phone contract or a home internet account? Our panel members discuss what they might have done differently with hindsight.




HOWDOIGETMYTVFIX? Here’s where our panel members turn for their small- screen entertainment.

Netflix and Apple TV! – Alexandra

We don’t watch a huge amount of TV at home but I have recently succumbed to a Netflix subscription. – Beth In our household, we rely pretty heavily on Apple TV (using a US iTunes account) for our entertainment fix. Obviously, Netflix is a close second. We used to watch shows and movies on my US Netflix account using a VPN but we don’t use the VPN quite as much anymore since Netflix became available in Singapore. I do love a goodmovie date night at Gold Class but the selection of films released in theatres here isn’t always the best, so I’ll do back-to-backmatinees or triple- movie days with my girlfriends when I’m back home. – Dana We don’t have a TV package, so we mainly watch Netflix for shows. – Lisa Gold Class is a treat! Cinemas are much cheaper than in the UK so we love going. We’d be lost without Netflix and iTunes. VPN gets me my UK TV show fix. – Sophie | It’s easy to get started: just email Ecoverve or visit the website to request an account with the app that is available in the App Store and Play Store. Ecoverve offers premium concierge and butler services in Singapore, which you can request very easily via a smartphone app. Singapore is a busy place – especially for newcomers with families who might be juggling work, a new neighbourhood and perhaps a new school, together with settling in, getting around and more. That’s where Ecoverve comes in. Founder EDWIN CHENG says, “The idea came about from my clients of another business, who trusted me and wanted me to assist them in maintaining their homes in Singapore and running errands for them when they are at work or overseas.” To this end, Ecoverve can help with everything from home maintenance and renovations, to buying groceries, home- sitting, entertainment requests, and just about anything else you might find yourself short on time to look after. “We’re always here to listen to requirements, discuss them with clients, and come up with a solution,” says Edwin.




FindingWork 4 Key Questions

#1 “Is it easy to start my own business in Singapore?” 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, how do you turn it into a real-life proposition? First you’ll need to apply for an EntrePass through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM; This involves writing a detailed business plan and financial projections; plus, your business needs to meet certain requirements (see and-permits/entrepass/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.



#2 “How can I go about getting employed?” If you’re accompanying your spouse or partner on a posting, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether or not to work 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) is particularly useful, offering advice on resumes, workshops and career counselling.

Steps for Getting a Job • 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. It also helps to put together a portfolio showcasing your relevant skills and experience. This can be hard copy, digital or on a website. • 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. • 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. • Spend time searching for a job every day (this can be a full-time job in itself!). Stay determined and active. Networking can help; many expats find jobs through their networks rather than applying for jobs blindly. Also, be realistic about your salary – remember that Singapore’s low tax rate will often offset a lower base salary. • Attend interviews, even if you’re not 100 percent sure youwant 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.



#3 “What do I need to know about visas and passes when it comes to working?” • The Fair Consideration Framework allows affirmative discrimination and employers are required to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders. • A quota system regulates the ratio of foreign and local workers in the workplace. • Dependant’s Pass holders are entitled to work once they have a Letter of Consent, which their employer can apply for. It’s a relatively straightforward process and applications are generally processed quickly by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). • While it’s not impossible, those on visitor passes hoping to apply for EPs may find it more of a struggle to get a job. • For a preliminary indication of the likelihood of obtaining an EP or S Pass, use the online Self-Assessment Tool prior to submitting the application. • Since 2014, the MOM has placed a strong emphasis on the quality of the educational qualifications and institutions that the applicant has attended when assessing applications.

#4 “Are there any helpful associations, organisations or websites?” Women seeking a job or developing a business can meet and network at professional associations, including The Athena Network and PrimeTime. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is a national coordinating body of women’s organisations and groups in Singapore that acts on their behalf. 8 places to look online CRCE | Mums@Work | Careermums | PrimeTime | Athena | ANZA Career Centre | LinkedIn | SCWO |



LOOKING FOR WORK What do our contributors wish they’d known about the process of job-hunting when they first arrived? Find out below.

Looking for a job as a new expat is tough, as employment passes are becoming harder to get. I would try getting in touch with employment agencies and recruiters who can help you find the right job, and guide you through the process of getting a work permit. – Ankita I moved here with a job in 2008, and now run my own ethical kids wear label. If you’re thinking of setting up a business, Singapore is a great place to do just that. The process is fairly straightforward if you fulfil the criteria, and using an agency makes it even more so. If you work from home, make sure to register your business as a Home Business with the Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA). – Beth Companies have specific requirements as to how many locals they can hire versus expats. It can be a confidence bummer when you get rejected and don’t get answers as to why, but just know it’s often not you but your pass! – Alexandra The job search here can be much more difficult than you think it’ll be. While it can be exhausting and deflating, keep plugging away and keep an open mind when it comes to positions or opportunities that fall outside your specific field or comfort zone. – Dana

Go out and make meaningful connections and use your networks to create opportunities for yourself. – Lisa Singapore is definitely a place where you can reinvent yourself, however the rules of opening a business and running a business always seem to change, so you really do need to keep on top of it. It’s good to join a business network like the Business Women Network that can always advise you and assist you with any business matters. – Linda I’m currently working and have been working since we moved to Singapore. I think the key thing to the job process here is networking and contacting people that are in your field or the field that you’re interested in working in. – Mel I have found the process difficult purely because my background is fashion and it’s not a flourishing industry here. I’ve had to be slightly more creative in my thinking, so setting up my consultancy and knowing the ins and outs of how it works has taken time. – Sophie




#2 Associations

#1 Social and Sporting Clubs Organisations such as the British Club (see our profile on the next page) can provide an instant network and 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. Hollandse Club and the American Club are among the other popular clubs in Singapore.

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 i n c l ud e t h e Ame r i c a n Wo m e n ’s A s s o c i a t i o n (AWA), Scandinavian Women’s Association, the Italian Women’s Group , t he I nd i an 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.



If you’re looking for new friends, new experiences and enjoyable ways to fill some free time, becoming a memberofoneofSingapore’s clubs is highly recommended. TheBritishClub is among the most popular on the island, and PETER CHADWICK is one of its many members.

Did you know? The British Club has over 2,600 members, with a cosmopolitan mix of 52 percent British, 26 percent Singaporeans and more than 50 other nationalities. Yes, I would strongly recommend people to join. There’s a wonderful family atmosphere at the Club, and it’s a great place for adults and kids to meet new friends. The staff are friendly and helpful, there are plenty of social activities, including for children. And there’s a very good variety and quality of food. Tell us about becoming members of the British Club. We joined in November 2016. We chose the Club because of the great relaxed setting and the friendly atmosphere. How often do you visit the club? We’re often there on the weekend and we regularly visit for dinner during the week. I particularly enjoy the Indian curries at the Verandah Café and a Hendricks gin in the Mountbatten Bar & Grill. Would you recommend newly arrived expats join the British Club? Where are you from originally and how long have you been in Singapore? I’m Australian and my wife Margaret is from the Philippines. I’ve been in Singapore since March 2000 – so, more than 18 years. What do you do here? I’m the Chief Stipendiary Steward with the Singapore Turf Club.

73 Bukit Tinggi Road 6410 1100 |



Singapore Transport From what’s happening at Changi’s four (soon to be five!) terminals, to the current cost of a COE for those intending on buying a car, here’s a rundown of the state of play as of June 2018 as far as the island’s planes, trains and automobiles are concerned – and what the future holds. AIR

Whether you’re arriving in Singapore for the first time, or you’re a long-term expat who comes and goes frequently, it’s likely you’ve been impressed at the facilities and operations at Changi Airport – in fact, you really hear a bad word spoken about it. Changi efficiently deals with over 100 airlines flying from 400 cities in about 100 countries and territories around the world. In 2017, almost 7,200 flights landed or departed each week, and more than 62.2million passengers passed through the airport. It’s little wonder that, in March 2018, the airport was voted World’s Best for the sixth year in a row in the renowned Skytrax awards. What’s New? • Set to open in early 2019, Changi Airport’s lifestyle and retail complex Jewel will boast a range of facilities such as indoor gardens, leisure facilities as well as retail and dining. • Plans are underway for Terminal 5 to open around 2030; the terminal will be bigger than T1, T2 and T3 combined, and will help Changi Airport serve an additional 50 million passengers per annum in the initial phases. • To pay for all this development, from 1 July 2018, passengers flying out of Changi will pay an additional $13.30 per person in fees. • A new Passenger Terminal at Seletar Airport is set to open before the end of 2018. • Arrivals at Terminal 1 at Changi has been closed for renovations to expand the baggage claim area. In the interim, a new arrival area is now open, featuring a 460-squares-metre garden with palm trees and a pond. • SIA has announced a 19-hour non-stop flight from Singapore to New York that will begin by the third quarter of 2018. It will be the longest non-stop flight in the world.



What’s New? • The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is under construction and commuters can expect to use stages of the line from 2019. With 31 new stations, the locations along the new rail network include Marine Parade, Havelock and Springleaf. • MRT trains on the North-South and East-West Lines will be featuring tip-up seats to accommodate more passengers during rush hour. Two are already in operation, with the others set to go into service soon. • The Jurong Region Line (JRL) is set to open from 2026. To be built above ground, the 24-kilometre line will be using smaller train cars that will accommodate 150 to 200 commuters. It will have two interchange stations: Choa Chu Kang (North-South Line) and Boon Lay (East-West Line). • MRT and LRT stations at Seng Kang will undergo upgrading works that are set to be completed by 2022. They include extra elevators and dual-speed escalators. • A new system is being trialled on the Downtown Line to notify commuters about crowds in incoming trains so they can head to the appropriate cabin. The new Passenger Load Information System aims to improve boarding and maximise capacity. RAIL 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.




#2 Taxi

Most busy areas have a taxi stand, or you can walk out to a main road and flag one down – except in the CBD

#1 BUS

Singapore’s bus system is safe, comfortable, affordable and reliable – better than in many major cities around the world. Some two million bus

where this is illegal. During peak hours, or when it’s pouring with rain, it’s best to call a taxi on the phone or book one on the app – it’s worth the extra fee.

What’s New? • The ongoing Bus Service Enhancement Programme launched in 2012 has seen 1,000 new buses introduced, 80 services added and 218 services given improvements. • LTA will be introducing 100 three-door buses in two years’ time after successful trials in 2017. The additional doors offer smoother boarding and alighting. • Driverless buses could hit the roads by 2020 as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and ST Kinetics have begun developing and testing. The buses will be equipped with GPS devices and scanners. • New service 851e launched in May 2018 and offers a quicker commute between Yishun and Chinatown. The route goes past various MRT stations, including Little India andChinatown. Editors’ tips: 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 • 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. • Cards can be used in a huge range of retail outlets, from Cold Storage to McDonald’s; for a full list, visit ez-link-card/where-to-use. rides are taken each day on the island, across 300 different services. To help you navigate your way around the city on the bus, use one of the apps we’ve highlighted on page 34.


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