Getting settled in Singapore

So, you are all set to make this big move. The next couple weeks, you will be busy to make the choices about the many essential things in Singapore: Looking for a home, getting your kids enrolled in a great school, getting familiar with public transport, purchasing an auto, opening an account and managing a banking relationship, finding where to shop, and so on.
Luckily, Singapore is an astoundingly friendly city to get used to. You can easily access information through a telephone call or on the web space. However, it is recommended that you do some homework and some preplanning even before you ultimately land in Singapore.
That’s the sole purpose of this article. Apart from lodging regulations, info about hotels/lodges, flats, and global schools, this article also tells you about how to obtain your water, power, gas and telephone connection.  The information given below will help you settle in Singapore fast and in a convenient manner. 
Expat Housing - First of all, search for expect housing. It’s not easy to find a suitable accommodation in Singapore because of its demanding work environment. SHIFT (Short-term Housing for Foreign Talents in areas like JTC (Jurong Town Corporation) may be some good options.  
Lodging – Your first task should be to find a place to live, for the next couple months or years.  For that you can contact property consultants or the web-based agents, who will help you to find an apartment with an area, size and facilities you are looking for.
Look for comprehensive description of housing options in Singapore.
Least expensive lodging
SHIFT is a good option for foreign expatriates, if you do not mind traveling a bit more every day to commute to your office.
Premium apartments in the heart of the city
If you want to live in the heart of the city in a swanky apartment, you can avail it by paying a little more. 

Serviced apartments
This is temporary option to settle down, if you want to keep on looking for more permanent option.  In each case, you have a lot of choices.

Hotels/bachelors’ accommodations
If somehow your lodging arrangements are delayed or you need to wait a bit more to get an apartment ready to move-in, you can always go for hotels or bachelors accommodations, which are available according to your budget. 

Phone Services
Contact SingTel retail shops and SingTel Mobile authorized dealers for fixed line and mobile phone connections.  You need to deposit $300 to get a fixed line.  Go for prepaid services, for your mobile connection, in case you are in Singapore for a short stay, otherwise you can go for a one or two years’ contract.

Furniture and Decoration Services
There is no dearth of furniture and decoration services for your home, and you can choose one according to your ethnicity and preference.  There are different home furnishing service providers, who can provide you the right choice of European, Asian and antique furniture.

Water, Electricity & Gas Utilities
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is a one-stop shop for all your water, electricity and gas connections in Singapore.  You can call at 1800-235-6841 (toll-free) to contact the PUB.

Settling down in Singapore

So, have you got an air ticket to travel to Singapore with a resident permit to live and work in Singapore?  If it is so, you’d obviously be curious to know more about the city state and how to settle down there.  It is important to know many things about the country you are immigrating to, including housing, public transport, education for the children, finances, taxes, shopping or buying or renting a car.
As far as settling down in Singapore is concerned, there are no complicated facts involved.  Governance is quite smooth and most of the information is just a call away or available on the Internet.  However, some of this information should be handy, before you even land in Singapore.  For example, Singapore is quite intolerant about drug trafficking and it is illegal and punishable offense to carry even the small amounts of drugs inside the country.  The next array of information is related to basic amenities, such as housing, temporary accommodation, applying for water, electricity, phone connection and cooking gas.  This article would provide you brief information on all of these topics.

Housing
in Singapore, housing can be categorized into three main housing types: low-cost housing, apartments, and serviced apartments.  Low-cost housing is available in suburban areas and is known as SHIFT.  Given excellent transportation facilities in Singapore, this option is not bad at all.  If you want a luxurious apartment in urban part of the city, you can get it by paying some premium price for it.  You can also go for apartments known as serviced apartments on a temporary basis.

Hotels
As far as hotels are concerned you would find all types of hotels from economic to luxury, based on your choice as temporary accommodation.

Telephone Services
Singapore offers fixed line telephone, mobile subscription and public phone services.  To apply for fixed line telephones, which often come with Internet connection, you need to deposit $300 and submit your documents such as passport and work permit or other residential passes to SingTel Retail Shops or authorized dealers of SingTel Mobile.  Corporate discounts are available on behalf of the employer to go for prepaid or postpaid mobile phone subscription, which comes at attractive call plans.  However, there is a contract for one or two years and terminating this contract may result in heavy penalties.

Home furnishing and decoration
Singapore is a modern city, which offers excellent home furnishing items and furniture.  You can also take a few items on lease.
Education
As far as education of your children is concerned, there are various ethnic and international schools in Singapore, along with some schools with special or vocational training.  There is no dearth of play schools, nurseries and kindergartens for small kids.

Getting Domestic Help
Hiring a maid servant in Singapore is not very expensive, given the fact that it becomes extremely important for working couple.

Cost of living
Apart from cars and properties, everything else is quite affordable, which includes grocery, clothes, entertainment, food and other basic goods.  You must be familiar with the fact that Singapore is a shopping paradise and basic goods are competitively priced at local supermarkets and other places for expatriates, which provide good discounts.

Water, Electricity & Gas supply
To avail water, electricity and gas supply, you need to contact The Public Utilities Board (PUB).

Postal Services
Postal services are quite affordable, efficient and rapid in Singapore, even if it is as small as a grocery item.

Health Care
Singapore offers affordable healthcare, both at private and public hospitals, which are equally competitive and advanced.  Healthcare coverage is also offered through employers and private insurance operators.

Experiencing the most romantic dinner in Singapore

Want to experience the most romantic dinner in Singapore?  Well, you have chosen an ideal destination for the most romantic excursion ever in your life.  Singapore offers plethora of opportunities for couples enjoying their holidays.  But, to select the most romantic dinner spots, you must be familiar with the city.  To make your task simpler, we would like to suggest some of the best places to experience the most romantic dinner ever in your life in this article.
Well, this list is not prepared by a novice, but some choosy travel journalists, therefore, we are a hundred percent sure that these are the best places to enjoy a romantic dinner in Singapore.  The list is prepared keeping a holistic experience in mind, rather than just the outlook, ambience or the surroundings.  Quality of food and service standards was a major concern for our research team.  However, we don’t claim that the order is according to the quality standards, as we have given them in a random order. 

Restaurants, according to ambience
If you talk about ambience, then, we have chosen three places for you viz. Dempsey-Hill, Halia Restaurant in Botanical Gardens and the Jewel-Box in Mt. Faber.  These are the best places, we recommend as far as surroundings and ambience is concerned.  Though, these places are slightly inaccessible, and you need to hire a taxi to reach there, but you would be thrilled to experience the ambience there.  

Restaurants with the best views of the city
Another exciting romantic dinner destination is at the sixty ninth story of Swissotel the Stamford and it is known as Equinox Restaurant.  For a nice view, Jewel-Box is good, because it is located at a certain height.  However, if you want to have the best landscape view of the Singapore skyline, you should choose the Cliff located in Sentosa Spa and Resort.  

Restaurants according to specific foods and dishes
For food lovers, Hai Tien Lo, maybe an ideal destination that has a modern setup and a great view.  To enjoy the lush green tropical look and natural surroundings, you may approach Flutes at the Fort, which also provides delicious food made by some of the best foreign chefs.  If you want to enjoy some of the most exotic menus that include fresh garden vegetables with vibrant tropical colors, then head towards St. Pierre.   If romance is on your mind, then you should choose Desire.
For amazing views, the Lighthouse Restaurant at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore is the best.  Besides the warm interiors, this luxurious restaurant offers an amazing waterfront view and exquisite food.  It is rated highly and recommended by the visitors for the overall experience.  Once you are there, we recommend you to place an order for seafood risotto.  We are sure you wouldn’t have eaten such a wonderful seafood risotto ever.  LaBrezza restaurant at St. Regis Hotel is the best for Italian food.  It offers some of the most exotic Italian dishes such as buratta and cavatelli with lobster. LaBrezza wins hands on, on both food quality and service.

Outdoor dining
If the romantic outdoor dining is your choice, a visit to the La Cantina at the Changi Village Hotel will prove to be the best romantic evening with treetop sea views.  However, you are supposed to reach there well before 7 PM to book an early cocktail for you that will bring you the exciting view of the sunset as well.

The little India riot and Singapore’s stand on it

Recently, a traffic accident in Little India (part of) Singapore boiled up to become a riot in the entire nation. This was one of Singapore’s first riots in four decade which highlighted the reliance of the city on foreign workers.
The violence began after a local bus mercilessly ran over a 33-year old Indian national worker, Sakthivel Kuaravelo who died on the spot. The traffic accident sparked off a riot, which engaged over 400 people. In order to control the situation, the police officials arrested 24 Indian nationals and 2 Bangladeshis and a Singaporean resident who were believed to be actively involved in the situation. Also, 52 Indians have been deported from Singapore while 200 others have been issued warnings. Furthermore, out of the 300 police officers who came to control the situation, 22 officers and 5 auxiliary officers were critically injured by the mob.

Moved by the uncontrollable series of actions, Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong issued a statement which emphasized that there was no excuse for such violent and criminal behaviour. He also ordered a Committee of Inquiry too look into the possible reasons for the riot and investigate how the foreign worker congregate areas were being managed by the government. 
It is not for the first time that Singapore nationals have expressed discontent over foreign workers, who are believed to be contributing to infrastructure strains and congestions, and wide income inequality in the nation. As a result, a four- year government campaign was also launched to discourage overseas workers from migrating into Singapore.

Driver Arrested:
The 55- year old Singaporean who was driving the bus has been arrested for causing the death of a pedestrian due to negligent driving. Also, the 16 vehicles damaged during the riots were removed in order to ensure smooth movement of traffic. A need has also been expressed to limit the liquor licenses within the Little India area.

Foreign Workers:
 Foreign workers make up about 20% of population of nearly 5.3 million. The riot has also brought into limelight the miserable living conditions of foreign workers in Singapore. Large-scale demonstrations, similar to those witnessed during 1964 race riots were seen.
The Statistics Department reports that the city’s income inequality has widened since last year, which might lead to an inflation of 2.5% to 3% in the coming year, making Singapore the third most expensive city for living in Asia.

Bus Strike:
Apart from levying a ban on sale and consumption of alcohol in the affected areas of Little India, the government has also decided to suspend the shuttle bus service that used to carry the workers from their dormitories, which are located far from the main island.

Deportation:
52 Indians have been deported from Singapore for being involved in December 8 riots and they have been prohibited from ever entering Singapore. Also, the acting Manpower minister Tan Chuan Jin has assured that there were about 3,700  pending employment related disputes recorded last year, which would be settled within a period of thirty days.
The riots are a wakeup call to the Singapore authorities, highlighting the fact that quick measures need to be taken to improve the condition of migrant workers, and not just deport them.

 Aviation Industry in Singapore

Singapore one of the five founding members of ASEAN is one of the world’s leading commercial hubs.  It is home to the sixth busiest airport and fourth biggest air cargo hub in Asia.  Apart from being a big financial hub, Singapore is also a major tourist destination for globe trotters.  17 million tourists are expected to visit Singapore and tourism revenues are expected to touch 30 billion SG$ by 2015.

Aviation in Singapore started with the Malayan Airlines Limited (MAL) when a plane took off from the Kallang Airport way back in 1947 since then there was no looking back.  Air traffic increased drastically over a period of time with better planes, better comfort, speed  and in-flight recreation.  Aviation helped the economy of Singapore grow to a large extent, it also provided excellent employment opportunities to large number of people in Singapore. 

Three different business verticals viz., Passenger traffic, Cargo and Aircraft maintenance thrive due to Singapore’s strategic location.  Of the 14 million international visitors (all travel modes put together), more than 11 million international visitors have traveled to Singapore by air during the period January to December 2012. Approximately 3000 flights land into Singapore airports every week with more than half a million seats on offer to tourists.

Most of the leading air carriers in the region have daily flights to Singapore and the long  haul carriers do a stop over here.  Singapore has 8 airports, Changi International Airport is the largest commercial airport in Singapore. It has three airport terminals with a capacity to handle 66 million passengers annually.  Changi International Airport handled 51.2 million passengers in the year 2012,  its 4th terminal should be ready by 2017. 

Singapore Airlines after the split from MSA has been in operations since 1972 and today is a very respected brand in the whole world.  It is the largest airline in the world by market capitalization and flies one of the youngest fleets of aircraft.  It is well known for providing superb state of the art entertainment and passenger comfort systems.

Aerospace Maintenance  in Singapore : Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is a huge business in Singapore.  Singapore serves as a link between continents for trans-continental flights and hence major air carriers have stop over here.  The Changi International Airport being a major hub for air traffic in Southeast Asia prompted many MRO companies to setup shop in the island nation. The wide bodied passenger jets gets serviced here. To cater to servicing of Corporate Aircraft’s, aerospace majors like Jet Aviation and Hawker Pacific has set up service centers at the Seletar Airport which is a relatively smaller airport.  Many more companies have planned to set up MRO units in Singapore in the near future.

Low Cost Carriers : Singapore is an important destination for travelers across the globe and LCC’s has played a vital role in ferrying huge number of passengers to Singapore.  Low cost carriers bring in most of the tourist volume, carriers like Singapore based Tiger Airways, Malaysia based AirAsia and Australia based Jetstar Asia Airways have major presence in Singapore.  Singapore is a small country with limited air space, with these  limitations low cost carriers have to be contended with the few negotiated air rights and operate fewer schedules in the region.
 

Singapore Visa Formalities

All foreign nationals having passports and other relevant travel documents would need a visa to set foot in Singapore. However, certain categories of visitors, holders of diplomatic/official passports, and nationals of specified countries (as stipulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore) do not require a visa for gaining entry into Singapore.
All types of visas issued by the consular offices and overseas missions of Singapore including social visit passes, student passes, and professional visit passes are classified under the two broad categories of tourist and business visas. The application form is available free of charge at any Singapore overseas mission. One can also download an e-visa form from the MFA’s website. Nationals holding passports/pertinent travel papers of the following countries will need a visa for entering Singapore:-

Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, India, Georgia, Nigeria, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau Special Administrative Region, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Myanmar Yemen, and Palestine (this is not a comprehensive listing)

Visitors from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) will not require a visa for entering Singapore in case they’re proceeding to a third country. Nevertheless, they’ll need to satisfy the following stipulations:-
They’ll be continuing with their onward journey within the specified 4 day visa-exempt period
They are in possession of a valid passport
They fulfil the immigration clearance perquisites laid down the officers of ICA (Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)
They’ve have a valid air-ticket for onward journey
Their passports are stamped with the visa of the country they’re transiting to
They’ve enough funds to for staying in Singapore

Documentation Requirements for Immigration Clearance
As a visitor, you’ll need to pass through immigration clearance at the Changi International Airport’s ICA area. ICA officials will let you proceed to the city if you have:-
A passport that is valid at least for the subsequent 6 months
A legal Singapore visa (as applicable)
Sufficient funds for financing your stay in the island-state
Confirmed return/onward journey ticket (as applicable)
Legitimate visa of the country you’re journeying to (with a stopover in Singapore)
Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever (wherever applicable)
Filled up disembarkation/embarkation card
The visa imprint stamped on your passport will clearly indicate the number of days you’re allowed to stay in Singapore. You’ll be committing an offence if you overshoot your granted stay-period. You’ll have to apply for a visa extension in case you want to prolong or extend your stay in the city-state.   

Visa Fees and Validity Period
You’ll have to pay S$ 30 as visa fees for every issue. You’ll have to pay S$ 40 if you want to extend your stay for at least 3 months. A visa issued for the first time (social visit pass) has a maximum validity period of 3 months. ‘Employment pass’ aspirants upon getting a first-time visa will be able to stay for at least two years.
On applying for a visa renewal, an employment pass holder will be permitted to stay for the subsequent three years. A traveller with a ‘performing artiste work permit’ will be allowed to work for a maximum period of 6 months. A performing artiste who intends to work for a longer period will have to apply for a ‘student pass’ or ‘employment pass’.
Other Relevant Information
A student who has gained admission into a professional education institution in Singapore will require a ‘student pass’ to stay in the city-state for completing his studies. However, professional visit passes are not needed for foreigners visiting Singapore on temporary assignments (effective from 1st January 1999) excepting for:-
Foreigners entering the country to participate in religious, communal, ethnic, political, and commercial seminars, conferences and workshops
Foreigners visiting Singapore to deliver religious sermons and lectures
Foreign journalists, reporters and correspondents proceeding to Singapore for covering an event or interviewing a personality
 Foreigners visiting to perform in a nightclub or discotheque
Cultural troupes and ensembles, foreign models, actors, actresses, film directors, camera crew members, lecturers, acclaimed speakers, professional artistes, foreign sportspersons, foreign cultural missions, and foreign exhibitors do not need a PVP to land in Singapore.

Best Airlines of Singapore

Singapore despite its puny size is one of the biggest economies in the world. It is home to the largest number of millionaires on earth and almost every multinational organization worth its name has an office in Singapore. The nation is also the top notch tourist destination in the world. Of all the Singaporean companies and business organizations that have been helped keep the national economy in perfect shape, Singapore Airlines occupies a pride of place. Apart from SIA, there are five other air carriers in Singapore that have the license (as granted by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore). These are the Jetstar Asia Airways, SilkAir, Scoot, Tigerair, and Valuair. Singapore Airlines Cargo is the only carrier in Singapore operating cargo flights.

About Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines or SIA is the flagship carrier of the country and rated as one of the best airlines in the world.  SIA is the world’s most favorite airlines in terms of quality of passenger service, total number of passengers flown, the number of destinations it flies to, the total number of daily flights it operates, and many other parameters.
Singapore Airlines operates out of its hub at the Changi International Airport which again is one of the busiest airports in the world in terms of passenger traffic. Singapore Airlines flies to almost all major cities of the world. It operates long haul flights, including trans-Atlantic flights and direct flights (with only stopovers for refueling) to many North American and European cities some of which are world’s longest commercial routes. The airline was incorporated in 1947 as Malayan Airways and starting operating passenger flights (civil aviation) from 1972.
Singapore Airlines flies to a total of 62 destinations based in 35 countries that cover all the six continents. The carrier flies to the maximum number of Southeast Asian locations and also operates more flights than any other airlines to Southeast Asian destinations. SIA has a major share of the international air traffic bound for Australia. The carrier flies to almost all major airports in Middle East Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Jetstar Asia Airways
Jetstar Asia Airways popularly known as Jetstar Asia established in 2004 is a subsidiary of Jetstar Airways which again is an ancillary holding of QANTAS-national airlines of Australia. Jetstar Asia is a low-cost carrier. It mainly operates flights to neighbouring Southeast Asian destinations in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Phillipines, Vietnam and Malaysia. It also flies to select destinations in Japan, China, and Australia.

Valuair
Valuair is also an economy carrier that presently operates flights only to Indonesian destinations of Surabaya, Denpasar, Jakarta, and Medan. The airlines was founded in 2004 and offers special facilities to fliers like free baggage exceeding 20 Kg, wide seats and high-quality in-flight meals.

Tigerair
Tigerair officially known as Tiger Airways Singapore Pte Ltd is another low-cost air carrier based in Singapore. Tigerair which was founded in 2003 concentrates on flying to destinations in India, China, Australia and some specific destinations in Southeast Asia. It was felicitated with the CAPA Low Cost Airline of the Year Award in 2010 and 2006.

SilkAir
SilkAir officially called SilkAir (Singapore) Private Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary holding of Singapore Airlines. It operates flights to 43 cities in Australia, China, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Scoot
Scoot Pte Ltd better known as Scoot is a low-cost carrier owned by Singapore Airlines and flies to far off destinations in Australia, Japan, South Korea and China like Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, Shenyang, Qingdao, Tokyo, and Seoul. It also flies to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taipei. Scoot was incorporated in 2011.  Scoot uses a very arresting catchphrase for its marketing campaigns-‘Get Outta Here! Scoot!

Singapore’s Foreign Policy and Its Relations with Other Countries

Chief tenets of foreign policy of Singapore
If you want to understand the foreign policy of Singapore and its relations with the rest of the world, we have to first understand the chief tenets of Singapore’s foreign policy.  Firstly, Singapore is a small island state; secondly, the prime purpose of Singapore’s foreign policy is to ensure its survival, given its small size and its lack of resourcefulness; and thirdly, practical and power based “realpolitik” approach is active behind its wider foreign policy.

Establishment of ASEAN

Since Singapore got separated from Malaysia in 1965, and became an independent nation, its leaders soon realized that they were living in a world of economic interdependence and there was a need of institution building in the region, which was extremely important to propel the economic and political interests of Singapore.  So, Singapore took the leadership position in the region and became the founding member of ASEAN.  

Close friends of Singapore

Singapore is a member of the United Nations as well and has strong defense ties with US, UK and Israel.  However, it does not allow its military ties with Western countries to instill insecurity in its neighbors, especially Malaysia and Indonesia.  Malaysia, earlier, had a water supply dispute with Singapore, which strained their relationships, but the new leaderships in both the countries have resolved this issue and moved on.

Relationship with Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia

Singapore’s initiative to form ASEAN reaffirmed its regional position and helped in boosting ties with its neighbors, especially with Malaysia and Indonesia.  Today, both Malaysia and Singapore are two rapidly developing nations and they need each other in their quest for progress.  Singapore also has friendly ties with Philippines, which is also one of its neighbors. Philippines Singapore Action Plan covers cooperation on trade, economy, education, tourism, capital market, defense, information technology and culture, etc.

Relationship with Australia and European countries

Singapore also has very good relationship with its neighbor Australia.  Besides maintaining a high commission in Australia, both the countries have signed Singapore Australia Free Trade Agreement.  Both the countries have strong ties in trade, defense and security.  Singapore maintains its embassies and high commissions in European countries as well, such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Vatican, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Relationship with UK

Singapore shares special relationship with UK, its erstwhile colonial ruler, as a member of Commonwealth and a defense partner.  Singapore has signed Five Power Defense Agreements (FPDA) with UK, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia.

Relationship with India

Singapore also shares extremely cordial relationship with India.  The historic ties between the two countries and a 300,000 strong Indian community in Singapore are responsible for high level cooperation in economy, technology, security and culture.  Singapore is the largest foreign direct investor in India.

Relationship with US and Canada

Singapore shares excellent relationship with North American countries such as Canada and US.  Singapore has strong defense ties with the United States and it backs almost all the US military campaigns worldwide.  The US has its naval and air force base in Singapore and the two countries also share good bilateral relationships in health, education and economy.  United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the only agreement of its kind the US has with any eastern nation.

Relationship with China, Japan, and Taiwan

Singapore also has very good relationships with China, Japan, and Taiwan, etc.  Despite some stalemate with China over Taiwan, both China and Singapore share strong trade relationships.  The head of the states of both the countries keep visiting each other’s capitals.

Relationship with Other countries

Singapore also has good relationships with Mexico, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt and Pakistan.  Apart from defense ties, Singapore and Israel share warm relationships as far as culture, technology, healthcare and arts are concerned.

How to Handle Legal Implications in Singapore

Singapore has long been a top draw for tourists, business travellers and expatriates and continues to be so as the city-state has something to offer for every sort of visitor. In the present times when crime rates have gone up in almost every nation on the face of this earth and tourists are pervaded by a feeling of insecurity when they travel overseas, Singapore offers a save haven. In fact, Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world where even a heavily bedecked woman can criss-cross the city late at night without the fear of getting mugged.
Since Singapore used to be a British colony, the legal structure of the country has been modelled on the judicial setup of the English Parliamentary System. Many have termed Singapore as a police-state because of its rigorous law enforcement policies. You could be fined heavily even for petty misdemeanours like littering, jaywalking, chewing gum, smoking in the open or for leaving toilets un-flushed!

The Legal Framework in Singapore

The Singapore Police Force is entrusted with enforcing and safeguarding the laws and bringing culpable citizens to book. Before you can start planning your Singapore sojourn, it is imperative to be aware of the legal framework of the island-state and also have a fair idea of dealing with the legal niceties if you’re unwittingly caught on the wrong side of the law.
The principal segments of legal jurisprudence- administrative law, property law, trust law, equity law, tort law, and contract law are generally framed by judges. Nevertheless, criminal law, civil law, family law and company law are of a statutory (as enshrined in the Singapore Constitution) nature and amendments in these specific legal segments are made on the basis of past precedents. The entire legal structure (or infrastructure) of Singapore is supported by the four props of Constitution, Legislation, Auxiliary Legislation, and laws framed by Judges.

The Court System

The Supreme Court of Singapore is the apex court of the country headed by the Chief Justice. The Supreme Court is broadly sub-divided into High Court and Court of Appeal for hearing criminal and civil cases. The           ‘juvenile courts’, ‘district courts’, ‘coroners’ court’, ‘small claims tribunals, ‘magistrates’ courts’, ‘family courts’, ‘traffic courts’, syariah courts, ‘night courts’, and ‘community courts’ make up the rank and file of Subordinate Courts. Before you move the court against someone or before somebody can file a case against find out which court of law you should approach.

 About Dispute Resolution

It goes without saying that moving the court in Singapore could be pretty expensive as well as a very time consuming affair. So, you’d do well to know that no matter whatever the dispute you’re involved in (business, family, criminal or civil), you can go for an out of the court settlement via the procedures of Arbitration and Mediation. A mediator is an experienced legal professional who can help you negotiate with your adversary and arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. The Singapore Mediation Centre is the monitoring and regulatory body entrusted with appointing neutral mediators. Nearly 90% of cases settled through the mediation route have been resolved within a day. The mediation fee is a minimum of 900 SGD for each day for a single party.

The Arbitration process unlike Mediation is legally enforceable. However, you do not need to be present in a courtroom as the arbitrator presides over a case in a private setting. The arbitrator announces a verdict at his own discretion and the same is legally binding on both the parties. The SIAC (Singapore International Arbitration Centre) is the regulatory body that supervises only civil arbitration matters in Singapore. Family law and/or criminal law cases are handled by the respective courts meant for such disputes. The particular court you’ll approach for your dispute resolution will invariably depend upon the character of your case and the amount you’re claiming as compensation. Bear in mind that once a verdict has been declared, it is legally enforceable although you can always appeal against the sentence in a High Court or Court of Appeal.   

 Wedding Traditions in Singapore

A marriage ceremony or wedding has always been a traditional affair that has transcended national borders, race, caste, creed or religion and even time. So, needless to say even in the 21st century, a typical wedding ceremonial in Singapore no matter how avant-garde and trendy it may appear at the outset is steeped in age-old rituals and customs. Singapore is a melting potpourri of cultures and people with diverse ethnic cultures and practices have harmoniously co-existed in the country for decades.

So, it follows that inter-racial and cross-cultural nuptials and weddings are quite common in the city-state. A wedding in Singapore is Occidental or Western in form but essentially Oriental (traditional) in character. The following lines elucidate some conventional and time-honoured customs that are still zealously followed in a characteristic wedding ceremony in Singapore.

1)The Positioning of the Wedding Bed (An Chuang)

Just before the wedding ceremony, a well-to-do man is generally consulted as far as the positioning of the newly married couples’ bed is concerned. Thereafter, a male kid of a close relation is invited to lie down or roll on it. Such an activity (rolling on the bed or lying down on it) is carried out to sanctify or consecrate the wedding. A male child is selected so that the couple is blessed with a son. Fruits like dates and oranges and vegetables particularly red or green beans are also spread throughout the bed for auspiciousness.

2)Sending Betrothal Gifts (Guo Da Li)

The tradition or practice of sending betrothal gifts to the bride’s family has been handed down from generation to generation. Actually, the entire process (of sending wedding gifts) comprises of two stages. In the first stage, the prospective groom and a lady who is considered lucky, visits the would-be-bride’s home to handover the gifts basket. What goes into the basket depends upon the ancestral provinces of both the groom and the bride. In the stage or final stage, the bride’s family returns the basket out of courtesy. The parents of the bride are supposed to reciprocate the gesture by giving ‘return gifts’. The amount of gifts in the baskets should always add up to an even number.

3)The Ritual of Combing the Hair (Shang Tou)

Prior to the wedding ceremony, the hair of the groom and the locks of the bride are done up generally by a lady and this ritual of combing signals the transitioning of the couple from adolescence to adulthood. The hair is usually done up (or combed) four times and each round has a symbolic meaning. The first combing stands for the lasting of marriage; the second represents holy wedlock till one reaches his or her prime; the third round stands for fertility and the ultimate combing represents lasting prosperity.

4)Bringing the Bride to Her In-Laws Home

Traditionally, the bridegroom in order to fetch his would-be-wife visits her parental or family home along with some of his closest male friends (xiong di dui) and relatives. The entire episode of bringing the bride to her in-laws home is quite an elaborate affair. The groom along with his male buddies has to go through many trials and tribulations before he can get to the bride. The ‘jie meis’ (bridesmaids) make the groom profess his love for his bride by telling him to draw up a marriage contract and put his signature on it. 
 
5)Tea Ceremony (Feng Cha)

The newly married couple after paying homage to their predecessors offer cups of tea to the parents of the grooms. Thereafter, they offer tea to the groom’s elders. In return the couple are presented with red packets containing money.

6)The Banquet

Parents of both the bride and the bridegroom sponsor a lavish wedding banquet that   usually comprises of a 7-to-10 course dinner. The wedding banquet is a perfect way of commemorating the holy union.

7) The Home-Coming (San Chao Hui Men) 

It is customary for the newlyweds to visit the parental home of the bride three days post the wedding reception.