Singapore not only offers a world-class professional working environment; it also takes care of the socio cultural idiosyncrasies of its expatriates! For those coming from cooler climates, Singapore's warm weather will take a little bit of getting used to - a point to be kept in mind is that Singaporean climate is uniformly warm as it is situated on the equator- the only exceptional months being November, December and January when the temperatures are lower and rain spells more occasional.
It helps to keep an umbrella handy as Singapore's rainfall is highly unpredictable - perhaps the only thing unpredictable in an otherwise disciplined and super systematic city-state!
It helps to move into an accommodation which is situated in proximity to an MRT station as this will not only help one get to work smoothly; it will also help one get to the 'happening' party venues in town. If one is single the best option would be to either take up a master bedroom (unlike the common rooms, this has an attached bath) in an HDB apartment or share an entire apartment with other expatriate colleagues. The standard rent for a master bedroom in an HDB apartment is 500-600 SGD; depending on the location and of course, proximity to the Bus stop or MRT station. For married expatriates with children it makes sense to take up an apartment on a year's rent.
Most master bedrooms are furnished with a Television and or music system. However, if one requires services of a telephone landline and / Internet connection -it comes at an extra cost. The best option of course would be to opt for mobile connections for which there are plenty of choices in Singapore. Starhub and M1 are the leading service providers.
The tenancy and rent formalities, terms and conditions should be properly worked out between the tenant, agent (if there is one) and landlord; to avoid any future complication/ misunderstanding. Most Singaporean landlords ask for a refundable security deposit and agents claim 25% to 50% of a month's rent as commission for their services. The varieties of food available in Singapore are simply amazing! Even if the expatriate happens to be a strict vegetarian; it does not pose as a problem because there are Indian (Hindu) restaurants in Singapore that serve only vegetarian food (Komala's is one such restaurant). For non-vegetarians gourmets - eating the mouthwatering preparations in Singapore is sheer delight! The Chinese and Malay (who together comprise 90% of Singapore's population) are confirmed non-vegetarians, the difference being that the Malay do not eat pork. So the expatriate can dig into innumerable dishes at his neighborhood local food court or hawker's centre - anytime!
After food (eating out) comes another 'national pastime' as Singaporeans proclaim- shopping! And yes expatriates don't take long to get bitten by this bug whilst in Singapore.
The best place to go for daily provisions in Singapore is the NTUC Fairprice shops- where one will get everything from toothbrushes to wine- at an affordable price. Orchard road's malls are the most elite and exclusive. So it all depends on what you are shopping for! A miniature version of these is the Seven -Eleven convenience stores located almost in each street of Singapore. For medicines and allied products the best place to go to is 'Guardian'. Here one will even find a doctor who can be consulted for free.
It is advisable not to take any unknown medication without prior consultation.
Life in Singapore is always in the fast lane- everyone who comes to this island state - arrives with a clear-cut purpose. Yes- this is a nation that is alive and active 24x7x365and something that every expatriate must know is that this is a place where work and leisure are both taken very seriously! Indeed nowhere else (at least in Asia Pacific) does business and pleasure gel so well - as it does in 'funtastic' Singapore! So what are you waiting for? If you are a physically active professional wanting to give your career an international cutting edge boost - the only place for you to be is Singapore. Anyone who gets a taste of this island state once- simply gets addicted.
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