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Expat Tips on Singapore Life

Query: What's about stains...do you have a solution?

Tip #1: Having trouble getting rid of stubborn stains? Here are some neat tricks that will leave your fabrics spotless. Now don’t we just sound like a laundry detergent ad?Read.

Query: We are a family of 4, 2 young children (ages 5 and 1), considering a transfer to Singapore. What would you consider to be the best and worst parts of your relocation to Singapore from the US?

Tip #2: Our moving company supplied us with the Culture Shock books. If they don't offer ask them if they can get you a copy. When you are in the process of getting quotes from different moving companies they usually will try to accomodate you while trying to win your business. I read Culture Shock Singapore and Culture Shock the Wifes Guide. If you have never lived abroad before they are very good in terms of creating an awareness about things you wouldn't otherwise think of. Don't take everything in the book to heart, otherwise you will just get yourself totally wound up. One thing you should prepare yourself for is the possibility that your children might wind up with various different colds and viruses for the first 5 or 6 months. I know it sounds horrible but they will be exposed to alot of different things that they will have to build up immunities to. Just don't be alarmed if this is the case. I wasn't prepared for it and it was really stressful for my husband and I because we had a 2 yr. old and a 1 yr. old when we moved here. It took about 5 months to get through it and now they are fine.
Submitted by Dawn

Tip #3: Having been here two years, I must say pros outweigh cons. It is the safest city I have lived in. It can be expensive if you don't have a full expat package from a multinational companies. There just isn't much to do except work. If you are from the part of America where there aren't too many Asian population, you could be in for a culture shock at first. It all depends on how open-minded you are. Overall it is a good place for a few years. It is not a home for many Americans. I haven't met too many Americans going for permanent residency here. Worst of all is expensive beer,cigs and golf.

Tip #4: The Worst?
-initial sense of alienation from home community.
-initial period of adjustment.
-the hassle of relocation itself!
The Best?
-Moving into a cosmopolitant culture.
-Challenge yourself, increase your self-awareness.
-Singapore is a highly competitive economy and will sharpen you up.
-Friendly local folks.
-A new home community here!

PS. Don't worry, there are LOTS of Americans here
Submitted by Chris

Query: How can a newcomer meet people and make new friends in Singapore?

Tip #5: All nationalities are welcome to join ANZA (the Australian & New Zealand Association) which is a social organization. They have a singles section for people in your situation called "Circle of Friends," which has sporting activities, day trips and weekends away, parties, theatre, concert & cinema groups, dining out and barbeques etc. Call the ANZA office on +65 6223 7992 or fax +65 6220 5239 (Mon - Fri 9.30am to 2.30pm). They can mail a recent newsletter to you so you can get an idea of what ANZA is all about. Hope this helps!
- submitted by an ANZA office volunteer

Query: My fiance will be transferred to Singapore within the next two weeks. What are the laws about an unmarried couple living together, if there are any?

Tip #6:  I have been living together with my partner here since January 1998. We even applied for a social visit pass to allow her to remain here as my "common law wife", which was granted without problems. It depends on the issuing officer to some extent. In the first instance, I had a 1 year Employment Pass, my partner got a 3 month SVP. Then that was extended to run synchronically with my E.P.. When my E.P was renewed for 3 years, the SVP was renewed for 1 year. I must say that we had our "partnership" confirmed at the Embassy. I wrote a letter stating that before coming to Singapore we had been living together for x number of years and that we sought a SVP for us to be able to continue living together. Then we went to the embassy which confirmed our signatures. This was then given to Immigration along with the application. The SVP was issued immediately. Your fiancee can enter on a tourist visa and you then apply for the SVP as mentioned.
- submitted by Dave C

Query: My colleague's (he's an expat) going through a divorce and is looking for Caucasian counselors or counselors who are experienced with dealing with Westerners. Do you have contacts that can help?

Tip #7:  My best advice to your friend would be to call SACAC (Singapore American Communtiy Action Council).  I have heard many positive things about this organization and it is completely confidential. They will also accommodate a working schedule with appointments in the evenings, etc. Please feel free to contact them at 733-9249. They will help anyone, you don't have to be American.  Their address is 21 Scotts Road, Singapore 228219. The office is located in the American Club.

Query: Would anyone like to offer their top list of things that a person relocating to Singapore should NOT forget?

Tip #8:  1. An open mind
2. A sense of humor 3. A sense of adventure
4. Swimsuits
5. Underwear, shoes, clothes if you are a size 12 or larger
6. the email addresses of all your friends back home
7. Some good wine
8. Check that your stereo has a switch which allows it to run on 240 - if not better leave it at home!

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