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My husband has the opportunity to work in Singapore for 2 or 3 weeks, in June. He doesn't /have/ to go, but I think he'd like to. We have a very active toddler who will be 22 months by then. If she and I stay behind, it'll be a long, hard time without his help and company. Or daughter and I could go with him, probably partly paid for by his company.
I could use some advice from anyone who knows Singapore, or has traveled that far with a toddler, or on the other hand anyone who has single-parented at home for 3 weeks.
I'm wary of the 14-hour plane trip and the jetlag, and I don't know anything about Singapore. But perhaps it could be a big adventure? What is Singapore like with a toddler in tow? Her temperament is physically vigorous, curious, and easily overstimulated. We would be staying in a hotel, and my husband will probably work 45-60 hours/week while there. I work half- time, so I'd have to take some vacation from my job. Will I DIE without some form of childcare?
I should say that my sweetie and I used to love to travel before becoming parents. We are not over our wanderlust. But this is another thing altogether... tempted but wary
The place is called Fraser Suites. They have another serviced apartment complex down the road called Fraser Residences. www.fraserhospitality.com
If you are staying a week and have family, it's a good deal. Big apartments, maid service, kitchen, washer/dryer, free bksft on weekdays, shuttle buses to major shopping areas, pool/sauna, play area, etc. They can even arrange babysitting. There are lots of serviced apts in SIN. www.expatsingapore.com is a good resource. Fraser rates as the best or in the top 3.
If you need anymore info please email me and I can fwd you onto my brother's email. Singapore is a great place to be with kids, according to two of my best friends who have been living there a few years with children. I have been there a few times (pre- kids) and thought it was a lot of fun - great food too! The city is VERY clean and it's easy to hop a plane to other parts of SE Asia. Good luck with your decision to go. Maya
This was our first time visiting, and I was 5 months pregnant when we arrived, so we were definitely hesitant about going. I did find the heat a bit overwhelming at times (chalk that up to the pregnancy probably) but there were many indoor activities for us to participate in.
We stayed just off Orchard Road in a residence apartment complex, and met most of my daughter's playmates at the pool at our afternoon swim time. You will also find that everyone there is friendly towards children. One of my daughter's favorite people ended up being the security guard at the next building.
Each mall has childrens' activities, mostly shows like Wiggles and Barbie, that are free and my daughter really enjoyed (even though she's never seen either on a tv or in a movie). There is also an indoor kiddy gym in Forum that you can drop in during their opening hours (price is approx $7 US for a 1 year membership). Also at Forum is a bookstore called Bookaburra that offers a reading hour on Wed afternoons and Fri mornings that is great (it's approx $3 US which is reimbursed if you buy anything).
There are Gymboree and Kindermusik classes offered at Tanglin Mall. If you do Kindermusik, I would recommend ''Miss Pat'' as she is very gentle with the kids. As an aside, there is a GREAT grocery store at Tanglin Mall in the basement that is very Western (you can find all kinds of goodies there) and a good organic store on the 3rd floor called Brown Rice Paradise.
I would be happy to speak with you about my experiences if you like. Good luck! Sarah
I have an opportunity to relocate to Singapore sometime this year. It could be both temporary or permananent.We have a 9 month year old son and two cats and a house. The relocation would mean more money for us and obviously a wonderful opportunity.
I have read a little bit on Singapore but I would like first hand feedback from the members. If you are from Singapore, or have traveled there or lived there, I would love to hear about your experiences. I want to know about the weather, the people, the culture, tolerance (we are an interracial couple), anything else that is relevant.
How is the cost of living compared to the bay area? Would we be able to survive on just one salary? I would like to take our cats as they are very much our family but would this be very hard on them? They are 5 years old and healthy.
We bought our house 3 years ago and did a lot of work. Should we rent the house out, get a sitter or sell it? Also, are there any websites or books I can look at to get a better understanding of the country. Thanks! anxious to make the right decision
The main draws for me were career opportunities (made a lot more money there than if I had stayed in the US), cultural diversity (has a nice mix of Chinese, Malay, Indians and expats), ease of living (it's a first world country all the way with lots of western products), it's clean, English is the primary language, friendly people, good food and rest of South East Asia is nearby so there were great travel opportunities. It is one of the best places in Asia for a family as well. I have friends who have been there now for 15 years and they can't imagine living anywhere else. Their daughters are attending the Singapore Internation School, which is a wonderful school, I hear.
There are few drawbacks, the negatives are the extremely hot weather. Singapore sits just north of the equator and every day is a hot day. They don't have four seasons, just two - wet and dry. Even when it's raining, it's uncomfortable hot. I never had a reason to wear a sweater there and tried to be in shorts as much as I could when I wasn't working. It's also extremely flat so if you enjoy hiking, it won't be an option. Singapore has a lot of unusual laws (for example, chewing gum bans), so coming from Berkeley, that may be a little difficult because the society is a lot more regulated. But, I actually didn't mind as it is such a well-run and clean place.
You'll meet expats from around the world. In addition to my Singaporean friends, I had friends from Australia, New Zealand, USA and England. The expat communities are really welcoming and friendly.
I final word - please take your cats along, even if they need to be quarantined for a short period. It makes me sad when pets are left behind or dropped at the shelter when their owners move. Your cats will probably make the adjustment just fine as long as they have their family with them. (BTW, there are lots of ferals in Singapore and I always saw people caring for them, which was nice.)
If I can help in any other way, contact me! Good luck with your decision! jenn
check out the Singapore website. Tons of info available about life in S'pore right at your fingertips. You should check this out at http://www.newasia- singapore.com/sections/articles/3c/1,1177,220,00.html Here are a few comments written by tourists that I took off the website:
I have visited Singapour more than 3 times. Singapore is a very safe country for visitors. Law and order is very well-maintained by the Singaporean authorities.A friendly and warm welcome starts from entry into Singapour (at the immigration hall) and throughout our visit in Singapour.
I love Singapour and will recommend this country for tourists for the rest of my life. You can find friendly people, a multicultural country with a high level of technology, cleanliness, respect for law and order, a wide variety of asian and western foods, unlimited choice of shopping, etc in Singapour.
Visit Singapour one time and share your unforgetable memories. I have visited several countries but I could not find a lovely country like Singapour.
''Food-crazed Singapore is probably the best place on earth for sampling the astonishing variety of Asia's many cuisines.''
There are formal restaurants galore, but what you are looking for is the city's wealth of street food where visiting dignitaries bond with cab drivers at all hours of the day.
Patricia Schultz, Journalist, 1000 Places to See before You Die, United States 19 Mar 2004
As a Japanese-American from Hawaii married to a Chinese (now Singaporean citizen, but formerly a British passport holder from Hong Kong) with three children (ages 12, 16, and 18), I love living in Singapore! Everyone speaks English, the country is amazingly safe at all hours of the day and night, it's clean, everything works, the array of Asian and Western foods available in the supermarkets is fabulous, the arts scene is getting a lot better, the Singapore Zoo is fun place for families, the Singapore American School is excellent (my eldest son just graduated last year and the AP program there was very rigorous), the American Club is a great family place to hang out at, you can easily hire a maid to cook/clean/babysit, etc. (cost: about US$300 a month), there are good vets here (my cat has fallen off our balcony and been operated on twice already!), expatriates live like royalty, locals are pretty tolerant of others (except on the road), no overt discrimination seems to be the order of the day, both shopping and eating are past-times for locals and expats alike, and the American dollar really stretches (you wouldn't believe it but you can eat lunch or dinner at a hawker center and pay only US$2! Of course, you could also eat at Morton's and Lowry's and pay top dollar for US beef.)
There are two kinds of salaries here: local vs. expat. Expats usually negotiate for pay packages that include housing, school allowances, car, etc. To put local salaries in perspective, the average college graduate walks into his first job with a starting salary of less than US$1,500 per month. Clerical/admin staff earn about US$1,200 a month. The majority of people here earn nuch less than US$3,000 a month.
Now for the drawbacks...it's hot over here (very humid) and that takes getting used to. Most expats live in air-conditioned homes, but after a while, you kind of get acclimated (although I still don't like jogging here whereas I would have no problem running in CA). Housing and cars are very expensive. My Toyota Prevea cost me US$70,000 and most 4-bedroom apartments rent for about US$5,000 a month. A few years back, I put my 5-bedroom condo on the market and I got an offer for US$8,000 a month. Prices haved dropped over the past few years, but rent is still not cheap. If you do not have a car, it is easy to get around by bus, taxi or Mass Rapid Transit at very reasonable prices. If you're an outdoor buff, there's not much to do over here. No mountains to climb, no clear blue waters to go snorkling in... but we are a hop, skip and jump away from lots of beautiful Malaysian and Thai islands! The night scene is picking up, but this place is deadsville compared to NYC and SF. Just saw ''Saturday Night Fever'' starring an Australian cast, and Yo- Yo Ma and will be here soon as well as one of the three Italian tenors, but what I miss most are all those Broadway musicals (they're too few and far in between...). The museums are rather limited too. No MOMAs and Guggenheims here, but there's an interesting wax museum on Sentosa (an island off Singapore) documenting Singapore's history. If you like pro baseball, American football and basketball, good luck. The sports world here revolves around soccer (''football''). Luckily, cable TV is accesible to almost all households, so you are not at the complete mercy of the local TV stations.
I can go on and on, but I've got to get some sleep right now (full day tomorrow), so will have to sign off. Let me know if you have any more questions after you check out the website! Getting a hold of a current Fodor's or Lonely Planet Guide would also be a good idea. Cheers, June
As for Singapore. I'm pretty busy, but let me just say a few things:
We lived in SG for 1.5 years. Moved there with our 1 year old son. One of the reasons we went there was so that we could continue to live on one income. Our housing was paid for. Houses are VERY expensive, but apartments are a bit more reasonable. You will likely want a private condo (apartment complex). Any pets will have to be quarantined for 2 months. This quarantine is expensive and somewhat cruel. The cats will be kept separate from each other in a small cage. You have to pay extra to have the cats in a cage with a fan.
The food is fantastic. The shopping is fantastic. The people are unique. Don't expect to make friends with too many Singaporeans. They are very closed. I tried to make friends with Singaporeans, gave up after about 9 months and became friends with other expat Americans.
Singapore is very tolerant in some ways and not in others. There are so many different races and cultures there. There is an amazing amount of harmony. However, the Chinese usually look at non-Chinese as inferior. There are not many black people there. Not sure what kind of interracial couple you are, but they wont have much experience with how to deal with you. Expect courteous curiosity.
The weather is hot and humid. 43 miles N of the equator means that you don't get much of a time change (you'll be on Chinese time anyway). The monsoon seasons are amazing. And people complain that the weather is terrible all the time.
It's a very family place. The medical system is FANTASTIC. The location to other places in Asia is FANTASTIC. It's the easiest place for a westerner to live in Asia. Everyone speaks English (Sing-lish) and after about a month you'll be able to understand most people. We had a live in maid from the Philippines. If you want to do this, I have several recommendations. Hope this helps. Alesia
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