Singapore – Living in Clean, Organized Chaos

Going Global SingaporeSingapore is among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, and its standard of living reflects this. With a reputation as a corruption free economic powerhouse, Singapore is a multicultural, multi-ethnic island-state that attracts international workers from companies around the world. A Student or Employment Pass must be obtained to live in Singapore, more information can be found at their Ministry of Manpower website. One million people are in Singapore on long or short-term passes, usually referred to as “foreign talent” in the press.  An intriguing blend of Western modernity and Asian culture, Expats or “foreign talent” and locals live in harmony and diversity in this 704 square kilometer nation just 137 miles north of the equator. Temperatures range from 22-34 degrees Celsius, with a humidity that often makes it feel much warmer.

Living in Singapore means being exposed to a mix of cuisines and cultures; hearing languages from Mandarin to Malay to Tamil (although English is spoken everywhere), and having great access to all of Southeast Asia. Many expats rent in Singapore, as there are restrictions on foreign ownership of a stand-alone property. You must be a permanent resident to buy property, and the application and screening process can take up to a year. There are, however, no restrictions on buying condos or apartments for foreigners. Singapore is split into 28 districts, and traditionally expats have clustered in central areas on the east coast and near downtown. Automobiles are expensive and hard to get in Singapore, but the public transportation system is excellent. With the efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and many areas outside of central Singapore are now desirable for expats to live.

One of the best things about being in Singapore is undoubtedly the food as Singaporeans eat and drink with a passion. For the beginner, determining where and wh
at to eat can be a fun, even exciting experience. Singapore’s multi-cultural diversity is reflected in the variety of local cuisine it has to offer, from Chinese to Malay, Indian to Peranakan and everything in between.

Groceries in Singapore have both a western and eastern flair, depending on where you choose to shop. There are typical chain grocery stores such as Cold Storage & NTUC Fair Price, with reasonably priced groceries in a stereotypical environment. For a more traditional “Singaporean” take on grocery shopping, try a Wet Market. A bit less organized and more traditional, Wet Markets are a lot like Farmers Markets or similar. Found throughout Singapore, Wet Markets are a great, affordable place to shop for fresh food at excellent prices, a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, fish, spices or flowers can be found.