Is Singapore a country worth living (part 1)

After living in Singapore for almost 2 years, today I’m going to share my impression about various aspects of life in Singapore.

There are many things to talk about Singapore so I will only pick the ones that are most common.

This is going to be a multi-part blog which I will try to explain the details first and then come to the answer to “whether it is worth it to live in Singapore” at the very end.

Let’s start.

  1. Working visa
    • The most difficult part is to find a job here. After you have the offer, the process is pretty fast. It takes between 1-4 weeks to get the visa. Normally, the visa lasts for 1-2 years and can be extended to another 1-2 years as long as you’re employed.
    • If you change jobs, you have to request for another visa.
    • Once you get the visa, you’re free to travel in and out of Singapore without having to fill in any immigration form or booking a return flight.
    • If your salary is above SGD 6000, you can sponsor your spouse to come to Singapore to live with you and have all the same privileges.
  2. Housing
    • Majority of the people in Singapore stay in apartments. They call it “HDB”, which stands for “Housing and Development Board”.
    • HDB is usually big with 2-5 bedrooms with a shared living room, kitchen, dining area, and toilets. Some rooms have a separate toilet and are called “master room”. Other rooms are called “common room”.
    • The rent is expensive. A master room in an HDB that is 40 minutes away from the downtown area costs about SGD 1000 a month. That’s only for the room, not the entire apartment. And of course we can share the room with 1-2 other people.
    • Since there is no small HDB with 1 bedroom, people have to share the apartment and learn to live together.
    • Around each HDB, you have everything you need within walking distance: parks, food courts, wet market, supermarket, ATM, kids playground, kindergarten, hospital, train/bus station, etc. It’s very convenient.
    • If you want more privacy and a higher standard of living, you can choose to live in a condo. A couple can find a one-bedroom condo for about SGD 1800-2000. A condo looks better with a more beautiful interior & exterior design. There’s a gym and a swimming pool downstair to use for free. There’s also a BBQ area where you can invite friends to come and party.
    • Landed houses are available in Singapore too but I guess only the super rich people can afford it. I haven’t seen anyone of my friends live there.
  3. Food
    • Singaporean eat out more than they cook.
    • They mostly eat at nearby food courts where there is a variety of cuisines to choose from: indian, malay, indo, chinese, mexican, vietnamese, etc.
    • Prices depend on the type of food court you’re eating at. It varies from SGD 3-15.
    • Coming to Singapore, I’m not sure why but I start to acquire a taste for Indian food. Every time I go to a mall or a food court, I would try to look for an Indian cuisine and see what they have to offer. It’s often delicious to me. I like curries with strong taste.
    • Having been here for some time, we still have only a few options when it comes to food, like fast food (McDonald, Subway), steak, sushi, chicken/duck/pork/beef rice, Korean food, Vietnamese food.
    • In terms of cooking at home, we can buy all the Vietnamese ingredients we need in Singapore. It’s a bit cheaper and taste way better.
  4. Public transport
    • Public transport is amazing in Singapore.
    • Buses are clean with cameras and air conditioners equipped. Many buses are double so you can go to the second floor and enjoy the scenery along the way. I love looking out of the window of a bus while thinking about something interesting. It has always been a pleasant experience riding a bus in Singapore.
    • Trains are great too. They’re cheap, fast and efficient. I go to work by train every day. It is usually very crowded during rush hours but that doesn’t cause much problems. A trip costs around SGD 0.7 - 1.2.
    • Everything is fully automated. You buy a public transport card. You top up using a machine. You tap the card when you go in, and tap again on the way out to pay the fare. It’s a seamless experience.
  5. Work
    • This depends on each company so I will only talk about my own experience.
    • My working hours is from 10 am to 7 pm.
    • I work with people from all parts of the world: Chinese, Singaporean, Indian, Malay, Korean, Japanese, European, American, British, Australian, Filipino, Brazilian, Thai, etc.
    • Everyone speaks English. They’re smart, educated, and always strive for success.
    • There are many types of leave days: annual leave, sick leave, hospitalisation leave, maternal leave, family care leave, child care leave, … So basically I have a lot of opportunities to take leave. It’s common here to see people taking leave for 1-3 weeks straight.
    • The work is challenging yet interesting. I get to see the impact of my work and how it makes a difference to other people.
    • Salary is paid on time to the bank. Bonus are given twice a year. There’s no 13th month salary. There’s no Lunar New Year bonus of course 😄

That’s it for today. See you at part 2 tomorrow.

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Is Singapore a country worth living (part 3/ last part)

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