Do you or have you lived in Singapore?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Slade, Apr 26, 2002.

  1. James Slade

    James Slade Second Unit

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    Hey,

    I am currently living in Canada but am considering relocating to Singapore. I'd love to ask a few questions of people who live or have lived there. Any takers?

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    I've seen a couple of posts from people in Singapore here.
    I've been there on business and know some people who have relocated there for a few years.
    Its a nice place to live, but its small (about 4x the size of Washington DC) Singapore is within 3 or 4 hours flight of much of SE Asia so from there you could easily go for weekends to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia etc. Westerners who have lived there tell me that they enjoyed it for the first year or 2 but after that found it to restrictive to been in a such a small place. The standard of living is quite high (second only to Japan in the region) but cars are very expensive. Other goods are quite cheap if you have US dollars [​IMG]
    Its around 9am Ottawa time as I write this but 10pm Friday in Singapore,so you may have to wait a while for replies from people in Singapore [​IMG]
     
  3. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    I don't know if there's any truth to this, but I've heard that it's illegal to chew gum on the streets there. Not meaning to start a political discussion here, but countries who employ the kind of justice that Singapore has frighten me.
     
  4. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  5. James Slade

    James Slade Second Unit

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    bump
     
  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Is it also illegal to have long hair in Singapore if you're a male? I still hear the "horror" stories of guys getting off the plane, only to be stopped by the authorities and have their hair chopped off at the airport.

    Is this true?
     
  7. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Yee Ming Lim
    wow. for once a thread where I might actually know more than 95% of the other members! [​IMG]
    yes, I live in Singapore, have done so for, let's see, 23 years now (I'm 32).
    no, chewing chewing gum on the streets is not illegal, but selling the stuff, or importing it, is. some half-baked business about inconsiderate people sticking up the subway system, so they simply banned the stuff.
    the long-hair business is now overstated. in the past the authorities did take a rather dim view of it and might have actually strongarmed some into hair-cuts, but AFAIK it doesn't happen today.
    in a nutshell, as Charles D has said, Singapore does have a very high standard of living. it's a "city-state", with the emphasis very much on city. but it's not quite as bleak or stark as many other metropolises, given the tropical weather, The Powers That Be ("TPTB") have tried to "greenify" it with lots of trees and plants along roads.
    the main point of debate about life in Singapore is really about the Big Brother attitude of TPTB. hence, loadsa censorship in movies and TV, and in the media in general (it's all more-or-less state-owned). it sometimes extends to what some might consider the "silly things", e.g. the chewing-gum ban. and to rather draconian punishment for infractions that might be considered minor in the West, e.g the caning that the infamous Michael Fay got when he spray-painted someone's car. the most extreme example would be the attitude towards drugs, which is very hard-line. let's just say you hang (yes, capital punishment) if you are caught in possession 15 grams (less than an ounce) of heroin.
    in effect, I sometimes think that the "control" exhibited is the trade-off for a place where things work and which is nice, clean and safe. many civil libertarians have ranted about the harsh attitude towards drugs and crime in general, but they never stop to examine the flip side, which is the relatively low crime rate, making it safer and more secure for ordinary (i.e. non-criminal) folks like me. public services work and are on the whole quite efficient, buses and subway trains run on time, street lights light up, roads are generally smooth and pot-hole free, traffic lights control traffic properly etc.
    biggest down-side (apart from this being a junkie no-go zone [​IMG] ) would have to be the incredibly high cost of cars, as an example today a brand-new Ford Focus would cost almost S$85-90K. that's US$50K (US$1 = S$1.8 or so). I kid you not, US$50,000. this is due to the high taxes and duties, as well as this curious thingy called a Certificate of Entitlement (see www.lta.gov.sg if you are really interested). the main theory behind this is that because of the limited space here and the relative affluence of people, without prohibitive taxes to control the car "population", we'd get gridlock worse than downtown New York and Bangkok combined. petrol (gas) is also expensive, S$1.2 a litre (US$0.66, or US$2.46 a gallon).
    for the same reason, property prices are high as well, but it's not quite as bad as in Hong Kong, where entire families live in tiny 600 square-foot apartments -- at least around here, most should have apartments of 1,000 sq ft or more. although that's still tiny to those of you used to two-storey homes with gardens front and back. if you want that around here, you'll need at least a million dollars (and that's US).
    most other things, on the other hand, are reasonably cheap compared to the US or Europe, e.g. movie tickets are S$8.50 on weekends (US$4.7), although DVDs are often region 1 imports and therefore pricey (S$40-50/US$22-27), although the "official" region 3 ones are cheaper at about S$30 (US$16).
    food is great, you can't beat the variety. just about any type of cuisine is available for reasonable prices. eating out is sometimes consider the national pastime; the other would be shopping. third place would be movie-going [​IMG]
    so James, if you have any specific queries please feel free to email me direct and I'll try to answer as best as I can.
     
  8. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Thanks for the info Yee!
    So, if someone was to move to Singapore with their R1 DVD collection, would they confiscate anything that is censored there? What other restrictions are there when you move?
    Of course, with that high cost of living, I doubt I'll go anywhere near there any time soon. [​IMG]
     
  9. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Location:
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    strictly speaking, you would not be allowed to import your R1 DVDs without subjecting them to the scrutiny of the Films & Publications Department (FPD).

    if you are literally caught at customs with them, they'll impound the stuff and forward it to the FPD. likewise if your shipment from overseas is detained by the post office (happened to me twice in the past).

    in the past, as a carry-over from the days of VHS, they would (theoretically) view the movie and on VHS, blip out the offending bits and give you a little sticker passing it as kosher. that would cost about $6/hr of the movie. it's then released to you.

    now, with DVDs, if the DVD has previously been passed, you pay $2 and get it certified. obviously if it hasn't and won't be passed (whether because of excess sex, violence or unsuitable themes) you can't bring it in. you are then given the option of exporting the disc. send it back to the retailer, or send it to a friend.

    realistically, you rarely get checked at the airport, unless you obviously look like a potential crook or act shifty. let's just say niceties like the US prohibition against profiling are ignored here.

    not too sure about how stringent customs are with checking boxes of personal effects shipped here by freight, as James might if he really re-locates here. I guess they might not be very, since the sheer volume of stuff that gets transhipped through Singapore makes it unrealistic to check every single thing. even postage parcels don't get looked at anymore, I have not heard of a single case of an Amazon package getting stopped for over a year, whereas in the past you'd hear the odd anecdote or two (for me personally, two DVDExpress packages were stopped in the past).
     
  10. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Second Unit

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    I spent a month there in 1997. I really enjoyed my time there. Actually emigrating would be a much bigger deal, but I can see why explorers fell in love with the Orient and Far East.
    I took quite a few photos and did a tiny bit of writing:
    http://home.austin.rr.com/gperks/pho.../Singapore.htm
    Basically it seems like they lean in favour of the "zero tolorance" idea of law enforcement. It does work; I felt incredibly safe there. Don't do anything illegal and you'll have no trouble! It's also extremely clean. Cars are expensive, but why would you need one? Public transport there is excellent and comprehensive.
    It's very very hot and humid; they get one season all year!
    Check with your doctor well before you go. You may need some shots/tablets, particularly if you expect to visit Malaysia (only a bridge away).
     
  11. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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  12. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    dont go to indonesia, it is not worth it.

    if you like big shopping malls, jakarta the capital city has tons of them, but thats it. crime rate is quite high, monetary crisis and political crisis are not over yet. they had changed 3 presidents in the past 5 years. you know that is not good.
     
  13. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Yee-Ming, you wouldn't be my brother-in-law would you?

    Nah, I think his name spelled Yen-Ming.

    Anyway, my wife is from Singapore. She's been in the US for 6 years now and wouldn't want to go back. I've been there and Malaysia many times. Yes, as Yee-Ming said, standard of living is high but if you have a college education, they highly value that and you will make decent money. However, don't expect to own a house anytime soon. Space are very limited and expensive.

    Tell them how long they can own their car Yee-Ming. Yeah, 10 years and if you want to continue owning it, you will have to pay a ridiculous registration fee that will have you get a new one instead. That way, it keeps old polluted cars out. I won't even get started on gasoline. That comes to my main complaint: the pollution. Singapore is very green in many areas that it's beautiful but oh boy, put on your gas mask during commute hours.

    Many people live in Malaysia and work in Singapore so you earn good money in Singapore and live cheap in Malaysia. That's what my wife and her family did. It's only a bridge across. However, it's a sight to behold during morning and afternoon commute! I never seen anything like it! I can't describe it. It's just incredible.

    On the good side, Singapore is full of things to do. Public transportation is good. There are great parks, malls, ect. Shopping is the best in the world although don't expect anything cheap. They have pretty much every material goods that we have here.

    James, are you Chinese? If you're not, you're at a disadvantage because most there are Chinese although you'll be just fine speaking only English. Not everyone speaks English though.

    As for the weather, nothing to be concerned about because every single place including bus are air-con. Cars are left with air-con on at all time! It's never turned off.

    Now Yee-Ming, tell me why the heck they need to turn air-con in malls, buses so high! I freeze my butts off in buses and malls and burn up in the streets. Why the extreme difference. It feels like 50-60F!

    James, if you like Asian women, they have the best there :b.
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    nope, I haven't got any brothers-in-law [​IMG]
    it isn't a registration fee, that's the "Certificate of Entitlement" I referred to in my first post, i.e. it's like a "licence" that allows that particular car to run on the streets for 10 years. basically it's a quota system that limits the number of new cars allowed each month, you bid for a certificate, which is good for 10 years. at the end of 10 years, you either scrap or export the car, or you buy a new certificate good for either 5 years (non-extendable after that) or another 10 years.
    silly system, one of the biggest gripes about life here. [​IMG]
    air-conditioning? beats me. I agree, it's way too cold in most buildings and buses. overcompensation, I think, it's probably a bit difficult to calibrate it properly, especially if the number of people changes radically suddenly, e.g. in one building I used to work it, it always got incredibly chilly at about 5.30 p.m., since lots of warm bodies had left for the day and the air-conditioning hadn't adjusted to the reduced workload yet.
     
  15. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Good points about the air-conditioning. I haven't even thought about that. It makes sense.
    Do you know if the cooling system of cars there anything different than say here in the US? I ask because the weather is hot and the air-conditioning in people's cars are on all the time. Add on to that the traffic situation. I don't see how cars don't overheat that way.
    Also, what do the people of singapore think of people in the US? Be honest now [​IMG]. It seems from glamore magazines that I pick up in Singapore, ladies there are really into being thin like Hollywood. I personally don't like it. Even my wife's family there seem to look slimmer the last time I saw them. What do you think?
     
  16. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I don't think cars overheat much around here, considering that you'd be hard pressed to drive it for very long before running out of space ... [​IMG]
    but seriously, my guess is that cars are probably "tropicalised" in some way, e.g. radiators are bigger or the fluid is more efficient? air-cooled cars are probably out of the question, the car WOULD probably die if stuck in a traffic jam at noon. but how many air-cooled cars are there these days? (and don't mention the Porsche 911, that's way too expensive here [​IMG] )
    obviously cars don't have heaters at all, perhaps the extra space is used on airconditioning equipment? in any case, temperature-wise it's not as if Singapore's the hottest place in the world, it's far worse in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East generally, just that here the temperature / humidity combo is a killer.
    I have no idea what people generally think of people in the US. it's a bit of a generalisation, isn't it? I'm sure there are plenty who think the good ole' US of A is the greatest thing since sliced bread, some who think it's an arrogant imperialist power [​IMG] and others who couldn't care less.
     
  17. Monte

    Monte Auditioning

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    Singapore is definitely a nice place. I spend a fair amount of time there for work. I don't have a Visa so stays over 30 days have to be broken up by going someplace else for a day or two. Today I left Singapore to Penang and will return Sunday for another week or so before heading back to the states. I don't know if I would want to live there just due to the small size but I have no problem with the way the place is ran. I feel more free walking around there than I do in the states. In the states we have reached the point of having so many rights that the result is we have no rights. Unless you are a criminal of course then you have all the rights in the world. The law will not bother you in Singapore unless you are bothering someone else. All the chewing gum, J-walking, and so on is all way over stated. I've been to Singapore a number of times with very long hair and the worst thing to happen was the Immigration officer looked at me and said, "like long hair do you". (I just got it cut short for the first time in years while in Singapore but by my own choice.)

    As far as the price of cars etc, I personally wouldn't even want one there. Why have it? The MRT is great taxies are cheap, you really don't need a car. I like to walk a lot there, just because the place is so beautiful. I sometimes just walk around a whole afternoon.

    It is small and my companies one local guy just quit because he never get's out of the place. He was born and raised there and he get's tired of it. I think I would too if my trips were not limited to 30 days at a time.

    Monte
     

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