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Talk to me about Singapore


4ofus
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Hi guys,

 

I'm going to be away from the computer for a while, cooking dinner & being with my family, but I thought I'd put this out there in case there was anyone with any information....I'll check back later.

 

My dh may have the opportunity to take a temporary work assignment in Singapore. It would be his same position, lateral move, 1-2 years, returning to the States at the end.

 

We always joked about how cool it would be to take a European temporary position, but we never considered this.

 

If you have any information that could help us as we weigh this decision send it my way please!

 

Thanks!

 

 

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My SIL and her family have been living (and homeschooling) in Singapore for 10 years and I've had lots of other friends who've lived there for shorter times.  I've never met anyone who didn't love living there. I'd certainly go there. 

 

I've seen international assignments, even ones that the family was excited about, fail when the employee and family didn't feel that they got enough support from their employer.  It's important to look at the benefits your husband's employer offers before making the decision.  Living overseas, even in a place as easy as Singapore, is really different and often challenging.

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+1 for Amira's comments. The U.S. and one country in Africa are the only countries that tax, based on citizenship, worldwide income.  You would need to have a firm contract that guarantees the minimum stay overseas that would qualify for the U.S. tax exemption.. If your DH is a U.S. Citizen, or a legal resident of the U.S., you need to fully understand the tax implications.  I assume that you would live in a high rise apartment and that it is very congested there. Look before you leap.  I have lived in Colombia for almost 20 years and nearly all Americans who move here are very happy, but the culture in Singapore might be wonderful for your family or horribly stressful.  

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It's my homeland.

 

Things to know and negotiate in your husband's expat contract.

 

- housing, rents are high

- health insurance

- income tax preparation

- car, leasing a car isn't cheap and parking costs are high. Public transport is generally good

- grocery costs more

 

It is also very humid, summer all year round kind of climate with seasonal haze from Indonesia's forest fires.

 

Your family can drive up to Malaysia and Thailand for a vacation or take a ferry to Indonesia. Plenty of budget airlines if you want to fly the region for vacations.

 

People talk in many different languages, plenty of choices on food. Shopping is the unofficial past time.

 

You also get to experience what kiasuism is all about especially when it comes to education.

Even though you would be homeschooling there, it's a rat race for public school. Homeschooling is legal there for Singaporeans.

 

Singapore primary math is not what is used there.

 

If you have Citibank, Wells Fargo, BOA, there are local branches there so you can use the ATMs there.

 

ETA:

If you want to learn Chinese, Hindi, Malay by inmersion it would be fun to do it there.

 

ETA:

Quadband GSM phones will work there. Internet is as expensive there as here. There are few free wifi spots in the country.

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Thanks y'all for the replies. We just got the heads-up about this yesterday. The company is just feeling dh out for interest. The package hasn't yet been assembled. We're going to spend some time this weekend trying to get a general feel for if this feels right for our family & let them know next week if we'd be interested in talking about the package. I think we might be. We obviously need more information than, "would you be willing to go to Singapore?" to make a real decision.

 

I have a few, practical concerns that are really related to our day-to-day more than Singapore. I can sometimes get stuck on less-important-stuff :/.

(Forest/Trees and all that)

 

I wonder about our pets. I wonder about my son's orthodontic treatment. I wonder if the boys (11 & 10) are at a great age for such an experience. I wonder how I'd feel about plane rides. I wonder about my aging parents/grandmother. Stuff I need to mentally satisfy to progress.

 

 

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It's my homeland.

 

Things to know and negotiate in your husband's expat contract.

 

- housing, rents are high

- health insurance

- income tax preparation

- car, leasing a car isn't cheap and parking costs are high. Public transport is generally good

- grocery costs more

 

It is also very humid, summer all year round kind of climate with seasonal haze from Indonesia's forest fires.

 

Your family can drive up to Malaysia and Thailand for a vacation or take a ferry to Indonesia. Plenty of budget airlines if you want to fly the region for vacations.

 

People talk in many different languages, plenty of choices on food. Shopping is the unofficial past time.

 

You also get to experience what kiasuism is all about especially when it comes to education.

Even though you would be homeschooling there, it's a rat race for public school. Homeschooling is legal there for Singaporeans.

 

Singapore primary math is not what is used there.

 

If you have Citibank, Wells Fargo, BOA, there are local branches there so you can use the ATMs there.

 

ETA:

If you want to learn Chinese, Hindi, Malay by inmersion it would be fun to do it there.

 

ETA:

Quadband GSM phones will work there. Internet is as expensive there as here. There are few free wifi spots in the country.

I highlighted what I want to ask about ~

 

You mentioned that I would be homeschooling there, but the next sentence says homeschooling is legal for Singaporeans. Does that mean I'd have some extensive hoops to jump through?

 

Edited for typo.

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I think your kids' ages are good.  They're old enough to remember a few years later, but they're not teenagers.  It's important to prepare them as much as possible and there are lots of resources online to do that.  You should also be able to connect with expats kids in Singapore before you leave.  Expats are usually very welcoming of new people.

 

We've been able to do orthodontics in other countries and it's usually cheaper everywhere else than in the US.  You'll need to check into your insurance to see if they'll cover orthodontics overseas, but they likely would.  

 

Pets can be a hassle and expense to take with you, but it's very doable.  The more important thing is whether they can handle the stress of the move and possible quarantine.  It's generally easier to bring one or two pets, and smaller animals are easier, but we know people who've been able to move around with large dogs.  It depends a lot on the country, the time of year you're flying, and the size of the dog.

 

If you do go, and if your parents and grandmother aren't very comfortable communicating through the internet, I'd start practicing ASAP using Skype or online thing.  

 

There's no getting around really long plane rides to Singapore.  But it's possible you'll be on a nicer airline and even though flights can be a lot less than pleasant, they end and you survive the whole thing.  

 

The day-to-day stuff is terribly important, I think.  Even though you'll be off having this grand adventure, you still need to figure out how to clean the house, do the laundry, eat dinner, educate your children, run errands, keep your kids happy, get to work, etc.  I honestly think that's more likely to make or break the assignment than pretty much anything else.

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I highlighted what I want to ask about ~

 

You mentioned that I would be homeschooling there, but the next sentence says homeschooling is legal for Singaporeans. Does that mean I'd have some extensive hoops to jump through?.

You are an expat, so no loops. As a citizen, my kids would have to take the national exams at age 12/6th grade if they are homeschoolers back home.

 

PM me if you have any questions. Plenty of dentists with experience in braces for teens. Medical tourism is common there.

 

The American embassy there is like a fortress. There is two private American schools there and an active expat SG forum.

 

http://forum.singaporeexpats.com

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You are an expat, so no loops. As a citizen, my kids would have to take the national exams at age 12/6th grade if they are homeschoolers back home.

 

PM me if you have any questions. Plenty of dentists with experience in braces for teens. Medical tourism is common there.

 

The American embassy there is like a fortress. There is two private American schools there and an active expat SG forum.

 

http://forum.singaporeexpats.com

 

Ahhh. Okay.

 

My son already has braces ~ his treatment began in the US just this month. What I really want to know is if I could transfer his care mid-treatment. I guess people have to figure that out even when they move within the states. I just never really considered it. I assumed we'd stay in the same place for  the duration of the treatment.

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I can't speak to orthodontics as my kids had theirs carried out during the time we were overseas and completed before we left. And, I've never been to Singapore but I can tell you about our perspective with kids and living overseas.

 

I have 6 kids ranging form 29-13. It has only been at a point within the last 10 years that all of our kids have finally lived more of their lives in the USA than outside it.  I can tell you than each and every one of them has been wholeheartedly supportive of the moves they've made throughout their lives. Of course, there were growing pains from time to time and settling-in adjustments.  But everyone of my kids has been grateful to see a world beyond the USA and has really embraced those opportunities.

 

If this looks workable for you, i would say, "Do It!" Your kids are at a great age to have a long, exciting adventure they will remember forever.

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My son already has braces ~ his treatment began in the US just this month. What I really want to know is if I could transfer his care mid-treatment.

You could ask the dentist for his records before you leave. It is either free or a nominal fee. Once in Singapore the dentist there can handle the continuation of treatment even if you don't have his records.

Dental expenses will depend on your husband's expat package. Different companies handle expat package differently when it comes to health insurance.

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We had the opportunity to move to Singapore for my husband's work.  My husband and I visited (and the baby at the time) and I loved it, but I have lived in Japan for several years. It's clean, (more or less) orderly, multicultural, and you can get (some) Western goods somewhat easily there.  The salary was decent enough, but compared to the families we would be associating with (we're Jewish and there is a synagogue, two kosher restaurants and a day school [k-8th]) we'd still be on the low end of the wage scale.  Make sure your salary would go far there - it's expensive!  The reason he didn't take it was that our parents are getting older and we thought we might need to be on hand to help them (sadly it's come true but to my little sister, not my parents) as well as being out of the US would kill most chances for him to come back to the US in his field.  Every winter, I think that he should have taken the job --- BRRR!  I hate cold weather.  I loved the weather in Singapore.

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My brother's lived there since 2001.

 

It's safe, clean, orderly, family-friendly, great and varied food, very good public transportation, close by to really cool places to visit.  Health care is government provided and good quality.  My brother is a permanent resident and it is essentially free (small payments for some non-essential services) for him.  You'll want to check about your eligibility for it if you won't be getting PR cards.

 

It's hot, muggy, a bit on the controlling side, can get a bit boring.  Over the long haul my brother's described it as a little like living in Epcot Center (though in 2 years you probably wouldn't get to that point.)  The cost of living has always been high and has further spiked in the last three years, particularly it seems for housing.

 

There's no getting around the plane ride: long and also expensive.  Think through how best to handle this on the compensation package.

 

Around here (?) you sign up for the whole orthodontic process up front, so moving *anywhere* would be financially complicated.   I'm sure it's possible to find good quality orthodontists there; it's just a matter of sorting out the mid-stream change on a financial basis.

 

I dunno about pets.  Many countries have extended quarantine intervals, which I would imagine would be quite stressful for everyone involved...  The State Department usually has good info on these and similar types of questions.

 

FWIW, I think your kids are a *great* age for such an adventure -- old enough to remember, old enough to haul their own stuff, not yet teenagers.  Doesn't get any better than that.

 

 

Really, elderly relatives are the *only* reason I would hesitate over such an opportunity.

 

 

Thanks y'all for the replies. We just got the heads-up about this yesterday. The company is just feeling dh out for interest. The package hasn't yet been assembled. We're going to spend some time this weekend trying to get a general feel for if this feels right for our family & let them know next week if we'd be interested in talking about the package. I think we might be. We obviously need more information than, "would you be willing to go to Singapore?" to make a real decision.

 

I have a few, practical concerns that are really related to our day-to-day more than Singapore. I can sometimes get stuck on less-important-stuff :/.

(Forest/Trees and all that)

 

I wonder about our pets. I wonder about my son's orthodontic treatment. I wonder if the boys (11 & 10) are at a great age for such an experience. I wonder how I'd feel about plane rides. I wonder about my aging parents/grandmother. Stuff I need to mentally satisfy to progress.

 

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I live in Malaysia and have been here for nearly 6 years. We go to Singapore all the time and we LOVE it. It is amazing. Go, go, go!!!!

 

When we moved to Malaysia my oldest was 11 and my middle was 5. It has been an incredible experience for all of us. My kids tell me all the time how grateful they are that we came here. GO!! :)

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