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Life in Singapore, from the Sterling people who know

Singapore has been voted the world’s top destination for expats for a third year in a row in HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey. Financial and political stability, strong educational facilities, safety and career progression were indicated as the reasons for Singapore’s winning streak.

Founded by Stamford Raffles in 1819 as a trading post of the British East India Company, Singapore is now considered a global hub for commerce, finance and transport.

In 2011, Sterling opened our office in Singapore to support our client’s strategic objectives in the APAC region. Since then, many Sterling professionals have themselves relocated to our Singapore office. Here are five top tips from members of the Sterling team who have both lived and worked in Singapore.

This seat is reserved

Singaporeans love their food and in a country known for its high cost of living, Hawker Centres are a cheap but tasty way to experience the best in local cuisine.

Our first top tip comes from Radhika Gorsia who relocated to Singapore for three years with her young family to manage Sterling’s APAC region.

“Take a small packet of tissues out with you if you are visiting one of these open air food courts. They get busy but all you need to do to reserve your seat while you purchase your food is to leave a small packet of tissues on it. No one will move them.”

Frizz factor

As Singapore lies only one degree north of the equator it has a tropical climate throughout a majority the year. The humidity levels are regularly over 90% which can cause discomfort and frequent bad hair days. “Accept that your hair will become ever more frizzy” says Radhika, “frizz fighting hair products and lots hair bands are a definite must.”

Stock up on fake tan

Staying with your appearance, Erika Toomer, Regional Account Director for the APAC region says “if you like to apply fake tan you will need to ask your friends and family back home to send you some, or stock up before you relocate. It is impossible to find fake tan in Singapore; the Singaporians prefer to lighten their skin unlike the western expats”.

Ride-hailing, with your pet

If you need to take your pet to the vets or you just want some company during your commute and only your pet will do, Uber has launched uberPET. Erika Toomer, Regional Account Director for the APAC region says, “pets aren’t permitted to travel in traditional taxis in Singapore, but commuters can choose the uberPET option via the Uber app to find one that does. uberPET rides are priced the same as uberX with an additional S$2 booking fee.”

Get away from it all

Although a move to Singapore is a huge adventure in itself, be sure to make even more memories by taking advantage of Singapore’s central location.

Aviation data released this month by OAG confirmed that Asia has the busiest skies with 14 intra-Asian routes ranked in the top 20 busiest flight routes. Singapore featured four routes in the top 20 list with the one hour connection between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur claiming the top spot as the world busiest route with Singapore and Jakarta claiming third.

Whether you treat yourself to relaxing after your relocation, fighting off any feelings of homesickness or escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, a short break to Indonesia, Bali or Malaysia will always do you the world of good. It will also give you a response to the classic expat question of “have you been on any trips lately?”

One last thing, Radhika said you absolutely have to visit Little India; the food is not to be missed.


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