Expat Tales: 'Asia for beginners'
Keri-Lee Beasley moved to Singapore for the environment and her family.
What inspired your move, and how long have you been there?
My husband and I left NZ in 2001 to teach in the UK and travel. After a year in Somerset, we got into the international school teaching circuit, and moved to Indonesia for 3 years. We both wanted to live in Singapore, as it was a clean, green city and we were about to start a family. In August 2005 we moved to Singapore, and our daughter Scarlett was born 2 months later. In 2007, our son Griffin was born here too. We have been here for 9 years.
What do you do there?
I am a digital literacy coach at the United World College of South East Asia, a wonderful non-profit international school. I'm fairly confident I have the best job in the world, because every day I work with teachers and students to help them integrate technology for learning in the classroom. I enjoy working with people from a diverse range of countries, and our school has 76 nationalities.
What are the greatest advantages to living there?
Tropical, year-round temperatures of 32 degrees, excellent medical care, and a very low tax rate (around 12-15 per cent) for starters! Everyone speaks English - it's like Asia for beginners! There are also a huge range of activities for kids, it is an incredibly safe city with a very low crime rate, and a fantastic base for travel. We are lucky to have Raquel, our fabulous live-in helper, who looks after the kids while we are at work.
The cost of living is fairly high when compared with neighbouring Asian countries, and it is more densely populated than we are used to back home.
How expensive is it compared to New Zealand? How much is a beer?
Some things are more expensive, and some are much cheaper. Public transport is excellent, and very reasonably priced. Chicken and pork are cheap, however beef and lamb are not! Alcohol is expensive. Rental accomodation is much more expensive than NZ, however many companies will include this as a part of their package.
What do you do in your spare time?
Singapore has a fantastic theatre scene, so we love to go to shows that come through the city. Entertaining our two kids (now eight and six) means we often go to Universal Studios, biking in East Coast Park, or at a beach on Sentosa Island. What's the local delicacy and would you recommend eating it?
My absolute favourite thing to eat is Singapore's national dish - Chilli Crab, especially at Long Beach Seafood UDMC at East Coast Park.
Easiest way to get around?
It's all pretty easy in Singapore. Bus, taxi, MRT are all good (and cheap) options. Cars are expensive to buy, so many people do without.
What's the shopping like?
Fantastic! Singapore's two national pastimes are eating and shopping. Orchard Road is littered with malls for those wanting clothes and shoes - though prices can range from the sublime to the ridiculous. What do you recommend for visitors?
The Singapore Zoo is a must-visit for adults and children alike. I love to take visitors for a cocktail at one of the city's skyscrapers to watch the city come alive at dusk.
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- Sunday Star Times