Expat Tales: Culture and cocktails in Singapore
Georgia Moore of Whanganui enjoys exploring the cultural and gastronomic highlights of her new home.
What inspired your move, and how long have you been there?
I was curious about living in another culture and I wanted to travel while working. I've been in Singapore for five months.
What do you do there?
I'm currently working as an English teacher for local children.
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What are the greatest advantages to living there? Disadvantages?
The advantages are how incredibly multicultural it is and how close it is to the rest of Asia. It's very easy to go on holiday to exotic destinations, even just for the weekend! A disadvantage is the small size of the island - there are not many natural or untouched areas.
How expensive is it compared to New Zealand? How much is a beer?
Food in the supermarket is about the same price as at home and there are very cheap options at the local hawker stalls. However, accommodation and alcohol are both much more expensive than in New Zealand. A beer here is around $13!
What do you do in your spare time?
I catch up with friends, go running in the evenings and explore different parts of the city. I'm also learning Spanish.
What's the local delicacy and would you recommend eating it?
With so many influences here, there are many delicacies! Roast chicken rice and char kuay teow (fried egg noodles with prawn and chili) are very nice dishes that I would recommend trying.
Easiest way to get around?
The train (MRT) is by far the easiest way to get around. It's simple to use, fast and cheap. The buses are not bad, either.
What's the shopping like?
Shopping here is great! You can find everything imaginable (and more), with prices ranging from upmarket to low budget.
Best after-dark activity?
Going out to grab tasty cocktails at one of the city's rooftop bars.
Best time of year to visit?
The weather in Singapore is the same all year round (hot and sticky with occasional thunderstorms). A large festival for Chinese New Year is held in February, with lots of colourful markets, tasty food and lion dances - very interesting to see.
What are the top three things you recommend for visitors?
Jurong Bird Park is impressive and a fun place to go with kids. Sentosa Island has various theme parks and the best beaches in Singapore. I would also recommend visiting Kampong Glam, with its beautiful mosque, antique shopfronts and mouthwatering Middle-Eastern food.
Besides family and friends, what do you miss most about home?
I miss New Zealand's wide open spaces, the rugged coastlines and the bush. I miss being able to go for a drive or even a walk and find yourself out of the city within minutes. I think I took that for granted when I was living in NZ!
How easy is it for you to get back to NZ?
It's relatively easy for me to get back. The flight time is around 12 hrs.
For Kiwis looking to move there, which industries are seeking fresh talent?
I can't speak for other industries, but English teachers are certainly sought after here.
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