Friday, April 03, 2009

Singapore first impressions

Well, its friday afternoon already and I have spent almost a working week here. So far, the highlights of my stay/work in Singapore are:

  • Immigration: I didn't have a stamping on my passport, just a prinout of the PDF of the approval from the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore and getting through the immigrations was a cinch. I was done in less than 2 mins (and most of it was spent by the immigration officer amazing at my height and the ensuing conversation.) Once in the country, I had to get my Employment Pass and that too was very easy. My company told me to stick a photo to the PDF, sign it, and thats it, I received it on Tuesday (and it got delayed from Monday because our guy reached the MoM late)
  • Public Transportation: Not a surprise to me, the public transportation is cheap and comfortable. I spend an avg of around $3 commuting from my current residence to office and back. The distance is about 8 kms or so and I use 2 buses both way. I get to sit in AirCon (as AC is called in these regions) and its extremely clean and comfortable. If you do take MRT, its wait time is less, but you always have to stand and that kind of sucks.
  • Food: Well, finding vegeterian lunch was tough first day, but found a bunch of options by now. The only problem is that the food I am finding now is very spicy or oily, but I am confident of finding better options.
  • Drinking: Not yet, this is the Navaratri period. :-)
  • Climate: Really bothersome. For somebody coming from Bangalore, this is painful - but the good thing is that you are hardly ever exposed to the bad sun/sweat - you are mostly in AirCon, so has stopped bothering me.
  • Bank Account: This was a breeze again - walked across to the nearby POSB branch, showed my EP, passport and paid the initial deposit of $500 and it was done in about 10-15 mins. Banks here don't give out cheque-books for savings account and that worried me, but on enquiring, found out that one is not required.
  • Phone Connection: I had decided to make the best usage of the 3G network here by picking up a high end phone - and that was a problem - because iPhones/Androids were being sold only a particular counter - so I kept shying away for 3 days. Yesterday I did manage to walk across and get that done. It took about 35-45 mins from begin to end and most of this was spent in the queue and in comparing phones/plans. There was also a wide variety of numbers to chose from and I picked up a number which is like ABCCDDBB - which I think is awesome cool.
  • Recycling: Its a pleasant surprise, but Singapore has a good sense of recycling and people in fact do segregate.
  • Fruits an vegetables: You get fresh, well packed healthy fruits and vegetables for reasonable prices at all the shops - so thats a pleasant experience.
  • Coffee: Bad, super bad - I am missing Bangalore's decoction coffee already. All coffee you get is from the machines and I hate those flavours.
So far so good. This weekend and next weekend is going to be the real uphill task to getting an apartment and from what I hear, its quite cumbersome. Shall update later on that.

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