Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Singy-Paw - Musings From A New Resident

Well, I am not exactly a new resident yet but it is interesting to come to a new country and look at the place through the eyes of someone coming to live there.

It is hard not to be a little dazzled by Singapore's cleanliness and idyllic living. Everything is so.... perfect. Their "trains" (the MRT's) run on time, everyone crosses the road at the junctions, there are signs around the place that warn you not to disobey rules. There is no rubbish lying around. Women are perfectly made up and dressed well, despite the (at times) stifling humidity.

However, in amongst all of this, is a country which is gripped with fear about the economy. I noticed this as i was doing business yesterday. Singapore has no natural resources and relies heavily on the service industry. Many people are being made redundant. House prices are still so high. Cost of living for many of the expatriates from other Asian countries (China, Korea, Thailand) simply cannot pay to live in Singapore anymore. People in Singapore do not talk of it though, because in Asia, it is all about "saving face". You do not show weakness and you do not expose the weakness of others.

There are many things which i will need to learn in order to do business in Asia. Underneath it all, there is also (surprisingly) a discriminatory undercurrent. The Chinese look down on the Indians and they choose not to live anywhere near them. Koreans and Japanese are difficult. Malay natives are a protected species. Maids are generally from Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia.
I must go and do some exercise. All of this yummy asian food is adding inches to my waistline by the minute.


p.s why do hotels always have telephones in the bathoom near the toilet? Do people REALLY want to "do business" when they are "doing their business?


  1. Oh, I forgot to mention the racism - also something to know - Singaporeans look down on Philapino's, and pure bloods don't like half-castes like me. It seems really mean and unnecessary, but I will say one thing - we might not always love our neighbours, but we do leave them alone to their own business.

    Haha phones in toilets.


  2. It is really interesting. Its not obvious, but you get talking with expats and they say that it is really prevalent. Its not very mean spirited, its just accepted.

    So interesting....