Thursday, July 30, 2009

Living in Singapore

Singapore is a wonderful, colorful cultural melting pot... remarkable in its embrace of racial and religious differences. It is extremely modern in many ways and yet sticklers for tradition at the same time. While most Singaporeans are generally easy-going and accomodating, I found myself being very careful of my words and actions for fear of giving offence. It was also a bit disconcerting to realize that I didn't even know where to buy my groceries (at reasonable prices).

We were very lucky in that Cartus, a organization which specializes in employee relocation, facilitated our move. On our first "go-see", we were given a goodie bag filled with books, magazines, brochures, and maps. I collected a few more during a brief stop at Borders. For those who are contemplating relocating to Singapore, here's my list of Must-Reads:

1. Singapore: The Complete Resident's Guide ( You MUST get this book. Explorer's star team of authors have done an excellent job of compiling all the essential and fun stuff you'll be needing in an easy to read format. Need information on visas, work, housing, schools and hospitals? Check. Want to find out about where to destress, revitalize and connect with like-minded individuals? No problem. Hungry for good food and planning a night on the town? They have it covered. =)

2. Street Directory ( Coming from a city where street names change with every change in political administration, it was a relief to come across Mighty Minds' userfriendly street directory and bus guide. Need to find out how to get to Ikea using public transportation? Just go to, type in the starting address & ending address and click enter. Streetdirectory will generate a bus/mrt guide, including the address of the nearest bus stop. Bring the handy Bus Guide with you to keep track of the stops before your destination. Left it at home? Each bus stop has a list of buses plying that particular route along with the addresses of the remaining stops.

3. Fun Singapore. This is a great book geared for locals, foreigners, tourist and intrepid explorers. It features more than 250 places ranging from farms to parks to places of worship, places of interest & special sports. What I love about it is that the discovery guide not only contains useful snippets of information, it also provides easy instructions on getting there.... very useful when taking a cab or bus to relatively unknown places such as Forest Adventure at Bedok Reservoir Park.

4. Makansutra. Foodies, this is the book for you. This is a no frills guide to street food & restaurants in Singapore. Die die must try! Updated on a regular basis, this handy book lists more then 1,100 street food and restaurants recommended by a team of Makanmatas (Food Police). Looking for the best chicken rice in town? Head out to Fook Seng Goldenhill Chicken Rice in Jln Rumah Tinggi. Hankering decent Pinoy food in a honest to goodness restaurant setting? 7,107 Flavours is the restaurant for you. =)

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