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Why is Singapore so popular/ competitive for jobs

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by hairdo, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Just curious....There has been quite a lot of reference to it being one of the most competitive for jobs. I have never been there or considered working there ...until now as I am curious about what makes it such a great location.
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Free bubblegum for all that want it.
  3. charb74

    charb74 New commenter

    As far as I heard, Singapore is a very very neat, tidy and ordered city-state. A friend of mine, after moving to Switzerland from Singapore said "even the Swiss people does not have such an order". Students are reportedly respectful and hardworking and parents are very supportive.
  4. mermy

    mermy Occasional commenter

    Singapore is a bit like marmite. I personally hated it when visiting - too controlled, wherever you look warnings "you'll be fined for this you'll be fined for that"... Like yes, we get it, jaywalking, chewing gum, littering etc is illegal, don't shove it in my face all the time :rolleyes:. On the MRT everyone was facing the same way, nobody talking. I was just thinking what a city/country of lemmings.

    The positives are that it is a good blend of East and West. Many expats are there so you won't feel isolated, people speak English, it is clean, safe and well regulated and the airport (the best in the world I must say!) will allow you to travel to many wonderful places in Asia with ease. You will also find many malls, supermarkets, restaurants, attractions, green spaces and there is always something to do (to me it was all a 'fake' attraction though).

    So that's where the appeal is, but I think if I lived there I would get so fed up of all the fines, fines, fines warning, the extreme rigour and would probably get myself in trouble. When I was there, I was sooo tempted to jaywalk at the traffic light when there was no car in sight, just because I'm a rebel :p.

    I applied for a job last recruiting season (the pull factor being travel opportunities) and came second and as a family we were quite relieved in the end. My husband admitted he wouldn't like to live in this rigourous place, plus it's so expensive!!! I prefer the rough places with life and authentic charm, but many prefer the safe and clean (and fake) appeal of Singapore.
    SPC2 likes this.
  5. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Mermy summed it up very well - it very much depends what sort of a person you are and what kind of life you like to lead. Here in Malaysia it's a bit of a running joke that there are "Singapore people" and "Malaysia people" and that nobody is well suited to both of them. I'm a definite Malaysia person! KL has many of the same advantages as Singapore (travel opportunities, malls, amazing food, green spaces, attractions, English widely spoken, plenty of expats and a Western lifestyle available if you really want it) but none of the negatives that Mermy mentioned (OK, some people might not see these as negatives!), and the additional benefits that many people would find it less Westernised and a more interesting place to live.
    mermy and SPC2 like this.
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Essentially, it's an easy place for Westerners to live. Easy to travel around Asia and beyond, everything is in English, mix of Western and Asian food, temperatures pretty constant all year round (though, as one friend put it, you're always sweating) and very safe.
  7. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Wonderful zoo which has had great success with breeding threatened species.

    Easy travel to interesting places. (Absolutely superb airport).

    Top-notch medical facilities.

    Excellent British Sunday lunch at Harry's on the Inner Harbour.

    Rather an unpleasant climate. As I write this, it's typically 30C with 68% humidity. As an old Far-East colleague put it: 'Galloping nob-rot is endemic here'. One gets through a lot of Savlon, and keeping spare knickers in the fridge affords only momentary relief.

    Years of being told what to think has had its effect. Singaporeans sometimes use all three 'lives' to reach $1000 on 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' Post Lee Kuan Yew the government tried to set up a 'Speakers' Corner' to encourage public debate. The general reaction was 'Er, what do you want us to say?'

    Working offshore, our son took us out in a boat and marooned us for a few hours on an uninhabited little island in the South China Sea.. 'It made us think of pirates,' I said. 'Oh, we've got them, too,' he replied laconically. His view of the City was 'God knows, I've been well brought-up, but this is the only place I've ever been to that makes me want to spit on the floor'.
  8. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    Really? Five years here and never had a problem. Mind you, Bugis Street has changed a great deal...
  9. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Good on you, but keep on taking the tablets.
  10. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Agree with mermy in general, I have generally been a walk on the wildside kind of person, Hanoi not Saigon, Guangzhou not Hong Kong, JB not Singapore. In addition I was not particularly fond of the old dictator, Lee Kuan Yew, there are still political prisoners in gaol from the split with Malaysia in 1965.

    My favourite T-shirt form my JB days, 'Singapore - It's fine city', on the front - 'there are fines for everything', on the back.

    I had a Geographer friend who left Singapore after just one contract, when I asked him why, he replied; 'no seasons'.

    They are a bit up themselves too, I had a local tell me once that it was; 'Asia that works'.

    Finally too many 'bankers' swigging champers on Boat Quay and Clarke Quay at week ends, but that's just me? :)
    mermy likes this.
  11. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Where is JB?
  12. mermy

    mermy Occasional commenter

    @hairdo JB is Johor Bahru, just across the border, around 30 to 60 minutes drive from Singapore.

    @makhonvite, that slogan is what a taxi driver told us. Agree with what you say, up themselves really works.
  13. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

  14. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    Sorry, quote fail there o_O
  15. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Just goes to show have people's perceptions can be so different. We visited SG (having lived in Tokyo, Beijing and visited HK) and loved it. The sheer number/range of restaurants, shopping, entertainment (caught a friendly football match between top European teams and the Broadway quality touring performance of Lion King) and ease of getting around was very appealing.

    It was cleaner and more orderly than most other Asian capitals and the amount of English being spoken was a nice plus. We certainly didn't find it (in our short time, of course) to be overtly rigid (and didn't really notice or pay much attention to signs about fines) or the people any more uptight/homogeneous than Tokyo.

    If you are on a good package, I certainly would be open to living there. If you found it too bland or structured for your tastes there are many places within easy travel distance that would give you a more tasty experience.
  16. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    The Holy Grail of international teaching:
    - Locals are nice and welcoming.
    - Students are well behaved and actually want to learn.
    - Amazing hub for travel.
    - Drive and discipline of locals and expats a like.
    - The more established international schools are outstanding, the so-so ones stick out.
    - Certain international schools attract the best students from all over the world and Asia.

    Would go there despite the package... But not yet.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  17. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    [QUOTE="makhnovite, 'my JB days' /QUOTE]

    Dios mio! Were you a fellow victim of Tawfik that slippery son of a Tun?
  18. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    I've only visited while a friend was working there and I was elsewhere in Asia.

    My impression was that it's a kind of Asia without the a full-on Asian experience. English spoken everywhere, western food and other goods readily available. It felt a bit soul-less and I was happy to get back to my own dirtier, grittier version of Asia.

    But, if you want clean and familiar feeling, , then as others have said above, it's at least a good base for visiting other places in Asia. There are a few very good schools which would look pretty on any CV as well.
  19. migratingbird

    migratingbird Occasional commenter

    I see Singapore as my break from chaos for a while. I've been both a "Malaysia person" and a "Singapore person" at different points in my life. When I was in Malaysia, I was younger, flying solo, living from month-to-month, and not so concerned by the haphazardness of local bureaucracy. Now older, with two children in tow, the ease of Singapore is a welcome respite! We've been here quite a while now, though, and my soul is ready for somewhere a bit more challenging and interesting again.
    24hours likes this.
  20. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'Just goes to show have people's perceptions can be so different'
    Its not perceptions wrldtrvlr123 its what you are looking for when you go abroad, I look for a more local experience, shopping in local markets, eating at cheap local restaurants etc, rather than a UK one but with more money and nicer weather, but again that's just me, it's horses for courses.

    'give you a more tasty experience.
    And I did, wrldtrvlr123, as my previous post says; Hanoi, JB, GZ, there are lots of options out there for all kinds of people. One is not better than another, just: 'different strokes for different folks', sorry for the 70s TV reference!

    Agree also with migrating bird, things change with a family, I am the opposite, my family have left home leaving me to go to more, left field, locations. We did too, a taxi ride over the causeway, some shopping in Sim Lim Square or Bugis Street and a curry in Little India, then a taxi home, ahh the memories!!!

    The aforementioned Mr. Lee once described JB as being full of thieves and bandits, which did not make him very popular in Malaysia!

    I have to say I am a bit ambiguous about their education system, the whole Asian Tiger Parent thing to the nth degree, tutors and extra classes after school for 5 year olds, etc etc. And of course some of the schools are ridiculously selective; I visited a school that creamed off the top 1% of students by ability, not surprisingly they regularly have the most students in the world on 45 points.

    PS: Oh yes Captain!!!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019

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