Expats who come from big countries like China and the USA may find Singapore too small to explore. This is true to a certain extent. However, this tiny nation is compact with distinctive experiences that cannot be found elsewhere, if you know where to look. So, expats will have to dig deeper into their Singaporean experience to enjoy what this tiny country has to offer.
Singapore is a country of different polarities coming together and somehow, it works. Below are some experiences that expats may find interesting in Singapore:
Similar to the big USA, Singapore’s history as an immigrant country contributes to its unique population makeup. Being a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures, and religions, expats not only get to enjoy different festivities throughout the year, but experience all the different cultures in one place. Varieties in food, music, traditions, customs, and even language (Singlish!) must be explored and see how they are all connected by a common, uniquely Singaporean identity.
Expats can look forward to the annual Chingay, a street parade that celebrates Lunar New Year, the gigantic Ramadhan bazaars during the blessed muslim fasting month and seeing thousands of muslims going to mosques on the morning of Hari Raya or Eid, the firewalking ceremony held a week before Deepavali celebrations take place where colourful rangoli beautifully decorated in front of Hindu homes, and hearing the unmistakable jingles in every store and elaborate Christmas light ups all over the island.
City & Island Life
Singapore is a small island located at the southern tip of Southeast Asia. It used to be a backwater village where fishing was one of the main activities to sustain life. As the country moves through history, it has now become an economic powerhouse where tall buildings and modern infrastructure can be seen everywhere.
The unique quality of Singapore is being able to retain pockets of its rural environment while still performing economically. Residents who seek nature and a more laid back environment to wind down can visit the many parks such as Macritchie Reservoir and Botanic Gardens; and islands such as Pulau Ubin, Kusu Island, Sisters’ Island, and St John’s Island. While Singapore is no Maldives, expats can still enjoy some quiet, salty sea breeze, and hot tropical climate while listening to the waves.
East Meets West
Singapore may be an Asian country with a largely Asian population, but Western media, ideologies, and lifestyles have long taken root, especially in the younger generation. Growing up with large influences of American and British media, Singapore’s millennials are more open-minded and liberal than their regional counterparts. However, Asian values such as filial piety, hard work, and mannerisms are still deeply ingrained in them.
This mix of East meets West culture is very interesting to experience because it seems like Singaporeans are living the ideal lifestyle. They know how to freshen up in the morning with a cup of coffee from Starbucks and enjoy teh tarik in the evening with friends at the hawker centre. Expats get to work with local colleagues where differing work styles fuse and facilitate positive knowledge and skill transfers – a win-win for both parties.
Unique Experiences in Singapore for Expats
Many expats fallin love with the Singapore experience and don’t intend to leave. However, because of Singapore’s small land size, the country can only accept a small number of immigrants to live long-term.
Data has shown that approvals for Permanent Residency in Singapore accounts for only 30% of all applications annually. Expats who are on S Pass, Employment Pass, Personalised Employment Pass, and Tech.Pass are eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residency under the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS) Scheme. For expats who intend to live long-term in Singapore, this is one way to do it.
For more information, contact Immigration@SG (IASG) at +65 6493 1830.