Living in Singapore
The Republic of Singapore is an island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Although an island of 710 square km, Singapore is safe from both natural disasters and crimes.
Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons. It is famous for high humidity, unpredictable weather and warm temperature, ranging from 22 °C to 34 °C (72° to 93 °F). Loose and light summer clothing is recommended although proper attire is still required in schools.
Singapore is a multi-racial country which has four races – Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians – and foreign talents from many different countries living together harmoniously. With such a diverse culture, Singapore is also multi-religious.
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Cost of Living
When you plan your budget, it is good to consider the various common items you may need to purchase. Below is a compilation of standard expense items you are likely to spend on a monthly basis (in Singapore Dollars).
On average, you will need about S$750 to S$2000 a month, depending on the kind of lifestyle you want. Click here for more information on cost of living in Singapore.
You can open an account with a local or international bank. Local banks include DBS (POSB), UOB or OCBC. International banks include Citibank, Bank of China, Bank of India, CIMB or HSBC. To open a savings account, visit any bank with your passport, Student’s Pass and Letter of Admission to Smart Learners Education. A minimum deposit of S$ 500 is usually required if you are below 21 years old.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
Once you have opened a bank account, you can apply for an ATM card. This useful card allows you to withdraw money from the bank’s ATM machines and conduct various transactions such as topping up your EZlink card. ATM machines are fully automated and available 24 hours. Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS)
You can also use your ATM card to make NETS payment for your purchases. NETS is a cashless payment transaction system that deducts the exact purchase amount directly from your bank account, at the point of sale.
Other than banks, you can also change your foreign currencies with licensed money changers. These outlets are usually located within shopping malls and commercial centres; popular ones are Peoples’ Park Centre, Orchard Shopping Centre, Centre Point and Lucky Plaza.
Shopping & Eating
Singapore is a country that never stops shopping or eating – the two favourite pastimes of Singaporeans! There are many exciting shopping malls that feature top and local brand names, great eating outlets and world-class restaurants which offer a wide selection of cuisine and local delights.
There are shopping malls everywhere, from the bustling Orchard Road to the warm and friendly suburban neighbourhood centres. You can shop at the popular Orchard Road area for designer clothes, electrical gadgets, the latest imported fashion accessories and togs. For basic necessities or a good bargain, visit one of the many suburban malls and local shops located in the heart of housing estates.
With such a wide variety of local and international cuisines here, you are certainly spoilt for choice. If you are hungry, just hit one of the favourite places:
1. Neighbourhood Hawker Centre or “Kopitiam” (Coffee Shop)
2. Modern Food Courts e.g. Food Junction and KOPITIAM
3. Fast Food Chains e.g. McDonalds and Burger King
4. Café or Restaurant e.g. Coffee Beans and Starbucks
One of the best places to try some of Singapore’s favourite local fare like laksa, chicken rice or nasi lemak is the open air hawker centre. These hawker centres are usually the cheapest places to eat. Popular hawker centres include Lau Pa Sat, Chinatown Food Street and Maxwell Street.
You can also eat in air-conditioned comfort food courts at reasonable prices. Food courts are usually located in shopping malls. Visit www.makansutra.com.sg for more information.
You should also be aware of Singapore laws especially those relating to the Immigration and Customs Authority and the Ministry of Manpower. These include, but are not limited to, immigration requirements, laws on driving, drugs and alcohol abuse, employment, smoking, traffic and littering;
IMPORTANT POINT: IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE TO BREAK THE LAW, THE RESPONSIBILITY LIES ON EVERYONE TO KNOW THE LAW.