Saturday, January 21, 2012

Singapore Savvy

The last four days in Singapore have whizzed by so quickly that I've forgotten to write. Actually, I've gone back to the rudimentary form of writing, scribbling down addresses, phone numbers and notes for work in a spiral pad. I've since dubbed it my "Book of Life." From the moment I touched down at Changi Airport it has been my faithful companion; helping me during house hunting and orientation at Investor Central. It was the only thing that gave me peace during the first few days of anxiety when I was unsure about where I would be living and whether I could afford a place I liked. They say moving is one of the hardest things to deal with besides a death and a birth. I definitely felt the pressure. For three days, I browsed Craigslist and other housing sites, figured out how to get around on the MRT and buses, got lost and viewed places. It was a great way to get to know the city and meet some interesting people. I learned very early not to work with agents, especially if you're only looking for a room to rent. It is a huge rip-off. Their fee is half of a month's rent and they also charge the landlords. They are also very pushy from my experience. The woman I dealt with refused to let the spaces sell themselves. She also showed me expensive places even though I had given her my budget. Overall, it was an unsettling experience. Once I started dealing personally with landlords, things started to go better. They got straight to the point and didn't sugarcoat anything.
The pad and a little bit of luck have since helped me find the room I am writing from now. It's not very flashy, but by Asian standards its pretty big for a non master room and it came furnished with a queen sized bed, a spacious wardrobe, a wooden desk, an end table and a mirror. With a little sprucing up, it'll be home in no time. The common area and kitchen are pretty nice as well. The place also has a good feeling, like its actually been lived in, unlike some of the others I've seen. My housemates seem pretty nice as well, they are from all over the world. Sioban is from Ireland, Angel - the Philippines, Yohan - Germany, Kelly -The States, and Jenny - Korea. Maria, my landlord, has to be the coolest landlord there is. She seems to have a knack for befriending young professional foreigners and has housed people from almost everywhere. She's also famous for throwing huge parties she calls "SingBashes." I'm really glad I found this place, so far everything couldn't be going better on the home front.
As far as work goes, this is where I've been the most surprised. From what my boss had told me, I knew it was a small company, but I was very unaware of how small. The office is located on the edge of the Central Business District in a building that houses numerous other small businesses and a few schools. The place is literally a room about the size of my dorm and a fairly small studio. A lot of the equipment is a bit dated, but the place has a certain charm. From the run through of the position, there is a lot to be done. It seems very demanding for such a small operation, but I think I'll get a lot of hands on experience and I like my boss' scrappy nature. My co-workers Mattina, Sarah, and Amy quickly filled me in on the environment and their relationship with our boss, which seems a bit shaky since he's very demanding, but I think he's trying his hardest to be successful and steps on some toes in the process.
Lucky for me, I arrived just before the Chinese New Year! This means I have a 4 day weekend for the festivities including a parade tomorrow. I hope to unpack and unwind slowly while getting a chance to explore a little bit more. I'm really looking forward to the next 6 months here.
Stay Tuned!

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