Its November now, 2016 is ending in less than 60 days. What I’ve done in 2016? Nah ok I shall leave this topic till the last day of 2016 ok hehe. I need to get this post to be posted by the last day of 2016. I hope lah ok XD (Ok obviously I failed because it’s the 1st of January 2017 today and I am still typing)
Its November now, which means that it has been a year since i started working in Singapore. ONE YEAR. Mygoddddd time really flies! I still remembered a year ago I came back and forth from Melaka-SG / Melaka-KL for interviews, and then after I was accepted by this company, another round of travelling back and forth from Melaka-SG / Johor-SG for signing acceptance form, medical checkup, applying for work permit, looking for rooms etc. It is really tiring, but after all, its all worth it.
The main reason for this post is about how to get a work permit (not really) in Singapore, how to find a room with good owner, how to adapt to Singapore’s lifestyle, and some of the “culture shock” i’d experienced in this one year. (Note: all topics below is just my experience and opinion, you do not have to agree with me.)
1. How do you find your job?
I get this question a lot. The truth is, I actually found it on Jobstreet. I did not choose much since it’s my first job after graduate. No experience, fresh grad. So instead of insist to work in the event field, I also searched for customer service and administration job. Just search for all vacancy. But on Jobstreet I think the employer can see who you sent your resume to. So instead of sending resume to company through Jobstreet, you can go to companies’ website to look for their contactable email and send your resume using your email.
Unless your resume and skill are really really good, if not then just keep sending. I would say out of the 60 resumes that you sent, you only get maybe 10 replies. 7 are telling you they don’t hire foreigners (because some job never states “for Singaporean/PR only) and only 3 will schedule an interview with you. SO JUST SEND LA! After i-dont-even-know-how-many-times of trying, and then i got this job.
2. Looking for house/room
There are lots of ways to look for rooms online. iBilik and all. You can get all kinds of result when you search. Also, there are lots of room renting info groups on facebook. Just join those groups and contact the owner of the room. Here are 2 groups that i am in. Find Your Room In SG / 新加坡租屋租房 Room & Unit Rent Singapore
Most of the time, rental for single room will be higher. Try to look for rental that includes everything (water and electric bill, wifi etc). It will be much easier to pay just once every month. Counting and dividing bill can be really troublesome sometimes, especially when you are not the only tenant, and also when you have bloody hell calculative owner/housemate. (Personal experience when I rent a room at PJS7)
I’m that kind of people who don’t like to social when I’m at home lololol (probably cos i’m the only child and i really used to staying in room 24/7) so I’m renting a single room here in Singapore. What’s the best is that, I AM THE ONLY TENANT. Nope I don’t own the entire unit la my house owner stays here too.
Ok, talking about the convenience now. If possible, you may wanna take bus to work, because the crowd at MRT station during peak hour is horrible. How to know which bus stops at the bus stop nearest to your office? Go check the bus stop code or bus stop name. Each bus stop have a code and name. After that, go back to the bus stop nearest to your house, check the list of bus stops that different buses stop.
(the paragraph below sounds a bit like tongue twister, i’m sorry, pardon my english. Lol)
I wait for bus every morning at the bus stop in front of my block, and the bus i’m taking stops at the bus stop right in front of my office. When I end work I will have to cross the road to go to the bus stop opposite to my office building to take the bus home. Same route, same bus number, just opposite direction. Bus stop name usually be like “Block 123” and the opposite one will be “Opp Block 123”.
3. Work permit, medical check up, bank account
To be very honest, I don’t really know how to apply for all these, because after the company accepted me, they did literally everything for me. I think it is not up to you to choose which pass to apply, your company will apply for you based on your salary. Higher pay, higher “level” of pass, more convenient, more benefits.
Firstly, you will have to go for medical check up. If i am not mistaken, foreigners have to go for medical check up at Tanjong Pagar. I am not sure whether all foreign workers have to go there, or is it based on company. But i did mine at there.
Around a few days or one week after medical check up, you have to go to the same place to collect your result, and pass it to yout company’s HR department. (Some company will get the clinic to send it to the company straight away, i dont know why mine don’t -.-)
After medical check up result submitted to company, company will issue a letter to you. You have to bring that letter to go to MOM (Ministry of Manpower). You go there to take picture of your work permit / S pass. After taking picture, MOM will then issue you a letter, the letter works as your “temporary work permit”. Meaning if you have that letter, you don’t have to fill in Disembarkation Card (aka “white card”) when you go in and out of Singapore. Instead of queuing with tourists at immigration counter, you can also go to auto-lane to scan your passport and there you go!
I have no idea on how to apply for bank account because the company really did literally everything for me. All i have to do is to go to that specific branch to collect your ATM/Debit card. For mine, it’s POSB Branch at Kaki Bukit. My god that’s the most ulu place I’ve been to in my one year life in Singapore. It is located at a hidden industrial area. After taking MRT, have to take bus. After alighted at the nearest bus stop, need to walk somemore walao -.- I suggest you guys to take cab there just in case you lost. IT IS REALLY HIDDEN. Work permit holders have to collect their bank card AT THAT BRANCH ONLY so no choice lor have to go ~___~
4. Singapore’s Lifestyle
I need to emphasize again. All these below are my personal opinion. You don’t have to agree with me. Please don’t come and tell me I am wrong when we don’t share the same opinion. Only tell me I am wrong if I am really wrong 好嗎~~~
Idk, but I feel like most of
their our time are wasted on queuing and waiting, for literally everything. Queue for bus, queue for MRT, queue for food, queuing for iPhone. These 3 things basically sums up our life here. If you decide to go to a mall (to do your grocery, to get something, whatever) after work on a weekday to avoid crowd, you are wrong! The mall is crowded almost everyday. Especially during peak hours.
Is it because most of the working adults here don’t cook at home? So they decided to have their dinner in the mall (most of the MRT stations are connected to shopping mall). I really have no idea why is this, but I see almost every of the restaurants in the mall are crowded with humans. Omg 我怕怕！Its even worse on weekend. The crowd is really people mountain people sea 人山人海水泄不通 my god ._.
Another one, most people here (I mean people who are staying in Singapore, not just Singaporean. There are lots of non-Singaporean who stays in Singapore, including myself) are really 低頭族. Their eye are on their phone no matter what are they doing.
I’m totally fine if you’re in phone when you’re in the bus, in the train, waiting for bus, waiting for train, eating alone. Whatever, I am fine. BUT, BUT, they also on their phone, playing games or even watching drama, WHILE WALKING.
Erm hello? Cannot walk properly? I really don’t care if you wanna play games or watch drama while walking, but at least, don’t walk at tortoise speed at the center of the road. Please.
You have to drive at the left lane if you’re not going fast. So why are you at the center when you’re walking so slow? I don’t care where do you come from, but people behave like this really need to reflect a bit, regardless your nationality. This is not about nationality anymore but behavior at the public.
5. Culture Shock
Firstly, the food.
I am talking about food in the hawker center, not cafes. Most of their food that-supposed-to-be-salty are sweet. I am not saying that their Wan Tan Mee taste like sugar, but instead of using soy sauce (or kicap / “jiu-cheng” / 酱清), most of the time they used the black sauce (kicap pekat / “orh-tau-yu” / 黑酱油), the one that looks damn thick and pekat (ok thick is pekat I know).
I cannot understand this. They use this black sauce for half-boiled egg and chicken rice. OMG?!?! Shock me much to be really honest. Half boiled egg not add soy sauce de meh ?!?! Auntie why you give me orh-tau-yu?!?!? Chicken rice not add soy sauce de meh ?!?! Why is orh-tau-yu one?!?!?!?
Ok, now it reminds me of my horrible experience with Singapore’s Char Kuey Teow. I ranted once on my Dayre, but its ok I repeat again. I ordered “Char Kuey Teow, no taugeh, spicy” and what was served is “Char Kuey Teow Mee, with taugeh, spicy-that-doesnt-taste-like-spicy”.
I was thinking maybe the uncle misheard kuey teow mee instead of kuey teow, I don’t really like to have it mixed, but its ok. I also think that maybe the uncle is so used to have the step off adding taugeh, so nevermind, I pick it out myself. And then when I had my first mouth……………. (insert thunder and lightning thunderstorm effect)
IT IS SWEEEEEET.
WHAT?!?!?!? They fried with sweet sauce omg ._. Literally 晴天霹靂. That is the only time I ordered Char Kuey Teow in Singapore. If I’m craving for Malaysian version of Char Kuey Teow, always looks for “Penang Char Kuey Teow”. If you go to a random “local” Char Kuey Teow stall, you probably will get the same thing as mine. Sweet one, and fried with noodles ~_~
I have more things to list here. This topic itself can be one blog post already, I shall stop here and have another post just to talk about the food next time.
Second, the language.
Yes, I know Singaporeans’ English is pretty high standard, Malaysian cannot compete la. Not all Malaysian, I do have friends with really really
powderful powerful English. But, I would say, in term of fluency in Mandarin, no matter reading writing or speaking, Malaysian is much better.
That’s the truth. If any Singaporean read till here wanna defense, just go ahead lor. I’ve seen a lot of Singaporean who cannot speak proper Mandarin without adding in English word into their sentence. Or they speak Mandarin half way it will auto switch to full English conversation. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. I’ve heard my direct supervisor said that she had A1 for Chinese (not sure in what exam) but they way she speak to us was really quite bad. Coming from someone who said that she scored A1, it’s quite bad.
Singaporeans’ Chinese slang also a bit too……………… 字正腔圓. A bit awkward to speak to them. Their slang are too formal. It’s really like they way the casts speak in dramas. I am a bit stress to talk to them tbh. So during time like this, singapore slang of me is enabled. LOL.
I’ve also realized that most of the Singaporean (around my age, or younger) cannot speak dialects. Cannot speak cannot understand. Well I think this is because they don’t really grow up with these dialects. Maybe only grandparents speak dialect, parents speak English to them, and they don’t see grandparents everyday. No way they can get to listen dialects on TV or radio that’s because the late PM Lee Kuan Yew banned dialects on medias. All the Hokkien and Cantonese dramas that airing in Singapore are all Mandarin dubbed. Even movies that are screen in Singapore, are dubbed, too.
Can you imagine 葉問 (Ip Man) saying “wo yao yi ge da shi ge” (我要一个打十个) instead of “ngor yiu yat gor da sab gor” (我要一个打十个). My god, the feel also not there anymore. THIS IS SO CMI I CANNOT.
Other than all these, now to talk about Singaporean slang. Singapore’s slang is quite…..anyhow. (they also use the word “anyhow” a lot)
They spelled “nyonya” as “nonya“. Errrr???
They spelled “kuih” as “kueh“?? I was taught “kuih” since Standard 1???
They said “agar-ation” instead of “agak agak“??? Ehhhh???? WHATTTTTT
Agak ends with ‘k‘ so where does the ‘r‘ came from?????
How do you use “agaration“?
Ex: I don’t really know how to agak the amount of water to add.
I don’t know how much water to add, my agaration is bad.
Someone asked me, do I have Singapore slang after staying a year here? Tbh, I would say yes. I had mastered the skill of speaking Singlish with Singaporean. My skill only “enabled” when I’m speaking with Singaporean. When I know you’re not Singaporean, my singapore-slang function is auto disabled. LOL. Malaysian is really flexible like this. Speak Taiwan Chinese slang with Taiwan Chinese. Speak China Chinese slang with China Chinese. Lolol XD
Ok next, it’s about the recycle awareness.
When I first came here, I asked my house owner whether do they have this “no plastic on weekend” rule, and my house owner was so shocked and surprised that we have this rule in Malaysia.
Sometimes in Malaysia we only free to do our grocery shopping during the weekend. But whatttt, weekend no plastic leh! We have to keep (and use) our plastic so wisely so that we will have enough plastic for our trash. Sometimes I even purposely pay RM0.20 for the plastic bag because I don’t have enough plastic bag for my tong sampah. Lol.
Not sure whether this happens everywhere in Singapore, or only the supermarket downstairs my block, but they really give out plastic bag as if plastic bag no need money (well, they really don’t charge for plastic bag here). Example, I buy one packet of instant noodle and 1 box of cereal, they gave me 2 plastics. EH?! Why? Cannot put maggi mee and cereal in one plastic bag meh? I also noticed that the plastic bags are non biodegradable (i think, because it didn’t state on the plastic bag)
Not only plastic bags, at hawker center, in Malaysia, if we dabao noodles kind of food, they will put the noodles and soup in the transparent plastic and tie with a string, right? In Singapore, they DON’T use that kind of transparent plastic. They use transparent container instead. The container quality also quite good one, can put in microwave kind of quality leh!
Yes I know the transparent plastic is not good if you put hot soup, but using container isn’t any better. They can get it so easily that they will dabao, eat, throw away the container. I secretly feel so bad about it because I am also one of the person who have to eat and throw away the container. They really use a lot of plastics and polystyrene.
Singapore is so near to Malaysia, so much similarities, at the same time so different from each other. The place, the people, the food, the culture, the lifestyle. Everything is same same but different, and different but same same.
Unlike Malaysia, Singapore is safe and convenient country and I like it. You can walk alone at a quiet road late at night without feeling worrying. You can never feel the same in Malaysia. Their public transport can bring you to anywhere you want. I can never go to where I want by using public transport in Malaysia.
Pretty satisfy with my life here. A lot of friend asked me how long do I plan to work in Singapore. My answer is I don’t know. I’m used to the life like this, and most importantly, I am used to spending SGD. Seriously I don’t think I can go back and earn MYR again. I need more powerful SGD to pay back my PTPTN, to travel, to do everything I want. HAHAHHAHAHHAHA!