Friday, 2 March 2007

The "official stuff"

Settling into a new home has it's own problems as we all know, but add to that the problems of moving to a new country!
As you move out of your original home, one must disconnect the water, electricity, phone, gas etc, notify the Post Office and many other businesses of your change of address ...... add to that when moving overseas there are other things to consider. Do we sell our home, do we lease it out, do we change our insurance, do we set up a new bank account, what removalist company will we choose, ... to name but a few of the things to consider.
But then when one arrives into the new country all of the above has to be thought of once again, this time in reverse. Do we rent an apartment or a townhouse, how do we connect the phone, where do we get a mobile phone from, what company do we choose, what bank account can we set up, where will we live ......... to name but a few of the many things to consider.
The first things I have noticed with any of the "official stuff", is that I feel I have no rights as a person. Because I am on a 'dependants pass' I am dependant on my husband John. It is 'frowned upon' if it is felt that you are not contributing to the community and by being a dependant it is seen that you are not paying any taxes, so therefor not contributing!
John must sign for everything from the application of the telephone thru to the tenants agreement. The freedom I once had in Australia has been severely curtailed!!
But you come to terms with it pretty quickly and get on with the business and enjoyment of the experience of living in another country.
To sort out internet, mobile phones and landline connections is a nightmare ......... the choice for us was between Singtel and Starhub, so we ended splitting them and going with Starhub for landline and internet.
The end result of whatever company or plan that you choose, will be so similar it won't matter. But it took more than one whole day to organise.
It takes one complete day to sort out the banking details and to open an account. Internet banking is not "the norm", so to organise that was an experience as well.
Not to mention that John wrote the password down in my notebook and not realizing it, I had gone thru my book just yesterday and thrown out all the old papers, amongst them the dreaded password.
Worse still, is that yesterday we had our landline / cable TV / internet connection completed and he decided last night it was an ideal opportunity to do the internet banking and could I give him the password.
You mean that bit of paper I threw out?
Dare I say that now he has to apply for a new one, not on the net, but by mail ........ this will take at least a week.
"Waiting in the queue" is something else I have already learnt to have patience with ....... there are queue's for everything. This is obviously due to the high population. There are queue's waiting to get into a restaurant, queue's for the phone connection, queue's at the check-outs, queue's for the post office and queue's for the bank ...... and I don't means there are just two or three in front of you!
Yesterday at the Post Office (called Singapore Post) I was waiting for 46 minutes just to buy stamps. There were at least 30 people ahead of me.
Again, I have now learnt to buy in bulk, well in advance.
The huge numbers of people waiting are not because of reduced shopping or opening hours ....... in fact, the hours of opening are quite staggering with the post office hours being 9.30am to 6.30pm and on Wednesdays they close at 8.00pm. They are also open all day on Saturdays.
The library is open from 11.00am till 9.00pm seven days a week.
All shops are open from 11.00am till at least 10.00pm seven days a week. Some open as early as 10.00am. :-))
But all of the above - frustrating or not - is part of my very steep learning curve of settling into a new life in a new country!!


Muz said...

Do post more on the trials and tribulations of making the transition to Singapore life. This is very interesting to anyone who has ever considered making the move. :-)

ruchika said...

We are a young couple who moved here from India....i moved here two months back and my husband around three months...we have been married for 9 months now.I too am on a Dependant's Pass but somehow managed a job and now waiting for my Work Permit to come thru.I really like ur photographs they r beautiful and scenic. I am stii trying to adjust to this new life, India was a different story.Here u r so independent u have to do everything on ur own...LIfe changed a lot. Singapore is a nice place to live so far have been to a few malls and east coast park which is really fun to be in....Enjoy ur stay in Singapore. Have a good day.