Getting things done in Singapore is generally a breeze.
The nation’s reputation for efficiency translates into fast, readily available services which makes living here that much more convenient.
SP Services Ltd, part of the Singapore Power Group, provides a convenient, one-stop service for electricity, water and piped gas supplies in Singapore. It also offers billing and payment collection services on behalf of other utility providers for services such as water and gas, and refuse collection.
The water from Singapore taps is safe for drinking.
Opening a utilities account with SP Services is simple; just click here or call 1800 222 2333. A bank account with a local bank is required, from which the monthly utility bills will be drawn
Fixed line services are only offered by SingTel, one of three major telecommunication providers in Singapore. Free digital voice lines for home are often offered as part of a package by SingTel and StarHub, another telecommunication provider. For more information, click here.
Cable TV is offered by StarHub and SingTel. For more information, click here.
The main local newspapers are The Straits Times and The Business Times, both in English. Local newspapers in the three other official languages are Lianhe Zaobao (Chinese), Berita Harian (Malay) and Tamil Murasu (Tamil). All these newspapers are published by Singapore Press Holdings. They can be purchased from newsstands, delivered to your home, or be subscribed to online.
Major international newspapers are also available, including the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Asian Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. To subscribe to these and other international newspapers, click here.
Many international magazine titles, such as National Geographic, Newsweek, topical magazines such as Asian Diver, Sports Illustrated, Top Gear and the ever popular women’s magazines, are also sold here.
Cold Storage is a chain of supermarkets in Singapore popular for its large range of quality produce and sizeable selection from US, UK and Australia. Cold Storage also operates six MarketPlace stores, namely Jason’s the Gourmet Grocer at Orchard Towers, Tanglin MarketPlace at Tanglin Mall, Paragon MarketPlace at Paragon, Jason’s MarketPlace at Raffles City Mall, Naturally MarketPlace at VivoCity and ThreeSixty Market Place at ION Orchard. They offer a premium range of groceries, including organic produce.
With some supermarkets specialising in niche products, you can be certain there is something for every epicurean living in Singapore. Look out for Tierney’s at Serene Centre for Scandinavian, German and Swiss produce, Meidi-Ya at Liang Court for Japanese products, and a Korean Mart at Parkway Parade.
The largest supermarket chain in Singapore is NTUC FairPrice, which can be found in most major malls in the Housing Development Board (HDB) estates. It also runs a small number of higher-end supermarkets called FairPrice Finest.
If you wish to imbibe in a totally local experience however, check out the wet markets found in the heart of Housing Development Board (HDB) estates. These markets often operate from the wee hours of the morning to noon, and are closed on Mondays. Be prepared to be greeted by the scents and sights of fresh fish, meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables and flowers amidst casually dressed locals going about their daily shopping.
One of the many luxuries of living in Singapore is the availability and affordability of domestic help. Live-in maids who cook, do household chores and babysit are commonplace among Singaporean families. These Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) usually come from neighbouring countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar. They receive a monthly salary of about SGD 320 upwards and have at least one day off a month, on a Sunday.
The government imposes a levy of SGD 265 per month for each maid and all employers have to take up a Personal Accident Insurance policy and medical insurance for their maids. Maid agencies will be able to help you with the maid selection and take care of the paperwork. The Association of Employment Agencies lists licensed and accredited maid agencies here.
For more details on the process, click here or visit the Ministry of Manpower website.
An alternative to live-in maids is local part-time maids who offer cleaning services on a per-hour basis.
Another luxury of living in Singapore is affordable childcare and the range of preschools available. Child Care Centres (CCCs) run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) provide half-day and full-day programmes for children from 18 months to seven years of age. Infant care is available at some CCCs.
Many privately run centres also have their own curriculum and methodologies, some of which promote brand-name learning methods. Many mothers rely on word-of-mouth and online forums to find the right childcare centre for their children.
Visit the MSF website for more details such as locations and subsidies, or to search through a comprehensive directory of privately run child care services.
Parents may need extra help with their school-going children or just opportunities for them to socialise with others their age. They have the option of placing them in Student Care Centres (SCCs), run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), which provide day care services for school children between the ages of seven and 14. Besides a safe environment, such centres provide tuition, homework supervision, enrichment and other recreational activities, to promote the child’s social, emotional and intellectual development.
Many privately run centres also provide similar services.
Visit the MSF website for more details, or to search through a comprehensive directory of student care services available in Singapore.
Living in Singapore is conducive for older people too. Many find Singapore accessible and friendly to older people, whether they are visiting or staying with their children and grandchildren who are working and living in Singapore.
The People’s Association organises many events for those over 55 years of age, including sports and fitness programmes, under its senior citizens’ or retirees’ clubs.
Specialised elderly services, which include counselling, day care and home care, are also available through the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). You can find a comprehensive directory of eldercare centres on the MSF website.