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Life in Singapore

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When we first told people that we were moving to Singapore, the news was often met with a blank stare -- it's one of those places that everyone has heard of, but were never sure exactly where it was. That all changed when an American teenager living in Singapore was convicted of vandalism and sentenced to four strokes of the cane. Now when we mention living in Singapore, people know exactly where it is and have an impression of the life here, albeit not always accurate.

Singapore is a wonderfully clean, safe and modern city. The climate in Singapore is pretty well constant year-round and the biggest decision we have to make when leaving the house is whether or not to carry an umbrella. The lifestyle in Singapore can be anything from utterly luxurious -- living in a penthouse apartment or Colonial Black & White, complete with pool, gym, tennis court, a live-in maid (or two), gardener, chauffeur and security guard -- to very basic -- 1 or 2 room flat, no facilities, no employees, no car. Most expatriate families' lifestyles fall somewhere in-between.

There are many private clubs and associations to join that provide recreation and entertainment and a link to your home country. So, even though we are halfway around the world we can participate in a Canada Day celebration or enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner coordinated by the volunteers of the Canadian Association of Singapore. In addition to Canadian cultural events, the different associations organize tours and activities to introduce their members to the other cultures in Singapore -- an Indian cooking class or a sunrise tour to witness the Thaipusam Festival, a Hindu religious celebration, where Hindus serving penance parade through the streets carrying kavadis , semicircular steel frames decorated with peacock feathers, fruits and flowers and supported by spikes and hooks inserted into the carrier's body. Singapore is a truly multicultural society, and Public Holidays mark the celebration of Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist holy days and festivals providing a great opportunity to learn about different religions and cultures.

Living overseas can be exciting when everything is new and different, interesting when you are busy learning about a new culture, frustrating when you are trying to find that elusive tube of your favourite toothpaste and depressing when your new friends announce they are leaving on a new assignment or returning home. At the worst of times, we wonder why we ever left Canada, but the education and cultural experience we have gained and our many new friends from around the world make it all worthwhile.

Take a mini tour of Singapore -- View our Singapore Photo Album