Expat Living (Singapore) - - Editor’s Note - RE­BECCA BIS­SET Ed­i­tor-in-chief

On April Fool’s Day, it was my 20th an­niver­sary of ar­riv­ing in Sin­ga­pore, and it is a bit of a laugh as we were only com­ing for two years!

I bet you’ve heard that one be­fore… but how easy it is to for­get how things have changed in that time.

In 1998, if we wanted to go to Or­chard or the CBD we had to buy a “ticket” at the petrol sta­tion to stick on the front wind­screen. These changed colour daily so you couldn’t put yes­ter­day’s one on again. There were lit­tle “ron­dav­els” dot­ted about town (there was one in front of where the Mar­riott is now), and in each one sat sev­eral in­spec­tors. They made a note of any­one who didn’t have the right cer­tifi­cate, and you got sent a fine in the post. Can you imag­ine that hap­pen­ing now?!

Go­ing to Sen­tosa was a real mis­sion; you had to take the ferry or the cable car. There were a cou­ple of large at­tap um­brel­las on the beach for shel­ter, but you had to take pretty much ev­ery­thing with you un­less you could af­ford to go to one of the two or three ho­tels there. Try­ing to get on the last ferry was a bun-fight – great fun when you had a dou­ble buggy and tired sandy tod­dlers…

Most good restaurants were in ho­tels and they were in­side and in air-con; it was re­ally dif­fi­cult to find any­thing al­fresco. Robin­sons at Cen­tre­point was the main shop­ping hub. There was a tem­po­rary play­ground/car­ni­val that was set up around Christ­mas, on a grassy area where ION is now. And, of course, there was no MBS and no road link­ing the Sun­tec area to it. We watched the build­ing edge up with no idea what it was go­ing to be or that it would be­come such an icon of Sin­ga­pore. Back then it was all still about the Mer­lion!

May is our favourite is­sue be­cause it fea­tures lovely black-and-white homes, and the mes­sage from one of the res­i­dents we in­ter­viewed em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of mak­ing a home for your­self wher­ever you are phys­i­cally, not just bid­ing time be­fore the next move. In the con­text of how many ex­pats end up stay­ing here way longer than they ini­tially thought, it’s a very rel­e­vant mes­sage.

We wanted to see how the de­mo­graph­ics of our readers had changed over the past decade, so we are re­veal­ing the re­sults of our 2008 Reader Sur­vey again in con­junc­tion with our new sur­vey, to do a di­rect com­par­i­son. We do hope you’ll help be­cause we think the re­sults will be very in­ter­est­ing! We’ll be shar­ing them in June. You could win a cou­ple of great Banyan Tree stays too (see page 30).

En­joy the is­sue!

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