1 Wedding, A Funeral, Maids & Cowgirls – Singapore: The Final 90 Days Part 1

This is the final chapter on my story of living in Singapore as an Expat in 2008-9, this one is a bit long so its split into 2 parts, and there’s no pictures but I wanted to at least finish it.

With the deadline set in stone by Immigration (I wasn’t going to attempt another border run!) and limited funds (I had money, but without replacement work, it wouldn’t last too long) it was time to start planning. The first question: Stay or go? I must have mulled this over a thousand times, and it carried on right up to the day of my flight, the problem is, its not just about me. Finding work in a foreign land is not so easy – I knew all the requirements for the Employment Pass etc, but a lot of the companies didn’t want to go through the hassle of submitting the paperwork, and so simply state PR (Permanent Resident) only. Fortunately I did have a fair number of recruiters with my CV trying to match me to roles, and I was getting a few calls and even went to a few interviews. All seemed to be going well. As time progressed however, it started to look a bit more of an issue, I was getting interviews, but no further. Seems my last role paid too well for them to match it, I’d have to take a cut in a new role. I didn’t mind this, as I still wanted to stay, and I thought it would be worth it providing the job was good.

My flat mate and friend had been gradually getting more irritated by my neighbour, who has a morning ritual of sweeping the landing area outside of her house – at 6am. Its all good and nice to keep the communal path clean and do your bit, but for a person with damaged hearing, the sound grates like fingers down a chalk board. That combined with the stress of his work (he worked for the same company but in a different dept) he was getting more and more agitated. As there was the good chance of me now having to make a somewhat swift exit, it was a good time for him to jump ship, and find alternative accommodation. He found what seemed like a nice spacious house not far from one of our friends, seemed nice and quiet and so he took it. I on the other hand contacted Crown again, for a quote on getting my stuff sent back to the UK.

After a while I got word of a role at one of my old companies, and for a job I was previously going to move to, albeit now in a different country. I jumped at the chance, it would be work I knew, people I knew and hadn’t seen for a while, and I’d be in the sun and still in Singapore. All seemed to go well, I had the interview, but then no call back. Seemed odd. I gave it a week, still nothing. I decided to contact a friend in the company, hes moved up quite high now and could likely find out what happened. It seems it was a mistake by HR. I was liked it seems, but when HR found out my previous pay, they decided it was too high for them to match it, and decided it was not worth trying to negotiate, and so they didn’t even try to call me. I immediately said I would take lower than my previous role and be willing to negotiate – as I had said at interview. The problem however, was they already hired someone else locally who was obviously on a lower pay than I had been on. Looking back on it all, this was probably the pivotal point between me staying and leaving Singapore, if this role had worked out, I would have stayed, and the fact it didn’t meant I had to accept the fact I’d be leaving.

Its always hot in Singapore, and with Stephan now in his own place with a garden and outside porch, it was the obvious thing to do. The idea was simple, lots of nice meat, lots of beer, and all our friends. Stephan had been working on the plans for this for a long time, the meat was not going to any old thing either, he was going to take real time over it and perfect it to some great recipes he knew – this meant he wanted good meat and to do it properly. We also completely filled the fridge with beer and other drinks. We invited pretty much anyone and everyone we liked to come over, it was a celebration of his new house, and also partly a bit of a send off for me as it was looking less likely I’d still be around for much longer. My memory might be off all this time later, but I think there was about a month left to go on my visa at this point, and I was already well into negotiations with Crown to move me back to the UK.

The day of the BBQ arrived, we even ended up inviting the staff from Country Jamboree, one of our favourite bars and the nicest in Orchard Towers, they play country music, all the staff dress as Cowgirls or Cowboys, and a lot of our friends hang out there. We’d been on really good terms with all the staff, and were friends with most of them. Sadly, they were working that night, so we didn’t expect many would be able to make it, and sadly they couldn’t. Despite that, we had a great time, our good buddy Pinkie came over and joined the fun, and even went to the shop round the corner and bought enough beer to completely re-fill the fridge – it was going to be a long night. Floyd and some friends from Cosafe came over, he brought us some nice packs of ribs from his restaurant – I’d become quite the rib fan, and really liked Cosafe’s ribs as well, so that was a really nice gesture and surprise. The party went on quite late, and eventually everyone departed with only a few of us left, and we eventually headed off for some drinks at CJ’s.

To be continued in part 2 (the last part)…

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