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Articles > Singapore


Employing a Maid in Singapore

Posted on Saturday January 26, 2013 (14:28:28)
Singapore has always been a popular tourist destination, but in recent times, it has also become one of the most important business and commercial hubs in Asia. As such, Singapore has a growing population of foreign workers. Settling down in a new country means having to adapt and learn the local ways at least to a certain extent. One of the most common questions that newly settled families and individuals face is that of domestic help. Since having a maid is not common all over the world, many people who move to Singapore have no prior experience of having a helper at home. However, employing domestic staff for help around the house is a common practice, especially among expats.

A maid can work part time or full time by visiting your house. Depending on the nature and amount of work you wish to delegate, your agency can advise you on the type of employment you may consider. Alternatively, you can also have a live-in maid, who resides with you and undertakes all domestic chores.   more ...

Articles > Switzerland


Feeling At Home In Switzerland

Posted on Friday January 25, 2013 (18:26:52)
Nancy Bach
by Nancy Bach

After living in Hong Kong for six years, we were ready for a change of pace with our move to Switzerland. Just as we had done in Asia, we wanted to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So we used every weekend and holiday to explore.

We took a long drive down through France, stopping in Provence, Grasse (perfume capital), Nice, Cannes, then on to Genoa, San Remo, and Rome Italy, soaking up history, culture, and Rivieran rays. We made several trips to London and Paris. My husband and the boys drove the Nurburgring in Germany—at 125 mph! And we visited many smaller cities in Switzerland and France, especially enjoying festivals; it seemed there was usually one every weekend. We ended up staying in Switzerland for only eleven months, and packed in as much exploration as we could. But it was a blink of an eye.   more ...

Articles > Hong Kong

Hong Kong

The Amahs of Hong Kong

Posted on Friday January 25, 2013 (16:07:03)
by Nancy Bach

It’s Sunday. Who are the lovely dark-haired, round-faced ladies chattering away at the Star Ferry terminal, in Victoria Park, under the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank? They are women from the Philippines on their day off from duties as amahs, or “little mothers.” One of them could be your new spouse.

Most Hong Kong expats have the opportunity to hire an amah as a live-in maid—and so much more. Apartments generally have a small bedroom and bath, generally off the kitchen. And it is small; the shower may be handheld over a toilet, and you can even buy an amah bed, undersized to fit the tiny space.   more ...

Articles > Singapore


Permanent Residence in Singapore - Application Procedure, Benefits and Obligations

Posted on Friday January 25, 2013 (14:27:24)
Singapore has always been a coveted holiday destination among visitors from across the world. Today, Singapore is much more than just about shopping and vacations. As its significance as a commercial and business destination grows, Singapore is becoming home to a growing number of expats from all over the world.

Permanent residents enjoy a number of benefits, and are free to live and work in the country, as well as buy property. However, being a permanent resident of Singapore also means having certain obligations.

Let’s look at the key points in obtaining permanent residency in Singapore, including who is eligible to apply, the application procedure, perks of being a permanent resident and responsibilities as a resident.   more ...

Articles > General


Can I Drive my Car Abroad? The International Driving Permit Explained

Posted on Tuesday January 22, 2013 (13:21:55)
International Driving Permit
If you or your family are planning on moving abroad, working away or simply going for a holiday, you may have been considering the viability of taking your vehicle with you. It can be frustrating having to go back to relying on public transport after years of having on your own car, but even if you know of a car shipping company to get your vehicle there, but how do you overcome the obstacle of not having the proper licensing when visiting countries outside of the EU? Well help is at hand in the form of the International Driving Permit (IDP)

The IDP is a document that is recognised by many countries all over the world, and allows the holder of that permit to drive a vehicle in one of those nations. However, please note that the IDP is not a license to drive in a foreign country on its own, and it must be accompanied by a full driving license from your home nation.   more ...

Articles > Switzerland


Guns, Lies and Bibliothèque At The Swiss Border

Posted on Tuesday January 15, 2013 (00:56:14)
by Nancy Bach

La Douane? What’s that?

When we learned we were moving to Switzerland I was elated. I love visiting new countries and learning new languages, so I was excited for the opportunity to add Swiss to my personal language portfolio. It took a while to remember that there is no “Swiss” language. Depending on the part of the country visited, Switzerland uses three official languages: French, German, and Italian.

Our assignment was at Switzerland’s southwest tip in Geneva, a small, but powerful international city hosting numerous UN and other global organizations. In this beautiful setting on Lac Leman and the Rhone River, Genève, as it is known to natives, is totally surrounded by France. Formidable! I was set. With my full year of high school French I would be speaking fluently in no time.   more ...

Articles > Singapore


Networking Tips for New Expats in Singapore

Posted on Monday January 14, 2013 (17:52:59)
by Alexandra Sheehan

The expat community in Singapore is a huge, dynamic group of individuals. You will have no problem whatsoever finding a group of non-locals to relate to and hang out with. However, because of its unique cultural makeup, Singapore has a very different social scene than what you may be used to, one of the reasons why it is such a great place to be an expat.

Making connections

The population in this country is largely composed of young professionals who zoom from place to place, enveloped in their smart phones and robotic in their demeanor. This can be intimidating for the new kid in town (or city), making it hard to break those initial barriers and actually befriending someone new. There are tons of resources which break these barriers for you, providing expats multiple outlets for socialization.   more ...

Articles > Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Typhoons in Hong Kong - My Experience As An Expat

Posted on Friday January 11, 2013 (17:47:08)
by Nancy Bach

If you’re arriving for your Hong Kong expat assignment to coincide with the fall start of the school year, you’re hitting typhoon season in full force. Unless you’re used to hurricanes along the US coast, this may be a bit of a scare. Not to worry…

We flew into Hong Kong at the end of a major typhoon. Our kids, aged four to nine, were a bit concerned by the turbulence, so it was important that we stayed calm. We landed safely and learned later that another flight that day had actually experienced a sudden 1,000 foot altitude drop prior to its safe landing.   more ...

Articles > Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Make Hong Kong Your Home

Posted on Thursday January 10, 2013 (13:51:43)
by Nancy Bach

If you’ve traveled many miles from home to Hong Kong, your world may be turned upside down, literally. So how do you deal with all the changes you meet in this foreign country? Some withdraw and try to wait it out, wallowing in homesickness. Some act as tourists, experiencing everything on the New York Times’ “36 Hours in Hong Kong” itinerary, and then wondering “What’s next?”

Our path was to make Hong Kong our home, embracing our surroundings and creating routines that gave us comfort in our new setting. Everyone in our family had a special interest. Liz was a nine-year-old taking dance lessons. That was easy to address. First she took lessons in our apartment complex at Hong Kong Parkview, later in Repulse Bay, at the Hong Kong Football Club, in midlevels…all over Hong Kong, without missing a beat. She even danced in the Hong Kong ballet corps’ production of Cinderella at the Cultural Arts Center.   more ...

Articles > Singapore


Expat Life in Singapore - The Basics

Posted on Tuesday January 08, 2013 (17:54:06)
by Alexandra Sheehan

So you’re moving to Singapore, a mysterious little treasure found at the foot of Malaysia in between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This tiny country isn’t really famous for much, and it is not often that we hear about it in the news. It is extremely unique, a mixture of Asian, European and Indian. Tradition meets modernity. This constantly bustling city is a tourist hub of attractions and full of a huge and dynamic expat community. Moving to this mysterious little gem requires a bit of preparation so that you can be one of the thousands who transition smoothly into expat life in Singapore. Here are the basic things you should know...   more ...