10 tips if you're moving to Singapore (or any new place for that matter)
1. Be mentally prepared - Get ready to be lonely and get your mind ripped. Yes - you've got that coveted NRI status. The $$$ are eye watering. But - something seems amiss. If you've not truly been alone before - long empty nights in a city which you cant connect with will distort your judgement. Just keeping this fact of life (Labelling those moments) - helps.
2. Keep yourself fit. Ensure you live a healthy lifestyle. I noticed I would feel a bit out during evenings - my retrospective hypothesis is that it was the just the long time between meals. Also - Singaporeans are very fit. Between the national service, genetics and peer pressure - everyone has really good figures. Once you feel the peer pressure yourself - treat it positively. This is one of the times you can build your ripped body. Everytime I felt down - i asked myself what have I done to improve my body image and I would immediately go to sweat it out in the gym. Best strategy ever. Convert negativity into action
3. Join groups: meetup.com, NGOs, Toastmasters, Religious organizations- anything positively socially oriented. My first mistake coming to Singapore was to assume that my co-workers and I could get along perfectly well as bosom buddies. Could happen to you - but just saying. Best to sometimes recognize ze difference. The fundamental Relationship and Social needs will inevitably kick up for you -chanellize them in the right direction. I joined SINDA, Nature society, Meetup.com etc. etc. Learned a lot - from how to teach a kid (i appreciated this 3 years after i took up the assignment), to recognizing Raptors from Silheouttes to talking about cultural differences in IdeaLeaks (a Ted-dy type meetup.com). Whether you are driven by getting knowledge, making an impact, building a resume for your MBA application, meeting girls/guys etc. - this is a vastly important thing. If you're shy and always wanted to meet girls/guys- strike strike again. You'll gain experience, confidence, perspective and it will put your mind at ease knowing that you're anyways trying (no matter if you keep failing :().
4. Learn the local language. I expected folks /semi friends to talk in English when were at lunch. Didnt happen. Everyone spoke in their tongue. Learn Chinese- you'll be able to secretly spy - i mean easily converse on/with your colleagues, impress XYZ, build up your resume, improve your career prospects, expand your mind <insert benefits of learning new language>
5. Get ready for a little bit of stereotyping/ profiling. It happens everywhere. Indians - not necessarily have - ahem - the bestest of reputations.
6. Use the infrastructure- go for jogging in the awesome parks, around the reservoirs (MacRitchie I miss you). Use their libraries. Goto their museums / exhibitions
7. Stay alone in a nice place rather than with folks you are unsure off (unless you're this person who can easily build relationships and doesnt seek a higher meaning in everything and does not has unresolved issues (this is not autobiographical- future recruiter please note)). Spend a bit more but stay in a nice apartment/condo
8. General advice: Be positive (treat problems as a challenge that you CAN solve). Dont be fatalistic (embrace self will). Have perspective (This too shall pass -trust me). Be confident (have faith in your own abilities). Have a learning/growth mindset. Face your fears - you are stronger than them. Let go - nothing is as serious as it seems, you will get what you want in life - just be ready to put in the effort to learn and do what it takes to get there.
9. Keep in touch with your family. Call them over and treat them - you'll feel great when you can show your folks around the country.
10. Use religion/logic/introspection to form your mind's foundation. Vedanta (a Hindu school of thought) gave me a lot of peace and stability. I studied it for 2 years on a weekly basis through lectures you can order (http://www.vedantavidyarthisangha.org/). Even though I did not fully understand / believe in it - it gave me another instrument to work with.
11. The customary bonus tip. Travel to your hearts content. Phillipines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong etc., - you lucky fool - travel every month- ok- quarter.You wont get
this chance. I remember everything still- the ruins of Angkor Wat, the limestone Karsts around Phuket, rock climbing in Krabi, Hong Kong disneyland and The Peak, the
devastating beauty of Mount Bromo, the absolute uniqueness of the Chocolate hills. Fool - travel.
My brethren - Carpe Diem.