Helpful Tips for Expats Moving to Singapore


When moving abroad, it’s easy to assume that life will be better in your new home. However, as many serial expats can attest, all places have their own ups and downs – expenditures, weather, the environment, or even the culture of the people who both work and live there.

For those expats who need to make a decision about moving to the Lion City, here is a list of helpful tips made just for you:

Living and Transportation
There are many options for living, since more high-rise buildings are sprouting all over Singapore. However, because land and space are rare, rent is high especially in areas that are closer to the city center, as well as other good neighborhoods. Landed homes are just as expensive, if not more. Good deals might be in reach for expats willing to wait a while to get to the city center.

However, living far from the party shouldn’t be a cause for worry. Most Singaporeans don’t own cars because the convenience of owning them costs a fortune. They instead opt for the MRT or taxis, both of which are cheaper. This makes getting around in Singapore much easier, with more train lines expected to be built sometime within the next decade.

Dress lightly: compared to other colder tourist destinations, Singapore is consistently humid year round. Since the country is close to the equator, this means that temperatures can be from 22 degrees to 35 degrees Celsius. Haze from bush fires from neighboring Indonesia, usually Sumatra Island, can be experienced between July and October.
Instead of observing daylight saving time, its time zone adds an extra hour (GMT +8) for the typical zone for its geographical location.

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen – just in case.

Adjusting to any place’s culture will always take time. This is especially so if you’re seriously considering moving to Singapore, as Singaporeans use gesture and tone to communicate their feelings, rather than words. They would rather suggest than say something outright.

Silence is an important part of communication in Singapore. Quietness among Singaporeans is usually seen as shyness or being reserved, rather than being rude. When answering questions, pause for a moment as if you were considering the question.

As many citizens are of Chinese descent, there is a distinct emphasis on respecting elders, often called “uncle” or “auntie” despite them being strangers. Silence among them is considered a form of respect.
And of course, laws are strict, especially on littering.

How to Diffuse Awkward Social Situations in 4 Easy Steps


Life is full of awkward moments, such as an uncomfortable silence, an elevator fart, or even a faux pas that you had no prior knowledge of until that very moment. But there’s good news: as awkward as some situations can get, they can be easily diffused. Here’s how:

1. Avoid the dead air.
Plan what you want to say in advance. Many studies show that it only takes up to four seconds of awkward silence to make you feel anxious throughout the rest of a conversation.

Once you know what you want or need to communicate, conversations can go more smoothly without the occasional interruption and prevent awkward silences from happening.

2. Crack a few jokes.
If you find yourself in more than ten seconds of unintentional awkward silence, a few lighthearted jokes might be able to break the ice and get the conversation rolling again.

But what if your joke was the reason for the uncomfortable silence in the first place?

The answer is simple – build on it. Once it’s been established that your joke wasn’t that funny, make another one based on that. However, this may take more time, so don’t push it too hard on the first try.

3. Be an active listener.
Active listening is a valuable skill that not enough people have honed, but you don’t have to be one of those people. Start by allowing the person a chance to process what you had just said.

Throughout the conversation, allow yourself to process what the other person is saying and offer clarifications on your points that may have been misunderstood. Unless that person becomes inappropriate, be willing to help that person process his/her emotions.

Be prepared for when the person you are conversing with is experiencing intense emotions, which could range from embarrassment, sadness, to anger.

4. Face the awkwardness head-on…
…because most of the awkwardness is simply inside your head. The good news is that the same could be said about the people in the same situation that you are also in, and once you recognize this, it will be easier to take charge of the situation.

If you accidentally insult someone (whether in person or online), a candid conversation carried in all honesty will be your saving grace. If you care about having that person around, apologize. If you don’t, that’s one less person you never wanted to be around with in the first place.

If ever you do have to end the conversation, you can avoid sounding rude by excusing yourself. Excusing yourself to go be somewhere, do something else, or talk to someone else is a polite way of ending it and serves as a clear signal for you to exit.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)

5 Holiday Decors You Can Use All Year Round


One of the most looked forward activities during the holiday season is the traditional decking of halls. It’s a tradition that’s begged to be enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate, while Christmas carols fill the background.
But somehow, it’s also a bittersweet practice, knowing that—after you’ve put up the decor and appreciate all its glory—you’ll have to disassemble everything and store them back into the basement until the next Christmas.
But, wait… who said you can only use your Christmas lights and giant candles on holidays? With a little creativity, you can use the following Christmas decor items to suit all seasons all year round.

1. String Lights
Those twinkling string lights you used to wrap around the Christmas tree can be repurposed to suit as home decor even after the holiday season. You can light up your headboard with it or fill up a mason jar to serve as a lighting table centrepiece.

2. Hurricane Glass
During the holidays, we usually put candles inside these glasses. After Christmas, replace candles with something more versatile, such as driftwood, colourful stones or even the string lights from your Christmas tree.

3. Decorative Branches
The braches you used to hang Christmas balls and ornaments can have another purpose. Use them to hold little trinkets like keys and photos. You can also put them in a large vase and place them near the doors, beside the TV or in any corner of your home.

4. White Candles
White candles are common during this time of the year, but they can also be appropriate for other occasions, such as the Halloween.

5. Hanging “Cheers” Banners
Whether yours is in gold or silver, you can reuse it as an additional decor to your parties. It would look perfect over a bar cart or a cocktail buffet table.

More Tips to Make Christmas Items Work throughout the Year
• Separate Greens and Reds
People instantly associate green and red with Christmas. For your holiday decor to work anytime of the year, separate these colors and sprinkle them tastefully around the house.

• Accessorize Smartly
Boxwood topiaries and wreaths are traditional holiday decor. Looking stellar with big red bow on Christmas, it looks just as pretty with linen accents after New Year.

• Change the Color
Got some excess Christmas candles? Spray paint its candle holders to match the season. You can always switch colors to make them look new again throughout the year.

• Repurpose Burnt Light Bulbs
Even burnt light bulbs from your Christmas lights can be repurposed to serve as a year-round decor. One way to reuse them is to transform them into colourful bowl fillers. Simply coat the bulbs with all-purpose glue and then dip them in glitter. Once dried, place them in a bowl to serve as coffee table centrepiece.

Get creative and save a bit of Christmas in your home all through the year with these unique decorating ideas.

What Can You Do About Pyoderma Gangrenosum?


Diagnosing and treating a rare condition such as pyoderma gangrenosum can be tricky because it is not yet clearly understood and is often misdiagnosed for other conditions. Unfortunately, doctors still cannot yet explain what causes pyoderma gangrenosum and its name is even misleading, because it does not cause both gangrene and infection.

Pyoderma Gangrenosum Basics
What doctors do know about the condition is that it is one of the types of autoinflammatory conditions called neutrophilic dermatoses. Pyoderma gangrenosum causes a small bump, pustule or blister to appear on the skin suddenly, then the lesion breaks and becomes an ulcer. Over time, the ulcer becomes wider and deeper and can be very painful. Who is at risk of this rare condition? Some people are more likely to get pyoderma gangrenosum if he/she is an elderly, has a digestive tract disease and/or rheumatoid arthritis, and has a blood disorder.

Preventing Pyoderma Gangrenosum
Because the disease is not yet fully understood, there is no way to avoid it. Doctors will advise you, however, to prevent getting your skin injured and to get treatment for any existing skin condition to reduce the chances of getting pyoderma gangrenosum. Unfortunately, pyoderma gangrenosum can be unpredictable even when it is treated and there is always the possibility of developing the following complications: pain, infection, scarring, and the loss of mobility.

Diagnosing Pyoderma Gangrenosum
There is no test to determine if the ulcer is pyoderma gangrenosum, but the doctor might want to take swab samples for a culture or a biopsy may be performed to rule out other possible causes. Blood tests and pathergy tests are not reliable most of the time, but the doctor can conclude that it is pyoderma gangrenosum if it has an undermined and irregular border, and the ulceration has progressed rapidly. Sometimes there are other conditions associated with pyoderma gangrenosum like other systemic diseases.

Treating Pyoderma Gangrenosum
The doctor will have to dress the ulcers and apply topical medication such as corticosteroid creams and ointments. Because the ulcers are open wounds that can be infected, there must be protected from further injuries. If there are necrotic tissue, these must be removed, and skin grafting is recommended once the ulcers and swelling have improved. Specifically, small ulcers are treated with steroid or tacrolimus ointments, ciclosporin solution, anti-inflammatory antibiotics, and intralesional steroid injections; while widespread or large ulcers will need ciclosporin, oral prednisone, and biologic agents.

The doctor might also recommend oral medication or intramuscular injections for some patients, while those who must undergo surgery will need prophylactic treatment to avoid the recurrence oft eh condition. Immunosuppressive therapy is also recommended, but there are also people who have shown improvements when they took tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.

Nail Fungal Infections You Should Be Aware Of


Although nail fungal infections are very common, they can be difficult to treat and can spread easily among people. Other nail conditions suspected to be fungal infections are also misdiagnosed nail dystrophies, bacterial infections, dermatitis, lichen or mold, eczema, and psoriasis that is why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis. Some types produce less serious symptoms, but there are nail fungal infections which can be painful and difficult to manage.

Symptoms of Nail Fungal Infection
Although the severity of the symptoms will vary, there are common signs of nail fungal infection that should be easy to spot, such as; the discoloration of the toenail/s (they can turn yellow, black, green, or white), changes in the shape and texture of the nails, pain and discomfort when pressure is placed on the toes, and the breaking or cracking or crumbling of the nails.

• Candida Onychomycosis
Also called yeast infection, this type of fungal infection affects the skin around the nails as well. The symptoms may include pain, weakened nails and nail bed, distorted nail shape, discoloration of the nails, thickening of the nails, and infected skin around the nails. The nail might also separate from the nail bed if the condition is not treated.

This is treated with oral medication, topical creams, and laser treatment if there is an infection.

• Distal Subungual Onychomycosis
The fungi that causes this infection is also the same fungi that causes athlete’s food and is also the most common nail fungal infection in the world. The fungi affect the nail bed and nail, making the area weak and crumbly, resulting in the accumulation of nail and skin debris.

Unfortunately, the condition can be difficult to treat, and part of the nail might have to be removed if there is an infection. Laser surgery is usually performed, but it will require several visits to the podiatrist.

• Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis
This type of fungal infection affects the nail base and causes it to thicken, resulting in the separation of the nail from the nail fold. People with this condition are also prone to infections. Although not common, most people with this type of fungal infection have human immunodeficiency virus.

The treatment for proximal subungual onychomycosis is like that of distal subungual onychomycosis because the fungi that caused the infection is the same. It is also difficult to treat and may take years before any improvements can be seen through a combination of oral medication, topical creams, and laser treatment.

• White Superficial Onychomycosis
Another common type of nail fungal infection, this is probably the easiest to treat among the four. It is characterized by the appearance of white spots on the nails, and if not treated, the affected nails will eventually crumble.

To treat this fungal infection, the doctor will recommend topical medications and laser treatment. Oral medication is rare because the side-effects can sometimes be nastier than the nail fungal symptoms.

Issues in Pest Control to Consider


Pest control management can be a tedious process depending on the level of infestation and the species that have invaded your home or office. Anywhere you can find humans, there most certainly will be pests like rats, cockroaches, and flies. Commercial methods to terminate pest can be ineffective and often endanger the health of the occupants especially with the use of chemicals, that is why you have to consider several factors that could affect the life of your family or the occupants when considering pest control services in Singapore.

Behavior and Identification
You don’t need to be a biologist to observe the behavior of the pests that occupy your home. By being able to describe certain details to the pest control services team, they will be able to help you find the best solution. To exterminate rodents for example, pest control management does not necessarily have to resort to chemical treatments if they can place traps or use other methods. To terminate pest, you need to observe where they usually get their food, hide, leave droppings and urine, and the time they usually come out.

Condition of the Structure
Some homes in Singapore with a problem of pest infestation aren’t necessarily filthy places with owner who don’t clean up after themselves. Sometimes the apartment building has seen very few renovations and improvements or there might be problems in the plumbing that the landlord has not addressed. Multiple entry points for pests can be a cause for infestation, especially for tough survivors like rodents and cockroaches. If you want to get rid of cockroaches or eliminate mosquitos and pestilence that contaminate your food, you should also consider in investing in minor repairs to holes in the walls or ceiling, ventilation and cooling system servicing, and plumbing inspection.

Use of Chemical Treatments
Some species such as termites can only be exterminated through chemical treatment but only if the infestation has not caused major damages to the structure. To remove termites your best option is to prevent infestation in the first place. For this, chemical treatments are a must, but you should pick a pest control management company in Singapore that has the license to use pesticides, insecticides, repellents, rodenticides, disinfectants, fungicides, and others. All these chemicals have different functions, effects on the non-targets, and even effectivity. A pest control services team therefore must have an expert such as a certified entomologist or have a solid pest management program for both long-term and short-term solutions. Termite removal is a long-term treatment, which means your family will be exposed to chemicals frequently.

Effect on Targets
As already detailed, the chemicals used for pest control management can affect not only the pests but even non-targets such as the humans, house pets, and even non-pest animals and plants that thrive in the area. Ask the pest control services team for details about the effects and if there are other less-harmful options that you can pick. There are natural and biological pesticides for example that are less harsh than conventional pesticides.

Spending Christmas the Singaporean Way


The colors of Christmas are finally coming together as the end of the year feels like the end of a painting. With the last stroke filling in the last touches, the painting of your year 2017 is almost finished. Throughout the colors of Singapore, you’ll find the evolution from an urban paradise, into a festive one. Colors come out from every corner of Singapore from Shangri La all the way to Clarke Quay. Even Chinatown is adding in green to their theme of red all throughout. Everyone is starting to celebrate Christmas!

The hard part for some of us is that when Christmas comes, we are still expected to work. The pay may be bigger, but maybe you had a different picture in mind on how to spend your Christmas. Well, one of the first things you need to think about is not where to spend your Christmas but rather with who. Making plans to spend your Christmas with your family and your friends should definitely be your first priority in comparison to what to do.

There are many beautiful places during Christmas like Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza’s Christmas City taking you to a whole new Singapore in general as it transforms into this Christmas themed plaza. But wait, let’s not get carried away, there are so many more things to Christmas than the place. Another big thing that makes up Christmas is gifts. The pressure usually takes place some time around November when we realize that December is definitely fast approaching and we haven’t even picked decided who to give gifts to and not just what to give them. There are so many things expected of us during Christmas and giving the best gifts ever is definitely one of them. Another thing that may add to the pressure is when you are incharge of Dinner or maybe even cooking. What are you to do? Sit back, relax, and remember, Christmas is a time to smile.

Christmas isn’t a time to break your back over the pressures and expectations this holiday puts on your shoulders. Christmas is a time to look back and be thankful for all that has happened this year. Christmas is a time to motivate yourself once again for the upcoming year. But most important of all, Christmas is a time to smile. A smile can be so powerful that it can actually dictate your mood! On Christmas, everybody deserves to smile. After all, what’s there to frown about? Throw a smile into the world, you’ll see what the world has to give in return, on Christmas day.

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