Singapore Adventure

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Searching for Goldilocks: Part II
by venitha

I've spent a good deal of time now with our housing guide, Bin Chin. He's a nice guy and very patient with my unerring ability to find the fatal flaw in each new apartment that he shows me. At this point, I've seen at least one apartment in just about every complex in the Novena Station area, where Jim and I have decided we want to live. That's 14 complexes this week alone, and we saw at least 20 in January. I guess I should be thankful that we have so many choices. Click here for a sampling of our apartment photos.

I look at the long list of apartments I've seen and think that maybe, just maybe, I'm being just a wee bit too picky. What exactly is so wrong with these places? Well, primarily the depressing kitchens: small dark hovels completely shut off from the rest of the apartment, not air-conditioned, and frequently without any appliances other than a stovetop and a small refrigerator. If it isn't the kitchen...okay, it's always the kitchen, but it's also occasionally the teeny bedrooms, the lack of natural light, the view into a construction site, the traffic noise, the lame gym/pool facilities, the distance from the MRT, the cockroaches on the stairs up from the basement carpark.

Of course, there are many plusses, too, even though some are a bit strange: amazing pools, high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, vast built-in wardrobes, bomb shelters (no kidding), maids' quarters, private elevators opening into the apartment, fingerprint-controlled access, enormous built-in drying racks, tile floors, mirrored walls, great views, balconies, rooftop gardens.

After my first day out this week, we narrowed down our priorities into the following:
  • Location location location. Above all, we've got to be close to an MRT station.
  • A highrise, the higher the floor, the better. This is one fun difference from our life in Colorado. We'll NEVER live on the 19th floor of anything there.
  • Light from several sides. Lots of these apartments have windows facing only one direction, and that direction frequently looks out into a construction site or is completely shadowed by the highrise next door or another tower in the same complex. It's depressing.
  • Large usable kitchen that feels like part of the apartment. I'm dreaming, I know.
  • A complex with fewer units. Larger complexes have up to four towers, and sort of have the feel of the dorms we lived in in Madison. While this means the facilities are really nice, they're also really crowded.