Experiencing Life in Singapore Through the Lens of an Indian Expat Couple

pg home stories praveen studio apartment mckenzie road

For Praveen Jose, there is more to Singapore than meets the eye. 

It was only after he had made a move from India together with his wife Rosmin, that he was able to experience first-hand what Singapore has to offer, which was unlike anything he expected.

The Move from India

Rosmin, 28, and Praveen, 30, married two years ago in Kochi, India, after knowing each other for 10 years. 

One year into their marriage, a golden opportunity presented itself to Rosmin: After working for four years at a global marketing firm, she was offered a lucrative promotion to Marketing Manager and the opportunity to work in Singapore. 

praveen's studio apartment on mackenzie road
 

As Praveen was an established journalist with a decent income, he was initially hesitant to give up his job. But after giving it much thought, he felt he had accomplished everything he wanted to achieve in his journalism career and was ready for a new challenge. 

Realising it was an opportunity too good for his partner to miss, Praveen recalls saying to Rosmin, “Let’s take the risk.” 

Soon after, they packed their bags and made their way to Singapore’s sunny shores. 

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Experiencing life in the heartlands

Their first home in Singapore was a rented three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio, which Praveen absolutely loved – especially the community.

He recalls heading to the coffee shop along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 and having engaging conversions with elderly uncles and aunties over a cup of Teh-C or Kopi-O - he was surprised by how many kopi options were available. As a former journalist, he was naturally curious about the history of the neighbourhood, such as how the area was previously called Ang Mo Kio Forest Reserve, and that many farmers used to live there. 

 

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praveen and rosmin pg home stories


 
After trying many Malay-influenced cuisines, he realised they were very similar to Indian Kerala Cuisine like Puttu and fish curry. On a cultural level, he took part in the Chinese New Year ceremonies at the Chu Sheng Temple and watched Getais during the Hungry Ghost Month. All experiences that were new and intriguing.

Another eye-opening experience for Praveen was the recent Singapore general elections. Though he had previously covered two elections in India, GE 2020 was unlike anything he had experienced.

“It gave me a different world view of what Singapore is and how elections are run here,” says Praveen. 

Suggested read: What's In The Pipeline for Sengkang Residents In The Next Few Years?

Despite loving pretty much everything about Ang Mo Kio, the couple “wanted a change”, mainly for the sake of convenience. They were also pushed into the decision as their lease was expiring in September and their landlord needed to renovate the house. 

pravin and rosmin pg home stories


 
Rosmin and Praveen, who now works as a Digital Media Specialist, decided to move closer to the city centre so it would be easier to commute to work. Apart from that, they also have friends whom they studied together with in college who are living in Singapore’s Central Region. 

The couple also wanted something specific in their new house: a gas stove. There were no two ways about it. 

In their previous apartment, there was only an induction cooker, which they were not accustomed to. Both Praveen and Rosmin enjoyed cooking on the weekends and found comfort in an authentic home-cooked Indian meal. They especially love cooking their favourite Indian dish called Puttu Kadala, which is a rice steamed cake served with chickpea curry – a dish that’s not common on food delivery platforms.

pravin and rosmin studio apartment on mackenzie road

 

Looking for a home during COVID-19

While it was easy to look for homes in the city on PropertyGuru, it was a bit more challenging when it came to finding a home with a gas stove.

As such, Praveen had to rely heavily on pictures and descriptions. If a listing did not have photo of a gas stove, he had to write-in to the agent personally. This was of course, quite tedious as the couple had shortlisted 40 houses.

On top of that, the COVID-19 outbreak only made house hunting more challenging; Not only was it a race against time, they were also not allowed to physically view homes due to the circuit breaker restrictions. 

praveen pg home stories


 
“It was quite a pain. I’ve never faced something like that where I’m thinking: How do I decide to live in a place without actually seeing it?” Praveen recalls.

To Praveen’s surprise and delight, many agents went out of their way to assist them. Agents would go down to the apartments and conduct live virtual tours. 

Once the safety restrictions were eased in late June, the duo was finally able to start on their house visits. After viewing eight homes, they settled for the first house they had visited – a studio apartment located on MacKenzie Road, right beside The Istana. Their new home is also close to Tekka Centre, so they can easily head over to buy the freshest produce to cook.

Recommended story: 11 Studio Apartments in Singapore That You Can Rent For 1.5K or Less

It has been close to a year since Praveen and Rosmin moved to Singapore. Looking back on his time thus far, Praveen is thankful to have been able to enjoy the best of what the island has to offer.

praveen and rosmin in the living room of their studio apartment on mackenzie road pg home stories


 
“I’m glad we went to the heartlands of Singapore first before coming to the flashy part of Singapore that everyone talks about. So I know that Singapore is not all glitz and glamour. There is another Singapore that exists that is very down to earth.”

Read stories of real people and their home journeys. Or find a home on PropertyGuru now.

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