I am Jed M. Bellen. I’m from the Philippines. I live now in Singapore.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I moved abroad to learn new culture and widen my world view.
2. How do you make a living?
I work as a Process Engineer for an Oil and Gas company. It is a unique experience I would say because I am doing a unique project. I am doing the Jurong Rock Caverns project, an underground oil storage facility and the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Adding to my unique work experience is the fact that I am working for a Korean company. Korean culture pervades in the workplace and we are provided with Korean foods for our meals every day. So, it is like, I’m in Singapore in Gangnam style.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I communicate with my parents in the Philippines once a week via my mobile phone. Sometimes, we exchange emails.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Singapore?
My favorite about being an expat in Singapore is the extraordinary convenience of living in this country.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Singapore?
I can’t think of any.
6. What do you miss most?
I miss the bazaars in Makati which has eclectic choices of delectable foods.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I talk to locals whenever I have a chance to. Singapore is a very safe place that is why people are not hesitant to talk to strangers.
8. What custom/habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The way they speak which is distinctively theirs – Singlish lah.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Singapore itself is a myth substantiated into tangible reality. Who would ever think that a very small and natural resource scarce country would become an economic giant and a utopia of paradisal magnificence?
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is higher in Singapore but it has no effect on me because my company, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. provides free accommodation (including utilities), transportation and meals.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Always go with the flow and if you have to do something you are not sure of, test the waters first. Understanding cultural diversity is not as simple as you think it is.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in 2010 while I was having my MBA at the Asian Institute of Management. It was a project of my professor in Human Behavior in Organizations. For some time, I have stopped writing for my blog. My enthusiasm got revived when I met Grace Tan, a Singaporean celebrity blogger during the launch of her book at Takashimaya. Her book is entitled “Working with Grace”, a book which gives practical advice on blogging and how to make profit from it. During the launch, she shared her proven techniques for successful blogging. As such, I was encouraged to revive my blog and started to write again.
Jed's blog, A Walk to Zen
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