Survival in Singapore – Part 3 (Finale)

(Repost from a previous site June 2008)

The Challenging Journey Begins


Having to have a very good IT infrastructure, job hunting in Singapore is quite easy. Jobs are posted online or thru The Straits Times, a local paper. Applications are sent thru email, online career page or quite few thru snail mail. The hardest moment is the waiting time for email feedback and calls for interviews. I have applied to almost all the postings which I have knowledge about. Only after 2 weeks that I received my first interview invitation from an instrument supplier.

End week of March, I went to attend Pastor Vic and Anusha’s wedding at Banting, Selangor, Malaysia and spent 5 days there. I flew with Tiger Airways from Singapore to Malaysia at S$72. Last year I crossed Malaysia-Singapore border by land, now I went airborne to avoid the traffic rush.

The duration I was in Malaysia, call for interview from a semiconductor company was received and set an appointment 2 days after my return date to Singapore. I travelled back by land through Causeway Link. Keep your EPEC handy for the Malaysian and Singapore Immigration. The Malaysian officer questioned my long stay in Singapore that I have to show my EPEC and handed over to another IO. Probably he is not familiar with EPEC or just wanted to finish the queue for the 2 of us are left in line and it’s nearly 12 MN. The second IO just stamped my passport after seeing the EPEC and it’s done.

Long Term Social Visit Pass.

Still no offer by midweek of April, I have to process my Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) online at Online payments are needed.  That’s when credit card comes in handy. Medical exam is required and the cheapest is S$42.80 for HIV testing and chest x-ray at SATA Medical Center. I received the result 3 days after just in time for the appointment schedule at ICA to process my LTSVP. The 1 year multiple entry visa costs me S$100. My former college-mate costs him S$70 probably because he did not exit Singapore while I did. It took around 15 minutes to process my pass after giving the necessary documents to the officer. Yes, really that fast.

I did receive another interview invitation from an international school few days after my LTSVP processing. After the long and endless waiting period, I did not receive any follow-up calls from the 3 interviews I had. It’s really frustrating after hundreds of applications, 3 invitations was received but not a single positive outcome.

God’s Promise Prevails

It’s been almost 3 months already since I flew in to Singapore but still no job offer. I never experienced being jobless the rest of my career and only now that I did feel how to be in the world of the unemployed. But the irony of being jobless is I am well provided during those times. Despite the situation I am into, I have no idea to give up clinging to God’s promise and faithfulness. I must say at this point in time, I have been thinking already of a fallback plan for I have been spending close to Php100k! It’s God’s faithfulness and promise that kept me going though I don’t know when His perfect timing will be. Oftentimes I say to God, “You did not allow me to go to Singapore for nothing. I know You are a God who keeps promises.” Keeping in mind His words from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future”).

Mid May, another interview invitation was received. I have been waiting for God’s confirmation whether this interview will turn out to be a success or not. The day before the interview, out of the blue, a friend sent me a message in YM with this exact message “God has seen you struggling, God says it’s over. And blessing is coming your way”. These words proved God’s reassuring promises and I have a deep conviction that I will get this job. The day of my interview seemed to be very different from the previous ones. A great outpouring of rain happened the moment I arrived at the company premise and turned my shirt partly wet for the interview. The 15-minute interview turned out to be a very relaxed conversation. Later in the afternoon, I received a call from the HR informing me that I was considered for the position and the salary negotiation will soon follow. I was so thankful that after 3 months, I finally received a job offer. Yes, I have officially started my new job on July 2008 after a month of finalizing the necessary papers to legally work in Singapore.

The Job Offer and Pass Processing

May 28 I went to sign the Appointment Letter, Work Pass Application and other documents in Celestica. The Work Pass application was sent thru snail mail upon paying $10 for manual processing. Application can be done online which takes around just few days if not minutes. While waiting for the approval of my pass, I went to Vic’s place in Malaysia for 10 days vacation. Back then the company HR called me that the IPA has arrived just in time for my return to Singapore. I went back to SG onboard the Aeroline coach via the more relax land border at Tuas Checkpoint. The following day, I went to get my IPA (In Principle Approval) at the company office to process at Ministry of Manpower near Chinatown MRT. The IPA is a letter confirming that the work pass has been approved already and physical appearance and other processing is needed to get the card. It’s a 2-hr wait before my queue number was finally called for there were many people processing different kinds of passes at MOM. Medical certificate is needed but I signed a waiver since I have submitted a copy already when my LTSVP was processed. The LTSVP card will be surrendered and a 14-day stay will be stamped on the passport. One year of pass costs $30. After paying the corresponding amount, I have to rush to Work Pass Division at Tanjong Pagar for photo and fingerprint scanning. Need to go back 3 working days after to get my work pass ID at Tanjong Pagar. There are different types of passes, just check it out at MOM’s website.

Indeed a day after I have taken my pass, I start working already and a new leaf in my career commenced. How lovely it is to see how God’s marvelous plans unfold at such a perfect timing. There are lots of people whom God used to bless me and always keeping me in their prayers for my journey and I am very grateful to all of you.

And this shall conclude the series of Survival in Singapore. Read the previous articles.