The Fountainheads merged 1

We zeroed-in on three primary decision parameters.




Kid’s education:

  1. Age of daughter: 5 years
  2. Duration of stay @ Singapore: This was not committed but we were sure it will be short-term. This was important to ground quickly because a next decision depended on it. Should we admit her to Singapore local schooling system or (if we have to return to India after a short stay) Indian education board system (CBSE/ ICSE) for continuity upon return?

We had three choices:

  1. Delhi Public school (DPS)
    1. They followed CBSE board.
    2. Inquiry result: DPS asked our daughter to repeat the standard –I again. As per the date of birth criteria, she needed to be born before 31 Mar, 2007. She was born in July.
    3. Decision: DPS was a straight strike-off because of this arcane criterion
  2. Global India International School (GIIS) or National Public School (NPS)
    1. NPS, being a top school of Bangalore, interested us.
    2. New decision variable: How is the metro line connecting the schools and my office at Shenton Way, Singapore? The Green metro line connected the office, GIIS and the airport in a single straight line. This was important for us because for a small duration stay, we had decided not to purchase a car. Hence, our dependency on the public transport system was high. NPS needed an added layer of buss travel to connect to Green metro line. We were already gravitating towards GIIS.
    3. School session charges: While comparing the school charges, we discovered the school bus charges differed if we stayed within or outside the 3 KM radius of school. Green Line cut across the 3 KM radius of GIIS. We compared the other associated charges as well and GIIS fared well.
    4. Board of Education: CBSE for both GIIS and NPS

Decision taken: Global Indian International School (GIIS)

Expenditure and Savings: Primary heads are:

  1. House Rent=                 SGD 3000 per month
  2. School fees=                 SGD 1500 per month
  3. Groceries/expenses=   SGD 800 per month
  4. Utilities=                      SGD 200 per month
  5. Transportation=          SGD 500 per month
  6. Miscellaneous=            SGD 500 per month
  7. Taxes hover around 5-7 % of monthly take-home salary

    Total = SGD 6500 per month + taxes

Caveat: House-Rent: Rented, fully-furnished, 1-Bedroom-Hall-Kitchen apartment: Each of these four words had a reason.

  1. Rental: We had no intention to take citizenship or permanent residency in an island called the Red Dot on the map. Nor did we intend to invest in real estate in Singapore.
  2. Fully-furnished made sense because we wanted to move in and out easily with just a few suitcases.
  3. 1-BHK would suit our family size of three.
  4. Apartment: My job involved lot of travel. Family security while I travelled outside Singapore, easy availability of friends for a 5 year old in a new country and culture, and amenities along with the flat were reasons we decided to opt for an apartment rather than a landed house.

Now, I have a simple benchmark on Indian salaries: (My HR friends vehemently oppose the benchmark in public but secretly agree with it.)

In India, salary offers have three parameters:

  • Years of relevant experience (the word ‘relevant’ is abused as used as per recruiter’s convenience),
  • Pedigree (means where one had his/her education and which degrees), and
  • Field of work: What technology or field of work is major in the experience portfolio?

Putting it straight with an example: if one is an Engineer + MBA- both from “tier-1 (which varies widely as per internal definition)” institutes with a “relevant” work experience of 10 years in regular technologies, then ₹ 2.875 Lakhs (average of ₹ 2.25 to ₹ 3.5 Lakhs) per annum multiplied by the 10 years of experience equalling ₹ 28.75 Lakhs per annum would be a likely salary (cost to company) around the middle of the bell curve. Of course, the fixed and variable components vary between 70:30:: Fixed:variable or sometimes 80:20 depending on how one negotiates.

We extrapolated the same benchmark for Singapore. Surprise, surprise! There is a similar benchmark. Same person above is likely to draw SGD 16000 (average of a range between SGD 14000 to SGD 18000) multiplied by 10 years of experience equalling SGD 1, 60, 000 per annum. Now, let’s stay on this number. It implies the person would draw around SGD 13, 333 per month. This will be the benchmark income.

Now, we had a benchmark to calculate the savings we will make from the salary we finally negotiate on.


Work culture is very open and adaptable. I shall, in a later post, delve deeper into the experiences we had @ Singapore.

So, final decision: GO.


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