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Expat interview: Fresh off the boat

Tom and his lady Tori 

NAME: Tom Oliphant

AGE: 27


JOB: In-house insurance lawyer


Why Singapore?
“Long-term secondment opportunity and an urge to get out of London.” 

Where do you live?
“Newton. The condo is brand new, so the management company are still eager to impress. The apartments are also split level giving you more space and an extra balcony off the main bedroom. The pool and spa are very stylish, but I can’t get my head around calling a sauna a ‘steam pod’. Very space-age.”

Anything else you’re struggling with?
“This contraption called a Vichy shower. Why would anyone want a multi-headed, water gun that looks like some kind of medieval torture instrument?”

Are you with a partner or here alone?
“Shortly to be joined by my girlfriend.” 

So she left you to furnish the apartment?
“Yes, it was a frightening experience. I’m not blessed with practicality, spatial awareness or any kind of eye for design, yet I was greeted with large empty rooms to fill. I had to prioritise, so a bed, a bottle of gin and some nail scissors came high up on the list, closely followed by a TV and a fold-up fisherman’s chair. I’m soon to become the proud owner of a sofa – it’s only taken me six weeks…!” 

Your girlfriend is one lucky lady… Do you get stuck in to the local hawker food?
“Absolutely. Stomach of steel.”

What’s your favourite dish?
“All nasi padang dishes are pretty tasty, particularly beef rendang. Big fan of the ever-present chai tao kway and will happily eat my body weight in yong tau foo.”

What’s your favourite place for a night out?
“KPO Bar near Somerset, and for late dancing, Club Kyo on Cecil Street.”

What has been the biggest culture shock about moving to Asia?
“Trying to get to grips with the heavy ‘Singlish’ accent. That’s it though; Singapore’s an easy place to live and very welcoming.”

What do you miss the most about home?
“Good quality packaged sandwiches.”