Work Hard Play Hard: Singapore Style

Four Days of Singapore Life

Last year I was able to make it out to Asia on more than a few occasions; doing a little business here, a little down time there…just really loving the work hard, play hard ethic. I was long overdue for a trip back East and was happy I could make stops in Tokyo, Thailand, and Singapore. All were great trips allowing me to indulge in my passion of travel, but I was also able to attend some great business meetings, display my listings to international brokers, view prospective development opportunities, generate interest overseas, and secure two international listings!

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Singapore was the bulk of my trip and the main focal point of my time in Asia. The last time I was in town wasn’t even in this millennium, it was all the way back in 1994! I was really impressed when the taxi driver picked me up and we were on our way to the Fairmont Hotel when I noticed the city’s modern beauty: the streets were wide and tree lined, an amazing utopia of gardens, landscaping, and architecture.

When I finally made it to Singapore after brief stops in Tokyo and Thailand, I didn’t know my arrival would be such a welcoming one. Remax regional owners and directors IMG_8472were having a meeting and saw I was arriving in town via Facebook, and decided to include me in their very important decision-making meeting, they took really good care of me and even printed me out my own name card.  I was one of only two Americans at the whole event, Cheryl Luster of Remax LLC was there representing the global part of Remax and presented me with an exciting opportunity.

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I was sitting next to Cheryl when she reached over and said they would appreciate it if I were to carry the flag at the opening ceremonies the following day, of course I obliged. It was really an honor for me to enter the convention with my foreign counterparts representing our home countries.

There were actually quite a few different countries represented: Korea, Japan, the Philippines, India, China, Australia, Indonesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, and Thailand. I was invited to the owner’s meeting by a gentleman named Ken Lim. He was so excited to see his Singapore region growing because he started his company in 1997, and now he has I think somewhere about 12 to 14 offices employing about 5 to 600 agents. What an operation he is running out there!

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With Mr. Ken Lim sporting the red tie

When I got there it was really great to see so many of my friends, CEO of Remax Japan, a owner of Remax Korea, and the owner of Remax Thailand. All of those guys are not only awesome business contacts but also are some really great friends that have really welcomed me in and introduced me to some of their friends. I was already friends on Facebook with a lot of the people I was introduced to, so it was good to get a chance to meet in person. Eddie Santos, owner of Remax Philippines and Sam, owner of Remax India were two cool guys that I was able to get a few drinks with.

The keynote speaker was actually the Foreign Minister of Singapore and I got a chance to go up to the podium and ask him the question of, “how this country was able to have such an incredible city and still look like it has less of a carbon footprint than most of the other cities that I’ve visited.” He said it was pretty unique that their prime minister served for 25+ years and was able to see through the vision he had for the country. Unfortunately he didn’t make it to see his country’s 50th Jubilee which is August 9th as they will be celebrating their years of independence.

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They’ve got some pretty futuristic architecture, Marina Sands on the left

Ken really did a fantastic job of organizing the event, down to creating his own song for Remax, and that really got everybody singing and participating, we also had a really good comedian at our gala dinner. I made some great Australian and New Zealand contacts while we were touring some of the housing markets in Singapore. I was extremely impressed with how well of a job they do with housing the Singaporean population.

It’s my understanding that they actually help subsidize first-time homeowners’ mortgages to help get them in their first house. However, they need to keep it for a certain amount of time before they can actually move up to a larger space if they needed or sell it and get into the regular market.

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Following along to Ken’s song and dance!

They had some incredible modeling of the cities and you can see how thoughtfully they planned it out. 20% of the land is now actually reclaimed, they filled it in with water and made land where they have some incredible buildings now. The scalings of the models and some of the area plans are so detailed about what’s in, on, and surrounding the project. It’s no wonder they’ve been able to grow they way they have, it’s clear what they have in mind for their future and master-planned growth. IMG_8603

One of the stars of the skyline is the Marina Sands Hotel. It was built by business magnate, Sheldon Adelson, who owns the Sands Corporation that manages the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas; they also own and operate a few other hotels in China. There’s talk among the people that the Marina Sands was actually self-funded for close to $5 billion, its already been so successful that it’s believed to already have paid for itself. Atop the Marina sands were just incredible views of the whole skyline and you really got a good look at the city.

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View from the rooftop deck at the Marina Sands

The architecture is some of the finest I’ve ever seen in the world, very creative and well-planned, it’s a very small island but abundantly well-thought-out. Singapore is constantly changing and some of the new is mixed with the old and old mixed with the new. The old post office is now actually a five-star hotel so it’s really the old and new and blending together quite nicely. A cool spot over in little India is supremely colorful and very fragrant. We then went over to Sentosa island, a luxury marina port with the W and is a very high end and master-planned community.

I really look forward to going back to Singapore for another adventure.

Mahalo!