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Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

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rockstargirl
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Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by rockstargirl » Mon, 11 Jul 2022 3:24 pm

Hi everyone,

Have been in SG since past 6 years and seeing effect of the inflation world-wide and post covid fluctuations, how do we evaluate quality of life against other developed nations?

Singapore mostly wins in terms of good transportation, job opportunities, safety and proximity to most of exotic sea side traveling spots. On the other hand, sometimes it feels too small mostly for travel freaks. Since lot of samaritans here have been to multiple countries as opposed to my limited exposure, any suggestions will be helpful for the folks who are willing to move in or even move out.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by Ignorant1 » Thu, 14 Jul 2022 2:58 pm

rockstargirl wrote:
Mon, 11 Jul 2022 3:24 pm
Hi everyone,

Have been in SG since past 6 years and seeing effect of the inflation world-wide and post covid fluctuations, how do we evaluate quality of life against other developed nations?

Singapore mostly wins in terms of good transportation, job opportunities, safety and proximity to most of exotic sea side traveling spots. On the other hand, sometimes it feels too small mostly for travel freaks. Since lot of samaritans here have been to multiple countries as opposed to my limited exposure, any suggestions will be helpful for the folks who are willing to move in or even move out.

There is no standardised way to evaluate a place to stay/leave. Inflation is everywhere. Quality of life is subjective too 😊 .Dubai , Shanghai and HK are all safe too depending on who you ask .


If you are thinking from traveling prospective then you are bound to get bored anywhere . I have friends who have been in Dubai for longest time and I hear them rant about Europe/Africa being boring .
To each their own !

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by malcontent » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am

rockstargirl wrote:
Mon, 11 Jul 2022 3:24 pm
Hi everyone,

Have been in SG since past 6 years and seeing effect of the inflation world-wide and post covid fluctuations, how do we evaluate quality of life against other developed nations?

Singapore mostly wins in terms of good transportation, job opportunities, safety and proximity to most of exotic sea side traveling spots. On the other hand, sometimes it feels too small mostly for travel freaks. Since lot of samaritans here have been to multiple countries as opposed to my limited exposure, any suggestions will be helpful for the folks who are willing to move in or even move out.
Public transportation infrastructure here is top notch, but there is a major inconvenience factor compared to other developed countries. This is evident with my team… most do not want to return to the office and would rather continue to work from home — several told me they have a long commute, up to 2 hours one-way. Even for myself, although I live just 12km from the office, it’s almost 1 hour each way. Bus to MRT or longer walk to MRT then change trains, and then catch a shuttle to the office, and you have to time it just right or suffer a long wait for the next one… or take another public bus. In other countries you’d just drive. I just got back from the US and was reminded how convenient it is to just get in the car and go. Compared to here, it’s dirt cheap to own a car there, no COE, no ARF, no road tax, no ERP and no parking charges. You only have to worry about gas (half the price of here), maintenance and insurance (about the same as here).

For job opportunities, it is good here, but I’m not sure it is always better. For one thing, the benefits offered by most employers here are stingy compared to other developed countries. Health insurance is grossly inadequate, with low caps on how much will be paid (if you have something serious, you are out of luck).

For safety, there is an overwhelming perception here is that it is unsafe in other countries. That idea has been built up by group think and reinforced by the media. I just got back from the US… do you think I was dodging bullets and getting mugged the whole time? Not once did I feel any less safe than I do here. The perception simply is not reality.

For travel, the biggest constraint living here is having to fly to just about anywhere you want to go. If you are single and flexible, that might be fine, but once you have a family with school aged kids, you have to buy a lot of tickets at peak prices during school holidays. That really adds up. Compare that to just loading the family into the car and going somewhere without the risk of tickets being sold out or paying a huge premium during peak time.

To me, what really set Singapore apart? The endless summer. I know locals like to complain about the heat, but most have never experienced the bitter cold of winter. Here you can swim year round and you never have to worry about wearing a jacket or bundling up. That might be the biggest plus for me.

The next biggest thing that sets Singapore apart is the food. Hawker centers are really special… cheap and good food with a super relaxed atmosphere (no need to take a shower or dress up, just come as you are). You also have variety - I can get everything from dim sum to dosai (hello Ghim Moh) all in one convenient place, and that is awesome.

Finally, the last thing I’ll mention is the hired help. Being able to get full-time, live-in help at a very affordable price is IMO the biggest financial perk of living here. Just the cost of child care for one child in the US can almost cover it. This is especially true once you have kids. Like I often say, when the going gets tough, the maid gets going!
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:56 am

malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am
Public transportation infrastructure here is top notch, but there is a major inconvenience factor compared to other developed countries. This is evident with my team… most do not want to return to the office and would rather continue to work from home — several told me they have a long commute, up to 2 hours one-way. Even for myself, although I live just 12km from the office, it’s almost 1 hour each way. Bus to MRT or longer walk to MRT then change trains, and then catch a shuttle to the office, and you have to time it just right or suffer a long wait for the next one… or take another public bus. In other countries you’d just drive. I just got back from the US and was reminded how convenient it is to just get in the car and go. Compared to here, it’s dirt cheap to own a car there, no COE, no ARF, no road tax, no ERP and no parking charges. You only have to worry about gas (half the price of here), maintenance and insurance (about the same as here).
.....
I think part of this depends on exactly where you are living elsewhere. Podunk town in the middle of nowhere? Yes, can probably get a lot of what you need within 5-10 minutes drive, 30 minutes tops. Major metro? Many of the same issues here; pay more for housing to be close to work or deal with longer commutes, either by driving or on public transport. Probably won't hit 2 hours but could easily hit 1 hour.

I do think the MRT to/from work depends a bit on what direction you are going/which line and when. Some directions during peak times could be a bit frustrating pre-COVID. Not sure what it like these days.

Not saying one lifestyle is better than the other. Each has its pros and cons, and ultimately it is individual choice. But the job opportunities (number and mobility) tend to vary as well.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by malcontent » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 12:00 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:56 am
I do think the MRT to/from work depends a bit on what direction you are going/which line and when. Some directions during peak times could be a bit frustrating pre-COVID. Not sure what it like these days.
I still remember the challenges of riding the circle line once it got popular. When I arrived at the platform I would stand a bit back, knowing that there wouldn’t be any space for me. Once the train approached I wouldn’t look for a door that had space (none would), but rather look to see which door had a person getting out… as long as I saw one get out, I knew I could get in (even if the other passengers tried to pretend that I couldn’t). Ah… those were the days!
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by malcontent » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 12:38 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:56 am
I think part of this depends on exactly where you are living elsewhere. Podunk town in the middle of nowhere? Yes, can probably get a lot of what you need within 5-10 minutes drive, 30 minutes tops. Major metro? Many of the same issues here; pay more for housing to be close to work or deal with longer commutes, either by driving or on public transport. Probably won't hit 2 hours but could easily hit 1 hour.
I grew up in a small town, population 5,000. It’s surprising, but you can get most of what you need in a small town. They even have a Walmart. To visit the mall, we had to drive to a bigger town 30 minutes away. And to visit a major metro, 2 hours drive.

I went to college in a bigger town, with a metro population of 360,000. It was easy to get around and had most everything you’d need, but you could also access a major metro within 2.5 hours drive.

When I started working, I moved to a larger town, metro population just over 1m. But it was equally easy to get around, had several malls and a good expressway network covering the whole town. You could get just about anywhere within 30 minutes. Traffic got a little heavy during rush hour, but it wasn’t for long and wasn’t bad.

If I were to ever live in a major metro, I think I would stay in the burbs and hopefully not have to work downtown. But overall, I find US cities with metro populations between 250,000 and 1,000,000 to be ideal for both convenience and quality of life.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 12:59 pm

malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 12:38 pm
If I were to ever live in a major metro, I think I would stay in the burbs and hopefully not have to work downtown. But overall, I find US cities with metro populations between 250,000 and 1,000,000 to be ideal for both convenience and quality of life.
I think most 1,000,000 plus cities, with the exception of NYC, housing for families would mainly be outside of the downtown areas? NYC is easy to have a 1 hour+ commute if not living in Manhattan. I would think most others are in the 30-60 minute range to the better suburbs/living areas.

Like I said one time, I am surprised you have lived here as long as you have. All seems to have turned out well and there are definitely some things you like (prior post in this thread). But also a lot of things that seem to clash with your ideal situation?

I think the US economy is quite diverse, so there have always been very good jobs in these second tier (or maybe third/forth tier :D ) metro areas. But I think sometimes there is a large drop-off after the top few employers in some of these areas. I.e. if you can ride the same horse for 30 years or so, many have lived very well in a less flashy area. But on the whole these areas cannot match a few of the big cities in terms of breath of opportunities / depth of talent.

Of course, there are people that go to the big cities (in all countries) in search of something great, lifestyle, etc. But they often spend nearly everything they make buying the lottery ticket, and then wake up at 40 or so asking "why?"

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by MOCHS » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 1:36 pm

malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am
I just got back from the US… do you think I was dodging bullets and getting mugged the whole time? Not once did I feel any less safe than I do here. The perception simply is not reality.
That’s because you said you were holidaying in the middle of nowhere in rural US which is safer than US cities. It depends on where in the US you’re staying in. Of course small towns would be quieter and not as dramatic as cities.

If those Singaporeans stay in cities overseas, than probably those cities might be more “colourful” than SG itself. If they stay in the countryside, it’s a whole story altogether.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 2:02 pm

MOCHS wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 1:36 pm
malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am
I just got back from the US… do you think I was dodging bullets and getting mugged the whole time? Not once did I feel any less safe than I do here. The perception simply is not reality.
That’s because you said you were holidaying in the middle of nowhere in rural US which is safer than US cities. It depends on where in the US you’re staying in. Of course small towns would be quieter and not as dramatic as cities.

If those Singaporeans stay in cities overseas, than probably those cities might be more “colourful” than SG itself. If they stay in the countryside, it’s a whole story altogether.
Thank you. I wasn't going to say it but I always thought the correct comparison was SG vs 5 MM+ metro area. Not SG vs a cow pasture.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 7:03 pm

Even that is a bad comparison. NYC (city limits) is around 11 M on a daily basis and is roughly 580 sq/km in area. Singapore is 5.5 M on a daily basis and around 530 sq/km. May have grown some 20 sq/km due to dredging and landfilling over the last 10~15 years.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 9:47 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 7:03 pm
Even that is a bad comparison. NYC (city limits) is around 11 M on a daily basis and is roughly 580 sq/km in area. Singapore is 5.5 M on a daily basis and around 530 sq/km. May have grown some 20 sq/km due to dredging and landfilling over the last 10~15 years.
Sorry, this is in relation to commute or opportunity? When I mentioned NYC, what I meant to say is that in many metro areas of say 3 MM - 5 MM people (or so) I don't think it is uncommon for families to live outside of the CBD/downtown area and face commutes of 30-60 minutes, which is similar to here. Younger people can live in some downtown areas but families not so much.

In contrast, there are more of all types living in Manhattan. On the other hand, a 1 hour+ commute in various directions out of the city is not uncommon either.

Thus, there are definitely places to live with easy driving and short commute times. But I don't think many are comparable to here.

As for opportunity, NYC is clearly quite different from here. As it is in population.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Fri, 15 Jul 2022 10:13 pm

MOCHS wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 1:36 pm
malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am
I just got back from the US… do you think I was dodging bullets and getting mugged the whole time? Not once did I feel any less safe than I do here. The perception simply is not reality.
That’s because you said you were holidaying in the middle of nowhere in rural US which is safer than US cities. It depends on where in the US you’re staying in. Of course small towns would be quieter and not as dramatic as cities.
.....
One other thing is that even within cities or metro areas things can vary a lot. Westwood around UCLA is quite a bit different from inland areas. Same for Fifth Avenue vs. other parts of the greater NYC metro area. Obviously one can control where they go and try to avoid trouble. That used to work very well, possibly not quite as well in recent times.

I do believe perception is worse than reality too. Many people go to/from work daily and nothing happens. It's not a battlefield. At the same time, if one doesn't read the news or get updated data they may not be fully up to how things have changed over time. For example, Chicago has always had rough areas that most would avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, crime has spread to the downtown area and some of the nicer suburbs ($1 MM+ homes) in recent years. We can all debate exactly how bad it is, but there have been limits on movement in/out of the downtown area and curfews. Not exactly normal. A few major businesses have also decided to relocate out of the city with some mentions of safety.

In the end, the US still has the greatest collection of talent and innovation on the planet. Probably not going to change in the immediate future, and some of the policy things that drive this stuff may swing back. There are also a lot of different lifestyle options there. I just think that for comparable opportunity some of the things are similar to here, and it's not that relevant to benchmark to a rural or sub 1 MM population area.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by malcontent » Sat, 16 Jul 2022 8:42 am

MOCHS wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 1:36 pm
malcontent wrote:
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 8:13 am
I just got back from the US… do you think I was dodging bullets and getting mugged the whole time? Not once did I feel any less safe than I do here. The perception simply is not reality.
That’s because you said you were holidaying in the middle of nowhere in rural US which is safer than US cities. It depends on where in the US you’re staying in. Of course small towns would be quieter and not as dramatic as cities.

If those Singaporeans stay in cities overseas, than probably those cities might be more “colourful” than SG itself. If they stay in the countryside, it’s a whole story altogether.
That is true, but almost every day I would drive 40 minutes into town (I had a lot of shopping to do after 3 years absence).

I flew into Chicago, and normally I have someone pick me up or rent a car from the airport… which completely isolates me from the “color” you mention. However, this time I tried something new — I took public transit (the CTA) from the airport to downtown and then took the Amtrak (high speed rail) from there — this is so my elderly parents wouldn’t have to drive in the crazy Chicago traffic.

Like Singapore, you can tap and go with any credit card that is contactless. Unlike Singapore, the train was old, noisy, and rickety (reminded me of the ones I took in NYC), but reasonably clean. Note that I would not have taken this train at night, this was in the early afternoon. I did not encounter any freaks, gang bangers or thugs… in fact, the vast majority of people I saw on the train and in the stations were just ordinary folks. Nobody messed with me, talked to me or even approached me for the 40 minute ride into downtown. When I got out, it wasn’t at a popular station — it was old and dingy with a very narrow escalator that seemed to be popular for urination (at least from the smell), LOL.

At the station exit, they were quick to open the handicap gate for me, given my luggage wouldn’t fit otherwise. I then proceeded to walk 2 blocks to Union Station (Amtrak), picking up a slice of famous Chicago pizza along the way. The boarding process was a little chaotic, but not bad. I was impressed with how clean and comfortable the Amtrak train was… really nice, spacious, modern and clean, and this was in coach class. It was only $27 for the 240km journey and it took just 2 hours… not bad at all.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by NYY1 » Sat, 16 Jul 2022 10:03 am

malcontent wrote:
Sat, 16 Jul 2022 8:42 am
]
.....
I flew into Chicago, and normally I have someone pick me up or rent a car from the airport… which completely isolates me from the “color” you mention. However, this time I tried something new — I took public transit (the CTA) from the airport to downtown and then took the Amtrak (high speed rail) from there — this is so my elderly parents wouldn’t have to drive in the crazy Chicago traffic.

Like Singapore, you can tap and go with any credit card that is contactless. Unlike Singapore, the train was old, noisy, and rickety (reminded me of the ones I took in NYC), but reasonably clean. Note that I would not have taken this train at night, this was in the early afternoon. I did not encounter any freaks, gang bangers or thugs… in fact, the vast majority of people I saw on the train and in the stations were just ordinary folks. Nobody messed with me, talked to me or even approached me for the 40 minute ride into downtown. When I got out, it wasn’t at a popular station — it was old and dingy with a very narrow escalator that seemed to be popular for urination (at least from the smell), LOL.

At the station exit, they were quick to open the handicap gate for me, given my luggage wouldn’t fit otherwise. I then proceeded to walk 2 blocks to Union Station (Amtrak), picking up a slice of famous Chicago pizza along the way. The boarding process was a little chaotic, but not bad. I was impressed with how clean and comfortable the Amtrak train was… really nice, spacious, modern and clean, and this was in coach class. It was only $27 for the 240km journey and it took just 2 hours… not bad at all.
This was O'Hare then Blue Line to South Loop Area to Union Station?

I would say the perception is everyone gets mugged or shot at, which isn't true, as you have shown. However, there has been an increasing rate of incidents in this area, although probably more at night (which you mentioned you would have avoided). Even the area to the West of North Michigan Avenue hasn't been spared either (this is historically a very nice area). If you go South from Downtown to Chinatown or around the University of Chicago, things have deteriorated even more over the years.

Hence, while the news may be dramatized, one safe journey does not mean the issues are entirely fabricated either. If you want numbers, there are plenty of crime stats out there for the area.

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Re: Pros and cons of living in Singapore for near future

Post by MOCHS » Sat, 16 Jul 2022 10:07 am

I know what the Amtrak is and do intend take their California Zephyr route one day. Have read & seen enough blogs & vlogs to know Amtrak is pretty good.

Again, malcontent mentioned he took the train in the early afternoon. By safety, we mean past midnight. That is where SG stands out. Anyone can walk on the streets after 12am here in SG without having an unfortunate encounter. You can go out, get drunk, and still reach home safely. Of course, walking into dimly lit areas anywhere in the world isn’t recommended, that is common sense.

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