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Old 03-11-14, 10:36 AM   #1
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Singapore is The Economist's "World's most expensive city 2014"

Me now thinks the Brompton was a good buy, considering a Toyota Corolla is currently retailing comfortably at US$105,000. The car comes with a piece of paper that allows the car to be on the roads for up to 10 years, after which you have the option to pay another US$40k or so simply to keep it for another 10 years. And so on.

Now I know where the National Parks Board got the money to fund 26 Bromptons for their staff to ride around in.
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Old 03-11-14, 11:25 AM   #2
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Ouch! Yeah, get that Brommy! Cheaper by far!
And you don't have to pay again after a decade of use to keep it on the road!
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Old 03-11-14, 03:25 PM   #3
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IIRC You also have to prove that you have a place to keep the car in Singapore, too...like a garage.
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Old 03-11-14, 03:44 PM   #4
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do save on heating costs in the winter, there , since you really dont have a winter.

hows the bus and trolley system down there ?
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Old 03-11-14, 03:46 PM   #5
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I've read a little about Singapore (it's on my to-do list). I know it has a big manufacturing centre, but with it being a city-state (which is rather awesome IMO), how do the factory workers afford to live? Factory work does not famously pay much, cities are very expensive in general, and if this place is taking the crown...

M.
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Old 03-11-14, 06:20 PM   #6
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do save on heating costs in the winter, there , since you really dont have a winter.

hows the bus and trolley system down there ?
Honestly, it's nice to have a mild winter I guess

Doesn't help we're now in the middle of our longest ever dry spell, no rain for over 27 days in Jan/Feb (the previous record was 18).

What we save in heating costs, we spend in air-conditioning costs, all year round - so... yay for us? XD

Must say the transport system here in world-class, though it's definitely beginning to show flaws in the system. In fact, the minister in charge of the train network resigned in disgrace after a number of high-profile breakdowns and delays.
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Old 03-11-14, 06:27 PM   #7
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the minister in charge of the train network resigned in disgrace after a number of high-profile breakdowns and delays.
imagine he paid himself well, up until then ..
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Old 03-11-14, 06:49 PM   #8
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I've read a little about Singapore (it's on my to-do list). I know it has a big manufacturing centre, but with it being a city-state (which is rather awesome IMO), how do the factory workers afford to live? Factory work does not famously pay much, cities are very expensive in general, and if this place is taking the crown...

M.
I've never quite understood the concept of a city-state... your question prompted me to wiki it lol.

Some of them rent rooms and many employers have makeshift huts for them to stay in. The rents are cheaper if you rent rooms in the less central housing estates. I guess many of the less well-off workers stay 3-4 or more to a single bedroom.

The declaration is somewhat misleading actually, because they largely meant "most expensive for expatriates". General day-to-day expenses for locals like public transport, food, entertainment is quite affordable and reasonable.

Of course, housing and cars (driving in general due to plentiful tollways and parking charges everywhere) are still ridiculously expensive.
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Old 03-11-14, 07:00 PM   #9
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imagine he paid himself well, up until then ..
No doubt... the ministers in Singapore are the highest paid in the world.

If Obama makes about US$400,000, we got THREE top-level ministers to run our little country - a Prime Minister, a Senior Minister (the previous PM), and a Minister Mentor (the founder Lee Kuan Yew), all of whom are making salaries roughly FOUR TO FIVE TIMES that amount.

FROM WIKIPEDIA
In April 2007, the Prime Minister's annual salary increased to S$3.1 million (US$2.05 million), about five times that of the then President of the United StatesGeorge W. Bush who earned US$400,000.[SUP][64][/SUP] The annual entry-level salary for ministers increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million, and was projected to rise to 88% of the private sector benchmark by the end of 2008.
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Old 03-11-14, 07:11 PM   #10
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I've never quite understood the concept of a city-state
Both Germany and Italy were a collection of small states , until unified relatively quite recently
File:Italy 1494.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:Imperial Circles 1512 en.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

then there's the Vatican
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Old 03-15-14, 06:05 PM   #11
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My in law that lives there tells me it's very different from the states. Everything there from the top down that's high profile is owned by the Lee family. So there's alot more control and laws get passed faster than the fiasco you get at congress. But yeah the taxes for cars are like over 100% or more of the value of the car for the right to drive it. If I lived there I would have bought a brompton easily because it would be soooo cheap in comparison to owning a car. It was scary when he told me that owning his kia there was in the 6 digit range!?

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No doubt... the ministers in Singapore are the highest paid in the world.

If Obama makes about US$400,000, we got THREE top-level ministers to run our little country - a Prime Minister, a Senior Minister (the previous PM), and a Minister Mentor (the founder Lee Kuan Yew), all of whom are making salaries roughly FOUR TO FIVE TIMES that amount.

FROM WIKIPEDIA
In April 2007, the Prime Minister's annual salary increased to S$3.1 million (US$2.05 million), about five times that of the then President of the United StatesGeorge W. Bush who earned US$400,000.[SUP][64][/SUP] The annual entry-level salary for ministers increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million, and was projected to rise to 88% of the private sector benchmark by the end of 2008.
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Old 03-15-14, 08:26 PM   #12
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My in law that lives there tells me it's very different from the states. Everything there from the top down that's high profile is owned by the Lee family. So there's alot more control and laws get passed faster than the fiasco you get at congress. But yeah the taxes for cars are like over 100% or more of the value of the car for the right to drive it. If I lived there I would have bought a brompton easily because it would be soooo cheap in comparison to owning a car. It was scary when he told me that owning his kia there was in the 6 digit range!?
Well, one would expect a country with less than 2% the population of the US - and 0.002% of the land mass - to be somewhat easier to run, wouldn't it? Yes Singapore has its own set of unique challenges, but people are getting somewhat fed up with the situation.

The problem with car ownership is that a vast proportion of the ridiculous price goes to the government, NOT the manufacturers. A simple piece of paper called the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) allows you to have the car on the road for 10 years, and it costs about US$50,000 for small cars like Mazda3 and Honda Civic. So maybe less than 20% of the cost is the actual worth of the car, while the rest are made up of taxes, fees, etc.

In 2003, there was a point where it was less than US$1 (less than a dollar).

Since we purportedly have the highest number of billionaires per capita, I guess even a US$280,000 BMW 5 series is not a problem for them. Too bad for the rest of the population.
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Old 03-15-14, 08:36 PM   #13
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I am from Hong Kong, similar housing costs ( insane ) and tight spaces. It felt like prison to me, no elbow room unless you are wealthy and live on the other side of HK Island. So good to be gone from that place.
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Old 03-15-14, 09:41 PM   #14
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I am from Hong Kong, similar housing costs ( insane ) and tight spaces. It felt like prison to me, no elbow room unless you are wealthy and live on the other side of HK Island. So good to be gone from that place.
Wow, you are the first HK person I know that dislikes HK. Most people I know from HK are always like "HK food is soo much better, HK shopping is soo much more convenient, HK water tastes sweeter, man I sure wish I am in HK right now rather than [Fill in US city]", blah blah.
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Old 03-15-14, 11:38 PM   #15
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Writers for the Economist of London dont sleep 4 to a room , for them, I suppose the hotel room, in Singapore is expensive.

they talk to factory owners not tthe people working there anyhow..

" what you see depends on where you look" .. think Its A Yogi Berra Quote ..
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Old 03-16-14, 04:06 AM   #16
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Wow, you are the first HK person I know that dislikes HK. Most people I know from HK are always like "HK food is soo much better, HK shopping is soo much more convenient, HK water tastes sweeter, man I sure wish I am in HK right now rather than [Fill in US city]", blah blah.
Hah... actually it's true to a certain extent. There's definitely stuff most Singaporeans will miss despite our constant whining. Guess it's pretty a matter of "grass: always greener on other side".

Food and labor is cheap (almost every middle-income family has a maid). I guess the government made it so that we could spend more time in the office instead of on 'menial household chores or maintenance'. In Australia, you either learn how to fix your own leaky faucet or pay through the nose for a plumber. My dad wouldn't even know where to start.
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Old 03-16-14, 10:28 PM   #17
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The total lack of open spaces is the one thing that would spur anyone to leave this city. I know this because my brothers have moved to Nova Scotia CAN and Perth WA while my sister is in Halifax CAN. While I have visited them on several occasions, the car is a necessity there. On the other hand, a 2 or 3-wheeler is the transport of choice for me, if I were to be "within riding distance" as my niece in Perth does. Infrastructure and abundance of space in these places, doesn't put 2/3-wheelers competing with motorized vehicles. Aside from the sub-zero temps and snow shovelling in Nova Scotia or the sweltering summers in Western Australia, the abundance of space would have won me over hands down. I empathize with cbr9927 as I have visited HK on several occasions and wonder how much space there is really is, in those apartments. City living or survival is a mix between having very little elbow room vs conveniences. The cities in Japan are no different from Singapore or HK even though they have an abundance of open spaces in the country. Yes, cycling there was heavenly with their numerous bike groups whose members are simply ultra-passionate about it. Wherever we live in, I guess it's all about making the best of what we have at hand and be positive about. Make no mistake, I'm not saying anyone on this thread is being negative but rather that not everyone can "escape" from their present situation (unlike my siblings). Having said that, I have resigned to being here in SG and just make the best of what we have here. Yes, I do wish I have the open spaces in the places I have visited but riding up Kelly's Mountain in Nova Scotia was not really a fun thing to do in early winter.
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Old 03-17-14, 01:17 AM   #18
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The total lack of open spaces is the one thing that would spur anyone to leave this city. I know this because my brothers have moved to Nova Scotia CAN and Perth WA while my sister is in Halifax CAN. While I have visited them on several occasions, the car is a necessity there. On the other hand, a 2 or 3-wheeler is the transport of choice for me, if I were to be "within riding distance" as my niece in Perth does. Infrastructure and abundance of space in these places, doesn't put 2/3-wheelers competing with motorized vehicles. Aside from the sub-zero temps and snow shovelling in Nova Scotia or the sweltering summers in Western Australia, the abundance of space would have won me over hands down. I empathize with cbr9927 as I have visited HK on several occasions and wonder how much space there is really is, in those apartments. City living or survival is a mix between having very little elbow room vs conveniences. The cities in Japan are no different from Singapore or HK even though they have an abundance of open spaces in the country. Yes, cycling there was heavenly with their numerous bike groups whose members are simply ultra-passionate about it. Wherever we live in, I guess it's all about making the best of what we have at hand and be positive about. Make no mistake, I'm not saying anyone on this thread is being negative but rather that not everyone can "escape" from their present situation (unlike my siblings). Having said that, I have resigned to being here in SG and just make the best of what we have here. Yes, I do wish I have the open spaces in the places I have visited but riding up Kelly's Mountain in Nova Scotia was not really a fun thing to do in early winter.
Indeed, it's always in the back of my mind when I'm driving in Australia or USA how little overhead obstruction there is. I can't emphasize how happy it makes me feel when I'm on the open road.

It feels like there's endless blue skies there, especially California - I thought Australia was great but it absolutely pales in comparison.

Yes Singapore has its fair share of cyclists, but there's a growing backlash from drivers/pedestrians about dangerous behaviour. Some cyclists simply take it for granted that their hybrid nature - being able to use roads and walkways - grants them unlimited access to both. As such, they take up a full lane on the roadways and then maneuver recklessly between pedestrians on the sidewalks.

Personally, as a commuter, I avoid cycling on the roads when I can. The roads in Singapore is somewhat narrow and busy so cars can veer dangerously close to cyclists. I mostly stay on the walkways but I ALWAYS make sure to give way to any pedestrian regardless of the situation.

I can see how the road bikes would need to stay on the roads to maintain a certain cadence, but I'm quite satisfied with safety over speed.

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Old 03-17-14, 04:06 AM   #19
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Yes Singapore has its fair share of cyclists, but there's a growing backlash from drivers/pedestrians about dangerous behaviour. Some cyclists simply take it for granted that their hybrid nature - being able to use roads and walkways - grants them unlimited access to both. As such, they take up a full lane on the roadways and then maneuver recklessly between pedestrians on the sidewalks.

Personally, as a commuter, I avoid cycling on the roads when I can. The roads in Singapore is somewhat narrow and busy so cars can veer dangerously close to cyclists. I mostly stay on the walkways but I ALWAYS make sure to give way to any pedestrian regardless of the situation.

I can see how the road bikes would need to stay on the roads to maintain a certain cadence, but I'm quite satisfied with safety over speed.
I always make a point to look from 3 different view points - driver, cyclist and pedestrian. Sad to say that in SG, there seems to be an "Us vs Them" mentality and the total presumption of "right of way" be it driver, cyclist or pedestrian. This simply makes the opposing party hate us more and perpetuate the rift even more. With the "cadence" group, it's herd mentality, "united we stand" and "strength in numbers". Being a lone cyclist, I am like keyven, being satisfied with safety over speed.
On the issue of open spaces in land scarce SG, I just cherish whatever little we have and make the best of it before it's all gone in the name of progress.
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Old 03-17-14, 07:57 AM   #20
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I always make a point to look from 3 different view points - driver, cyclist and pedestrian. Sad to say that in SG, there seems to be an "Us vs Them" mentality and the total presumption of "right of way" be it driver, cyclist or pedestrian. This simply makes the opposing party hate us more and perpetuate the rift even more. With the "cadence" group, it's herd mentality, "united we stand" and "strength in numbers". Being a lone cyclist, I am like keyven, being satisfied with safety over speed.
On the issue of open spaces in land scarce SG, I just cherish whatever little we have and make the best of it before it's all gone in the name of progress.
Yes, it's probably a matter of time before the government implement 'cycling laws' and start charging road tax for bicycles.

It was only a week ago I was driving when I saw a hatchback zoom past an elderly cyclist, causing him to fall over. This was when the roads were quite empty - there were two lanes so the car did not have to be near the cyclist at all. That scared the crap out of me.

I honestly don't know if the side mirror grazed his bike or he just wobbled in surprise and fell. Thankfully he got up almost immediately and was helped by a nearby couple. The car did stop further up and the last thing I saw was the driver running over to him.
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Old 03-17-14, 08:00 AM   #21
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Writers for the Economist of London dont sleep 4 to a room , for them, I suppose the hotel room, in Singapore is expensive.

they talk to factory owners not tthe people working there anyhow..

" what you see depends on where you look" .. think Its A Yogi Berra Quote ..
Actually high-end hotel room prices in Singapore are somewhat comparable, maybe even cheaper, to the rest of the world.
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Old 03-17-14, 08:52 AM   #22
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interesting mix then .. the report based on spotty data collection, seems written
to have something to write about.
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Old 03-17-14, 09:41 AM   #23
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interesting mix then .. the report based on spotty data collection, seems written
to have something to write about.
Well i should say... comparable or cheaper than most first-world countries.
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Old 03-17-14, 10:44 PM   #24
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" what you see depends on where you look" .. think Its A Yogi Berra Quote ..
I would like to add "What you see depends on who you are..." For my siblings in Perth and Nova Scotia, my 25mile drive to work seems like a short drive while my countrymen would wonder where I work. Likewise, looking at my Tern X10 is beyond the reach for the newspaper delivery guy while a wealthy man would say it's just loose change. To the professional expats, SG would be ok but not to the workers making up the labor force coming from the villages of less developed countries. Certainly the old adage of "The grass being greener..." hold true but to who and to what extent.
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Old 03-18-14, 09:19 AM   #25
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Well, one would expect a country with less than 2% the population of the US - and 0.002% of the land mass - to be somewhat easier to run, wouldn't it? Yes Singapore has its own set of unique challenges, but people are getting somewhat fed up with the situation.

The problem with car ownership is that a vast proportion of the ridiculous price goes to the government, NOT the manufacturers. A simple piece of paper called the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) allows you to have the car on the road for 10 years, and it costs about US$50,000 for small cars like Mazda3 and Honda Civic. So maybe less than 20% of the cost is the actual worth of the car, while the rest are made up of taxes, fees, etc.

In 2003, there was a point where it was less than US$1 (less than a dollar).

Since we purportedly have the highest number of billionaires per capita, I guess even a US$280,000 BMW 5 series is not a problem for them. Too bad for the rest of the population.

The main reason I think just like HK they make it expensive to own a car because it is a cheap and profitable way to deal with car ownership in a very high population density in a small area, and I've seen what happens in some countries where it's a little cheaper to own cars. In Jakarta there is really no good public transportation or subway system so when a friend wanted to drive us 6-7km to a mall..... it took 2-3hrs of traffic jams! oh yeah this is 8pm also not during work hours!?!? I really wished HK and Singapore actually focused their infrastructure like Amsterdam and get cycling as a major form of transportation to handle this population density and not treat cycle riders as a 2nd class citizen, it was a wonderful place to live for a cycling fanatic! I read Singapore is trying to let you bring folding bikes into the subway systems but during non rush hours only which is next to useless for commuting to work. Car's don't need to be a necessity if they start focusing on the more human aspects of transportation.

oh but also food in HK and Singapore is really cheap! you don't even have to cook ever! but i'm not sure if that's a healthy lifestyle. I can get some prawn mee for like 2-3 bucks down the street! can't beat that! back in Toronto I get crappy food court food if I don't bring lunch.

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