Saturday, July 31, 2010

Interesting article. Having lived in both countries, let’s look at this point by point.

1. Article says – Australia cost of living is very high. Daily products and houses are expensive – much more than Singapore.

1. Not true. Australia is cheaper for lot of daily necessities such as subsidized healthcare, education and cheaper housing given a greater supply of land vis-a-vis a smaller population. In Singapore today (2010) $500k will get you a moderate-sized HDB flat, whereas in Australia that will buy you a house on an adequate size of land in a decent suburb in Sydney or Melbourne. In smaller cities like Adelaide or Brisbane, you’d get something pretty close to a mansion.

2. Article says – Singapore’s GDP per capita (nominal) is expected to overtake Japan this year. Becoming the highest per capita GDP in Asia

2. Agreed. But Singapore is a service-based economy & the value of its domestic goods and services is heavily reliant on external market forces over which it has no control. However the point about Singapore being well-placed to take advantage of the growth in China & India is true.

3. Article says – Singapore has an exciting future. ASEAN might become another CARICOM or MERCUSR, your Singapore passport can allow you to work and live freely in other ASEAN countries.

3. The Australian passport allows you to work & live freely in other ASEAN countries as well.

3. (Note point 3 appeared twice in the article so the same goes here). Article says – Singapore is much safer, less corrupted and has more convenient amentities.

3. Safer, yes. Convenient amenities, yes Singapore is more efficient & has better infrastructure. Less corrupted – not true. Corruption in Australian parliament would be exposed by the media the very next day. Openess & accountability to the Australian public is something every politician understands and accepts. However, Singapore politicians have walls & do not allow the media to probe behind the scenes. Therefore, given this lack of accountability to the public, if the corruption level in Singapore is higher I would not be surprised because nobody gets to know about it – unless the government wants to occasionally make an example out of someone. That said, I can’t comment on the specific level of corruption in each country.

4. Article says – Singapore offers a better place to bring up kids

4. Not true – it depends on what you consider important when bringing up your kids. Singapore may offer bilingual options in schools but Australia offers the same. The problem is the ‘kiasu-ness’ in Singapore society takes its toll on the kids very early on in life resulting in a highly stressful environment for them to grow up in. Although the Singapore government wants to encourage creativity & innovation, the school environment in Singapore is not conducive to this. Australia offers a much better work-life balance with more time given to working parents to look after their kids, higher baby bonuses & other government perks that encourage this work-life balance. There’s also a lot more activity in schools that foster play & learning through which children develop more holistically rather than being overly focused on just the academic aspect of education – which is just one part of the picture.

But as for the drug problem – agreed. Australia should adopt the same law as Singapore does when it comes to the drugs as this is a problem & causes a huge hole in the pockets of Australian taxpayers.

5. Article says - you just be a bit creative, you can easily get a nice house in JB, Malaysia or Indonesia and enjoy the less stressful lifestyle there as well every weekend or day.

5. Probably. But the weather, climate & countrysides in Australia are very beautiful too and there’s no need to bring your passport along when going on holiday.

6. In Australia, technology is so backward

6. Absolutely agreed. Technology here seems light years behind Singapore.

7. Article says – Australia has water problems. Small towns only have rain water tanks. Yucks, do you dare to drink rainwater?

7. True but the author makes a misinformed point in the article. There are water rationing regulations at certain times in the year – usually in summer. This means that there are certain days & times during the week when you can wash your car or water your garden but this has little impact on day to day living. As for small towns, yes may have a different source of water supply but these are towns in regional areas with tiny populations where most migrants do not live in. As for the point about rain water, one could turn the tables & say ‘Yuck, do you dare to drink new/recycled water?’

8. Article says – Australia has lots of dangerous animals.

8. True so does Singapore – especially the kiasu road drivers.

9. Article says – In Singapore, you can hire an expatriate maid to help you do your family chores. You can’t do that in Australia.

9. Yes, the cost of labour is far more expensive in Australia.

10. Article says – Running a business in Australia is exorbitantly expensive

10. Yes – compared to Singapore it is because of the heavy taxes in Australia.

11. Article says – In Singapore, there are much much more jobs and career options than Australia.

11. Not true. Both countries have a specific list of skills that are in demand based on the requirements of their economies. Depends on what one’s line of work is.

12. Article says – Food is Singapore is much cheaper and better than Australia.
12. Cheaper, yes in Singapore. Better quality, no. The quality of fresh produce is better in Australia. Plus the Food & Drug Regulations are stronger in Australia than they are in Singapore.

13. Article says – Australia has a very run down armed forces. only 50, 000 soldiers. Their strategy is basically to wait for America’s help in the event of a war. Indonesia has an army of 500, 000. Singapore has 400 ,000.

13. The author can’t be serious about this point. Numbers doesn’t mean an army is competent & besides Singapore, like Australia, needs its allies should there be a war.

14. Article says – Singapore’s property prices will skyrocket in a few decades

14. This point was covered previously.

15. Article says – Singapore’s CPF! You will have money for old age, housing! The employer puts in 12% as well dont forget! Australia has the superannuation pension scheme but their taxes will frighten you off!

15. Australia’s Superannuation pension is taxed at around 6.5%. The other type of tax is that over & above one’s pension such as investment income & other streams of income which is taxed at around 15%. Yes the taxes are higher in Australia but medical benefits also come with it. So it eventually evens out.

In summary, Singapore offers a lot of advantages to younger people with years of working life ahead of them but when it comes down to retirement, quality of life and family living, Australia is a better option.

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