Sunday 28 September 2008

Singapore snippet

It has more than 5 years since I last went to Singapore and I must say, it has changed a whole lot. For a start… heck, it has so many cars now. And they are not just any ordinary cars, they are all very new and very nice cars, goes to who Singaporeans are really reaping the fruits of their economic prowess.

Although they have introduced Electronic Road Pricing (“ERP”), there are still many cars in the city centre. For those who are unaware, ERP is a payment system where cars will be charged “toll” for entering the city. The rates are different depending on the time of the day. It is something I wish KL will implement but I know it will never happen, because we will always have to look after the interest of the motorcyclists, something almost non-existent in Singapore.

Prices are quite reasonable, if you don’t convert. I went for coffee at a reasonably good café and it was SGD3.90 for an iced chocolate. Imagine if you earn SGD, everything is almost half prize. I guess that is why so many of my friends are trying to get a job there. Yours truly included.

Bunked with a good friend of mine and we went dinner with some of his colleagues. You know what? They are all Malaysians. And he told me… 80% of the people in his office are Malaysians. Like what I told one of his Malaysian colleagues, who ‘buka puasa’ with us… “it’s brain drain at the highest level”.

Oh… I found out one thing. You know how Singapore cars entering Malaysia must have at least 3/4 of their petrol tank filled? All these working people in Singapore have been going to Johor to fill up their tank for more than a year already. Apparently, no one really check their petrol-meter when they enter into their country. And we thought we have been denying Singaporeans cheap petrol all these while…

Orchard Road is just fantastic. Over very own Bintang Walk is nowhere near the kind of atmosphere and aura that Orchard Road generates. Perhaps some of us know that already. Personally, I find Orchard Road quite comparable to the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris. If people say Paris has got the 4 seasons advantage, then these people have to go see how successful Orchard Road is.

Overall, Singapore is a country where everything works. If they want to implement something, it will happen. And the people will support it.

There are also many Malaysians who make fun of Singapore… calling it sillypore and calling the Singaporeans kiasu and kiasi or whatever not. But you know what? Deep down, I feel we are just jealous… deep down, we wish we can be something like Singapore. Clean… low corruption… fantastic economy… strong currency. I know I am one of them.


Jun said...

the low cost of living compared to kl is wat i like abt spore. and oh, the food! the shopping!! :D

CV said...

we can make it happen. Just vote for DAP :-P

mh said...

The Singapore government runs the nation like it would a private corporate entity. A lot of emphasis on training, skills and merits, less on welfare. This encourages citizens to work for their own survival, and in congruence, propel the nation forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't really like sg for many reasons. One being my least fav relative lives there. Other being the artificialness and everything being superficial. The ppl there become almost drone like and the social problems are HEAPS!

I used to envy sg but i don't now. I don't wanna live in a place where everything is monitored and filtered. In this distressed msia things are also filtered and monitored but there are channels for us. In sg, its hard to get away.

Terra Shield said...

I was there last year, and you know what amazed me above all? Their land is so limited, and yet they can have the sides of the roads paved with trees, which make it nice for people who have to walk around!

kyh said...

When the casinos eventually open it will become the Monte Carlo of the East... filled with glam and glitz!

Call me A.S for AkiraSabine said...

I used to vye for the Asean Scholarship so as i could get across for good. Since then, I haven't given a second thought till now and I've always perceived the standard of living in SG is higher than in MY. In the end, that actually balances it out with the higher pay.

Now, you're not the only one comparing and came out with a different statement. Well, well let me sort out where my life direction in the coming 5 years is. Then I might consider going over as well before they think I'm too old to join their workforce.

myop101 said...

hmmm... perhaps i should fast forward and look for a job there...:P


iamthewitch said...

Yes I agree with you... I'm jealous too! *sigh*

Purple~MushRooM said...

The country is good, no doubt, but not necessary their people is good too. No offence to singaporeans but I do have a post in my blog abt a singaporean colleague of mine in shanghai who belittles me as a malaysian. Really a shame to his country and fellow singaporeans.

If think carefully, Malaysia is a much greater country with so much more resources. But sadly, it's run by a bunch of monkeys. Thats why we are living in a sad world.

sc said...

i agree with pinknpurplelizard. though i'm over in S'pore quite frequently for work, i still prefer Malaysia.. it's concrete jungle there and so boring on weekends. the people reminds me of robots, just follow the 'instructions' and yes, always being monitored. my frens who work there cant wait to return to Msia (once they earned enough).

Huei said...

i like to live in a country where i can chew gum! wahahahhhaha

nah..never liked sg..except for maybe cleanliness..but that's it! i don't want my life to be planned out by the gomen the very day i get borned! i agree with purple mushroom..the ppl r...oh wellll

also they laugh at us msians..if they're so great..stop taking our petrol!!!

H.C. Tan said...

hmmm singapore is too well "restricted"...although the crime rate is low, which is great...and great pay but otherwise i still prefer malaysia!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

although i havent been there for eons since i was a small kid..

i suppose since u alr work like a dog here..might as well go over to sg and work like a dog hor..

doc said...

s'pore looks ok for now bcos LKY still wield considerble power over the govt. being the most influential of the founding fathers of the country, many are worried what the future lies post-LKY, the biggest fear being rejoining m'sia for survival.

Cherry Popcorn said...

Sigh.. so sad la.. even though I love Malaysia and don't want to admit that other countries are better than my country.. I know its not true..


zewt said...

Jun - i guess u will be based there permanently huh?

Noble - haha... i dont think it's taht easy lah.

mh - true. and i tot PKR was going to do the same with selangor. i guess the federal funding issue kinda screwed things up a bit.

pinknpurplelizard - u sure. definitely an enlightening point. how is everything filtered? and social problems? more compared to malaysia? cant be right?

Terra shield - yes... it has become a really green city, where you can walk around under the shade most of the time. quite amazing.

kyh - and genting will just be shite.

Akira - hahaha... i dont think they will ever think you're too old. they are in need for ppl. singaporeans are not breeding. hahahaha...

myop101 - most definitely. let's go together haha!

Anonymous said...

if you can shut an eye to the politics and be here sole for monetary purposes, i think you'll find this city a joy to live and work in. after all, it's about working here, not taking on the citizenship. because that citizenship will force alot of policies down your throat that you might not like...

zewt said...

iamthewitch - sigh... sad huh?

purple mushroom - well, how did he/she belittle u? who is to blame? and i said the country is good... the way it was run... not exactly referring to singaporeans ler... hehe...

sc - i dont understand this monitored and following instructions bit though. but hey... arent we the same here in malaysia? we constantly live in fear... worse isnt it?

huei - then we must take what is good from them and dispose the bad fruits...

HC Tan - low crime rate and high pay is more than enough for me. above a lot of other things.

constantly craving joe - exactly... and dont get dog pay.

doc - i dont think they ever need to rejoin malaysia. no way. their govt officials are all highly intelligent and highly qualified individuals. unlike us.. we can have a KTM gate keeper as town councillor.

princess shin - hahahaha... we all know that. and malaysia is getting shitty as we speak.

imp - i am really interested in knowing all those policies...

Anonymous said...

Why sg is politically stable is because Uncle Lee quashes all his competitors by jailing and exiling them. Observe for urself and see how sterile the environment is.

How is everything filtered? Laffs... U r kidding me on this right? U should be well-informed on this.

Social problems is aplenty just that u gotta get in touch with the right ppl to know what and where. Even by observation, you will know that there are.

Malaysia does have its own problems but if u gotta remember that sg is a city state and malaysia is many thousand or million times larger than it. In terms of running a city state, its much easier.

The amount of arrogance most sg nationals exude is so much worst than the English.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, its better to live in fear and uncertainty because your wits and mind will always be active. You're able to be innovative and creative or shrewd about things.

If you just follow instructions like how most sg kids do then u become a drone. Drones make good followers but bad leaders.

taxy said...

Deep down, you just wanna find an excuse, any excuse, to go over there, don't you?

Anonymous said...

dude. can't believe you didn't give me a call when you got here. how did the wedding go anyway?

pinknpurplelizard - i'm born and bred Singaporean. educated right smack on this tiny island as well. while it is true that our education policy can sometimes bred do-ers instead of thinkers, it is slowly changing and evolving. the policies/restrictions that the government has in place may seem harsh to the outsider, but i can assure you, we definitely have greater freedom of speech than MY allows. also, comparatively, our crime rates are much lower, our roads safer, our dollar more secure. LKY does have a political stronghold, but he has done a world of good for this nation. we're decades younger than other developed countries yet we have really high literacy rates thru a world class education system, a housing scheme that has been so successful Britain is now implementing it, top-notch medical facilities, safety and security like no other. yes, there will always be greener pastures, always, but there will never be another country that i will call home.

CK said...

u r right. v call sporean names because of our inferiority complex.

imp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imp said...

zewt, there're so many. but let's start with say, the Central Provident Fund (CPF). as a foreigner working in sgp, you'll have to contribute your percentage to CPF. the good thing is, you can take all these contributions away when you leave. but if you're a singaporean, and a savvy investor (esp with your tax/audit background), you'll soon see that it might not be the best fund around. it is, if you're an average person making ends meet. but if you're more ambitious or lucky enough to have capital assets already, CPF becomes an inconvenience. take a hard look at its policies.

the one drawback about democracy is its relative unpredictability when it comes to the changing of guards. i cannot emphasize enough that singapore's model works simply because it's small. in relation, success becomes magnified. and failures, tucked away. our policies, when transplanted into another country, may not work. for eg, our lack of social welfare benefits. it works fine for us. but it might not work in another larger state when there's a wide rich-poor gap and poverty line is high.

there're more. but i guess you can suss it out yourself already! :)

day-dreamer said...

MAYBE it's the kiasuim in them that made them so good today. =X

Anonymous said...

The wisest decision ever made by LKY was to separate from Malaysia.

Helen said...

Honest, Singapore is great. BUt then not everyone likes to live the neat and tidy life.

I'm sure you know what I mean. Singapore is just too 'mechanical'. :-)

Anonymous said...

to me

singapore is a sell out island...with one owner.....the rest is history!

LKY is a former mayor

let see how the current president govern singapore if malaysia could review their water price to them+rebuild tambak johor

Anonymous said...

My mother from malasia converted to be a singaporean. A couple of my relatives, judge (strange yah ), dean of school etc refuse to give up malaysian citizenship at first but now defend the pap like anything ... unlike me who will vote against. i find some malaysian heer after a long long while ...more sg kiasu than singaporeans ...

interesting ...

Surind said...

Added ya to my blogroll ;-)

Unknown said...

hi i like yr last statement. ive noticed that as well... and i totally agree with you.

and yes, singapore is quite nice nowadays - with the gov buzzing up the town with f1 & the soon to be open casinos! :)

Purple~MushRooM said...

Zewt, he belittles me just because he knows i am a malaysian, of course he is to blame. No one has the right to belittle anyone in this world! Nothing makes one more superior than the other. He is indeed a shame to his country and fellow singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

ERP or no ERP in msia, it will still stay idiotic, its not the things but the ppl who implement it tat makes it work. sammy do propose gantry system sometimes last year, the intention? u guess. anyway, v use motor coz v memang cant afford car, but sg ppl having motor bcoz they like it, n they ride HD not hondakab hor

(allow me to yell) real value of S$ is much higher than RM, which means their purchasing power is indeed very much higher la.

ya, sg custom no longer can hold all the "manier n manier" msian working there who travel back av week, making us msian crossing the causeway feel exactly like foreign labor who squeeze in/outside the custom, guarded by armed officers sumtimes, av friday after work

"If they want to implement something, it will happen"
memang true, bcoz they r 'kiasu/kiasi' which i found out much later its actly a virtue of vigilance n dedication, well they will never go 'tidak apa'.

anyhow, its a very organised island where u can always find a channel to throw a complain which will relly b taken note of (hence the stress)

very good 4 well-disciplined n panaroid ppl, bad 4 the accustom-to-laidback-relaz-tidakpa msian

zewt said...

pinknpurplelizard - true, i know about this powerful suppression in singapore. but regardless, they still manage the country well. i think the 'excuse' of saying singapore is a city state while malaysia has got vast land is long overdue. it's time ot wake up and admit that our country could have been much better given proper governance and management.

taxy driver - anywhere... anywhere.

lynettetan - sorry... sorry... the schedule was crazy. and i was too full for even coffee... trust me on that. as for your description of your country... my sentiments exactly, couldnt agree more...

CK - just like how others call us names.

imp - you guys have CPF, and we have our EPF too. call me a cynic but i am very sure your CPF is very much more well managed than our EPF. of course, it is a hit on our cashflow, particularly if we are investment-savvy enough. as for the reason that you guys have lesser land thus easier to manage, i tot this is only an excuse used my malaysians :) well, i always wonder what will happen if your Mr Lee is given the chance to manage malaysia... will it be the same malaysia that we are living in now? or will it be half of what singapore will be now.

day-dreamer - haha.. in a way, it's true.

jemima - hahaha... have to admit that is true.

zewt said...

Helen - well, i prefer it than here where everything is breaking loose.

erm - i still think they will stay ahead, unless there is a massive change in this country.

anon @ 29/9 8.33pm - hahaha... malaysians are like that. they say others are kiasu but in fact, we are both kiasu and kiasi. why u go against the PAP?

Surind Raj - thanks mate.

QuaChee - hello there, welcome to AZAIG. like someone commented, it's going to be monte carlo of the east.

purple mushroom - your colleague is definitely a shite. but that doesnt make the whole country shite. if we judge the country by just 1 person... what about our country with our super intelligent govt?

anon @ 30/9 10.41am - well said. and i particularly like your comparison between kiasu/kiasi to a virtue... and how we are of the tidak apa generation. which is worse? would we prefer to be tidak apa or kiasu? this has certainly propelled them forward, something we are all jealous of. and yes, no matter what we want to implement, it will just end up shite. such is the state of our country.

Swee Ping said...

i like singapore too :-)

Swee Ping said...

p/s: did you went there for F1?

Choonie, the Guru said...

I feel the same about Singapore too. I used to dislike the place but when I went back there last year, I found that it is actually not a bad place to stay. Suddenly I feel that our government can do better than the current situation. If I earn RM2000 in Malaysia, I should be able to earn S$2000 but my expenses in Malaysia is so much higher than in Singapore. Of course, provided I have my own place to stay. As you said, S$3.90 of ice chocolate and I doubt you can have RM3.90 of ice chocolate here. That's why my friend who works in Singapore was complaining how expensive is Malaysia drink at Starbucks and Coffee Bean.

Anonymous said...

no worries. i figured your trip here would be hectic as hell. hah.

when you gonna be in KL until? i'm thinking of heading up there for a short getaway.

narrowband said...

I love Singapore :)

zewt said...

swee ping - nah... went there for another thing but did feel the F1 grove a bit.

i'm choonie - well, if your friend is working in singapore and earning SGD... shouldnt be complaining right? :)

lynettetan - i will be here for a while. be sure to buzz me when you're here.

narrowband - why do i have a feeling i know the reason for your liking?

Choonie, the Guru said...

Well... I think she is pitying us.

Swee Ping said...

ah... i see. i was there over the weekend too. so relaxing! but come back here... feel so different :P

zewt said...

i'm choonie - oh... being sarcastic eh she!

swee ping - relaxing... perhaps that's not exactly how singaporeans work though.

Ah Siang said...

I'm a Malaysian and to be fair, I have to say Singapore is better country than Malaysia in

1. Economy
2. Education
3. Crime rate
4. Military
5. Government transperancy.
6. Strong dollar
7. Better healthcare

What they lack are

1. Innovation
2. Space
3. Natural resources
4. Courage to oppose gov.
5. Uptight.
6. Work life balance
7. Subsidies

The goverment manages to excel in important aspects in life, such as housing, healthcare and economy. Every economist knows that a economy with subsidies, a lot of tax, quota, coruption, and black market is bad which is what is happening in Malaysia. Malaysia is potential great country but in reality, its far from it. We get by because of the natural resources and cheaper labour.

As a chinese, and not well off, I prefer to stake my skills in Singapore.

Another point,

Singapore gave their citizens,

1. Bonus yearly
2. Housing subsidies if you and your wife earns less then SGD 8k.
3. A compulsory healthcare insurance.
4. 4 months of maternity
5. If you have kid, they pay you bonus and some no need to pay tax.
6. Civil servants enjoy high salaries.

What has Malaysian gov gave us being Chinese Malaysian Citizens ?

1.Allowing us Immigrant Chinese to live here.
2. Letting us to compete among ourselves to secure a 20-30% into public university.
3. Letting us to sub-tender Gov tenders given to the bumis.
4. Petrol subsidies..everyone gets that.
5. a Malay language based education when we don't have much of the knowledge written in that language.

However, There are bad things too in Singapore, but overall the good outweighs the bad.

I'm a Malaysian working in Singapore. I have both malaysian and singaporean friends. Generally, Singaporeans don't look down on Malaysians. It's always the rich who looks down upon the poor be irregardless which country your come from. So the chances that you met a Rich Singaporean. There are 70,000 of them(millionaires) out of the 4 million people in this island.

One bad thing about them which I dislike, is that they still always complain and bitch. Its never enough.

zewt said...

Ah Siang - they are rich becos generally, the whole country is rich. well, it will be a long way before malaysia will ever reach that level. you may despise them for being arrogant and all, but let me ask you honestly... would you prefer to be arrogant and all and their country doing well or be like us, down to earth with a shitty nation?