Thursday, March 06, 2008

Singapore is best city for Asian expatriates to live: HR survey

Via The Straits Times newspaper:

ASIAN expatriates have ranked Singapore as the best place to live in the world for its safe and clean environment, while Europeans chose Copenhagen, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Spore is best city for Asian expatriates to live: HR survey

I can testify to the above, being a resident alien in Singapore myself. I came from Jakarta to live in Singapore in June 2007 and so far the experience has been pretty good. Here are the reasons why Singapore is great for expatriates:

  • English is the primary language -- This fact cannot be understated. Being in a foreign country and able to read street signs, understand restaurant menus and ask questions to some random person on the street can give you a sense of control.
  • Excellent public transportation -- Singapore has a network of well-maintained, air-conditioned underground trains (MRT), buses and taxis that cover pretty much the whole country. Do you need to know when the next bus will arrive at your stop? Look it up with your mobile browser. Need a taxi? Call them up and most of the time they will arrive within 5 minutes. With all of this, you won't need to buy a car when you first arrive in Singapore, which translates to lower moving cost.
  • Low crime -- Being in an unfamiliar and foreign country can be an exhilarating experience. Being in an unfamiliar and foreign country fearing for your own security is quite another feeling. It's easy to take security for granted, but you have to remember that in some countries you cannot just listen to your iPods or talk on your hand phones while riding the city bus.
  • Affordable apartments are widely available -- I know Singaporeans bitch a lot about the cost of property, but the truth is, livable accommodation is still pretty much affordable. If you spend the same percentage of your salary on housing, you will find a nicer place in Singapore than you would in Jakarta, for example.

For me particularly, Singapore's close distance to Jakarta enables me to travel back and forth without needing to do serious planning. I can fly off for a weekend trip and be in Jakarta after an hour and 20 minutes flight. Ticket price is pretty affordable too.