Singapore now has solar powered supertrees.. (pics)
Posted 7/6/2012 12:46 am
Are there any downsides to Singapore? I've heard the food is great. Obviously it's clean and exceptionally well-run. I don't care about bullshit political "rights." The only bad things I've heard are that it's boring and that it's hard for Westerners to adapt to the heat and humidity outside and the ice cold air conditioned in all the buildings.
The heat & humidity is bad (90F every day). But it's stable, so it never gets much hotter than that. In fact the record high in Singapore is 96F.
The laws are super-strict. Death penalty for drug dealers. If you do any littering, vandalism, or violence, the punishment is going to be harsh. If you're the type who likes to get drunk, and get wild & crazy, Singapore is not the place for you.
Porn is also technically illegal, but it's only enforced if you're walking around in public with a porno mag. It's perfectly legal to surf for porn, although a handful of porn sites are blocked.
Owning a car is ridiculously expensive, because of taxes & surcharges. Only 10% of Singaporeans own a car. Fortunately, mass transit covers the whole island.
Rents in the downtown/central areas are really expensive. More expensive than Manhattan. If you want reasonable rents, you'll probably have to live outside of the downtown/central area.
KM doesn't like the fact that employers can hire/fire at will, for any reason at all. I personaly don't mind. That's capitalism.
I was there for a week. Like you say, the heat and humidity are #1. It's there 24/7 - step out of an ACed building and it's like you walked into a wall. By the time I left I was regularly ducking into malls and business along the street I was walking on, just to get the AC.
It's crowded. Lots of people out walking and jabbering in Asian or Indian, though I was never pushed or had my pocket picked or anything. Going to the malls on the weekdays is okay, but forget about weekends. There were a lot of cars on the road but I witnessed to traffic jams. There were signs advertising parking spaces, hundreds of them, in various garages.
The food is alien. Unless you love Chinese/Indian/etc food, you'll get homesick quickly just from not being able to eat anything you're used to. Go to Starbucks and they serve pastries with curry in them, for instance. I found one or two American restaurants (i.e. scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast for breakfast) and they were of middling quality and very expensive. That said, the grocery store I went to had plenty of things that I could have used to fix food that I'm used to, if I'd had a kitchen.
But you certainly won't regret going there to check the place out, even if you don't end up wanting to live there.
It's not alcohol-free. If you go to any bar or club, they serve alcohol, and people are drinking alcohol.
However, Singaporeans tend to be really responsible drinkers.
I've lived & worked in cities all over the world. In places like Tokyo, NYC, London, Paris, Rio, etc you'll see plenty of drunk people at night, and some people throwing up or passing out in the streets. I never saw any of that in Singapore.
I saw a few Asian hotties there, but yeah it's not the stuff of an Asian porn site. There are tons and tons of massage places, some of which I suppose are whorehouses, though I didn't try to find out. The girls who stood out front trying to get my business were good looking, at least.
OTOH I changed planes in Tokyo on the way there and that place had plenty of hot Japanese chicks.
In general I've heard that people who have the choice between SG and HK choose HK. However, the pics I've seen of HK make it look like a concrete jungle hellhole to me, so YMMV. I've also heard that really the only things to do in SG are eat and shop (and you can certainly do that, I've never seen such a consumer paradise in my life).
I wonder if the smart thing to do might be to (1) start your own business, (2) move to SG but keep your citizenship, so you don't have to pay US taxes on the first ~$95K of income, and (3) have the business pay your housing costs so you can deduct them from what US taxes you do pay.
It's been slipping for years under both Obongo and Smirk. After all, with Smirk, there was the whole crash of 2008 and Hank Paulson's "we have dynamite strapped on and the world is going to end unless you give us 700 billion" act, which I'm sure didn't help the ranking any.