Monday, April 12, 2010

Lifestyle comparison

Public Transport: Cost of going to CBD from about 13km away.
Sydney: About AUD5-6 round trip, connecting bus services without discount and paying full fare, charging by section. Train stations & bus stations as rundown as in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore: About SGD2-3 round trip, connecting bus services at a discount with the same ezlink system. Everything is new or newly renovated.

Car: Cost of owning a small/mid-sized sedan.
Sydney: AUD15k-25k driveaway. Octane 91 petrol is around AUD1.3/litre in Wednesday/Thursday. Garage parking at night is usually free at home. Roadtax around AUD500-600/annum. Toll is everywhere.
Singapore: SGD70-90k, and growing recently due to COE out-of-controlled. Season parking around SGD90/month in HDB covered carpark. Octane 95 petrol is around SGD1.8. Roadtax around SGD700/annum. ERP is everywhere.

Driving: When a turning signal is switched on.
Sydney: The car behind will slow down and wait for your turn to enter the lane, speed limit is 110km/h max in freeway, generally driving between +-5km/h of speed limit. It's illegal to pass a bus with a turning signal on.
Singapore: The car behind will accelerate faster passing you, though speed limit is 90km/h max in highway. Bus driver is surprised if a driver behind is giving way to them. Generally driving at speed limit, but much more than 110km/h when a Singapore car driving in Malaysia highway.

Sydney: Apartment cost around AUD400-500k, with management cost of few hundreds per quarter paying to body corporate. House in decent suburbs are around AUD600-700k, about 50km away from CBD. Rental is around AUD400-500/week, usually unfurnished.
Singapore: HDB apartments cost around SGD300k-500k, where 70% of Singaporean stay, maintenance around SGD50-90/month. Condominums cost SGD600k-2million. Free-standing house is unaffordable to most. HDB rental is around SGD2000/month, condo rented at >SGD3000, usually fully furnished. Malaysian staying at terrace/detached house of RM200k-400k across the causeway.

Malaysia: Not safe.
Sydney: Not as safe as Singapore, but generally quite at night in residential suburbs.
Singapore: Safe, but people would not generally get to sleep until 12am in HDBs.

Sydney: Boring but healthy. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, simple home-cooked for dinner. Best and fresh ingredients available. Pork & chicken, veges & fruits prices are comparable or lower to Singapore in Chinese shops. Seafood is expensive. Everyone knows how to cook as it's expensive eating outside. Takeway fried noodle cost AUD10/serve. Poor people with no time to cook eat instant noodle everyday.
Singapore. Interesting but unhealthy. 1000++ options for breakfast, 1000++ takeaways for lunch, 1000++ takeaways for dinner. No one cook at home except dedicated housewives. Takeway fried noodle cost SGD2-3/serve. Poor & busy people still get to enjoy the most delicious foodcourt food.

Sydney: Work 8-9hours/day, including 1 hour of mealtime, most of the other time 6-7 hours are focus working hours. Quickly get back home for family time or cooking in the evening. Not surprised we won't know who is sitting across the other aisle.
Singapore: Work 12hours/day, including 1-2 hours of lunchtime, multiple 1/2 hour teabreaks, surfing net time, chatting time, around 5 hours of focus working hours, 2 hours in morning, 2 hours before knock-off, 1 hours midnight in teleconference. Good relationship between colleagues due to enhance social lifestyle during working hours.

Sydney: Picnic & leisure time.
Singapore: Sleeping, watching TV, shopping, or getting back to work.

Sydney: Opening hours of around 10am-5pm, restaurants open late. Coles/Woolies open late in some suburbs.
Singapore: Opening hours of around 10am-10pm, not too worry dozens of foodcourts opening 24 hours.

What to do in frustration:
Sydney: Swear.
Singapore: Complain.

Personal finance & medicare:
Sydney: Government takes around 20-30% per annum tax. Medical cost around AUD30-50 after medicare, insurance, for prescriptions and misc charge, every visit to clinic.
Singapore: Tax around negligible percentage, 10%? Medical cost around SGD20-30 for clinic visit, including examination, prescriptions, etc. The government tax highly on car though to make up the balance-sheet.

Sydney: Arguing between parties for decades and never get things done. In the event things are moving forward, will get voted down by local councils. Most policies are undergoing multiple politicking.
Singapore: Government will publicize the upcoming policies in newspapers & media, collecting feedbacks. Once it's decided, it's fully executed without delay. Local councils & oppositions are powerless. Most policies are direct & transparent.

Sydney: 10-20 years ago no one is studying in the class except Asian. Nowadays everyone compete but still lots of universities that are easy to get a degree. Usually don't emphasis too much edu credentials in job, and continue lifelong learning. Doing badly in school with less Olympiad medalist but have Nobel winners and breakthrough research.
Singapore: Out of the system if you don't study or do well. Emphasis very much on certs & degrees. Get frustrated and stop learning after the normal school-university system. Doing well in school with dozens Olympiad medalist but no one want to pursue research after university.

Education cost:
Sydney: Gone are the day of free education system, and summer jobs to earn more than enuf expenses for a year. University students, either they are very rich, 2nd generation taukeh-son driving porsche, or they doesn't get to meet both ends due to the tuition cost. A recent study found that a high percentage of sex-workers in Melbourne are full-time university foreign students, to bear the tuition fee cost and earn a living, yet a job that not affecting study.
Singapore: If ones studying well, can afford to get through the university system without much financial difficulty, university to arrange loan, which cover living expenses in college, interest-free before graduation. SGD6000-SGD10000/year, foreigner pay just slightly higher with 3 years MOE bond.

Who are the cleaners?
Sydney: First generation migrants from 3rd world countries, professional & independent business owners, living in detached house, earning more than an engineer.
Singapore: School dropouts or elderly without a specialized skills, in the bottom of social hierarchy, barely enuf to survive the social system.

What elderly are doing:
Sydney: Fishing, hanging around clinics, living out of retirement and social benefits.
Singapore: Becoming cleaners in foodcourts, or babysitting for the grandson/daughters.

Everyone wants to know:
Sydney: How's life mate? How's your weekend picnic trip?
Singapore: How's your pay? Still not promoted manager ah? Married liao, got son? Your son scored well? Still stay in HDB ah, not moving condo? What car you drive?

Sydney: Good for career suicide, for retirement.
Singapore: Good for career, suicide for retirement.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kiama no-blow-hole?

Preface: Kiama is a city in the Illawarra region of NSW. It's about 2 hours drive towards south of Sydney, and about 30 minutes south of Wollongong. It's supposedly famous for one big one small blowhole near to each other.

Kiama visitor guide 2008 describes it as the famous blow-hole, whilst the Grand Pacific Drive booklet describes it as "the infamous Kiama Blowhole, discovered by George Bass on 6 December 1797."

This is a curious pursuit, how can it be both famous and infamous in two official tourism guides? The latter guide provides a hint: "Most spectacular when the seas run from the south east." Hmmm... That probably means "most probably not spectacular when the seas run from any other direction other than south east." That makes it probably 7/8 times not spectacular.

And this is why it's so infamous -> nothing blow out of it and it looks like an upside-down a**-hole!!!

In sharp contrast to a web guide:

That means we exhausted 1 chance out of 8, and if we visited 7 more times. We will have a unit probability seeing the blowhole in action!

btw, we are not the only unlucky one, there is a tour group coming all the way from Korea to visit this infamous blow-hole, wondering what is so *famous* with the no-blow-hole inaction (not in action).

Luckily, these lovely creatures served as a bonus for the trip. The anglers are cleaning their fish and throwing the fishy innards, while the pelicans are busy catching their food. The pelican is the local birds with a plague set for it near the visitor center. Flipping through the local newspaper, a news talk about banning the plastic bag for this town, this really show the privilege of the iconic pelican here. So don't be surprised that you can't find a plastic bag in this town in the near future.