6 Oct 2005

Livability Index

Hong Kong was ranked 41st while Seoul and Singapore tied for 54th place.

The EIU ranks our fine city a 54 in terms of livability.

Vancouver eclipsed 127 other cities in a new survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which looked at a wide range of criteria, including personal risk, healthcare, the availability of goods and services, and climate.

Now, most of us would agree the standards of living in Singapore are quite high, compared to the average Asian city. We are named one of the most wireless-network ready country in the world. Our streets are clean, our transportation world-class except for the ubiquitous morning rush. Our crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. And we certainly seem to fit the top niches of all the criterias mentioned.

So why are we at, pardon me, roughly somewhere at the bottom of the slag heap of the first world cities?

Perhaps it is the fact that the Singapore government's continual oppression of freedom of speech turns people off. Or maybe it is that our laws, antiquated in its colonial heritage, still bar a harmless human sex act - it is time for eyebrows to be raised when the government wants to control what happens in the bedroom. Maybe it is because we have little natural attractions besides our fabulously tall 166m Bukit Timah, right next to whom we have rifle ranges.

[about Vancouver, the number 1 city]The university has a nudist beach. Whistler mountain ski resort is a quick drive from downtown. The climate is mild in winter and sunny in summer.

Maybe it is none of the above, and the people who graded our city couldn't stand the hot weather.


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7-8 said...

I couldn't get any more details about that study other than the press release which said that "Elsewhere in the region cities like blah blah blah, Singapore and blah blah all offer a good standard of living, with humid climate bringing scores down slightly."

wtf is this shit?

Humid is good. I don't want to have to put on a coat every time I leave a building, or to rub on moisturiser every time I take a bath. I wanna be able to open my windows and not freeze the hell to death.

These surveys are culturally skewed and therefore evil!

btw Rifle ranges near Bukit Timah are good. You should go apply for citizenship one day so that you can get yr chance to play with an M16 just like the rest of us. Trust me, we all had fun. Get closer to nature, and don't have to worry about obesity.

soci said...

surely it has nothing to do with freedom of speech.. rejouice that sg has appeared at the higher level of a list.

soci said...

I have often read that Sg is an outlier, economically, sociologically. What he hell is that makes Sg so unique? I come from Northern Ireland and I would love to know the answer.

Sg has 5 differnt religions and each one lives in peace with the other. Northern Ireland has 2 and we like to murder each other. I would love to know the secret.

Anonymous said...

so if a country is warm then ?

Anonymous said...

Police give stern warning to protester

By Leslie Koh
Oct 7, 2005
The Straits Times

THE Case Of The Eight White Elephants has finally been wrapped up.

The punishment for putting up eight cutouts of cartoon elephants in front of Buangkok MRT station to protest against its non-opening: A stern warning from the police.

The placards, they said in a two-paragraph statement issued yesterday, did not cause public annoyance or a nuisance. But they did infringe on a law requiring people to obtain a permit before putting up posters or exhibits for public display.

So the police have issued a stern warning, instead of prosecuting the person who did it. They did not name the culprit.

Some residents, however, said it was a person close to grassroots leaders.

A stern warning means the person will not have a criminal record, but it can be taken into account by police if he repeats the offence.

The elephant cutouts had been placed - most likely by a Punggol South resident - outside the station on Aug 28.

Put up just before Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan passed by on a constituency visit, they were to signal what residents thought of the unopened station. Buangkok MRT has not been opened although the rest of the North-East line was completed in June 2003.

The Land Transport Authority said there were not enough homes there yet to generate the traffic to justify its opening.

The display prompted a range of reactions from Singaporeans, from amused chuckles to observations that it was a sign of bolder political expression. But when the police revealed they were investigating the matter under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act, it drew criticism.

The police then disclosed that they were doing so because of a complaint, turning the saga into a test case of how Government would treat such protests if they became more common.

Yesterday, Mr Charles Chong, the MP for Punggol South ward, which includes Buangkok station, said: 'It's a learning point. You have to be conscious of the possibility of running afoul of the law, yet come out with more creative ways to express yourself within the law. I hope this will not discourage leaders from furthering the causes of residents or trying to secure improvements in the community.'

He then cut back to the source of the debate, saying residents were still hoping the station would open soon. 'Hopefully, the root cause will still be addressed.'


pleinelune said...

Soci, the secret is enforced, often superficial racial harmony.

akikonomu said...

Note to Minilee: Singapore has world-class infrastrature - but that alone does not make it a liveable city.

La Idler said...

Different research organisations have different methods to come to conclusions in 'studies' like this. Another study could put Singapore in the top 3 cities to live in the world, so it depends on which one you feel like publicising as a PR measure.

bornappleT said...

Uniquely Singapore? I see that Singapore is unique in the sense that it has nothing really unique.
About how unique Singapore is, there is an objective view here:


Wowbagger said...

Culture and environment were part of the criteria for livability. Disregarding the dispute over what kind of climate is best, I suspect those two criteria also contributed to Sg's low score.

Wowbagger said...

Oh, and if it's any comfort to those with wounded pride, New York only ranked 51st. Doubtless due to the climate factor.

Wowbagger said...

And the terrorist threats, as well.

7-8 said...

soci: The secret? Ask LKY and he'll tell you that it's the internal security act. Extremely politically incorrect answer but food for thought nonetheless.

pleinelune: Perhaps our "racial harmony" is just more of "let's cut the crap and avoid pissing each other off" than anything else. Maybe it's superficial and not ideal. But in this world is anything ever ideal? Do you think that it's possible for people of different races to have much more than a superficial relationship with each other?

An alternative is to have an American style melting pot, but when you achieve a race- blind society the question becomes, have we achieved genuine racial harmony rather than merely disavowing our past and thereby making race a non issue?

clyde said...

I don't think racial harmony is enforced in Singapore. People of different races on the most part get along quite well and the country has holidays to accomodate various cultural festivals. They are promoted but not forced upon. And even if there is tension, I don;t think they can be easily compared to the racial tensions experienced in other countries. Calling caucasians "Ang Mos" for example doesn't quite count as they often intend no disrespect.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Singapore was founded as a multi-cultural society to begin with. Each race played a part in building up this country and all forefathers at some point were foreign to Singapore itself, employed by the British to build this colonial port. Perhaps this bond is what has kept Singaporeans so tolerant of cutural differences. I believe this effect was apparent in India as well during British Colonial rule. Long-time disputing religious groups and segregated Indian groups united after the Brits arrived, but only time will tell if such bonds will remain forever.

Does this make any sense or relate to N. Ireland? I don't know much about cutural aspects there. The closest I gather is that at times there is nothing really "united" about the United Kingdom, especially when it comes to football or rugby...heh.

7-8 said...

I'd go for the "source of shit" theory. Racism comes about because of history. In America that would be slavery, in the Balkans, that would be the conflict between the Ottoman and the Austrian empire. In many other countries, including Indonesia, it would be competition over resources. In Ireland it would be the (Catholic/ republican) vs the (Protestant/ unionist) schism.

My take on this is that in the absence of a "source of shit", people will generally get along with each other, which is the case in Singapore.