Yay, we're expensive. It's something we've named and shamed to our heart's and wallet's content, often when comparing notes with our other Asian or international counterparts: "It's so expensive!", "Do you know the certificate to buy a car is more expensive that the actual car?" and "Wahlao, not cheap leh!" — some Singlish for good measure. In fact, I have just returned from a press trip to India, where fellow journalists and I were lamenting (i.e. complaining) on how expensive our respective cities were. She's from Hong Kong, while I'm from Singapore: Two of the four Asian tigers groaning about the price of rent and transportation. Just as our private car wheeled along a smattering of dilapidated huts that stood in the foreground of the lush North Goan landscape. Paints quite a picture, doesn't it?
The report just released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today has just sealed the deal. We're first, topping Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Tokyo as the world's most expensive city. For a fourth consecutive year, Singapore has dominated the ranks in a list that has compared more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services: Food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items. While Simon Baptist, the regional director for Asia at the EIU has shared that the list doesn't compare the cost of rent, it has taken into effect the three key drivers of the cost of living: Exchange rate, government policies and commodity prices.
If you're among — or are descended from — Singapore's richest who've moved up four spots in the world billionaire ranking this year according to Forbes, this piece of news will hardly rock your boat. If you're like some of us (the gym membership-owning, flat white-chugging, restaurant week-attending lot), we can bet you've rolled your eyes all the way to the back of your head, and then some. To each his own, sure, but I think being expensive isn't something to be smug about. Here are five other lists that Singapore has come out tops (or close) in, and what it means for this little yet expensive red dot.
Singapore, number 4 on Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index What it means: According to the document, Singapore passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 173 countries, which puts us on par with countries such as the United Kingdom and France. *Insert overrated Rudyard Kipling quote on wanderlust here.
Singapore Changi Airport, number one on the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards What it means: Leaving home will be bittersweet, but coming home will be a lot easier. Everything's so convenient, fast and efficient, that I often find myself in the arrival hall much earlier than my baggage. Singapore, number two on world's least miserable country index What it means: Singapore scored a 3.1 on Bloomberg's annual index by virtue of our relatively low unemployment and inflation outlook in 2017. We're also the happiest people in Asia, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, which ranked us 26th out of 155 countries using statistics from economic strength, life expectancy and perceived corruption. Could it be that beneath our hard-edged, unsatisfied Facebook warrior selves...we're actually pretty happy?
Singapore, number four on world's healthiest country based on the World Health Organisation, United Nations and the World Bank What it means: You can afford that extra helping of rice. The index ranked 163 countries based on life expectancy, causes of death, health risks and availability of clean water.
Singapore, number one in talent for the Global Startup Ecosystem Report and Ranking What it means: It's a healthy place to do your own thing, and you'll probably find other like-minded go-getters too. Startup Genome accessed the startup ecosystems in 50 countries based on overall performance, funding, market reach, talent and startup experience, with Singapore on top for talent due to our strong performance in access to quality talent and cost. For more stories on Singapore, click here.