I was drawn to a report on EIU's latest global liveability report. The EIU used New York as a baseline city and gave other cities "a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure" (link). Cost of living was apparently not a factor.
Now I can't help noticing (1) how the top 10 are cities in Australia and Canada, and (2) that Singapore has been ranked 52nd!
I have never been to Canada but I was in Melbourne for a few days and honestly, I wasn't impressed. I mentioned why before so I shan't repeat here. Short of paying hundreds of dollars for the full report and ranking, I can't imagine how there can be so many cities before Singapore! No, I don't think I can be convinced.
But well, liveability is arguably subjective.
In my adult years, I have lived in three cities - Oxford, Singapore and Evanston, in that order. In all honesty, I find all three cities very liveable. Putting aside cost of living, if not for family and friends and two key pain points, living in Oxford or Evanston - or any other similar city! - sounds as inviting as living in Singapore.
The two pain points are actually on the national level, not really specific to the cities - taxation and healthcare. Of course I didn't pay tax in Oxford but if I did, it would probably be high, like the 19.8% Sito paid in his nine weeks of internship here. And while I had free healthcare in Oxford, it was painful - long waiting time, not to mention out of the way. As for Evanston, my doctor is just round the corner but guess what? My insurance will expire in, oh, 30 minutes!
Renewing my coverage will cost over $5,000 this year, with a $250 deductible and up to $1,000 out-of-pocket expenses. Getting a new plan with lower premiums doesn't save me any money because the deductible increases dramatically to $3,000 and more! In all probability, the insurance will remain that, an insurance.
So I'm going without insurance from tomorrow. When I wake up tomorrow, I'll be a good girl and no longer jaywalk, I'll be careful not to injure myself with my clumsiness, I'll self-medicate all minor illnesses. This doesn't make Evanston unliveable though; good healthcare is still available, just that I have to pay an arm and a leg for it. As if I'm not already paying an arm and a leg for it through the insurance, ha!
I guess Singapore probably scored poorly on areas I don't care about, like censorship. I'm happy we're not China and I have my Facebook, thank you.
But my choice is and - I dare say - will always be my Singapore. It has the necessary (think personal safety and infrastructure kind of hygiene factors) and the good-to-have (24-hour eateries? Yes, please!), and I don't have to do without anything!
Seems that I'm missing Singapore.. Sighs, I don't really feel that since I'm already at home with Mr Sito. But when we were in San Francisco and hanging out with old friends and having familiar food (and I'm the kind who can eat pasta every day) and feeling like Singapore in the 80s (um, that was Chinatown) and finding salons offering cheap rebonding services (for me only :p) and doing foot reflexology (again, just me!), we felt strongly about wanting to go back to Singapore after the MBA.
Well, recruiting season starts with the start of fall quarter in less than two weeks. Pray hard that Sito gets a good enough offer from a Singapore office to say bye bye to his BATNA!