London hasn't had smog like we get here on bad days since the 1950s. Visibility drops to a couple of km occasionally...
Agree with PDLM...smog here gets worse than london. There are allot of people who say Sai Kung, Disco Bay, Stanley etc. have cleaner air, but personally I don't believe there's that significant a difference. Certainly street-level pollution is lower due to less traffic in those areas, but the general smog-issues are similar. The Environmental Protection Agency in HK monitors API (Air Pollution) and generally the indices are the same across all HK areas. I would say the only time I see a difference on this map is when there's no wind (and so traffic pollution "hovers" around the more populated areas). Here's the link:
The smog is bad, but it's not that bad. If it's the only negative thing for you, in my opinion that's not enough reason to not come here.
I think the quality of life (given the same income bracket) in Singapore is better than HK. I just moved from HK to Singapore actually and things are more spread out and the vibe here is more relaxed. HK after a while feels very congested and built up and unless you are living in a huge apartment, life (plus the long work hours) can be a pressure cooker.
Also the weather in Singapore is warm and bearable all year round. HK's summers are the worst and lasts for 5 months, but you get some relief over the winter and changing seasons.
I quite like the flat areas of Singapore - HK island where i lived, have very steep hills - try walking uphill in the peak of summer and you'll be drenched in sweat. However, the taxis in HK are very cheap.
In terms of air pollution, Singapore is currently suffering from the yearly haze due to the forest fires in Indonesia, so i think it is hard to get the same clean quality air you have in Europe. However, generally, the air is much better than HK.
HK definitely has a much larger and vibrant expat community - the most international city in Asia I think. If you are into bars, then Singapore has some great bars although alchohol is more expensive than HK. If you smoke, then Singapore is quite restrictive with the indoor smoking policies - but most bars have a beer garden anyway.
It really depends what you're after - if you're young and single, then HK is the place to be, but if you want a more relaxed and chilled place, then I would choose Singapore. But I would check out what your housing allowance would be - for the HK experience to be comfortable you want to be stay in a fairly large apartment.
English is also widely spoken and understood in Singapore - something usually taken for granted on simple things like queries on your telephone bills, buying furniture, etc.
In terms of career and money, I feel HK is still the financial centre and incomes in HK are higher than Singapore. I'm in investment banking too and you get more deal flow in HK (mainly from China/Korea) than Singapore (which focuses more on the South East Asia region). But I'm taking this as a good thing cos it means I have more time for play!
agree with what expat sam said, except:
- Taxi in singapore is cheaper than hk.
- Alcohol in singapore is also cheaper.
- Tabacco and car are much more expensive.
Thanks all - I'm thinking that HK looks best for me in terms of career & social life. Fingers crossed, I'm looking at a move early next year with one friendly doggie in tow.
does anyone know the government-required amount of vacation time in hong kong and singapore? and what is typical for an investment bank? and what do people actually take?
i've been working in europe, and gotten used to the generous amt of vacation time, and the fact that it is expected that everyone will actually use their vacation time (versus just getting paid for it like in the states)
my firm in particular operates the same policy worldwide (5 weeks) though i seriously doubt the folks in the nyc office take that much.
government required ?
well, u are given around 20~24 days, depending on banks...
in hk you are required to take at least 7 working days in a row, the rest u might or u might not take it, depending on your boss.
in sg the government do not mandate how many days you have to take for your vacation.
however, most banks do have an internal compliance requirement for you to take at least 5 or 7 or 10 working days leave in a row to make sure you don't do anything like lee nickson.