If you had a choice: HK or Singapore ?

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  1. #1

    If you had a choice: HK or Singapore ?

    Currently in Europe and considering an opportunity in Asia.

    My firm has offices in both HK & Singapore, with the Singapore office larger and my team in particular is larger there - so my firm would be more keen to send me there. But from the people I've spoken to, I get the impression HK expat life is better for singles?

    The job would be the same in either location, with travel throughout the region.

    Any views on this?

    Last edited by poogleypie; 21-10-2006 at 01:14 AM. Reason: forgot to add...

  2. #2

    Sing is boring.


  3. #3

    Sing is good

    Quote Originally Posted by poogleypie:
    Currently in Europe and considering an opportunity in Asia.

    My firm has offices in both HK & Singapore, with the Singapore office larger and my team in particular is larger there - so my firm would be more keen to send me there. But from the people I've spoken to, I get the impression HK expat life is better for singles?

    The job would be the same in either location, with travel throughout the region.

    Any views on this?

    For me I like Sing more then HK though I born in HK, I've there for a few times. Sing is a very clearn place, lots of good foods and shopping malls, is not bore it depends on u know the places to hang out or not, they also have nice night life places for u to chill out. People are more friendly and educated

  4. #4

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    If you're a night owl, I think Singapore is the place to be. There are a lot of nice places to go when it's at night. During the day, I'm sorry but it's boring as hell. I was there two months ago and I was there for about twelve days. I already saw most of the country in three days. I walked between subway stations and it felt like nothing. Like what the above poster said , I pretty much have the same opinion.

    Last edited by Aritaurus; 21-10-2006 at 03:11 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Aritaurus:
    If you're a night owl, I think Singapore is the place to be. There are a lot of nice places to go when it's at night. During the day, I'm sorry but it's boring as hell. I was there two months ago and I was there for about twelve days. I already saw most of the country in three days. I walked between subway stations and it felt like nothing.
    Nightlife there cant be better than here. BTW neither place is a sprawling metropolis but its easier to just want out of Sing because the place starts to feel like the size of a postage stamp.

  6. #6

    Well, I'm currently in London, and like to go out now and then but I'm not a raging night owl. I like nice bars, but I'm not really into the club scene.

    I'm more concerned about diversity of other expats to hang out with, fun stuff to do. I like horseback riding and travel, theatre and ballet and opera.

    I also have a large dog - don't know if one or the other is better for her?


  7. #7

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    I stayed in Singapore for 5 months this year. It's boring during the day but if you're into clubbing, nice clubs are there.

    Anyway, I would say clubs in HK are good too. If you like hiking, don't go to SG coz I found that there's no mountains there. There are many parks tho.


  8. #8

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    Singapore is a bit better for culture, although HK seems to be picking up a bit in the last year or so - getting back on the circuit for bigger name bands, more English-langauge professional theatre and so on.

    Both Singapore & HK have a good range of bars & restaurants. I can't speak for the club scene - not my thing.

    Singapore is a bit cleaner as an environment, but some would say to the extent that it is "sterile". Both cities are far cleaner than London. Hong Kong has a bit of an air pollution problem, but personally, although it needs fixing, I feel people exagerrate the harmful effects - to me it is more aesthetic at the moment.

    Singapore is also essentially a dictatorship run by one family, which means that you may be uncomfortable with the lack of freedom of speech and other restrictions there. If you are gay then HK is clearly the place to be. If not then in either place, if you are white, you'll find it easy to have as much fun as you want

    Housing in Hong Kong is expensive. If your employer doesn't provide it then you'll need a bit more net income in HK than in Singapore to allow for that.

    Singapore enables qualified foreigners to apply for permanent residence within 2-3 years which means never needing to worry about a work permit there. In Hong Kong you need to be ordinarily resident for a continuous period of 7 years.

    Tax is much the same (and low) in both places. At the very high end (US$300K+ I think) Singapore's is higher, but both are way below European levels.

    Where HK really scores over Singapore is the countryside - HK is 40% protected country parks, with 3000' hills and excellent hiking trails. Even if you live in the heart of Central you can be on a hiking trail in 20 minutes, and with a big dog you might choose to live in the countryside on Lantau or out near Sai Kung and you would still probably have a far shorter commute to work than you do in London. And the public transport in HK is superb.

    English is more widely understood in Singapore these days - in HK Mandarin is now clearly the second language, with English an increasingly distant third, but I guess that becomes an irritation for me once or twice a year and is never an insurmountable problem.

    Seven years ago I had the same choice as you. For me then the choice was easy - Hong Kong. Now a few factors have moved in Singapore's favour: English, pollution & (at a superifical level at least) a relaxing of some of Singapore's more extreme restrictions. In summary, today I think I would still probably make the same choice all other things being equal, but if the incentives were good enough Singapore isn't out of the question any more.

    Last edited by PDLM; 21-10-2006 at 05:39 PM.

  9. #9

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    It's a tough choice. I'm more of a HK girl myself, but I've lived in both places in my time. Here's some of pro's and con's

    HK - Pro's - Bigger than Singapore and has more "outdoor" activities
    in my mind. Large park-areas, mountains, sailing, windsurfing.
    I do a ton of hiking so I really enjoy that and there's
    plenty of places to walk the doggie.
    Don't know too much about horse-riding scene. I used to
    take lessons at Pokfulam Riding Club as a child, but don't
    know if there's any big outdoor clubs...maybe in NT.
    Night-life is fantastic & lots & lots of expat activities
    and things. Very nice theatre scene...many community
    theatre clubs, plus HKAPA, and Fringe Club.
    Cons - probably the biggest one that gets me is the
    air quality is not that good. Also, housing is expensive
    and you'll probably live in a flat, not house with your doggie.

    Singapore - Pro's - Cheaper than HK for housing so you could
    probably get a house with garden for your dog which you
    probably can't in HK. Cleaner air than HK. Decent night-life
    (although I think HK is more "hopping"). Can't comment
    on theatre since I don't know, but it's pretty cosmopolitan
    so it probably has some decent stuff going on. I know
    they have horse-riding clubs, but I went a long, long time
    ago and don't know what the condition is now. There's
    plenty of expats just like HK.
    Con's - Small, small, small....and flat as a pancake. If you're
    big into hiking and outdoors you might feel claustrophobic.

    Hope that helps...you may need to take a trip both places to
    get a feel for it.


  10. #10

    Thanks for the comprehensive reply, PDLM!

    I'm leaning towards HK to be honest, but didn't want to completely rule out Singapore without getting some opinions from people who've lived there. I know a lot of people who've lived in HK but only a few who've lived in Singapore, mostly on short-term assignments and "sterile" was the term everyone used. It seems that HK has a more vibrant expat community - easier to meet people, etc?

    I'm not sure that the restrictions in Singapore would really bother me all that much - I am a straight white female American. Is it an easier working environment in either for a young female professional?

    Tax-wise, I don't think I'm better off either way since I'm American. Housing is not an issue since I'd have a housing allocation in both places - and I'm currently paying through the nose for central London, so I'll be much better off either way, which is one of the main reasons for going. (Not the only reason, of course - it's always been a dream of mine to live in Asia)

    I guess one thing I'm concerned about is the lifestyle aspect - I expect that one doesn't really come across a lot of people who are into drugs etc in Singapore given the restrictions and reputation that is has. Unfortunately it's pretty common in the industry I work in - although till recently I have been pretty naive to exactly how commonplace it is. Don't get me wrong - what people do is their business and I don't judge - I just prefer not to get involved and sometimes it's hard to tell in advance. So I guess that's one reason I'm drawn to Singapore, despite what people have said about it being boring.

    Although, HK does look like a lot more fun...even if it does seem a bit hedonistic for the expat community. Especially given what you've said about all the trails and green spaces - a lot better for my dog and probably a lot better for me - I am really accustomed to London's green spaces and would miss that. Plus I like to go hiking (day trips only).

    The pollution is a only slight concern - I do have respiratory problems and was advised against moving to London, but I've been mostly fine here, so I'm not worried at all about HK. I'm sure lots of people with the same issues manage just fine.

    Thanks again for all the replies!


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