A British video blogger recently uploaded a video titled “Taiwan vs Singapore: How do they compare?” on his Youtube channel, comparing the life quality between Singapore and Taiwan based on the aspects of living cost, transportation, livability, climate, food and leisure activities.
The blogger, who named Richard Hazeldine said he has lived in Singapore for five years now and has been lived in Taiwan for more than 17 years.
Explaining on why he made the video, the blogger said, “Whenever this crops up in conversation, people here [Singapore], especially taxi drivers, immediately ask me ‘which place is better?’ and ‘what’s the difference between living here and in Taiwan?’ So I decided to make a video about it.”
He first compared the living cost of both countries in consideration of housing prices and healthcare expenses for foreigners, public transport, groceries, salaries and taxes.
“In Singapore, we live in a similar size apartment to the place we own in Taiwan and both are around the same distance from the CBD (Central Business District). In Taiwan, we rent out our place for around NT$30,000 (S$1400.49) a month. In Singapore we rent our place for NT$65,000 (S$ 3034.40). For non-residents, housing in Singapore is expensive,” the blogger said in the video.
As compared with the “supper efficient healthcare system” in Taiwan, he said that Singapore has “two-tier healthcare system”, in which universal and heavily subsidised for locals, but private for foreigners and non-residents.
“Luckily for us, my wife’s company has a great healthcare plan, otherwise it would be another big expense for us,” he added.
While comparing with Taiwan, Mr Hazeldine said that salaries are higher and tax is lower in Singapore, but except for education cost.
Given that his children were enrolled into local school of both nations, he compared saying that the education is basically free in Taiwan but not free in Singapore.
“In fact, it is quite expensive, it basically cancels out much of the gain that you make from lower taxes,” he added.
Owning a car is “prohibitively expensive” in Singapore
On top of expensive housing, the blogger also pointed out that the cost of owning a car is also one of the reasons on why Singapore being ranked as among the most expensive places to live in the world.
“There’s no nice way to say this, but the cost of owning a car in Singapore is just freaking ridiculous. I owned a Mazda in Taiwan before coming to Singapore. It was nothing fancy. So let’s use a brand new Mazda 3 as an example. In Taiwan, that car costs NT$799,000 (S$37,299.74) brand new. In Singapore, the same car costs S$90,000 (including Certificate of Entitlement),” he said.
He continued, “I understand why Singapore does this and that if you grew up in Singapore then you probably don’t worry about the disparity too much. But if like me, you have owned a car elsewhere, it just doesn’t seem like a cost-effective move. All I can say is that it’s a good job you don’t really need a car here.”
As owning a car is “prohibitively expensive” in Singapore, it is certainly convenient to take public transport as the costs are subsidised and low in Singapore, he added.
However, he took a different stance when it comes to the grocery prices being claimed as expensive in Singapore.
“In reality as long as you don’t shop at Cold Storage, which is a very expensive supermarket favoured by expats, then I don’t think it’s that much different from Taiwan. If you go to the wet market, it’s even cheaper,” he expressed his viewpoint.
In terms of safety, Mr Hazeldine said that “Singapore is better when it comes to things like physical safety”, as Taiwan is regularly hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoon.
He shared his walking experience in Singapore, saying that it is generally safe to walk along the sidewalks as there are sidewalks everywhere and they are clear of obstacles.
“The Government even banned e-scooters from sidewalks recently after a series of accidents, making them even safer,” he added.
S’pore is such an easy place to be a foreigner as the language spoken make things easier for foreigners
Speaking about livability, the blogger highlighted that “Singapore is such an easy place to be a foreigner”, explaining that the language spoken in Singapore has make things easier for foreigners.
“Almost everyone speaks English and everyday things are so easy to do. In addition, dealing with government tax and officialdom, absolutely everything is in English, and most of it can be done online,” he asserted.
For the categories of climate, the blogger who favours Taiwan’s four-season climate expressed that the hot weather in Singapore “is a bit unbearable”, especially for someone who grew up in a colder climate.
While commending Taiwan for its availability, abundance and freshness of locally grown fruits and vegetables, Mr Hazeldine also lamented Singapore about the lack of vegetables that served with certain dishes, for example “a couple of measly pieces of cucumber” in the chicken rice and roasted meal.
“The subjects of vegetables bring me to my big food gripe about Singapore, the lack of vegetables served with certain dishes. Buy a chicken rice or “siaola” meal [roasted meal] in a hawker centre and 9 times out of 10 you get a couple of measly pieces of cucumber to accompany your meal.
“I know most vegetables are imported in Singapore and are therefore more expensive and the hawker don’t want to pass on the costs to their customers, but seriously? If the Nasi Pandang places can offer vegetables, then why can’t the others?” he said.
Before ending his video, the blogger also expressed that he is enjoyed living in both countries, noting that both “have great food, great living conditions, and most importantly great people.”
The video has garnered over 190,000 views and thousands of comments since it being uploaded on Youtube.
The blogger’s remark over the Singapore food also sparked the reactions among the netizens, where some netizens argued that every food in Singapore has their own specialty as there are more of a history or story behind these local food.
A few netizens also concurred with the blogger’s viewpoint, saying that the blogger had made a fair and neutral comparison between Singapore and Taiwan.
One netizen also explained that the high-priced of cars in Singapore is to deter people from owning vehicles, which is part of the measure to control traffic volume given that Singapore is a small country.