What does being ranked highly as one of THE MOST LIVEABLE CITIES IN THE WORLD mean?
In several surveys conducted ( I supposed everyone wants to have a hand in rigging the data), Singapore has been ranked highly and has been acknowledged as ‘Most Liveable Asian City’ coming in third behind Geneva and Zurich in a the Global Liveable Cities Index, a survey comissioned by Centre For Liveable Cities (CLC) under Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
As a vibrant city and nation, Singapore has consistently been on the hunt for awards and accolades to attract foreign investors and foreign talents to replace Singaporeans in jobs in a bid to boost competition in this free market competition economy.
But what does being ‘Most Liveable City In The World’ measure?
In this survey under Singapore’s ministry, cities were measured and ranked based on; Security and Stability (crime rates and civil unrest), Good Governance and Effective Leadership, Economic Vibrancy and Competitiveness, Quality of Life and Diversity as well as Environmental Friendliness and Sustainability.
I’m guessing that the Singapore government must have been really pissed to know that Singapore hasn’t been performing well in international liveable cities index and has thus, decided to conduct one of their own whereby they could control which areas they wanted to assess. Here’s the reason why.
In Monocle’s ‘Most Liveable Cities Index’ 2010, Singapore ranked number 21!
In this survey, cities were measured and ranked based on; Safety/Crime, International Connectivity, Climate/Sunshine, Quality of Architecture, Public Transportation, Tolerance, Environmental Issues and access to Nature, Urban Design, Business Conditions, Pro Active Policy Developments and Medical Care.
And that’s not all, The Economist also conducts it’s own ‘Global Liveability Report’ which measures Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure. In this report, Singapore isn’t listed in the top 10 nor is it listed in the bottom 10 out of 140 cities surveyed.
If you are still not convinced that the Singapore government may be pissed that we are not ranked highly because Singapore doesn’t rank anywhere in the TOP 10 in other global independent surveys and reports, Mercer’s ‘Quality of Living Survey’ also proves this further.
In Mercer’s ‘Quality of Living Survey’ comparing 221 cities based on 39 criteria! Important criteria are safety, education, hygiene, health care, culture, environment, recreation, political-economic stability and public transportation. Amongst other criteria, Mercer also has a survey for Personal Safety, Water Availability and Drinkability, Waste Removal, Quality of Sewage System, Air Pollution and Traffic Congestion.
With all these criteria, Singapore was ranked 22. Not far off from the survey conducted by Monocle.
So, Singapore in all it’s essence is not as ‘Liveable’ as you thought it’d be. The government, unhappy with how Singapore has been ranked off the Top 10 decided to take matters into their own hands and select criteria favourable to Singapore to ensure a good ranking as long as Singapore ends up in the Top 10 list.
So, with how Singapore is ranked on average 21.5 in Global and International ‘Liveable Cities’ as compared to the one commissioned and conducted by the Singapore government, are Singaporeans happy to live in this city?
In a 2009 survey by New Economics Foundation, Singapore ranked 49th amongst 143 countries in a Happiness Planet Index (HPI)!
This survey measures; the degree to which long and happy lives (life satisfaction and life expectancy are multiplied together to calculate happy life years) are achieved per unit of environmental impact.
The criteria identifies Health and Positive Experience of Life as Universal Human Goals and The Natural Resources that Human Sources depend on Fundamental Inputs, Life Satisfaction, Life Expectancy.
Singapore had the second lowest HPI in Southeast Asia (48.2 out of 100).
This report was very critical of Singapore as despite it’s robust economic GDP which the government is determined to upkeep and maintain to remain attractive to investors.
The report states, “Like many developed countries, Singapore is obsessed with the GDP growth to the extent that a variable proportion of the Ministers’ salaries are based on it.
Singapore has enjoyed years of economic growth. However as many Singaporeans have attested, life is not becoming better or easier.
The wealth generated by the economy is not distributed equally to all citizens. The rich becomes richer while the poor becomes poorer. The median income of the lower income group has stagnated and even declined due to influx of cheap foreign labor.
Rising cost of living, especially that of public housing coupled with a lack of social safety net are making life increasingly tough for ordinary Singaporeans who face a grim and uncertain future.”
That said, Singapore is indeed a city that’s liveable with great transportation services and a fairly competent police force who are great at investigation work thanks to a small country. Singapore is liveable enough for one not to die happy.
Even at a young age, children are tasked to understand that grades is the only thing that matters in the education system. It disregards creativity and one’s personal development although educators learn about differentiation and learners needs and learning abilities.
When Singaporeans begin working life, all they should focus about is earning enough cash in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) to ensure that they can buy a roof above their heads when they get married. No one is deemed marriage material if they do not have sufficient CPF.
And when in old age, you are asked to carry on working till 65 when your peers around the world are travelling to see great wonders and enjoy peace whilst you are stuck clearing tables and taking orders for burgers at fast food joints. The government has ensured that Singaporeans agree to this through their policies.
And when you die, you are asked to pay for a lot in land scarce Singapore where even in death, you need to share your deathbed with three others, one on top of the other for the first 25 years and then share your deathbed with 25 others for the rest of eternity thereafter.
As a Singaporean, Singapore is a place where you should only live to work like dogs and help feed your Ministers with awesome pay packages (I promise to change this if I ever become Prime Minister). This is the sad reality for most Singaporeans who are passionate and patriotic towards the Singaporean cause and if you are ready to take on citizenship, this is what you can expect.
So, unless you are a foreigner who only wants to come to Singapore to work or if you are a Singaporean who is only here to earn a living before retiring elsewhere like other smarter ones, I suggest you head to Costa Rica who ranks 76.1 out of 100 on the HPI where Life Satisfaction is Highest (8.5 out of 10) in the world and where you can Live Longer!
And yes, the author of this whole article is unhappy with Singapore but happy with his life.