Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SINGAPORE - A GREAT PLACE FOR RETIREES?


No matter how much one enjoys a vacation abroad, it is always good to be back home. I suppose this is more so for most Singaporeans. I say this because CNN recently came out with 50 reasons why it rates Singapore the world's greatest city. I don't know if I would lavish such generous praise, but I can easily think of 10 reasons why I would put Singapore on my list of top 5 cities or countries I would consider spending my retirement years.

    On-going campaign to empower the elderly.

  • Active Ageing programs. I have lots of options when it comes to checking out events and activities of special interest to those in the 50+ age group. There is a Minister in charge of Ageing Issues. It also helps that former PM Lee Kuan Yew, 86, is himself an excellent role model for active, healthy ageing. There is a vibrant community of senior citizens here.
  • Reliable public transport. I can travel to all corners of the island republic without any hassle. Whether I take the bus or the MRT, waiting time is minimal. Taxi drivers take you anywhere you want. Taxis are clean, spacious and smell good too. Taxi drivers don't rip you off. My daughter once left her mobile phone in a taxi. She was able to trace the taxi-driver from the fare receipt, and she got her phone back within minutes.

  • This is actually an underground MRT station. Almost like a gleaming new shopping complex!

  • Security. I feel safe walking around the city even late at night. I don't have to look over my shoulder all the time, or clutch my bag tightly in crowded places. No wonder it is hard to spot a policeman anywhere - they are almost redundant!
  • Cleanliness. I'm sure there are areas like Chinatown that could do with a scrub-down. But on the whole, food courts, parks, public toilets and public housing areas are clean. The water is safe for drinking straight from the tap. There is little air pollution despite the heavy traffic.
  • Efficiency. Everything works in Singapore like a well-oiled machine. Hardly any public property or facilities stay broken, faulty or damaged for long. And I have yet to come across vandalism of any kind. The best part is you don't have to bribe anyone to get things done for you.
  • Healthcare. I give two thumbs up for the healthcare and medical services here. I had my liver operation done here last year and I can personally vouch for the professionalism and expertise of the doctors. All my medical and dental check-ups are also done here.

  • Singaporeans love to eat. So when in Singapore, do as the Singaporeans...

  • Food. Singapore is a food paradise. I get hungry just thinking of the rich variety of local and international cuisine. Among my favourite makan places are Food Republic at Wisma Atria and Pete's Place at the Grand Hyatt. You get salad to die for!
  • Shopping. Well, I'm not exactly crazy about shopping, but you can get the latest electronic gadgets here as well as good bargains for clothes when there is a sale. For me, I can spend hours browsing at Kinokuniya and Borders in Orchard Road. I always make sure I pick up the latest copy of Prime and Silver Lining.

  • Shops and more shops along Orchard Road.

  • Customer service. My favourite haunts are the bookstores. The sales assistants are ever so helpful and courteous in helping me locate what I want. I once overheard a sales assistant apologize to a young couple. The shop did not carry the item they were looking for. The sales assistant went one step further. He gave the couple directions to another shop that sold the item. Now that's what I call good customer service. If you need a plumber or an electrician, just call, and one will appear at your doorstep shortly.
  • Greenery. There's lots of it on the island, even in the city centre. My grandchildren often go for walks in the Botanical Gardens with their parents. The parks are elderly-friendly, with lots of benches where you can sit and rest for as long as you want.

The city never sleeps, even late at night.

There is always plenty to see and do in Singapore - plays, movies, exhibitions, seminars and so on. I get to see movies that are banned in Malaysia like "Brokeback Mountain", "The Passion of the Christ" and "Milk".

Many older Malaysians have adult children working or studying in Singapore. I read recently that half of the doctors in Mount Elizabeth Hospital are Malaysians!

Would I apply for permanent residence (PR) in Singapore? The thought has crossed my mind a few times. But I love Malaysia. And I can think of just as many reasons why Malaysia is a great country to retire in. None of them has to do with the government.

8 comments:

foodbin said...

so envious that the S'pore govt place so much emphasis on the aged.

Paul said...

I would wholeheartedly agree with you on all counts except for the weather. It's perpetually hot & humid
without the welcoming change of seasons. On that one count alone, it cannot match Perth for comfortable living throughout the year!

ty said...

Singapore is a great place to retire to, but only if you can afford the high cost of living there. I agree with you on the many positive points you mentioned. Malaysia offers you space which is lagging on the island. But then, there are also drawbacks on the peninsula...

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ty said...

Oops! Singapore is short on space
(not lagging!). If a retiree's saving
is in rinngit, his assets will not last long in Singapore.

el-f said...

I agree. The cost of living is high in Singapore. But so is the earning power. That is why many of our youths are attracted to jobs in Singapore.

For the 50+, if you can get PR, you can enjoy medical and housing benefits. It is possible to retire in Singapore and live a simple, quiet life without all the frills. Better still if you live with your adult children who will provide that vital financial support!

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