Having just recently relocated to Melbroune, Australia I have been receiving a few queries as to the difference in living conditions between Singapore and Australia. To help me save some typing work in the future, I will share with you some differences and similarities that I observe for some common topics.
HOUSING: Currently it is not that easy to find a place to rent here. The conditions are similar to what we had in SG late 2007 where 5 to 10 tenants are fighting over one vacant unit. The only good thing i see here is that unlike the agents in SG who are VERY GREEDY, here they don't ask you to outbid each other when you go view a unit. Although in Melbourne, you have to send a tenancy application (with 100pt ID, i.e. birth cert copy + passport copy) and wait for a day or more before knowing that your application has been approved or not. Unlike in SG where you will know if you get the house or not on the same day.
TRANSPORTATION: There are trams, trains and buses that are very accessible. In terms of cleanliness they don't have that much difference to the buses and MRTs in SG. Although I haven't had a "smelly" experience when riding in them yet compared to the ones you experience daily in SG. As for the fare, it is not similar. Here you pay 2hr, daily, weekly, or monthly for a particular Zone (usually zone 1 which is near the city). This would be advantageous for those living farther away as there fare will always be constant. But you do miss your EZ link when your here. :)
SECURITY: To be honest, Singapore is much safer than Melbourne. In Singapore i would not be afraid to go out late at night in Clark Quay, but here going to King St (comparable to Clark Quay) at night is not a very good idea. There are a lot of delinquents and weirdos in the trams and in the city. But as a rule of thumb when living in the city, you just need to be careful and street smart so not to attract the bad type of people towards you (i. .e don't look to rich, don't stare, blah blah blah).
CHILDCARE: Don't have a kid so can't relate to this one. But I do see they have childcare centers near the city center. I also haven't heard of people having maids here unlike in SG.
TAXES: For me, nothing can beat the SG taxation scheme. But when you apply for a job here be sure to put a 50% increase to your SG salary so you won't feel the pinch of the Oz tax. I do think that salary rates here are higher compared to SG.
WORKING CONDITIONS: This has been one of the good points when living here. Work hours here are normally 8hrs long. Compared to SG where work hours are at leat 8++++ hours long. Here people put a lot of emphasis on family life, on living outside that 3-walled cell you sometimes call your cubicle.
WEEKEND/LATE NIGHT: (For late night, see security) For weekend, especially if you like shopping, Melbourne does not have that much malls compared to the ones we have in SG. But who needs redundant shops anyway (is the price of a giordano shirt different in Toa Payoh and Orchard?). In Melbourne, you can find the best bargains in DFO and Bridge road so that can greatly compensate the loss of Junction8, Vivo, and Suntec (note: i find orchard malls too expensive for my taste). But other than malls you have more (i mean a CONTINENT more) options to choose if you settle in Melbourne. You have the beaches, the snow resorts, and the entire Australian continent really. :)
All in all, it really is up to what your priorities are. If you work abroad just to save, i suggest you stay in SG. But if you work for the long term and finally to settle down then i suggest you stay in Oz. That's why i'm here anyway, so I really can't say you do the same as well.
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