SINGAPORE: Mr Chun Weng, a Malaysian YouTuber, wanted to see if the hours-long commute from Johor Bahru to Singapore every day to make three times the salary is worth it, documenting his journey in a video uploaded on Thursday (Sept 21).

His takeaway: it’s a hard life of sacrificing one’s health, sleep, and family time, but some people do it anyway because of their loved ones. Mr Chun, who posts finance-related content on YouTube, titled his video “I Lived in JB and Worked in Singapore to Get RICH.”

The YouTuber opened his post by noting that Singapore is the most expensive city in the world but wondered if he could manage to rake in a lot more by “simply living” just above at Johor Bahru.

He noted that way back in 1965, the Singapore dollar and the Malaysian ringgit had the same value.

“Fast forward to 2023, despite having the same history, the same racial harmony and also the same freaking location, it’s not looking so good for Malaysia where I’m from. As of 2022, the average salary in Malaysia is about US$750 and in Singapore, it’s US$2400. And you know what they say, if you can’t beat them join them.”

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The day before he went to Singapore, he took the train from Kuala Lumpur to JB, where he met a woman named Ash, who had been commuting to work in Singapore daily for the past eight years. He interviewed her as a resource person for his story.

Her daily commute is between two and three hours per day because of traffic and having to clear customs and checkpoints. With a laugh, she warned him to prepare himself physically and mentally because he’d be very tired of doing this for the first time.

Getting up shortly past 4am the next day and making his way to JB central by 5:30, he was shocked to see “hundreds of people crossing the bridge, looking like tiny ants.”

He then made it through immigration, queues, bus and train rides, finally arriving at Woodlands at 7:45.

Ash told him she believes that there are more people working in Singapore from JB now because the conversion rate is much higher.

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The YouTuber said, “The largest expense for Singapore is housing or rental. It’s actually 10 per cent higher compared to the rest of the world… If you live in Johor you’ll actually get the best of both worlds, cheaper housing with a much much higher salary.”

He asked Ash, “Do you think it makes more sense for a Malaysian to go to Singapore and work, compared to just working in a job in JB?”

She answered yes because with the current conversion rate, earning S$2000 in Singapore would be a big difference for Malaysians.

“Just by crossing the bridge every morning, I can get three times the pay for doing the same amount of work,” observed Mr Chun.

However, when he tried it for himself, he ended up extremely fatigued, because he had woken up so early, and expressed how much respect he has for Malaysians who do this every day.

“I came in questioning whether I could make good money or not, and whether it was even worth it, but after today’s experience, I’m not really sure if that’s the right question for me anymore,” he said.

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Ash told him that the two things she had to give up for working in Singapore were health and time, admitting that waking up early daily was damaging her body. If she didn’t have to travel between 4 and 6 hours, she would be exercising, sleeping more and spending time with family.

The YouTuber ended his video by saying that Ash told him that one of her friends had to work in Singapore for her father’s medical bills at a time when she had just had a baby.

“I can’t even start imagine how stressful it must be for her. In the end whether you’re a Singaporean or Malaysian… we’re all not that different. At the end of the day when the sun sets and it’s time to go home for the most of us, we would do anything for the people that we love.” /TISG

Malaysian man in Singapore lives with just S$10 per day on food & transport