Singapore—A YouTube video by a British vlogger comparing life in Singapore and Taiwan has garnered almost 150,000 views. “Richard,” who lived in Taiwan for 17 years before moving to Singapore, where he has lived for five years, speaks with some experience as an expat in both countries.
His wife works in Singapore and his two children go to a local school.
In “Taiwan vs Singapore: How do they compare?” the vlogger, who is the behind the Asia Hikelopedia channel on YouTube, gives a point to each country for each specific category.
His verdict: it’s a tie. In terms of cost of living, food, climate, Taiwan has the edge, but Singapore wins when it comes to living conditions, ease of doing business and others.
Tongue-in-cheek, Richard asks viewers to please watch the fifteen-minute video to the end, as he has obvious goodwill toward both places and has many good things to say about Singapore and Taiwan, adding that he has met many wonderful people.
The video came about because Richard says he is frequently asked by taxi drivers “Which place is better?” and “What’s the difference between living here and in Taiwan?” when they find out he has lived in both places.
“So I decided to make a video about it,” the vlogger said.
In terms of cost of living and healthcare, Taiwan has the advantage, as renting a flat is definitely less expensive. And even if taxes are lower in Singapore, the cost of education and healthcare for foreigners evens this out in favour of Taiwan.
However, when it comes to buying groceries, Singapore is not nearly as expensive as he was once led to believe, provided one doesn’t shop at Cold Storage, as many expats make the mistake of doing. And when goods are bought at wet markets, he added, the prices are even better.
The British vlogger has strong feelings about owning a car. In Singapore, he calls the price of car ownership “freaking ridiculous.”
“There’s no nice way to say this, but the cost of owning a car in Singapore is just freaking ridiculous… So let’s use a brand new Mazda 3 as an example. In Taiwan, that car costs NT$799,000 (US$27,000) brand new. In Singapore, the same car costs S$90,000 (US$66,000) including the certificate of entitlement.”
However, he amended this later, having realized he made a mistake in stating that owning the same Mazda is three times as expensive in Singapore as it is in Taiwan.
“Since publishing the video I’ve been informed that the part about the car is incorrect and that the COE (Certificate of Entitlement) is included in the cost of the Mazda so it is only twice, not three times as costly.
My apologies for the mistake.”
For Richard, Taiwan’s vulnerability to natural disasters makes Singapore a safer place to live. But in terms of everyday safety, which he describes as the ability to walk around freely without being mugged, both countries are relatively safe.
However, Singapore is the more “walkable” area, which is important to Richard as he enjoys walking. He says, “Walking to some places in Taiwan is not a fun experience. Most of the time, the sidewalks, or pavement, in places like suburban Taipei are blocked by a combination of scooters, parked cars, general household detritus, and even vendors selling stuff… Most of the time you end up walking in the middle of the road.”
And, as a foreigner, things are definitely easier for him in Singapore. As he writes, speaks and types in Mandarin, he had been able to manage in Taiwan, but with nearly everyone understanding English in Singapore, things flow much faster. “When it comes to making things easier for foreigners living there, Taiwan still has some way to go to catch up with Singapore.”
He expressed his thankfulness for both counties at the end of the video. “I’ve really enjoyed living in both places. They both have great food, great living conditions, and most importantly — great people.” —/TISG
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