Big Mac, Ipod and Singapore… …

26 Aug

According to an opinion piece by Eugene Yeo from Temasek Review on the global UBS Study, ‘the high cost of living coupled with low wages and domestic purchasing power condemns the average Singapore worker to an ignonimous, monotonus and stressful working life’.

Not particularly ground-breaking news though the study does reveal some interesting statistics.

On average, a Singaporean employee will need to work:

36 minutes for a Big Mac;

35 minutes for a kilogram of bread;

17 minutes for a kilogram of rice;

27.5 hours for an ipod Nano.

To rent (in US dollars) on average:

a furnished 4 room apartment (extreme) – 5,430

a furnished 4 room apartment (medium) – 3,660

a furnished 4 room apartment (cheap) – 2,460

an unfurnished 3 room apartment (expensive) – 4,900

an unfurnished 3 room apartment (medium) – 2,940

an unfurnished 3 room apartment (cheap) – 1,900

normal local rent (medium) – 1,630

To take public transport, it costs in US dollars:

Bus and Metro (MRT) – 1.27. This is based on the price of a single ticket for the public transport network (bus, streetcar or metro) for a journey of approximately 10 km/6 miles or at least 10 stops.

Taxi – 5.41. This is based on the price of a ticket for 5 km/3 miles within the city limits, including service.

To go out (in US dollars):

visiting a posh restaurant costs – 52. This is based on the price of an evening meal (three-course menu with starter, main course and dessert, without drinks) including service.

to stay in a hotel – 370 for the price for a double room en-suite, including breakfast for two and service in a first-class hotel in the international category or 140 in a good mid-range hotel.

And if we take a look at the net incomes of certain profession groups  (lower-income groups), net-income wise (US dollars per annum):

Building Labourers – 11,000

Female Factory Workers – 7,600

Bus Drivers – 11,400

Female Shop Assistants – 7,500

No doubt the survey was likely conducted for expatriates, executives and corporations in mind (hence the bias towards US dollars, large cities and areas of investigations e.g. big macs and cars expenditures), it does show to a certain extent how expensive it is to live in Singapore (perhaps even for some expatriates and the middle class). If the costs of living is high in Singapore for some of the well-off, what can we say about those who are struggling?

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