While the city is popular for those in banking and finance, it is less desirable for creatives and those with the freedom to from anywhere.
Singapore is one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
While the above might be the envy of most countries, Singapore is far from perfect; leaving a void when searching for an environment that inspires creativity.
What is this void? It starts with what Singapore isn’t…
What Singapore Isn’t
1. Singapore is not freedom of expression
Singapore ranks 139 out of 180 for freedom of speech, placing it below Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, and Eswatini.
2. Singapore is not world-class education
The claim is Singapore has a stellar education system — yet Singapore has only one university ranked in the world’s top 100 – as cited by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). Forty-five U.S. universities rank ahead of Singapore’s top university — China, Japan, and South Korea outrank Singapore’s top universities as well.
3. Singapore is not LGBTQ friendly
On August 22, 2022, Singapore decriminalized sex between men, making it legal to be homosexual in the city-state. This is a small step forward because when it ended the law against gay sex, the Singapore government reiterated its opposition to gay marriage.
4. Singapore is not lively
In a survey by Time Out, Singapore was ranked as the world’s most boring city, along with Istanbul.
5. Singapore is not affordable
A report by EIU cites Singapore as the second most expensive city in the world.
6. Singapore is not good air quality
Singapore ranks as having the 52nd worst air pollution levels of the 98 countries with available data based on PM2.5 levels, and 44th worst of the 85 capital cities included.
Singapore ranks as more polluted than Taipei and Manila, but with cleaner air than Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
7. Singapore is not Asia’s best food
While Singapore is ranked tenth best for having most Michelin star restaurants (below Japan and Hong Kong); when working remotely from Singapore, it ranks low for food. Why?
Most Singapore food is oily and full of MSG — healthy food options are lacking compared to popular remote work destinations of Chiang Mai, Bali, Playa del Carmen, Koh Phangan, or Phuket. Moreover, healthy food is not affordable in Singapore.
Singapore’s low ranking for freedom of expression is an example of an oppressed society. Other serious issues facing Singapore include a mental health crisis and high depression rates, exploitation of immigrant labor, and non-transparent reporting of crime.
All of the above create an environment that is sterile, sedated, and lacking liveliness that inspires creativity and makes a place desirable for working remotely.
If you are a banker or in finance, and do not have the freedom to work from anywhere, then Singapore might be okay.
If you are creative — with the freedom to work from anywhere — there are much better places to work remotely than Singapore. Including Thailand, Bali, Spain, and Mexico.