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Bangkok gets low 'liveability' score
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  1. #1
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    Bangkok gets low 'liveability' score

    Bangkok gets low 'liveability' score
    The Nation, 12th April, 2006

    Bangkok ranks 107th among the world's larger cities for quality of life, far behind many other Asian cities, in a new report by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

    Another Thai city, Rayong, ranked 132nd, while Singapore was the top Asian city, at 34th place in the world.

    The analysis is part of Mercer's annual Worldwide Quality of Life Survey, covering more than 350 cities, to help governments and multinational companies place staff in international assignments.

    Each city is based on an evaluation of 39 criteria, including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services. Cities are ranked against New York City, which serves as the base index with a score of 100.

    "When multinational companies set up expatriate assignments, they have to
    provide attractive reward packages to compensate employees for any negative changes to their quality of living," said Yvonne Sonsino, a partner at Mercer.

    "Moving abroad can be a big upheaval for expatriates and their families, so international assignments tend to carry large price tags, particularly if they are in cities with low living standards facing political unrest or terrorist threats."

    She added, "Many companies use benchmark data to help them structure pay deals at the right level."

    Zurich ranks as the world's top city for quality of life. The city scored 108.2 points, only marginally ahead of Geneva's 108.1, while Vancouver followed in third place with 107.7. In contrast, Baghdad is the lowest-ranking city in the survey, scoring just 14.5 points.

    In Asia, Singapore ranked 34th with a score of 102.5, followed by Tokyo, Japan's highest-scoring city, in 35th place with 102.3.

    Hong Kong's modern and efficient infrastructure, including its airport, which is considered one of the best in the world, pushed it up from 70th to 68th place, with 95.4 points.

    Mercer Human Capital Products and Solutions leader for the Asia-Pacific Neo Siew Khim said: "Singapore's positioning as the highest-ranked Asian city is attributed mainly to its strong political and social environment, its repositioning as a knowledge-based economy, excellent health services, efficient public services, transport and airport and a vibrant cultural scene.

    "Overall, during the past six or seven years, we have seen an increasing trend in foreign direct investment. We anticipate that as Singapore gains further ground as an excellent place to live, it will better be able to attract foreign talent as well as retain local talent, thereby growing its workforce to a higher level of quality. This, among other factors, will in turn help attract more foreign investment to Singapore."

    The top-ranked city in China was Shanghai, in 103rd place with a score of 80.1.

    "Beijing and Shanghai are on the rise and should experience rapid improvements in their quality of life in the coming years. This will mainly be due to greater international investment driven by the availability and lower cost of labour and manufacturing expertise," explained Mercer senior researcher Slagin Parakatil.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Sydney Australia
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    Well Bangkok is Ok so long as you live at least 30 kilometers from the centre, away from the pollution and dense population, by the Way my city Sydney is in 9th position, but I think if you did not have a western size income, you would be better off financially in Bangkok.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
    North Carolina
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    One man's meat is another man's poison.

    Personally I think Bangkok is a rather vibrant city which is losing character rather than gaining it due to redevelopment. The more modern a city becomes, the more exclusionary it becomes. Costs rise and those at the lower economic levels get squeezed out. Give me Bangkok over Singapore anytime.

  4. #4
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    Silicon Valley, USA
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    I like this explanation on Mercer's web site here:
    Quality of Living vs. the quality of life

    The Quality of Living index is based on several criteria used to judge whether an expatriate is entitled to a hardship allowance. A city with a high Quality of Living index is a safe and stable one, but it may be lacking the dynamic je ne sais quoi that makes people want to live in world-renowned cities such as Paris, Tokyo, London or New York. Sometimes you need a little spice to make a city exciting. But that "spice" may also give a city a lower ranking.

    What makes one person's quality of life better or worse cannot be quantified in an objective index. Therefore, Mercer's Quality of Living report reflects only the tangible aspects of living in a city on expatriate assignments, and leaves the question of the quality of one's life to those living it!
    Therein lies the problem with this survey: Bangkok is just too darned spicy for those HR managers.

  5. #5
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    Los Angeles, CA, USA
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    Cities are ranked against New York City...
    I'm willing to bet that only Western (probably all American Yankees) expatriates participated in the survey. I would rank New York City as a piece of garbage, not use it as a benchmark. I'm sure Asians would rate Asian cities much higher than Westerners, and would probably rate Western cities much lower. Some common complaints I hear from Asians living in America are: One cannot buy food, it's all in cans and bags, rather than being fresh and on display; food is expensive; public transportation is expensive; too much of your earnings goes to taxes; you can't get any medicine without going to a doctor first; doctors are expensive; everything is expensive; people are very impersonal and impolite; there is too much racism aimed at Asians in the America 5555555
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    In Defense of Bangkok

    I just have say that I absolutely love Bangkok. It gets a lot of flack for the pollution and the noise and the crowds....

    ...but for every wiff of polution you get walking past a dirty klong, there is a woman sitting by the road making flower arrangements with the sweetest smelling jasmine in the world.

    ....for all of the loud noise of people and buses, you also sense a pulse or a beat. Nothing is better than being on a crowded stinking noisy bus and hearing Carabao's "Made in Thailand" blasting out of the driver's cassette box.

    .....for all of the crowds of people...everywhere...cramped have the opportunity to meet and make friends with some interesting characters -- the old woman who has a coke stand just past my apartment, the young men who are the security guards for the one or two cars parked at our street, the old man who cuts hair and always offers me fruit when I walk by. The man at the photo shop who has me spin for prizes every time I drop off a roll of film. The teenager who came up to me at a bus stop at 1:00am with a book about guitars (in English) and asked me to help him to learn to read it -- we sat on the street corner talking all night.

    I love that book, Bangkok Faces (or something to that effect) that profiles some of those random kinds of people you meet and make part of your life in Bangkok.

    For me, Bangkok, is at the top of the liveability charts!

  7. #7
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    Aug 2005
    Yangon, Myanmar
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    interesting. all these criteria, personal preferences.... I think Bangkok is exciting, I enjoy it.... for four or five days. then it makes me crazy. I feel small, insignificant, suffocating, both mentally and physically.... just knowing that it would take at least two hours to get out of the city makes me feel like I'm closed in a small box and cannot escape. and the overwhelming range of choices and possibilities.... it can be limiting and intimidating, too. I guess Bangkok is just too much for an emotionally unstable person like me.
    I would be interested in how Chiang Mai comes up against the "sterile" criteria used in this research!

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