Lately, more and more people are complaining how things are getting more and more expansive. Our purchasing power seemed to have dropped. Is it really that expansive?
If you follow the news, in a recent survey done by human resources firm ECA International on the most expensive city in the world for foreign workers, you cannot see Bandar Seri Begawan. But to my surprise, I am sure to a lot of other people too, the most expansive city in the world is Luanda in Angola. According to the report, a meal in Luanda can cost over US$100 and a "decent" apartment can cost as much as US$15,000 a month, despite the fact that most Angolans live in poverty, with over 60% of the Angolan population live on less than $2 a day.
The cheapest place? Maseru, the capital of the African state of Lesotho! To put things into perspective, Tokyo, the most expansive city in Asia is the world’s second most expansive city. Singapore, our neighbour, in the top 10 of the most expansive cities in Asia, is ranked 72. Kuala Lumpur is ranked 38 in Asia, 210 in the world.
Personally, one way for me to compare cities is the price of meal per person. Surf the net you can get a very good picture. In Bangkok, US$1 can buy you a good meal. Other countries and cities? In South Korea, US$5 to US$10; Tokyo similar to South Korea, Hong Kong is around US$5; in India about US$1; in Shanghai between US$1 to US$5; Jakarta around US$2 and Manila about US$5..... No need to say much about Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Most Bruneians know the prices. Just be careful not to end up like the Americans in Singapore charged S$30 per prawn!
Coming back to Brunei, a meal can cost as low as B$1 ... nasi katok or roti kosong with aing sajuk. Pay a bit more, you can have the delicious Roti Talor Bawang. Go to the pasar malam, you can get lots of B$1 food. Is that expansive? I don’t think so.... No wonder Bandar Seri Begawan in ranked 13th in Asia as the best place to live in ..........
PS: you can use the cost of a meal as a guide when giving tips in a foreign country!