Should I buy a car in Singapore?

My first car – 96 Honda Civic 1.6

To car or not to car?

I mean to buy car or not? Buying car in Singapore (or in Malaysia) is, to the average joe (ah beng?), as big a decision as buying property and getting married. Compare – in US, the cost of a new sedan is probably equal to that of 6 months a fresh university graduate’s salary, here, it’s 2 to 3 years.

I’ve always wanted to get back my mode of transport in the states when I came to Singapore, but I decided to reacquaint myself with the public transport first, something that I missed taking. Recently, the pace of life and the variety of activities that I participate in started making large demands on my time, and time is something I always want control of (even more than my money that is…) Riding on a variety of MRT, buses and taxis, I found the inability to take charge of my life frustrating. I mean, 3 hours wasted on a Sunday because you have to return a book to the library, perform in the middle of botanical gardens, and then meet a friend for dinner? Why should I take 1 hour to work everyday, and 1 hour back when the distance of Braddell Hill and Bedok is like 15 minutes drive (as shown to me by cab drivers) minus getting in and out of car parks?

Perhaps I’ve come to a point of mental irrationality. Wait, first, let me list down the list of cold water that I’ve gotten from surveying people that I socialize with:

  • You shouldn’t pamper yourself too early, I got my car only at the 4th year of my work, and that’s because I earned a lot of money from the stock market when it recovered from the gulf war crash.
  • You shouldn’t put your money in a liability, you read Rich Dad Poor Dad or not? You played Cash Flow or not? Have you start praying to Robert Kiyosaki or not?
  • You shouldn’t buy new car, just get an old one – look $10,000 for a Mercedes! 20 year old only mah, you’ll be the 9th owner!
  • Singapore public transport so good, buy for what?
  • You calculate hor, even if you take the Mercedes cab everyday, and pay all the surcharge, phone booking, everyday ERP, etc. you still won’t have to pay as much as a car, err… I mean, unless you buy a Kia Picanto la..
  • Wah why you got so much money to buy car one, I think I need to relook at my expenditure..
  • You sure car come first then girl? Most people girl first then car leh… then ask the girl to pay for car some more :O

There’re also the encouragements:

  • Wah, if you buy car I’m going to expect you to drive me to lunch everyday and we’ll pay you the fare we pay to the bus company instead. Com’on la, buy bigger one to fetch more people and recover more cost!
  • Buy la, COE so cheap now, when else to buy man.
  • Your estate parking free, your company parking free, make sense to buy what… find those very fuel efficient ones la.
  • Buy car in S’pore is like renting car, every month you pay and pay loan, then after 3 to 4 years, change, scrap the car and get bonus to buy new car, so it’s like rent your whole life, it’s ok one, plus you got new car to drive all the time also.
  • Buy! How much you want me to lend you?
  • Come let’s go shop for car together, I’m getting my third car. Err.. no I’m not selling my current car, I’m keeping all of them! 🙂

See, it’s all slightly different when I do my value proposition. I’m saying here that I want to almost like teleport anytime, anywhere, including going back to KL, together with my trombone, laptop, scores, whatnot, without being held captive by a system of convenience. When it’s convenient, of course I’ll take the public mode of transportation, but more often than not, it’s the opposite, considering that

  1. I don’t stay next to the MRT,
  2. Only 2 busses pass by my house
  3. My office is not next to the MRT
  4. My rehearsals are in La-Salle art school and Kallang Theatre
  5. Other work based frequent spots I’ll be making include NYP, SMU, and Science Park (DBS is going to be a past)

And at the same time, I want to be able to drive out to JB, PTP, and other random places in the nature – just like those trips from Seattle to Mount Rainier.

I miss Mount Rainier. ^_^

Back to the car. After all those cost benefit analysis and economics on willingness to pay, I think I will not shoot beyond $50,000, that’s putting down $20,000 plus a $30,000 loan, (or get $5,000 from others and take the minimum $25,000 loan). Which brings the options basically to only either a Lancer, Sunny or a Vios, maybe a City. Let’s see what happens.

Would you encourage / discourage me in buying a car? Let’s hear it!

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