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[Commentary] 5 reasons not to own a CAR in Singapore


$40k, $50k, $60k… The COE for cars have been rising and rising at breakneck speed yet cars are still flying off their wheels to be owned. Owning a car is not only for transportation in Singapore but it is also a status assuring commodity. Aspiring individuals who are keen to own a car for better or…for worse, here’s 5 reasons why you should not own a Car in Singapore:

1. Parking lot Nightmares

Parking is always not available! Depending on locations, sometimes finding a French cuisine in a hawker centre yields higher returns. And if you ever chance upon empty lots, sorry my friends, these are reserved for seasons parking holders. It is so bizarre when you keep driving around the empty parking lots. Lot after lot, floor after floor… And still they are ‘red’ lots!!! And when you finally see ‘white’ lots after circling up the car park for petrol that cost like $10, there is no empty lot for a single car. Empty promises at it’s best!

2. Hassle of using Carpark Coupons

I am sure many drivers out there will exhale a ‘heng ah!’ Finally found a parking lot!! Yes, my same sentiments every time, that is when you reach over to the side compartment to fish out the parking coupon, and to your worst nightmare, all the coupons you have got, like 30 of them, are with holes; you go through them one  by one trying to find one without holes. Heart beat fasten, palms start to sweat… All you can find are ‘holely’ coupons fit for the bin. Then you try to make an educated guess if you do not display any coupon, will you be fined? At this point, my advice is: no matter how educated your guess is or how educated you are, you will get a ‘fine’ notice on your windscreen when you return.

Run, yes I mean run to the nearest not so convenient store and get the coupons ASAP! Your heart will wrench when you return after a good movie to find a slip of long white paper pinned to your wiper.

3. The irritating Beep Sound from IU

Beep beep beep, chimes the ERP device in the car after you have exited from the car park. Value in the cash card is lower than $5, an alarm sounded in your head to top up the cash devouring card. After driving for 5 mins, you pass by another car park, beep beep beep the device chimes again. This is repeated a number of times before you finally reach your location. It could be passing by car parks, ERP gantries or anything that looks vaguely like a ERP gantry. The device never fails to remind you that it is hungry and low in vitamin M. The chimes is more irritating than the damn alarm clock in the morning!

4. The Yearly Road Tax visits you again

You open the mailbox as per normal. A stack of mails await you, your eyes catch a glimpse of a blue logo with a traffic cop on a bike, it’s the time of the year again! Road tax is here, and when road tax is here, his friend, ‘car insurance’ will be here as well!!! Wow you lament, one year passes so fast. Yes, reality hits where it hurts most, your bank account. For the next 10 years or whenever your COE expires, you will be hurt yearly.

5. Either a Fine or more demerit Points 

You wake up late in the morning for work, no worries you thought, I can drive a little faster. You reach the car and on the ignition, the car starts up, and the yellow petrol logo lights up. Always on the dot, always on the wrong dot. After wasting 20 mins to the petrol kiosk, you drive off at shooting star speed, you reach the office just in time for the important meeting. Good if you do. 7 days later, the cop on the bike logo might appear in the mailbox again. When it does, best of luck to you. A fine or a demerit composition might awaits you.

Why not keep a Pet?

The car is like a pet, it needs constant care, washing, waxing & servicing. It requires feeding (petrol), it’s requires snacking (coupon and cash car), it needs hospitalization care (flat battery, flat tyre, engine problem… ) and you only used it like 1 hour twice a day.

Would you rather keep a pet which has better returns? I am sure most cats and dogs outlive a car anytime in Singapore. The above may seem trivial and to some nothing worth mentioning, multiply it by 12 months by 10 years, that is 120 months of self inflicted pains!

But on hindsight, there are also many fun activities that you can do in a car, limited to 2 consenting adults at best due to space constrain.

So for those who are planning to leave the MRT, taxis, buses and ubers behind, I wish you all the best with owning a piece of junk after 10 years.

Shang Guan Hei

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