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Two Cities Comparison Essay

Introduction

While deciding between several job options it’s necessary to consider every tiny bit of information in order not to regret in future about wrong choice. Of course wages, opportunity to get promoted, and people you’ll be working with, matter very much, but it’s also necessary to take into consideration facts about the town or city in which a company is located, standard of living in a country, its culture, customs and traditions, international relations with other countries, and many other important facts. Today I have a choice to work in Singapore city, the capital of Singapore, or in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Before making my choice I’d like to find out the most important information about these two cities in order to accept the most suitable for me job offer. The company I’m planning to work for is Dell, which is a computer corporation operating all over the world. Dell deals with the developing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing of wide range of computer and entertainment products, which are popular at both the consumer and the enterprise markets. Besides computer products it produces music players, televisions, projectors and other gadgets.

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As it has been mentioned above Dell operates all over the world, including headquarters in the USA and subsidiaries in Canada, South America, Latin America, England, Africa, Japan, India, China, Australia and New Zealand. Being founded in 1984 the company reached a great success by the end of 1990s. By late 1997, Dell had become the industry leader in keeping costs down and wringing efficiency out of its direct sales and build-to-order business model. Industry observers saw Dell as being in strong position to capitalize on several forces shaping the PC industry—sharp declines in component prices, rapid improvements in PC technology, and growing customer interest in having PCs equipped with the power, components, and software they wanted [2].

Singapore city versus Copenhagen city

The first city I’d like to speak about is Singapore city, the official capital of the Republic of Singapore, which lies in South-East Asia. Before speaking about Singapore city it’s necessary to clear up some fact about the country in a whole. The population of the country is 4,350,000 people, the area is 693 km², and the official languages are Malay and Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil and English. Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries with about 12,000 people per square mile. Singapore’s workforce is employed primarily in manufacturing, in the service industries, and in commerce, with a negligible proportion engaged in agriculture. The country has become a major centre of international finance in recent decades. The economy slowed as a result of the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 and the 2001 recession, but unemployment and inflation remained low. The increasing importance of China in manufacturing and finance, however, is seen as a threat to Singapore’s future economic growth [3]. Major religions of the country are Buddhist, Muslim and Christian.

Now I’d like to move on and speak about the Singapore city itself. Singapore city is considered to be a rather comfortable city with decent living conditions, which are considered to be one of the best in Asia. It has all necessary facilities including education, shopping, sports activity and recreation. According to the survey among expatriates living in countries of Asia Singapore is considered to be the fourth according to its cost of living, while in the world it occupies 32nd place. In comparison with Hong Kong the costs of housing, utilities, miscellaneous goods and consumer services are lower in Singapore, the costs of durable goods and transport are markedly higher in Singapore [4]. However, the cost of living in Singapore has decreased due to the decrease in prices for food, goods of long utilizations and transport. Speaking about transportation system of Singapore, it’s necessary to mention that it has an efficient transportation network, which offers taxis, buses, and the modern Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system. With its excellent public transport system, Singapore is, without a doubt, the easiest city in Asia to get around [6]. The city has a modern Changi International Airport, which is rather large, well-qualified and organized. It has all modern facilities to satisfy the demands of the most particular tourists (post office, phones, luggage facilities, business centres, restaurants and a lot of shops). The airport itself is situated about 20km from the city centre. As it has been said Singapore city has efficient bus network and MRT subway, which provides citizens with qualitative and rapid transportation around the city and suburbs. Visitors rarely have to wait more than a few minutes and a bus will get them anywhere [6].

Singapore is one of the world’s greatest commercial centres, with a large, modern port. Commerce has historically been the chief source of its income. For many years the largest importer in SE Asia, Singapore is a free port and an entrepôt that reexports more than half of what it imports, notably rubber, petroleum, textiles, timber, and tin. It also exports locally manufactured goods such as computer and telecommunications equipment, petroleum products, oil drilling equipment, plastics, rubber products, and processed food and beverages. The country imports most of its food requirements. [3].

Singapore is considered to be cosmopolitan. Major ethnic groups include the Chinese (76.8%), Malays (13.9%), Indians (7.9%), and Eurasians and smaller minority groups (1.4%); every one of these communities has contributed certain customs and traditions to the culture of Singapore. The city combines both modernity and traditions, which seem to be represented equally there [7].
Entertainment activities of Singapore include various festivals (Ponggol, Singapore International Festival for Children, Singapore Fashion Festival and others) and holidays; while for everyday entertainment everyone can find a cozy café or a noisy, with loudly played music disco. Lovers of classical music and opera can visit Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Dance Theatre.

Now it’s time to speak about the next city which is Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Denmark is situated in Northern Europe. The official name of the country is Kingdom of Denmark. The country’s area is about 43,000 sq km, and the population is 5,432,335 people. Copenhagen is considered to be the largest city in Scandinavia, however there’s still quiet atmosphere that resembles an atmosphere of a small town, this feature of the city is very attractive to visitors. The city is famous for its high quality of life, public services which are at a rather high rate, large international community and safe environment. Some view Copenhagen as the “greenest capital in Europe – much of the centre is reserved for pedestrians, strict anti-pollution laws are enforced and bikes often outnumber cars on the streets. Green spaces – including the world-famous Tivoli – abound, while, in the summer, cafés and restaurants occupy the pavements [8].

Speaking about the quality of life in Copenhagen it’s necessary to say that it’s very high. This city offers excellent living conditions based on certain factors, such as high-quality education, healthcare, good social conditions, culture and others. Copenhagen’s high quality of life can also be attributed to the low crime rate. According to international surveys, Copenhagen has one of the lowest crime rates in the world [9]. Social security institutions provide citizens and foreigners with necessary health care services, pensions, unemployment compensation and others. Ecological situation in Copenhagen is favourable. The city offers a lot of places of entertainment such as theatres, cinemas, museums and parks, that’s why it is considered to be one of the most attractive cities to live in the world in terms of quality of life.

However, the cost of living in Copenhagen and in Denmark as a whole is high (higher than in the USA). Income tax in Denmark varies from 45% to 64% depending on how much you earn. The value added tax (VAT) is 25%. That’s why this city is among the five most expensive cities in the world [10].

Copenhagen has relatively large expatriate community, because about 2,000 international companies decided to open subsidiaries there. A lot of expatriates reside in Copenhagen creating a large international community, which has all necessary conditions to stay there.

Copenhagen has a comprehensive public transportation system, which consists of commuter trains (S-tog trains), public bus services, and new underground system, which was only designed in 2000. Transportation system of Copenhagen also includes special bicycle paths and bicycles that can be found all over the centre of the town. Copenhagen transportation system divides the city into 99 zones, which the cost of ticket depends on; for example, it’s cheaper to go through two zones than three or more. In comparison with other countries prices for tickets are generally high, and have increased substantially in recent years leading to a decrease in passenger numbers. In fact the percentage of trips made on public transportation in Copenhagen is quite low by northern European standards [11].

As for places of entertainment in Copenhagen, this city can offer a great variety of them to its citizens as well as to the tourists. Several major investments have been made in cultural projects, the most interesting being the Museum of Modern Art, the Royal Library, the development of the Navy dockyard (Holmen), the DGI sports centre, the Royal Theatre, and last but not least the new Royal Opera built directly at the waterfront of the inner harbour. These investments and many more have made Copenhagen a culturally rich metropolitan city in Northern Europe [12]. Art lovers can visit museums and exhibitions, which include Arken, the National Gallery and others. The city has also a variety of golf courses, bars and discos.

My personal choice

Having spoken about these two cities I now would like to decide where it would be better to work for me based on cultural, economical and other circumstances. To begin with I first of all must say that I’m Chinese, but currently I live and study in the USA. My native language is Chinese and my religion is Buddhist. I come from a small family, and I don’t have to worry much about family obligation. I am single, so I can freely travel around the world. Speaking about cultural differences between me and people of Singapore and people of Denmark I must say that obviously I’m closer to those living in Singapore, because it’s also situated in Asia. A lot of people in Singapore speak Chinese, which is an official language there. As for Denmark, I’m also able to adjust to its people, because I know English, and I already have an experience of living in another country, thought it would be much difficult, because the way of life there is different, culture and religion are also very different. However, as I’ve mentioned above, Denmark also has a lot of ethnic communities living there. I can overcome certain cultural differences, because I’ve already learned how to do it, but honestly speaking I’d prefer not to do it. My family inculcated in me strong religious and cultural beliefs that I cannot deny now. That’s why I will encounter certain difficulties while being Denmark more if I were in Singapore.

When I came to the United States it was also hard for me to adjust. Though my English was rather good at that time I still faced a lot of difficulties in understanding the language. Cultural barrier between China and the USA is really great, because American society is very diverse and includes a lot of nationalities with their own cultures and beliefs. Now I’m pretty comfortable with living here. My English has improved and I’m able to communicate on any subject. However, I must admit that I miss some of the traditions and customs I used to have back home, and in general people of the USA are less concerned with customs and traditions than people of China. In Singapore I’d be able to speak Chinese, but in Denmark I’ll have to speak English, which is perfectly suitable for me, but the official language of Denmark is Danish, and English is the second language there.

My current experience in the USA will certain help me to live in another foreign country, because I’ve already learned how to adjust in an unknown country. As I’ve mentioned above, I don’t have any strong family obligations, so I don’t have to live too close to my home country.

Speaking about aspects of each city that I liked or disliked, I must admit that in Copenhagen I liked how public services are organized; good environmental situation also attracts me, and also a variety of entertainment. In Singapore city, I could communicate with people of my nationality. Cost of living there is not very high, which is of course very good for me. On the contrary, Copenhagen offers excellent living conditions which of course cost a great deal of money, that’s why this city is considered to be one of the most expensive ones in the world. I would very much enjoy beautiful parks and squares of Copenhagen, but giving away the half of my salary by paying income taxes seems too much for me, that’s why I definitely don’t like this aspect of the city.

Conclusion

As I’ve spoken about Singapore city and Copenhagen I shall make a conclusion and say that I’d choose Singapore city. There are some reasons that influence my choice. Language, culture and religion are very similar between China and Singapore, which makes it rather easy for me to adjust. Singapore city is not so expensive in terms of cost of living than Copenhagen is. I’m totally unfamiliar with the country Denmark, I know next to nothing about it besides what I’ve found out about it while getting ready for this assignment. Because of that I would have to experience a lot of cultural differences if I chose to work in Copenhagen. I choose Singapore city because it’s cheaper to live there. Of course public services and transportation system are not as efficient as those in Copenhagen, but still they are considered to be rather developed and qualitative.

Generally speaking Singapore is closer to my heart, because it’s situated Asia and is located not far away from China. In Singapore I can freely follow my religious beliefs and have almost no cultural barriers.

Bibliography

Dell Computer Corporation – company background
http://www.mhhe.com/business/management/thompson/11e/case/dell2.html
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright© 2004, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. All rights reserved.
Comparative Study on Cost of Living for Expatriates across Cities
http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200201/24/reporte.htm
Cost of living http://www.expatsingapore.com/once/col.htm
Transport http://www.marimari.com/content/singapore/transport/main.html
A City That Lets Its People Live It Up http://www.contactsingapore.org.sg/why_quality.shtml
http://www.copcap.com/composite-2554.htm
Living in Denmark http://www.usembassy.dk/ACS/LivingInDenmark/default.htm
Copenhagen http://experts.about.com/e/c/co/Copenhagen.htm
Living in Copenhagen – Culture and leisure http://www.copcap.com/composite-2555.htm
Sarah Jones. Singapore Back on the Rise. Business Asia, Vol. 11, December 2003

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