Friday, December 21, 2007

there's something about ..... travelogue 4: Car/Child

Shanghai is a Heaven of Imitations. They have imitated every possible thing they can, you name it, they imitate it to perfection.

They even imitate BMW but with a engine made in China. They even sell Thumbdrives with 32GB and 48GB. Seriously I'm out of touch with such things but I don't believe Singapore got such high capacities in thumbdrives.

They don't just stop there. They also imitate Singapore's car management policies. They have what we called COE in Shanghai.

Our Singapore very own COE is now available in Shanghai.

While COE in Singapore buys you a certificate that last for 10 years, in Shanghai, you bid for the licence car plate that last you as long as your car can last.

When I left Shanghai, the bidding for the licence Car Plate is about $58000RMB or about S$11000.

As a comparison, a Honda Oydessy there cost about S$70,000.

So the smart alec will say, I will then buy a car outside Shanghai and drive into Shanghai lor. Like Singaporean buying a JB car, except in China you would not have cross-province custom.

But while you think you are Smart, Shanghai Policy-maker also not stupid lor. Most major highway and major roads are out of bounds for non-shanghai registered cars. That way, even if you buy a non-shanghai registered car which is cheaper by $58000RMB, you would not be able to commute to your destination without much frustrations.

So while you get frustrated about bidding for a licence plate, you have a much bigger hurder before that. Getting a licence!!

They pay about $50,000RMB for a licence or S$10,000. So you paid over $2k for a licence in Singapore and you already complained? Thank god you reincarnated in Singapore and not in Shanghai.

However, they only imitate Singapore Car Policy and not our procreation policies.

They still have a One-Child Policy. When you give birth to your first Child, the government will assist you by giving you a few months of your salary. However, the reverse happens when you intend to give birth to a second child. The penalty is extremely high. Not only that, the second child may not be entitled to medical and education benefits.

To the very rich, they will just pay the penalty.

However, they have recently "loosen" the policy. If yourself and your wife have no other siblings, meaning both of you are single child, then you are allowed to give birth to a second child.

In any case, it seems this One-Child policy has zero impact on modern Chinese. Most could only afford 1 child and has no plan for a second child.

My Singaporean friends in China who are relocated there have more than a couple of children. And whenever they go out, they would be stared at. In fact, one of them was asked whether she is the mother for all the kids.

I can understand their rationale for One-Child policy. Singapore has gone thru such phases before.

However, I'm thinking... How come Singapore government never give me few months of my salary for my first Child??!?!??!

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