About Driving in Perth

Finally, the jokers got their car and my days of chauffeuring them to-and-fro work were finally over. The black thing at the junction of Albany Highway and Kelvin Road in Maddington where they are living used to amuse me. Belong long, I was sick looking at it. It was there for a reason, the car dealer probably reckoned a big plastic thing that remotely resembled a Godzilla snarling at commuters driving past would boost car sales. I wasn't complaining, since my sister told me my nephew would be very excited if he saw that. Perhaps excited kids would trigger something in the minds of parents to buy cars. They must have worked that out somewhere before.

So, how about this white new car for $20k? Many Singaporeans would go, "So CHEAP!!" (Well there is a reason why we always get robbed in JB) Really, it isn't. $20,000 is a lot of money. Just because we are charged exorbitant prices to own a car for only 10 years in Singapore, does not make cars in Perth cheap. If you are a salaried worker, you still need many months or even a few years to save this amount of money. A few years of your life, is by no means cheap, unless that's how you define a few years of your life. Therefore, learn not to exclaim, 'Cheap!' so readily. If you groan and moan that everything is expensive all the time, it will become a good habit. It'll save you bucket loads of cash in the long run. It may even save you some anguish, if you shop in JB since potential robbers shadowing you will end up more worried they may end up being robbed by you instead after hearing the amount of groaning you can produce.

The consolation of expensive cars in Perth is that you can run them down to its last piston. Seriously, being restricted to only owning a car for 10 years sucks. We were told this dumb policy was passed to curb traffic congestion, only to see the same or higher number of cars on cars than 10 years ago. The bitter part isn't about how unenjoyable it is to drive on consistently congested roads but the ridiculous need to send a fully functional car to the scrap yard. Just imagine if you are told to change any single thing you bought after 10 years for whatever good reason, never mind a crappy one. COE for bed because bed bugs. COE for your refrigerator because hygiene, COE for your air conditioner because noise, COE for your television because optometry health, COE for your dog, COE for your husband. If you ask me, the first COE we should be buying is a COE for the government. 10 years maximum and fuck off, whatever the condition of the government or country, since COE makes sense.

Back to running down your car in Perth to its last piston, if you do not get rid of your car as programmed on the 10th year, you may find that it will take many years more before your old faithful calls it a day, as evident with the number of 1980s car I can still see on Perth roads nowadays.

As shown through the windscreen and rusty wiper of Goldilocks, Perth roads are pretty okay to drive on. That was part of ROE highway on my way home straight after work, nothing quite like the AYE war zone that I had to battle on everyday basis in the past. Yeah, I do miss the nice trees along the roads that my ex-colleagues from NParks has been doing a great job maintaining. Over here, we have only cute brittle bushes to remind us this is a city built on a desert. What a fine city they manage to build though, a different definition of fine I have to say.

Friends visited the eastern cities returned to report driving in those city was less pleasant as compared to Perth taking traffic volume, road conditions and driver behavior as factors. I was pleased to hear that and it had me gloating a bit for choosing Perth. What a scam it must be to move to Sydney and experience the same old shitty traffic conditions where we came from. You only need a new COE policy in NSW to bring back fond memories. Maybe a blue and white gantry or two somewhere too. Singapore Day, everyday. Nice.

When I was new to Perth, switching lane was awkward because I was expecting the car on the next lane to speed up upon my signal so that I could complete my transition quickly before the next guy close up the gap. Instead they carried on the same speed, which made me hesitate far too long until Jen told me, "Go, go! It's like that here." When I was on the receiver end, I could hardly remember having to apply my brakes whenever someone cut into my lane in front of me. I couldn't make up my mind if I had unconsciously dropped the normal tailgating habit in Singapore or was it people actually bothered to check if there was enough safe distance in between before making their lane switch. Perhaps, the lower volume of cars on the roads all the time simply makes everything more pleasant.

Newly arrived Singaporeans may tear their hair out waiting for traffic lights to turn green. In the 1980s when I was young school boy, I used to watch the traffic lights so often. Back in those days, traffic lights cycles were more or less like the ones in Perth today. However, the traffic cycles in Singapore had since been shortened drastically, so many of us will find it exasperating that the green light takes forever to come on. When I visited Malaysia, I noticed the long cycles in traffic lights as well. So, we should understand what we are used to in Singapore is not the norm.

Why don't you come to Perth for a drive? Take Goldilocks, wind down the window and drive north across the beautiful Swan Valley. Say hello to my friend Patrick when you pass by. Wave to the Duchess if you hit that far north. She may even be your proud tour guide and take you for coffee tasting.


  1. Nix one can keep a car for more than 10 tears in Singapore. Most people don't because they feel it is not worth paying for another COE to keep a 10 year old car.

  2. I am not looking forward to driving in Sg this Christmas. I normally just take it easy and drive slowly in the left lane in Sg. My wife says I drive too slowly :)

  3. Perth is full. Piss off...

  4. In Sydney I can't say I see a lot of 1980s cars but there are many 1990s cars for sure, even featured in 2nd hand cars. Often the popular Ford Laser Holden Astra or Toyota Corolla still hold very high resale value beyond 10 years since their maintanence costs are low, spare parts plenty and cheap, reliable, economical and within price range of teenage car budgets (or mommy daddy sponsor have good memories about them)

    On the other hand there are also many cars that are commonly seen for sale in newspapers and second hand car dealers, like Mitsubishi Magna or Ford Falcon which are essentially OK family car but has lower than expected price for the engine capacity clicks and age of the car.

    These car are often ex fleet cars. They may have certain 'reputation' like poor fuel economy or difficult to drive, but actually untrue for most car model beyond late 1990s.

    The truth is that there are too many such cars on the market and traditionally not as popular as well as the car companies often give too much discount during the 1990s early 2000s such that when you buy the car brand new, 6 months later the same new car dealer cuts the prices by $5000, so reducing the resale value.

    So for these sort of car, people can drive a hard bargain for a very reasonable product, but NEVER NEVER expect to sell the car again on the 2nd hand car market in the future for more than a couple of thousand of $$.

    BTW, Sydney traffic can be bad. Go to (or from) work at the wrong time and a 30 min drive becomes as much as 90 mins.

    But if you are lucky: live close to work, know the back streets, going to workplace is different direct to going to CBD, shift work starts at 7am or finishes after 7 pm, then traffic not a big problem.

    Sydney train is not as reliable as MRT. Definitely taking bus is crazy for some outer areas, no better than car.

    But that is the price to pay for living in one of the most popular cities in Australia for good reasons. Living in Sydney means you can have the best range of Asian cooked food and groceries. I have been to many of the capital cities of Oz and Sydney is definitely the best place to be for Asian foodies (of course not as good as SG)

  5. PS

    I agree this hyundai i30 at just under $20K is grossly over prices since for less than $2K extra, I can get a Toyota Corolla Ascent with fantastic resale value.

    That is, if a friend got money to buy a new car.

    For me I have never had the luxury to own a new car (with the new car smell) and I only look at sub $10K car ads.......

    1. I lagi cheap... look at <$5k cars in Quokka. Still can find really good deals.

    2. Can find <$5K one but I am no car mechanic so the first servicing bill for most of these cars (usually >300,000 km but < 10 year, or <300,000 km but > 10 year, often large family car) must be lagi chiak luck > $500 so not real saving

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