Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A MAN's city??

Don't ask me how this happened, but in my e-mail Inbox this morning I received a link to AskMen's 2010 survey report on the 29 Best Cities For A Man To Live In (why 29? who knows??).

It's a very badly laid-out feature, with no overall display of the rankings: you have to laboriously click through the cities one by one (with the fairly superfluous introductory page, and one or two interpolated pages of advertising, that's over 30 clicks - yawn!).

And what do we find if we persevere through to the end?

Well, a few rather unexpected picks early on: Bogota at 27, for instance, and Beirut (Beirut?!) at 19. You start to wonder if Medellin or Baghdad may feature.

London only just makes it into the top 5 (but at least we beat Berlin and Paris, so Brits are happy!).

My friend JK will no doubt be chuffed that his native Melbourne took the No. 2 spot (and that makes it basically the winner, because New York is clearly given the top position merely because it is New York rather than for any of the objective criteria supposedly consulted).

And what of our own dear Beijing? We have Hong Kong coming in at number 13, and Shanghai (horrors!) at 21, but where is Beijing?? Nowhere to be found. A shocking omission! I think we should start lobbying now to rectify this injustice in next year's survey. Are you with me, gentlemen?

By the way, I note that Shanghai is rated as marginally more expensive than London and Paris on the Mercer Cost of Living Index (and this despite the dirt-cheap public transport and street food??) - ouch!

However, Beijing is - somehow - rated even worse, only a smidge behind New York City, with a rating of 99.6!! I must assume that this is largely down to property prices, since, even with the recent infestation of mega-malls and fancy-dan bar-restaurants, Beijing is quite clearly nowhere near as expensive as Shanghai to live in (or at any rate, to drink in) quite yet.

[Well, one of the key criteria in this survey - since this is a "men's" magazine - was 'dating': they purported to measure the male-female ratio (but not the single male-single female ratio, or the age distribution!) and the proportion of university-educated women in the population to produce a 'good dating quotient' for each city under consideration. Hmm. Deep scepticisim here. However, I can see that this might have been one major factor counting against Beijing (well, that and the pollution). I have another post brewing on that topic. Tomorrow, maybe....]

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