When I was based in Hong Kong, I lived in a place where the residents weren't allowed to own a car.
Instead, the developer that owned and operated the "resort" community deemed that we could drive golf carts.
Demand, of course, exceeded supply and there was a long waiting list.
It was an intentional strategy because the supplier of the golf carts also happened to be the developer of the "toy-town" community I was living in. By slapping a premium price on them, the developer had guaranteed itself a staggering profit for something that, in the real world, didn't cost very much at all.
So property-owning residents (you couldn't own a cart if you were a renter, although renters could rent one from the owners) forked out in excess of HK$300,000, or a tidy Dh142,000, for the privilege of owning one.
In the real world (and depending on who you ask), a new golf cart can cost about US$4,500 (Dh16,527), and a used one as little as $500.
The smart residents who were gifted with a golf cart immediately put them on the market and rented them out to other residents desperate for their own set of wheels, even if it should only have been carrying a golf bag. Regular reports of children flying out of them when they turned a corner did nothing to dampen demand, while the local doctor did a roaring trade treating golf-buggy injuries. I think anything that has two pedals with the words "stop" and "go" imprinted on them and costs HK$10,000 a month to rent (more than what I was paying for my three-bedroom, two bathroom, sea-view flat in Hong Kong) is a waste of money. But, as they say, each to their own.
Which brings me to Singapore, where it costs more to buy a new car than it does for an average home in the United States.
According to Bloomberg News, car buyers in Singapore not only have to worry about the cost of the car they want to buy, but also the mandatory certificate of entitlement that goes with it, which is auctioned by the government to help it control congestion. The cost of these permits hit S$86,889 (Dh249,871) at the last auction - their highest level in 17 years. Ouch. Three years ago, they were going for a more reasonable S$8,501.
According to Bloomberg's figures, a new 2012 Passat saloon costs about US$152,000 (Dh558,326) in Singapore, including the certificate of entitlement. "The median price of a US metropolitan area home is $158,100," Bloomberg says.
"You're pitting the rich against the poor and guess who wins?" Chee Soon Juan, the head of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, told Bloomberg.
At least they don't have to drive around in overpriced golf carts.
Retirement, many would say, is a rite of passage, up there with your first day of school, your first bank account, your first job, buying a home and having a family. After years of hard work, the right to retire at an age when you can still, supposedly, enjoy life is a given. But perhaps not anymore.
Although some western governments have already raised the age of retirement because they can't afford for their citizens to enjoy their golden years in a timely manner, one company chief has looked into his crystal ball and is forecasting we'll have no choice but to work longer as our life expectancies increase.
"Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old," Robert Benmosche, the sprightly 68-year-old chief executive of American International Group, told Bloomberg. "That would make pensions, medical services more affordable. They will keep people working longer and will take that burden off of the youth."
Imagine the savings companies will make if they don't have to bother with the traditional retirement gift of a clock. Then again, they'll need to install something akin to an umbrella holder for the safe storage of all those walking sticks.