Aniway that was my thought on HDB living when I first came to Singapore as well. And with that mindset, I have avoided as much as I could to stay in the flats.
My history is I've stayed in the condo - though it being a very small room and even managed to stay on landed property (for a very good price). But when prices last year sky rocketed making Singapore's property market the hottest in the world, many of us had to move out. The demand for flats increased, so did rents. But we had not much choice.
Owners were renewing contracts, increasing prices like never before. It went up to as high as 50% increase in some cases especially the condos. Some friends I know who emphasis more on good & comfortable lifestyle living has also headed to HDB as their condo rents went way beyond budget.
Aniway, despite the maybe not so good scenes on living in a HDB flat, but actually, it is not so bad afterall.
Yes, we may not be used to at first. But hey, if one manages to find a decent place, it can be ok. The noise is not always there - and rather bearable actually. The lifts are dirty at times, but by the next day, it is clean again. Even the pathways - in fact the pathways to my place is usually clean. And though a lil cram, with some adjustments and arrangements, it can look and feel alright.
If one misses the condo facilities, the sports facilities are usually not too far off - one can simply drive or take a bus there. And there always is some greens around the flat which is quite eye relaxing.
It is about adaptability and looking at the glass as half full. In fact, newer HDBs are very condo style architectures.
Again, I don't want to bluff to say that it is a luxurious lifestyle. For me, it's ok for short term. I still dream of living again on solid ground (ie landed property) someday soon - and apparently Singapore is not short of landed properties!
But for now, hey, living in the HDB is quite ok-lah. :)