SINGAPOREAN IN AUSTRALIA: I’M GLAD I LEFT

In response to “I’m Glad I Stayed”, with due respect.

It has never been a matter of whether Singapore will make it or not. In fact, much of the fear lies in Singapore making it. Contrary to popular beliefs, Singaporeans leave for Australia due to factors related to Singapore’s success rather than failure. A brand new 250 sqm house on a freehold 500 sqm land for $500,000, very good air quality and pitch silent nights for good sleep all year round are fitting glowing terms, neither fabricated nor exaggerated. The only reason to slap on my face is Summer flies, not the dilemma of admitting the mistake of moving to Australia. Much as I am willing to, I can’t admit a mistake that does not exist.

I could have stayed.

I know my departure is not a mistake. This entire blog has been a database of qualitative data. The question is whether my inputs are objective or lies. Over 1000 posts of lies? I deserve a Guinness if I could manage that. I’ll leave that to your gut feel.

The notion of a first class citizen is an interesting one. Let me explain this to you how it works. A first class citizen is neither a title nor a specific kind of treatment.

It is a feeling.

If you work as a cleaner in Singapore, the chances of you feeling like a first class citizen is zero. Zip, zilch, nada, nul, kosong, ling. Cleaning the casino at Buswood for $25 an hour in comparison would feel rather first class indeed. Ask the average Malay or Indian Singaporean if they feel being treated like a first class citizen in Singapore. If a doctor and a nurse migrate to Australia, guess who will feel like a second class citizen and which will feel like a first class one? When each of your neighbour give a you wave and call out, “G’day mate!” just like they do for everyone else, including the first class cleaner who migrated here, a doctor’s socially acceptable response may be, “I’m surprised.” (Why the hell nobody addresses me as Dr here like back home?! Chee bye!) He tends to return to Singapore because he has been treated as a second-class citizen. And they are racists too. And high tax. And hailstorm. And bushfires. Sharks attacks. Bad place, this Australia, excuse me, I’ve gotta go.

A feeling, is subjective.

There are many places one can’t venture into in Australia. Such as a dingo den. The question is why does a man ventures into a place that he doesn’t want to venture into in the first place?

Night is the time to sleep. Evening is the time to shop. Late afternoon is the time to knock off from work. Don’t complain about work-life balance if you dig late night shopping, 7 days a week. Retail workers need to sleep too, instead of out there serving customers with insomnia.

Garbage get collected once a week in Australia. It is a perfect arrangement unless you are somebody who creates 7 times more garbage daily than the average Australian dweller.

We cook because we have the time to and do not regret it.

Ice cream can be bought at $0.20/L. We pick fruits from trees and drown ourselves in juice. Life isn’t just about eating, anyway.

We lie on the ground and listen to the whisper of the breeze, not that Pinoy singing his folk songs to his ladies at East Coast Park.

We fly kites without the need of crushed glass.

Our dogs are able to go unleashed because there are unlimited open spaces and parks we can have by ourselves with no human being in sight.

We build our houses and decide each and every detail to the last brick. From that, we understand the difference between home and modular hives.

Our children play in sand not synthetic rubber.

They learn to compete, not compete to learn.

We see galaxies of stars at night. Some spend more than their late night shopping budget to fly out to see this.

There is no doubt that Singapore is the envy of the world, in terms of economic success. The figures speak for themselves. Although Singapore hold one of the top ranks in the cost of living as a result, it is by no means a bad place to live and work in. In fact, it is one of the top preferred immigration destination. Each of us overseas Singaporean is a rarity. To date, the number of Singaporeans living overseas is around 200,000 or so, barely 1 in 10 of the Singaporean population. This confirms that the majority of Singaporeans recognise Singapore as a fine country.

However, leaving Singapore is rarely a pure economic decision. We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us. The intrinsic experience of living abroad long term cannot be compared to a holiday trip or retreat, regardless how regularly.

When we leave our country, we don’t lose it all. There are trade offs. You lose some, you gain some. Every Singaporean who left accepted the trade-off. Those who had the opportunities to move abroad but rejected them decided the trade-off isn’t fair. That is how it works. One man’s adventure is another man’s mistake.

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