Sunday, 5 May 2013

Who we are - Part 1

We are a Singaporean couple, high school sweethearts if you will, hoping to migrate Down Under. To become foreign 'talents', just like the hundreds of thousands descending on this tiny island. To become much maligned quitters of Singapore. To make room for those who choose to, or have to remain here.

Having said that, this blog is not meant to be a source of migration advice, in the vein of Singaporean Son and Singaporean Serf (deceased, RIP). It is not even aimed at persuading people to follow in our footsteps, although we have spoken passionately about this topic to those close to us in the offline world.

Back to the topic... I guess the title of the blog was well-chosen :p

We are born and bred 'heartlander' Singaporeans. Although our 'hearts' were never in this land. My dad tried to migrate to NZ when I was three, and I'm not sure whether one could say that I learnt from his 'mistake', or am in fact about to repeat it. Because here we are trying again, over 20 years down the road. A has a number of relatives Down Under, unlike me, and I guess the decision is natural enough for someone like her who has likewise wondered if the Singaporean Rat Race is all that life has to offer.

We both went to 'good' secondary schools, and met at a 'top' junior college. We fell in love, graduated from JC, and signed on with the Government for local study awards. During our university days, we got married, moved to a cosy 3-room flat, and now we are ready for the next leap.

I guess that's enough for part 1. I shall leave it to A to carry on with part 2.

- S


  1. Have enjoyed reading all your posts thus far, thank you!

  2. Chanced upon this blog by accident, but have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts so far. :) I was born in Singapore, but my family migrated to NZ in the mid '90s, when I was fairly young. And despite the challenges that NZ is currently facing, it's been a good life, and I will be forever grateful my parents made the move. Don't get me wrong - I visit Singapore once every couple of years for a holiday, and it's a nice place and I like it just fine, but I don't know that I could ever live there now. And certainly, if I ever have kids, I could never raise them there. I've seen what my rellies and parents' friends go through with their kids' educations, and it gives me the shivers. I wouldn't swap my exam-free, fun-filled primary school years with the crazy rat race Singaporean kids are subjected to. Good luck with your move to Oz. Whereabouts are you thinking of going?

  3. Hi jabberwockylove,

    We'll be going to Melbourne. S's dad tried to migrate to NZ when he was a kid, but unfortunately did not succeed because of one reason or another. You are indeed fortunate! But I suppose we are fortunate too, because we have a way out of here... It's just gotten worse and worse, if you do happen to chance on local news.

    All the best!


  4. Ah, Melbourne is great! I just came back from a long weekend there a couple of weeks ago, and I could totally live there. It was freezing -- colder than Auckland -- which I didn't expect, but other than that, I really enjoyed it. We need a Queen Victoria Market here in Auckland!

  5. i am born and raised in kuala lumpur and have been living in melbourne for the past 9 years. it's good to know that you have set your heart and minds on migrating to the land down under. it is extremely important that you ensure your expectations remain practical on your migration journey, and even during post-migration. a few aspects to consider about life in australia at present:

    1) economic situation - the local economy isn't doing great, job turnover is very low, off-shoring rate is very high (to Asian countries) and unless you're in the healthcare industry, you may be struggling to find a job as soon as you migrate, and perhaps even after holding your first few jobs, you might find that career satisfaction is not something you will easily find in corporate Australia.
    2) career - following on from above, maintain expectations that your work experience outside Australia isn't of much worth to many Australian employers, if you are a foreigner and have never worked in Australia before. Many migrants end up not having jobs that they are passionate about, or even in a related field.
    3) education - Singapore has great primary and secondary education, and moral and discipline standards (like most Asian countries). Australia has great tertiary education, lower moral and discipline standards among school kids/teenagers. I would prefer to educate my kids (primary/secondary level) in an Asian country, after living here for 9 years.
    4) cost of living - while cars and land here may be cheaper, bear in mind that the average cost of other necessities are much higher, such as dining, clothing, and anything that involves human labour such as car/house maintenance.

    i am writing based on personal experiences and wish you all the best in your journey.

  6. J,

    Really appreciate your comments. We have heard these in some form or another, and generally hold these close to our heart, to temper our expectations.

    Not only are these helpful to us, but it will help fellow Neurotic Ramblers to avoid having a serious case of "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome.

    Career satisfaction-wise, I think it's a huge topic which could be discussed in a whole mini series. Speaking for myself at least, there was very little here in Singapore, so I have a good base to start from!

    But the crunch is, are you staying in Melbourne for good? I guess at the end of the day that is still more suitable for you and your family, right?

    Any reasons why not Singapore? Because I do know Malaysian-born Singaporeans who are happy to be in Singapore, albeit with the usual casual griping here and there

    See you over there, perhaps :)


  7. I am also a Singapore who has lived in Melbourne for 5 years and I agree with one of the contributors that be prepared for the true practicalities and costs of living in a 'foreign land', in particular job opportunities expectation. I am CPA qualified and it still took me 6 months to secure the first job and at least 5 years of my experience or more were being discounted. It does not help me Asians tend to look a lot more youthful than our actual age. Ensure that you have enough savings to tide you through possibly 6 months or more of unemployment. Chances are, you are not quite likely to hold similar positions as compared to your last role in Singapore. 5 years since I have uprooted and there is still challenges obtaining job stability and security despite being more than qualified for most of the roles which I had applied for. It's a learning process and sometimes, a humbling one.

  8. Savings-wise, not an issue.. ;)

    Six months is a little long. I hope it doesn't come to that, but we could survive quite a bit longer than that.

    Not sure if we've mentioned elsewhere on this blog but we aren't going to be fussy. A's experience will likely count for naught (if she's going into another line) and if she's going back to teaching, I'm sure her past experience in a good school in SG will be highly-regarded.

    I was from the Navy, so unless I want to get out of the frying pan of the RSN into the fire of the RAN, my experience is zero too.

    No issues either way. Life is a journey, no kids (forever, hopefully) to burden us and we hope that our mindsets won't ever hold us back as well!

    Thanks for your comment :)


  9. Hi Dian. From your comment, you have not quite provided the basis with which we would have a discussion offline.

    Have you read our blog in its entirety 'cover to cover'?

    It might be more productive if we linked you with the Singaporeans in Melbourne. There's a Facebook group or two which I can get you linked up with.

    Another reason being that too many readers want personalised migration advice which we are in no position, nor do we have the free time to provide. No offence.

    If you post queries in public, other readers can assist as well. And any advice we offer in public is able to be of benefit to other readers as well.


  10. Hello im a singaporean nurse currently,do u think its possible i get to contact you to ask further advise regarding migrating to aus?

    1. Hi. Please see the comment before this. You may wish to consult a migration agent. Cheers.


  11. Hey there, thanks for the really informative blog. What are your thoughts on taking up a BCA plumbing course, getting certified by the relevant Australian body and (scarily) leaving my safe government finance job to move to Australia to find work as a tradesman? Thanks!

  12. Hi S, thanks for informative blog on migration to OZ. I was very much motivated to migrate to OZ to reset my career and life. Care to advice, I am a Health and Safety guy but I guess unfotunately, this professional had just been deleted from the SOL list for 16/17. What will my chance of being shortlisted by Aus Immigration if I am migrating using my qualificatiins (Bach) and experiences but planning to do blue collar jobs in Aus? Many thanks in advance.

  13. Hello S. I've been reading your blog for quite a while, even before I set foot in Melbourne about a year ago. For good, hopefully. I share exactly the same reasons as you for getting out of Singapore. I live in the Northern suburbs with my partner. It'd be nice to meet you and your partner for coffee for a chat. Reply to this message if you're keen!