Milestone: Breaking Even

A chap named "Evil Train" did something. I'm not sure who he is or what he did. His actions brought 56k page views to this blog in just 12 hours from 1200 hrs to 0000 hrs. It was insanity. This blog was a personal rather than a public one but I kept it public because I never expected something like that could happen.

In the past I replied to every single comment on the blog. Most of them are my own friends and I have a couple of strangers who chanced upon it now and then. I did reply the rest of the comments in every thread as usual, except that one. I'm sorry, I wanted to but I don't have the time. It's already 0410hrs here and I need to be in the workshop by 1230 hrs. I haven't sleep.

One interesting thing about their working hours. Sharing because my friends always asked me, 'Today no work?' on msn.

The morning shift guys work this way:

Mon-Thurs: 0600hrs - 1530hrs
Fri: 0600hrs - 1300 hrs

And the night shift folks (me)

Mon-Thurs: 1530hrs - 0000hrs
Fri: 1300hrs - 1900 hrs

Of course, so far I have not knocked off at normal hours before. I always work 11 hours per night (1530hrs - 0300hrs) with a decent OT pay, fortunately. There will be a tool-box meeting followed by a BBQ on every first Friday of the month. That's the reason why I need to be there half an hour earlier.

1 Dec 2011 is an important date. Not because of that spike in visitors to this blog. Something more relevant to reality. We finally broke even on our expenses and went leveled on the financial standing when we first stepped into Perth. We could never quantify opportunity losses properly so we didn't see a point to.

We took 74 days.

In the process, we accumulated tiny personal assets since we came such as a good quality queen size bed with quilt,  our car - Barry White, baby car seat, rocker, high chair, a good quality stroller and lots of groceries.

Not bad coming here with a pregnant wife without a job. It has been tough, but at least one area of trouble seemed covered for now.


  1. I cam across your blog courtesy of The Online Citizen on Facebook, and have spent a couple of hours this morning reading your posts. Just wanted to say hi, I admire your courage in making such a big move, and good luck.

    From a Fellow Singaporean In Newcastle NSW (moved here 2 years ago).

  2. Came across your blog from a link. Thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts. They have a melancholy tinge to them. I understand where are you coming from.

    I feel for you and Jen because I was pregnant (all 3 times) far away from family. Only me and hubby and we coped fine. Would love to share some kpo advice about pregnancy with you if I could email you somewhat. good luck leh!

  3. It is a great relief for me to know that things have stabilized for you. I must admit I am against your foolhardy decision to move over to Australia with a pregnant wife and no income. Your buddies and I have had many sleepless nights worrying over Jen and your condition over there.

    Last but no least, please be careful in your line of work. And please take no unnecessary risk.

  4. It is amazing that your blog suddenly become famous. Making a 76 days for the breakeven, when you turn back, it sound really not bad especially with the pregnent Jen. At least less than 90days target and you break even it within around 6 weeks. I think it would very difficult to happen in Singapore? But I certainly know the effort you have put. Just hang on for the current job and I surely believe after the experience of this job you will be able to get better offer. At least for a normal working hour work.

    Cheers and take care.


  5. Hi, my daughter introduced me to your blog. It is amazing how you managed to breakeven after 74 days from your arrival. As a fellow Singaporean/Malaysian who is also in Perth, should you miss Singaporean food (esp nonya), or should you need help with any other matters, I would be glad to help:)

    Housewife in Perth (with 4 kids)

  6. Hi,

    I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog. I'm just another Sgprean in Adelaide. I am extremely happy for you that you broke even. Its not easy.

    I know what it feel like to be looked inferiorly upon by your in-laws because I have seen it happen to the relatives around me.

    But no doubt in this land, your perseverance and steadfastness will get your far in life.

    In this life, what is good, does not come easy. As long as you fight the good fight, you will get there.



  7. Hi, I came across your blog in Facebook when a friend shared your article on the 13th month bonus. And I have read almost all your blog in one night.

    Admire and salute your courage. And I learn a lot from your experience that you share. I will be in Melbourne next year for further study and hope to settle down in Australia as well. So I still got a lot to learn from you.

    Thanks for sharing

  8. @Anne Sebastian & Thomas: There is an inside joke here that it takes more courage and determination to read my posts from start. If you can survive it without falling asleep, you're even better. :)

    It is harder to do that as i posted quite a lot of stuff now that i scroll back..

  9. @Peyning: you mean infamous. I've been blasted left, right, centre if you see.

    I'm always on my toes in case i lose my job anytime. It's the same mentality whether im in SG or here. So that I'll always be able to cope if it happens. (ironically, ive never been retrenched or sacked in my whole working life)

    I told Jen why not we sell satay la. more fun

  10. @Jahkh: I have a friend here living in Adelaide. Her name is Sei. How about you guys meet up? That'll be nice. She hangs around here now and then. if both of you are interested let me know

  11. @Carole: Are you Singaporean or Malaysian? You can either be one, haha :P
    I can't resist Nonya Dumplings. I know that's too much to ask for. Just kidding. I'm happy to learn nonya cooking from you one day, if you don't mind.

  12. @Melayudilondon: Hi sister, I'm sorry for sounding negative. I've always been and I wanted to explain why but haven't really posted anything. Not that you will be interested in, i guess? haha

    Thanks for the offer. You can always email me. I appreciate any advice. Don't say kpo, we are country(wo)men. If you are wiling to share, i'm more than happy to listen.

  13. @The Running Robot: I had this thought so many times that I lost count but I have never tried saying to any body back home. Wish you guys are here with me. I know it's wishful thinking. But hopefully, one day maybe.

    No matter where I am and how we are getting on, better or worse, we will always want our best friends to be around us.

  14. Interesting blog you've here. I admire your courage (as well as your wife's courage). However, I find that you bear quite a lot of grudge against Singapore. Just remember this, none of the successful people get to where they are without gratitude. Be glad that you're now here in Australia, that your new born is going to bring you a lot of joy and most of all that your wife is willing to take this journey with you. Focus on those things that make you happy and move towards the goals that you have. Enjoy!

  15. @Feng: Thank you. We are not as courageous as we seemed. We have our worries and fears. I think it's quite evident in some of my posts. We are just like any average Singaporean.

    'Unsuccessful' Singaporeans by what I believed would be your definition. But I disagree my unsuccessfulness is due to my ingratitude to my homeland, if there are any in the first place.

    I don't bear any grudge to Singapore and I love my country. I made no secrets that I don't like my government and my government is not = to my country if you can accept my warped logic.

    I'm glad every moment I'm here in Perth and I'll be glad even if I can't make it here and have to go back to Singapore because my family and friends are there.

    I'm not changing my mind about the government unless they change, though. Not that I never tried.

    "Happiness is a choice" is a nice cliche but no single human can effectively choose to defect every single way they think about things and convert unhappiness into happiness. I'm sure you can agree with me on that.

  16. @asingaporeanson: Courage without worries and fears is not courage, it is foolhardiness. With the risk in mind (a calculated risk) and you took the first step, that is courage. Quite a few people might not be able to even take the first step.

    "Happiness is a choice" might be a cliche, but you don't need to let the unhappiness overwhelm you. I came from a poor single income family living in Singapore. I know the thing about "Unsuccessful Singaporean" and the struggle of being one (though I seriously don't like the term "Unsuccessful", haha).

    For me instead of remembering the unhappiness, I focus on the goals that I want to achieve, be it family (I've 2 gorgeous kids! :) ), career or having a balance lifestyle. Bear in mind the issues but focus on the happiness, the goal and enjoy life! Every time, when you're down, think of why you came to Australia, think of your daughter, think of your wife and then re-focus on your goals and move on.

    My life might not be as successful as what you've in mind for your goals, but I've come a long way from a Mcdonald kid cleaning the drain.

    I'm enjoying life now (quite OK life to some). Unhappiness is always there hiding in a corner and I make sure it stays there!

  17. I've been following your blog & it's very insightful.
    @anne Sebastian..I might be moving to newcastle NSW next year in feb. Is there any way for me to contact you to find out more about the place & culture there?

  18. Don't worry. We will try to arrange for a trip down to Perth. I missed the driving and flying over there. I will try get AJ or CS to drop on you and spot check, whenever possible. we can probably have a barbecue there.

  19. @ Feng:

    Thank you for dropping by again.

    I'm really very happy for you. You've come and long way and you deserve what you have painstakingly worked for. Since you have walked the path, I have much to learn from you.

    Perhaps I am misunderstood. Though I seemed to put out my complains in words, I am very rarely affected with what I wrote and think. i.e I may voice out about my negative views on Singapore but I am emotionless about it. It doesn't affect my mood and make me unhappy in any way.

    I know it's a tad hard to understand. Even friends who know me for decades find it difficult to understand me.

    What you described however, seemed to be what I am currently adopting. I'm firmly focusing on the goals and hardly have time to be distracted by other matters. The delivery of my baby and the well being of my wife is what it matter now.

    Hopefully one day, I'll be able to look back and savour the path well walked just like you did. Please drop in more often and chat. I appreciate your comments.

  20. @Nora: I know of some guy who is moving to Newcastle, he was looking for car and stuff. I can email you the forum thread maybe you can ask him the questions too.

  21. @The running robot: Can you fly if you come over? If so, I'd like to come along.

    Yes, if everyone is here, we can have an outdoor BBQ everywhere. So many pits in the parks unused

  22. @asingaporeanson...Yes that would be great. Thank you! I'm clueless about the place. It would be great to know a fellow Singaporean there. My email addy is norasbhangi@gmail,com

  23. Hi Singapore Son,

    I stumbled upon your blog via an ex-colleague's link to your post on giving birth in Aus.

    Was a sec school teacher in Sgp for a few years before coming to Melb in 09 to do a masters course. Back in Sgp in 2010-11 before coming here in Apr 11 to look for a job.

    It was really tough and I had so many times broke down and really thought that why did I do that and if not for my family in Sgp, i might just have ended my life. Not that it was reaally that bad but I just couldnt get a full-time job in teaching. It was subtlely racist and they used terms like local experience, and references etc. Even receptionist or low end jobs or even agencies didnt call me back. But to be honest, i only called 1 or 2 as I didnt believe that job agencies was partial and work for your benefit On the contrary, i thought they would be racist.

    Never felt so low in my life although I was just a normal teacher in sgp, never felt so humiliated and so low in terms of self-esteem.

    I saw in your blog about how you shd never boast as aus employers dont like pp to reveal their real position as they would tend to say that you are over qualified yet they want you to be confident and argue your way thru. What an irony!

    Anyway, thanks for your blog again. Brought me comfort in the midst of this journey in Melb.

    1. Hi mustardseed,

      I won't link racism to issues like local experience and references because these sorta things are just how they work here. I knew about these even before I came (i read a lot) so I was better prepared for it.

      When your mindset is different, you might react entirely differently. Of course, being along without your family matters a lot. But my experience is slightly different from you.

      I felt humiliated and got my self esteem so low when I was offered $1.4k for a job as a degree holder. I know being a teacher is very VERY tough in Singapore but in terms of monetary compensation, you'll never understand that kind of feelings that I went through job hunting in Singapore.

      You may have mistaken my post regarding the boasting. It is very position dependent. If you are applying for a manager's position you should impress them as much as you can and obviously for a temp position such as a nightfiller in the supermarket - you shouldn't.

      Please drop by and stay in contact. We have so many Singaporeans in OZ lurking around, they may be able to help you out.

    2. Thanks and sorry to hear about your negative experience about working in Sgp. Not that I had it good but a little better than you during my time there.

      Anyway, I think Australia is a fairer country in terms of wage wise and to raise a family ;) Got used to the food?

    3. If havent got used, you wanna cook for me? :)

  24. ha. I dont mind but have you bought health ins? Forgot medicare is available in Aus. ha.

  25. Hi,

    Currently, i am a secondary school teacher with only a degree. Used to be an auditor and is registered with institute of certified accountant.

    Migration to aust is always on my mind. When I read your post, i got so discouraged. It seems that the quality of life would be compromised.... As if sgp is better... No white collar job anymore? No opportunity at all....?

    In sgp, toil all day regardless what job I hold. Worked non
    Stop as an auditor, as financial analyst, always meeting deadlines and reporting, now always preparing for lessons, exam papers, admin stuffs often doing during weekends.

    In Australia, will there be work life balance?
    Which is the real
    Motivation in you all when you migrate?

    Why are u all willing to take blue collar jobs? Isn't quality of life compromised compared to in sgp?

  26. Hi,
    My husband & I are planning to move to Aust next yr (already submitted application and awaiting visa grant)and reading your post give us hope!

    You are a brave man and I really admire your courage.

    Just wanna say thanks for taking the extra effort and time to keep us posted on your life over there.


  27. Dear Singaporeanson,

    Your blog was shared on FB and I have been reading it for hours.

    It is very informative and some, very touching.

    My gf and I have talked about moving to Aust in the future. I am reading every single posts.

    Thanks for the information. I hope I could consult you in future when it happens. For now we are still bound by contracts.


    1. Dear Moi,

      Help me thank the person who shared.
      Good luck to your adventures. Take care