Wei Siang's Letter

Dear brave friend,

I first read your postings on hwz as Standbybed, and then delved deeper into finding out who this brave person was who broke the cage and made the move so courageously, even with a pregnant wife in tow and without a job. I then followed your blog closely to know more about you, and how the transition was like when you made the move. I must admit I am filled with admiration and a lot of respect,not to mention reading on your efforts gave me a sense of strength and motivation to make the move, which I finally lodged my GSM 175 this week. You were right in so many ways, people and family, the sense of familiarity and security held me back at first, but eventually I knew that I had to do this. So, thank you. You have unknowingly inspired me and indirectly help to shape the destiny of my household, because if I had never read your posts or blogs, I would have not known that it is possible.

Like you said about yourself, I too am pessimistic , negative, sulky and moody always. And like your fate too, I have had a wife who was the complete opposite of me, who held tether me when I astray, anchor me when I am veering off course. I think we can be both called lucky to have that. Like you too, I hailed from the construction industry, graduated from SP civil engineering bright and looking forward to the workforce, only to know the hard way that without a degree you are useless in Singapore, that you are only as good as a site coordinator or supervisor. I struggled to push myself and break the stereotype placed on me, but I realized it is not the system who has give up on me, it is me who has given up on the system here which is unjust and unfair. That's why at 33 years now, I have nothing to lose to move out of Singapore, and with my wife we seek to have a better quality of life.

Truth be told, I must admit I am probably at a stage now where you were 200- odd days ago, when you first made the move to Perth. Worries about how to feed my family, about how to find work, living conditions, housing, the people and culture there, problems known and unknown, stresses of moving to a new country constantly fill me, so much so that I am questioning my move to give up my life here. But then I remember the reasons I wanted to move I the first place... Freedom, the freedom to be the master of your own destiny,to have your future determined not by the grades you got school, or pigeonholed according to the prestige of the school or company you worked for, to make my own success on my own terms.

And so, I hope you can continue to write more about your experiences, because with each letter your type, each word that you key, each sentence you fill, it is aggregately increasing those of us here stuck here inSingapore who have fallen through the cracks in the system, who read what your write and are filled with hope, the hope of a better future for our short lives here on earth.

Life in Aussie is not perfect, and you have written an unbiased account of your experience there, which I am for as an observer, because I can hen learn from the knocks and experiences you had to better prepare myself. Thank you once more, if I haven't thanked you enough already.

I hope to keep in touch with you, and I am embarrassed that I do not know how to address you, but I certainly think 'hero' is a befitting name.


Sincerely,
Wei Siang


******


Hi Wei Siang,


My name is Nix, some people refers to as singaporeanson these days. I don't mind, it's just a name.


Congrats for your lodging of the application as you know it, they are changing the rules by July. So you have avoided the crunch. When I first started the blog, it was intended to be a info centre so that my friends can be updated on what was happening to us. We couldn't possibly update them one by one. I didn't expect it to turn out to be inspiring to the others in any way. As I recalled, all we did was to record what's happening as it is. I'm glad it became of some use to the others.


I'm a year older than you so I believe we will have a lot to talk about being 'same gen'. If you were to choose Perth when you make your move, we'll certainly meet up as soon as you settled down and have a chat. Your email flattered me. I don't deserve it. I felt like posting your email on the blog at first mainly because of someone of my age sharing my thoughts and feeling about Singapore and migration but am embarrassed by your compliments. In any case, your permission is required before I publish anything.


How is your wife reacting towards your intention to migrate? The spouse is an extremely important factor. It will make and break your whole plan because as you have already feel, it requires great determination and motivation.


Having said that, Singapore is not a bad place. I cannot dispute the fact. So what the top factors behind your decision to leave? I'll have to end here because I gotta go to work. Keep me updated and stay in contact. Good luck


******


Dear Nix,

Sorry that I took so long to reply! I apologize as I have been rather caught up with work and doing some house-moving. I was surprised to see your reply on the 11th of April, and glanced through thinking that I needed to reply to this great guy! It's good to know that I have a friend in you, because someone who's 'been there, done that' helps ease the anxiety, even more so when we are of the same generation I guess we can relate better. .You sound (sic: write) very much like a christian-brothers school boy, were you from St Patrick's? (I was!) Please feel free to publish any correspondence that we have on your blog, not for fame but perhaps to let the readers know how I truly acknowldge your great work on getting your family to Perth (and the blog of course!) I read that you had your second eye surgery, I hope and my prayers are that you recover soon and that you will heal to 100% healthbar soon. I also chuckled abit when I read about your 'mis'adventure on the forklift and thought it was a brave move!

You asked why I chose to leave Singapore. Singapore is and forever will be my (spiritual) home. It's where I grew up, it's where the origins of my first crush and heartbreak, my first chalet "ton" night going to visit haunted houses in Pasir Ris, the fire-work filled nights of NDP at the Kallang Stadium singing "Stand-up for Singapore", my first cassette tape with "We are Singaporeans", playing catching and police-and-thief at the HDB corridor and void deck, the "cher-cher" educators and fearsome Discipline Master in primary school, having the Talent-show in army BMT and digging the foxhole when out-field exercise, Moe Alkaff's 'gotcha' , all the bitter-sweet tears and laughter which add to the flavour of home. I used to be proud to answer when I was younger whenever people asked, "where are you from", sadly, no more. 

Singapore has no longer become a home; filled with family, friends and neighbours, but has deteriorated to become a hostel, one with cheap tenants and uncouth leasees who seek to migrate their concept of home to our land. What should I and my future generations, subjugate ourselves to be the underclass to there foreigners, who conquer and invade our land not by force, but by the generous invitation of the government? Why should i serve a nation , where the social contract has been broken, when I know at age 60+ I have to look for a job either at McDonald's, KFC, foodcourt or salvage cardboard? Where are the people in the 80's and 90's who used to be friendly to one another, who would be neighbourly and care for the common man? To quote Oscar Wilde - "we know the price of everything but know the value of nothing". That is what Singapore has become. A soulless, faceless totalitarian nation of self-serving, self-justified pretentious individuals competing over what scraps the elite throw down from their ivory towers. Where our pledge used to be " we pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion", it now reads " All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". Tears welled up when I first watched V for Vendetta, because deep inside I had hoped (perhaps too naively) for the day that the people in my country too would no longer fear the government, where the government truely listened to the needs of the people and worked for the people's good, but I grew tired of waiting because I knew the day would never come.

Don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful to Singapore for giving me the foundation for my education so that I have the ability to earn a living, for giving my the ability to think critically of what really matters in life, and for awareness to know what is really going on right now with the rising living costs here and mortgage "trap" to lock-in young people to a life of perpetual debt. Maybe you would think that I am a political activist, but I assure you that I belong to no faction and I just love the country, simple as that. So much that it hurts to see it prostituted out by the few to serve their insatiable thirst for profits, to milk whatever they can from the common man in the name of GDP, turning a blind eye to the poor and needy, and masquerading their profiteering schemes under a veil of good intentions. I will never give up on Singapore, but it just hurts alot to be a true-blue Singaporean right now. 

I know that Australia has its fair share of issues, latent biasness/racism, high taxes, crime and social problems. I know that being a minority race in Australia, there will definitely be obstacles and hazards in life. I know that all is not rosy and things may fall apart in Australia for me personally. I know that things aren't as accesible and efficient as in Singapore. I know that i will have to give up my career that I built up over 10 years in a managerial position and start all over again. I know I would have to restart my existence, to learn to walk, talk, behave, interact and live all over again. I know that. But I'm willing to take my chances, because I want my future generations to have what I didn't have, to not be labelled a failure just because I wasn't academically inclined, where creativity and the use of a man's hand is acknowledged as great a contribution the thinking man, I just want equality and to be able to define my own destiny.

Fortunately my wife is supportive of the move, she too can't wait to move out of here and to start afresh. We want to start our family soon, but am at a dilemna where to have our kids nationality to be.

Let's talk again soon Nix, I really enjoy writing these letters to you and to talk more with you. I'm counting everyday on when the Category 4 SC175 Visa will be granted sinve I applied on April 12th, hopefully wont be too long and I will try to visit you in Perth when I can.

Have a good night and well-wishes to Jen & Albany!

Sincerely,
Wei Siang


******


My Notes:

I posted Wei Siang's emails with permission, highlighting a paragraph which resonated with me. It is something I always wanted to say in this blog. I've been told many times by anonymous posters that I have a lot of resentment about Singapore and bullshit like that. I did not reply to these comments. Not that I read and reply only the good things, because lately I don't have the time to reply all the comments anymore like I used to. Doing so will drain my night away and that normally cost a new post. I choose to post, that's my decision. My memory isn't too good. Once I fail to write down my thoughts, they slip away fast.


Back to Wei Siang's emails, especially this last reply, took my thoughts back to Singapore again. I remembered Joni told me over dinner last weekend that I seemed to be 'around a lot' for someone of my generation. Being a kid from a lower income family, I do go around a bit for free entertainment. Such as walking to the next few neighbourhood through mansoon canals and stuff like that. I have a lot of fond memories of the games we used to invent ourselves out of nothing. I assure you if I start to share these, you'll find them interesting.


I have never shared any of these in the blog because sometimes reminiscing is painful, if you know what I mean. A lot of things have been taken away from us in the name of progress, the masses hoodwinked to believe that every single of these were necessary. Like Wei Siang, I'm not a political activist. I do not believe in any opposition party in Singapore but I despise a self-serving, power obsessed government which is long due for renewal. I don't have a problem with democracy. But when people are unaware of the damages this government is causing to Singapore and Singapore's future and attempts to sweep everything under the carpet to fool voters and mar their abilities to analyse and make a fair, informed decision, I have a big problem with that.


I love my country and I firmly believe, from my interaction with Singaporeans in Perth, that overseas Singaporeans love this country deep down and have never turn their back on Singapore, contrary to what the government loves to paint us as - quitters. Even for those who gave up for Singaporean citizenships, they are always keeping an eye over their shoulders for what's happening back home with concern. We do have an identity, built over the last few decades though the government is working hard (intentionally or not) to demolish it to replenish the population with a more hungry one with the transfusion of foreigners.


Lastly, the 'hero' status Wei Siang jokingly bestowed does not fit me. I'm just a wanderer, a storyteller with no aims to impress. Just another very average, very ordinary lower income Singaporean guy you don't want to talk to on the street. I have shared stories of many Singaporeans who did much impressive feats than me over the months. 

Patrick, who came alone with no job - something which I would never dare to do.

V - who offered friendship and a lot of help since we contacted and is still constantly worrying for us, despite being ill for a week

MJ & J - the hotblooded risk takers which I'll never be.

Micky and his family for dropping everything and moving here with even more at stake.

Stephen's story, which I just shared.

Grace's story and her constant support for us.

There are so many of these Singaporeans who deserve a hero status. I'll never accept it. I'm glad I help in any way, though critics will say my writings are destructive. 


Hope you still find the blog useful.

5 comments:

  1. This is pretty scary... a few years ago, I was thinking I was one of the few who felt like this about Singapore.

    We've given our best years and served the country - but now the country is going downhill... it's just covered by a veneer of glitz, but just below the surface resentment is building up for the way the country is being run.

    More and more, I hear from others that they feel the same. Nobody pens these feelings down, unless they are anonymous on the net, but the feelings are surely there, and growing.

    I do not know if the government is ignorant about this or is choosing to close its eyes to the truth. But it is just amazing now that so many people I meet, friends and strangers feel the same way.

    And now Nix has related Wei Siang's mail... which is just a mirror to so many others before us.

    I wonder if and when the government will wake up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Very touching. Helping hand for a total stranger! Admire you lah Datuk!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another heart "wrenching" post about young Singaporean's reflection of his home country. Nevertheless, it's heartwarming to see how strangers could find solace and courage from another's action. Let me just say life here in Oz as a settler hasn't changed much since the 80s. Be prepared to eat humble pie for at least the next 5 years before you can consider happy being here and getting the job that you like. Therefore, it's great to have friends/relatives and make new friends here. Being an "older" migrant, it's only right that we extend friendship to our fellow countrymen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Wei Siang
    As a senior citizen in Singapore I have seen all the happenings in Singapore over the years of its development, from the time when Singapore was very poor to the present time when we are supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world. Sadly I have to agree with you that the poor people in Singapore are not only not enjoying the wealth here, but are instead caught in the ever quickening pace of increasing cost of living. I feel even sadder whenever I see many young true Singaporeans like you having to pack up and find new pastures elsewhere. If only our government will hive out just one percent of what we hold in Temasek Holdings for the redistribution of wealth, there will be more than enough for everybody in Singapore to be provided with the basic material needs and health and educational services....... Sigh, sigh.
    Life in Australia is not going to be a pot of gold, but at least you will not be caught in the insurmountable poverty trap all around you here.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear friends,
    As singapore is not going downhill, a lot of the people are just speculating. I know we are feeling the pressure so do other countries. Some countries is much worst. I am a singapore doing business in vietnam. The situation is much more complicated than a lot of the people can imagine. the government here is so corrupt that they are actually turning investment away. And we do have to admit that our government is extremely coward toward foreign affair. Doing business here is recommended by our government by when we reach here and start doing business they say its not their problem. This is something I am very unhappy about. Singapore is extremely good in boasting and building up the imagine for singaporean by do nothing about protecting our interest. Our government only care for the state interest. And do nothing to protect singaporeans. As I said, it make me feel like a abandon child especially comparing to korea taiwan china and europe. Their government is helping them out everywhere when they are overseas. Especially we are helping our government in building the economy. Sad to say our government is far more capable so they don't need the citizen to do anything except being a good slave.

    Thanks for reading.

    ReplyDelete