Breaking the News

Dear Singaporean Son,

I came across your blog sometime in September 2012 when I was searching for blogs on Singaporeans living in Australia, and since then I have managed to catch up with almost all of your articles till today. I remember a few of your articles written on Singapore was even reposted to other blog sites.

A bit about myself - I'm 34 years old Singaporean male in the IT profession, and have been considering moving to Australia for the longest time. I was actually posted to Sydney for work from 2005 to 2006, but in the end choose to return for personal reasons, mostly because of my parents. As much as I missed leaving Sydney, I told myself then it was better to stay in Singapore as a first class citizen than to be a second class citizen elsewhere, and also my friends and family are here.

But since my return, I think things over here has been going downhill ever since. The country started becoming more crowded with foreigners, people are more rude, things in general are getting more expensive, housing and car prices skyrocketed, and certain groups of people started paying themselves sky-high salaries. I'm getting the feeling that I'm getting screwed as a citizen in my own country. After reading your blogs and comments from your visitors, I felt that I'm not alone in what I'm feeling. One of your articles mentioned that we are worse than second class citizens and I totally agree with that.

When the tension and unhappiness finally reached its peak during last year's GE, I finally decided to commence the process of PR application  It was not an easy task, as I have to sit for IELTS twice to get the grades I wanted and spent money on the application fee and other processing fees. But I finally got my grant on Monday this week. Now I'm not sure about how to break the news to my parents, and also I feel bad about leaving them if I were to really migrate. But I don't think I can stand all the 'evilness' that is happening here, and I really do not have 'confidence for the future', to quote TT's election slogan.

I remember reading about some guy who emailed you and he is in exactly the same situation as I am - a closet Australian PR :-) Do you know what happened to him since? Also what advice would you give if you were in my position? I have an elder brother who is unmarried in Singapore, and another brother who has gone to Perth and most likely confirmed staying there for good, but he hardly calls home. I think my main concern will be breaking the news to my parents and I think they will be saddened by my decision. I'm also worried about their health as they are already in their 70s.

Thank you so much for sharing about your experiences via your blog. I think you care about Singapore very much and that is why you wrote those articles about the truth of what is actually happening here. Please continue to write and share despite what your detractors might say. I wish you and your family and Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.



Hi JC,

Sorry for the very late reply. I believe you are not alone in this situation although everyone has his unique story. Believe me, I've read many accounts in regards to this. Wife threatening divorce if husband does not agree to migration, husband gave up his Aust PR because the wife didn't relish a move, parents moving leaving a child behind, children moving leaving parents behind. I even know a friend personally whose has parents with differing opinions on her migration decision. The dad is extremely skeptical and the mother is supportive. This is one of the migration area that most of us overlook.

I am afraid I am not in a good position to offer any advice. Like I said, each of us is in a unique position. Perhaps deep inside, we know that solution to our emotional entanglement. I believe though, honesty is the best policy. Over the years, I made it no secret that I have a problem dealing with the mechanics of how the Singaporean society functions and did not have a good feeling about the direction we are heading to.

I brought up the idea of migration to my mother way before I even applied for the Australian visa, not knowing if I could even get it at all. We discussed about this every weekend, when I was helping her out in our food stall. The topic would vary every time and it would be closely related to the most recent happenings and changes in Singapore back then, so that we could analyse the pros and cons between staying or making a move. Like any Asian parent, my mother would be greatly sadden to accept her child being significantly physically apart. Like any Asian child, piety concerns and guilt will overcome us to make such a decision.

At the end of the day, the support from parents very important as you can see how difficult it is for you without gaining the necessary emotion support. A brother who left and hardly call home simply make things much trickier for you. Get to know your parents' opinion on this. Some of them do not see why their children is thinking of moving from a 'first world number 1 country' to a 'racist country' to become 'slaves of the ang mos'. Some parents simply do not bear to part with their children or want them to be at their side in your sunset years. It may be easier for you to make your decision when this is clearer. If my mother did not give me the support to move, I would have stay in Singapore. Another person may chose otherwise.

Bear in mind even a supportive parent will face a lot of pressure when you make a move. Other than not having your supportive presence whenever they need it, they may have to deal with negative comments from relatives and family friends who feel the need to throw spite daggers at your decision to leave Singapore though they have nothing to do with it. Be aware that they will be hearing the, 'I told you not to let him go's taunts when the going gets tough even long after you have made the move. My paternal grandmother is still asking my mother why did I leave a 'cushy government job' in 'brilliant Singapore' to move to a country where flood, drought, hurricanes and hail hit it almost every year.

I would not hesitate to admit I am a lucky one. Like an old friend once told me, not everyone could do this even if he wants to. He is referring to the emotional barriers of migration, not the technical part. For the technical side, we all know we can do it if we want it hard enough. When it comes to matters of the heart, I'm afraid there it isn't as straightforward as going by hook or by crook to get our ways.


  1. The best is to be honest.

    In fact, I have came out with a story for the reason of relocating
    "My hubby will be working in Australia, so we will move."

    The reason is that we do not want our parents to worry about us moving over with our two children without securing a job and accommodation. We also want them and our siblings to buy in our reason for the move. If we tell them we are migrating, they including those relatives or neighbours might rub in saying we are cold hearted.

    Six more months to the final entry and we have not declare our move. Wish me courage!

  2. LOL ...

    Remember your parents or grand-parents came to sg as a foreigner too. So, just jump lor. Why worry so much?

    Second class or fifth class? Well, in an angmo country, you will be classified as the dirt class. You have no qualifications, not even a driving license. What can you do? Buy house, drive big cars, talk smart? You can't. Be humble, learn the ropes. Once you get it. You can then act like Al-Fayed and buy Harrods. Nobody hates the smell of money, they just hate the smell of your sweat glands.

  3. hey bro

    great to see another be prepared tht ur relatives will say things like u r heartless to leave ur parent behind and etc. at the end of the day, when u make it here. once u r settle, u can consider working on parent long term visa. remember, our forefather left their china, india and etc for a better future. is not going to be easy. hope that it will be a smooth transition for u. just come with an open heart and network with the local. sometime job opening came thru tht process.