A Little Confession On Why I Left Singapore

Weekend with Stargazer
It was no secret that we made too little preparation before we came to Perth. It was almost like we did it in a fit of indignation or childishness. I received a lot of salutes and paper respect from people of all walks of life via email. Never would I expect foolishness would be respected any day.

But well, talk is cheap. In writing I could give anyone respect. In fact, I could give 5.3 million people on an island respect if I could accumulate enough email addresses in the address book. The same goes for big talkers who tell everyone they pointed their middle fingers at the MP at the coffeeshop the other day but end up throwing their voting slip into the lightning box when the time comes.

There is a very thin line that divides stupidity and bravery. People tend to give respect for both, anyway. There are many slices of secrets that I have never shared in the blog. Perhaps there will be a time to share them, nuggets by nuggets. Like harvesting a fruit, the right time is the key. I might reveal some important details in the years to come but right now they must be kept in the strictest secrecy. But we can talk about trivial things today. Let me share with you a side of the story that you never knew.

When the first thoughts of moving to Perth came about, our mentality was totally different. It was a combination of burnout at work and the increasing discomfort the growing population inflicted on me. There wasn't any real weighing of push/pull factors. Perhaps Jen had her mind set to settle in Australia back then already, if I could remember correctly. My intentions were a lot simpler or even willful, if you prefer.

I was sick of work. That was not the same as being sick of working. I didn't mind work or even hard work any day. Just sick of the way we work, the way we think how work should be done, the way our government think how we should work and why we shouldn't stop. I have been saying a lot on the blog that I am an average Singaporean guy. Perhaps I was never right. The average guy of my age will be mature enough to think of their families and to sacrifice for them by going on and on turning the wheel of life. And there I was, ready to do the opposite.

Even in my thirties, I couldn't give a damn. All I wanted was to take 2 years off and stay in Australia. The plan was just to get by. Pick up any job, picking fruits or whatever, make enough to pay the bills. Doesn't matter if I don't have savings. Then head back to Singapore after 2 years, fulfilling the PR visa extension requirements. Slog three more years in Singapore thereafter and repeat it all over. I didn't think about how many cycles I wanted to do. I never thought that far. I reckoned that by doing so, at the very least, could keep my sanity in order so I could continue to work in Singapore. I thought that perhaps I could even improve my English, or learn to be more at ease interacting with different people all over the world. That couldn't do me any harm in my career pursuit in Singapore, I thought.

Let me confess that there was no lofty dreams like any of the real migrant stories from real people I met here. They are the real heroes that you should be respecting. Any Singaporeans I knew was dead serious in this, with concrete plans and time frame all laid out, when to buy a house etc. Not me. My plan was to pick fruits and nua in Perth. There wasn't an intention to commit, to settle or burn bridges whatsoever. An escapist, as an old friend called me. He wasn't wrong. 

Let me confess that I would definitely have given up on Perth, after hitting enough walls and return to Singapore and tell my friends that Australia is racist, the tax is high and there is bush fire, floods and hailstorm everywhere. I will leave out the shops closing at 5pm of course, because they will never believe I mind that. Have to make it sound convincing at least. I confess I would have given up. I could see that clearly in my crystal ball. I was a through and trough quitter in all sense of the word. Throughout my life, I gave up on all my meaningful pursuits in life, including trying my hand in setting up businesses. I gave up on pursuing meaning relationships at the first sight of failure. I gave up on pursuing a career that I think I deserved and hope that one will land magically at my feet. I knew I would have given up on Perth. It was all in the books. It was written in the stars. It was engraved in my DNA. Just the blog alone, I have quit writing in a scoff three times in the period of 1.5 years. The latest one saw me out of action for around 3 months. That was typically I can give up anything in my life in a split second.

My friends and family would have been puzzled why my stubbornness outlast my little adventure stay in Perth at one stage. "He can't be serious, or is he?" They must have been thinking. Perhaps this is the longest project I have committed myself to in my whole life.

So what went "wrong" with the crystal ball? Please pay your tickets for the next installment (that may never come)


  1. Another honest straight-from-the-heart post. Thanks for sharing. :-) WD.

  2. we may have a lot in common :D thanks for posting.

  3. You also gave up giving up writing the blog. Twice? One thing I am quite sure. The more time you spend in Perth, the harder it will be for you to assimilate back to Sg.

  4. Dun worry be happy!!

    Looking forward to part 2! :)

  5. Sorry but I think for a Singaporean to have an introduction to Australian life by coming to Perth is possibly the worst thing possible.

    Sure, there is cheaper shorter flights to Singapore, same timezone but then the similarity ends.

    Large areas of ground level house and very few high-rises. Even as a migrant of 20 years in Australia used living to various country towns and capital cities for months, I quickly decided that Perth CBD has nothing to offer. Nightlife is near non-existent unless you consider pub-life and even the local happening place Fremantle is only 'just' OK.

    If you dont have a young family to keep you busy with mundane daily chores afterhours and weekends then you will quickly get bored. Worse if you dont have friends of any nationality.

    Want to go anywhere else in Australia you need a plane ticket, and its not cheap (often more expensive than going to SIngapore).

    So my take? Try Sydney/ Melbourne/ Brisbane/Canberra or other eastern seaboard cities for first-timer migrants.

    Still a totally different culture and mindset but at least there are more events happening in those cities and enough shopping malls for therapy if that's your poison. Stuck in regional centres? Chances are it is only 90 minutes flight away from capital cities.

    Jobs seemed to be more available in the Eastern states as well (unless you are looking at mining)

    Sorry again asingaporeaninaustralia but I agree with others that coming to Perth involved a bit of naivety on your part..

  6. Your self-flagellation is humorous but unimpressive for you are just a failure "on the run" wanting to escape from your personal deficiencies yet again. You won't survive anywhere you go I'm afraid.

  7. 2010 i left singapore in i even sold my hdb flat one week before i migrated to Melbourne so that there no safety net to come back.

    2014 i got my Australian citisenship and the following month i went back with my wife to renounce our singapore citisenship. and i made sure my baby was born in Australia in the same year.

    now its 2020 its been 10 years living in Australia everyday is a blessing :)
    never knew true happiness until i migrate out of singapore!