The Singaporean Daughter Without Citizenship

..."The Gahmen doesn't take Singapore citizenship seriously. The question is whether as common citizens with little to gain from this relationship, whether you should still hold it sacred."



This little girl is a legitimate Singaporean daughter, being born to a Singaporean father. But she isn't, due to the combination of the fuck-up by her parents and the fuck up government agency, ICA.

Ok. I was in the wrong. I did not do a checklist like a soldier checks off his full pack list. No Singaporean son who went through his rites of passage can excuse himself for negligence. I should have known better. I am not blaming anyone but myself. I am sharing this for what happened, as it is. No other purpose.

At the counter of ICA, Singapore last September, we endured with one of those exceptionally (but fast becoming norm) long queues to see the officer at duty. We were surrounded by foreigners, probably there to apply for a Singapore citizenship or extending their PR or whatsoever. I felt like the minority, it felt way worse than being minority in Australia. I couldn't quite describe why. Perhaps for those of you who think being minority in Australia is a very good reason not to migrate, you should try it someday. You may be surprised.

At the counter our application for little Albany's Singapore citizenship was rejected because we did not bring one document. I knew like everything else in Singapore, there wasn't room for negotiation. Law by law, even where the supposed sacrality of citizenship is involved. I am afraid our friend S is right. The government does not take the Singapore citizenship seriously. They don't give a shit. Don't get me wrong. I was in the wrong and I didn't expect any concession. All I asked for was a little flexibility, if not humility. There I was, finally earned myself enough money, annual leave and recovered from most of my work injuries to make a trip back to Singapore. With me I brought along my baby, whom I wasn't comfortable with the idea of flying earlier at a few months old. And so we were rejected to start an application there and then. By the time we could make the next trip, she would be more than 1 year old. ICA will not take up cases for babies over 1 year old, I was told.

Yeah, I fucked up. Starting an application in Perth is futile for ICA requires both parents and child to be present at their office to meet the interviewing officer to start an application. How about some humility? How about allowing me to start the application, meet the interviewer and I will furnish the agency with certified true copies of the missing document once I am back in Perth? No. No. No. By today, Albany is ineligible for a Singaporean citizenship due to ICA's guideline. We can only make a trip back early next year.

Yeah, fucked up but that doesn't mean I don't take this seriously. Anyone can screw up in their examinations even when they take it seriously, not to mention anything else in life. Do we really have to be so stringent? I mean, we were trying to do something legitimate, not trying to be funny. To give Singapore a rightful Singaporean daughter and to give our daughter her citizenship status she was suppose to have. As a parent, I do not want to make such decisions for her. She will grow up to choose for herself.

No, I didn't expect the Singapore Government to lay carpet for me just because they claim that they want babies, more babies! This is not Finland, where they provide every single baby the box [read why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes [link]) I know all about law-by-law. I signaled to Jen and said, "Let's go." We waded ourselves through the swarm of foreigners, whom many would get to apply for their Singapore citizenship that morning, and left.

It left me with little choice. With that, it killed off any possibility I will return home. At the moment, I am not prepared to stay apart with Albany. Not yet.


  1. I had a similar experience. I missed the Baby Bonus for the 3rd, 4th and 5th children, all by a few months each. I wrote in to ask for the Baby Bonus for baby no. 5, expecting to have my request simply refused (rules are rules in Singapore afterall). Not only was I rejected, I was told that if I had not have made my child no. 4 a Singapore citizen (she was born in the US and is therefore a US citizen), my 5th child would have been considered child no. 4 and would have been entitled to the Baby Bonus. In effect, we had been penalised for applying for Singapore citizenship for my 4th child.

    So much for being a loyal Singapore citizen. Sigh.

  2. Sorry, I don't understand why you even wasted your time.

    Thankfully, Albany is a girl. If you were my dad and tried to do that to me, I'd surely hate your guts once I came of age!

    No offense bro..

    At least, girls no need to serve NS (for now...). The burden of Singapore Citizenship is a lot lighter.

    Citizenship in Singapore is usually coveted by those from India, China, Philippines. Generally SEAsian countries in the region. If you have a good life in Oz, it's counter-intuitive to try to get Singapore Citizenship for your daughter. Look at the trajectory of the country. Even if it remains flat or even rising as a whole, what do you see for the average true blue born and bred Singaporean?

    Then again, what right do I have to say such things? A and I intend to never have children. Quite sure that Oz won't change our mind, we'll give it two years then close our shop permanently before it even produces any 'goods'.


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  5. Nix ah,

    Is it forever cannot? Or this trip cannot, must try again?

    I don't think she will begrudge you depriving her of the choice lah. But if you die die want to give her the choice, I'm sure that your MP back in SG will be most willing to help you. I'm sure that they won't mind having this kind of citizen who doesn't require any of the countries resources but would still be bound to the country in some way.

    So you have more time to really think about which option is better.

    I have ever discussed with A before. If we have a girl, we would probably try to do what you did (more carefully, of course) and give her the choice. If we have a boy? Forget it!

    But as mentioned, planning not to. So, yeah... :)


  6. Just curious since Singapore doesnt allow dual citizenship... does that mean Albany is stateless (assuming neither parents are Aussie citizen)?

    I think she can still get permanent residency but not be allowed to apply for full citizenship unless one of you become citizen or she gets old enough to apply on her own. But who knows what rules will apply by then.

    Being stateless as well can be problematic in simple things like registering for schools and medicare. If you don't fill in the Nationality column in the form in any application, they will always ask questions and have to check with superiors (who may anyhow make up rulings as they feel like it since these situations are very rare unless you are special category refugee..)

    In case you are adopting a wait and see, may I suggest you *discretely* check with the DIMA on her status (via phone...) without giving her name away.

  7. I tot she will have Oz citizenship since she is born in Oz? Oz citizenship definitely more superior than Sg citizenship.