The Idea of Returning Home

Hi Nix,

Thanks for your post on buying a car. It was helpful and I did end up buying a car.

I am a frequent silent reader of your blog and it seems to me that as time goes by, you become more receptive to the idea of returning to sg. True? Or am I getting the wrong idea. Just interested to hear your views on that.

Many thanks,


Hello J******,

My friend who writes the Blessed Singaporean asked me the same thing some time back. I have not reply him so far because I don't have an answer. So now that you also asked, maybe I should examine why I kept giving people the impression. Singapore is my den. I grew up there. I enjoy the good food and speak the same language. Even after 2 years being away, nobody will tell a difference if I am put among a group of Singaporeans anytime now. I will still be completely at ease with the working and living culture of Singapore despite my short absence.

I believe there isn't any Singaporean who really mind having large open spaces but it is probably unusual to find one who placed that really high up his or her priorities when moving out of Singapore. As we know, good open spaces in Singapore where we can be left alone to reflect or simply enjoy a quiet moment with nature is fast running out. Development plans are laid out 10, 20 years into the future. Population numbers are still coming into the country in swarms each year. In time to come, the whole island will be a city, where land is fully utilized with nothing left un-zoned or of no purpose. With that thought alone, it makes me shudder to live in such an environment, where I have to share the space with tens of kites in the sky at West Coast Park or hear annoying voices (especially so in languages I don't know) during a search for a placid moment in a park.

There are some Spring afternoons in Perth that reminded me of the blissful quiet afternoons when I was still a small boy, grounded in our 3-room flat in Holland Village. Having nothing to do, no space to run and hearing nothing but the shrill of crickets was prison in a boy's mind. So I was forced to cope with boredom and appreciate quietness, stillness, inactivity at a young age and subconsciously appreciate it, as I grow up to realise.

I have to scoff  whenever I hear anyone saying that Perth is boring. There is so much goodness in the air that not even the riches of all can't buy with money in Singapore. The super rich can buy space but not peace. They can buff their houses with a state of the art sound-proofing system but all they get is silence, not songs of serenity. They can buy a house by Sentosa Cove, away from human and mechanical traffic but their skies will still be grey when the Sumatra forests start to burn.

Unfortunately, the Singapore I grew up to love is dead. The only thing that tugs my heart string is my family and friends. That will be the only reason to return if I ever do. At the moment I am focused on enjoying the early childhood moments with my daughter and keeping cancer at bay. I haven't made any mid-term plans as for now. I may return to SEA in future but not necessarily Singapore.


  1. "The only thing that tugs my heart string is my family and friends." - well said.

  2. Hang in there, buddy. There is no need for haste. You are doing fine. Plan well. Plan slowly. Smell your roses. Use your mind to conquer space, in time, time itself. Anyway, who am I to teach others to suck eggs. My bad.

  3. Wow, you stayed at Holland V while at SG. Near to where i stay, no wonder you mentioned west coast park.

    I still remember west coast park before land reclaimation destroyed the seaside view. Even Holland V hdb flats getting demolished - blks near holland road towards 6th ave. The small park near the photo shop at the T-junction doesn't even look like a park. There is a cafe in the small park (rental for gdp again).

    1. The photoshop is the last stand on that street. We liked it because they hang out heaps of lanterns for sale during the festival.

  4. To anyone who migrated to Australia and start thinking about going back whenever they drop in to Singapore for a few days:

    Stay in Singapore.

    Stay longer, not just a week but longer.

    Get out of your air-conditioned room and walk around. Try sleeping without the air-con on.

    Get to re-experience to the places you never seen so crowded in Australian cities except for footy grand final nights.

    Get to line up for simple things like atm in the centre of HDB estates at 9 pm. Spent 20 minutes in any queue.

    Try going away to somewhere you and your family can be totally alone. Mount Faber at 2 am or Bukit Timah at 3 am? No chance! There is always someone around.

    The only thing you can be sure of in Singapore is that a lone woman wallking around at 11 pm will be less likely to be attacked, compared to Australian cities

    So think again before you get too nostalgic; afterall there is hardly anything left now from your school days that you can relate to.

    Moving back to Singapore will almost be like moving into another South East Asian city: you sort of know how things are done but really everything is new and different from what you remembered.

    Be aware