When Should I Leave?

"If you think it is the right time to leave, you're right.
If you think it is the wrong time to leave, you're right."

Let's put this straight. If you find yourself asking people if it is the right time to leave Singapore, you are putting your fate right in the hands of the others. So what do you do when the answer you get is always, "No," for whatsoever reason? Stay put? I've seen enough people hesitant to make a move even when their friends screamed, "Come fucking now!" So you are doing yourself no favour by asking an irrelevant question to help you make a sound decision. 

Put yourself in your friend's shoes. Who is in the right mind to risk souring a friendship by telling you it is a good time to come and risk your annoyance after you find the going a tad less smooth that you expected? Moreover, it is human nature to be pessimistic. As much as people around like to put up an optimistic pretense, they have the same fears and worries about the future as much as anyone else. Think. If human beings are optimistic by nature, there will not be a billion dollar motivation industry. And you will not find cheesy motivation post circulating Facebook or pasted on your office toilet walls - because there is no need to. So what is the point of asking for the right time to move? At any one time, one of the following; financial crisis, the inflation doom, housing bubble, unemployment crisis etc. taking place in some part of the world or your actual destination itself. Face it, the yesteryear was always the better time to move. That's the general final answer you'll receive. So why ask?

Many regarded an emigration decision as a balance between the "push" and the "pull" factors. If the balance tip towards home, you stay. Else, you move somewhere else. That is the common understanding. From my personal experience, it isn't quite about the push/pull balance. Say if I do a push/pull balance between Perth and Vancouver today, my balance will tip towards the Vancouver end. So why am I not considering a move to Vancouver like the way I left Singapore for Perth 2 years ago? Is it because the balance is skewed enough towards one end?

For me, it is all about the final straw that drew a motivation so strong, strong enough to push someone to explore uncharted territory. The 'aha' moment. Whenever I talked to immigrants here, I would ask them casually why they chose to move to Perth. They would blabber about the usual stuff but I would always look out for that 'aha'. I found that these special motivations were almost unique, varying from person to person, if you listened hard enough. It is almost like a secret code that even your spouse may not know.

I received emails from people who were already Australian Permanent Residents, panicking because they needed to consider the big move as their validity of their PR visas were running out fast. What they did not understand was that nothing, not even an expiring PR visa, was a reason big enough to make such a drastic change to your life. The PR status was granted because they were qualified for it when they applied a few years ago, with the assumption they would have the 'aha' moment by the time they were awarded the visa. Later on they panicked and they thought it was about the expiring visa. In fact, they did not realise they were fearful because they could not find the last straw that didn't exist in the first place. In such a situation, it would be a rational choice to allow a status quo instead of forcing a unnecessary move.

After meeting people who went through a harrowing fortnight dancing with death in the sea, people who 'jump the plane' and people who bit the bullet and came legally but with little resources, I had observed common traits and mentality among such people. It convinced me that the technicalities or legalities of emigration were merely a formality because people who got their 'aha' moments would find their ways around if they could not go through the conventional processes. When you want it hard enough ... overused cliche but as real as it gets.

I am unsure if you really get what I am trying to convey. Perhaps I should simplify things for you. If you find yourself asking, "When should I leave?" That is not the time.


  1. Working for 3 consecutive "ugly" Singapore-citizen managers and being "fired illegally" only to be subsequently "paid to resign" was my 'aha' moment.

    That was 2006, 7 years ago -- I'm glad I'm done with that cycle of bad luck. :)

    1. To add my further 2 cents on this topic.

  2. I have read your blog for some time now and have finally taken the decision to move... vetasses in progress..ielts next week..

    1. regrets ? never...i washed dishes in the states while attending uni..no job is beneath me ..jobwise i have set my expectations low..
      your blog ...inspirational ...true down to earth tales of migrating.life is nothing but an adventure... and i will take it as it comes.

  3. I've been following your blog for a long while. Posted to you before that I had just gotten my APHRA registration that will allow me to work as a nurse in Oz & you wished me good luck. I've just gotten my PR approval yesterday (best damn gift to end off 2013). I don't ask when shall I leave. I say I want to leave NOW! Of course, I gotta resign from my current job, serve notice, settle logistics & what nots. Hope to finally meet you in person sometime in the near future!