The Story of Jo & Wee Tuck

It has been a long long time since I last wrote about actual human beings I met here. Didn't ask for permission to write about them. But again, I didn't ask for permission from PM Lee to write about him. I supposed no one really like to be featured in a blog like a case study. I am one of them because I hate the feeling of meeting someone new and he or she goes, "Oooooooor, so you are that guy ah!" The louder the recognition cry, the louder the voice in my mind will say, "Diam lah." How else should I react? Show them both my forehands, puff out my chest and exclaim, "Yeah, that's me. Satki bo?"

While there were some who might be secretly interested how I saw their stories from my point of view, there might be people who might be pissed off because I shared their stories without permission. It didn't matter really. That is a good 'Meet asingaporeanson at your own risk' warning for new people unlucky enough to come across my path. Besides, in my personal opinion, whoever still left in your life after you pissed off everyone and anyone often enough, is what I call a friend. That's why I have a few friends and will probably die a loner like my dad. No regrets. Dad is wise after all, despite his stupidity. How does that work out? Well, One can be intelligent but unwise throughout his life so why not the other way round?

I met Jo online after she contacted me from Facebook. There was the usual mutual migration Q&A, with her checking out the technicalities and for me, just being kpo why she decided to leave Singapore. She asked to use my mailing address because she wanted to bring her dog over. Still full of regrets over the mysterious death of my healthy beloved dog just 6 months after my departure, I agreed to help her immediately.

Jo worked as a nurse in Singapore. I believed that was enough said. As a nurse, she was qualified to go anywhere in the world and bring along her spouse, dog, cat, or goldish if she wanted to. So a nurse could but should he or she? Like I said, the highest count of Singaporeans I met here were nurses and teachers. We don't need to have a high level of cultural awareness to know that these jobs are regularly shunned in Singapore, probably for many good reasons too. I believe I don't have to elaborate on these.

I am no stalker but my friend Grace made it too difficult for me by regularly posting her feelings towards her parents on Facebook. They were often touching and would probably make an adult cry. I had been asking the same question once in a while throughout the 7 odd years since I met her in Perth, "Have you considered returning to Singapore?" That was asked out of curiosity during the early years and then after I knew how much she missed her parents' company every moment. Her answer would be quick and firm, never a hint in a dent in her unwavering stance. The disapproval about Singapore policies and stuff aside, the most practical issue was about her job. Bread and butter is serious business in Singapore. We need to work hard to live in Singapore, not having the option of going fishing or plucking out wild fruits and vegetables if we wanted to. The manner Grace described her job at SGH was convincing enough for her to keep her in Perth, heart-broken from being apart from her parents. By far, Grace wasn't the only nurse who shared the horror stories from the Deep. Remember Ninja Nurse? Her family is doing very well by now. Even the pretty young nurse Janis we met only once decided to say, "Enough was enough," only in her early 20s.

I would make a wild assumption that working conditions for a nurse in Singapore did not improve since Grace's or Ninja Nurse's days. So it was no surprise that little Jo decided to come too, with her spouse, to enjoy an exciting adventure being both unemployed and experience the nerves of slightly living on the edge. Within two weeks or so though, I received a text message from Jo. She told me she was not feeling too happy because companies seemed not hiring, 'even for fast-food restaurants', and times were bad because all government hospitals were instructed by the Australian government to freeze headcounts until June this year. The couple only brought enough money to last themselves 6 months in Perth and the clock was ticking.

Like I told Lynn, another Singaporean lady, "Times are never good," or "Times are worse than the previous years," because that's just how it works. Do we stop eating, sleeping, working and shitting when times are bad? So should we wait for "Good times" before migrating? Think about it. By any remote chance that you are reading this Allen, you know what I am driving at

I didn't know what to say to Jo. I had no answers in words. Mysterious things happened to every single one of us so far. Many of us were depressed at some point of time during the early days. Micky waited 8 months before clinching a fantastic job. Patrick took barely a month to join a big MNC. Ninja Nurse took 3 days. I would go as far as saying every one of them had an interesting story behind their first job. Such as Thusara's story which he generously donated to the site. Everyone had their own way of attributing the mysterious forces that took care of us. M called it God's will. Jo called it the Gohonzon's clock. Ninja Nurse called it God's blessing. Thusara called it luck. I found myself being able to nothing for the newly arrived couple but to silently keep the faith for them, hoping for the forces to give them a hand if I did the believing for them.

Then the good news came. Jo found a part-time job as a nurse for 20 working hours a week and her husband Wee Tuck found a job as a meter reader. I told Jo that it was a fantastic opportunity because that was getting one foot into the business and it was easy to slot in to the next permanent vacancy when it comes. And it will, you'll see soon enough Jo. At least that is sufficient to pay the bills (i.e survive) in Perth for now. They did that in... less than 2 months? So times are bad or not Jo?

As for Wee Tuck, his meter reading job sound really interesting to me. Of course, the majority of Singaporean men would not be too happy to work as a meter reader because they felt like big fucks working as managers or professionals in Singapore. To each his own. I read the description of Wee Tuck's job on Jo's blog which I would share with you before I end. It is a fun job for a first job - at least for me. 

  • Little or no interact with human beings. 
  • Works under little or no supervision. 
  • Works under casual attire. 
  • Moves around, zero deskbound environment
  • No need to deal with tattering bitches and office politics
  • Looking for new meters feels being paid while playing a scavenger hunt
  • Can keep fit, lose weight
  • A$21/hr

Sounds like a dream job for me. Why did I grind metal for $28.80 a hour when I first came?

As for Jo's blog... I really loved it and I am a fan. I noted some similarities between us. Like me, she writes better than she speaks, used the same blog skin I did when I first started blogging and has been meticulously dropping notes about her first days in Perth. I felt like one of the old fucks who wrote to me and thanked me for my journals because it reminded of their own early days in Perth.

Thank you Jo for giving me the permission to share her wonderful blog with you. 

With that, I can consider retirement from this blog (though I will probably start something else online)


  1. I can consider retirement from this blog ;-(

  2. I will trade in a desk job for a meter reading job anytime.

  3. me too. If I can be a meter reader, I will move to Perth now :)

  4. I thought meter reader must wear company polo shirt (can wear jeans) plus obvious ID

    Otherwise can have people calling police

    You very sure about this?