Where Foolishness Becomes Bravery

Over the years, I've received so many emails from strangers who gave me ego lifts by telling me I was such a brave man to come to Australia with no job, a little savings and a pregnant wife. All these despite the fact that I knew nothing about Australia and had neither work or school here prior to my move. I grew to believe these misconceptions. Well, it is nice to be told I was someone better that I actually was, until a point I cleared my mind and stopped believing in my own hype. Simple fact, I had never been brave at all.

I was never the Knight of Pentacle, who strongly stuck by his own beliefs and took beatings that came his way in the earlier Perth days, where conditions were harder for new migrants. In contrast, I was the Fool, not just a ordinary one but an inversed one where it represents naivety, foolishness, recklessness and risk taking.

I believe I must have mentioned this somewhere in one of the earliest posts. If I didn't, then it is time to do so. When we finally got our Permanent Resident visas, our first plan was to hope for my wife's successful job transfer from her auditor firm in Singapore to the one in Australia. If her transfer went through, we would have moved to Adelaide and not Perth, I would then spend the first months sponging on my wife's earnings and our move would be almost risk-free, having secured a permanent job even before we step into Adelaide. As you can see, I was just about as kiasi as any Singaporean migrant wannabe who told me they wanted to move but were too scared to do so. I was just another one of the Singaporeans who had no balls to make a move until I was absolutely sure that wouldn't end badly.

Then the traits of the Inversed Fool took over my cowardice. Our pregnancy with Albany was likely to be the key to that radical change. Paternal instincts, a dosage of alpha, desperation, just foolishness or plain anger. Call that whatever you want. I recalled myself being very angry during my last days in Singapore. That night when my wife did not return home from work by midnight was the catalyst to the cataclysm of my Singapore romance. I went for a long jog along the CCK PCN. I jogged to the end of Yew Tee, took a turn to Kranji Camp, then a detour to Brickland Road and headed back to Teck Whye via Bukit Batok Road. I covered easily 15km that night. It was a painful but necessary attempt to distract myself from being overcome by the perpetual indignant that shrouded me during that few weeks. I took a break just outside ITE West and checked my mobile road. Still no response from my wife. It was already 2am in the morning. I was rather pissed off.

Much later in the morning, I received a text from her informing she was in the meeting just now and she was on the way back. When she was back, I asked her why couldn't she knock off from work "earlier", say 12am. She told me that her team was staying behind and it wasn't nice to leave them behind. Great. Great powers comes with great responsibilities. What about the global MNC, one of the so called "Big 4", a title they are always so proud to associate themselves with? What about their great responsibilities to, not just their clients but staff as well, that came with their great powers? Why is it such that they expect pregnant women to work till wee hours and come home by 4am in the morning? My wife wasn't the first and she wouldn't be the last.

So fuck it.

It wasn't my responsibility to change things. I don't believe in being the change I want to see. Save that for the deluded. Changing the environment I want to be sounds quicker to me. I don't have a whole life to commit to bullshit or lofty ideals that wouldn't be achieved in two lifetimes. Anyway, who am I to change anything for Singaporeans, whom ourselves never wanted to change? I've seen for myself how the so call "silent majority" treated Singaporeans who stood up to speak for them. Ha! Yet we like to point fingers at Singaporeans who migrated and call them names like "ingrates." Such irony.

So I left, despite the failed job transfer. Most Singaporeans will be happy to see someone like go fuck off. The feeling, of course, is mutual. So everybody is happy which is great. My only problem was that I had no Plan B. Apparently, sponging on my wife was my only plan and that failed. Nonetheless, I boasted to my wife that I would find work and support her till I drop dead. She would not need to work another day of her life again if she didn't want to. I was fearful because I broke every single meaningful promise to her (including promises to myself) prior to that. However, I knew where my strengths were. I always respond strong when my back is against the wall. It happened again and again throughout my life such that I secretly believe I could trust myself to do that one more time. Odds were certainly against me.

That didn't make me braver. I was planning for failure right from the start. I told my wife, we would be spending two years in Perth. Then we could return to Singapore, to our comfort zones, and work for 3 years. That would still qualify us for a RRV, to extend our PR visas for another 5 years of limbo rocking. These two years, I would be picking up casual jobs just to make ends meet. We would be unlikely to have savings at all. If anything, I would have a super break from the hectic Singapore lifestyle and treat it like a paid holiday. To recharge, to revitalise for another 3 hard years of work in Singapore. As a bonus, I will be able to find more confidence to speak in English. That would always be helpful in Singapore employment. Then with the savings from the 3 years of work, we should be able to buy ourselves another 2 years of "working-holiday" in Australia once again. Speak better English? More confidence? Working holiday? I was that fucking naive.

Fortune favours the bold. In my case, as I found out, fortune favours the foolish as well. For it takes a bit of courage to be reckless and take some risks, even for a fool. My naivety rewarded me (perhaps unjustly) with a job that pays me enough to feed a family comfortably and a peaceful, quiet environment to save my soul. As a fool, I cannot complain. I am contented and found peace within myself by my second year here.

Thereby I realised, there was no need to be brave, where it was easier to be a fool.


  1. Sometimes the happiest people are fools - not meant as a disrespect!

  2. Few of the biggest philosophers won't be able to say what you've told here in this post

  3. Australia: land of second chance