All Roads Leads to Death

Hi Nix,
Thank you for your blog that has helped me in many ways.

About 2 years ago, our family went to Perth for a holiday and we immediately fell in love with it. Well, to cut the long story short, not too long after that we decided to take up the Australian PR with the hope of migrating there. We applied and the migration agent deemed that my skill sets are not in need in Australia, and he recommend that my wife should be the main applicant because of her skills profile that are supposedly better in demand in Australia. It is actually quite a sad thing for me because it goes to tell me that I will have problem in finding a job over there. Sometimes I beat myself on the breast because if I had stick to what I originally studied i.e. Civil Engineering, I would not have been in this embarrassing situation. Come to think about it, I kinda regret those stupid decisions that I had made in my young and foolish days that puts me in today's predicament. 

Anyway... so about 3 months ago, we finally got the PR and so we are all set to move to Perth. However around this time, I have just been graced to become a new father again. Then I figure out that my wife would not be able to work as she needs to take care of our children if we move to Australia and so I have to be the sole bread winner for the family. In Singapore, we have a helper at home so my wife can still go out and work, but not anymore in Australia. Hence the main challenge for us will be for me to get a job in Australia.

Over the last 3 months, since getting the PR, I have been searching around for answers, and this is when I found your blog. And so, in looking around for a job in Australia even while I am physically here in Singapore, the effort has proved to be futile. Then I contacted a couple of agents who supposedly can help me get a job but their response to my situation was not very encouraging. At the end of the day, when I come to think about it, I have only myself to blame for not being wiser in my younger days. If I have stuck to Civil Engineering I would not have this challenge today.   

Nevertheless in my exchange with the agents, their critique of me is that my work experience as a Software QA is a a poor fit for the general job market in Australia, not only that, but also for the fact that I am lacking in the "Australian Experience", which made it more difficult for me to secure a job in Australia. As much as I would like to believe otherwise, their critique is not without basis.

And so upon recognizing the root cause of my problem, it gave me a new perspective in what I want to do in Australia. I've decided that I want to pick myself up from where I have left off some 10 years ago - in taking up a professional course that would allow me to secure a job in Australia. Initially I had wanted to become a brick-layer after reading from somewhere that brick-layers make big bucks in Australia. This led me to look for an education agent that perhaps can help me by giving me information so that I can decide which course to go for. Unfortunately it didn't work out quite well for me because the education agent only host international students but not citizens and PRs. 

So right now I am left to look for my own courses, but after my wife has enlightened me, I realize that I don't have to be a tradesman - something I have never worked as before. Instead I could go and pursue another Master Degree in Civil Engineering, which by the way, is heavily subsidized for citizens and PRs. As of now, I am still working on the plan, and if everything goes well, I should be quitting my job by early December and then move to Perth. It's a big decision for me, because if I do my full-time study, that means my wife will have to work and we will have to put the kids in the childcare centre. Honestly I don't know if this is the best way out for us. The future remains unclear at the moment.



All roads leads to death. It doesn't matter which one you pick, as long as you do not regret your decision. Once we are out of Singapore, it is good to remind ourselves to be flexible. I thought I would share a tale, if you allow me to.

My wife has both a Masters in Accounting and CPA (Australia). She also worked 4 years in one of the Big 4 audit firms in Singapore. In terms of qualifications and working experience, she was indeed more valued as compared to me when it comes to applying for a PR visa in Australia. That was how we got here. It was one of those situations where we had to pragmatic. Like you, I got my wife to be the main applicant and rode on her coat-tail like how many of our MPs get into Parliament via the GRC. My government taught me well.

However, beyond that form filling procedure and plane ride, lies somewhere called the Real World. In this region, things do not work the same way like the well we left behind. The rules that we know do not apply and the way of doing things is limited only to your mind. This is a realm that pragmatism is best thrown out of the window. And buried. 

Before I married my wife, I once told her that I would feed her. It sounded crass but that was exactly what I meant. There was no point sugar coating anything. Then she married me and I will fulfill my promise. It is a straightforward thing for me. There is no dwelling of her qualifications being "wasted" being a housewife. Even now that she has picked up some casual accounting job that requires her to work thrice a week, I frequently told her that I rather she revert back to a full time homemaker. With a second child coming, I have no qualms in suggesting that again.

As for me, I often regretted not having the opportunity to study in Australia after I came like many men could and did, like the way you planned. Life is never fair and seldom will there be a situation where everything falls into place. So I just have to do what a man should do - to feed the family. In my case, I was off the blocks right from the there. There was no honeymoon period for me in Perth. I took up whatever job that came my way and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a metal grinder job, albeit a tough one, that paid me $1,200 (after tax) a week for working 14 hours a night. Within a year, I filled my coffers and left the job for a much lower paid but more family oriented job.

If I had sat around looking for what I was being trained for, I would be packing for home by now. I had to be realistic enough to understand that nobody was going to pay me to fiddle around in test plans and algorithms. The hungry mouths at home were not going to wait for me to satisfy my ego. Furthermore, these 4 years have taught me one thing. A man's proudest achievement is how well he takes care of his family, not what he does for a living. Your job don't count for nuts. Neither does your friends' opinions. When we die, our family shed tears for us. Not our bosses. 

I brought that up to emphasize that a job like bricklayer is not beneath a construction engineer. Make this your enlightening statement instead. Australia is a men's world. If you have a good pair of hands here and are willing to toil, your family will not be left hungry here. I have already made my mistake by choosing the wrong course to study and made bad career choices. However there is no point regretting. That is the most energy draining thing to do. You can go on to exorcise your regrets by taking up a Masters in CE. I wish you all the best. I chose to move on and not to get my wife involved in my mistake. Perhaps when my kids are older, I will consider taking it up to kill my own ghosts.

If you graduate and take up a related job in the field, make sure you try to get a builder's license after 2 years of working here. It is something that I want to do but do not have the privilege to do so. With your license, aim high to be a small time developer. If you need a bricklaying team for your project, give us a ring.

Summer is a shit time to move over though, just saying.

They say all roads lead to Rome. I'm still walking to find out


  1. Even if you have another Master Degree, it still doesn't guarantee you a job. There are many part time works around, hard cash no tax. A PRCs can make $100-$200 a day doing odd jobs, if you can't win them, suck thumb loh!

  2. 2 concepts come to mind:

    With money (deep enough pockets), anything is possible.

    Otherwise this is a good time forea paradigm shift. Unlike in Singapore where some jobs are looked down upon, in countries such as Australia and Canada if one brings home the bacon through legal honest work, 工作没分奸贵 work is not divided between cheap and posh.

    If you plan to migrate, consider picking up some local values. Restricting yourselves by your previous country's mindset will only hinder your assimilation process. I saw this personal ly in the real life experiences of fellow immigrants and refugees. Those who cannot get off their high-horses to respond to the reality they faced wasted precious years doing nothing constructive to further their objectives.

  3. Happy for another who made it. I'm take my IELTS for the third time in two weeks' time.

    For my teacher qualifications to be accepts I need an 8 throughout all components and speaking like a Singaporean didn't help.

    I hope I can get it before I turn 33.

  4. Come to Sydney, plenty of jobs here.

    1. min wage of A$2,627 per month as a 7-eleven clerk is not bad. Learn the ropes & start your own 7-eleven store.

  5. Dear M
    "Over the last 3 months since getting the PR.. " Wow! you guys made it already!! 5-hr Scoot flight can take you to Perth & new life liao!! What is the worry man? Aren't you lucky NOT to be like the couple whom both profession not on SOL? Or the poor applicants at the Brit Council every Sat who can't clear their IELTS? Or the 40-somethings who can only wish they were younger? Do you want to work towards being part of a great, BIG nation that accepts you once you've proven yourself, or continue to be part of a pathetic red dot that thinks too big of itself in the world, but will gladly open her legs to every fuck Tom, Dick & Hairy who wants to cum in? It's your life that you work hard to build, don't let any white panties pull it down!

  6. Engineers? The profession of engineers here is non regulated beside Queensland. Everyone can call himself engineer. Forgot about the civil engineer and try to be a small time developer if you can i.e. buying old house sub divide the land and sale.

    1. Forget properties. westpac just up rates. Investors are going to get burnt soon. Banks are pricing in a 20% fall in house prices and your borrowing take into consideration of removal of negative gearing.

      Read back my statement one year from today and see if I am right.

  7. Get rid of your Singapore mentality if you want to survive in Perth, this place is totally different once you know it inside out. Part of me hate Perth because of the corruption of politicians. All jiak liao bee. Also, no meritocracy here. You need mates networking and connections to find jobs.
    Perth is retrenching a lot of people after the boom busted. I lost my job with a utilities and now they re employ me on lower pay because dumb CEO realise it cost them 3x more to outsource. Another exSingaporean took voluntary redundancy and regret giving up his SG citizenship. 25 years in Perth, bullied at work after a new manager joined. Now he is alone. Kids working in Sydney and London. Wife passed away due to asthma & hormones problem. A lot of Asian females suffer obesity and hormone disorder in Australia. Don't give up your Singapore Citizenship. You may need it later in life.