Perth Will Never Feel like Home

I am a living Singaporean in Perth. There you are, getting all ready to celebrate SG51 back home. That makes me miss home so much. Home, like they say, is the sweetest. Especially when I have a home like Singapore, where the river always flow and the place I won't be alone. I miss strangers rubbing shoulders with me virtually every second once I get out from my cosy HDB flat, which I spent $50,000 on renovations but none of my friends were too keen to visit me as often as I prefer, much to my annoyance. 


In Perth, I hardly see anyone out there. And when I do, they greet me most of the time. Yes strangers! Doing that to me. How creepy. It is tiring how I have to analyse their agendas that I have yet to find. I wish they will leave me alone. I don't have the chance to display my Singaporean graciousness by giving up seats in the morning train because there are enough for everyone. When there isn't, someone will do it faster than me. Damn these Aussies, aren't they supposed to be slow and slack?


Unlike life in Singapore, I have to do everything myself here. How hateful. How can they call themselves a "first world" where we virtually have no access to a full time, live-in slave maid helper. A day time helper will have cost me a bomb, much less a stay-in one. I miss Marilyn. I wish I can bring her over to Perth, to cook, clean and take care of my kids for me. Like the good ol' days in Singapore. Or even better, I can tell her she don't even need the off day each month here, since there are not much humans to meet up with. She can help me tend to my garden during her off day. I can't understand why Australia must implement the minimum wage laws. Like what PM Lee said, minimum wage hurts the economy. Look how Australia is suffering now and people like me are suffering too. If there is no way I can hire someone for $450 a month here, how can I feel upper class?


One of the things that is starting irk me is car ownership. I have a Honda Jazz that I bought for $3900 at 110k mileage. I thought it looked great when I bought it and it runs really well. I used to drive a Renault Kangoo in Singapore and thought a Honda Jazz would be a decent upgrade. Oppa upper class now, bro! Unfortunately, all the Singaporeans I met drive better cars than me. ALL of them. One of them, Micky of Southern River, just came over last weekend and showed me his brand new Subaru Outback. My neighbour Patrick and Stephen Thng of Aubin Grove both drive brand new Volkswagen Golfs, which they paid 6 times more than my car. Thus, nobody gives a shit about my Honda Jazz. To make things worse, we are not required to scrap them by their 10th year. So those cars will be ours to keep for life, if they last that long. I sure hope my friends' car don't. Imagine the lifetime humiliation I have to suffer.


I hate the fact I have to fuel up on my own at petrol kiosk. There are no attendants to do it for me like how it was in Singapore. Not a single kiosk in Perth understands customer service. Never mind the last tank I filled with unleaded 95 was $1.01/L. I rather pay $1.90/L for real service.


Perth's less haste, more speed situation on the highway is hazardous. Driving at a constant 100km/h to work every morning is dangerous. One mistake and I will never be able to return home to Stand Up for Singapore. I miss the days when we were travelling at 30km/h on the AYE. It was an every day business to honk at each other, our own endearing way to acknowledge one another for being upper class. Look at the atmosphere on the MRT every morning. Everyone looks like a dead man walking, except for the days when the Transport Minister decided to take the train. The Minister set a good example and lifts morale like a shiny beacon but common Singaporeans just cannot emulate that when the Minister stops taking train the next day. Classic meritocracy in action. We have to keep working hard and we will get there.


The education system here is dire. Most of the public schools have only 2 classes per level. There are not morning assembly like how we do it in Singapore, to fortify our national pride by having the discipline master make us sing the Nation Anthem until we did it loud enough. Schools here, in contrast, feel sparse and cold. It feels so quiet that I don't even know it is a school day. Damn. That can get me fined for driving more than 40km/h along school zones. As I mentioned earlier, it is dangerous to drive in Perth. As long as you live within the school zones of public schools, they have to create a class for your kids if their current classes are full. Without the balloting process we do to get our kids into schools in Singapore, it feels so empty when we get enrolled. The other parents are almost zombie-like, with the bo chup attitude. In all fairness, I cannot blame them. The euphoria and adrenaline rush that the balloting system brings is missing.


One thing I can never get over with is that the Aussies make their kids go to bed at 7.30pm! Even on television programs, they play "Good night! See you in the morning!" skits at 7pm everyday to convenience the parents to shoo their kids to bed. Incredulous. How can kids learn anything by sleeping so early? Don't they have homework to do? It is no wonder our education system is far superior than the Australian one. Our children are far ahead because we work our kids overtime every day, preparing them for the real working world out there, where it is common to work more than 12 hours a day. Aussie kids are in for a shocker when they start to work. Hmm. Come to think of it, we don't work overtime here and knock off on time nearly all the time. Perhaps not.


Without Marilyn, it is impossible to keep our houses here spick and span. I don't understand why Singaporeans are so obsessed with landed properties. For the price of a 5 room flat in Sinapore, we get a good size freehold landed property here. It feels good for a day until I realise the amount of gardening, weeding and cleaning I have to do. It is atrocious. It is far easier to pay conservancy rates and get our foreign workers to sweep up the corridor of our HDB flats. No hussy fussy. The easy access to a double garage where I park my satki Honda Jazz makes me put on weight. Yeah, on the bright side, I enjoy free parking here but I would rather pay $120 a month to park my car on the top level of my MSCP so that I get my daily exercise by walking up many flights of stairs to the top. The morning exercise used to wake my mind up and kept me sharp for the day. The reason why my car was parked at the top was that there were no parking lots by the time I got back from work, which worked well for me.


I kinda miss those iconic ERP gantries along any route I chose to go to work. Yeah, I don't enjoy paying fees but that is the only way to filter out the pretenders. Making it expensive will weed out the undeserving car owners in Singapore. I will vote for ERP gantries in Perth if I have the chance. That will also slow the cars down a little, which makes the roads safer, since we tend to do that when we ensure our cashcard is firmly slotted in.


Perth will never feel like home because of the four seasons we have to deal with through the year. Singapore offers security and stability in every sense. Our government makes sure of that. Their prowess probably ensure we have a consistent climate throughout the year too. We have sunny, rainy and fear. It is predictable and safe unlike in Perth. Just a couple of weeks ago, we experienced the coldest day in 4 years at 0.7°C in the wee hours. In Autumn, we have low 20s in the afternoon. The only time I can make use of my expensive air conditioner to cool the house is that miserable 3 months of Summer, when it feels more like home.


The sky is blue all the time here. There is not much variation. Pretty cool ocean with clear panoramic views and not a single ship in the horizon but there are sharks. At least I wouldn't lose a leg by wading through the murky waters along Singapore coastline. There are so many unknown beaches where I found myself having an entire white beach for myself here. Where is the vibrancy? Why aren't they attracting tourists to litter the place so that more jobs can be created? 


I can't imagine why there are BBQ pits in almost every park in Perth, free for the public to use. No bookings are required because, perhaps, of the very low population density. That may be why Singaporeans find Perth boring. You can never get the same vibrancy and vibes of a world class city like Singapore without human beings. Why are the BBQ pits free to use? Is that where my high tax goes to? Free medical, family tax benefits, societal safety nets, countless of National Parks, open spaces and BBQ pits?


The other day when I reached home at 4pm from work, I thought it was a little early to brood in the house. So I took a short walk around my neighbourhood and passed by one of the small construction sites, where workers were laying bricks to build a house. "Hey mate!" called out one of the dudes. Damn, can't they leave me alone? "Hiya mate, not knocking off soon?" I replied.


"Yeah, right now, it's Friiiiidaaay!!!" he exclaimed, with fist raised to the sky. So drama.


Told ya, strangers talking to strangers anytime, anywhere. Oddity.


This is why Perth will never feel like home, where my dreams wait for me, where the river always flows. In Perth, I don't need dreams waiting for me. I am living them.

8 comments:

  1. This is a satirical piece. I hope that another straight and clear version be written so that more people can understand.

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  2. If you miss Singapore so much, why don't you just pack up and go back to where you came from?

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  3. I also live in Perth, sadly I think you are spoiled in terms of the trying to keep up with the jones attitude (very Singaporean) need face when people have better cars. Take a break, and stop complaining and live your life. I started here with a Honda Civic 1983 so your jazz is way too good.

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  4. Wow you should go back to Singapore then. You move to another country for a change. If you want a Singaporean lifestyle then maybe you should go back. We have been in Perth for a decade and have embraced everything Perth has to offer. It's people like you that spoils other country's culture. If you want a fancy car, go work for it. FYI a car here costs 5 times less than it would in S'pore. What are you doing with your salary then?! If you want a maid/Slave go back to Singapore. Learn to do things yourself, aren't you a grown up?! If you don't want a garden, then you should have got your garden paved or had artificial grass.

    What a loser and a spoilt brat! Singapore has thought us to fend for ourselves, you off all people have disgraced our Singaporean name.

    Grow up already, stop whining and do something about your situation!

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  5. I'm happy to see that Living Singaporeans in Perth are enjoying life. But I am concerned about the welfare of dead Singaporeans living in Perth. Nothing is ever said about the ravishing appetite of Perthian worms not about the decaying state of mausoleums and cemetery niches in the area...

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  6. I'm glad you're living the life in Australia. I also hope you'll be able to let go of the hate/anger you hold against Singapore soon!

    Best Regards! =)

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  7. Laughing my head off when and after reading this. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I love the comments from the people who took this seriously 😂😂😂

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