Conceiving Conundrum

When I wrote this post about ending the blog, I set the target on Albany's arrival in my mind. It was logical because of how much more time I'll be needing to set aside for the baby as all parents can attest to.

But I have a gripe. One planted by Punggol neighbour, MissyYee a week before Albany was born. It kept growing ever since. My usual stubbornness urged me that I have one more good post to go.

The vexing part is that nothing comes to my mind. I've searched the internet for inspiration. There were plenty of good ones in the net but I was satisfied with none of them. I'm afraid for the first time, I don't know what to say.


I have the answer. I know I do. It's the situation where you know you know but you can't quite shape it yet. I need more time. MissyYee will be happy to know this is coming from a guy that never liked kids. I was never good with kids and never thought of having a child of my own. What changed my outlook will be a good reference point for her. I'm not sure if she reads the blog anymore, I'll tell her when I have my opinions in place.

Like her, I used to question what's the ROI of having a child. It may sound absurd to people non-Singaporeans for measuring things like that and may even draw flake from outsiders for having this mentality. But we have many reasons to think this way. They are valid reasons too but at the moment, no one is quite interested in identifying the actual problems, much less solving them.

That's why we hold the proud record of one of the lowest fertility rate in the world at 1.1, Ranked 220 out of 222 countries and of course we are still gunning for erm higher lower honours. 

That's not a big issue I guess. We can always import foreign talents to replace the diminishing population. Cheaper, better, faster remember? No comments appreciated from outsiders, Singaporeans only please. It's a family issue.


  1. I don't know whether it's so much the ROI of having children, or what it is that I wanted to do with my own life that stopped me from having children. Like yourself, I don't like children - never did, altho the biological clock did sound very faintly in the distance. It's always the question of 'what if', whether I would regret not having kids when I'm old and gray and alone. But at my peak earning age, I decided to start plans to migrate to Aust. How can one have a child when the uncertainty is so great - unknown period of joblessness, prolonged period of husband/wife being apart during the transition period, hardship involved in getting used to a new country, setting up a home, etc? Since it was never really a huge dream of mine, I don't regret not having children.

    By the same token, I still feel you are awfully brave going to a new country with a pregnant wife and taking on the job you did. Kudos to you mate, you are true testament to our original migrant fathers who arrived on Singaporean shores for a better life!

    1. Hi my fren,

      u flattered me for sure. it's too early days to tell i made the right decision or not. if/when i lose my job, both of us have no income, kid going hungry, everyone will be on my neck blaming me for taking unnecessary risks and putting my loved ones on the line.

    2. There's always Centrelink when you stay long enough to qualify for it :P

    3. That'll be 2 years. I'll try not to resort to that. Hopefully all will be well.

    4. With your spirit so far, everything will be fine! It does take a bit of time to settle in but you've done great so far. Centrelink is just a safety net, altho I don't intend to use it (and I'm sure neither do many of us migrants, it's just how we were brought up - in a society without a safety net!) but it's good to know that we will be taken care of if we really need the help!

    5. HI mlicy,

      i haven't read about how the safety net works. It's a lot of information to take in haha. maybe when i have more free time... but i dunno when is that.

      if you have knowledge in this, summarise for me la hehe

  2. I do (still) read your blog. In fact, on a daily basis. :)

  3. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS from our family, your new silent readers!! :)

    I stumbled onto your site last week on some random google search string, and my husband and I have been eagerly reading your past posts since.

    Well done on your achievements!

    We left sg years ago with a 4- and 1-year-old. When we first read your blog, we wondered why you bothered writing ;) The sg'reans will not understand; the non-sg'reans will not understand, too. Either way, you received more flak than you deserved.

    Only those who have embarked on this journey will relate to, and appreciate, what you have done for your family. As we continued reading, we recognised so much of our own experiences (try picking, and preserving your own cherries and peaches! :) ). At times, we wished we had taken the time to jot down our own journey. Your journal was the next best thing we could identify with.

    Your obligation is to yourself, and your immediate family. Write when you want to, not because people expect you to. Write every few days. Write many times a day. Or not! Your new bundle of joy may inspire you to write more, or the constant demand may send you to the abyss of exhaustion. Whatever the case, if you are still writing, we hope to be there to celebrate and support your family.

    If anything, your journal will be the best legacy you could give Albany, and your future generations.

    That said, we were eagerly waiting for your next post, especially just before Albany's birth :) We refreshed your site countless times waiting for an update. I even dreamt of a hospital birth :) We were relieved everything went well.

    We wish you the best in your adventure ahead!


    1. Hi, thank you for visiting the blog. I do reckon most people(other than my own friends) who actually read more than a few posts at one go are ex-Singaporeans like you or people who are thinking of migrating. in that sense, the blog has achieved its purpose.

      the purpose was to provide Singaporeans an average migration story from an average Singaporean guy on the street so that they could have an idea how bad it can be and decide for themselves if they are willing to step out to take on the risks.

      if the blog could somehow serve as a memory walk for a reader (SydneyLibrarian) and now your family, it has exceed my expectations. i'm happy that it turned out this way.

      i doubt the blog will still exists to the time when Albany grows up. (remember geocities?) But i'll save the letter I wrote for her and some extracts of important points which I feel she should know.

      Thank you for telling me how you felt about my writings, i'm glad it brought you some form of reminisce - for a person who 'lives in the past', i thought that's cool.

  4. bro, i know that it will take lots of your time - now that Albany is here - but do keep writing when you have spare time. We enjoy reading your blog so much. Take care your self.

    1. thank you my friend. i guess i'll write stuff when i thought of something. i do enjoy writing things. as an introvert, i found it a good way to expend a lot of pent-up things i never told anyone.

  5. Thru your blog, I understand the difficulties you face when you first came to Australia, it is a good experience sharing blog for many who are willing to take the first step out. I'm always online but I don't really read any blogs until I came across yours. Perhaps we share the same dream. I do hope you keep going with this blog but at your own pace, there are still a lot to tell. I recommend many of my friends to your blog because they have the same dream. :)


    1. hi thomas,

      what are your dreams? Tell me about it.

      Thanks for reccomending the blog to people. Hope they dun find it a bad recommendation. Hehe


  6. Firstly, Congratulations on your daughter!

    Secondly, PLEASE do continue writing about your experiences! At your own time though, yes. Your blog has many refreshing posts.

    Keep blogging! And thank you for your interesting posts =)

    ~ Jo

    1. I remember you. girl-with-the-ink (mo shui). i'll be reading up more of your previous posts when our new routine stabilized. liked what i saw.

      mine's more like a journal than a true blog actually but glad you like it.

  7. if possible, after childbirth, u can blog once a week or once a mth.

    1. yes maybe i will, thanks for the suggestion my friend.

  8. Keep writing! Many of us still stuck here in sg live vicariously thru u .... I check back to ur blog daily and I thoroughly enjoy reading .... there's a lot of honesty and realism in your postings and being of the same age group Ican relate to most of the issues on hand. Big congrats on baby, I must also commend Jen, as a woman I must say she is a rare breed of SIngapore Girl, how many of them will give up everything and move to another country where there is no done deal and a great deal of uncertainty? God bless you and ur family, wishing you guys happiness health and wealth in the year of dragon! Cheers

    1. hi Claire, thank you very much for the well wish.

      the poster after u is right though, i didn't marry a Singaporean girl.

  9. Jen is Malaysian and she was the one who wanted to migrate all along :)

  10. hmmm wat's ROI?


  11. I'm Singaporean and I still wonder about the ROI of having a child. In a way, it seems selfish to have a child because it it is a must, a process of adult life or marriage. But to have a child for the child doesn't make sense because essentially one doesn't even know who the child is.

    Haha heck. The question almost seems to be "why have a child" in the same way I ask "why have a religion". Which my answer is still "it doesn't make logical sense". And I'm not sold on making life-changing decisions based primarily on "just do it".

  12. (I can't find the original long comment I wrote here yesterday, so I'll write another.
    If the previous one is found, kindly return its link to me, so that I may delete that loose end.
    Thank you.)

    ROI = return on investment, but to me, that sounds so inhuman, to talk about giving life to those who come after us.

    I now see children as beautiful.

    I consider it my honour and privilege to have children.
    I've used this wondrous Earth in my lifetime, and now I'm giving back, before I return in the end to the earth.

    We treasure children, because they did not come easy for us, and they do not grow up easy.
    We learnt patience in the long years hoping for them to arrive, and now every supposed ordinary achievement in them, we are grateful for their actual significance.

    If one has not experienced loneliness, one would not be grateful for companionship.
    If one has not experienced absence, one would not appreciate presence.
    If one has not experienced handicap, one sees no magic in normalcy.

    In the end, the world does not belong to you, however much material you hoard.
    It belongs to the future, to your children.
    It is therefore your mission to bring them up in this world, should you choose to accept it.
    Otherwise, you would self-destruct at the end of a hopefully natural life-time, like it or not.
    Then, how much value do you leave behind?