If the Grass is Not Greener, What Next?

"Actually from what I read, you're living in a rented room and working 11-hour night shifts. It really sounds like what a migrant worker would do in Singapore. 
So what's the difference? Why go to Australia to live that life? I don't mean to troll, I'm just genuinely curious. What is the future plan?"

A question posed to me in a forum I visit occasionally. I gave my impromptu answer on the spot but I would like a second chance to do it again. Not that I wasn't happy with my first answer, every word of it still reflected my stance. However, I would to give a more elaborate answer, perhaps as a check to my chain of thoughts as I put them in words.

To be honest when my wife suggested migration five years ago, the picture she painted for me was the typical 'greener grass' scenario. We would be earning more money comparatively, if not more under a much lesser stressed environment. We would have time for ourselves outside work and living a more casual life and not be judged on our material possessions, dressing, occupation, status or earning powers. On top of that, we would get the physical space and fresh air that we both value and long car drives to the countryside that felt like a honeymoon all over each time.

Fast forward to today, the chap in the forum might be right to point out that the grass wasn't as green as what was expected. In fact, since I was not living in a rented room in Singapore and held a decent managerial position in Singapore, I would have taken a step down with my situation in Perth wouldn't I?

Let's see. If I were to go back in time and someone told me what I would be going through in my first 5 months of Perth so far, would I still make the move? Would you, if you were contemplating migrating for a better life? I'll like the ones who contacted me by email regarding migration to answer that first.

My answer to this question is a check between the balance of two entities: gratification and happiness. They are so closely related that most of us cannot differentiate them. In practice, gratification and happiness are very different things. One is a destination and the other, a process.

Gratification can come in any form such as making a purchase, achieving a goal, sex or graduating from university. It could be anything so long as the person in question yearns, even if it is as simple as climbing a coconut tree to harvest one coconut. The key thing about gratifications is that a person only feel fulfilled upon achieving it. You would feel excited but wouldn't experience fulfillment one day before you purchase your iPhone or a week before your overseas trip.

Happiness is an ever on-going process because you could be happy today and upset tomorrow. There are a lot of of philosophy about happiness but it is very hard to argue against the suggestion that happiness is a choice. Give the same lollipop each to two children you could get a very different reaction. Two students getting the same score in exams could see one celebrating with friends and the other jumping off a building. Some people did it by comparing their situation with the less fortunate so even eating only white rice everyday can be a happy thing. Some focussed their happiness on the well-being of loved ones. Whatever, it is a great deal about expectation management but ultimately we know that happiness is a choice.

The problem with Singaporeans is that we often confuse gratification with happiness. They are not the same thing as explained above. The next thing we do is to mix gratification with happiness. Many friends I know delayed happiness until they are gratified. They decided they would be finally happy when they collect the keys of their HDB flats or buying that luxury sports car. Most of us Singaporeans are guilty of placing gratification before happiness. In practice, they shouldn't converge at all.

That is why there are an increasing amount of unhappiness among the common people in Singapore because the government could not meet their gratifications. The government does not understand that and spent time and resources addressing the insatiable gratifications of the people instead of focusing on what makes the people happy. If their intention is to retain power in many more years to come, I wish them luck.

Gratifications wise, I appeared to be starved in terms of my living and working conditions. Before I end this post, I'll like to share a bit of wisdom that my mother-in-law left behind before she went back to Singapore though you know my obvious disdain towards her from my previous posts.

MIL told us not to feed Albany with flavourful food and beverages. By doing so, according to her, it will be very hard for Albany to accept simple, plain food and water anymore. I know this is a debatable practice but we cannot argue what she said isn't true. We also know what over pampering ourselves as adults do to us as well. 

For instance, once we experienced touring countries such as Finland, USA, Canada, Japan and Taiwan, we come back feeling the inadequacies of Singapore. Any wonder why the majority of the older generation who probably went to Thailand the furthest tends to be more contented and forgiving towards the imperfections of Singapore? It all boils down to the very simple wisdom of what the MIL shared.

I'm not saying that we should delay all our gratifications. After all, life is short and we can just die the next minute. But we should never allow ourselves to be unhappy until we achieve any gratification. For me, while I appeared to my friends as easily gratified, it is actually deceptive. In truth I have the most massive gratifications that I kept deep inside myself, the kind I may never be able to achieve in my lifetime. So much so that I can sweep aside common gratifications such as a good mobile phone or car or even better living conditions and to settle for much lesser. It's all for the big one.

Back to the question that the forummer asked. I'll be really honest here. I'm truly happy here for the little I have here in Perth. I never regretted making the move and I'll make the same decision if I am given the second chance - even if I knew what was waiting for me ahead. I don't know about the earlier or potential migrants but I know my answer.


  1. You have written well to their questions! I have been here for nearly 4 decades. Regrets about the move? I have none. Very happy to say that I am still gainfully employed as a fulltime worker, well past my "retirement age" unlike most of my schoolmates, who have retired a decade ago in Singapore. Does it mean that they are enjoying their sunset years better than me ever since? Many wish to continue but have to give way to the younger and "better educated" ones. Yes,most the old uncles and aunties of my generation admit we are are less educated than the young ones and and graciously passed on our batons to the young ones but knowingly they are our own. It is a different ball game now, and I don't want to go there.

    1. Do you mind sharing what you are working as Uncle Phil?

      Personally I do have Singaporeans who contacted me by email and told me they have regrets making the leap. a couple of them even went back - but they regretted going back after a few years. boggles the mind but yes, we do have such cases.

    2. Should I blow away my public personna or keep you guessing? It never ceased to amaze me how wrong people have guessed of my day job. Because of my makan blog, many thought I am a chef, a restauranteur etc.
      Well, I'm behaviour clinician and transition to retirement soon.

    3. an elite-sounding job.
      no i never tot u are a chef. i tot u might be a rich owner of a plantation of something though.

    4. Yes, you nearly hit the bulleye. I was a forester until I went back to uni to embarrass my son. You can still teach an old uncle new trick. Haha.

    5. so what degree program did u do?

    6. Uncle Phil,
      You must have inspired many, I wish I will have the courage to study again in the coming years.

  2. Well written! Do consider my suggestion to be a writer...
    The grass may not be greener now, but by doing what you have done, it'll be one day.
    Sad to say, though I'm gratified, I'm not really that happy inside.
    I have achieved what some people thinks is a succesful life, a private property, 3 cars (cheap and old ones though :> ), daughter in an "elite" primary school, 6 figure annual salary... BUT, and that's a big BUT, I loathe going to work each day, interacting with the people in the office, the life I'm leading now...
    My happiest days before I got married were actually those days when I went to Japan with USD3000 and work illegally in a factory, and when I went to Sydney with USD100 and worked in a grocery store. I may not have much then, but I was really happy.
    I may be gratified now, but I'm sure not happy... I yearn for a life where I may earn less, but I'll have more time to spend with my family, more time for myself,more space, and most importantly, more time to do good to the community
    Hoping to get there.... to greener pastures!!!
    oh.. apologise for the long post

    1. Tell me more about working illegally in Japan. It sounds really interesting.

    2. haha, that was sometime in year 2000. Sick of life here, so went over to Tokyo. Has some friends there, mostly Indonesians who have "jumped aeroplane", introduced to work in a small packaging factory, earning about 150000yen/mth i think, with accomodation. Heavy work, long hours, and were treated like sh*t by the Japs, but made many good friends, mostly people who have "jumped aeroplane". Worked about 6 months before I came home. Totally changed my perspective of Japs. And oh, don't fully trust the expiry labels on Jap products ... hahah

    3. Peck: Thanks for sharing. interesting. I heard some people do the same thing in Australia too, as in jump plane.

      Have it occurred to you that you might feel the same way even if you come to Australia? As in, gratified but unhappy.

      Unless you meant to come here for retirement like Alvin did. But if by doing so makes you happy, do you think it may be possible to be happy retiring in singapore as well, since you are probably well to do enough to do so?

    4. Can give some examples of those sh*t treatments?

    5. @asingaporeanson - there are many people who "jump plane" down under too. I know of many in sydney.
      My intention is ultimately to retire down under. There are many things I would like to do, but impossible to if i stay in singapore.
      And I'm not well to do, middle class, according to PAPies (though they did reduce my tax this year...hahah). still paying through the nose for the mortgage...

      @Uncle Phil - Arigato

      @Anonymous - They are friendly and courteous if they know you are a tourist or peer, but to someone working illegally there, the japs can be very nasty. Have you seen a boss throw a chair at his worker? Slap a worker? It happens ....

  3. The one who posed in the forum is a typical judgmental Singaporean whose only yard stick is material possession. Don't mean to insult Singaporeans, but it is unfortunate that the society today is such. I have many well to do friends and relatives who also have a superficial and shallow perception of life.

    I am to them, the poor man down under. But I really don't care because I am happy and do not have a single regret after about 13 yrs in Oz.

    I am happy because I can retire and don't have to work even if it means the lost my spending power and now have to be very frugal in my spending.

    I am happy I don't have to put on my tie every morning and attempt to look good, something that becomes more difficult with age. I think I look cool in T-shirt all the time.

    I may not have the status and the associated classiness, but I am happy to be able to speak freely instead of speaking under a disguised decorum in order to be acceptable by society.

    My golf club lacks the style and bourgeois air of those in Singapore, but I am happy I can play 3 to 4 times a week.

    Most of my friends in Singapore have better cars than mine, but I am happy I have no car finance while they are committed to a 10 year finance for car with a 10 year life span.

    I can't boast about the luxurious overseas holidays that my friends take once a year, but what the hell, I think I am on holiday everyday already.

    It is all perception mate!!!

    To copy someone from Bhutan, I can get back in the industry and be like them, but they will never be like me.

    Living in a rented room is only temporary. You can easily go back to work in Singapore and be like them,..BUT they will never be like you.

    Oops, I forgot, this is not my blog.

    1. I want to be like you few years down the road

    2. @Alvin: this is an open blog for anyone interested in the topic. Don't worry about expressing your comments anytime.

      @Peck: You sure, even after you read how I am living for these few months? Going after the tiger in the hills ah? haha

    3. @asingaporeanson - well, our situation will be different i guess. i have a young daughter, and when i go over, i will need to have a house/apartment, school for her without paying foreigners rate, enough money to sustain me for 1 year without work, get a car etc.. basically with everything in place. can't be like you, kamikaze style... i'm already in my early 40s, cannot take more risk. cash not enough yet at the moment ..... hahaha

    4. To be honest, with a 6 fig income, private prop, you aren't going to struggle as much as me coming over. u are only a few years older than me, already much ahead of me because i dun see myself attaining that kind of material wealth even when i reach your age. perhaps you are more careful in your planning, limiting the risks of screwing up if u make the move.

    5. The amount of money one uses to migrate can be analogous to the size of one's personal boat in transporting you there. The small the pool, the lesser the resources and buffers available for inevitable hardships moving forward (literally); larger pools provide much more even unto the comfort zone.

      Oh, the grass IS greener. Much so with all the toads not out in front of you, but back where the wells (Singapore) exist. Materially, spiritually, financially, and lifestyle-wise. Gets greener the longer you stay on overseas with such promising attitudes, dude.

      Sooner or later I will relish the day you start to give no damns to what Singaporeans (those in power, and those not) think or do. For now, I place a call option on you for advance congratulationaries.

    6. @GA, it's a winning call option. I know it'll be an eventual thing but it takes some time i guess.

    7. Peck, there will never be a time when money is considered enough. It is up to you to take the bold step to move out of your current 'comfy' zone. One may think that you have already achieved a status with yr houses,yr cars, yr job but let me tell you something : there is so much more to life than those material stuff. I get to spend more time with my kid, enjoy the freedom of speech,interact with people from many cultures,enjoy nature and is able to be find happiness with simple pleasures. I have been where you are, so maybe you should consider a change,just like I did.

    8. @asingaporeanson - a 6 figure income is not much in Singapore, given the high cost of accomodation and transport. Do you know that a decent 4 room HDB can cost up to 500k nowadays? I could afford the downpayment for my apartment thanks to PAPies actually. Sold my 2 HDB few years back for a tidy profit. My car is a Hyundai Sonata, and wife drives a OPC Getz. Have an old Elan as a hobby.. Not rich at all..

      @ GA & jt - i do not have any qualifications. I only have a diploma in electronic engrg from NP in 1986. Have not been doing technical work since 1995. The only possible way for me to be eligible is via business or investor migration. I meet most of the requuirements now, except the net asset value. Working hard to gather enough.

  4. The 'greener pastures' concept is interesting. I don't think there's a simple answer to that. Sure, life is better here in the sense that I feel less stressed, and amazed at the copous amounts of job opportunities but there's a big IF. I've realised that having a network is important because without it, you can get the interview, but not necessarily the job.

    The personal front however is hardest to conquer. Leaving behind familar surroundings, friends and family is very hard and irreplaceable. The sight of simple hawker food (watching Singapore hawker food shows on SBS!) can even reduce me to tears, and this is despite the fact that I cook. But it will never be the same as tasting one's favourite chicken rice or char kway teow stall.

    1. sounds all like a seasoned migrant. everything u mentioned seem right. having said that you must be a rather bad cook so much so that you shed tears when you see a good version of the dish on tv :P

    2. Hmmm...I never understand why Singaporeans always talk about missing the hawker food if and when they migrate. Honestly, the only thing I really miss is
      'hum' which I can't seem to find here in Denver. Everything else, I can make myself, and honestly better than hawker fare.
      The best pratha I've had was in Boston and the frozen ones from the Asian grocers (made in Malaysia or Singapore) are good, much better than hawker, I think.
      The Yew Char Kuay I had from the Calgary Supermarket was better than any SG one I've had.
      I can buy giant oysters from Washington and make my own 'o lua', better, cheaper and not as oily as in SG, instead of eating their tiny oysters from China (probably).
      Life overseas may or may not be easier but at least there's more freedom and more space. Here, I have fresh veges to grow, chickens to rear, deer and fish to hunt. I can easily sacrifice my 'hum'.

      Everything else, from jackfruit to durian to kuay tiao can be bought here. And I don't even live in a city with a large Chinese population. Even when I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico with an even smaller population, I could get most of those things.
      You all migrate to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, where the Singapore population alone is probably greater than the whole Asian population in Denver, food shouldn't be a problem?

    3. Thank you for sharing, Chicken Herder.
      This is really eye-opening about Denver, Boston, Calgary, Washington (and Albuquerque), at least 'Singapore' food wise.

      I might never get a chance to visit one day to experience for myself, but what you've told leaves much to interestingly think and imagine about. :-)

  5. Reckon life is all about choices and how contented we are, depends on our own expectations. Migration is not for everyone. If you are already doing very well in Sgp, why even bother to migrate? But then again, to me Sgp is pretty much similar to the "matrix". Its your choice for you to take the blue or the red pill. Only those who've taken the red pill will actually know how much constraints living in Sgp, with all the rat race and life style/upbringing culture. To me, its definitely greener pastures over here. Just my 5cents....

    1. interesting concept, the matrix. in a way you are right. we are just part of the machine..

    2. I disagree that if u are doing well, you don't migrate. It implies that the bold ones, ie the nonconformists were not doing well when they left. I was a vp and was enjoying expat perks when my company posted me to shanghai. But when its time to move to meet the time requirements of the granted visa, I gave up everything including the soon to be announced bonus, packed my bags and moved to my new adventure. people who have not lived overseas will continue to believe that 'we in sg are worldclass, the best'...but you will soon learn the truth when you step out and see the world outside

    3. @JT - I agree with you totally, I mean I have to. I was VP of Asia Pacific in an American MNC. I chose to retire on my own. As a result, I did not get any monetary benefit, maybe,better to be fired - I would have been compensated. But then again, money is not everything, better to retire with a good name and reputation.
      Guess what, I have no regrets. Even tho I am poorer.
      I also agree unfortunately that people in Sg are mislead into thinking that they are world class and they are the best, thanks to PAPies and the Straits Times.

  6. why u always made me cry....


  7. as long as you are happy, i am happy for you too...

    ah pooh

    1. as long as you are happy, i am also happy for you too

  8. Another excellent write-up, -asingaporeanson- !

    The experience that our family and I affirms for us, that while even still in Singapore, we already experience the happiness you have described clearly.
    And paradoxically, the lower the quantity of gratification, but the higher the quality of fit, the happier we have become!

    I felt forced to leave a 'secure', well-paying public job 9 years ago, and the usual terror over the unknown ensued, as we feared for our new, young family.
    Fast forward to the present day, there are no regrets over that decision.
    The time which we won back, being together as a family, going through struggles and crises, but also sharing sheer joys and hearty laughs — priceless (better than that MasterCard ad tagline)!

    As I might have mentioned to you before elsewhere earlier on, I would likely not be alive and in relatively good health today, had I stayed on.
    I still feel that my reluctant exit saved my life, and what a far better one I've had since then!

    In these past years, inheriting a parent's death estate and not having to work and slough, was NOT bliss, in fact it was agony.
    The agony of being legally bound to administer so much money, and going through so many bureaucratic hassles.
    The agony of being always aware that the money would run out one day, and I would have to go back to that working grind which many Singaporeans love (even though they continue to complain about the increasing price of gratification).

    The dissatisfaction that having more money does not make anyone serve you that much better, does not make purchases that much more satisfying, does not make the world, society and life that much more pleasing.

    Instead, having to be frugal now, to spend far more for the children growing up than for our self-indulgence, actually becomes more satisfying.
    Squeezing optimal value out of what is already abundant, we really got much more back, than having loads and loads of anything.
    It's like the difference between regularly gouging oneself on buffet trash and suffering indigestion, versus the occasional hunger and not enough food keeping one's appetite whetted sharp.

    Add to that the 'impossible' hope of living and working in another land, which must happen soon, but we do not know when.
    As Steve Jobs has said, this makes us 'stay hungry, stay foolish'.
    Not hungry for gratification in excess, but for the happiness of being alive.
    Not foolish for materialistic surplus, but for the dynamic security of being on our toes, and of rolling with the punches.

    If not for constantly being forced out of our comfort zones, because we have not been allowed to fit into this local mainstream, we would not otherwise have gained so much.

  9. @Ahm - why not to migrate if you are doing well? It's a choice. A choice to have more freedom, less pressure, more time, and better environment for our children... so why not?

    @jt - i agree. many of my well to do friends have already migrated. mostly to melbourne though... why hah??? hahah..

    1. @Peck - Think I can answer the question you posted to @jt. (if you don mind @jt)

      Melbourne is usually closest to Sing in terms of city living and amenities. Without the rush and bustle of Sydney. (Don't flame me Uncle Phil.)

      Also in these few years there seem to be more and more Sing/Malaysian food outlets opened. (Killiney has a branch here) Hence, they can still maintain something familiar with Singapore.

      Singaporeans had alawys flocked to Melbourne Uni and RMIT for their studies. Huamans, preferring something familiar, usually choose some anchor when they first venture out into the sea.

      Job oppurtunities are also more abundant in cities usually.

      Personally, I've always had the view that only those that had "made it"" or have done well in Singapore will be successful in establishing a new life elsewhere.

      Think about it, if you can't make it in Singapore where you have all the advantages, why do you think you will make it in a strange land? (Just my personal views.)

      Working and living in Oz is definitely better than Singpaore. The grass doesn't just look greener, it is greener.

      With the way the PAPies are steering Singapore now, it won't be long before it hits a iceberg!

  10. Hi I have been following your blog now for a couple of weeks and it has very interesting insights.

    For starters, I have been living in Perth for over 10 yrs. It is almost impossible to FAIL in Oz unless you choose to.

    My partner and I started out just like you, we rented a tiny apartment and was practically living hand to mouth, doing little 'menial' jobs. He found a job with the public service while I decided to pursue a Masters while working part time. So within a span of 3 years I would say we are pretty much living a cushy life. We bought a decent sized property in a nice locale 10 mins away from the CBD and live pretty comfortably.

    My working hours are ok (8-10 a day hours by choice), and my partner works not more than 6 hours a day (DAMN public servants!).

    I think some in Singapore just love to judge as they are uncomfortable with their own inadequacies - almost to the point of jealousy. Look at how some moms there love to compete and compare their kids...

    The materialism and superficialism of my peers in Singapore is such a put off. I have this poly acquaintance of mine who loves to brag about how her hubs buys her branded handbags and bought a new Suzuki Swift 'Sport' (LOL - on a 10 yr loan), while they are happy to squeeze into a 3 room flat with her in-laws and her hubs' sibling's family to 'save' money so that they can indulge in their pursuit of meaningless 'luxury' items.

    Freedom & Space VS fugly LV bags? I know what I'll choose. But whatever rocks their boat.

    Ironically, the happiest point of my life is not when we 'made it'- bought our first brand new car or house - as many would think. I was happy even when we had to live hand-to-mouth all those years ago. We still sit back and fondly reminensce those days. :)

    To be honest, I have been increasingly fustrated the last 2 yrs, but its directed more towards society (angry bogans, alcholism, drugs, tax etc), policies and governence of this country. But it is still not as effed up as what I see is happening in Sg. I think my rose-tinted glasses have slightly faded. But no country is perfect, and to me, Oz is still better than Sg anytime.

    I sincerely wish you, Jen and Albany the best. 3 years is what it took us, it might be even shorter for you! =)


    1. Move back to Singapore to live for a year, I assure you your tinted glasses will be recharged.

      Thank you for sharing your story. I feel encouraged by it and hopefully we'll do better in a few years' time. From what you wrote, we have the same views about materialism. (or are you jealous your fren has a swift sports ? hehehe)

      sometimes i wondered was it easier to 'succeed' 7-10 years ago settling in Perth than now. it could be but since we are here, we'll just slog on and see how it goes. every era has a story i guess.

    2. One year? haha one week over the CNY period was enough of a put off.

      I am in the process of sponsoring my sister to come join me. Jobs are just no longer secure. She whinged to me how they promoted the FT chinese lass who was with the company for under 1 yr while she and other team-mates have been with the company for more than 4. Loyalty doesn't mean shit!

      LOLz yeah soooo 'jealous' la. Can't be bothered to tell her what I drive here but she would probably shit her pants seeing how brand-concious she is and how they perceive Euro cars as 'premium'.

      The difference between 7-10 yrs ago and now are the property prices and salaries. People are paid slightly more now, while the property prices have also exploded. In my line of work, I have seen many people with salaries doubling in just a span of 4 years and that's not just in the Mining industry.

      Nothing is too hard and I can see that you have the determination and drive. Also, the Child-Care benefits and Family tax benefits are there to aid your family if needed. There's always a way and help when you're in Oz.

      Good luck!

    3. Can you tell me more about sponsoring a sibling? If i am not wrong, sponsoring only adds a few additional points and the sibling have to still qualify for other points by the right occupational experience and academic qualification?

      correct me if i am wrong.

      eh, what car do you drive? share more leh.

      we havent applied for family tax benefits cos the wife is procrastinating (lazy). let's hope she sees this and gets motivated.

    4. Actually, the subclass 175 (independent) and 176 (sponsored) both have the same points requirements now at 65 pts. The only difference is that with the 176 if you're sponsored by the State instead of your relo, you are obliged to live in that particular State for 2 years. Also, the sponsored visa gets processed quicker.

      My sister actually meets the 175 criteria but we decided to go with the 176 since processing times are heaps shorter.

      Aiyah, paiseh la. =P Golf GTI... (Seriously nothing special. Dunno how come they can charge so high for this car in Sg. I wouldn't pay 200K for a VeeDub!)

      Also got the Paid Parental leave scheme to 'exploit' when you decide to have No.2.

    5. aw. then no chance to get my sis over.

      i wanted to buy wat i used to drive in sg, it's continental too. but didn't know commercial vehicles are so ex here! so ended up buying a cheap used car.

      miss driving the kangoo though. golf GTI is big deal (to me).

      I can't use paid parental yet cause i am holding a casual job. hopefully when i have no.2 i am already holding a full time job. quite vexing in the beginning, im sure u can understand

    6. Actually, you need not be a full time worker to claim the PPL. Casuals and part-time workers can also claim. As long as you have been working 10 out of the 13 months prior to the birth and also at least 330 hours for that 10 months. You're not eligible in your case as you have been here less than 10 months. But for eg. If Jen decideds to take up casual work in the near future, she only needs to work 8.5 hours a week to meet the eligibility which is ain't too bad!

    7. QMJ:

      thanks for the more accurate information. you're a gem.
      i'll keep that in mind. have a nice weekend :)

  11. @ JT, when I said " If you are already doing very well in Sgp, why even bother to migrate?" Pls don't take it as a single point of view that those who are doing well are don't have to migrate. There are a lot of dynamics involved and like I said, life is about choices. Should you want to have better quality of life, by all means go for greener pastures. However, there are factors that should be considered before one decide to embark on the adventure: family ties/commitments, financial strength, skill/education level, personal goals on reason for migration (political, lifestyle, education, future generation, more time with the family, etc). I've seen some ppl who were doing well in Sgp, moved overseas and went back when they didn't achieve what they wanted. From my perspective, they migrated for the wrong reason...

    1. I too have seen some who have come and yet returned. Some expected to have maids on hand, food availability 24/7 like hawkers back in sg, to expect high wages yet only wanting to choose their vocation, wanting to work shorter hours and expect the sky. Tsk tsk, mentalities that are narrow minded and unable to adapt will always be,wherever they are. Whingeing in sg,still whingeing when abroad...and perhaps these are the unfortunate ones you now see back in sg.

  12. We were considered "successful" in Singapore - husband with a successful professional career, wife a stay-at-home mum, a kid in the Gifted Programme, 3 in elite schools, 1 in an international school.
    We left for Oz 2 years 6 months ago. Everyone said, "Why? You have everything going for you in Singapore!". Take-home pay was halved, and there's a lot of uncertainty ahead. But the whole family's much happier. There's so much more space and time, so much less aggravation that comes from living in an environment that has people packed like sardines. The kids get to see their father much more, and they enjoy school life. They have more time to pursue their interests, although of course some of their time has to be spent doing housework. Husband finds work more fulfilling. As for me, yes, there's no maid. But housework has turned out to be much easier than expected and I am enjoying my garden, planting roses and tending to my fruit trees.
    No regrets.

    1. Isn't now fabulous? Great to know that you and yr family are enjoying more time together.whereabouts are you? Melbourne?

    2. Amazing. and your comments gave me some ideas for a new story.

    3. We're in Newcastle. Great place to live and raise a family. Newcastle's Australia's best kept secret, but then again, that's just my opinion :-)

    4. Tell us more about Newcastle. I have someone who is there now for studies, having difficulties buying used cars. went down to (was it sydney?) to buy instead. sounds like a good place to me!

    5. Newcastle has a population of between 250,000 to 290,000. Fairly spread out, so it doesn't feel crowded. We get all the stuff a city should have minus the heavy traffic. Asian food here is ok but not great, but I'm a pretty decent cook, so all's good. When we feel the need for fab Chinese/Indian/Singapore-Malaysian cuisine, Sydney is just 2 hours' drive away.

      Hunter Valley is 45 mins to the west, Nelson Bay an hour north, Sydney 2 hours south. Great beaches. Good schools. People are friendly. No problems with traffic. Like a lot of places, some parts of Newcastle are not pretty, but there are plenty of nice suburbs too. We live near Lake Macquarie, and there are great parks and free concerts by the lake every Friday.

      Property prices are significantly lower than in Sydney. Check out suburbs like Warners Bay, Charlestown, Eleebana, Garden Suburb in realestate.come.au to have a feel of prices.

    6. Ah Yes, ...I fondly remember those places. I frequented them when I was living in Sydney. Lake Macquarie brings to mind Swansea and Belmont and Fresh Oysters and Prawns...
      It kind of looks like Mandurah over here but less touristy and weather is better than Perth.
      Do you have a lakeside property?
      Someday if I decide to go back to the East, I might consider Newcastle.

    7. Newcastle sounds just like the place i wanna be if i have to live in the east. :)

  13. Nice read and I'm glad it all worked out for you. I too think Australia is the right place for the "Zhi Zu Chang Le" type of person because there really nothing much here that can piss you off.

    In Singapore, even though the pay isnt that bad, food is great, friends are all there, having a home is very affordable (the list goes on...), but the environment is get worse each day.

    On a side note, you actually picked the 1 of the best (if not the best) country to migrate and work as a tradeperson. Australia really protects their workers and pay is great. On downside is they're creating shitloads of whingers which I find complain/whine more than any Singaporeans I know.

  14. What is the child care arrangement in Australia?
    School hours?