Meeting That Singaporean Daughter

I never thought this day would happen.

Back then I was reading her blog as gospel, I was a faithful reader who soaked in every single post I could. Material about migration in the net is not lacking but most of these are government websites which focus on guiding (and they do it well) us how to apply for the visa that we need in order to work and live in Australia. While comprehensive and adequate, these information provide very little on what was it like to actually live and work here. Like minded people who are contemplating migration will depend a lot on hearsay, more than you actually believe. It was hilarious, now that I looked back.

The problem with hearsay is that it comes from people who heard it from someone's brother or cousin or ex-colleague or sister's brother-in-law's niece's twin sister. Thus, RATS was conceptualised. Remember that post I penned? I hardly re-read my blog because each time I do I cringed at how badly I wrote, how differently I felt from the time put it down to words and of course the embarrassing grammar errors. From the comments, I also realised some Singaporeans could not read between the lines and understood my underlying message in that post. We know that Singaporeans are naive in some ways due of the way we were brought up. We are just not street smart enough and it is quite obvious to people of other nationalities. Most of us do not want to admit that, or worse, try to act in a way we obviously aren't instead of trying to learn and patch our inadequacies in some areas. 

Also interesting to note that among the commenters, Thomas and Nora was not in Australia at the time they put in their comments. They are now, pursuing their goals in the far far eastern cities. Though they rarely comment in the blog anymore, I know they still read it now and then, evident by Nora's latest comment in this post.

Back in the early days of the blog, Nora was one of the first people to contact me via email. I wanted to publish her email but she was not fully comfortable so I didn't. How different Nora sound back then compared to now. From her email she reeked uncertainty, fear and confusion - just like the way I was when I was frantically searching for information and was overwhelmed with unhelpful data all over the internet. From there, I realised the blog is no more a site to merely update my friends about my well-being as it was first intended for. It became more. Fast forward to today, Nora's reply to our Singaporean mom, M, was confident and detailed. It was because she had seen the scene, walked the grounds. Now Nora has become an advisor herself, what a difference it makes between hearsay and experiencing. I'm proud of Nora, hope I can buy her coffee one day if she ever comes to Perth.

It has been a long time since I wrote in the dark. I have not have the energy to do so since a while. It is one of the rare raining nights here in Perth and I am oozing inspiration <-- that's the good word for it. In simpler terms it actually means I have a lot to bitch about tonight so bear with my unnecessary long post.

If hearsay was to be believed, I would not have considered stepping into Australia because I would have believed I would be killed by racial attacks, starved of a job, raped by summer flies and taxed 50% of my income and begging on the streets with Albany now while writing this post. Something along that line. Hearsay breeds ignorance. I wanted more, I wanted truths. So I searched hard.

Karing's blog was like an oasis in the desert for me. It was a few years back since I discovered her blog in a corner of the internet. It wasn't because Karing was a pretty girl (though it helps =x) but there was so much similarities at that time that intrigued me. She migrated to Perth with her husband and imported her dog. Even her dog is the same breed as Chocolate, a Jack Russell Terror. I read and read and could not have enough. I do not have a good memory but I remember Karing's blog posts were sullen, lonely, frightened and to some extent, frustrated. I contacted Karing and we chatted very rarely through MSN over the years. I asked about Perth but I didn't get a lot of answers from her so the conversations drifted from migration to dogs. She was a lot more responsive about dog topic and from there I knew she was a REAL JRT lover like me.

I almost forgot her existence after I started working in Perth. There was so much on my mind. Jen's pregnancy, our accommodation, the birth of Albany, my growing injury list, weariness and still, the uneasy feeling of uncertainty lingering. Lately I casually sent her a message and she responded uncharacteristically enthusiastic and even got her husband, Dennis to communicate with me. About 2 weeks later, we met up last afternoon at Micky's.

I have to say I was impressed that Dennis and Karing drove down from Banksia Grove to Southern River just to say hi. That was some distance, even by Perth standards if you care to look at the map. It was better than expected. Dennis is around my age so our experiences in Singapore might be somewhat similar. Being owners of a JRT also helps as 'we know'. It was easy to break the ice and feel comfortable with them. (I hope it is mutual). Needless to say, having being here for 4 years by now, Karing has a lot to say about her migrating experience. We just didn't have enough time to hear more. She sound so different as she was in her blog and is so much more cheerful and positive about living in Perth, I wondered if she is aware of it. After we parted, I persuaded her to reopen her blog though she don't write anymore, as to serve as an archive.

Karing is an unusual Singaporean woman. She married young and was a  very very Singaporean, Singaporean woman. The type who will hate living in Australia, particularly Perth. The answer lies in her husband I found out. After the conversation with Dennis I found that he was as determined as Jen about having a new life in Perth. That kind of steely determination which allow them to crush all deterrents and brush away worries and concerns from their skeptical spouses like dust. The resolve that filters facts from hearsay. Both Karing and I were the blur spouse, tagging along blindly.

The meeting up today felt almost surreal. To me, Karing was that internet girl after so long and felt almost like a hologram to me. In some way I could understand why some people email me and tell me I was their hero. When I was reading Karing's blog as a bewailed Singaporean that few years ago, she felt like a heroine to me too. Meeting up an idol is a good experience but there are better things to come. Dennis and Karing is happy to let me meet Xiaobai, their very white JRT. It will be some kind of therapy for me because I still miss Chocolate badly and often think of him at work. Struggling with one of his kind on the grass patch will do wonders for me, I think.

I can't wait to meet Xiaobai.


  1. Not oni yr postings but oso the comments help lots.... to ease the worries of migrant-to-be. Its kind of friendly feeling in here and seems like any questions will be answr by someone.

  2. bro...ours was a jack russell 'terror' but theirs should be a terrier bah..

  3. Cheers Nix, I'll take you up on the coffee. I'm sure we'll have loads to chat about.