Man From the Past

Both our first project, how time flies

Writing a blog can be spooky sheet. I had my ex-team leader who read this and contacted me not knowing I was the author. I had ex school mates who eventually found out. Now I have someone from another company whom I once worked with during a project who remembered me. Bizarre. This young handsome chap and I started our construction career as noobs in the same projects. He probably went on for greater heights since (was it 5 years already, oh my..) and I ... am where I am. To be honest, I am quite happy to hear from N*P*, though we didn't really talk much during work. The portal from the past has been closed for a long time. I thought nobody will walk through it anymore.


Hi Nix,

I hope I'm not wrong. Are you Nix Chin, the ex S***** Project Engineer? If you are not, just ignore this email. I'm follower of your blog, very informative. I've also introduced your blog to many people who wanna migrate. Keep writing.




Hi N*,

Yes. Are you N* from the NUS project? I can't recall another N* who might know me.

Hope you have been well. How are you doing?



Hi Nix,

I'm fine, thanks. Yes, I was from the NUS project. G* I*. I quit from the company & joined other company more than a year ago. Reason very easy, salary. I found your blog on Google when I was looking for info about Australia migration. Initially, I planned to do it on my own as what you did, but end up engage a migration agent. The migration system now is too complex.



Hi N*

Why go to Australia. Why not stay in Singapore?


Hi Nix,

Maybe go there for fun, hahaha. Just kidding. Actually I asked this question to myself before. Why can't I continue staying in Singapore? Why want to take the risk to migrate to Australia? Yes, take the risk! As a immigrant from Malaysia & work here in Singapore for 5 years, sometime I wonder what did I get all these years & what can I achieve for another 5 years. Others might say, buy a HDB flat. Say is easy. As a permanent resident here, I only can allowed to buy a resale flat. All of us know that resale flat is not cheap. Cheapest 3-room flat is S$300k, which is far far away from CDB. "S$300k only mah, use your CPF lar". Where to find money to pay for 20% down payment, lawyer fee, stamp duty, renovation/furniture & bla bla bla fees which I don't really understand? That is about S$100k! I have to pay room rental every month & at the same time save the money to buy the flat. I'm just an engineer, I can't make $100k that easy, unless I strike Toto. LOL. That's not all, I've already bought a house in Malaysia. Both of my parents are staying there now. If I really buy the flat here, I need to give up my property in my own country. That's the new stupid rule set & implemented by the Housing Board. Really kanasai. Where my parents want to stay? That is the rule now, nobody knows what rule Housing Board is going to implement in future. Singapore's rules / policies always change.

Reason 2, transportation. I have been taking BMW (Bus, MRT, Walking) to work everyday, for 5 years. How about another 5 years? Am I going to buy my own car? Serious? Look at the COE first. In hokkien is "Si Hor Ee" (die for him). Ok fine, can't buy your own car, continue taking BMW lar. Every morning, you have to squeeze to board the MRT train, & continue squeezing until you retired. Now with the population of 5.5 million, you already have to squeeze, imagine what will happen with 6.9 million population in 2030 (the white paper)? For a guy like me, is all right for me to squeeze until I'm retired. But how about my wife or maybe my daughter? I don't want them to get molested inside the train just because it is too crowded.

Reason 3, the working hour. Is a well known fact that everybody in Singapore works like cow or works like horse. Some even work until ki siao. You want higher pay, you have harder & longer hour. Some project managers (I don't want to mention who) even slept at work place just to complete the project. Yes, they can afford the house & the car now, but how about spending the precious time with family? Where is the work-life balance? 

There are many other reasons that I don't want to say much. Who am I to complain so much. I'm just a PR here. Two of my elder brothers have given up on their Malaysia citizenship & become Singaporeans. Maybe they can complain. For them, their reasons of becoming Singaporean are cheaper HDB flat, new HDB flat, cheaper education fees for their children & etc. Do I want to become like them someday? Who knows. Oh! Maybe I just go back to Malaysia. Don't be silly. Is more worse compared to Singapore. So Nix, that's why I take the risk.

"Please don't post it on your blog. If you really post, help me check the grammar"



HI N*,

I don't even check my own grammar when I blog, so I will not check yours. Besides, this is a casual blog, these are not life and death matter so don't worry about it.

First, I know who you were talking about, your ex-PM who slept in site offices. When I worked with him in the Raffles Place A&A, he expected me to pick his calls at 8am when I reached home at 6am after sending my workers back to their dormitory in Yishun. The trouble was, he got sleep and I didn't. He could go on and on and on. I couldn't. I even came back on Sundays and Public Holidays during that project, sleeping 3 hours most of the week days. My meals were non-existent, if any, taken quickly at the back of my green Kangoo (I'm sure you remembered). Raffles City was my worst ever project (though NUS was bad, being my first project and a total greenhorn in the industry) In fact 2 things manifested from working with this particular PM. 

1) My cancer probably started from here 

2) The first seed of migration was planted in my mind

People may be quick to point out I am a quitter, I can't take hardship. Believe me, my first job in Perth was tougher than the jobs that most people of our generation have taken on. The work I did day-to-day was much more demanding than work done by the Bangladeshi workers that worked under us. Never was there a single day I thought of giving up, pack my bags and return to sunny Singapore, even when I went through minor eye surgeries twice, got myself burnt during welding leaving myself a permanent 3 inch long scar on my thigh and damages to my knuckles tissues that had not healed completely till today.

Why did I subject myself through all these?

I didn't have lofty aspirations when I came to Perth. I didn't worry about 'racism' and 'career glass ceilings' like most Singaporeans turning their heads towards south these days. I seek only 1 thing. A fair day's pay for a fair day's work. That's all. I don't mind working my guts out but I hate being exploited, bullied and marginalized by Singapore employers. I do not deny it was my character flaw that got me into the fix. If I stood up for myself, or if I had greater work aptitude, making myself indispensable - gaining myself bargain rights in the process, I would be riding on the fast train in Singapore now. Perhaps. Or perhaps not. I don't wish to find out. Let's just say I got a lot stronger in many aspects since I came. Even if I had to return one day, I would be better off for sure, as compared to if I never left. This Perth experience helped me tremendously. For now, even through the tougher early days, I had never once felt exploited. I was asked, even to the extent of requested, to do OT and being paid for every hour of it. Was that a character issue or a system issue? Either way, I couldn't have done much to change things. My friends always told me in order to be happy, I should change the way I think about things. Instead of accepting exploitation with a smile (if only I could), I changed my environment.

Brother, the consequences of changing the environment was losing my friends. Eventually people who found that there was nothing you can contribute to their lives anymore would simply forget you. Let's hope it wouldn't happen to you.

I have never hid my disdain for the overpopulation in Singapore. I suspect I have some kind of demophobia brain disease or something. To some, Singapore is 'lively' and 'vibrant' and Perth is 'boring' and 'dead'. I happen to love Perth as it is and I pray to all the Gods in the world that Perth remains boring and dead as long as possible. In fact, please don't come to Perth when you have your PR granted. Go to Melbourne, Sydney, whatever. Come to Perth for holidays and I promise I will drive you around in my new OLD RAV4. Ask your friends to migrate to Melbourne too.

When you described your agonies taking BMWs to work, I cringed. Yeah that sucks and believe me brother, I understand. You imagined your wife and daughter being molested in trains. Now, take it further and imagine your working pregnant wife being on the train every morning and evening. Imagine her struggling to get on board with her morning sickness, only to discover her auto-on Aura-of-Sleep has reduced everyone with a seat to deep slumber. To make things worse, she has to defend your unborn child from Insidious Elbow Jabs from Aunties and Dragon Palm Push from chee bye kias. Every man living in that crowded island who doesn't own a form of transport will worry for his wife and children. It was only 5.18 million when I left. It is probably about 5.35 million now. Good luck for those who believe and voted for the 6.9 million vision.

You may have read a lot of my political opinions about my government. Honestly, I don't give a damn what they do. They can pay themselves billions, control our media like North Korea, spout more bullshit via their prostitute press, continue with their rampant legalised corruption, I don't give a fuck. Yes, even if the likes of me - the very average, not-at-all-outstanding Singaporean struggling to make ends meet out there - it's alright. I can live and be happy with very little. Most of my friends know, or thought they knew. That was why they couldn't accept the fact I left. All I yearned for was space. I think no one will ever understand that. One day, I may leave Perth for the same reason brother. Mark my words, if the need arises.

The HDB rule about double property fucked you up for sure. Its creation has sabotaged (whether intentionally or not) both Singaporeans and Malaysians. To me, Malaysians have been important to Singapore in the past and present. It isn't a way to treat you guys. Other foreigners are hardly affected by the same rule. A PRC will be happily enjoying their 2-3 properties in their rural province. HDB investigation team will never invade into their space and check on them, if they can figure out how to locate their suspects' properties from the provincial level right down to the prefectural, county, township and village level for a start. The same goes for Indians and Filipinos. When the time comes, they sell up their HDB flats and return to their build fences and a new moat around their dens while Singaporeans who yearn for a legitimate second home in JB and Malaysians like you who genuinely considered making Singapore their home (like your brothers did), are penalised. Malaysians and Singaporeans have always been around, through the 1997 housing market crash. The over-demand of HDB flats of the last decade were obviously caused by the other much larger portion of the demographics and they continue to remain unpunished, while we suffered the consequences of the regulation. You called HDB stupid? Brother, you are too kind. They are fucking morons.



  1. New or used, it is hard, if not impossible, to own two cars like you in Sg :). Si ho ee!

  2. Nix and N*,

    Well said. *Respect*

    My reasons to migrate is similar to Nix's. I migrate for space and healthier living.

    I guess Nix is humble and I find Nix's English proficiency is much better than mine, although I scored 7.5 for each band.

    IMHO, I think Nix has valid and uncomplicated reasons to migrate to Perth. Reasons must be simple and the push factors should be compelling. If reasons are complicated, there may be implications that may result regrets in future.

    No offence to N*

    N*, just my 2 cent worth. If you migrate because of HDB regulations that target Singaporeans and Malaysians, then you will not migrate happily.

    I hope you migrate with a happy heart longing for a different lifestyle that you don't get in Singapore.

    For example, Nix wants boring Perth. I visited Perth in 2003. To me, I still miss Perth, though I also visited other cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Why do I miss Perth?
    Simply because there is space and a slower pace of life.

    So N*, please don't migrate because of unhappy troubles and worries in Singapore.

    If you must migrate, migrate with a desire for Australia.

    Cheers :)

  3. Nix,

    I agree with this statement you made. It is well-said.

    "Brother, the consequences of changing the environment was losing my friends. Eventually people who found that there was nothing you can contribute to their lives anymore would simply forget you. Let's hope it wouldn't happen to you."