27 Months of Perth: Why Am I Here?

Grace Town

I wrote about this shortly after I came to Perth. Back then I didn't foresee that I would be revisiting my thoughts, then update my current opinions on this topic. No one, including myself, expected the blog to be still running after 2 years. Perhaps my wife could no longer use that “三分钟热度” character trait on me. 3 minutes are long over, my dear. If you don't already know, I rarely read my old posts and hardly even remember what I wrote before. On a couple of occasions, people quoted sets of theories or philosophies and I retorted, "Who said that?"

"You did, you wrote that in your blog."

After a quick check today, I realised 876 entries was posted on this site since its initiation. Barring the geniuses with photographic memories, most of us wouldn't remember half of what we wrote or spoke about ten of thousands of words later. I cringed a little when I read the previous post. Did I really write that? Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean I made that up and it has became a cheesy read today. Just imagine reading your own English compositions during your school days, you will be likely to find yourself amused while you rediscover your chain of thoughts and the way you expressed yourself in writing in the past.

I came to Perth because my wife wanted to. So I came over with very little understanding of the place and struggled through culture shock. Even up till this stage, I am still coming to terms with the differences between both countries, misses home when fond memories of the past pond my mind and I have wondered on many occasions about where should my future be. Since I got here because of somebody I love, what does this place mean to me today, 2 years on? I reckon this is suitable time to examine my own perspectives on our rather rash move.

From time to time, I can't help but to be amused when I meet people who had already formed an opinion of me before I meet them. Apparently all bloggers represent some kind of online persona, even if they did not create one on purpose. So beyond the government bashing foul-mouthed autistic guy behind asingaporeanson.blogspot.com, lies an ordinary Singaporean who loves his country like any one of you. I rarely put down the beautiful memories I had in Singapore that annoying replay like movie clips whenever my mind was free to roam, such as driving alone on the journey home. A part of me yearned for the familiar places and activities I used to frequent and engage in. The other part of me died, as I knew things would never be the same again.

So do I have a future here? Truth to be told, I would one of those foreigners that the Singaporean minority love to hate in Singapore. I would be a foreigner that didn't seem to assimilate and embrace the "Aussie Way" with his soul. Fortunately, at least I live like a hermit and pretty much leave everyone alone just as they do. With that, at least I don't annoy any locals with my foreign-ness. As it appeared (to me, least) so far, I had been ridiculously adaptable in terms accepting different levels of living conditions, types of jobs and expectations of life in Australia as a whole. However, up to this stage, I could not imagine myself giving up being Singaporean and calling myself an Australian. Given the fact that nothing really bothers me and life have been good to me (barring cancer) in Australia, what is the missing key? I am still searching for an answer. But if you suspect any Singapore romanticism here, let me put it straight - there are none. Though I feel like a foreigner in Australia, I feel the same way when I am back in Singapore once I am out of the company of my family and friends. So what we have here is an identity crisis, I'm the ghost that doesn't fit in anywhere. Meanwhile, I suspect I may secretly have a wanderlust gene in me that I never know about. "Where now," is a question that pops up my mind frequently.

The move to Perth made me understand myself better. I realised I was more easily contented than I thought. Most Singaporeans dream of a new car, a nice house, lots of money, a status or popularity. These are widely accepted as yardsticks to measure success and it is believed that each of us should strive to be successful in life, by hook or by crook. That explains the long queue at Singapore Pools kiosks, the majority haven't given up on success having failed to achieve them with conventional methods. Here, I have none of the above and I am far from success - at least the type success commonly defined.  

But I am happy.

So if I could accept the imperfections of Perth and live a contented simple life here, why couldn't I accept the imperfects of Singapore and live a simple, happy life without chasing any of the deliverables of success there? This is something I may only figure out in future, or never at all.

While it still feel empty somewhere, as if something is missing from the puzzle, the bottom line is why am I still here hesitant to move elsewhere, or even back to Singapore to have another go at unfinished business, is that I am still cloaked in a surreal sense of happiness. So much so I tend to be wary this may not last and before long, I must be on my way walking an unfamiliar path. Until then, I will soak in my pool on contentment. This will not be the end.


  1. > ... I am still cloaked in a surreal sense of happiness. So much so I tend to be wary this may not last and before long, I must be on my way walking an unfamiliar path. Until then, I will soak in my pool on contentment.

    Ahhh! Similar thoughts. Guess we're both pessimists. :-?

    > why couldn't I accept the imperfects of Singapore and live a simple, happy life without chasing any of the deliverables of success there?

    Don't know about you. In my case, it is the lack of confidence in the probability that my chance of living a simple, happy life without "success" (i.e. in the typical Singaporean sense of the word) is possible given Singapore's policies and the Singapore social norms.

  2. Bro, I feel you. Though you are only about 26 months ahead of me.

    Heading to work in a bit. Hope this job works out for me :p

    - S

    1. It will definitely work out, at least for a while. Just treat it as you are paid to learn the basics of your possible future career. It'll be useful to put "minor detailing" as your experience. Snoop around car mechanics and ask them if they are willing to hire an assistant or apprentice at similar rates. Just tell them honestly what you are currently working as but you prefer to learn skills of the trade instead. Just try one per week or if you pop by any mechanics you see. Stash a wad of resumes in your car. Don't worry about looking formal before you step in and talk to someone. Don't feel bad if you are rejected. The idea is to plant an impression into these employers, so that they will have a number to call if they got into an unexpected emergency in need of hands.

      If you don't think my advice is gibberish and may even try it out, don't restrict yourself to car mechanics. Go for companies related to the trade, such as tyre changing companies or accessories sellers like Repco or Super Cheap. Never try never know.

  3. Try organising an Australia Day BBQ lunch. Include your Afghan Kakees

    Use chicken wire and bricks and charcoal if you cannot find a friend who owns a bbq set

    Pot luck for food

    Everyone bring one item per person of anything with a Australian or Kangaroo logo on it (beach towel, flags, stick on tattoos)

    Then organise a convoy to see fireworks that night in Perth city and drop people off along the way (next day Monday holiday)

    Seriously it will be fun.

    1. You sure or not?

      Even in WA where many Aussies do not behave like East Coast Ozzies, 27 Jan 2014 Monday is a public holiday (since 26 Jan 2014 is on a Sunday).

      Don't tell me your boss especially invite you to come back to work on PH for OT pay?

  4. There is no perfect place on earth but a place with plenty of sun, space and jobs, I will be totally happy.

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  6. hello!
    Came across your blog... very interesting... tell you what mate... the fellow above me is right. ONLY LOOK forward not back. I have been in AUSSIE for 13 years now.... it has been a road of self discovery... in all aspects... LOL.... Australia is a great place of freedom...free to think free to talk.... look forward mate...all the best...

  7. I prefer this original post: http://asingaporeanson.blogspot.com/2011/09/why-am-i-here.html?m=1