A Loving Mother Worries about her Son if They Migrate to Canada

Dear Nix

Super enjoy reading your blog, which sometimes bring a rollercoaster of emotions to my current conventional (and boring) life.

I am in the midst of obtaining a PR status in Canada, and I was perpetually convinced that we had to go. Now, as the days drew nearer, there is this little voice inside me telling me to put everything to a halt.

You see, having L (our son) was the reason why we are leaving. I have shared the same conversation with S previously and was told that I am better off leaving this land of peculiar unfamiliarity despite being born and bred here.

We started sending L to The Shichida Method at 6 months old, he was also simultaneously attending gymnastic classes and phonics lessons at 9 months old and 13 months old respectively after that. When he reached 17months, I raised the possibility of adding one more Arts & Crafts enrichment program for him, and the hubby retorted back insanely, "How many days do you want to keep him occupied?" He currently attends gymnastic lessons on Fridays, Phonics classes on Tuesday and Thursday and right brain training (Shichida) on Saturday. If I may, the Arts & Crafts lesson will fit in 'nicely' on Sundays. Ahhh... I must have been really good at time management.

Poor boy cannot even talk at 17 months, slow speech development maybe, or probably because he didn't want to speak. He would sometimes run to the back of the class and sat there, quietly. Now, L is an extremely boisterous and active toddler. I didn't understand why he would do that. I was convinced (at a point of time) that enough simply wasn't adequate. Now, I am beginning to see things from a different light.

We also started off as silly Parent Volunteers in a school that I previously taught in where having volunteers was simply redundant with the abundance of 'talents' and 'resources' the school already has.

I am now baffled at the things I do. L has since stopped all enrichment programs (well, almost). You see, we grew up in a system where merit like candies, were given to entice people who do well academically but I have missed out so much, so so much that I wish I could redo parenting all over again. The boy is now 17months, and he is so troubled. What sort of programs would I have enrolled him in if I had stayed on for a couple more years? It is precisely because I despise the system that I left teaching, only to realized I am part of the greater evil.

Now, back to where I was. As the days drew near, I have become so afraid to make the first move. What if I compromise on L's quality of living? What if he is in fact better off in a country where creativity is being slaughtered every single second? What if we didn't pull through and end up in dire state thereafter? There are so many what ifs, but not an answer I can find. How did you convince yourself that leaving was in fact, the best thing for Albany? I feel like a selfish parent, I am leaving because I cannot stand the obnoxious state of the country, but I cannot help but think that I should not be making this decision for L.

The hubb and I could survive on basically, any jobs, but I was worried I wouldn't do L justice. As a parent (with a toddler), I am beginning to worry about the undesirable circumstances that I may be subjecting the LO to. Maybe its the pessimistic devil playing tricks with me. Both of us are convinced that we should not subject L to what we went through (pretty much really just everything) and of course our own issues of surviving in SG. Don't get me wrong, we are not starving, but we are not rich either.

We are the sandwiched middle class.

Having to pull through with the odds against our favour is somewhat tiring. Stressful jobs, never- ending bills, expensive cars, hot and humid weather, huge mortgage loan from a resale flat bought at the wrong time, minimum CPF sum, MOE, really, I could go on. The thought about leaving stems from the fact that WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE at all. Others have comfortable life and fantastic jobs, well, we are so- so. 吃不饱,饿不死 civil servants.

So when the thought of migration sprung up, we said to ourselves, "why not?" and that was it.

Now, we are just afraid that L may not be as adaptable as we are. Could you share the problems you both had with Albany and some of the problems young parents (we are in our late twenties) may face migrating to a foreign country?

Many thanks for hearing me out. All the best to you both and Albany. She sure is a delightful addition :)


Hi Gobbledegook,

First of all, is this your son? If so, I'd love to meet him. Secondly, what the fuck. Sorry for being rude but seriously? Subjecting your son to some quirky methods then training him to be an acrobat who can paint a picture while he does his flips on the trapeze at 6 months old? If I were L, I wouldn't even want to talk to you at 48 months! Look, I'm not questioning your parenting style because the last thing I'll appreciate from anyone is how I should be parenting my own daughter. Normally I would have kept my opinion to myself no matter how disagreeable I was hearing the parenting methods of the others. 

I'll share my account of the problems we have been facing as parents as you requested. Since we came to Perth 5 months into our pregnancy with Albany, by the time she was born we were in Perth for less than 6 months. Being so new to the country at that stage, I had to juggle between struggling to understand how things worked here and being a parent with no prior training. (never even took care of niece or nephew) We did not have our parents or friends to lend a helping hand. Other than my landlady, Patrick was my only friend. (I'm not spongebob though) In such a situation, the hard knocks we took was endless but our marriage was fortified from this experience because we held our hands together and kept walking. I feel that elaboration of the problems is unnecessary because everyone faces different issues at different places. Instead I want to share with you on hindsight, the lesson I learnt as a parent.

In the first year, I subjected myself to physical work that I had never done before because they paid well and were willing to give me a go despite my obvious lack of experience. With my newborn in mind, I took on the physical punishment with scant regard. Parents being parents, our worries tend to make us behave irrationally. In that sense, your love for your child is undoubtedly immense, given the fact you prepared that many insane ideas for him. Most of the time we didn't even look at ourselves and realise what we did was unnecessary.

Truth to be told, I've yet to meet Singaporean parent who told me his or her child was unable to adapt to Perth. Having a child to declare, "Mum, I DON'T want to return to Singapore!" is not even a matter of question but a matter of time. Some kids take longer, some almost instantaneously but all in eventuality. A young child with an open learning mind will adapt even if you take him to uncharted land in Africa. Parents are the ones with gripe and untold fears of the beyond in their minds. If you trust my word, both your husband and you should worry about yourselves. We will have to manage ourselves well in order to go through a virgin uprooting process with minimal distress. Managing our expectations and ditching old mentalities will be a big step forward in achieving that.

In my opinion, part of the obnoxious state of Singapore is contributed by the mentality and the attitude of young parents. If you want a breakaway from psychotic hysteria, do yourselves a favour by letting it all go. It will be absolutely pointless to break your physical ties but taking along all the mental baggage along with you because wherever you go, the miasma besiege you. Only then you'll fully understand what your son needs at this stage is more of you and less of everything else. Denying him that will be the true injustice you'll be inflicting on him. Regardless of how the demands of our eras differ from our kids, the kids will learn to cope well with everything society throws at them, except for parenting fatuousness.

I think I'll limit myself to a single outburst. Apologies for my honest views, which no doubt will offend many Singaporean parents. Thank for you giving me the chance to let out pent up feelings about this topic.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. :)

      I knew someone else would do the job.

  2. To the worrisome mom... Save your bucks on shichida.. You can get those dots to train your son numerics at a fraction of what the enrichment centre charges you. Perhaps, try Heguru method... The in thing now... Even here in Australia at about AUD600 a term.