7 Habits of Highly Effective Migrants - Habit 2, Drive

Learn to travel  on the road less traveled” 
- Anonymous

I believe there is no need to elaborate. The title tells it all. This is for the benefit of those (including myself) who thinks the world outside Singapore spins exactly the same way. After I hopped out from the well, I realised I couldn't be more wrong.  You see, it is natural for us to assume things are the same outside Singapore.  So it is common to hear newly arrived Singaporeans complaining that the service here is "inefficient", the people are "lazy", or the place is "boring." Most of these comments root from comparing the old and new land. Don't get me wrong, I am not implying that making comparisons are wrong. In fact, by doing so, it helps one confirm  whether the new land is better for living or not.

The problem comes when we let our personal bias veil our eyes. For instance, words traveled to my eyes of a Singaporean yet to come to Australia who claimed that he had no problems competing with the PRCs in Australia because he "speaks better English." He will be in for a rude shock when he arrives. This gentleman was basing his past experiences with the PRCs he met or worked with in Singapore. Another case of careless assumption is that we don't have to learn driving to survive in Australia, based on how easy it was to get around in Singapore. No doubt, there are a lot of people who do not drive here. So driving is not about survival. However, knowing how to drive offer a lot of advantages that you will lose out on if you don't know how to drive.

For starters, driving is a lifelong skill. You don't easily forget it as long as you get some practice once in a while. So you don't even need to own a car even if you have the licence to drive. By knowing how to drive, it will come useful in unlikely situations like driving a drunk friend home, rushing a sick family member to the hospital or helping a friend in an emergency.

Now let's go into the topic in proper. In truth, the public transport system in Perth (and probably the rest of Australia) is never going to achieve the same coverage as the system in Singapore because Australia is simply too big in land size. There are many places in Perth that you will not be able to go by using public transport. Unless you plan to cycle the rest of the distance to your destination from the furthest point public transport can take you, driving there is the simplest solution to this problem. So this isn't just about mobility but also the opportunities you may miss out. For example, rejecting a job interview because it is simply too difficult to get there by public transport.

When it comes to job hunting, the mobility that driving a car offers is a tremendous help. In fact, driving on itself is a skill that may land you the first casual job as a courier driver, a pizza delivery or even driving a taxi. As Australia is such a huge country, it offers a lot of employment opportunities in the logistics industry. Outside the logistics industry, there are a lot of jobs which requires one to travel, such as a tradesman, site engineer, external auditor, salesperson etc.

One of the least mentioned advantage of having a driving licence is that it can serve as an ID. In Australia, we don't have an NRIC. Without a driving license, we will be losing a convenient option when we need to do a 100-point identity check in several situations we are bound to get ourselves into, such as taking a loan from the bank, medicare or centrelink registration etc.

Finally, if you don't drive, you will be missing out the fantastic places you can go for leisure. The car is an exploration necessity and it will take  you along hundreds of kilometers of ocean view roads, caves, nature reserves and outback towns. Sure, you can always get someone to drive you around instead, but nothing beats going on scenic drives personally behind the wheels.


  1. *waves* i don't drive as i am a walking road hazard aka Sibeh kayu driver

  2. In many big cities, some suburbs have only hourly bus frequency and that's weekdays. Taxis are so expensive that you learn to appreciate how cheap taxi is in SG.

    Even though a annual registration plus insurance is at least $700, it's better to buy a car and let it sit in a garage than rely on public transport unless you are a student living near to the university and supermarket (where you can buy groceries and do part time work)