Satki Yoda on Culture Shock

Satki Yoda
11 Feb 2014

Culture Shock 

Nix, it is Satki Yoda taking a break from driving my black vios and writing to you again. How apt that i travel to Singapore soon for the Chinese New Year, and how suitable it is to be talking about culture shock. I would start my own blog writing about my experiences in Australia, but i am not satki enough to warrant the position of a "leader" or "inspiration" like you do, neither am i keen to be in the limelight (i might be young and satki but i know the pitfalls of being well-known) so please let me kapok your space to vent.

As requested, even though i am not following the script closely, here is my personal account on adapting to the culture, and the "culture shock".

My story of adapting to the Australian life

I must be very honest with you. i was, and still am, a typical sinkie when i first landed in the sunny shores of Melbourne, thinking i was Xie Shaoguang on his Ch 8 drama 出路, being the first and unique sinkie to reach the shores of sunny Australia, like a sua gu going around telling everybody how great Australia was, and singing the words 飘洋过海,我吃得起苦 so many times i was quite close to getting strangled in my sleep by my housemate.

Usually, well-meaning migrants before me, especially those with popular blogs, sometimes including yourself, give advice, telling people to "don't look back in anger" and "immerse yourself fully in the culture". This is perfectly good advice and i agree, but like the disclaimers they have at the end of every bank or financial advisor's statements, "this advice is general advice only and is not meant for your personal circumstances" or something along those lines. For example, Nix may have always dreamed of having a farm and a large plot of land to tend, and that is a very Australian thing to do, but that doesn't mean that me, a city slicker who enjoys the comfort of crossing the road to tapao McDonalds, needs to have that as my dream just because i moved here. There's probably as many people who were born and bred here who feel like me in wanting to tapao McDonalds than live out in the bush. And notice i still say Mcdonalds (not Maccas) - because i hua hee. Similarly, they say the fishing is great here where i am, but fishing to me is one of the most boring things you could ever do and i rather stay at home and read a book! I know Nix, you won't take offence, and understand that all i am trying to say is that, everyone has different hobbies and interests, and it takes all types of people to make the world. You don't have to force yourself to conform to a stereotype of something or someone, just to fit into the culture. It is being different, that makes you unique (and wildly popular with girls).

The great thing about Australia is that people don't give a shit what you do for your hobbies, but if you don't have hobbies you are an extremely boring person to talk to. And you know what? Even if thats the case, who cares??? if i like sitting at home watching JAV and surfing the famous EDMW forum after work stirring shit about the gahmen and don't have any other cool hobbies, so be it! Don't force yourself to like things just because its "what people do here". On the other hand, if you've always been dying to try something, say golf, but couldn't because there was no opportunity, eg it was so expensive in Singapore, by all means, drive (pun intended) yourself crazy on the golf course.

So, if you ask me for an honest assessment, no, by the usual standards, I haven't adapted, I haven't learnt from all the well-meaning advice of other fellow migrants to "immerse yourself in the culture" etc. I still go back every 3-4 months, behave like a sinkie, go to JB to pump petrol and buy malboro red, complain on social media more about Khaw Boon Wan than Tony Abbott. I go home everyday and skype with my family and loved ones for a good 30mins to 1hour, keeping in touch with the latest developments and politics in my large extended family. I don't watch footy unless forced by my angmoh housemate (its his TV, bo bian).

On the other hand, my supposedly "Australian traits" are that i'm well known at work because of my achievements in the large amounts of alcohol i can drink, and i play an organized contact group sport in soccer regularly with a group of tradies who i haven't broken the news to that Singapore isn't in China. And, the sports rims on my satki black vios.

And then, there is the dreaded, "Should i have aussie accent or not" question. Recently, a friend who has been here for 7-8 years remarked how Singaporean i still sound, in his Aussie twang (you can tell he trying hard, because he speak much slower). Nabeh, Yoda got booksmart degree from satki Australia lumber one uni and satki professional job wearing shirt and tie go office edit spreadsheet give presentation one leh. In corporate speak, "my job requires me to analyse complex data and communicate this clearly to senior stakeholders". I think my communication skill and level is sufficiently understandable to anyone around the world who spiking the engrish, whether in Australia, America, UK, Thailand, India or wherever.

In conclusion, satki yoda's advice is, just be yourself, learn to laugh at yourself, learn to stand up for yourself - and if you find my advice is shit, so be it. Just because you move to another country, doesn't mean you have to be a different person. Unless you WANT to be a different person. Be like Frank Sinatra, and say, "I did it my way".

And that, is why, I feel at home in Australia.


  1. well said and to the point !

  2. I agree... always be yourself.

    Unless you can be Batman.

    Then always be Batman!


  3. I think satki yoda and I can be good friends!