I am Nothing

I received a call from a Singaporean lady in her mid twenties the afternoon before. She wanted to know how "I survived" when I came first came to Perth.

"Where do you find a place to stay?"

"How did you survive without income?"

"How did you know what to do?"

These are questions that every Singaporean who considered moving overseas tend to ask. One distinctive trait I found among this group is the fear of everything and nothing, imagined or real.

We need to understand.

From the beginning of time, human beings migrate. We still do. There is no mystery or witch-brewery over the methodologies. Granted that transborder moves are a little more complicated these days due to varying immigration policies of different governments, and therefore can be restrictive to some individuals, the underlying principals of migration remains the same. In fact, there isn't much deviation from why animals migrate - if we want to look at this in a simpler way.

Most animals migrate to find food or more livable conditions. Some migrate to breed. Some migrate to hibernate. It isn't rocket science. Human beings tend to over complicated the thought process because there are much more important things to be considered in life ... such as iPhones, bubbletea drinks and handbags. Animals on the other hand, do not think about meaningless issues, such as opportunity costs. They do not look for guarantees. Truth to be told, there are no guarantees in life. The Christians will tell me heaven is a guarantee in after-life for devotees who live lives as should be. That is why life can be great at times, with occasional jokes that makes you laugh. Companies that offer warranties or guarantees in modern times, are buying themselves the chance to repair or replace the shitty item they sold you before you start badmouthing their brand. What they have offered is an insurance, not a guarantee. Nobody can guarantee you anything - never forget this.

If you want a job all signed up waiting for you and a house with a waggy dog waiting on red carpet before you will finally migrate out of Singapore, perhaps it is better to remain in dreamland. The acorns on the highest branches will always be plentiful for the squirrel willing to climb higher than the others. Goals worthy to achieve will always be a struggle to reach. There is a reason why it seems so difficult to move out of Singapore. There is a system in place to weed out the weak minded.

Lest the petty starts their rants and twist my words to claim my insinuation that Singaporeans are weak, weak minded in the context of migrating out of Singapore includes a complex array of factors such as a predictable set of living conditions, social, career and financial statuses that grants resistance to the seduction of attractive living environments elsewhere. It is therefore, very unlikely for most Singaporeans in their mid career to drop what they have for un-guaranteed new possibilities.

I gave myself the name, 'Nix' and have been using it for the past decade. The word is meaningful to me and serves to remind me never to forget two values that is important to me. The short form of the mythical phoenix, it symbolises rebirth. While life guarantees nothing, it is in our own hands to pick ourselves up each time we fall, to start from scratch, to rebuild, to live again. Nix is also a German word for 'Nothing'. It reminds me that I am nothing of significance in this world, just a speck of limited lifeforce that will eventually vapourise from the face of Earth. With that, I have no problem whatsoever, giving up my identity or perceived status in Singapore to start as nothing in a new country. Do I give a fuck if I have to work in a factory or a farm? No. Do I worry how my friends in Singapore will view me? No.

Have I worried before if I can actually survive in a totally new environment? Definitely. All time time. In fact, I still do. However, survival is a very broad term across our species. Till date, I haven't know anyone who died on the streets to a migration adventure turned bad. That is a 100% survival rate, pretty much a guarantee if you like such things. How the rest of you Singaporeans define survival, setting the bar too high, is entirely your own problem. Just ask the high jumper when he sets his bar high, if he can guarantee he can clear his jump. He cannot. But he will not stop trying until he clears it. You need not set the bar that high when you migrate. It is not a competition with a gold medal waiting at the podium. However, the rules remain the same. You either die trying or stay at home to watch others do it.


  1. It's good to see you blogging again :)

  2. Good you are blogging again.

  3. The greatest attribute a migrant can have is adaptability

  4. There is no job security overseas. I moved overseas some years ago. Been fortunate to find a good job. Though the place that I work in is not great, I am still holding onto my job for as long as I can. Who knows if I will find work if I quit and move on.