No Reason to Leave Singapore

One evening, Judy told me coming back to Perth wasn't an easy decision. Her family questioned her motivation and intention. I know where they are coming from. In truth, there is no real quantifiable reason to move out of Singapore. I'm serious.

If you think you will be happier by moving elsewhere, you are probably wrong . Happiness is an emotion and it can be achieved by many ways. It can be attained by choosing happiness above all else, pushing aside what we perceive as negative emotions to focus on the preferred feeling of being happy. The power to choose can never be fully removed from a human being. Even if you are picking up cardboard for exercise or hanging on the 21st storey by your left eyelid, you can choose to feel happy but telling yourself what can be worse. The possibility of having to eat maggots for dinner or hanging on the 21st storey by your testicles are scenarios that can make anyone feel better in their current status. This has to be done in tandem by bringing oneself back down to the state of contentment. Many vouched that appreciating the small things in life is a good way to achieve contentment. "I have a HDB flat," "I have a job," "I live under a regime with a caring government," "Free chicken rice!" "Free abalone porridge!" " Free chikus!" "Oooh, 10 cent coin!" Be appreciative with what you have, purge negative emotions. Instant happiness. Constant happiness.

Thus, Judy's family was correct to refute Judy's claim that she will have a happier life in Australia. Since happiness can be easily achieved in Singapore, she is wasting time.

How about wanting to move to a less stressful environment? Isn't that a worthy pursuit? Yes and no. By learning how to manage our stress level, we can achieve a low stress Singapore living. We manage our stress by identifying the causes. The rat race? Leave the rat race, stay at home and bake freelance. Cannot afford not to work? Reduce expenses, eliminate "want" purchases, including the children's mobile phone subscriptions and pocket money. The family has to be supportive. These are good-to-haves, not bare essentials of life. Hate the traffic on the road? Don't buy a car and take the MRT. Overcrowding brings you stress? Take the MRT at 6am and do the Singapore workout in the office until work commences. Oh wait, you don't have to work. A stress-free lifestyle can be achieved in Singapore by simply managing our expectations, shuffling our priorities and redefining our goals in life.

Thus, Judy's family was correct to refute Judy's claim that she will have a less stressful life in Australia. Since a relatively stress-free life can be easily achieved in Singapore, she is wasting time.

Many regard Australia as a good retirement base. It has pretty good weather, good quality of air, nice scenery and quiet streets. It has some of the most ideal conditions for someone to wait out for death. Surely, that cannot be disregarded as a fruitless goal? Well, by retirement, all your old, wrinkled and crippled friends are in Singapore stirring a cup of Teh-C at the KPT for the entire day. The losers who still have full control of their limbs can do the cardboard exercises, for "maintenance". By retiring in Singapore, at least you have someone to dial 995 to save you from that heart attack after you see that scantily clad chiobu walking pass. That beats ending up as a wrinkled raisin on your sun lounge by the time someone discover you elsewhere. The quality of air is overrated, at least for the elderly. Since you cannot see or hear that well, there isn't any reason why your sense of smell can work as well as before. Who knows, haze may smell like satay and remind you of your Satay Club dating days in the 60s. We have to be kidding ourselves if we think there is a more beautiful place outside Singapore. We are called the Garden City for a reason, lately rebranded as A City in the Garden. Why look for paradise outside paradise? Why not retire in Singapore? Your friends, the sounds of familiarity, HDB flat and family are there. If Bedok Reservoir is not to your taste, the river that always flow is always there to give you a helping hand if you want an early ticket to your end. The last time I checked, it is still free.

Judy cannot be more wrong to look elsewhere for retirement. She doesn't even need to lift a finger to have the ideal retirement location.

But she is here. You know what they say about contentment? Appreciate what you have, be comfortable and live worry-free, stress-free and risk-free to achieve a happy life. I can't dispute that ..... but there is a little ... flaw that I cannot come to terms with. I see contentment as a good baseline to build on. It symbolise stability, which is a great foundation to strive for improvements. Attaining a state of contentment does not mean we should stop striving for a better future. Doing so is being complacent. Note that this sounds like a SG government rhetoric but I do agree. My problem with them is their differing vision from mine and their choice of route to achieve that. It's nothing personal. That, and reaching for greater heights for our families and ourselves are separate issues.

The fine line between contentment and complacency is blur, thus we have to be aware of where we are standing on. Status quo is not risk-free, simply because change is inevitable and constant. Be honest to yourself. Do you realistically foresee a future better than your past 10 years in Singapore? Hiding in our comfort zones is actually subjecting ourselves to the biggest risks. By exposing ourselves to risk, we are mitigating the risks to the comfort zone itself. So when life strikes us hard, we don't have to say "That's the way the cookie crumbles." At least we tried. If we try hard enough, we can withstand a few hits. The cookie does not have to crumble. One noise I keep repeatedly hear about leaving the cradle is, "Such a big change is so risky, so scary." I'll tell you what is more scary than risk. Regret.

Risks have opportunity costs but do not conveniently dismiss the fact that regrets have opportunity costs too. There may be no valid reason to migrate but by trying, Judy will eventually return to Singapore with no regret from not trying. Having experiencing the wisdom of it first hand, she'll be a better mother, better wife, a good example, a better leader to guide her children and encourage them to pursue their dreams, to test their limits. 

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