Sunday, February 13, 2005

Chinese New Year Rant.

I do not like Chinese New Year.

No, it is not the house cleaning, the gluttony, or the rushing around for visitations. It is not even the the customs, the traditions or even the archaic superstitions that once made sense long ago in an agriculture-based society but now are forlornly misplaced.

I can even handle the probing intrusive personal questions by relatives - provided they are for the purpose of superficial conversation. Or in the spirit of genuine desire to catch up with events over the last year.

It is the parochial responses to my answers that sting. It is like being judged and ranked and sentenced by some unknown yardstick of value - all within space of a 30 second conversation exchange.

There is this unspoken ranking system that gives points for the following:

  • education attained at highest level
  • career based on income bands and "prestige"
  • career based on job security and industry stability
  • HDB flat or private property type being leased
  • new car purchase (except "cheap" car brands)
  • marital status or impending marriage
  • children or grandchildren bred
  • exotic packaged holidays taken

Bonus points and penalty points assigned based on other material achievements. Any life decisions deviating from the script will result in extending interrogation to put down the offender in a display of moral indignation.

Or perhaps we can just dismiss my discontent to sour grapes. After all, I rank on this scale of worth very much lower than my younger siblings or my peers. I do not hold any post-graduate education, nor intend to pursue any in Singapore. I do not even hold a job currently, which makes income and job stability comparisons a moot point. I am neither a leaseholder on a HDB flat nor on any vehicle. I am not married and childfree by choice. I have not travelled anywhere exotic in the last year either. Sometimes I pity my relatives during Chinese New Year, as I sense their bewilderment while they try to figure out how low on their scale of worthiness I can sink to. And the misguided pity toward my parents for having produced such a good-for-nothing that can bring no "honor" to the family name.

At least I spent most of the first few days of this Chinese New Year covered in paint while putting two coats of it on the walls and ceilings of the SO's place. A barely-passable excuse to avoid nosy relatives busy playing the "my family is better than your family" game.

Guess I am getting more grouchy as the years go by. Very soon I will be snapping at people who ask me "how are you" because that is a downright stupid question when you come to think of it.

Last year's Chinese New Year was a lot more enjoyable. Apart from a couple phone calls back to family and to the SO, I was busy working in Sydney. And I celebrated by waking up early and watching the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean from the cliffs between Bondi and Tamarama.


There are currently three pressing issues for now that need to be addressed.

1. Get the SO the Australia PR visa.

This is the most restrictive obstacle currently faced.
The SO does not have enough points for an independent application, nor do we know anybody who can sign the DIMIA assurance of support (AoS) for a partner migration. Having the SO relocate on a short term (90-day) visa does not make any sense, and will only lead to complications further down the line. No long term visa means no move. For now. And I am facing the clock as the time on my visa is slowly ticking out.

2. Remain financially solvent.

I am currently so close to the edge due to recent escapades that it is not even funny. Virtually holding my breath because a heavy gust of wind could topple me over into the redzone. But still trying to keep my sense of humour. If you cannot laugh, you are as good as dead anyway.

3. Get a job.

For the money. Have been unemployed for quite a while now. Need to buy some time to work out issue 1, while addressing issue 2. Here is hoping the Singapore employment market wage levels have not been totally destroyed by the massive import of cheap foreign labour.

Wish me luck!


Blogger sngck said...

Problem number one can be easily solved by marrying the SO.

February 13, 2005 5:01 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

No it will not. Partner migration requires a signer for the assurance of support (AoS).

I do not meet the criteria to provide the AoS. Neither do we know anybody who can and would be willing to provide the AoS.

There is an annual taxable income requirement (for last 3 years) of A$32,485 - as assessed by the Australian Taxation Office records.

February 13, 2005 5:28 PM  
Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

Are you very sure that all your relatives are "judging" you that critically ?

Or maybe many are just being imbued with the concept that umemployed = failure (of something, might not eve be your fault in the case of retrenchment etc) = bad ; And Singaporeans are never trained to accept failure and bad things in stride. "Try Again" ; "Better Luck Next Time" has seldom been used.

Look at how many parents react to their children's test results, spelling scores, etc. Usual "Why didn't you study harder" respond says it all.

And when faced with your reply, they don't know and are not trained on how to respond in a graceful manner. They might be just feeling bad/sad/sorry for you, might not be that judgemental towards you.

But the moment of silence as they try to think of something to say, might be seen as putting a "score on your forehead".

But of course, I am sure there ARE relatives who are that materialistic.

In which case, I would recommend : just IGNORE.

February 13, 2005 5:32 PM  
Blogger sngck said...

Ack. Sorry I got mixed up.

But if your SO had been your spouse when you applied, then you won't need the AoS??

February 13, 2005 5:43 PM  
Blogger Calamity Man said...

damn man, you sure sound like me. it's scary being here on this spot. have to remind myself to have a laugh every now and then too. cannot afford to wallow in misery. have to inch forward no matter how slow.

February 13, 2005 7:08 PM  
Anonymous mrs budak said...

Seems that no one can escape the intrusive relative plague which makes its appearance every CNY. One thing good about blogging - you can rant all you want and have people commiserate with you.

*pat pat* Same-same about being judged. We have no car, no children, and live in some ulu HDB flat. We're not so much fed-up with the low opinion these relatives hold as being flabbergasted that our parents (okay my ILs) actually seem to agree with them.

The ironic thing is, we're probably having a better lifestyle than all the other "over-achieving" sons and daughters. No car - DING! No condo - DING! No children - DING DING!

budak has already told me that he intends to skip all CNY celebrations next year.

February 14, 2005 11:10 AM  
Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

I try as much as I can to believe that people are not so judgemental..

Haha.. For me :

Older than 30 and Single - DING !
No Girlfriend ? - DING DING !

I have been "trying" to escape CNY for a few years. Haven't really put my feet down and be firm. Always worried about my parents nagging me to death about following what everyone else does and losing tradition, etc..

February 14, 2005 10:40 PM  
Anonymous JT said...

Sorry but I'm newbie & a quitter soon.
Can I ask - Do I need AoS etc if I am the main applicant with my hubby tagging along as family unit?
Can someone confirm for me that the "stronger-with most points" be the main applicant, yeh?

Thanks, JT

February 14, 2005 10:47 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...


I am assuming you and husband are applying as a family unit under the Skilled Migration scheme. If so, the stronger applicant has to meet the minimum points requirement. There is also a +5 bonus if the other spouse can fulfil certain minimum criteria.

Drop me an email and I will be more than happy to share whatever information I may have.

February 14, 2005 11:07 PM  
Blogger Patricea Chow said...

You know they are judging you with disdain and contempt or even pity from the look in their eyes.

My paternal relatives could never figure out why I didn't choose a job that pays at least $3K a month, when I was the 1st of my cousins to take the usual route (pri > sec > JC > uni). Then I confused them further by moving out to stay on my own. Now, they don't know anything about my life! *yippee*

My mom still gets asked those probing questions and she's tired of trying to find answers. So I told her to tell them that "she's working as a stripper in an a-go-go bar in PatPong because it's good money. No, she doesnt have a boyfriend because she likes girls. But she does have a male lover who stupidly buys things for her because she gives him private lap dances."

My mom hasn't been able to do so because she still hasn't got over how I came up with this story. She's afraid the 'she likes girls' part is real...

February 15, 2005 11:43 AM  
Blogger Zen|th said...

It's a good thing I don't celebrate CNY because I'm not chinese. So all I do is visit people and get hong baos. Haha. =)

February 15, 2005 10:25 PM  

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