Thursday, March 10, 2005

Not Alone.

The effect of being linked by mrbrown is traffic. A lot of traffic. Approximately ten times the regular amount of traffic that this little corner of the blogsphere usually gets. Thankfully after about 48 hours, traffic has died down to about twice the regular levels.

Like many other network engineers, one of the things I sometimes do for entertainment on slow days is to hook up a packet sniffer and just listen to the corporate TCP/IP traffic. [ Geek translation: Eavesdrop on computers. *Be aware that this practice is illegal by Singapore law without prior permission on certain public networks.* ]

So when the amount of traffic exploded on this blog, this unemployed bum naturally decided to take advantage of the free entertainment. Monitoring the website tracker to see where the readers are coming from, what browsers and OSes they use, what links they click on, how long they stay, and so forth. [ I can imagine the techies scrambling to delete cookies, flush caches, change IP leases, hack their HOSTS files and put in anti-spyware about right now. ]

And I have learned a few things from watching the traffic.

I have learned that this site is badly designed to encourage browsing. So for those of you wanting a quick lowdown on this blog, hit the questions below the image in the sidebar. For the full story, click on [[ All Posts Index ]] or on the image itself.


"When the going gets tough, Singaporeans want out."
- The Straits Times
article on emigration dated 4 April 2004

More importantly, I have realised that D. and I are not alone in considering to leave this place [ maybe for a while? maybe permanently? or maybe not at all? ]. We are in the minority definitely but not alone with these thoughts.

Following readers back via their referral links, I see so many personal posts by blog writers planning to emigrate. Some have already successfully relocated, some are in the process of investigating potential destinations, and others are still mulling over the potential of their futures in this land. I was originally going to compile and put up a list, but I feel I need to respect their privacy. Not everybody would appreciate being put up as an example of an emigrant to-be or emigrant in-progress. Emigration can be a very touchy issue indeed.

And all the comments and emails from both those who have already left for good and those still in the process of doing so have also been a very positive affirmation. It is good to know that even as ex-PM Goh and the national media brands and snubs us as "quitters" and "fair-weather Singaporeans", there are still fellow Singaporeans who share similar views with us and are quietly packing their bags.

*discussing migration*
D. : "I am scared."
Me: "I am scared too. Scared shitless."

The local media is of course another annoyance. Being bombarded day in day out with negative news about the most popular emigration destinations can really change your mind if you start believing what you read.

USA is full of drive-by shooting and druggies and homeless. Perth has firebomb-throwing anti-Chinese race nazis. Sydney is very expensive and full of the bigoted rich. Melbourne is full of racists and has no decent Chinese food. Malaysia is full of car-hijackers and thieves. Thailand is full of kidnappers of Chinese businessmen and gun-runners. Hong Kong and China are full of conmen and cheats and immigrants live in squalor. In every other place, the economy is going down the drain and new immigrants are going to end up jobless and broke and homeless.

OK. So I exaggerate a little. But just a little. This constant promotion of the Singapore-under-siege mentality is really annoying. I am sure some emigrants are successful. And some are not. And some return eventually for their own reasons. But it gets hard to find a balanced view when powerful nationalistic interests hold court.

So as a potential emigrant, I am confused. And scared. I am scared shitless. And worried since D. is stuck without a visa. And it is harder for us as we have neither family, relatives, nor even a social support structure for where we are going. We do not even know which city we will end up! I need some of that courage that my grandfather showed when he left that improvished nameless village in rural China to head south two generations ago. The courage born of desperation.

One thing I have to keep remembering:

  • If I choose to leave, I do not know what terrible fate might await me in some strange land.
  • If I choose to stay, I know exactly what economic fate awaits me here. And a pretty good idea of what to expect socially and politically as well.
[ How is that for a perverted form of Pascal's Wager? ]


I must make that decision for myself. And D. must make that decision for herself. And we need to make the decision and execute before V1.

But on the pragmatic front, we first have to raise the spare 500 dollars or so to start on D.'s skills assessment. Will need the skills assessment no matter which visa she ends up applying for.


Anonymous Trest said...

I've stumbled about this blog a week ago, and this blog never fails to impress me on such issues. Keep up the good work, KnightsOfPentacles.

Regarding your plan to migrate overseas, I think it's high time for you to start preparing for your journey abroad.

-Get a temporary job here.
-Save that money on necessities needed for that one-way ticket abroad.
-Get rid of the red tape as soon as possible. (This part needs patience, but nevertheless, you want to at least make that trip as smooth as possible).

I think the world belongs to no-one and everyone. One must not be confined to a place, like a Malay proverb, "Like a frog under a coconut shell". 'Cos sometimes one can only experiences life when they go through a certain journey, like this, IMO. Others might disagree. It depends on your outlook of life.

You might be scared stiff trying to get rid of that fear of the unknown. That is OK, so long you have done most research on your destination (e.g. the culture, the norms etc.). I think you've reasonably reached that phase already (the research phase). Once you had the knowledge, I think you can cope with living in your new destination.

But I think the one thing you need to hold true when migrating are your beliefs and values. Leave your bad traits and habits behind. That is the purpose of migration. To leave your bad habits in search of a better you. Hold true to who you are, and embrace who you are. While you may act like the new "locals" once you migrate, nothing changes about your skin type and your appearance. So keep the values that reflect your positive self, and embrace the positive values of the "locals". That is up for you to decide what values are positive.

Oh well, time to hide my IP. >-P

March 10, 2005 2:02 AM  
Anonymous mrs budak said...

You know, I don't know whether it's our culture or the way we were taught and brought up, I find that we tend to analyse things to death. By the time you make up your mind, it's too late.

I know of someone who made the move to Canada. She's a secretary and at that time, secretaries were in demand. So she and her husband went over. Had children, lived there happily.

After a while, the husband decided to return to Singapore so that the children can learn to "appreciate their roots". For 7 years, the children and the wife complained non-stop. Now they're back in Canada and all things are well again.

I don't think my friend is a graduate. All she knew was her qualifications would allow her to migrate, and so she did.

But us yuppies become so comfortable with our little achievements that we lose sight of the impending doom which comes as soon as we enter our forties. Right now, we're viewed as "young blood"; by the time we're in our 40s, we're regarded as "dead wood"! Government tells us we must be prepared to retrain and be happy to take up $900/month jobs! That's hardly enough to pay for 1) HDB mortgage, 2) insurance premiums, 3) daily subsistence. And we still have to contribute to the Minimum Sum so that we can withdraw it when we're 55.

Notice I didn't even mention children.

But when you're young, healthy and relatively carefree, who thinks about these things?

We derive comfort from familiar things and people, and we think that they will offer us protection when we need it. But reality is, most of the time, you're on your own.

Reading through the posts on Sammyboy, a common refrain is that one can make it if he is willing to adapt. Be open to opportunities, be street smart, do some research and lay some groundwork, and you probably can settle down well.

Settle down, not "be a millionaire". I think very few migrants think about striking it rich. Most of us just hope to have a better shot at life. I personally know people who made that shot and succeeded... not earning big bucks mind you, but turning their lifes around, pursuing their passions, or simply settling in well in their adopted country.

Fear - it's a natural reaction to danger. Uprooting and moving to a foreign land is dangerous and scary. But many have done that before us, and they made it. I think that ought to give some comfort and encouragement to the rest of us aspiring to do the same.

Now, if only I can qualify for the Aussie skilled migration...

March 10, 2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger TriplePeriod said...

"When the going gets tough, Singaporeans want out." - ST

Thats human nature. I hope they realise that most foreign talents come in for easier going. They get expat pay packet, subconsciously regarded by locals as "higher" beings even though at work place, most talk the walk better than walking the walk.

Ops. Who are we to comment? Who owns the papers? *silence* brown from Today?... nay... he'll never betray the pleasants.

On personal note with regard to emmigration. Its my personal view that most people are so stuck here that they think Singapore is the best place to live in. But when you look at most of them, do they seem happy? I don't see much joy around.

Most are complaining everyday about work, gahmen policies. But wait, they have a HDB flat, they can afford a car. They think they are secured, safe and they think they are comfortable. So end of the day, they think Singapore is definitely the best place to live in.

I will not say if anywhere is the best place to live. Its simply just what kind of environment, would truly enable you to fully satisfy how you would want to live your life. Important thing is to find happiness. You only live ONCE, no replay.

Well, this is a stereotype of the typical Canadian family that works 5 days(no insane hours mind you). Friday night, bring family sking, Sunday back to host BBQ for fellow Church members. They're not obsessed about making lotsa money like what we Asians do. But from what I observed, I guess thats due to their tax system. A doctor earns after-tax around CAD$70k, a bus driver earns after-tax around AD$50k(estimation from natives' mouths), so you can see there is a reason why they do not have to worry about money as at the end of the day. The average wage can easily buy a house in suburb and a car. Here, wage earners struggle to pay off a HDB which they will "own" for a period of time and "own" a car which has a maximum road lifespan of 20 years. And I wonder! Wonder where does our sense of security comes from... They(Canadians)... from my point of observation are definitely happy.

Some may argue, they are ang moh, we are Asians, hence different priories in life. Now, who sets the priority for MY life? Does it take a friend to set my life priority for me? If you look at them as equals, and you feel that life is what you want, what is the harm in trying to make it happen for yourself. I have never heard of a regretful emmigrant, simply because they know they made the decision themselves and hence contented enough to face whatever may come. So, I urge that, if you are already considering emmigration, try to at least explore the options that you have for yourself. Ignore the "Stayer or quiter" notion. Its a political format of how we used to taunt fellow school boys when we were younger "Eh... bo chee(no guts) to stay here ar? Har?"

And by the way, our Knight of Pentacle, after knowing your TCP/IP voyeur activities. Next time, to initiate conversation, YOU...come to my site instead. :p

March 10, 2005 3:14 PM  
Blogger True Flight said...

It is really not very scary to emigrate if you do the usual thing first -

go and work in that country for a few years,

and then, if you like the place, you emigrate permanently.

Especially if you work for a big MNC, the kind that sends people from place to place around the world quite often -

you would probably find that a lot of the paperwork is done for you; and the HR department helps you a lot in the transition.

March 10, 2005 5:10 PM  
Anonymous JT said...

hey, I've got good news to announce.
I have just received my IELTS Academic Results & overall of 8. It has been a wrenching 10 day wait for my results. With this now, I can move 1 notch up towards my mission. Next step, write to have my skills assessed before the final step of submission to DIMA.
Spore Serf has brought people like us together...each wanting a better life...out of this well...lets be brave, take the step and move on.
Thanks for listening.......

March 10, 2005 10:05 PM  
Anonymous jasmine said...

honestly, you won't know what it is like until you leave. my advice, tough it out. no matter how tough life is overseas, tough it out. don't be in a hurry to come back. but don't live there with rose-tinted glasses either. be aware of the different issues of where you want to go. see if you and your SO can deal with them (politics, std of living, to students/people already living there.) and then tough it out for at least 2 years. because you honestly haven't lived in a place until you have lived there for more than two years. and yes, its tough, its scary. but that's what growing up is.=jhuprincess

March 13, 2005 11:15 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Congratulations to jt!

jt original comment is found here.

March 14, 2005 3:33 AM  
Blogger flyer said...

Its not that bad. Singaporeans got to get tougher. Well said, Jasmine. Two years is a good period of time to know what's going on in the country.

I have been in NZ 10 years now. I do not have a degree, but I have a dream. That was my strongest driving force!

I do not have a job, I was a student in a flying academy. I did not managed to get into SIA because I was not good enough. I am a nobody's son, came from a unknown school, my father do not know anyone. He was just a machine operator. I was a private in the Army during NS, after serving out my reservist I was still a private. Because I was a sportsman. I have to take time off for the training, which was tougher than what I get in camp. But when I returned from training I was rewarded with the worst duties. I represent Singapore in a sport which won only gold medals in all the SEA Games, undefeated. That's how rewarding it was! I do not seek any special treatment but just fairness.

I love NZ from a holiday there and I told myself I must stay in NZ one day. I studied to be a commercial pilot which was what I want to do, I topped my class, and found myself a job there with a major airline after my course. Now I am in command of a big jet and part of the Lord of The Rings country and carrying their flag world wide!! All I had was a dream, no money, I might have some determination. Alot of wounds in my heart.

What I have been through serving the country in the best way I can, I got punished for it, I never asked to be rewarded. I do it for the love of it.

Do my job the best I can. I am not bright in school, but I take a bit of time to understand things, I get there. I was the original academic failure. Failed Chinese every year, was asked to stand outside the class and been told by my teachers that I am finished in life, I am not going to go anywhere. I will be holding a BIG pen next time, the BIG pen meaning the broom sweeping the floor!! I am only fit for a job as a cleaner.

As a private in the Army I washed the toilets, picked the leaves during area cleaning after my training which was 6 hours a day. I do that for 2 full years. If I am late back to camp I get charge, if I am late for my sports training they will tell my camp and they charge me!! This was tough! I have never been late! Not once and attended all the major overseas military training. Because I was able to pass my IPPT with flying colours I was given the toughes job to carry out, a job filled by a corporal. I did that all the way right into my reservist training. Still I was not due for a promotion. I left as a private. That's no matter to me. Do you know what I seek for?

I hold 10 aircraft type ratings and two helicopter types. I have both fixed and rotor wings. I instruct pilots to fly the most modern wide body aircraft in the world. What I am saying here is I am given the little respect from the people in the new country, I received RESPECT and FAIRNESS as a human being which I seek. This have got NOTHING to do with politics, its just the system they designed. Its the truth and its real.

I still pick leaves in my garden.

March 29, 2005 12:39 AM  
Anonymous jt said... all goes to show that only the cream in this place gets the cream of everything.
When we are nobody here, we can be somebody elsewhere.
Places that allow us to soar, dream our big dreams & maybe, sometimes fall - all without being ostracized further.
I too want to soar one day.

March 31, 2005 5:32 PM  

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