Wednesday, March 23, 2005

SG Sitrep 01.

Folks who know me in real life are commenting that I have not updated the blog for a while now. It has been about a week since the last blog entry. The truth is there is not much progress to update about since last week.

On the jobhunt front: still nothing. I am pretty much totally demoralised by the whole exercise - target of 1000 resumes notwithstanding. There exists one tiny glimmer of hope. A not well-advertised position has opened up in the field I work in, with a company that I have had dealings in the past, to be recruited by a person I have worked with previously, the manpower budget has been approved, and the list of interview shortlist candidates is being finalised at this point. And since this is a very niche field, the international company would be hiring for jobskill fit over the lowest-cost commodity war that I generally face in this employment market. If I can make the shortlist and wriggle a first interview, I estimate a fair chance at the job. But it is still very early in the game.

If this opportunity does not pan out, I am so very tempted to say the heck with it all and just bugger off to Australia. D. was just telling me she overheard a conversation at her church about a new graduate from Perth returning to a year-long unemployment in Singapore, and subsequently giving up on Singapore employment (and residency), and is currently making plans to try her luck in Melbourne.

On the visa front: no progress either. After some research and a lot of reading material comprising of long boring application forms and application requirements and application processes, it becomes quite obvious that even if D. gets her technical certification (of which she is taking night classes for currently), the lack of post-certification work experience will render the newly-acquired certification irrelevant to helping her get the visa.

So we are back to where we started. Using her current work skills, she would be short of the required 120 points for independent skilled migration - granted that she can clear the non-trivial hurdle of skills certification. Or if we decide to go the partner migration route, we would be hindered by the lack of a ready sponsor for the Assurance of Support (AoS). And it is an unacceptable risk to have the long-drawn paperwork-inundated partner migration visa process fail at that last stage if we are unable to produce a (supposedly discretionary) AoS sponsorship.

These two issues are an abundant source of stress and irregular sleep cycles for me. AcidFlask suggested the adjective liminal in the comments to the last post. I can think of a few more adjectives: Limbo. No man's land. Purgatory. Abyss. Never-never land. Phase transition. Point of inflection. Undefined. Divided by zero.

From the emotional standpoint, D. and I are trying to accept the possibility that we may have to spend some time apart. She does not wish for me to delay my plans to relocate (since there is not much else holding me back in Singapore now). Conversely it would not be fair to her to curtail and abandon her educational goals which she has been pursuing in Singapore for some years now, and walk away from a stable career here, especially when she does not even have a visa which can allow her to work in Australia.

As D. puts the positive spin on it: having me relocate and settle in first would benefit her adjusting when she relocates subsquently since the finicky day-to-day issues (e.g. acccomodations, transport, telecommunications, internet access, banking, medicare application, etc) would be already addressed by then.

I think she is handling the possibility of significant time apart in a much more mature and adult manner than I am. The child in me not wanting to be away from my best friend and soulmate is still short-circuiting any attempt to deal with this in an rational adult manner.


On a lighter note. Would like to point out a couple things that irritate me when discussing emigration either online or in real life.

People need to distinguish the difference between immigration and emigration. The general term is migration which describes the movement of people or animals from place to place. But you emigrate FROM a place, and you are an immigrant TO a place. Example: You emigrate from Singapore and become an Australian immigrant.

We can discuss Singapore immigration policies encouraging people to come into Singapore. However if you are in Singapore, you cannot immigrate from Singapore. You would be emigrating from Singapore, and immigrating into a destination country.

So the next time you read / hear of someone using the term immigration or immigrating when talking about moving out of Singapore - correct them gently for me, will you?

The other thorn in my side is when people discuss of becoming a "second-class citizen". This is one of those fuzzy poorly defined terms. It is like PM Lee's "Singapore Elite" or the SDP's "the New Poor" or MM Lee's "Traditional Asian Values". Everybody just throws these terms around without defining them. And without a common understanding of what the term means, there is really no way to have a constructive discussion about it. All that is left is propaganda and emotional appeal.

The vague "second-class citizen" point is always one of the first to be trotted out when discussing the arguments against emigration. But the term itself is already questionable since permanent residents are not citizens technically.

We need to clarify what attributes it is that we are measuring. Is it the claim that immigrants are inferior to natives on when taxation is applied? Or when job opportunities are considered? Or the entry to social clubs? Or the entry to schools? Or in the civic process? Or in terms of police protection? And etc. Since it would be a ridiculous claim to say immigrants are inferior to native on all attributes, therefore we have to define exactly are the attributes which we are measuring here.

For example, I have in the previous posts Employment Discrimination and Follow the Money demonstrated that native male Singaporeans are already second-class (or worse) compared to foreign imports in the selection of manpower labour by cost-sensitive private-sector employers.

Another example would be in the comments of Administrative Citizenship where JRTKK suggests that in the sphere of social identity - as defined by language (accent), culture and habits, first-generation migrants will always be excluded from the "inner circle". I assume by "inner circle" he means the elite levels of government and business and social celebrity gatherings.

So the next time you hear someone trot out the tired old line about how the Singaporeans immigrating to other countries becoming second-class citizens.. be aware that the person may not have given the issue sufficient thought to warrant your participation in a drawn-out discussion on the matter.


Blogger A.Ball.of.Yarn said...

immigrate...emigrate...the pairing's always gives me a headache.

March 24, 2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

Just associate 'Immigrant' with 'Incoming' having the same inital letter. The other one is just opposite.

March 24, 2005 10:04 AM  

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