Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Subset, Not Sample III.

D. has left on a business trip, leaving strict instructions for me to "stay out of trouble". She will be back next week. So in the meantime: Whatever it is, I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it and you cannot prove anything!

Still sending out resumes but still no news. A piece of news from an employed friend that they were getting in a fresh engineering graduate to do some software testing work for the princely sum of S$1800 did nothing to cheer up my mood.


Blogging more thoughts about blogging. Is this metablogging?

That last chunk (and this post, generally) is written primarily for you. Yes - you. You, the blog reader now reading this. Why would I need to update day-to-day issues on a blog meant primarily for chronicling an emigration decision? [ Which is starting to look like it is going to be an emigration journey, but more on that some other time.. ]

For background, read my earlier entries on metablogging. Where I address concerns about my
obsession with emigration (the primary blog topic), and suggestions that I blog on a wider range of issues.

Was on the phone with
H. who knows me in real life. We were just chatting and the topic turned to this blog. Certainly got me paying attention (startled in horror, actually) when a fragment I heard went "your blog starting to sound like XX". Some the main comment points H. raised were:

  • There seems to be a small like-minded community forming around this blog - as evidenced by the comments.

  • That my blog entries acknowledge the readership. That my entries are starting to feel more polished (i.e. thought-out) and less spontaneous. That this blog is starting to be seem more shaped by the comments and emails from readers, than by my personal internal compass.

  • Undue care is taken to fact-check. That I tend to document facts and write more of the logic and the thought processes; and less of the emotional issues I am going through.

  • Danger of overwhelming positive reinforcement on the long term emigration go/stay decision, since the blog draws a biased sample of readers. The confirmation bias was first highlighted as a concern in Fragments 01.

  • My blog persona does not correspond totally with my real-life character. H. comments that I am a lot more "straightforwardly honest" on the blog. I am a lot more guarded (and mischievous) of expressing my thoughts in real life.

The statistics do seem to bear out the suggestion that there actually may exist a loose community around this blog. Of the tiny number of hits on this blog, around half seem to be repeat visitors as tracked by cookies. Not sure if my entries have become more restrained since I started blogging. I will leave the readers to comment on this. But yes, I now blog with the awareness that people actually actively read my entries. However I do not believe it has changed the nature (and honesty) of the entries significantly. Hopefully it will not either.

I treat this blog the same way I would a newsletter that I would put out, or a long post to a newsgroup or a email for a general distribution list. My preferred style of writing has always been with a expository reporting bias. Even way back in secondary school doing English composition, my teacher got frustrated trying to explain to me the difference between telling a story and writing a newspaper article. Can still hear her going "Reporting the details is not the same as shaping the story. You sound like a newspaper report all the time".

And I am also very careful with what I write because this blog is also intended as a chronicle of the journey I am on. Secondary to being a form of catharsis to help me clarify my thoughts by putting ideas down in words, purging them from running ever-tightening circles in my head. No matter how the next few years turn out, I want this record to be a true reflection of my thoughts and feeling at this point in time. Hence I avoid retrospectively modifying past entries, choosing to append new data via the comments instead.

As H. points out astutely, in a way this blog has become the journey. Not surprisingly since our thoughts shape our beliefs and guide our actions. And this blog was intended to be a record of the same thoughts that would preceed the actions.

I am also well aware that someday, there is a small possibility that somebody may (or may not) use this information somewhere down the line. Just like fragments of documentation from past emigrants have become a guide for me in my current quest. Hence as an amateur cartographer of this seldom-taken route in life, any care taken to details today may serve to save a lot of work for someone else later.

As for readers' comments affecting my emigration decision, I welcome them. A side effect of blogging is the availability of readers to double-check on my thought processes. Gadflies, devil's advocates and Socratic discourses especially welcome. But please do not take offense if I consider your feedback then discard, ignore or quietly integrate them without informing you. This emigration decision and journey is a totally personal one, and not privy to the consensus process. [ Not very different from the government policy-making process in Singapore, to think of it.. ]

As for the aspects of my real-world personality that are poorly manifested in this blog.. that is exactly why this series of posts are titled "Subset, Not Sample".

The rabble-rousing, trouble-making, annoying-as-hell, vodka-guzzling (can hear H. yelling "sip, not gulp!" here), getting-into-trouble, full-featured, in-your-face personality is reserved for you unlucky folks who know me in person. Blog readers would have to be satisfied with my more sedate thoughts on the narrow topic of Singapore emigration, and occasional glimpses of after-the-fact reports of events in my life. [ I have no interest in documenting all aspects of my life - or keeping a public "today I brush my teeth" weblog. ]

Pink elephants, cuddly bunnies and baby unicorns. Signing out.
[ Stole this signoff from someone off the YoungRepublic mailing list. ]


Blogger Patricea Chow said...

I am fascinated by mythical creatures such as unicorns, phoenix and fairies.

This was triggered by the last line, and has nothing to do with your entry but I felt the need to pen it down. Bizarre

April 06, 2005 3:39 PM  
Anonymous JT said...

KOP-I agree that the group may be a biased group - this is largely due to GroupThink.
Otherwise, why would we keep coming back to read your blog?(as tracked by your tracker).
I must say it has been informative & useful for one who is journeying Down Under & your thought process are somewhat similar to others (like myself) who are also going thru this stage in life.Keep it up!
On a separate note, I am rather perplexed today as SingPost cannot find my registered article which I gave to their Post Office last Wednesday!
This is a stumbling block cos it is the submission to get myself registered in Victoria before I do the Skills Assessment!
I am keeping my fingers crossed that they had successfully sent it out but had not updated their system.
Singpost's rep. seemed to be non-chalant about it - it appears to me that losing a RR article is "run of the mill".
Till I get their final confirmation of the loss, I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Super Sigh!

April 06, 2005 6:12 PM  
Blogger ldsdtsunami said...

I do agree that you're now writing with an audience in mind, albeit a small returning group of readers. However, no matter what decision you made, it's entirely yours alone but you now got us along for the your "journey"

And I do suffered "withdrawal" if I don't see your post regularly! hehehe Because i like your writing style and insights + comments from all readers.

Do I sound like worshipping on the ground u blog :P

For my migration quest up North (Macau - Las Vegas of Asia), V1 had been set for my wife & daughter and V2 is by end June this year. They are the advance parties while me trying to get there as soon as I can.

Migrating is really very very emotional for me as I need to deal with family here for their understanding, internal fear of the unknown etc

It is your blog that remind me that we're not alone. Objective is the same but execution can varies :)

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better” - King Whitney Jr.

Goodnite, Singapore
Wherever you are.

April 07, 2005 12:16 AM  
Blogger Jeff! Lim said...

oh, gimme a break!! a community forming around this blog? NO WAY!!! Right, u guys? ;P

But communities actually form around everything. Cant stop that.

April 07, 2005 1:42 AM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

JT, hope you have had success tracking down the status of your SingPost package? Keep us updated.

That is why all documents for the visa process go by FedEx, for me. It costs a lot more but FedEx is a lot more trustworthy.

The only time FedEx has let me down in the past was when I messed up on the customs documentation sending a package of electronics to Malaysia.

I shudder to think of having to redo the paperwork and certified true copies and god forbid, having to re-obtain originals like medicals or CNCC. The premium price to FedEx/DHL is worth the peace of mind, imho.

Thanks for the ego-boost from all your comments, folks!

April 07, 2005 7:13 AM  
Anonymous San said...

Thank you for leaving a comment on mine.
Is there a post where it says how you actually applied for the PR, thru a migration company/ agent or self? For me, its not a matter how yes or no, it's always been a matter of when and where (my D, what a coincidence :] is an aussie citizen). Somehow, this stupid thing called my life is such that in oct 04, we were given the concrete offer to stay or go together to Melb but I was not ready... (dammit).
Then in jan/ feb 05, I was given an offer to go myself to melb vs another job that meant I could stay here. Thus in wanting to be together and believing in the job that allowed me to stay in Spore, I gave up on the melb job and now she's found someone else, so I have nothing there.
I'm still waiting (impatiently and restlessly) on the job that requires me to stay in Singapore, if it works out, I won't need to be thinking of running away for awhile, if it doesn't then I'll be back to dreaming of wide open spaces and driving myself to nowhere. :\

April 07, 2005 1:36 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Handled the visa process myself. From the very beginning, all the way to the visa grant. Now trying to get a visa for the significant other, and wondering if it is worth outsourcing the hassle.

I am looking for work here too that will allow me to stay for a while. And trying not to get frustrated at the lack of success. Else the economic imperative might hasten my departure to chase my rainbows, despite the reasons to stay.

April 07, 2005 4:11 PM  
Blogger Shion said...

"That my blog entries acknowledge the readership. That my entries are starting to feel more polished (i.e. thought-out) and less spontaneous. That this blog is starting to be seem more shaped by the comments and emails from readers, than by my personal internal compass. "

I consciously remind myself that i must stay clear of the above mention when I started blogging.

But I know it's hard when suddenly you find yourself having an audience.

Am still trying very hard.

April 07, 2005 5:30 PM  
Anonymous San said...

If you are capable enough to successfully get a (skilled visa?) PR for yourself, won't it be better to try and apply for a visa for SO yourself. So if I understand correctly, she doesn't qualify for a spousal (fiancee/ de-facto) visa because you dont have an AOS? I think you already know who and where to check for info re the immigration process but would you like to communicate with my dh? He has prior experience with immigration to Aussie and still has friends in Perth who are doing it.
How long more do you have before you HAVE to go over, no matter what? I saw your v1 v2 but I dont really understand it; does it mean 2 yrs 5 mths 29 days before you have to?
I don't know how long your SO and you have been together (which is a rather important factor with ldr), but 3 years is hardly a lifetime in the big scheme of things if the worst comes to worst and you have to go over leaving her behind. It's incredibly hard of course, it even feels like death sometimes but its still manageable and at the end of the day, the rewards are worth every single damn second apart.
I am not speaking without personal experience. Himself and I had to deal with a 2 yr seperation after being together for 2 years when he had to go back to qualify for his next round of visa. To make things work, I didn't get a full time job and instead spent all my time working part-time and temp jobs to earn enough money to visit him whenever I could and we'd make an effort to speak every night. It was so much harder back then too; we survived without a pc, net, webcam or cheap/ free phonecalls over the net.

If I had a choice, I would still do it all over again because it inevitably managed to make our r/s stronger and prove to those stupid disbelievers that we/ I was true to us/ him (not that I really care one way or other what other people think, just some more personal info thrown in for you :). The only thing I'd change was to work even harder to save even more money.

April 08, 2005 12:07 AM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

san, thank you for sharing your situation. Please go ahead and point your DH to this blog. Would love to hear his views, especially from somebody who has been through the whole process.

Long distance relationships are really hard. No doubt about it. The six-month assignment I took in Sydney apart from D. only served to reinforce that belief.

However it is starting to look like I do not have much choice if I still cannot find work here in Singapore that pays a reasonable wage. The problem now is finding work (for money). If the employment situation here is so bad, I might be forced to try my luck alone in Australia first.

Still have over 4 years before my visa expires (2+ years to travel freely), so it is not the main constraint at the moment.

You mention him having to go back to qualify for his next round of visa, yet he is already a citizen. I assume that means he gave up his Singapore citizenship and is back working on an employment pass? *just curious*

And if I may be so bold to comment - I find it such a cruel twist to life that now you are ready to relocate, the employment situation with your DH makes you choose to have to stay. When those same forces were responsible for putting DH in Australia and you stuck here a few years ago..

April 08, 2005 2:01 AM  
Blogger elin said...

The fact that D. went away and left strict instructions to you to "stay out of trouble" says it all :). Blog whatever u like - its yours after all, based on you in reality (perhaps even more real than what people can know of you ever) - like an extra appendage on your skeleton. At least your English teacher had a thought-out comment on your writing - my memory of my English teachers, with the hindsight of my experiences today - is one fraught with the horror that those trying to teach it actually dont have a good grasp of the fabric of the language itself.

April 08, 2005 9:55 AM  

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