Friday, June 03, 2005

Deer in the Headlights.

[ This is my second attempt at this entry. The first attempt - written last night in the hour of the wolf - turned out so introspective, so whiny, and so self-indulgent that I would be embarrassed to inflict it on anyone but Mr Trashbin. ]

How can such a deceptively simple decision be yet so difficult?
  • The family has been informed that I intend to move in July/August.

  • D.'s family has also been informed, as a matter of courtesy. I would not want them to think that she is being abandoned here while I go on an indefinite walkabout.

  • I have no tangible assets, no job, minimal material possessions here preventing me from leaving.

  • D. is unhappy that we will be apart but accepts that it is the best decision as I seem so dissatisfied here. We do not know if things will be better elsewhere, but at least I will have a chance to find out.

So. I should be preparing my resume for the Australia marketplace, searching for employment and accommodation hunting in Perth over the web, putting into order my administrative affairs here, borrowing money to buy my air ticket and starting to pack what little exists of my worldly possessions into shipping boxes.

In the last two weeks, I have done exactly nothing.

I have lost approximately 5% of body weight, slept all sort of strange hours, spent nights (and days) in broken feverish sleep, lost track of days at a time, stared at the ceiling for hours on end in the dead of night in the throes of insomnia, agonised over my decisions, had long and multiple discussions with D. over the matter, second-guessed myself constantly, had huge fickle-minded arguments with myself, etcetera and etcetera. You get the idea.

But I have not moved a single iota since I last blogged on the approaching crossroads (on the emigration issue).


The head says go. The heart.. well, the heart is cowering someplace in fear behind the stomach or the spleen or somewhere.

This is highly unusual behaviour from a person who used to be prepared to travel at the drop of a hat (or a word from the employer). Flying into a strange city to fix an badly articulated customer problem on 24 hours' notice and do not come back till you fix the problem? The routine does not faze me in the least. (See my comments on my first trip to London). Two weeks assignment to Hong Kong or Guangzhou? No problem, just give me 48 hours' notice. Six months in Sydney? Okay, just give me a week's notice.

However this impending move terrifies me in a fashion because there is no 'problem' to fix and no 'home' to return to. And no support structure nor resources to fall back on should (and when) things go wrong. No money. No job. No place to stay. No social support structure. And no D. beside me. So you will excuse me if you see me quivering in trepidation, hiding in the furthest and darkest corner of my mind.

D. is still holding out hope that I can find decent-paying IT work here that will allow me to be at her side until she is ready to move together with me. (I have an interview lined up next week.) As for me, I do not know what to hope for anymore in this fog of uncertainty.

I just know that I need to stop behaving like a deer paralysed in the headlights of an oncoming train. And to do something.

Problem is: To do what?


Blogger Tym said...

Courage! We all need it. I'm contemplating an imminent job change without leaving the country, and that already gives me the jitters. If we ever get around to actually setting in motion plans like yours, I can only imagine the intensity of inertia that will set in.

Maybe, if you too sat in bed watching as much of The O.C. as I have in the last forty-eight hours, you would likewise be alarmed at how rapidly your mind is turning to goop, and then you'd be inspired to get out and do something already.

June 04, 2005 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

Here is a song that may accompany you at this moment : One Day Remains by AlterBridge.

Check out these Alter Bridge lyrics at

And as your will is bent and broken
And every vision has been cast into the wind
As your courage crashes down before your eyes
Don’t lay down and die ............

Go forth to where you think is best for you and not for others.


June 04, 2005 3:09 PM  
Blogger adinahaes said...

I do sympathize. Been through bad phases like that too.

You could try TV and junk food. Or you could try going for a run/swim/workout.That's something that helps to snap me out of my inertia and gets my head working again.

What I've often found is that once I faced up to doing whatever it was I usually didn't turn out as terribly as I thought. Sometimes, in our panic, we just blow things up.

Whatever you do, Singapore is always going to be there as a backup option. You haven't burnt your bridges by giving up your citizenship and there is no reason you can't come back in the unlikely event that things do not go well.

Take care.

June 04, 2005 6:35 PM  
Blogger sngck said...

When I read Dennis' answer to the first question of this story, I immediately thought of your recent entry. Hope it will spur you to do something.

Get real, Singapore

Weekend interview with racing ace Denis Lian

June 4, 2005

He won the Formula 2000 Asian Championship in 2002. Denis Lian, a manager with EuroSports Auto, was the first to approach the A1 Grand Prix organisers to host a leg of their inaugural series.

After negotiations broke down between A1 and Singapore last week to host a leg here, the 32-year-old talks to Ian De Cotta about the problems that dogged the proposed deal.

Q: Why do you think Singapore rejected hosting the A1 Grand Prix?

Dennis: I'm not condoning reckless decision-making. But I have to say the problem with us is that we over-analyse things. We were afraid to take the risk because A1 does not have a proven track record and there was a chance of failure.

Losing money is not really an issue, because Singapore can afford it. But there is a greater fear that if something fails, there will be a loss of "face" and that the person who "okayed" the decision would have his or her career at risk. We are just too cautious, too kiasu for our own good.

June 04, 2005 8:35 PM  
Blogger froZenZombie said...

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. — Ambrose Redmoon

I too am embarking on an enterprise to relocate myself.
My decision was made barely weeks ago.
I gave myself 2 years to do so.
I am few years older than you
I too have a S.O who would have trouble relocating/adapting/leaving
I too have doubts about my decision.

Stay the course...
You are not alone...

June 06, 2005 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell. Just pack your bags and go. You are so whiny. How can you possible amount to anything. Pui.

June 06, 2005 4:57 PM  
Blogger Lost In Transition said...

If you never leave, you will never know whether the grass was greener on the other side... life is never going to be easy, it's how you control your ride that counts... if you fail just come back, at least you know you gave it a shot

June 08, 2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

Thought you might be interested in reading Anthony's latest post at

He's just about to leave Singapore too.

June 08, 2005 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Tangawizi said...

Why wd u still consider where's 'home'? Home is where you make it, be it a suitcase, or under a roof, in a warm bed with D by your side. It's a state of mind.

Go to Popular Bookstore and buy a cartoon book on Zhuangzi Says... you need Taoist teachings to embrace change.

June 08, 2005 8:22 PM  
Anonymous tangawizi said...

'I am not sure it is so much the lack of structure but more of the confusion I currently face. Feeling pulled in all directions and torn apart like being a paper sailboat tossed into whirling eddies that form at the bottom of a waterfall.'

There's a taoist imagery of letting your life jump off the waterfall cliff and go with the flow of the whirling eddies...very apt description of what it feels like to embrace change

June 08, 2005 8:35 PM  
Blogger elin said...

I left SG 10 years ago - first as a student, then took the plunge and married to Oz, a marriage that didnt work out and could have potentially gone very wrong. But every step of the way, its about decision making and DECIDING & MAKING that decision WHOLEHEARTEDLY. It means that you take the consequences that come with your decisions and work with them. They may not be ideal, but you do you damnest to work with them until such time when they suit you. The trap is to make a decision full well knowing the consequences that follow, yet yearning for a different set of outcomes. From an (?) algorithm point of view, its like deciding on path A from the top and wanting the outcomes from path B down the line. Because if you do so, you will become caught up in a vicious cycle of (1) not being happy with where you are; (2) lacking the energy to change your situation because you are not happy; (3) sinking deeper into unhappiness; (4) having less energy to change things; (5) TRAPPED AND DEFEATED - not because it was doomed right from the start, but because it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since the beginning of your blog, there hasnt been a lack of thought and rationalization re your decision-making process (ie you didnt nilly-willy pack up and leave) and you and D seem to have made all provision possible to sustain a temporary long-distant relationship (LDR). Now I am not going to pretned that it will "all be alright" cos LDRs are notoriously difficult - I have been there done that and failed. But on the flipside of the coin, relationships in geographical proximity that appear otherwise "stable" also breakdown. I understand and respect your hesitancy re being temporary apart from D but I guess what I am saying is there has to be some sort of an acceptance of the situation before you can be at all effective in dealing with it. I also do understand (& I hope I am right) that the biggest drive behind your inertia is your hesistancy of leaving D behind temporarily - the longer you put off doing something, the lesser reality of the separation. Everything else - foreign environment, food, culture, language etc etc - I believe that although the impending change is confronting, its also challenging, not fearsome. I have been away for 10 years from SG and family and friends - the thing I miss most (& cant replace) is family and friends. Food - can cook. Language - can learn. Weather - can adapt. My sincerest apologies if I have come across as being rude, blunt, presumtuous about someone else's situation but just wanted to share a bit of my life. Good luck KOP & D - I have admired your thought process as I have observed it and I wish you the courage to change the things you can, the acceptance of the things that you cant, and wisdom to know the difference (something like that lah).

June 09, 2005 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I suggest 2 things - first, go look up some Australian-Singaporeans either through forum/mailing list, friendster etc. At least that way you will have someone to fall back on - not necessarily on the financial side but at least someone to talk to while you're there.
Second, look at your neighbor's/friend's foreign domestic helper. If you're scared imagine how they felt - coming to a foreign country and living in a house full of strangers, living according to their house rules - not knowing whether their employers are gonna be nice or abuse/rape them. And all of them are females with some as young as 19. If they can make it - so can you.

June 09, 2005 12:59 PM  
Anonymous lupiloop said...

Geographical change is not the answer to life’s problems. The secret, is some sort of self-transformation.

June 09, 2005 9:28 PM  

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