Tuesday, June 20, 2006

He Still Writes.

There was quite a bit I wanted to write passionately about. I have non-government-approved ideas and seditious opinions floating around in my head just waiting to burst out through my fingers. However having future free-passage through a certain island-state compels me to moderation. At least the last time I checked, crimethink was still not yet actively persecuted by law.

D. did raise a salient point - a point that I am surprised nobody noted before. Or perhaps readers are just too polite to bluntly point out the apparently glaring inconsistency. The pointed question was raised in response to my ranting on certain recent events and the publication in the island-state's media to clarify the official position on certain socio-economic issues. To paraphrase her:
If you are so determined to leave Singapore behind and build a better life in Australia, why are you still thinking so much about Singapore and having such strong views on issues that should no longer concern you?
The quiet question made me think and recheck my motivations. Obviously I have no desire to be some revolutionary or to challenge the political status quo (which is why I left in the first place). I do enjoy writing but that creative desire could as easily been vented writing fiction, or tinkering with electronics building niche trinkets of little commercial value.

So upon deeper introspection - with the help of a few beers... I am not afraid to recommend Pure Blonde - even if Australia thinks of it as a watery and tasteless girly beer. Life is just too short to be macho choking on harsh beers. And if the point is to get totally smashed, straight vodka does a much more efficient job..

Oh.. where was I? Oh.. yes, the beer-driven belly-gazing wallowing in why I insist on writing of my views on a artificial socio-economic construct that I profess to want to have less interaction with in the future. (Best write it down before I get too incoherent).

I continue writing about Singapore even after crossing the rubicon and even after I thought I would have stopped thinking about this topic because:
  • I am quite sure the choice to leave was the right decision at the decision point. However, I need to be reassured that the choice to leave was correct in retrospect. Almost having spent one cycle here and two years since my first concrete actions putting plans into motion, I believe I am in a happier position than if I had stayed. However belief is not fact. An objective (objective - as much as possible) analysis of the situation in Singapore versus the situation in Australia over time is required. Commitment to building a life here is one thing, but it is important to look at how things develop over time in the two lands in order to be able to confidently say to myself "looking back - that was the right thing to do".
  • My roots are in Singapore. No matter how far I travel physically or emotionally from that tiny island-state, my formative years in that environment have determined who I am today. Hence there is still a link (apart from family) to that physical location. However with the island being constantly "upgraded" it is matter of time before the last of the physical links with my past are erased.
  • The journey is just starting for D. and another close friend of mine. My continuing document of my journey helps to clarify thoughts in my head and allows me to better express those convictions in person. A few of the readers of this blog also happen to be headed in the same direction at various points in their emigration journey. No harm leaving trail markers and cautions for those headed the same way. Does not cost me much and might actually help somebody.
  • I personally enjoy writing even though I am far from a professional at it. And it is easiest to write about issues and events which are passionately close to heart. And writing about life here in Australia requires a reference point which readers can anchor comparisons and hopefully relate to. And one common denominator is Singapore.
  • And I am honest enough to say that I also write to feed my ego. To know that there are people out there who bother enough to spend a few minutes reading my crystalised thoughts on a niche matter. And writing (even in an ephemeral space like the internet blogsphere) is a cheap form of fame - having people remember you for hopefully having touched their lifes, no matter how briefly.
So there you have it. That is why I still write. And I think it is time for another beer.

Bit of trivia:
Tomorrow marks the winter solstice. Longest nights and shortest days marking mid-winter.


Anonymous ted said...

Oh cool, the first to comment. hehe. I am so juvenile.

Glad to read that you are continuing to write.

Reading your thoughts have sort of made me go into some thoughts about me and Singapore. A little bit of connudrum if you may. Although I have lived in Australia for nearly 4 years, I am now back in Singapore until July before I return to complete my studies.

The connudrum is that I am starting to feel comfortable in Singapore. As strange as it sounds I am feeling a little uncomfortable at that. Heh.

Alrighty I shall leave it at here for now. Maybe we correspond thrugh email later?

Meanwhile stay genki!

June 20, 2006 11:47 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I'm on the VERY beginnings of my migration journey, and coincidentally in Perth too. Well, right now, I do feel a little lost and retrospectively wondering if I have made the right decision. But I have set a goal, and I will want to achieve it. The rest will have to come later. Your posts really help in some ways, thanks.

June 21, 2006 12:35 AM  
Anonymous C said...

So in summation:
You can take the Singaporean out of Singapore, but you can't take the Singapore out of the Singaporean.

Scary isn't it? =D

June 21, 2006 5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you decide to go back to writing. I've enjoyed reading about your emigration journey to Australia. And I commend you for having the courage in making this very hard decision to leave Singapore.

I left Singapore in 1982. (I'm dating myself here.) Part of it by choice, the other by marriage to an American citizen. I have live in the US for 24 years now & became an American citizen in 2001. My decision to migrate via marriage has work out well for me and I've never regretted the decision to leave Singapore. In fact I've always wanted to get out of the tiny island and even if my marriage did not work out I told myself that I will never go back to Singapore. I'll make a life here in the US somehow. I have now live in the US the same amount of time that I'd lived in Singapore. So Singapore is becoming alien to me as the years go by. I still go back to Singapore to visit my siblings with whom I'm still very close to. But my life and home is here now in the US. The day will come when Singapore will be inconsequential when my Singapore siblings have all pass on. When that day comes chances of me stepping on Singapore soil will be nil. When my day of reckoning arrives I'll be buried/cremated in my adopted homeland here. BTW I'm still married to the same wonderful man and we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this July.

So yes, as an immigrant you can make it in another land if you want and have the desire to. Good luck and all the best.

June 21, 2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous AM said...

Been a long time reader of your site.

Iam in similar position to yours, in that I migrated to OZ, Melboune, 3 yrs ago. In the process, I did quit on a comfortable lifestyle in Singapre, my studies in NTU and most importantly my friends!!

Still contemplating whether oz is the place I want to be in. But the scary fact is I'm not a born Singaporean, but I did serve my NS. I beleive that should put me in a better position than the many foreign talents pharacuting into the society.

The point is if I feel pasionate about whats happening in Singapore, my adopted country, why cant you, a person born and bred there?
I strongly feel we do not need to justify our passions about Singapore to anybody!

Gd luck with your endeavours in this land!

June 21, 2006 9:14 AM  
Anonymous isitjustme said...

I hope you continue expressing your opinions about S'pore, that's why I read ur blog.

I started reading it last year, at a time when I had made the tough decision to leave S'pore with my foreign husband. He'd been here for 8 years and was getting really disillusioned with things here. I felt the same way, but was still agonising over my decision. Your blog detailing your move to Perth really inspired me to stick to my convictions and do what I thought was right. So, I'll be leaving in Sept with my husband, daughter and two dogs : )

June 21, 2006 12:37 PM  
Blogger crankyed said...

Tooheys is so much better IMO!

Your roots are in Singapore, but where is home now to you?

June 22, 2006 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Angelo said...

It's just normal to still "care" about the country where you grew up in. I know this since I'm a PR here in Singapore (originally from the Philippines - but already started applying for Australian migration).
It's just normal to keep updated with what's happening to the country where you grew up - partly to confirm that you did the right thing, but I think it's mostly coz most of your family, friends still live here and you would still want Singapore to improve on the things which drove you away. And another reason is that- deep down you still do care what happens to Singapore.

June 22, 2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Happy in Singapore said...

I guess, there never will be a "clear cut" right or wrong decision. There will always be the "give and take" portions.

The mental process for me is much tougher.

The fact that I have to give up a well-paying (though not that satisfying) job and security, is scary. Real scary.

But I guess my main reason was never economical, so no point in my comparison of market place, economy, etc.

What I want is more out of moving to OZ is social and psychological appeasement, which I hope will turn into satisfaction and happiness.

The other thing is my partner has fallen out of the graces of GLCs and Stat-boards. So he is now experiencing the bad forces of our market-place dynamics. I am hoping it will be better when we move to OZ.

I am also hoping that even if he is not earning more in OZ, he would be happier with the better environment.

June 23, 2006 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've followed your interesting blog for some time.

All I can say is that it's totally natural to keep thinking about the country of your birth, follow developments in the country and blog about it.

And that's because you're a FIRST generation migrant to Australia. So of course you've still have strong emotional links with Singapore. Your kids, if they grow up here, will have less or no attachment to Singapore.

I personally know Italian, Argentinian and Irish migrants who migrated to Perth, didn't feel comfortable at first, returned to their old countries, then realised that Australia was still better after all and CAME back. What a roundabout journey but hey, that's life.

At least their countries had no problems allowing them to go back. In Singapore's case, the authorities' attitude is pretty much "you're a quitter, don't return, we have PRCs and Indians to replace you".

June 23, 2006 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin Tan said...

Yes I agree with the previous anonymous poster. You, being first generation Singaporean, will find it very hard to totally not care about the country you are born in.

But your kids will be the ones that will have little ties to Singapore. And who knows, their grandchildren may even thank you softly, after you "moved on", for taking that decision to emigrate from Singapore.

June 30, 2006 7:01 PM  

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