Friday, January 2, 2009

what my emigrant friends said about s'pore

my friend chris and his wife del, together with their two young children, emigrated to australia and settled in melbourne in the 80s. today, they own a comfortable two-storey detached house in wantirna south, a suburb of melbourne. chris drives a camry and his wife has a honda accord. their two children have both graduated from melbourne university and they are now married and have their own homes in different suburbs of melbourne.

chris and del's last visit to singapore was made 15 years ago. this time they are back because one of chris' cousins' son is getting married. they would be here for about a month. during this one month, they would be making short trips to kuala lumpur and to ho chi minh city in vietnam.

they are very impressed with the improvements and changes singapore has made since their last visit in 1993. the covered walkways, multi-storey car-parks and 8-lane expressways are some of the structures singled out for mention.

now back as a visitor, he sees the government as very forward looking, anticipating problems and nipping them in the bud. he also gave credit to the town planning carried out in his country of birth. he likes the lush greenery that has been maintained throughout the country. he enjoyed his visits to the parks as well as to the kranji countryside.

in an email to me, he wrote:

we appreciated the car ride and the great drive through the farm, things we never thought that s'pore would have developed..

i was only reciprocating the warm hospitality extended to me whenever i visited melbourne. i remember on my last trip to melbourne, chris and del waited at melborne international for more than two hours - my delayed flight reached melbourne at around midnight and it took me more than an hour to clear immigration and customs. by the time, we reached chris' place - 50km from the airport - it was nearly 2.30 a.m.

4 comments:

Victor said...

I have heard many Singaporeans who emigrated some years ago having favourable comments about Singapore. On the other hand, there are a number of people, especially the younger Singaporeans, who would like to emigrate if given half the chance. I guess it's a case of "the grass always looks greener on the other side".

yg said...
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yg said...

victor, being a transient visitor is different from being a permanent resident. during a short stay, you may get impressed but if you stay long enough, you begin to realise that not all things are going that well. there is no perfect place; how much you enjoy a place depends on what you want out of life.
take my two daughters, for example. my elder girl likes it very much there (in australia) but my younger girl cannot wait to get back home (to s'pore).

nah said...

There are many reasons why people choose to emigrate. They probably had in their minds attractive lures such as cooler climate, cheaper housing, lower cost of living, wide open spaces and so on.
Take the case of this acquaintance of mine who migrated because he doesn’t want his son to do NS. To him, spending two and a half years in the army will derail his son of his career in life. He wants his son to have a better head start over others.
But there are cons of emigration. At a time when you most need the sight of the familiar faces of family and friends, you'll find yourself among virtual strangers - living in a strange land and feeling like a second-class citizen.