In this interview, we featured Nicole – a 32-year-old female PMET who has just returned to Singapore after a work stint in the middle east and faces a torrid time adjusting to the maddening crowd and lack of personal space.
Transitioning: Describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification, work experience.
Nicole: I am in my 30s, and like most Singaporeans, I completed a diploma locally. As it was very competitive to enter a university here, I further my studies in Australia after working a couple of years.
Transitioning: Where are you living now and why do you choose that location?
Nicole: I live in Singapore now, just relocated from overseas assignment after many years. I decided to move back as I thought home has made tremendously improvements in terms of work, wages, welfare etc.
Transitioning: Did you face any adjustment problem initially when you make the move? Any regrets so far?
Nicole: As I am hardly home in Singapore for the last 8 years, I faced the reality here that Singapore is not quite the same as before. I feel it is very difficult to get a suitable job or even a job especially when you passed the ‘matured age’ of 30. Also I feel the stress of the high cost in Singapore; you can easily spend at least 10 dollars for a meal. The train is always packed at all times. Driving is also stressful and the ERP are not cheap, you even pay when you are driving home. If you add up all this little expenses, our cost of living are actually very high if you are not getting home a comfortable salary of at least $3 K.
Transitioning: How is the family coping currently? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?
Nicole: I am not married yet so ultimately it is my choice to make the life I want and where I want to be.
Transitioning: What precious lessons did you learn from living abroad? Will you do it again if given the choice?
Nicole: Living abroad has its pros and cons. I reckon most people will feel lonely as they are away from their family and friends at home. For me, I enjoyed my time overseas, I feel more appreciated and talented too. I made many good friends from all walks of life and different nationalities. There is always something to learn, and you become very independent and strong. You will also tend to compare more when you have been exposed to many things in life. Yes, I will move overseas again.
Transitioning: Was it difficult to get jobs while staying abroad? Describe your job search experience and how different it is from Singapore.
Nicole: Yes definitely, it always more difficult to get job if you are a foreigner in any country. The country will look out for its own people first. I am lucky that I was first recruited in Singapore and based overseas.
Transitioning: Do you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?
Nicole: It is an individual preference. I reckon I will move out of Singapore when an opportunity arises.
Transitioning: What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?
Nicole: I see no future here at all. It is always the same old thing since growing up here. You work to make ends meet. And if you don’t make it to the top, perhaps one day, I may end up driving a cab (I have this thought by the way) or cleaning the toilets.
There is nothing wrong with those jobs, but apparently, your value drops as you get older. There is also no work life balance here. Singapore is too crowded and it is hard to find a place without people, and there is not much nature around.
It is just too dense here. The list continues…what else is left for us?
Transitioning: What are your advice for those Singaporean migrants who have newly move abroad?
Nicole: Start a brand new life and forget about Singapore, move on and create the dreams that you always wanted, I am sure this is the reason why you have decided to migrate. So don’t look back and don’t compare yourself with the locals there. Then return to Singapore as a foreigner holidaying and feel first class.
Transitioning: Any last words from you?
Nicole: Stay positive. I believe in God. Singapore will get its retribution if it continues to grow greedy. We are so tiny; don’t think too highly of ourselves. We are nothing at all and we are part of Malaysia. We don’t exist in the first place and this country belongs to Malaya. Singapore please grows within our limits and don’t overdo it. Why do we need two casinos in the first place?
End of interview and thank you.
Editor’s Note: The writer has recently found a job and is coping well.