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Sunday January 14th 2018

Singaporean renounced citizenship and became Australian citizen – why?

Transitioning is glad to have a Singaporean who renounced his citizenship and became a Australian citizen to share his migration journey with us. He is currently living in Melbourne with his family and has no intention of returning home.

Transitioning: Thanks alot Sioux for allowing us to interview you, can you describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification,  work experience.

Sioux: I am currently working in the shipping industry.

I hold a Bachelor degree in Business.

I have 15 years of work experience in Singapore and another 5 years’ experience working in Australia.. Within the first 2 years of working here, I got promoted twice and was placed in charge of the operation.

All my staff were white Australians – something unimaginable in Singapore. 

Transitioning: Where are you living now and why do you choose that location?

Sioux: I am living in Melbourne (Victoria) presently. It is the best place in Australia and we do not have any intention of moving to another state.

 I  have lived in Launceston (Tasmania) and Sydney (NSW) for about one year each. I have travelled to many other places in Australia; as far as Exxmouth (Western Australia), Darwin (Northern Territory), and Cairns (Queensland) to name a few but none comes close to Melbourne.

People are friendly in Melbourne and it is a multicultural place (more than 60 different nationalities) with great parks and vibrant scenes for the arts, music, sports and culture coupled with a great variety of food and shopping.  

Transitioning: Did you face any adjustment problem initially when you make the move? Any regrets so  far?

Sioux: In any new country/city there are always adjustment to make.

Mine involved mostly work matter.

Over in Australia, the tax is taken out of your salary monthly and at the end of tax year if you are lucky enough you get some money back.

There are lots of tax deductibles and rebates and knowing how to gett hem is important. This is something which I learnt along the way.

The typical Aussie work attitude is different. To say that Aussies are lazy is plain wrong and stereotyping. I have met many hard working ones here but still there are inherent differences.

Everyone goes on a first name basis at the work place and you do not have to fear your boss, Australians like to have input at work, they do not fear voicing out their opinion even if you are the boss.

They are really very safety-orientated and take it very seriously. They will hesitate to stop a job if they feel it may harm or hurt them or their fellow workers.

Economics is important to them but it is not everything.

Bullying at the work place is not tolerated (dont get me wrong it still happens) and if it does happen there are avenues for a worker to go and get help.

This is something which I feel is really missing in the Singaporean workforce.

A Singaporean boss can yell at you or even call you names yet no one says a thing.

Even the HR does not really support you, especially if you are a subordinate.

Discrimination is very evident in the office, at school, social gatherings, etc. The minority races, though they are citizens and have served national service, are often treated as 2nd class citizens in their own country.

In Australia, most people do not care where you are from, of course there are those who are xenophobic but once they get to know you that perception changes; you just become another friend to them – that is the big difference.

Initially, I came alone in order to secure employment before bringing my family over.

That was the best decision we made regarding migration because if you are without a job everything else cannot work as you cannot sustain your family and pay the bills.

 My wife and kids have a harder time to adjust because all of sudden we have to do everything ourselves (no domestic helper or parents to help).

Driving is a must and we have to adjust quickly to the roads, traffic and driver behaviour.

School has no tuckshop so you have to pack your own lunch, drop kids and pick them up, drive 20 minutes to send them for swimming or piano class, etc.

Unlike Singapore where you can just stroll down to a coffee shop at 11pm for a meal; Melbourne does not have that convenience – only Mcdonalds;KFC are 24 hours.

We also need to cook alot at home as buying food from outside can be really expensive.

No regrets so far, sometimes we wish our domestic helper could be with us but then my in laws do come over quite frequently and they have help us alot. 

Transitioning: How is the family coping currently? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?

Sioux: I have been here for almost 6 years now and my wife and kids for 4 years.

We have adjusted well to the Aussie way of life.

My wife just found a job after searching for 7 months.

The kids are happy at school and its wonderful to hear them say they enjoy school – they look forward to going to school.

They all also enjoy gardening, maintaining the garden by watering the lawn and pulling out weeds.

My wife and kids have no intention of moving back.

Transitioning: What precious lessons did you learn from living abroad? Will you do it again if given the choice?

  • Don’t take things for granted – not every place is like Singapore. Some places are better than Singapore and some are worse so count your blessings with what you have.

  • Do not aim for the 5C – no one cares what car you drive or where you live especially in Australia, they just want a happy lifestyle.

  • Learn to be hands on. -  there are so many things we do on our own now because calling a traddie (tradesman) to fix something can be very costly.

My wife and I decided that we do not want to bring our kids up in a stressful environment and where discrimitation is so evidential.

We rather be in a place where we can be accepted for who we are. This is our best decision so far – to move over to Australia.

Transitioning: Was it difficult to get jobs while staying abroad? Describe your job search experience and how different  it is from Singapore.

Sioux: In Australia it is not easy to get jobs.

I got mine after about 2 months but my wife took 7 months to find her job, everyone asked her for Australian work experience (this is where our governemet has failed in Singapore).

It is very hard when you search for work and no one is interested.

Over here it is about how good your network is and how many people you know – not whether you have attended the most prestigious university – in fact they are not too concerned with grades.

 As Australia is a continent of 20 million people it is not easy to gain trust and trust is an important commodity in the work place.

Interviews are harder in Australia, even preparing a resume is not easy- the criteria and information you include are totally different from Singapore.

They also take reference checks really seriously. They called our referees in Singapore and spoke to them for about 20 minutes at least!

For certain positions especially in public service, you will have to address a Key Selection Criteria.

Transitioning: Do you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?

Sioux: We will not return to Singapore. I am an Australian citizen now and my son was born here.

So Singapore is not an option as I do not want him to waste 2 years of his life in NS nor do I want to let my daughters get back to stressful schooling plus the heat.

We always find that work life balance is really missing in Singapore.

Though it’s preached in Singapore, it’s hardly practiced. I

I recalled once we went for a holiday and my wife’s boss insisted that she be within mobile phone range all the time and check her emails at least every two other days!

This does not happens in Australia as once you are on leave you just turn the mobile phone off.

We have  a wonderful worklife balance and would not trade that for anything else.

Transitioning: What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas? 

Sioux: There is no real meritocracy in Singapore, it is just a sentence in the pledge.

The majority race tends to keep the minorities like Malays and Indians below them.

There is subtle racism in Singapore and it is very evident in the Army and especially when one is applying for jobs.

We were really upset when there is always the need for Mandarin speaking workers – this is very evident in the job advertisements in our newspapers.

Although my wife and I speak fluent Mandarin and we applied for jobs, when they knew about our race the door is shut!

I also think it is very wrong of employers to stipulate the requirement of date of birth/race/photograph in a job application.

Although I cite racism as a major factor for leaving Singapore, I would like to emphasise that most of the friends who have helped and supported us in our migration journey have been our Chinese friends – unfortunately our own race have shunned us and some are even jealous of us.

We also want more freedom for our kids and want them to be thinkers not just bookworm scholars.

Our education system has yet to produce any great minds or inventors. Great minds change the world and make it a better place whereas scholars just pay their dues and look after their own sel f interest.

 We were appalled by the fact that the opposition is always being sued if they said something against the government.

Recently, we read the news that the AGC attorney general wants to seek compensation of about $10000 from a cleaner earning about $600 a month, where is the justice in that and who will speak for the under priviledged!

We want a more open government but this will not happen in Singapore – not in our lifetime any way.

Transitioning: What are your advice for those Singaporean migrants who have newly move abroad?

Sioux: Migration is not for everyone.

It is really hard and the first five years are really crucial,

I can say it now because I know what my family has gone through. If you find it hard just hang in there and you will enjoy the fruits later.

Make sure you do good research of the city/suburb you want to live in before you buy a house.

Easy access to highways will save alot of travel time.

Schools should not be too far away from your home as it will definitely put a strain espeically its a daily affair of getting the kids ready for school.

Nearby sopping malls and food centres will ensure that you do not have to drive all the way to the city.

Do not moan that the new country is racist.

Every country has its fair share of ignorant people. Instead celebrate the ones who are not racist.

 Do not complain about the way things are done and how poorly managed things are and how Singapore is better, just take things in your stride and go with the flow.

 In the long run, you will find that you are a happier person elsewhere.

Assimilate with the grater society, after all you are a migrant in their country.

Do not say the Aussies/ Canadians or people in your new country are racist just because you still want to hang on to the Singaporean mentality and way of life.

Transitioning: Any last words from you?

Sioux: Thank you for letting me share my experience, before the internet age this would never had been possible.

I hope it will be of some help to others thinking of migrating although not everyone will agree with me on certain points mentioned.



End of interview and thank you.


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Reader Feedback

8 Responses to “Singaporean renounced citizenship and became Australian citizen – why?”

  1. oute says:

    Maybe Singaporeans would convert to other citizenship can write more of the problems faced in Singapore. This will hopefully lead to the Civil Servants changing their mindset about helping the local Singaporeans.


  2. perth says:

    I’ve lived in perth, was, for amlost 7 years until recently and I can say in 100% confidence that caucasian aussie men are racist towards Asians (Asian men in particular).

  3. jj@39 says:

    I remember when i was send by CDAC to study NTC3 course at redhill SDC. The school manager praised S’pore as a better country than Australia when he over heard trainees condemning PAP, CDC & CDAC and praising Australia.If everything is exactly like what Sioux said then S’pore really sucks comparing with Australia.

    I don’t think that civil servants will drastically change their mindset about helping our local Singaporeans as long as PAP is in power. Unless they lose another few more GRC to WP or other opposition parties in 2016.

    In S’pore here, LKY, PAP, NTUC & associates will tell you what they want you to believe. If you don’t believe & disagree with them, you will be label as a troublemarker.

    How many of us here really believe that the Our Singapore Conversation rolled out by PAP is to prove that they will listen to the citizens & rectify all the wrong-doings & mis-management issues?


  4. Oz dreamer says:

    Congrats Sioux. U have initiated the most significant step in life for yourself and for your loved ones. U and your family are indeed the blessed ones.

    I have consistently drummed into the mindset of my two kids to try and secure themselves an Aussie PR when they are older and financially independent. Hopefully, they can sponsor this poor dad over to retire happily in Oz.

    Kids are brainwashed in SG schools to believe that SG is “the world’s best”. So I use real life examples to contradict the lies. Look at those frail old folks clearing dishes at the hawker centres and working as cleaners in housing blocks, those well educated adults working as taxi drivers, those jam packed trains and buses with so many alien faces and the list goes on. Does all these realities of life in SG correspond with what you were told in schools. Think hard and deep about it.

    I may not have grab the opportunity to make Oz my home but I want to make sure my kids don’t miss the boat. Cheers.

  5. Sal says:

    Melbourne is only 8 hours flight from S’pore, with the current budget airline and many flights …its quite affordable and fast to hope a plane to Spore incase of any emergency. Sioux, you have made a good decision and importantly you and family are happy there.

  6. Donmuthusamy says:

    Congrats and all the best in your new found home.

  7. Linda says:

    My husband, 2 kids and I has been in Melbourne for over a year now. Love it! We are not likely going back to Singapore unless for holidays/visiting families.

    Racism happens everywhere but it is more obvious in Singapore even in the subtlest way. I embrace the fact that it’s not about money and prestige here in Melbourne. Work life balance is the key.

    Like what Sioux said, migration is not for everyone. It’s going to be tough at first but you just have to stick it out.

  8. Ronald says:

    Well done Sioux for making your transition a success story.

    I have been living in Perth for 20 years now. The first 2 years was tough until I got myself a proper job but I have gone from strength to strength since then.

    The propaganda put forward by the Singapore government is strong. A lot of people still believe that they cannot function without the current ruling party! What’s more concerning is that there is absolutely no transparency in their dealings.

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