Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Wednesday April 4th 2018

55-year-old Malay Singaporean move to Brunei 5 years ago and not coming back

Each year more than 10,000 Singaporeans move abroad either for study or work purposes causing a serious brain drain back home. Many cite a more relaxed lifestyle and lower cost of living as the two main reasons for doing so.

The hassle over our CPF retirement funds also cause many to seriously consider giving up their citizenship so that they can cash out their CPF money for their golden years.

We interviewed J – a Malay Singaporean who has moved to Brunei almost five years ago and the family intends to stay on permanently if possible.

Transitioning: Describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification, work experience, etc.

J: My name is J. I’m 55 years old now. I’m not highly educated but only managed to complete GCE ‘O’ Level with 3 credits. Started working at the age of 18 in a big and rich company in Singapore. I studied bookkeeping and accounting while working and managed to work in the Accounts Dept in this company for 16 years and earned quite good salary.

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

J: I am now living in Brunei Darussalam with my wife. Brunei is a peaceful country governed by a caring King, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and the people of Brunei are very nice. Its a little bit back dated though, with kampong style of environment. I’ve been here for almost 5 years already.

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

J: There’s not much adjustment actually because the people in Brunei are just like the people in Singapore. The main occupants are Malays and Chinese and there are other immigrants like the Indian, Indonesian and Filipino. I can say there’s less stress in Brunei. I have no regrets seriously.

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

J: My wife and I loved staying here so much. We intend to stay here permanently.

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

J: By living abroad we learned to appreciate other peoples’ customs, beliefs and practices.

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

J: We have no difficulties finding job here because I set up a company and employs the locals.

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

J: Yes we want to stay here permanently if given the chance.

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

J: We move out of Singapore to find a cheaper place to stay. Living in Singapore is very expensive, with new rules in every now and then, especially that CPF thing.

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

J: For those who want to migrate, please do a study in every aspect.

Transitioning: Any last words from you?

J: Even if you hate Singapore, please do not give up your citizenship easily. Think over and over again. Be a PR is just as good. So if have any problem at least you can turn back to be “mama” son.

Thank you and end of interview.

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