Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Monday April 2nd 2018

Singaporean Malay PMET relocated to Batam but continues to work in Singapore

Many Singaporeans travel almost monthly to Batam for a short weekend break but so far not many have ever considered living in Batam and works in Singapore due to the expensive one-hour ferry return tickets and other teething factors.

Each return ferry trip costs an average of $45 but with the availability of the $180 month-long unlimited travel season ticket, those who envisage living overseas but needs to work back home has another choiced location to consider now.

Of course, nothing beats living in JB as its a stone throw away but the traffic jam through two customs will take up more than two hours of daily commute during the peak hours. Ferry ride has no crowd and one breezes through the custom both ways with minimal jam.

Batam is much affordable than Singapore in terms of the cost of living and rental can be as cheap as $300/month for a good-sized 2-bedroom condo facility. Household essentials can be half the cost of Singapore and entertainment is readily available with new fashionable shopping malls located at Nagoya and Batam Centre.

As Batam only has a population of less than a million, not many places are crowded like in Singapore.

We caught up with Anas – a thirty-something Malay graduate who chose to live in Batam but continue working in Singapore.

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

I’m Anas, Singaporean Malay with a bachelor degree and have been working for about 11 years.

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

I’m currently living in Batam and I commute every day to Singapore to work. Reason its close to Singapore for me to work in Singapore. Also I prefer the pace of life in Batam. Not everyone is in a hurry. Cost of living is also a factor for me to choose Batam as my new home.

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

Just had to get used to the local norms and idiosyncrasies of the local people. As for now I have no regrets

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

We are coping well. And I see no future plans to live in Singapore.

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

That I need not rush and get impatient over the slightest things and to treat people with respect.

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

I’m still working in Singapore but I’m not living in Singapore. I commute daily to and from Batam.

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

I prefer to settle permanently in my new home.

What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?

Racial and religious intolerance in Singapore is getting out of hand. The latest Presidential Elections added insult to injury making the Malays the butt of every joke.

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

Learn to adapt to the local customs and norms quickly and not the other way as we are guests (refugees) seeking a better life.

Any last words from you?

Singaporeans say that Singapore is safe and that is the reason why they are hesitant to leave. However I beg to differ. There are crimes in Singapore, its just not published in the newspapers. Even in Singapore at night we avoid certain places such as Geylang. Its no different in every country.

My advice to Singaporeans is that Singapore is not the only country in the world to stay in. If everyone is complaining do something about it. Leave if you can’t stand the high cost of living and stressful environment you are in.

Complaining is counter-productive and have adverse negative effects on yourself.

Thanks and end of interview

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