Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Monday April 8th 2019

Singaporean with two kids migrated to Blue Mountains because of husband


Describe a little about yourself e.g. name, citizenship history (if any), educational background, work experiences.

I am Singaporean female, born and bred. I’ll use my pre-married name MaryAnn Wee.

I have 2 Diplomas and along with my husband, a Degree holder, we moved to Sydney in 2012 Sept. I used to be in HR (managerial) and he used to be in IT – head of dept. We have 2 girls age almost 11 and 13 now.

We are in our early 50s.

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

MaryAnn Wee: We chose Blue Mountains.

We bought a business based here and decided to remain here.

We live in a nice suburb and the eldest is in high school and youngest is in primary school – both are in private Catholic schools.

What are the general challenges faced in living overseas? (Housing, Food, Languages, Culture, Weather, Discrimination, Transportation, Schools, Community, etc…)

MaryAnn Wee: The house is fine, we lived in landed previously so its not a huge deal.

Food ? Yes we found the food at the cafes/restos/food courts are more pricey so we eat out occasionally.

Culture? We are fine, we’ve assimilated well, we’ve made new local friends, we have a good network of friends through church and they are very welcoming..I think we’ve done our part too; we invite our new friends over, we are social and join in activities, the girls often have play-dates and sleepovers so we are good here. We do our part so people know that we are not inclusive.

We dislike summer, its too hot for us but you get used to it.

We dislike the fact that the mozzies bites are horrid, they itch for days!

We drive so not much of an issue but of course we miss all things convenient in Sg like the MRT/bus system.

We have breakdowns too but people don’t whinge as much as people back in Sg.

I miss local TV but hey, got to like new shows on My Kitchen Rules, Grand Designs, Masterchef etc.

The way things work are much slower, much like Oz is still stuck in the 90s with faxes still used.

Things that break down don’t get attended to as quickly.

People are more vacation-based, once hols are upon us, work stops real quickly. Tradies ( contractors ) are less trustworthy…we rely on referrals, you can get scammed more easily. Higher crime rate though.

Did your family moved with you and if so, how is your family coping? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?

MaryAnn Wee: It was hard, we had to make new friends but we managed and after about 6 months, life was pleasant.

I would go back in a heartbeat but my husband is happy here and we’ve made a home for ourselves and our family here.

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

MaryAnn Wee: We bought a business so would not know.

As business owners, we pay taxes/licences etc so yes, more restrictive here than doing business in Sg. All in all, its a profitable business so we should not complain.

Was the work culture similar or different than Singapore? Describe the working culture, expectations and conditions.

MaryAnn Wee: We found that life here is less brisk…the business culture is more laid back so not so great, if you are a go-getter or someone hungry for success!

Efficiency is better back home (I still call Sg home) but you have to cope and tolerate than life is more pleasant.

What precious lessons did you learn from living overseas?

MaryAnn Wee: To be stronger. Here, I learnt to drive, to do things myself, to cook, to keep my home tidy (how I miss having a maid) and clean.

To be a more hands-on parent.

To be more rounded and not just worry about the next new shiny thing! Kids are more sporty, do more outdoor activities.

The love of nature is real. We have lots of picturesque places to go to.

What are your reasons for wanting to move overseas to work, live, study and/or migrate?

MaryAnn Wee: My husband wanted to come; thinking life is easier here. I was happy in Sg.

At this point, would you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?

MaryAnn Wee: We’ll be here unless something happens to my hubby, I shall grab the girls and head home :)

What are your regrets till date and will you do it again if given a choice?

MaryAnn Wee: If I had know how hard it would be, I would have stayed put.

But a marriage is give and take so yes, I would do it again ie move.

What are your advice for Singaporeans aspiring to live, work, study or migrate overseas?

MaryAnn Wee: Research and talk to many people before you decide.

I think some refuse to go home based on ‘loss of face’ so they stick it out. Come for the right reasons, its not easy and it affects your kids as well.

I do feel sad that our kids will lose their Sg culture but that’s the price we pay for migrating. We do try to visit every 2 years to keep in touch and not forget where we come from. Sg is our home, I say.

What could possibly compel you to permanently return to Singapore?

MaryAnn Wee: If my husband gets a job there maybe…he is the reason I am here.

Any last words from you?

MaryAnn Wee:I will hold the Sg flag high…I am proud of all her achievements and I love my country and never fail to say proudly where I am from. I feel sad on 9th Aug and I miss CNY season very much. Hopefully people will not see as any different to the ones back home, we are just 7 hours away. Engage us too!

Thank you and end of interview

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