Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday October 4th 2019

Singaporean living in Vietnam returning home for better education for his 2 sons

Thanks for allowing us to interview you online Desmond please describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification and work experience.

Desmond: I am a polytechnic graduate in my mid fifties. Thirty-two years in the work force with 27 years in the construction industry.

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

Desmond: I am now back in Singapore. I was living in Vietnam for the past five years as my wife is a Vietnamese and the cost of living is lower. The country is very scenic and modernising at a very fast rate. I enjoy very much the wide variety of local food and the modern cafe.

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

Desmond: There are some issues that were very difficult to overcome for me during the earlier stage of my stay. First is the language. It is very foreign to me and not easy to pick up. The language barrier was a big headache that rendered me helpless at times. Suddenly, I found myself unable to buy the basic stuff at the local shops. I have to depend on my wife to do most of the correspondence and transactions with the local people which didn’t make me feel good at all.

Next is the traffic. It’s in a terrible mess as people don’t follow the traffic rules. There are endless motorcycles on the road and they ride in all directions. Being so used to our Singapore’s very systematic and orderly traffic system, I feel very stressful to drive or ride on the local roads. After almost 5yrs, I still hate the traffic conditions there.

Other sore issues are littering and singing karaoke. The locals have a bad habit of littering. In eateries, they would throw bones, food and tissue paper onto the floor. Leaving an unsightly mess for other patrons after them. The locals also like to sing karaoke in the open outside their houses and blasting the huge speakers late into the night. Even the police are afraid to confront these people and stop them from disturbing their neighbours. Coming from a clean and relatively quiet country, it is sometimes hard to bear with the selfishness.

Another issue that I find hard to accept is the regular tripping of the electrical power. Sometimes it happens in the middle of the night during the hot summer time and you can kiss your sleep good bye.

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

Desmond: I have two small boys with my Vietnamese wife. For the sake of the boys, we decided to come back to Singapore. Firstly, it is for their studies as we have a better educational system compare to Vietnam. Secondly, it is much safer in Singapore to bring up children in terms of better environment, hygienic food, better medical care and safer roads.

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

Desmond: I have learned more things in the 5years than my earlier 5 decades of life. I managed to get out of my comfort zone and step into the unknown. Stepping into the darkness was a very scary experience for me. I surprised myself by doing more than what I believed I could do and it built up my self confidence. I learned that in all difficulties, there are not just one but multiple solutions. Life in Singapore was pretty predictable but over there problems arise out of the blue and I have to think out of the box to find solutions to the different issues. It also forced me to change my mind set and look at things in a very different perspective. I learned to be more appreciative of the simple basic things in life which I used to take for granted while living in Singapore. I would definitely do it again if life is to repeat itself. It is always good to have breakthrough in our life and push ourselves to achieve a little more with every trials.

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

Desmond: It is definitely difficult for me to get a job in Vietnam as language is a big barrier. In Singapore is much easier as I already have the network of friends. In Vietnam, the best option for me is to start my own business with the support from my wife.

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

Desmond: Currently we are back in Singapore. We may go back to Vietnam one day. The option is always open. The only thing that is permanent is “change”. After the 5yrs of experience, I learned to be flexible and adapt to changes. Otherwise, I would driving myself crazy.

What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?

Desmond: To experience different cultures and enjoy the scenery. To have a slower pace of life.

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

Desmond: Don’t get depressed over uncertainty, changes and problems. There is not just one solution but many. It is never a dead end. We can overcome and we would overcome. You never know what you are capable of until you try. Step out of your comfort zone, change your mind set and challenge yourself to climb higher. You would be surprised by how far you can go. Self discovery is as exciting as discovering new interesting places. We have to be like little children again, curious about the world around us.

Any last words from you?

Desmond: Life is an adventure. Learn to take some risks. The rewards can be surprising. Live life to the fullest.

End of interview and thank you.

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