The beginning

Posted: May 7, 2009 by fievel in Labels: ,

Fievel is not my real name. Fievel is the mouse in my childhood's favorite cartoon, An American Tail, a story about a young Russian mouse on his way to America, a land he thinks is without cats. Just thought it to be real smart-ass to play the pun.

I started this blog to document my constant thoughts on leaving Singapore, as well as my possible move to the States by the end of this year.

A bit of background...

My family was from Malaysia but we migrated to Singapore when I was in Primary 3 for three reasons. First was for a better income. Blue-collars earned more in Singapore than in Malaysia 20 years ago as is still the case now. Second reason was my dad didn't want to live as a second class citizen in his own country anymore. Third was for my receiving a better education in Singapore.

I was actually separated from my parents from Primary 1 to 3, as they first moved out here while I stayed behind with my relatives in Malaysia. The day when I finally moved to Singapore was possibly the happiest day in my childhood memories. Saying this really adds a ton of irony to this whole endeavor of leaving at the golden age of 30.

My parents toiled really long hours and we stayed in a one room rental hdb flat - meaning a studio apartment but not to be mistaken with the modern day parquet floored studio apartments, it was a shithole. I was a kid, I was happy nonetheless. I liked to play badminton, and asking for any new gadget such as a badminton racket back then meant I had to achieve something such as scoring As for my exams. This "study hard and you will get what you want" thinking was drilled into me. Eventually, I got into RI, and my "Singapore Cheese" started to curdle.

Fast forward to 2009.

I am 30, I have an Engineering degree from NTU, and after trying really hard to switch into Finance after getting blindsided by the lousy engineering career prospects in Singapore, I had about 2 good years of income as a banker behind me. As a bachelor I was not qualified to purchase HDBs, and I couldn't afford the expensive condominium driven up by our free-for-all open door policy to FTs. Disclaimer - I am not against FT policy, but I think we have a problem when we turn a blind eye to our inflation figures and focus entirely on gross GDP. Going back to the job front, I had a professional disagreement with a newly appointed FT boss (who doesn't even know how to use MS Excel but that's besides the point i guess in measuring one's talent) and hence I had to leave and am currently unemployed. I am getting married with my fiancee this year, and we are staring at the sky high HDB prices whose valuations have mysteriously stayed up despite the recession, and I am thinking, no I am not going to fall into this endless rat race. If I pay the current HDB prices, I will be like going to the next level of the Singapore rat race. It's called the you-can-never-catch-me level.

An aunt of mine commited suicide 2 years ago. Why? Because she had developed a medical condition which might require heavy medical fees which she didn't think her family was capable of affording. Depression took her for a month before she took herself. I wonder why world's best paid politicians have yet to devise the world's best welfare system to take care of the lower income families. My entire family still mourns quietly till today, but I want to rant. Why are there so many foreign students given a better tertiary tuition package (subsidized tuition + monthly allowance) in Singapore? My aunt's kids could have used that money. It would have made their situation a whole lot easier. But alas, it is too late. Oh and don't say the foreign students are better academically, because there will be countless counters Singaporeans can come up with like the usuals; we served NS, we should be run like a country and not like a corporate yadayada. Countless overseas Singaporean students who were earlier rejected by local universities are later approached by our govt to return to Singapore.... WHY?

My Singapore Cheese has gotten so far away from me this time I am thinking of not going after it anymore.