Saturday, 1 March 2008


Everyone in Singapore is on the lookout for the escapee who has been on the run for 3 days already. Posters of the escaped terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari are appearing everywhere. The police are searching every nook and cranny for the JI Militant who once plotted to crash a hijacked plane onto Changi Airport and bomb several American establishments in Singapore.

How he managed to slip out of prison and elude a massive manhunt remains a big question mark. We now know that he hates being locked up in his cell. Well, the pastures are definitely greener anywhere else beyond the lock-up.

We don't need to be a prisoner to know that. CH's best friend just returned from Korea after spending the last 3 months there with his Korean wife. He's going back there again for another 3 months. Perhaps life is better there but we're losing another talent. The government calls it brain drain.

Several years ago, my uncle sent his wife and two young kids to live in Adelaide in Australia. They have since settled nicely there. While my uncle continues to run his business here, his wife and kids live in a lovely house in the picturesque countryside, with a stream flowing nearby. His kids ride their bikes to the school nearby and his wife is now running a flourishing flower business.

My Malaysian partner has been in Melbourne, Australia since the beginning of this year to set up house and settle his kids into college. He's already so used to the tranquil life there, he's not looking forward to coming back to Malaysia next week to tend to his business. It's understandable really. The Aussie lifestyle is many folds better than in his hometown in Klang where crime rate is soaring and the currency is weakening.

One of my other trading partners based in Australia is not even an Aussie. He's a British who fell in love with the country and stayed behind, setting up a business and family. He loves the Sunshine Coast where he now lives and looks like an Aussie surfer boy. I don't think he'll ever get used to the dreary English weather again.

Our Sunday papers ran a story today about the lure of staying and working overseas. One young architect who's based in Australia exclaimed when asked if he would return to work in his homeland, Singapore, "You've got to be joking! I easily make 6 times as much here!"

He probably doesn't have to slog as hard too. Houses are more affordable, the air is fresh, produce is cheap and organic food is easily available. From what I've heard, the nightlife is rather exciting for the younger folks too. The lifestyle is simply unbeatable.

My dear friend Mother Hen moved to Oregon two years ago. Sure, she misses our local food and me (heh heh), but other than that, she's very happy to be away from our stressful environment, the allergens (her allergy kicks in whenever she's exposed to our dust and smog) and high cost of living. In her little quiet town in Bend, she wakes up to a scenic view of the snow covered peaks every morning. How cool is that?


Nick Phillips (15/03/1967 - 04/11/2022) said...

I've got this image of packing up all my belongings and moving to New Zealand. Both wifey and me love the place and besides, we're both also fed up with what's going on in this country.

I definitely can relate to your M'sian partner not wanting to come back here. If I was him, I'd feel the same way too.

Anonymous said...

I've been living in Perth for 23 years now. I do visit S'pore regularly as most of my families still live there. Will I ever go back to live there? I don't think so. My children are really happy here, everytime when we visit S'pore and they see how their cousins 'suffocate' in homeworks & private tuitions, they feel really lucky that they are not studying in S'pore. My two children have never attended a single day of private tuition, yet both of them are in gifted & talented programs, each play two musical instruments and a few sports. But most of all, they are happy & happy to go to school everyday, which I can't say the same about my nieces & nephews in S'pore. - ckl

The Real Mother Hen said...

Except taxes are killing me! hehe :)

In all seriousness, if I have a kid, I'll send my kid to school in Singapore though. The glory days of the US will be by-gone soon. Just look at NASA, which now employs mostly older folks, above 50 if I'm not wrong, as no younger scientists available. Kids here either drop out of high schools or go on doing drugs and killing one another.

(The beauty of the Singapore government is they realize this many years ago and have programs ready for the change. The US government fails to do that.)

Bend used to enjoy a low crime rate, but now with all the drugs available, kids have to steal, rob, kill, just to seek the next high, what a mess! Just the other day, a woman had her car taken at knife point at the bloody Costco in broad daylight! It basically woke the whole town up on how serious the issues have become. Yet with all the fundings being cut, the police force is shrinking faster than I can finish peeing.

Thomas Fredman said it best in his books... sadly, only a small percentage of Americans take his advice.

Man, did I just have a mouth diarrhea or what? :)

Ignore me! :)

Blur Ting said...

Hi Nick, it would be a nice (and good) change to live in NZ. I can myself packing and moving there too :-)

Blur Ting said...

Hi CKL - I do envy your kids. Some of my parents' closest friends moved to Australia many years ago. Their kids used to play with us when we were little but instead of going through the suffocating education system like us, they were educated in Australia and are today very accomplished individuals.

Several years ago, we visited some friends living in Brisbane. Their daughter (who's the same age as my older son) enjoyed school so much because half the learning was done outside the classrooms. My kids love nature and the outdoors alot and they were so envious.

I'm glad you've made a decision which turned out to be a wise one for you and your family :-)

Blur Ting said...

MH - I have my reservations about sending the kids to study in some parts of USA but I would never imagine a tranquil little place like Bend would deteriorate to such levels.

The Singapore education is highly efficient but I still think we need a more well-rounded education. Our kids are growing up into bookworms. Well, I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Anonymous said...

well..i did the opposite and went from the green pastures of Oregon to the bustling metropolis of JP!

mooiness said...

Having went from the Malaysian/Chinese education system to the one in Australia, I understand perfectly what CKL talks about with his kids.

There are many places in Asia more exciting than some parts of Australia, but to live here is definitely unbeatable. But then I'm biased.

However, moving away from one's roots is always difficult, especially when young kids are in tow.

Blur Ting said...

JY - You've experienced the best of both worlds. I'm sure you know the pros and cons of each place better than anyone else.

Blur Ting said...

Mooiness - I've read your blog for a long time now and even though the initial settling in period was tough for you, I can see you've adjusted very well and love living in Australia.

Besides, you're still young, well-educated and mobile, you can always flit from one exciting city to another anytime. You've got the best of all worlds!