THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

Singaporean in Australia: The grass is not always greener here

Posted by temasektimes on August 31, 2012

I am not sure how long these people have stayed in Australia to be able to make such comments. I have been in Australia for 14 years and these are my observations.

FTs in Singapore contribute to society but over here, we are letting in so-called asylum seekers who do little to contribute to society but instead form their own cliques in different suburbs. If you compare the FTs in Singapore and Australia, they are both the same in that they do not try to integrate. So the situation is not unique in Singapore.

Centerlink payments are still made even if you do not actively look for a job. All is required is a charade that shows you are looking for a job. There are a million and one people rorting the system. And for those of us who work and are middle income in Australia, we are supporting at least 3 jobless bums. Think of all the teenage mums over here that insist on having more children but does not want to work. They know they get paid for being a cow.

As for workers over here, tell me which worker would like to work harder or smarter? At the end of the day, people over here know that they have an almost iron rice bowl, due to the unfair dismissal laws. If you start a business, hires someone who is crap at their work, you can’t sack them. You have to first warn them (1 year) then if they do not improve, manage them, meaning teach them how to improve and give them time to improve (1 year) and then re-assess again (1 year). By then the damage is already done. What are you going to do about someone who is now entrenched in your company but is still a crap performer? Carry on paying them to do a poor job?

What about the minimum wage? Does that not create a greater imposition on the employer? How about penalty rates? Or annual increments? Do we care if the company fails here? Well, we do because we lose our jobs, but hey, so long as it is trading, people will still demand their increment, even if the company is losing money.

Over here, people have no respect for the law. How often have there been reports of police, ambulance or other essential services people being assaulted. How safe do you feel to go out alone at night in Kings Cross, Richmond or Northbridge?

Singapore may have its faults but tell me which country doesn’t. Do I regret leaving Singapore? In some ways I do. For the safety and security, the excellent education system (though very pressurizing), the cheap food, government subsidized housing and believe it or not, NS. I don’t regret leaving for a better quality of life, fresh air and working conditions.

But seriously, can we have our cake and eat it too? Be thankful that the PAP is pro-active, compared to the government over here, which is re-active. In Singapore, roads are built to lead to housing estates. Here housing estates are built first, then think about building the roads.

Having said all that, I have come to accept Australia’s faults and failings and try not to compare it with other countries as I think we can do a lot worse, even compared with Singapore.

To those thinking that by moving here you could do a lot better, I say good luck to you. The grass is not always greener elsewhere. Just because you have come from Singapore does not mean you are entitled to anything. Coming over would now mean that you are the FT that is taking away Aussie jobs. Welcome to the Singapore FTs’ shoes.

KENNETH

*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.

75 Responses to “Singaporean in Australia: The grass is not always greener here”

  1. Gong! said

    Australia! What a first class country to live in!

  2. Red Crow said

    I just can’t stand it when someone who has already left the country now says, “in some way I do regret [leaving Singapore.]” If you like Singapore so much, then come back and stop barking about it.

  3. Singapuraboi said

    For someone who has turned his back on Singapore and lived in Australia for so many years and not really enjoying things there, then why don’t u come home and make a difference here instead of just talking. Ur experience and insight would be valuable.

    Some people just don’t get it. The govt keeps talking about labour shortages and the excellent performance of FTs but if that is the case there should be more than enough work to go around. Yet we have grads who can’t find work, we have people in the prime of their career losing jobs and having to resort to driving taxis. Now with so many FTs in Singapore why is it that our MRT syst keeps breaking down and even the new circle line has broken down at least a couple of times? When the locals were in charge there was hardly any such notorious breakdowns. Why r we so tolerable of the short comings of foreigners and not of our own engineers? Go figure that. And with lax immigration policies, why isn’t SBS hiring more bus drivers? The bus service is getting from bad to worse. The wait is longer and the travelling time longer and road accident toll higher.yhe quality of FTs we let in is akin to those freeloading asylum seekers in Australia. Here they lookers given the veneer of respectability as a co-contributor to society but in real fact do far less than the locals. Just u watch the very people who r now singing praises of FTs will not be doing so should the govt change their tune or if there is a new chane of govt. We have bred quite a lot of social parasites, locals included (referring to the opposition MPs in parliament).

    • WALKING ZOMBIES said

      He likes talking cheap. He dare not to renounce his OZ passport. He jolly well knows that. No freedom of expression left alone freedom of speech.

  4. lyv2dy said

    A quitter from Singapore bad mouthing his adopted country of choice of 14 years……what an ingrate FT in Australia. Being away from Singapore for so long, can you really appreciate the negatively changes that has taken place here for the last 10 years? Are you therefore in a position to post such comments? If you regret leaving than what is stopping you from returning? Because you answered it yourself……Australia offers you ‘a better quality of life, fresh air and (good) working conditions’. Having enjoy the good Aussie life, now you are trying to discourage others from fleeing this island to what you yourself admitted is a better abode overall. What exactly is your point?

  5. Aus PR from S'pore said

    Whether grass is greener in Aus doesn’t matter, at least S’poreans who are Aus PR have a choice to stay or leave S’pore.
    How to explain currently there are 4 cities in Aus recently being in the list of top 10 world’s most liveable city? Where is S’pore in the list?
    S’pore has top the list of world’s most richest country lately. Do the lower and middle class people benefit from it?

  6. BK said

    There isnt a society nor an individual without a fault. I think the question is, what kind of society Singaporeans want. For a very good macro view, get a read from Yahoo News Singapore by ex GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong.

    FTs in Australia, particularly those with refugee status, is a reflection of Australians’ values of justice and big heartedness . FTs in Singapore is justified as economic impetus, GDP catalyst. The justifications invoke different sentiments. Australia is the 6th largest country at 7,700,000 sq km. Singapore is at 704 sq km. A million more people in Australia vs a million more in Singapore create a totally different psychological social space.

    If Singapore was poor, the number of poor would be within rational comprehension. But as the richest country in the world, the number of “working poor” (Yeoh Lam Keong) dents our sense of equality. The minimum wage is not a penicillin for being rich but to alleviate the hardship of the poor.

    I think in fairness PAP has done well in the past vs other comparable political parties in the region. But their recent policy mishaps have eroded their cloak of invincibility leading to the repoliticisation (Chan Heng Chee) of the citizens. This process afforded and aided by the internet. Re-politicisation in our context is to reclaim the political space discouraged and inhibited by PAP.

    I dont see why citizens’ active inroads into policy discussions and taking politicians to task are viewed as anything but normal. Yes, there are some wayward and unacceptable vitriol spitting around, but within the context of a maturing citizenry, I applaud Singaporeans’ progress to reclaim their rightful place as active citizens..

  7. Amused said

    It’s true that FTs do not integrate in other parts of the world as well. However, what’s the % of FTs in Australia? I think that’s the difference.

  8. delacroix said

    like it or not….this is true…..world is round…issue & problem have 2 sides….
    depends on how we see it……Singapore. Aussie,..being FT & locals…all have their good & bad….move on…life goes on…be happy..

  9. I am looking to move there next year. Understand the situation as you said but in singapore, pay isn’t good and besides its 300k house 3rm hdb resale which I am eligible because my spouse is a foreigner. I am just looking for a better life and conditions. I don’t even know my children will excel or lose out in sg pressure cooker education system. Children need time to build good character and foundation.
    By the way, sg cars are 10x more expansive than Australia. Even petrol, Australia is cheaper.

    • Submitter69 said

      Australia is very suitable for lower and middle income people like yourself coz the state takes care of them. But the top or rich won’t go there becoz of the high taxes. In other words,the higher your status, the less attractive you will find Australia.

    • seorang said

      Sg education system pressure cooker…seems like won’t improve overnight. But let’s be optimistic! I have an aunt who migrated to Australia 40 years ago. I am 39. I visited her last year and she told me, she’s been in Australia longer than I’ve been on planet earth, and she told me that Australia is a good place to bring up children. She’s seen a lot, and I don’t think she has any reason to tell me lies.

  10. stupido said

    yes you are correct. but the grass is slightly greener for singaporeans for the type singaporeans want to eat. but the grass fed to the FTs in singapore is much greener than the grass fed to singaporeans.

    so thats why.

  11. Free Trolley said

    The grass is not greener on the other side? Come back to Singapore please.

    • Contradicting said

      Yes, to him grass in Aus not so green then why he still stay there?
      Anybody in Sgp stop him from coming back?

  12. ~ said

    I go to Northbridge all the time and its safe dude.. stop the scare campaign! Australia is obviously so much better than Singapore, in so many ways. And the majority of migrants here would agree with me.

    • ~ said

      Oh and if you’re not happy, go back to where you came from!

    • Patrick Leung said

      I have been living in Australia for 17 years, and I have no idea what the author is talking about: I live 5 mins away from Northbridge and it’s a very quiet, affluent residential suburb, and as safe as anywhere else. *Some* people have no respect for the law (as in any country) but for the most part, the *majority* of Australians are law-abiding and peaceable, hence the “light-touch” approach to policing (as opposed to the heavy-handed sentences dished out in Spore courts.)

      Looking at the job opportunities I’ve been given as well as the family-work balance, Spore is behind on all counts. When my children were born, my boss told me to take as much leave as I wanted, and they would get a contractor to cover my role in the short-term – I was already entitled to parental leave as well as annual leave, but I could take additional unpaid leave to spend more time with my baby if I wanted, with a guarantee I would have the same job to return to. How many young fathers can say the same of their employers in Spore?

      It’s not that easy to rort the system these days, either, and it is completely untrue that you cannot sack an incompetent worker if you (as the employer) can show cause for termination, and that you have given them opportunity to improve. This also works both ways: as the employee, you cannot be arbitrarily sacked by a crap boss if you are a good worker.

      Asylum seekers form a very small fraction of all the migrants who come to Australia to live and work, and most of them are held in internment camps while their cases are being processed, so it’s not like there’s truckloads of them being let loose into the streets. Most of the legitimate PRs have to go through a fairly stringent application process, including language skills and showing that they are able to support themselves when they arrive. Part of this is also meeting the immigration department’s jobs-in-demand requirements, so you are not going to get FT’s coming here to be maids or bus drivers (and hence no taking away of jobs from locals.)

      • PatriotGames said

        Hey dude ! Kenneth is seeing things from his own perspective. His economic situation may be vastly different from yours. Notice he did not mention what he’s doing for a living.

      • ~ said

        haha you sir, said all I wanted to say! but just am not bothered!
        thanks😀

      • i pity u said

        Not bothered becos you are stuck here cannot migrate elsewhere?

    • Submitter69 said

      I assume Northbridge is safer than Geylang ?
      Yes,Australia is much better than SG in many ways apart from their work attitude.

      • ~ said

        Haha it’s actually pretty safe, the media and news are always emphasizing on fights that happens once in a while and scare everyone.
        Have never actually been in geylang haha so no comment on that. Sorry 🙂

  13. KC said

    Sound like you have tried business in Auz but failed…so you are somewhat of a middle class that now try to work for a living. Singapore is bias for employers, it is the way they try to set up. Auz is to balance and depending on the government will be either pro emplyee (liberals) or pro workers (labour). Even when Auz is pro employers, they never indiscriminately import workers and artificially put the wages at a level that locals, who had not gotten that low living level from their birth, down to the levels of the third world countries around us. The US is suffering from cheap labour too with all of their imports from China but they are doing this overseas, not affecting people that are staying in their country. Singapore literally import cheap labour and tells all Singaporeans that this is a free market and they have to take it even if they do not like it. So clearly this is pro busness to the extreme and the reason behind it is that the government ministers then pay themselves million of dollars in pay and bonus base on others (i.e. the lower income groups’) suffuring. If you cannot see that, then I think you better go back to Singapore and run as a PAP candidate as you are very much in tune with their thinking.
    As for the asylum seekers, well it is the same as the Vietnamese boat people then. people complained but honestly, Australians are definitely more compassionate. They give them time. Why hasn’t Singapore taken any asylum seekers ? That is because Singapore government cannot bear anyone that is suffering. They simply do not care, even if Singaporeans are begging on the streets as long as the government gets what they want (they said that it is for the good of the people but the proportion is getting smaller as time goes on which is the reason why they are losing votes and will continue to do so). If you want a level playing field, why don’t all the Singaporean scrap NS and give the younger generation the 2 years of additional working eperience that the employers say they are getting from the FT’s of similar age. Is the government thinking of a solution ? No. They are basically telling Singaproeans to accpet whatever is thrown at you. Since you left 14 years ago, I think you are still stuck in the time warp of PAP cannot do any wrong mode. Look around you, it is changing rapidly and the young voices will prevail as they will become leaders one day, that is as long as the L empire do not carry on…

    • goobie said

      Just because someone gives another perspective doesn’t mean he’s supporting PAP dude.

      So you really want Singapore to take on the asylum seekers, yet you complain about FT.. what you want?

  14. Rubbish Chee said

    Spot On!!!!!!…please think twice if you think you can live happily ever after in a foreign land

  15. The Gardener said

    I still have premises in Kings Cross & Manly. I walk both streets with peace anytime of the day or night. I believe you are the one who hide yourself from the locals.

  16. Naivety said

    Hey Kenneth!

    That’s way I am staying put in Sinkapor & try to re-take Sinkapor back from the Wicked & Evil Pro-Alien Party come GE2016!

    As a 3rd Generation Sinkaporean, I’m not a coward like you to run away whenever you sense someting is wrong in your motherland, I will stay, persist, persevere & continue to fight for democracy, salvation & freedom of all native Sinkaporeans!

    • Work smart not hard said

      Migrating as a PR is not a running away coward, you still can vote wisely to fight and save your motherland, starting a new life in a foreign land is a brave act, it is a choice to choose the kind of lifestyle and the type of place you want to lead and settle in.

    • Actually most of the Singaporeans I know who have chosen to live elsewhere are the most rabidly patriotic people I’ve ever seen. It’s a pity that no one else notices.

    • Steve Lee said

      @Naivety. I agree with both @Worksmart and @Funhousediary. With the intolerable pressures now put to bear on hardworking, decent and well educated Singaporeans that are basically forcing us to look elsewhere, many are exploring the possibility of making a better life overseas for the sake of their children. Some might have lost hard earned PMET jobs to FTs. They might not wish to leave their homeland but like their great grandparents are forced to leave what they know well, are familiar with and love to venture forth to a new land. Fortunately, Singaporeans are generally very adaptable. They are well educated, possess work experience in multi national corporations, have a good work ethic and reputation and are used to the ways of visiting expatriates from all over the world. This makes them both desirable as migrants and able to thrive anywhere in the world. I wish any couragous Singaporean who chooses this route good luck.

  17. Sigh said

    The point is not for Singapore to emulate everything the “reference” country (in this case Australia) does to govern its people.

    While there are failings in how they dish out dole money or welfare, I’m sure we could use the idea but customise it to serve the Singaporean context.

    As a singaporean, i really prefer remaining here where my suport group is, Im just requesting for a different approach to running the country. That’s all. And I recognise that no one other country has a perfect method of governance but surely with a million dollar a year salary, you’d be expected to come up with more ingenious approaches to managing the citizens instead of falling back to archaic methods to improve productivity – in our case, forcing competition down our throats so that we have no choice by to “wake up” to work harder… And punish us severely when you don’t get your way?

    Come on… this is the best you guys can come up with?

  18. enough said

    this guy kenneth is obviously trying to scare singaporeans from moving over

    Australia today remains the only true socialist country in the world

    with free health care, and a host of social benefits for the less previliged

    Singapore is in a precarious position

    Just every neighbour is waiting to harm singapore if given the slightest opportunity

    Malaysia is the first to take advantage

    followed by Indonesia, thailand,,Brits, Americans , and a host of Europeans

    singapore is not like kuwait where uncle sam is willing to send in troops to rescue

    singaporean if we are invaded by Indonesia, Malaysia

    we do not have oil for uncle sam to scarifice a few GIs

    but we are very much like kuwait in all other aspects

    vulnerable,, and could collapse overnight

    what i am trying to say is for the short term , singapore is safe

    but in the long term, it is unknown as singapore is living on borrowed time

    Just imagine thailand or Malaysia create a canal across the northern tip of Malaysia or the southern tip

    of Thailand, Singapore would be a ghost city, shipping route is shorten by 2000 km

  19. enough said

    @naivety

    talk is cheap

    what have you done to take back singapore

    have you gone to jail under ISA

    have you took up the fight with PAP

    Have you started a revolution

    or are you planning in your quiet way to move mountains

    This regime has created an environment that every singaporean is for himself, every singaporean is a political coward

    every singaporean is looking for the trappings of materialism ,

    it is just like a frog under a coconut shell- a malay proverb, saperti katak di bawah tempurong

  20. shite said

    such a cliche singaporean. Never happy and always complain wherever you are. Learn to be happy with what you’ve got. At least you are not in poverty with no roof above your head. Loser.

  21. gr said

    What a load of utter and complete rubbish … I know singaporeans like u … and arabs and chinese … they hate labour laws because they want slaves. Minimum wage is bad … u try living on it … taking asylum seekers? personally I think u have a disregard for people who risk life and limb to seak a better life … u my friend are a truly lost singaporean who should just go back to singapore so u can continue to screw ur own people. Australians would rather take a grateful asylum seeker who will build a life here with us … not some idiot singaporean who is so blinkered about the “Glory” of the singapore way that they can come here and moan … oh and by the way, from you posts it does not seem like u want to integrate … Dont forget, This is Australia … U follow OUR ideals, leave ur silly singapore ones when u left that slave galley nation, or go back so we can have another hard working asylum seeker please … U ARE A WASTE OF SPACE, go home and and use ur post as part of ur CV and join the PAP!! Pathethic little singaporean from a country that has provided no real sense of justice, culture or morals to the world! U are just a human meat pot being ground down by ur masters … u are just to indoctrinated u cant even be happy when smell freedom … I see ur type, “Singapore so much better Lah, … ok here’s the ticket, now bugger off.

    • Independent said

      Poser. U r obviously a Singaporean, not an Australian. Try harder.

    • Julie Ong said

      Thank you very much Gr.

      I’m thrilled that you and hopefully most Australians believe in the ‘fair go’ for all. I can understand where Kenneth the writer of the article is coming from as I grew up under the rule of the authoritarian PAP. Having said that we are free to choose. Some people prefer the liberal democratic way of life (as I do) while others prefer the ‘control freak’ or authoritarian rule.

      Singapore is vastly different to Australia. We can follow some good Aussie ways, but we certainly cannot afford the easier and more relaxed lifestyle
      Australia offers. However, I would agree with you wholeheartedly that slave wages is a definite NO! Also, we can learn from the caring and humane ways that characterises Australia. And contrary to what many would have the world believe Australians are overall hardworking! Singaporeans should take a holiday in Australia and see and experience the real Australia themselves.

      Insularity and a false sense of superiority is possibly what some of the elites and rich in Singapore feel about themselves. I’m way out of sync in this regard with the sixty percent of Singaporeans who believe in the values of the ruling PAP government which fundamentally is money, money and more money! I sincerely hope that someday we’ll awaken to the notion that ‘We Live In A Community and Not Just An Economy’! All these high GDP talk is pretty worthless when you consider the human wreckage it brings along with it. A lower GDP with a happier populace is definitely far more preferable. And sustainable long term.

      If the Singapore government persist with this loser policy that is so unjust to it’s citizens as well as being unviable in the long run then we just have not seen the worst of it’s detrimental outcomes.

      Better mitigate the situation before it becomes too difficult or even impossible to resolve or control.

    • PinochioGilard said

      Fucking white trash talking cock ! A bunch of beach bums from down under who exploit their own environment to make a living ! How Pathetic can you be ! Seems of late Mother nature has caught with you heh ? Why come to this part of the world to look for jobs if your country is soooo good ?
      “And arabs and Chinese” You over-rated bunch of misplaced farmers & miners forget that your livelihood increasingly depend on this region. No serious person in this region gives a shit to your existence.

    • Steve Lee said

      @Gr. You’re full of crap yourself. You sound like a tree hugger. @Kenneth might have blinkers on and be a wee bit nostalgic for the Singapore he knew but he does make a few good points. Firstly with regard to the asylum seeker problem, even Prime Minister Julia Gillard has backtracked with regards to offshore processing of refugees.( the Nauru solution) The Liberals are however still pushing for the reinstatement of Temporary Protection Visas which worked in the past. This is to counter the failed policies of Kevin Rudd. Statistically too, there is a problem with the integration of refugees into the workforce. They often possess a poor command of the English language and lack marketable skills. The fact is not even Australia can solve all the problems in the world.

      You know as well as I do that there are generations of dole bludgers in Australia who choose not to work. Both the Libs as well as Labor acknowledge this and are attempting to address this problem through cutting payments, especially youth payments. Youth payments are often linked to the nescessity of having to attend classes and there are work for the dole programs in place. People on Newstart get much less than those on the age pension to discourage voluntary unemployment.

      There is again an acknowledged problem of those in the health care system and the ambulance service being assaulted by clients they are trying to help. Those perpetrating these violent acts are often either drunk or drug affected. The police on the other hand are well able to handle those who choose to arc up.

      Having said this however, there are many Aussies who strongly believe in hard work and a fair go and are decent people. What you make of your life in Australia will largely depend on what you put into the country.

  22. Yharyah said

    The grass is definitely not greener in Singapore, so all the foreign trash especially the pInoy get out of SG IMMEDIATELY!

  23. Patriot said

    I reckoned that you have been away from Singapore too long. Lets look from an employer’s perspective. We have very high biz cost. Rental, vehicles, payroll r the biggest headache. When u hire a local, he has very little skills but demand a lot. When u hire a FT, u’ve got a language and attitude problem although they r willing to learn because they dun have much choice. U talk of pro-active! They are all the same. Look at the jams in the trains n the roads. It’s unbearable because someone unleash the flood gates and we suddenly had 2/5 of the population who are foreigners. They may justify it but forgot to increase the capacity of amenities, facilities and infrastucture. When u ask them about the future, they ask u for your views and participation. Why dun they pay me the $ millions for ideas that they are paid to think of??? Australia have alrdy planned to increase their agricultural capacity in the long term while Singapore is still talking about babies.

  24. KomplainFairy said

    Gratitude and grace will not be amiss talking about your new home – you hv the choice to decide if you luv Oz or prefer Singapore. Guess the old axiom, nothing good to say, we sud consider clamping up. it is always emptor caveat what you buy into. Do not hv “leavers remorse” – be a great Aussie n contribute!

  25. The author makes several good and valid points. Migrants have always been and will always be the convenient scapegoat for the failings of various governments and institutions. Living in another country has its pros and cons. It all depends on what you can live with, and without.

    In the UK, there are benefits cheats everywhere. People in the middle classes are usually the worse off. They’re constantly hit with ever increasing taxes and rising costs, but aren’t eligible for tax breaks as they earn more than the set threshold. While the super rich squirrel money away in the many tax havens.

    And yes, it’s difficult, at times, very very difficult especially now we have a little girl. The wife and I have contemplated moving back to be with the natural support network of family and friends, and as the wife says emphatically, a maid. But we stuck with it and we’re better off having done it rather than giving up.

    The price we paid was high, but what we got in return was priceless. As an example, the wife got to spend more than a year with our daughter, something we would never be able to do in Singapore. And the benefit of having a parent nurturing and caring for a child, especially one so young is beyond anything we could have imagined. Plus the benefits of having the entire Europe at our doorstep is a huge benefit in itself, never mind that the entire EU economy seems to be going down the toilet. And we don’t have to tolerate the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ attitude that’s rife in Singapore.

    Ultimately, it’s all what you can live with. Despite the drawbacks of living in UK or Australia or (insert country name here), some people find it more bearable than living in Singapore. We have been called quitters (and worse) but who has the right to judge us? There will be many who don’t agree with us, and we don’t agree with many who choose to stay. But it’s ultimately our (and their) choice. We are unique in our decisions and situations and the only people who can say if it’s the right decision or not, is ultimately ourselves.

    • Yeah in that sense, Spore & Sporeans are unique in that anyone who migrates is seen as a quitter & likewise, anyone who shuns living abroad and comes back to Spore’s bosom is seen as a sort of a hero.

  26. Ron said

    Spore was the springboard for my international career. Its low tax regime enabled me to save lots of money. I made adjustments for my family in education matters. Today, I am much better off than if I had migrated away from Spore. And if one is in an interanational career that requires moving to different countries, then where is home? Even Spore was but a temporary stopover sometimes.

    So, to each his own. Migration is a big decision. But perhaps more can look at international careers and still use Spore as the home base.

  27. I’m a Sinkaporean & have lived in Uk, NZ & Auz. The thing is there is no heaven on Earth where everything is perfect. All countries have their pros & cons. Some countries have more pros than cons (??weatern countries) whilst other countries (??arab, african, etc countries) have more cons than pros. Singapore has a good reputation worldwide and I’m always proud to say I’m from Spore when people ask me. Overseas people admire it for its cleanliness (hence all the “get fined for littering & spitting” and “ban chewing-gum” jokes), good comparative public transport (although this comes at the expense of private car ownership), great infrastructure & roads and good law and order. Back in the 90s you could walk the streets at night and still be safe. I dont know what its like now with all the influx of the FTs. Back in 1990 the population was about 2.5 mil. Now its more than double that!! Like it or not, LKY built Spore up into a world class city, though some of his methods were very dubious. He could have easily screwed it up like a Mugabe, Suharto, Marcos, etc. Although I’m not living there now, I get the feeling that the son hasn’t quite got the same touch as the dad & as a result Spore is slipping and that’s a shame.

    • Charles Soon said

      The problem is that the son (LHL) & all his cohorts in the Cabinet can only see the $ sign that is economic growth. They don’t live in the heartlands, ride public transport during the day.They don’t sit in the coffee shops & listen to the sop stories about our neighbours. It’s not only the cabinet. I dare bet my last dollar that none of the civil servants above the rank of Director (or even Asst Directors) live in HDB estates. Yet these are the guys that formulate policies that affect the lives of Singaporeans. Letting in FTs………… I heard complaints about FTs as far as 5 years back.

      Like they say in Management books ………… MBWA ……….Management By Walking About.

      Live in the heartland for a while ……….. don’t just listen to the grassroots yes men.

  28. Charles Soon said

    Come back please & see how Singapore has changed. 14 years ago, the Government did not let in so many FTs. The FTs then were I guess not so obvious. Now they will outnumber Singaporeans in a matter of 5 to 8 years, if we don’t put a stop to them, regardless of whether the economy will not grow without them. What the use of our economy growing when a large percentage of our citizens do not benefit from the growth. The only guys who benefit are the Government ministers whose salaries are pegged to the median of the top 1000 professional & CEOs.

  29. jack said

    Australians are bloody racists and they really believe they are superior to Asians. Worse thing is, there are so many cases of Australians doing funny things to Asians in Australia eg drive car, shout at them and throw thhings at Asians,etc etc.

    No matter how wonderful a place, when the place you go to is like this, it is definitely shittier than Singapore. I think too many Singaporeans have NO PRIDE thats why continue to flock to Australia. STUPID.

    • so what said

      What you said may be happened in 1990s. Now more diversities in big cities like Syd and Melb.
      Can PRIDE be eaten in Sgp?

      • Dr.Arsch said

        Cronulla race riots broke out in 2005, not the 1990’s. And just prior to that there were riots in Macquaire Fields and Redfern as well. I’m not sure about other places like Perth and Adelaide, but in Australia, it’s the big city, Sydney which is the shithole. Drive by shootings are commonplace over there too. Which Sinkie in his right mind would leave behind the safety we have and settle there I wonder.

      • So what said

        Which group of migrants involved in 2005 riot? Middle East or Chinese? Was 2005 after 2001-911 incident?
        I came from the “shit hole” big city and I am planning to relocate there, may be I dun have a right mind.

    • LEE said

      U are a true SINGAPOREAN PATRIOT Jack. Yes Singapore is NUMBER 1. IDIOT.

    • Confessor said

      Totally agree with you.There is a new saying in Asia : 2 whites (aussies) is not equal to a Wong.

    • Steve Lee said

      @Dr Arsch. Sinkies who want to eat perhaps and those who want to drive their own car, not a taxi. As of 2011, 26% of the Australian population were born overseas and over 1 in 5 had at least one overseas born parent so things are changing. @Jack. I think Singaporeans who have the skill and the temerity to venture forth are courageous, not stupid. By your definition, our great grandparents who left China and India and the FTs who come to Singapore today to face resistance from Singaporeans have no PRIDE and are STUPID too. I think it is just sad that Singapore has no hinterland and no resources we could make use of to make life easier for all Singaporeans. However, Singaporeans are by and large well educated, have a drive to succeed and if they choose to do so, are well able to successfully make a new life for themselves and their families anywhere in the world including Australia. The Singapore government itself is encouraging Singaporeans to work and invest in the surrounding region because it knows that we are too small to maintain a closed economy. To those who eventually decide to sink roots overseas, I say good luck.

  30. dolphin81 said

    I am not saying Aussieland is paradise. Problem is that if u are on the weak side in Sinkieland, u are as good as dead & there is little chance of making any comeback.

    Anyway thanks for ur info on ur experiences in Aussieland.

  31. joker said

    pay and pay article la

  32. Mr tab said

    This fellow is one of those losers that did not make it in Australia. I think he better jump off the bridge.

    This is my 4th year in Australia, and I am doing better then I was in Singapore. Won’t be coming back man!

  33. Let's have some perspective on this said

    The author ( if he is really a legitimate contributor, and not a ‘plant’ for a vested interest ) has lived in Australia for 14 years so should have a good ‘feel’ for our way of life. I have lived here for longer and I would like to correct some points in his post that I think are not entirely correct.

    The article points mainly to faults which are a result of administrative or bureaucratic incompetence. That successive Australian governments are not entirely competent, is beyond doubt. That any local government here, is more ruthlessly efficient than that of Singapore’s, is highly improbable. Yes, we do build estates first then think about the roads. It’s not perfect. If that sort of thing bothers you, don’t come here.

    The issues of migration policy and social welfare are very controversial here, and many people here favour a socialist or religion based attitude toward government welfare. We can afford to, as a society. We have not really felt the impact of the GFC. Singapore perhaps can not. So I don’t think it is fair to make the comparison. Australia should be compared with Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand. BTW last year if my source is correct, we had the biggest refugee (not all comers) immigration intake in the world in terms of per capita numbers.

    I have been visiting Singapore frequently in the 20 years since I emigrated here. I don’t perceive that housing is cheap. It’s cheaper here in fact, even in the inner cities. Food in Singapore is not that cheap anymore (and a lot of it is a pale shadow of the ‘good old days’ or worse, an unpalatable Zhonghua interpretation). Pretty much all SIngapore’s foodstuff is imported, much of it from Australia I gather. On the contrary the quality and diversity of the food scenes in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have been skyrocketing in the last ten years (although still not cheap ….. ).

    Singapore’s school system is unrelenting and competitive and that means that it selects those who are intrinsically brighter and more hardworking; but my children are now in school here, and my cousins’ in Singapore, and I don’t necessarily think that it produces better human beings, or more well rounded or creative people than a school of comparable resource here. It is a school system designed to service the public sector that administers the country, and the corporate management sector that drives the economy. That’s why your government can plan new towns better. However, the kids at the bottom of your pile don’t do any better than the kids at the bottom of our pile. That may be a fairer comparison as a bright determined ambitious child will usually do well anywhere as long as no one holds him or her back.

    However I went to a school where you were raised to be a well rounded person regardless of your background, cleverness, future potential in society, or religion. My school’s value system was, and I believe still is, unusual in Singapore. Here it is a universal value amongst teachers. I know what I would prefer for my children.

    It is my pleasure to disagree with the author’s assertion that people here do not respect the law. Quite the opposite in my view. Most of Australia is not like King’s Cross (which BTW is very safe to visit in daylight) Richmond or Northbridge. Or for that matter Redferne, Fitzroy, Hay Street, Glenelg, St Kilda East. I’ve visited them all and lived in two of them. Crime is not high outside of a few hotspots in the big city. I would caution readers who have not visited Australia, not to feel that lawlessness is the standard. There are many places in Australia that I have visited or lived in where it is no less safe for a girl to walk the street alone at night than it would be in Geylang or the back lanes off Orchard Road. The reason is that most people here are raised to behave themselves properly and what you see in the inner city often represents the worst of what any first world society would have to offer. I agree there are few or no places in the world with a better minimum safety standard than Singapore but I think the way the statement is made is somewhat misleading.

    Australian work place laws are intentional and not a deficiency on the part of our legal system. They are different from yours, because historically, working class and poorer Australians have been victims of systematic neglect and their rights abused by those who control industry and government, as well as by the crown itself. You must remember that this country is largely composed of descendants of uneducated or poorly educated working immigrants from the UK and Ireland, then southern Europe, then various waves from Asia and now the middle east. Our laws are they way they are because justice is felt to be everyone’s right regardless of clout, and that you being boss doesn’t mean you are king and master. You can always not hire the worker or not renew their contract, and as a boss your own lack of character judgement should be your own fault. There are downsides to this system but it reflects a different attitude toward having a job and toward legal justice. We have a mature and stable economy and are not dependent for our survival upon quaternary financial and service sectors, foreign financing, or even entrepot trade in its various forms. You can despise it if you are an employer; but if you have ever been unfairly sacked in Singapore because someone ‘doesn’t like your face’ then you will know what I mean.

    Can I also say on that point – if you’re not Chinese, Singapore used to be quite a racist place and Australia is a lot more tolerant now than it was twenty years ago. And from what I’ve seen there’s a lot of discrimination now in Singapore toward those new immigrants described sarcastically as ‘foreign talents’. As the author points out – they are no different to anyone else trying to do better in life for themselves and their families. That is not a crime.

    NS – I did my time, mostly the hard way, combat vocation in a frontline combat unit. I won’t say any more.

    Everyone doubtless has a right to choose what is ‘best’ for them. As an ex Singaporean Australian citizen, and never having regretted my decision to leave, I’m happy. People like me have been called ‘loser’ and ‘quitter’ and I hear it every time I go back to visit my relatives, friends, school, Orchard Road etc. It is their right to hurl abuse in a public forum I guess.

    But I think there’s a lot more to these issues than the author has given fair view and this article paints Australia in a dubious light. If you’re considering migrating, you first should come here and have a look around, live here for a while, if you can, as a local, and not a tourist or visitor, talk to people from all races and walks of life and travel the country before you make your own mind up. Don’t be discouraged from coming and seeing for yourself though.

    Finally – Australia may have its faults, but tell me which country doesn’t. For me I can say the grass is much much greener here. Like the author I have accepted its faults and failings but I also rejoice every day in its benefits and its attractions (which could cover another blog thread easily) and what it has given me. There are two sides to every coin. Think carefully and be grateful for what you have.

  34. Helen said

    One thing Kenneth does not mention is that the Australian Government does not give non-Australians an unfair advantage over Australians in the job market. In Singapore the PAP exempted foreigners from CPF making them cheaper to hire. As a result, foreigners easily took jobs away from Singaporeans.

  35. tangina bobo mga singaporeans puro supot pa hahahah

  36. So what said

    If sgp is better than aus why not many aus people migrate to sgp? Most if not all of them here are FTs or sgp PRs, any new sgp citizens from aus?

  37. Julie Ong said

    Excellent point, Helen.

    President Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America (the 16th president) once made this speech: ‘A government for the people, by the people …….’.

    Today in Singapore we have a ‘government for the rich, to the rich ….. and all out to enrich themselves’!

    It’s very sad indeed. How did we degenerate to this level? The government telling the people their vision in 20 years’ time. Any logic? Substance?
    Not a vision. More like a nightmare! Rectify the problems we’re having now!!

    Thanks to the generous people who have shared/contributed their experiences when they emigrated or lived overseas. We are free to choose. Yes. Unfortunately, not everyone can just decide to relocate and lived abroad particularly in the developed countries. Their selection criteria is fairly stringent.
    You may look it up on the Internet for more information or make enquiries with the relevant embassy. Sincere, good wishes if you opt to move overseas. By the way
    those who’ve left are most welcomed to be back and share/contribute their invaluable knowledge and experience with us.

    This is a globalised world we’re living in today. As for us the citizens of Singapore we must not let the government do as it pleases. They must deliver. They must justify their high salaries…… otherwise we want our money back! The point is that they must be more responsible and not reckless in their actions particularly when the citizens are being hurt and continue to be so hurt.

    We can talk all we want, but I don’t believe the PAP government is listening. They have already made up their mind. They know best.

    Guess it’s back to the old : bring out the rotan and give them a real caning in the General Election of 2016. I hope things will not be beyond repair by then.

  38. […] speech and call for a national conversation. The online mood was more positive and reflective than it normally is. Even the surprising event where PM invited a few bloggers for a friendly chat at the […]

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