I am very saddened that I have no option but to pen a response to the increasing number of blog entries and forum posts popping up all over the place online in the last few days.
I wouldn’t like to suggest that some people seem to have too much time on their hands, but why someone feels it is important enough to research my blog and other articles to try and discredit me or my motivations for living in Singapore or becoming PR is totally beyond me.
Anyway, to set the record straight, I wanted to put forward my position on a few items and just move on (I’m not interested in getting into flame wars with online trolls).
DECISION TO BECOME PERMANENT RESIDENT
Regardless of the quotes taken out of context from an article written on my blog some 3-years+ ago, our decision for becoming PR was not for the sole intention of buying a resale HDB flat. We have become PRs because we love Singapore, it is our home, and we had made a ‘pact’ even prior to relocating here many years ago that if we were to really integrate into the local community, we wanted to do it ‘boots and all’ – moving to a foreign country is no menial task – it takes much courage and planning. Our first attempt to achieve this, was by moving to Woodlands (as opposed to doing the stereotypical expat thing and surrounding ourselves with other foreigners).
When I penned the article all those years ago about beating the increasing rental market by purchasing a property here, I was highlighting the fact that rent money is ‘dead money’ and to invest in ourselves as opposed to lining our landlord’s pocket was an easy decision – this would be applicable no matter which country we were living.
Living in a condo was just not doing it for us – we still felt like we were on an extended business trip and did not feel at home… almost like we were shutting ourselves in, so we decided to go down the HDB resale flat path, as this gave us the opportunity to meet more locals and to potentially give back to the community in which we so dearly wanted to integrate.
This has worked for us – our best friends are our neighbours. We gladly and proudly actively participate in the community, and I am extremely active in the local grassroots in Sengkang West – spending most weekends and many weeknights on such activities.
We have no secrets or ulterior motives. Singapore is our home and we are proud and feel very blessed that we have been so welcomed into our neighbourhood and community! I make absolutely no apologies for this.
In no way have we mocked any system as a few people seem to be insinuating in these forums.
NATIONAL SERVICE FOR OUR BOYS
Another issue that seems to be a topic for these forum trolls, is around a comment I made in an interview (also more than 3 years ago). I suggested at the time, that I felt it a disadvantage of becoming a PR that our boys (both born here) would be liable for National Service.
On this issue, through my local mates and close friends, I have come to learn more about the process and what NS entails. These days, I do not actually feel it is a disadvantage. I have grown to believe that along with our children playing their part in their birth-country’s obligations, NS has shown to instill a discipline and sense of pride that would be difficult to attain through other means. I am therefore supportive of this requirement for male children of permanent residents.
The colour of my passport seems to be a giant bug-bear for a small cross-section of people. In a recent interview with the Straits Times, I stated that although I had thought about SG citizenship, ‘at this juncture’ I was not ready to give up my Aussie passport (while there is no opportunity for dual citizenship).
This has lead to much speculation as to my motivation and reasoning. Quite frankly, this is a very personal decision and not one to be taken lightly – in my culture, to give up one’s citizenship is akin to turning one’s back on their heritage and even their family. Just as I respect and totally accept other cultures around me, I would have hoped that my culture and upbringing would at least be tolerated.
This is my reasoning and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I one day intend to return to Australia (which is not even in our thoughts right now), nor is it so that I could rort or mock any system or process.
I have worked very hard to become successful in my career (over decades). This has been at the sacrifice of my personal leisure and my family time. Along with long, hard hours, I spend much time volunteering in the community. How much I earn as a result of my professional endeavours is absolutely nobody’s business and has no bearing on my love for Singapore or our decision to live in a HDB estate.
Thanks for reading – I hope this clears the air somewhat.
It is important to note, that we LOVE our home – Singapore! We are happy and blessed to be here and we will continue to integrate and assist others to integrate into the local community. We have no other intention right now, but to remain here, and perhaps one day (as the years move forward) we will take the next step towards Singapore citizenship. In the meantime, please accept our good intentions and respect our wish to be good neighbours and friends.