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Bye Bye Singapore

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Lisafuller
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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm

smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by smoulder » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:13 am

Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm
smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
Pretty sure xenophobia was thriving in British Malaya.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Myasis Dragon » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:20 am

Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm
smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
It's definitely the people. At the company my partner and I formed, we learned very quickly that, as ang mo, we would be treated nicely but would never, ever get the local contract. We even had our proposals that we submitted to a potential client handed over to a local competitor who then turned in the identical proposal, and of course, won the bid.

My neighbor for 5 years in Watten Estates came over on the final day I lived in my house, and said, "I am very sorry that I never made any attempt to be friends. We thought foreigners would be unfriendly." The last day.

My wife wanted to go back home, in part because she said we would never be accepted into society in Singapore... we would always be the ang mo, the foreigner.

I judge that part of this is history and close knit tongs and communities. Part of it is racism. And part of it is that without doing NS, us foreigners never could be part of a universal community (for males, anyway) in Singapore.

I now counsel folks against trying to live in Singapore. It's a great opportunity for a few years if your company will transfer you in, but no foreigner should contemplate making it a place to retire and die. SMS may be the exception. Otherwise, there is too much uncertainty as the government can pull the rug out from under you with no notice, and you will never be part of the community.

I contrast this to Houston, Texas, my home town, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Houston really is multi-cultural, and folks are readily assimilated into life.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by malcontent » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:32 pm

Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:20 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm
smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
It's definitely the people. At the company my partner and I formed, we learned very quickly that, as ang mo, we would be treated nicely but would never, ever get the local contract. We even had our proposals that we submitted to a potential client handed over to a local competitor who then turned in the identical proposal, and of course, won the bid.

My neighbor for 5 years in Watten Estates came over on the final day I lived in my house, and said, "I am very sorry that I never made any attempt to be friends. We thought foreigners would be unfriendly." The last day.

My wife wanted to go back home, in part because she said we would never be accepted into society in Singapore... we would always be the ang mo, the foreigner.

I judge that part of this is history and close knit tongs and communities. Part of it is racism. And part of it is that without doing NS, us foreigners never could be part of a universal community (for males, anyway) in Singapore.

I now counsel folks against trying to live in Singapore. It's a great opportunity for a few years if your company will transfer you in, but no foreigner should contemplate making it a place to retire and die. SMS may be the exception. Otherwise, there is too much uncertainty as the government can pull the rug out from under you with no notice, and you will never be part of the community.

I contrast this to Houston, Texas, my home town, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Houston really is multi-cultural, and folks are readily assimilated into life.
That is a real shame.

Maybe I’ve been more fortunate. When I first moved here in 1996 things were booming. In my first job I was hired with a group of 3 others who were more-or-less locals. One was a Chinese Malaysian who’d recently moved back to SG from NYC and he took me into his free wheeling circle of Cantonese speaking friends. Of course I was referred to as the gwailo, but not in a derogatory way. I was also told that my GF at the time is an SPG by virtue of her affiliation with me, it didn’t matter how true or not. All in our mid-20’s, we were good friends and had a blast together… much like I did with my friends back in the US before I moved. This went on for 5 years. I then got a job that involved extensive travel for the next 5 years, really a fantastic experience. Then it was marriage and kids. One big perk living here, when the going gets tough, the maid gets going! The number of diapers I have personally changed in total is probably just a few dozen between my two kids. Now my kids are teenagers and we are finally going to repatriate in 2024 while they go to college. Another fortunate thing for me is that at least career-wise, I haven’t really missed out compared to what I could have done back home. Probably the biggest sacrifice for me has been the material lifestyle here… it is significantly less because what you can afford with the same amount of money is just paltry by comparison - but obviously that is not the most important thing in life.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Addadude » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:59 pm

Coming here almost 29 years ago was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.

While the first company worked in was a hardcore local sweatshop (ad agency) with all the crazy hours and insane demands that entailed (not to mention being hugely underpaid for what I did), it did open the door for me to do work I would never in a million years have had a chance of doing back home. Army commercials (complete with explosions and artillery firing), overseas shoots, seeing my work all over national newspapers and tv - there was no limit to what I could pitch for. Obviously as well there was the 'ang moh advantage' in that being Caucasian seems to automatically elevate you in decision-makers' eyes. (Of course you then have to live up that expectation...)

"Fitting in" has never been a concern of mine wherever I've lived. Whether it was in school, in my home country, in the UK or Singapore. As long as I have my wife, my close circle of friends and a career that I generally enjoy (although it does has its WTF moments), I'm good. I've built an entire life for myself here and if I were to 'go back home' (which is really not home for me anymore) I would literally have to start again from scratch. As a result, I am seriously considering applying for citizenship via my missus.

It certainly looks like we all have very different experiences of this place!
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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by the observer » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 5:36 pm

Did op ever apply for PR?

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:30 pm

smoulder wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:13 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm
smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
Pretty sure xenophobia was thriving in British Malaya.
Yes but back then the government created clear and distinct role for each racial group to play - Chinese oversaw the economy, Malays worked in agriculture etc, which inevitably created tension and prompted anti-foreign sentiments.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:32 pm

Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:20 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm
smoulder wrote:
Tue, 26 Apr 2022 11:54 pm
^what I believe is that there are many common folks who don't mind that kind of arrangement. A case where the government policy reflects the attitude of the society.

You could feel it in people's attitudes before the pandemic. You need the labor because they build stuff, clean stuff and so on. But come Sunday and people don't really want to see the workers. They wish that the workers would become invisible. In fact, if you ask me, workers living in segregated dorms is a bit more than a matter of ensuring that they get low cost boarding. I believe it is to ensure that they are also kept "out of sight", as far as possible anyway.
My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
It's definitely the people. At the company my partner and I formed, we learned very quickly that, as ang mo, we would be treated nicely but would never, ever get the local contract. We even had our proposals that we submitted to a potential client handed over to a local competitor who then turned in the identical proposal, and of course, won the bid.

My neighbor for 5 years in Watten Estates came over on the final day I lived in my house, and said, "I am very sorry that I never made any attempt to be friends. We thought foreigners would be unfriendly." The last day.

My wife wanted to go back home, in part because she said we would never be accepted into society in Singapore... we would always be the ang mo, the foreigner.

I judge that part of this is history and close knit tongs and communities. Part of it is racism. And part of it is that without doing NS, us foreigners never could be part of a universal community (for males, anyway) in Singapore.

I now counsel folks against trying to live in Singapore. It's a great opportunity for a few years if your company will transfer you in, but no foreigner should contemplate making it a place to retire and die. SMS may be the exception. Otherwise, there is too much uncertainty as the government can pull the rug out from under you with no notice, and you will never be part of the community.

I contrast this to Houston, Texas, my home town, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Houston really is multi-cultural, and folks are readily assimilated into life.
Don’t think the Western foreigner’s experience would be nearly as bad as perhaps a foreigner from other parts of Asia though, so perhaps not the best example. When they thought you would be unfriendly, the connotation is not that they looked down on you but rather were intimidated, which isn’t really a bad thing.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:36 pm

malcontent wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:32 pm
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:20 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm


My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
It's definitely the people. At the company my partner and I formed, we learned very quickly that, as ang mo, we would be treated nicely but would never, ever get the local contract. We even had our proposals that we submitted to a potential client handed over to a local competitor who then turned in the identical proposal, and of course, won the bid.

My neighbor for 5 years in Watten Estates came over on the final day I lived in my house, and said, "I am very sorry that I never made any attempt to be friends. We thought foreigners would be unfriendly." The last day.

My wife wanted to go back home, in part because she said we would never be accepted into society in Singapore... we would always be the ang mo, the foreigner.

I judge that part of this is history and close knit tongs and communities. Part of it is racism. And part of it is that without doing NS, us foreigners never could be part of a universal community (for males, anyway) in Singapore.

I now counsel folks against trying to live in Singapore. It's a great opportunity for a few years if your company will transfer you in, but no foreigner should contemplate making it a place to retire and die. SMS may be the exception. Otherwise, there is too much uncertainty as the government can pull the rug out from under you with no notice, and you will never be part of the community.

I contrast this to Houston, Texas, my home town, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Houston really is multi-cultural, and folks are readily assimilated into life.
That is a real shame.

Maybe I’ve been more fortunate. When I first moved here in 1996 things were booming. In my first job I was hired with a group of 3 others who were more-or-less locals. One was a Chinese Malaysian who’d recently moved back to SG from NYC and he took me into his free wheeling circle of Cantonese speaking friends. Of course I was referred to as the gwailo, but not in a derogatory way. I was also told that my GF at the time is an SPG by virtue of her affiliation with me, it didn’t matter how true or not. All in our mid-20’s, we were good friends and had a blast together… much like I did with my friends back in the US before I moved. This went on for 5 years. I then got a job that involved extensive travel for the next 5 years, really a fantastic experience. Then it was marriage and kids. One big perk living here, when the going gets tough, the maid gets going! The number of diapers I have personally changed in total is probably just a few dozen between my two kids. Now my kids are teenagers and we are finally going to repatriate in 2024 while they go to college. Another fortunate thing for me is that at least career-wise, I haven’t really missed out compared to what I could have done back home. Probably the biggest sacrifice for me has been the material lifestyle here… it is significantly less because what you can afford with the same amount of money is just paltry by comparison - but obviously that is not the most important thing in life.
Nice, Mal! You’ve always seemed to be pretty happy here. When you do return on the states, are you planning to live in your hometown or nearby where your kids decide to go to school?

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:38 pm

Addadude wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:59 pm
Coming here almost 29 years ago was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.

While the first company worked in was a hardcore local sweatshop (ad agency) with all the crazy hours and insane demands that entailed (not to mention being hugely underpaid for what I did), it did open the door for me to do work I would never in a million years have had a chance of doing back home. Army commercials (complete with explosions and artillery firing), overseas shoots, seeing my work all over national newspapers and tv - there was no limit to what I could pitch for. Obviously as well there was the 'ang moh advantage' in that being Caucasian seems to automatically elevate you in decision-makers' eyes. (Of course you then have to live up that expectation...)

"Fitting in" has never been a concern of mine wherever I've lived. Whether it was in school, in my home country, in the UK or Singapore. As long as I have my wife, my close circle of friends and a career that I generally enjoy (although it does has its WTF moments), I'm good. I've built an entire life for myself here and if I were to 'go back home' (which is really not home for me anymore) I would literally have to start again from scratch. As a result, I am seriously considering applying for citizenship via my missus.

It certainly looks like we all have very different experiences of this place!
That’s great to hear. Yes, everyones experience is different but it’s nice that yours has been so positive. Where are you from originally?

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by smoulder » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:57 pm

Lisafuller wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 8:32 pm
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 12:20 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:58 pm


My question now is much like that of the chicken and the egg - what came first, xenophobic people or a xenophobic gov?
It's definitely the people. At the company my partner and I formed, we learned very quickly that, as ang mo, we would be treated nicely but would never, ever get the local contract. We even had our proposals that we submitted to a potential client handed over to a local competitor who then turned in the identical proposal, and of course, won the bid.

My neighbor for 5 years in Watten Estates came over on the final day I lived in my house, and said, "I am very sorry that I never made any attempt to be friends. We thought foreigners would be unfriendly." The last day.

My wife wanted to go back home, in part because she said we would never be accepted into society in Singapore... we would always be the ang mo, the foreigner.

I judge that part of this is history and close knit tongs and communities. Part of it is racism. And part of it is that without doing NS, us foreigners never could be part of a universal community (for males, anyway) in Singapore.

I now counsel folks against trying to live in Singapore. It's a great opportunity for a few years if your company will transfer you in, but no foreigner should contemplate making it a place to retire and die. SMS may be the exception. Otherwise, there is too much uncertainty as the government can pull the rug out from under you with no notice, and you will never be part of the community.

I contrast this to Houston, Texas, my home town, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Houston really is multi-cultural, and folks are readily assimilated into life.
Don’t think the Western foreigner’s experience would be nearly as bad as perhaps a foreigner from other parts of Asia though, so perhaps not the best example. When they thought you would be unfriendly, the connotation is not that they looked down on you but rather were intimidated, which isn’t really a bad thing.
Yes good point. Being white or white passing definitely makes every day life a lot more liveable.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 9:03 pm

Exactly. Unfortunately this type of racism is committed by the people here against their own people, not just in the West.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by smoulder » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 9:05 pm

Addadude wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:59 pm
Coming here almost 29 years ago was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.

While the first company worked in was a hardcore local sweatshop (ad agency) with all the crazy hours and insane demands that entailed (not to mention being hugely underpaid for what I did), it did open the door for me to do work I would never in a million years have had a chance of doing back home. Army commercials (complete with explosions and artillery firing), overseas shoots, seeing my work all over national newspapers and tv - there was no limit to what I could pitch for. Obviously as well there was the 'ang moh advantage' in that being Caucasian seems to automatically elevate you in decision-makers' eyes. (Of course you then have to live up that expectation...)

"Fitting in" has never been a concern of mine wherever I've lived. Whether it was in school, in my home country, in the UK or Singapore. As long as I have my wife, my close circle of friends and a career that I generally enjoy (although it does has its WTF moments), I'm good. I've built an entire life for myself here and if I were to 'go back home' (which is really not home for me anymore) I would literally have to start again from scratch. As a result, I am seriously considering applying for citizenship via my missus.

It certainly looks like we all have very different experiences of this place!
Is your wife a local?

I find myself fitting in quite well too. I'll never be exactly like a locally born and raised person but I still feel quite comfortable. For that matter, my wife who is a Singapore citizen (she's originally Malaysian of Chinese ethnicity) also feels like she'll never truly be a local. However, our daughter will definitely grow up a Singaporean. The difference is in schooling. You study here, you'll be as local as it can get.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by ukdesigner » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 9:29 pm

the observer wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 5:36 pm
Did op ever apply for PR?
Twice I think. Both times turned down. Not sure if it was my age (was nearer 50 than 40), no kids to do NS or their thought of lack of integration. You'd think having run a business here for probably 11-12 years on the 2nd attempt that it showed commitment plus the 10 local staff I employed, but after all that I got a no.
Don't p*ss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

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Re: Bye Bye Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Thu, 28 Apr 2022 9:37 pm

smoulder wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 9:05 pm
Addadude wrote:
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 4:59 pm
Coming here almost 29 years ago was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.

While the first company worked in was a hardcore local sweatshop (ad agency) with all the crazy hours and insane demands that entailed (not to mention being hugely underpaid for what I did), it did open the door for me to do work I would never in a million years have had a chance of doing back home. Army commercials (complete with explosions and artillery firing), overseas shoots, seeing my work all over national newspapers and tv - there was no limit to what I could pitch for. Obviously as well there was the 'ang moh advantage' in that being Caucasian seems to automatically elevate you in decision-makers' eyes. (Of course you then have to live up that expectation...)

"Fitting in" has never been a concern of mine wherever I've lived. Whether it was in school, in my home country, in the UK or Singapore. As long as I have my wife, my close circle of friends and a career that I generally enjoy (although it does has its WTF moments), I'm good. I've built an entire life for myself here and if I were to 'go back home' (which is really not home for me anymore) I would literally have to start again from scratch. As a result, I am seriously considering applying for citizenship via my missus.

It certainly looks like we all have very different experiences of this place!
Is your wife a local?

I find myself fitting in quite well too. I'll never be exactly like a locally born and raised person but I still feel quite comfortable. For that matter, my wife who is a Singapore citizen (she's originally Malaysian of Chinese ethnicity) also feels like she'll never truly be a local. However, our daughter will definitely grow up a Singaporean. The difference is in schooling. You study here, you'll be as local as it can get.
Not sure if the fact that you’re Indian helps you fit in better too, since there’s such a big Indian population here. Not like if you were white or black, where you’d stick out like a sore thumb.

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