Singapore, Happy Birthday.
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Singapore, Happy Birthday.

I know you all love personal updates from me. But before I do that, I want to give a big shoutout to Singapore: Happy 58th Birthday!

Okay, I have been back in this tiny country for a year now, but it seems like I have been only here for a few months. This is my 3rd time moving from one country to another, but I had expected Singapore to be different. For one, it is home—a place where I have been living a major part of my life. For another, it is moving from city life to another similar city life. Frankly speaking, I am still getting used to being back. I met some friends, tried to get the rhythm going, and found familiarity in my work while juggling the emotions of my family. To my two daughters, this is an unfamiliar country.

The impact of moving has been more challenging for my 6-year-old. As much as Singapore is a safe haven for children, I think she misses having the space of our own home. We are staying with their grandparents while searching for the perfect home despite the exorbitant property prices that make anyone baulk. We also missed having the freedom of driving to the countryside on weekends to embark on a short getaway. Every getaway (or rather drive-away) within Malaysia allows us to explore nature or historical locations. Whereas in Singapore, the pressure is very real. I can feel the vast price differences in public transport, groceries and food. So even for a getaway within Singapore, we’ve got to budget wisely to save up for our perfect home.

But Singapore does have something good to offer. Recently, my 6-year-old travelled on an MRT (subway or underground city train equivalent) on her own on a 6-stops journey to the station nearby where my dad stays. This is unthinkable in Malaysia. I know my Malaysian friends still send and fetch their daughters everywhere, even though they are teenagers. This is unthinkable in many countries. We planned to let her go to school independently next year when she starts her Primary 1. Although it is just a mere 15-minute walk from home, she has one major road she needs to cross. We’ve got to trust her that she will use the overhead bridge to get across safely and not dash across the road.

Next year will be another giant leap for us as we embark on the journey of our older daughter starting Primary 1, maybe finally finding the perfect home for a writer, an engineer, two girls, and three cats. (Wish us luck!)

The world has been rocked by economic recovery and adjustment from the pandemic, but Singapore is still relatively unscathed. Jobs are still readily available; a couple of my friends are job hopping, and all around me are friends (including myself) travelling massively. So am I complaining excessively about how expensive it is to live in Singapore? In exchange for a safe, clean and stable environment, I guess the price to pay is that one has to keep working and tiptoeing the work-life balance.

In short, we are still adjusting to life in Singapore. So keep following me here and on my social media as I try my best to settle down while churning out the best pieces of advice for you.



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