Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Years in Singapore: A Short Self Reflection

Dear day, today is exactly two years I live in Singapore. Two years ago, only few days after my wedding, I flew to Singapore for work. I still remember the moment when I hug my wife in airport at that day and leaving Jakarta the city where I study and work in total of 7 years. My wife actually join me later in Singapore for few weeks, but the sad feeling at that day was there because after beside just Jakarta - Singapore distance, later on we have to face further distance, Asia - Europe when my wife study has started. However, it was hard but finally there will be only a couple of months left before we reunite again after wifey finishing her study and for this time should be no more long distance between us again.

Like I often said, I moved to Singapore totally in unexpected way. I have the wish to go here since long time ago but it was some kind of shallow wish. I always like to travel and explore. Hence since child, staying abroad is one of my dream. When I was in University I wrote "Work in Singapore" in one of my wish list in my journal. The country just came in my mind. Close to Indonesia, good standard of life and very safe country. Lesson learned from this wish is universe tends to follow what wish we have even how small the wish is. Never stop to dream because like Turbo said, there is dream to big and no dreamer to small.

Interested to have job in Singapore? Hopefully some of my experiences can give some insights. Anyway, the unexpected way that I said is not totally unexpected too. In this internet era job recruitment can be done easily because most of the people will online profile and resume. At that time a recruiter from Singapore company got my contact from linkedin and looking a requirement that match with my profile. Fast forward, I got phone interview and some administrative check and then some salary negotiation and I got a job offer. Lesson learned from this experience is enhance our online branding if we are looking some new opportunities. In this time we can still use linkedin, nice personal website and blog and also some online portfolio website for example like github. Of course all those stuffs have to be balanced by our truly technical and personal skills too.

By using internet for advertising ourself we have kill location limit and can open unlimited possibilities. I am not campaigning for everyone to go to Singapore or go to abroad for work. Living abroad for sometime let say 3 - 5 years will bring so much advantages for us. For example we will get new experiences, new perspectives and new exposures in life. It will be pathetic to have life in same city, same country for the rest of our life. World is big, so many nice things and indeed some dangerous things outside. Why don't have a nice journey in this short life? Work and collaborate with people from different culture. Work in the place which has 4 seasons. Going to Amsterdam for job interview. Have a phone interview with amazon.com. At the end, if we really nationalist we can go back to our country after that 3 - 5 years and make any contributions that we could. Anyway, foreign worker actually contribute to national income. We work abroad but we spent most in our country.

In this two years actually there are not to much weird thing happen. All the things mostly in order. Going to work from Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm. Hang out with friends on weekend. Go to mall or watch movie in cinema occasionally. Etc. I had work in two different companies since moving here. Basically most of the things quite same like in Jakarta. Except in here we will face truly multicultural environment. Our colleagues can come from many different countries. Not only Asia even could be Europe or other continents. The job pressure is depend on the project and timeline. When we reach a deadline soon, of course the pressure will be higher. In other time the pressure will be less if all the things has been finished.

Outside of work and come to daily life. Singapore is one of the safest country in the world. There are never any worries when we travel in public transport and going home late night. However the police here a have tagline that very good to keep us aware. "Less crime doesn't mean no crime". Second, Singapore also has one of the best public transport system in the world. Since I moved here I always want to purchase a motorbike. However since public transport is so good, having our own vehicle actually bring more burden than advantage. The public transport is punctuate. Train access almost all the part of islands end to end and keep growing. The bus is very reliable and also punctuate. We even can see the bus timing from the smartphone. Taxi also easy to get (outside peak hour of course) and what I like here the driver will give the chance even to the smallest cents. The mentality that I rarely face from Jakarta taxi driver. Pedestrian is designed properly. In here pedestrian walkers have highest right on the road. Overall the infrastructure here is almost perfect. Beside public transport, Singapore has public library in almost every region with very up to date collections. There are so many sport centre with swimming pool also in almost every region. There are many jogging tracks and nice parks. Mosque is not located in every blocks but still very accessible. In total there are 69 mosques around the island. One of my favourite rule in here is people cannot smoke anywhere. Very contrast compared to Jakarta. D

However there are also some disadvantages to consider. Singapore is very expensive. Income will be much higher but the expense also very big. Without proper financial management we can work for nothing in here. Second, the country is very small. We can feel excited in the first 1 or 2 months live here. But after that most of the thing feel boring. Same routine and not too much thing we can do. Anyway this second problem is not too relate about the country itself. If we feel so that bored we can just fly back to exotic tourism area in Indonesia or we could just cross using boat to Batam or also possible to fly to Thailand or Vietnam.

In conclusion even though life goes up and down sometime excited and sometime flat but I enjoy most of the time here. Not sure until when I will be in this country. My another pending wish list is to move to Europe and stay there for 3 - 5 years, grown my children and have some world trip. The experience must be much different from the current one.

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