Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brain Drain; It's personal

Long time readers of this blog would know that this is an issue that is very close to my heart. I have lost count of the number of arguments I had with my folks over it. (These two entries are the more memorable ones.) In recent months, I have started filtering out (what my cousin describes as) such *noise* from home.

"We are all grownups and have the rights to make our own decisions. You know what you like and want to do, and you do include your family in your plans, except it's not want they want. That's good enough. You can't please everyone. Your primary responsibility is yourself.

Even if i am labeled as unfilial in their opinion, I don't care as long as i think i am right in my own opinion. I think once you get the green card and show them that you are serious about settling here, they will have to accept the fact, and respect your decision."

This bit of a comment from one of Chiang Nee's readers sums it up beautifully:

All too often, people attribute reasons for emigration to general poverty (economic, individual financial, health care, etc).
I am a Malaysian doctor, and have lived in the UK for over 13 years now. As the only and eldest son of Malaysian Chinese parents (one of 3 siblings), I am expected to return to Malaysia for various reasons. My parents aren't poor. I have just told them that I do not intend to return to Malaysia, and would like to live in London instead.
However, they are unable to comprehend or accept my decision, particularly as they lead prosperous lives in Malaysia.
Your article is particularly apt, as it illustrates that in the current day and age, there are many other reasons for emigration, beyond economic strife.
Even PM Lee Hsien Long's eldest son (and we know the importance of this person's role in the families of our culture), is contemplating not returning to Singapore.
I think people forget, that as general quality of life improve, one seeks other forms of fulfillment. That is just part of natural human development.

.. In the current 'shrinking' world that we live in, where travel and communication is almost universally accessible and available, I certainly hope that people around us will have a more open-minded perception of emigration. That it is not simply attributed to economic opportunities.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What's Your Story?

I found this while web surfing randomly earlier. How many of you know your family history?

My great-great-grandparents (at least 8 of the 16 I inherited my genes from) immigrated to Singapore from Malaysia and Indonesia. This makes me a 5th generation Singaporean. On my dad's side, his ancestors were wealthy landlords who once owned multiple pig farms in Java, and whose grandfather was a well-known playboy who practiced polygamy, dropped out of RI (the equivalent of secondary school today) and nearly squandered the entire family fortune away. His son (my dad's father) became a Chinese bookshop owner, and attended the bastion of Chinese education on the island up to Sec 4. He was visibly upset when my folks told him his alma mater was not in my list of post-PSLE schools.

My paternal granny was one of the lucky few in her generation to go to school (the one with the all-white sleeveless uniform) with a maid in tow. She still blames the Japanese for cutting short her education and having to start a family while in her late teens.

One set of my mother's grandparents were grocers; I still remember I used to look forward to the visits to my great-grandfather's shop. He pampered the young ones. There seemed to be an almost endless supply of soft drinks, cakes and the likes available for us.

For the rest of the story, much of it has been said already.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Poster for *safe* wiring practices

If you can't figure out what is wrong with this picture, then you are in trouble.