The Fading Hope For A Brother's Return
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Stories for publication date: March 2, 2005
THE FADING HOPE FOR A BROTHER'S RETURN
MY mum is thrilled. My brother is going for another job interview - his
third in two weeks since he came home for the Chinese New Year
My mum's excitement is unlike any experienced by other mums when their
sons are securing a job - her hope is that with an offer, her son will
return home from the United Kingdom, where he has been for the past seven
But my intuition says the interview is a sham. I suspect that he is merely
pretending to be interested in getting a job here to please my mum and
make her believe he has the intention of returning to his homeland.
My instinct is the result of the numerous conversations I had with my
brother on how keen he is on getting married to his British girlfriend and
staying in the UK for good.
I would like to think that my brother is the perfect specimen of the kind
of talent the Government wants: Born in the mid-70s, overseas educated,
single, and specialising in science and engineering research.
I have been trying to get my brother home permanently, but to no avail -
sending him news of job opportunities, industry updates, Government
My brother insists that his career path in Singapore is limited. He has a
decent job as a research associate in the school where he completed his
doctorate in engineering.
Just to emphasise, the school gave him a PhD scholarship without any
contractual obligation or bond.
How ironical and insulting that my brother has chosen to be "bonded"
without the need of a paper contract. His affinity for the school and that
country has led him to dismiss the notion of returning home.
My brother is one of those children who went to a neighbourhood school and
became a victim of the streaming system.
He was sent to the normal stream in Secondary Three and at the time, my
siblings felt he had embarrassed the family.
He proceeded to the polytechnic, did well, and applied to the local
university. But alas, he was denied a place because of the quota on poly
He was adamant about pursuing a higher education, so while he did his
National Service, we prepared for the alternative - overseas education.
We poured in what savings we had, scrimped and led a frugal lifestyle to
send him to a school in the UK, with the hope of seeing him return to a
The good news came: He graduated with first-class honours and was one of
the top three students in his cohort. He was granted a scholarship by the
school to do his PhD.
Years passed and the expectation that he will someday return stubbornly
persists among members of our family.
While he enjoys his newfound life in the UK, we wallow in our
disappointment that he has thus far refused to return home.
One of us asked: Is it fair for us to expect his return? Why can't we
respect his decision to stay and marry abroad?
Could it be the challenge our family had to go through to send him to
school - at a time when most of us were still scrambling for job security
in the midst of the Asian economic crisis?
Or that we see Singapore as the country with the brightest future for him
and his family?
A friend said we are just being harsh on him.
So far, my brother has restricted his job search to his area of expertise
and to just one government agency.
Why not apply for a lecturing post in one of the universities here, I
He had heard that they didn't take in poly grads, he said (which made me
more determined to convince my niece to abandon the thought of studying in
So, will he be offered a job? He said he would get an answer in two weeks.
What if he fails the interview?
I suggested that my mum go see our MP at the Meet-the-People Session.
Would the MP help him secure a job? she asked. No, only if you talk to the
Prime Minister, my brother said on a half-serious note.
We should not have moved out of our Ang Mo Kio flat, thought my mum
Personally, I think the only person who can help my brother is himself.
Having travelled extensively in my previous job and having been exposed to
the world outside of Singapore, I like to think opportunities are aplenty
But my brother will only agree with my view when he wants to rekindle his
relationship with his homeland. Until he is ready to do so, there will be
no opportunity good enough for him and no government initiatives
encouraging or attractive enough.
Until that day, I am afraid my mum's excitement will fade into
The writer is in her mid-30s and comes from a family with seven siblings,
the brother in question being the youngest. She is an associate director
in a communications firm.
Do you agree with her views? Tell us at Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com
Singapore without Singaporeans
Comments: Mellanie Hewlitt
19 Jan 2005
After scam after scam (involving COE, CPF, Medi-shield, HDB etc) more and more Singaporeans are seeing the light of day and realise that this little island is a place only to work and make money. It is no place to call home, raise children and retire.
One cannot make a sterile air-conditioned office a home. This is something Singapore's million dollar ministers have yet to learn. The approaching long weekend will again herald another mass exodus of citizens from the tiny island. This trend (which occurs on every long weekend without fail) is a revelation and is symbolic of things. It reveals that for many on this island, there is no life after work. So many leave the pressure cooker city and find temporary bliss off-shore during the long weekends.
There is a life beyond the pressure filled world of work, money, school grades, exams, paper qualifications and the 5Cs, and more and more Singaporeans are reaching out and moving beyond the restrictive political, social and geographical confines of the little island to realise their dream.
We attach below article by an on-line forumer for your reading pleasure.
A Singapore without Singaporeans
By: Goh Meng Seng
19 Jan 2005
A Singapore without Singaporeans, A Nation without Nationhood. That's where we are heading to.
There are people who commented that Singapore is just a "Merchant City and a Hotel" to them. They are in their twenties but they are already planning their exits, migrating to somewhere more comfortable to live in.
They are not entirely "wrong" to think this way. Look at it this way, when you start to see those in the forties, losing jobs and not able to get employed with a decent wage, would you worry for yourself? Worst of all, the govt is seeking to raise the retirement age when it is obvious that those in their forties find it hard to get a job!
It is apparent that for those who have been caught by the "Asset Enhancement Scheme", they will not have enough money for retirement! And all PAP thinks about is whether this group of people would burden their coffers! That's how medisave came about.
Those in their forties and planning for retirement will have no choice but to cash out and retire somewhere. They must face the reality that they have come to the end of their productive life and the state is not going to take care of them. For all the myths they have believed so dearly, democratic socialism or asset enhancement, they have been disillusioned and there isn't going to be enough money for them to retire in Singapore. There will be no farewell party for them when they leave. It would be "good" if they no longer pose a "financial burden" to the govt anymore!
For those in their twenties they saw what would happen to them in their forties. They will also plan their exit and realize that they would only be "useful" when they are at their peak of productive life cycle. It is no wonder the PAP is beginning to woo them nowadays. But there are still many who wisely remain unconvinced and migrated out. So the FT policy is in place to fill up the void left behind. But these FTs may just remain forever Foreign.
When a nation is filled with people, both young and middle aged, thinking about migrating out of the country all the time, there isn't an existence of a Nation in essence anymore. Singapore is just a temporary refuge to their being. Andthere is no doubt what will happen to these people if there is to be an eminentthreat to Singapore as a Nation.
Nationhood has not been firmly forged for the past 39 years of nation building.The national day parades that we have had for the past have lost their appealwhen the reality of PAP govt policies set in.
Goh Meng Seng
Forum: the Sammyboy.com's Alfresco Coffee Shop � Forum
Subject: For Local Born Singaporeans .
DateTime: 01/03/2005 09:07:46
What is the motivation to study hard and serve "on the ball" in NS.
Age 6-12 - primary Education.
Age 13-18 - Secondary Education.
Age 18-20 - Waste yr time in the Army
Age 20-24 - Go to University to get a degreee.
Age 24-30 - Get another higher degree and set up a family.
Age 33-40 - Career and family building.
Agr 40 & abv- sure to get retrenched and jobless.
Age 45-50 - Works as cleaner or taxi driver or security guard.
Age 50-60 - MaCDonald Table cleaner.
Age 60-70 - All yr CPF dry up and work as beggar or tissue paper seller.
Age 70-80 - End up in old folk home not even seeing your life-long ambition and your life long CPF Saving.
But still Stupidty voted for PAP in the last few elections and end up even don't know who is killing you and yours family.
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