Working overseas to escape Stifling Singapore


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David

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#1
The post related on salaries in CS and the recent NKF saga set me thinking... How many of you have gone overseas to work after being dismayed with Singapore or know of people who do that?

I work in the healthcare industry and prospects are stifling. The common excuse (yes that's the word I find suits well) is budget is low, so, sorry, you got to work long hours and there's a limit as to how much you can earn. Training wise, sorry, money will go to doctors first and high end research that will put s'pore on the international map. All else, just improvise and make do. It' not about $, it's about job satisfaction.

then now, the NKF thingy appears... IT pains me.. How come some jokers can generate so much $ and here we are slogging so hard to pay off bills. $ is not put to good use.

It's very sickening. Many of my colleagues have left their jobs to go to Australia, US or Canada to work. The turn over is high and it happens every year. Foreigners who come here definitely will leave once their contracts are up. From what I hear about my ex-colleagues' situation, not one regretted the decision to leave spore. If you earn say S$2k here, you can possibly earn S$3-3.5k overseas after tax deductions. If you are more ambitious or capable, sometimes the pay can shoot as high as >S$5k. Not to mention cars and big houses are darn cheap there. Also more interesting (in terms of places to explore) than s'pore. Of those friends of mine who are doing post-grad studies overseas now, all of them lead very interesting lives... Nice homes, a car, confortable jobs. Maybe the only quirk is culture is diff but that can be gotten used to after a while.

Over here, degrees are no longer a gem. Many are literally buying degrees (You pay, we give u the degree, never mind you dun have the prerequisites to study) even from established institutions like NUS and NTU. Bachelors degrees are ABC now. A fresh grad excitedly earns his or her first pay... Only to realize it's a ratrace out there. What's a S$3k pay here anyway? You live the next 40 years finishing paying for your home loan when you are 60+. and there are car loans, children's education, expensive foods, etc.

What are your views?
 

Golgotha

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#2
I share the same sentiments as you. Day in day out, I go to work and wonder is this all there is to life here in Singapore? Am i suppose to just work my butt off to pay bills? I still remember my 1st paycheck from my 1st job after graduation, so darn excited but then after paying study loans n whatever bills taht comes along, hardly any is left.

I always wonder if life is really better abroad but everything seems better elsewhere. Friends living overseas or foreign friends working here do tell me it's not a bed of roses abroad, so maybe it's just the same over there. Right now, I prefer to seek opportunities to make more $$$$. That would be much better than wondering if life elsewhere is better, at least to me. However, given the opportunity I would definitely go abroad to live, just to satisfy my curiosity and to gain experience.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

Pro Image

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#3
My sentiments exactly.....

Friends of mine works in the States and get paid about $75,000 per annum for a fresh grad. After tax deduction, they still have quite a lot left.......

In Singapore, the Big Brother has all the say. You can't argue with them. Sad......
 

Gymrat76

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Let me give you a slightly different prespective:

I'm a Malaysian from the science/lifescience background. I can't get a job in Malaysia with similar pay back home (dollar for dollar, without conversion even), cause the lifescience industry is forever at the talking stage which never seems to morph into reality. Singapore on the other hand, has a booming lifescience industry with the completion of the Biopolis, which is almost fully occupied and is in the process of expanding. Yes, cars cost more here, yes, housing is also very expensive compared to Malaysia. Its more competitive here, so many PhD's that a Honours degree doesn't really mean much anymore. The island is small, no place to go -how many times can you go to Pulau Ubin, the Singapore Zoo or even Orchard Road before you get bored?

On the flip side however, taxes are lower, the system of promotion is not based on any racial quotas, crime is lower and the govt is more transparent than Malaysia.

My point is that the grass really is greener on the other side. You'll never really be happy until you accept that yes, what I have isn't perfect, but its a hell of a lot better than the US or anywhere else you can think of. Cause after a while, no matter where you are, you'll start thinking that perhaps it wasn't such a good move after all. I've had this happen to friends who've packed up everything and emigrated elsewhere, only to regret years later about their choice.
 

igpenguin

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#7
Working overseas allows you to experience a shifting of perspectives. That's another form of riches that's intangible but perhaps invaluable.

Where there is grass there are horses, cows, birds etc and turds and droppings. Yet the turd and droppings can be fertilising the earth.

Forget about analogy; discuss the matter with your loved ones. Making the change may be easier or harder than you think - but hey, just another day in life.
 

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then now, the NKF thingy appears... IT pains me.. How come some jokers can generate so much $ and here we are slogging so hard to pay off bills.
What makes you think this would be better somewhere else? Mr. Durai resigned after SPH's mudslinging campaign; managers of corporations elsewhere would likely get a multi-million severance package (on top of the full pay and perks for the original contract period) for leaving early after running a company into the ground...

If you are more ambitious or capable, sometimes the pay can shoot as high as >S$5k. Not to mention cars and big houses are darn cheap there. Also more interesting (in terms of places to explore) than s'pore. Of those friends of mine who are doing post-grad studies overseas now, all of them lead very interesting lives... Nice homes, a car, confortable jobs. Maybe the only quirk is culture is diff but that can be gotten used to after a while.
The grass is always greener on the other side. Just as you may want to leave, quite a few people (ambitious and highly capable) from countries with cheap cars and big houses decide to come and make Singapore their home. From an overseas perspective, living in an exotic place like Singapore is also very interesting.

Over here, degrees are no longer a gem.
Neither are they in most other developed countries, and I think they shouldn't be (if you study a field because of your salary expectations instead of a desire to understand, you shouldn't attend a university in the first place). What may make it even a bit tougher is the quality of some of the "degrees" here. Here, it seems anyone can start an "institute of soandso" (frequently with "management" in the title) and grant "degrees" in disciplines with fancy, but meaningless names such as "advanced studies" that are mostly good for laughs elsewhere.

Many are literally buying degrees (You pay, we give u the degree, never mind you dun have the prerequisites to study) even from established institutions like NUS and NTU.
I have my doubts that this is true, but it's normally fairly easy to recognize who has a clue (that's what job interviews are for), and in the end it's better to hire someone degree-less with a clue than someone clueless with a real degree.

Bachelors degrees are ABC now.
Bachelors degrees may have stood out many years ago when few people had a secondary school education. Nowadays, students at ivy league institutions go for a bachelor to have a few wild years as undergrads and get a colourful certificate (plus bragging rights for mom&dad). The more determined ones also manage to catch up with what others have learned in secondary school (e.g. simple calculus), but they may be frowned upon by their peers. I don't think many people who have seen a university from inside consider a bachelor as the epitome of academic/intellectual prowess.

Only to realize it's a ratrace out there. What's a S$3k pay here anyway?
After taxes, it's more than what many talented and highly skilled PhDs earn in the US or in other first world countries. And living in Singapore is comparatively cheap (if you don't count luxury items like cars).
 

Ansel

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#9
Gymrat76 said:
Let me give you a slightly different prespective:

I'm a Malaysian from the science/lifescience background.
Of course lah, life science. This is the flavour of the day. The current focus. The last straw for this country to get back on it's feet again. Or maybe, one of the last few straws.

For those of us who no longer work in the favoured industry, or worse, the arts, Singapore is really "tan boh chiak" already. Worse thing is when you are past 40. Neither here not there. But to be fair, I have had my good days too, so can't really complain.

Well, I am just expressing a depressive thought. No hard feelings. Sometimes I am in this kind of mood.

Anyway, I strongly feel that we should have a global view of things. I think there is nothing wrong with going overseas and working for a few years and then come back, esp when you are young. It will be a good life experience to have. It broadens your view. People come to Singapore from overseas, Singaporeans go overseas, it is a merry-go-round, new blood gets circulated around. It is a good thing.

You are a citizen of the world. You can live wherever you can find a living, or where your talent is appreciated more. Nothing wrong with that.

Will the IRs turn things around? Only time can tell.
 

espn

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#10
I just want a slower life... not a hectic and never ending race.

Went for this BS7799 briefing and why the company wants to achieve this ISO standard. Then they gave a brief on the other ISOs and came across one that conforms to working environment and human care.

The person said "This is SG, we're more business and goal oriented, so you won't find us implementing this in the company". On the other hand, Japan has most of these 'humane' ISO implemented.

Sheesh...
 

yanyewkay

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#11
I agree with what littlewolf says. anyway, the countries like aus, US and canada are always tempting to the more western orientated locals. They think english speaking environment is cool. The place is so developed, standards of living is good. Cars are cheap. But to be more realistic, day to day living is just so darn expensive.

They think life is good there. So what makes this line of thinking different from the masses that says degree is very common here like ABC. The whole world wants to go to aus, us and canada as well! it's like ABC.

I'm not being pro-"big brother" and promoting stayers against leavers.

The real big money is else where, in the non-english speaking and less developed places. Where you will earn by critical masses and I'm not just talking about China alone. Singaporeans have added advantage over many others in the world because we can speak at least 2 languages (for majority here) so thank big-brother for making this happened.
 

brian

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#12
I'm sure Singapore is not the best place if you think about how much your earn and the cost of luxuries and money left at the end of the year for that elusive D2X. But if you think about it, there are a lot of people that would kill to work in Singapore... Here we are talking about how much better things are in Western countries.

US, Canada, AUstralia might be better, but I recently was considering a posting to Europe (Paris actually). The starting pay for an engineer there is about 2500 Euro (5000S$?) a month gross, more or less, but you pay around 1/3 of it to the govt for welfare and income tax, about 500 Eur/month for an apartment in Paris that's about 400sqft (that's the size of your typical bedroom, and you have to fit a kitchen, living room, and toilet) and maybe 1000Eur/month to survive comfortably. If you're lucky, you might have a little money left and can't afford to fly back home every year. Considering that most years increments are either 0% or 1-3%, you can work there for 10 years and still be not much better off. Its even worse off if you're married and your wife is a taitai. Shopping isn't cheap in EUrope.

Ok, I'm not a fresh grad, and the position I'm looking for is slightly higher than and engineer, but decisions for moving involve much more than just $. Of course the $ left over every month has to be at least the same as what I have today, but I have to factor in the fact that you're not going to have your friends around you for long durations, different living conditions and the occasional slur from people who think that you're in their country to take away their jobs or to terrorize them (whatever stereotypes they have of us).

So its not all about the money. And be sure.. there's a lot of people who're willing to come to Singapore and take your jobs, but maybe that's not the best thing in the long run.
 

brian

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#13
Oh, and if you want to get rich... its either
1. Work for a .com and hope for a windfall IPO (but too late already in most cases)
2. Do your own business

And I think its the same everywhere else in the world.
 

d7t3

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#15
a few comments:

- yes, employers will try to suck your "batts" flat

- i also wanted a slower and less hectic life. in fact, i left my $4k/mth job for less $ and less stress (tho i now make <1/2 that)

- what's a 3k pay for a fresh grad? actually a lot. there are ppl who are older, have kids to support, and they don't earn even that

- a couple i know went to the US. they are now PhD candidates and are able to work to support themselves thru! well well... what are we doing here?

- that said, i must say that we don't have much to complain about. there are plenty other countries who envy us no end
 

yanyewkay

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#16
i grad with hons, i don't have a 3K job. those with 1st class hons are complaining their pays are miserable and their bosses expect to do so much with so little pay.. i can only tell them "be glad you have a job lah"... 3K is a lot to me.. I can repay my study loans soo much faster.. my other friends who grad w/o hons have <2K even after working for 1 year +

when i learn of their pay later on thru friends.. i wished i had given him a punch in the face instead. they are almost hitting 4k for their first job. humans will never be satisfied.
 

jbma

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#17
You just take what you get. Make the best out of it. But I must say that I plan to retire somewhere else. The main reason is that my money will last longer there.;)
 

cookiez

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#18
d7t3 said:
- i also wanted a slower and less hectic life. in fact, i left my $4k/mth job for less $ and less stress (tho i now make <1/2 that)
same here...i'm leaving my current job soon for a less $ and less stress job (more
than 50% pay cut)....a lot of my frens and even my family cannot understand my
decision but I only believe that a less stressful life will lead me to live longer :bsmilie: :bsmilie:

I guess i'm just an easily-contented person and will rather chose an easy life with lesser pay
than hectic stressful life with high pay. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, you may not
even have the chance to enjoy the hard-earned $ in the next minute. Life is so
unpredictable, thats why..
 

Papilio

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#19
This is a rather mature, thought-provoking debate between the stayers and the quitters (though I prefer to use "leavers", cos it's not about quitting).

Always two sides to the coin, and for the less-developed countries around us, aspiring to work in Singapore is a "goal" to many of the citizens of these countries. Like what Gymrat said, he moved here cos of the better potential and also more open meritocracy of the system, as compared to where he was. Even the industry in which one is working may not have such a bearing, as, when compared to Singapore, the general pay packet is much smaller in Malaysia. Take a look every morning at the Causeway and 2nd Link and you'll wonder why the Malaysians rough it out travelling to and fro daily?

Singaporeans, in turn, look elsewhere for a "better life". Perhaps for some, there is. That's why we also hear of Singaporeans made good in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere. But on the flipside, there are also those who regret leaving/migrating and choose to come back home.

I suppose it's easy to get cynical about the quality and cost of living in Singapore. But it's often more than just that, which makes a person want to stay or leave. :think:
 

mattlock

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Feb 28, 2004
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#20
the grass is always greener on the other side man
if singapore's getting too unbearable it's because we've been so results driven all our lives
also when you're a singaporean in singapore you have the chance to be part of the community and contribute in certain ways at least
it's never the same being a foreigner in another country even if you get a PR
 

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