Monday, December 26, 2011

Amongst white clouds

I watched the movie "Amongst white clouds" on a DVD borrowed from the library recently.

I do not think I am cut out for the hardship that such eremitic lifestyle requires. Coming to Canada is my distant approximation of the hermits' move. In coming to Canada, I left behind many close kin and kith, but I also left behind much of my "burdens".

There are many days when I wake up in Canada feeling contented. It is a basic contentment that has no reason other than I have my health, a warm bed, a peaceful environment to live in, my soft-toys, food in the "larder", some regular income, the Canadian social security safety net and time to relax/reflect.

Often that contentment is followed by a recognition of the baggages left behind in Singapore: the difficulty of planning for retirement given the ever changing CPF (Central Provident Fund) and labour policies, worries over how rising healthcare costs would impact my retirement, sadness over the increasing number of poor that I observed struggling in Singapore, disgust at the social attitudes encouraged by the increasing class stratification and of course not forgetting some family issues (click herehere and my comments here). I also realize that my "lack of ambition" (for want of a better description) makes me a poor fit in the Singapore's social norm, but a great fit for the Metro Vancouver's way of life.

I have observed a trend to my contentment. If I get enough sleep (7-9 hours/day) over a few days or a week, I would generally wake up feeling contented. Yes, I am a simple person at heart.

Ahhhhhh, contentment once again. [Click here for part 1].


  1. As much as sinkies ought not to depend on cpf (is sucked dry by manipulated high pricing) u cannot depend on social security.

    I don't know about Canada but America's social security is gonna go broke as the baby boomers are retiring now. Same goes for the boomers in Canada.

    Depending on social security/cpf is a poor man's mindset. Learn & build up your investment portfolio. But before that be frugal to accumulate more capital for the flight to freedom.

  2. Hi Xianlong,

    Thanks for visiting and your comments again.

    IMHO, the ideal is to strive to stay healthy and be adaptable. Beyond the waxing and waning of a country's fortunes, an individual fortunes has its own cycles too. One can be very rich individual in a poor country (e.g. the multi-millionaires in China, India, Thailand, etc). One can also be a very poor individual in a rich country (e.g. the homeless in Canada, USA, Singapore).

    Nevertheless, in a more equal society (e.g. Canada relative to Singapore), even bums have some basic dignity here! [It was a cultural surprise to me.] As a Filipino Chinese immigrant remarked to me today, even blue collar jobs hold respect here (e.g. live-in care giver, aka "maid" in Singapore terminology). That takes away a lot of the competitive stress of life here. In addition, it also fosters a "live and let live", and a more collaborative and care-for-thy-neighbour way of life.

    Anyway, Canada's social security is my retirement plan B. I started my plan A almost 2 decades ago, not long after graduating. I just didn't expect the numerous changes to Singapore's policies which makes it harder and harder to built resilience to my retirement plans. The migration to Canada wasn't in my original plan but guess things worked out for the best -- happy-go-lucky that I am.

    Canada is resource rich. Not just the ill-reputed tar sands. My China Chinese housemate who works in a Canadian export firm told me that Canada even has enough food resources to feed its own residents if a war should break out and Canada stops all food exports. It is just "touristy marketing" to paint the country as blanketed in snow all year round. IMHO, Canada's major challenge is to slow down its immigration and focus more on integrating its recent arrivals into the mainstream.