Monday, December 30, 2013

Come! Or don't! As you decide...

Perhaps it's that time of the year again, where folks tend to look back in-review and look forward with new dreams/hopes. Just too many thoughts buzz through my mind as I passed the 3rd year of Canadian residency, entering my 4th.


[20-Dec-2013 Footprints in the snow at dusk]

As I was trudging my way home through the snow 10 days ago, the footprints in the snow of each passer-by going one way or another made me think of how personal the migration decision and journey is. No 2 persons have identical situations, and thus each must forge his/her own way. 
Aside: Another thought I had was that until the 'aha' moment, I never thought that I -- known to be afraid of even the air-con while in Singapore -- would put up with living in a snowy landscape for a (hopefully) more stable/sustainable future.
For some, the decision to come (to another country) is the best one made in their lives; for others, it may make more sense to return to the familiar; and yet, for some it takes more than a few attempts at settling to decide which path is in their best interests.
E.g. Last week I met another PRC with a, by now, familiar story of PRC-to-Canada migration story. PRC comes to Canada with high hopes and expectations -- after all just being able to qualify for immigration makes him/her the crème de la crème since he/she has thrived in the cut-throat competitive environments of the major Chinese cities. First attempt at settling-in failed miserably (whether in B.C. or other provinces), and he/she quickly scooted back to China. At his/her second or subsequent attempts, PRC returns with more realistic expectations.

Indeed, over the Christmas period, I've had more than a few reminders (i.e. stories from various new acquaintances whom I've met) of a common factor which affects one's migration experience -- social support, or lack thereof. Migration can be a lonely journey.
E.g. My good friends EM and AA decided to host a Christmas Eve party given that many of our friends are immigrants who have "no family to return to for Christmas". [Note: Christmas in Metro Vancouver is like Chinese New Year for the ethnic Chinese in Singapore, very much a family-oriented event.] There were many last minute inclusions to the party troopers -- via my "referral" alone there were 5, excluding one that cancelled due to work. According to my last-minute guest R, his friend K called him as he was heading to the party and "she was almost crying because she had nowhere to go". Of course, EM and AA quickly embraced yet another last minute addition to the party. There was only 1 Canadian (EM and AA's neighbour) at the party  of 19. The rest were from France, the Caribbean (I don't know which countries exactly), Singapore, Malaysia, China, Iran, USA, Brazil and Japan. And the guest who cancelled was from The Philippines.

Last Friday (a day after Boxing Day), someone mentioned in sharing with me, "You'll never know what will happen. How long you'll live? How long I'll live? Maybe I'll die in 6 months. Maybe I'll die tomorrow. Maybe you'll get an accident and die tomorrow. Maybe I'll get an accident and die the following week. Who knows?"

I replied, "Yes, we just have to take each day as it comes. Count each day as it comes."

I agree, especially when one thinks about “天有不測風雲,人有旦夕禍福。” ["The skies have unpredictable storms, humans have sudden changes in fortune."] 

Indeed, when I arrived home that evening and logon to Facebook, I saw a Facebook post by a Singaporean ex-colleague of mine thanking friends for coming to his wake and funeral. It was actually posted by his widow using his Facebook account. My ex-colleague passed away suddenly on Christmas Day while shopping in a mall.

"You'll never know what will happen..."


I see that my friend Down Under has been writing a couple posts recently (click here and here) advising the potential Singapore-emigrant to make up his/her own mind about whether to take that leap of faith. IMHO, he is very kind and patient. I would usually ignore those who are essentially asking me to make a major life decision on their behalf.

Come! Or don't! As you decide... but remember, you'll never know what will happen either way. The future is unknown.
E.g. There are those who came to Canada without a job/kin/kith who nevertheless settled-in. There are those who arrived with a job-in-hand, but life did not meet their expectations and/or various conditions change and they find themselves back to square-one, asking if they should stay or leave.
As ASingaporeanSon wrote in his blog entry "13 Months of Perth":
"A committed decision means we rarely regret the choices we made, even if they don't turn out well. Each of these are opportunities for us to realise who we really are, the real self that we chose to veil due to societal pressure."
So true!

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