I’m Returning to Singapore

In an earlier post, I wrote that my new job requires me to be back in Singapore for probably a few years. For the benefit of the confused, here’s a simple chronology to my working life in Japan:

I first took up a teaching job at a dispatch company as an ALT in the middle of the school year, while teaching part-time medical and conversational English to hospital staff through Aeon’s corporate division.

6 months later, the dispatch company lost the city’s contract for the new academic year and I went to look for a new job. Although I was offered the chance to teach in Nagoya by another dispatch company, the head of Okazaki City Board of Education contacted me and offered me a contract position. Since the benefits are much better, I went for the latter and turned down the dispatch company’s offer. All while doing the part-time job under Aeon.

Having heard that some companies’ hiring process can take as long as 6 months, I decided to send out resumes when I have the time so that I can get a non-teaching position by the time my contract with the Board of Education ends. Unexpectedly, a translation company in Tokyo contacted me during the summer and offered me a position. So I left my teaching position for the translation company.

Summary 1: I taught as an ALT for a year and at Aeon for a year before joining the translation company.

Almost 2 years after joining the translation company, I received a scouting call regarding a Japanese manufacturer that is looking for a Singaporean to be their resident staff and head their Singapore office. I turned the offer down saying I don’t want to live in Singapore. I thought the conversation ended there but a few days later, I received another call on the same job asking if I would reconsider. I said business trips to Singapore would be okay, but I would like to give the resident position a pass. I was told they would think about it.

A week later, they got back to me asking if I would consider secondment to the Singapore office instead of being a resident staff. I gave it some thought and decided that is a possible option. I met with the President and was offered a permanent contract. That is how I came to join the current company.

Although I said “a few years,” I have no idea when or for how long they would send me there. The details are expected to be discussed before I go over so am keeping my fingers crossed. I am guessing it won’t be too long after though.

On why I took up the job:

First, the remuneration is better. What else do you expect from a Singaporean son? Second, a bigger reason to my decision was when I went to lunch with colleague H while still at my previous job. She asked me how often I return to Singapore and I said “once a year.”

She asked, “Do you think that’s enough?”

I replied, “Of course!” without hesitation.

“How old are your parents?” She continued.

Me: Around 60.

H: Imagine, if your parents were to live till 80, that would mean you can only see them another 20 times.

That shocked the hell out of me. 20 years sounded much longer, but when I was thrown the ultimate truth, I realized 20 times is too little. Of course I could make more trips back to Singapore, but it’s not like I have that many days off. However, declining the resident position is still more sound to me apart from the fact that I would prefer to be here in Japan. Imagine if I were to return home and say, “I’m back for good,” life will return to what it used to be before I left for Japan 3.5 years ago. Everyone back about their own businesses, not having meals together; not spending much quality time together. But, if I were to return home and say, “I’ll only be back for X years.” Knowing that there is a time limit to my being home will more likely reap a fruitful family life during my time there than if I were to stay for 20 years. I must admit though, it’s what I perceive life to be in both scenarios and may not necessarily turn out as stated.

If you ask me to continue, I can list a lot more reasons to why I left my previous company and joined this one. But that is not to be published on the Internet.

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