Singapore’s Golden Era

A longtime friend, L,  visited from Singapore some time in the middle of this month and a group of Japanese friends whom we met in Singapore gathered together for a dinner. L can probably be considered an elite. He got his second class upper honors in law from UK, and is now employed at a huge law firm in Singapore in his first year. He is also giving private consultations to a Japanese restaurant owner back home who is giving him part ownership of the restaurant for the free consultations he provides. He was approached by another American law firm offering him better pay and a Japanese bank has also approached him offering him a position in investment banking in Tokyo with extremely attractive remuneration, both of which he has declined. The latter being the more surprising decision since he loves Japan enough to travel here almost two times every year. His decision to not take the job in Japan also made one of our friends ask why I chose to move to Japan.

It wasn’t a new question. Not even from her. And I guess she could tell it from my face when I showed the “this question again?” look without realizing. Immediately, she followed up with “many people move out of their country when it is not doing very well, or when it is doing just OK, but Singapore is at its flourishing years, yet you chose to move out.” L followed up with, “this is said to be Singapore’s Golden Era.” I’m not sure how much you agree, but if you look at the economic development, it is hard to disagree in spite of all the other problems that may be occurring in the city state. Seeing a TV program in Japan promoting Singapore is nothing new this past couple of years, and many people I met at random have visited Singapore, are visiting Singapore, or want to visit Singapore thanks to broadcast media.

Why would anyone want to leave a country at its peak (in economic sense) with no natural disasters, for a country that was taken over by China as the second largest economy in the world, one which has earthquakes, typhoons, is wrought with last year’s nuclear and tsunami disaster, and one whose political instability saw its 7th Prime Minister in the past 7 years?

My answer is simple. I want to be in the translation industry, and the one here is much bigger than that in Singapore. Also, I’ve said it many times before, I love it here in Japan.

When I went home for my sister’s wedding in late November, many relatives told me to return to Singapore. This is what I don’t fancy hearing. These are the people to whom I shut my ears because they are the very same people who have the least concern and the least involvement in my life thus far. Relatives who are the closest to me tend to ask about my plans hereafter, and whether I intend to return instead of asking me to. I guess it’s partly my weakness that I don’t like people telling me what to do. The more you tell me what to do, the more I want to do otherwise. I stopped buying souvenirs for my neighbor when the husband started asking me to leave Japan and return to Singapore each time I’m back for the holidays.

I’m just very grateful to have a supportive mum who, although would like me to return, is very encouraging because she knows I’m happier doing what I am doing here.

Crazy overtime work aside, that is.

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