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Friday, June 21, 2024


I’m a Singaporean millennial and I have a message for all fellow Singaporeans who wants to read this. I was awarded a government scholarship for PhD studies, and I chose NUS. But I never achieved the Singaporean dream. I’m almost 40 and still a virgin. I have no wife, no house, no children, no car, no nothing. I cannot find a job in Singapore, despite being a government scholar, and had to leave Singapore to earn an income, just like many foreign workers in low income jobs in SG.


Being overseas for years, I realize Singaporeans really have “everything”, but are not always happy or grateful. Not every Singaporean. There are many who are left out like me. But most NUS and NTU graduates I know are living comfortably, if only they can look past their petty little problems in life, and not get dragged down by them.

Singaporeans talk about “upgrading” a lot, not only in housing but career advancement. In other countries, there is no guarantee the financial value of a home will increase shortly after it is sold, new or not. Sometimes, residential apartments can drop in value within a year. Also overseas, people do not generally look forward to career advancements. Many people simply accept the possibility that they will be stuck for life, without being managers or executives.

Many Singaporeans can afford annual or biannual overseas vacation trips, to expensive countries like Japan. I have met many people who have never travelled outside their own country. And many of them have a PhD. I understand Singaporeans are overworked, but that is a price to pay for the high salaries.

And despite all that, people can still find happiness on a day to day basis. People find happiness just by talking to colleagues, talking to family, talking to friends. Or making a joke about their problems in life. In Singapore, personal problems are usually sad situations in the telling. It’s like “oh my colleagues suck, and it is making my life miserable.” “Oh me and my girlfriend cannot come to an agreement. If only she would do things my way.” You cannot expect people to do things you way. You cannot change people But you can take responsibility for your own happiness, instead of putting the responsibility on others to make you happy, which is silly if you think about it.


Put down the petty problems, or let go of them. That colleague who offended you at work? Just forgive and move on. Failed to become manager in your company? Let go and enjoy your salary. Got rejected by someone you are romantically attracted to? Let go and find someone else or wait for someone else. Government makes a decision you do not agree with? It’s not the end of the world. Its not the end of your Singaporean dream. Your spouse and children are still there. Your house, still there. Just enjoy life. You have “everything”. You don’t see it, but I know it. If having “everything” bothers you, then let go. Not achieving the Singaporean dream is not a sad thing. It’s only sad because Singaporeans create this narration that life can only be happy one way. You can create your own reality. That is true. You cannot change your situation, but you can change the narrative of your life. The Singaporean dream is just that……. a dream, or a nightmare, depending on how you want to see it.

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