Opinion Columns Writing

Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?

March 1, 2013

More often than not, of late, I see and hear, people complaining everywhere about politics and their living environment. An example close to my heart would be from the place I still call home, despite being away most of the time. I am only using Singapore as an example because I was after all, born there, and also because of recent examples I have seen and heard.

There seems to be so much complaining going on about the political scene and quality of life.

  • If people have so much to complaint, then why aren’t they budging?
  • If it’s really as easy as leaving it all and going overseas, then why aren’t they?
  • Or maybe do something about it, like switch jobs or find something really suitable?
  • Where does all the continuous complaining and whinging lead to, apart from letting off frustrations, that is?

This brings me to yet another “greeting” I always receive when I am back in Singapore, from both friends and acquaintances, sometimes, even family members. Each time they learn about a fellow Singaporean living overseas, without thinking twice, next thing that comes out of their mouth is: “Wow..life is sooooo much better overseas. Easier for everything, cars are cheaper, houses are cheaper, you can easily get big houses!”

Inside me I go, “How much better is better?” Define better please.

I would like to share a leaf out of my book of living life overseas, with reference to Australia. With no doubt Australia is indeed a beautiful place, but what those with such perception do not realize is:

  1. Just because when they go overseas on vacations, life seems good, doesn’t mean living life overseas is all wonderful and “all candies, sugar and pie” – that’s how I define a wonderful life 🙂
  2. Going overseas on vacation DOES NOT equal to living overseas. Vacations DO NOT paint the perfect picture of living overseas long term.
  3. Starting life from scratch overseas is nowhere close to building that beautiful house like in those Facebook Apps.
  4. Living overseas on a long term basis equals to: paying all sorts of bills, from electricity to internet bills to dental bills, home rentals, mortgages if any, food, petrol, and heaps more.
  5. Everyday, everywhere in the world, people need to live and survive, people have bills to pay and need to look for food to eat. In Australia, people do this too. Life has to go on everywhere.
  6. Do you know that a simple lunch with a drink costs about almost a minimum of 10AUD – I’m referring to Chicken Rice at 7AUD and another 3AUD for a drink.
  7. Singaporeans who go overseas do not have CPF to help them pay for their mortgage – overseas, you want to buy a house, you pay with your hard earned cash from your salary, other wise you rent and pay someone else’s mortgage.
  8. In Australia, there is no option for domestic helper, you need someone to look after your kid, you either hire a nanny or put the kid through childcare. Need the house to be cleaned, get professional cleaning service. Ever thought about the costs for these? Minimum per hour is about 40AUD – about 2 years back.
  9. Living overseas also means one will be away from what used to be one’s comfort zone, away from family and loved ones, what about the emotional and psychological side of things aside from everything else?
  10. Pay is much higher in Australia. The higher the wages, the higher the tax bracket goes. By the way, 1 kg of Red Chillies can go up to 19.99AUD, one bunch of coriander leaves at the supermarket can go up to 2.49AUD.

With no offence to those who have been whinging and so against their existing place of residence so much, if life overseas is really so much better, why not just drop everything, leave and try start life from scratch overseas, since there is already that perception of life being “so much easier” overseas huh? Or maybe is there a need to re-think, re-visit?

Whatever happened to thankful? Whatever happened to appreciate and appreciation.

A very good friend once told me this, “Once you realize what you have now is enough, you are truly rich.” And I abide by that and reflect on that often.

Some questions, we should ask ourselves probably: How much money is ever enough? When is enough really enough?

I do not regret the choice I have made to be overseas but at the end of the day I am still proud to be Singaporean – each place has its own unique-ness and exclusivity – it’s a matter of making out the most of every bit in all one does. Life is but a game of choices, ain’t it? In fact, at the end of the day, having been overseas has given me a more wholesome perspective of life and I have lived out of the box. I am proud I have learned the hard way and not just by pure talk. I am proud I have lived up to my last 5 cents in my bank account come end of the month and I am still alive today.

I believe there is always two sides of a coin, anywhere, everywhere, there will always be pros and cons, it’s about how you choose to live your life, whether you want to be closer to the pros, or closer to the cons or you just stay in the middle and balance as much as you can. I also believe there  is no perfect life or perfect place and no one can have everything but everyone is worth something. Sometimes it’s about perfecting the imperfections.

A few weeks back, the mister and I had a long conversation about where all my writing is eventually going to take me and if it was ever going to bring me anywhere. The Mister’s response was simple, “Why bother? As long as you are writing from your heart.” That is definitely one of the best things anyone apart from my M & P has ever said to me.

Indeed, please do not feel offended by the above, for I am just a globe trotter, writing from my heart… Many may disagree with my above post – again, I am just writing from my heart and we are all entitled to our own opinions – “to each, it’s own”..

However, sometimes, when we feel like everything is bad, think again:

  • What about the homeless people on the streets, who sometimes, dig the bins for food and rush to pick up drinks left by others in the bins? I have seen several of that here on the streets of Toronto.
  • What about the increasing number of hunger deaths at the tick of every second?

Check this out: http://www.poverty.com

I can probably  go on and on and on, whining and leaving you to cringe till you shrivel but these questions remain:

Is living overseas always better? Is the grass really so much greener on the other side after all?

I would say it all depends….Till my next post….taaataaa…. Enjoy your weekend y’all….

h1

 

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3 Comments

  • Maya April 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I guess, from a distance, almost everything looks good. The so called greener grass is on the other side, thus most ppl cant see the imperfections. Furthermore, at times you need to stay at the “greener side” a little longer to realize that, it’s not as green as what you expected.

  • Anonymous March 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Very true. Reminds me of a quote I once read, ‘ You may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take the time to water your own grass it would be just as green ‘ 🙂

  • Anonymous March 3, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Well said. The grass is greener only when it is watered, mowed, weeded and fed. Otherwise it is the same patch of dirt.