The letter below has been submitted to us by “International Citizen”:
When I first moved from London to Singapore I was told I was the luckiest guy alive.
Not only was I young and unattached, I had an excellent job offer that would allow me to travel as much as I wanted.
But it’s been 4 years and I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed.
I can’t say I had crazy expectations, but I did picture myself having many more unique experiences by now.
I haven’t travelled that much other than my frequent but too short business trips.
I usually arrive at my destination already tired, then head straight to a few meetings, then have dinner, and then go back to my room to prepare for my flight the next day.
Sometimes that flight takes me straight back to the office, and sometimes it takes me to another business destination for yet another set of meetings.
When I’m back home I usually stay late at the office and socialise mainly with my colleagues. Most of my colleagues are foreigners, so my interactions with Singaporeans are very limited apart from small talk at lunchtime.
This gives me little time or energy to go out and meet new people, let alone date. I’ve seen many attractive women since I’ve arrived, but I have yet to find the right moment or the right approach to talk to them.
So basically I’m making good money with a good job, but I have no time or energy to use it!
All this begs the question: if the majority of workers in Singapore have similar or even more demanding lifestyles, how do they stay sane? How do they find significant others? When do they live their life outside the workplace?
In my case, I can always go back home to London if I find that things get too difficult for me. I don’t mind earning a bit less but enjoying life a bit more.
But local workers don’t have that option!
If their day-to-day life is too hectic there’s not much they can do; they can try to switch jobs and risk losing their livelihood, or they can put up with a demanding lifestyle and grow disillusioned.
As far as I understand the government isn’t really in favour of people taking a rest and enjoying life. From what I’ve been told the labour policies and the institutional framework are all geared towards developing businesses and maximising revenues.
Yet surveys have shown that the demanding lifestyles here are directly linked to low birth rates and even lowered sex drives!
I wonder: would more flexible labour policies allow us to lead our careers while still finding the time to date, fall in love, get married, and make babies? I, for one, would definitely consider staying longer in Singapore if I could actually enjoy everything that’s been showed to me in the glossy STB brochures…
Surely something can be done to invert these trends, right?